The Saturday Six Pack Holiday Special


I can’t bring myself to listen to it, but here, as best as I can recall, is what happened on our Saturday Six Pack holiday special. [The above photo comes courtesy of Nick Azzaro.]

1. The show started out relatively uneventful. I had no guests lined up for the evening, and no beer. I just got on the air, invited folks in the listening audience to come down to the studio, and then began reading A Christmas Carol. I’d just gotten to the part abut Jacob Marley being “as dead as a doornail” when things started to unfold.

2. The first call of the evening came from local artist Jason Wright. He said that, if I waned him to, he could saw down a tree in his backyard and bring it in. I told him that I’d love to have him come by, and, about 15 minutes later, he was in the studio with a white spruce and the fixin’s for a drink he called milk punch, which he told me that he’d learned to make from a fellow bartender, back when he was living in New York and working at Max Fish. The drink, as I recall, contained milk, Bailey’s and bourbon. Jason said he’d been told that it was something people drank in the south around the holidays. It was delicious. And Jason made them all night, as people kept coming into the studio. [If you’d like to buy a piece of Jason’s artwork, which is great, you can follow that last link. And, if you’d like to hear more of me and him talking over beers you can click here.]

3. Before Jason got to the studio with the Christmas tree from his pack yard, though, our favorite local bartender Brigid Mooney showed up. She’d been listening at home, and showed up with a six pack of Christmas beer from Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing. I told her that I thought she’d been mad at me, as she hadn’t dropped by the show for a while, but she assured me that wasn’t the case. We talked about Cleveland, how easy it would be to die on Kelleys Island, where she spend a good deal of her youth, and that time her friend Morath came on the show and told everyone about her vagina. We hugged. And, when Jason showed up, the three of us debated the pros and cons of drinking on the job.

4. At some point, Davey Jones and Zachary Nichols of the band Frontier Ruckus dropped by. Jones had a banjo. Nichols had a saw. They said that our mutual friend Jim Cherewick, who was lurking somewhere outside, had send them in. They proceeded to play a lovely rendition White Christmas on their instruments while drinking milk punch. I didn’t know who they were when they first came in. They just told me that Jim had sent them, they’d “almost played the Ark once,” and that they were thinking about calling themselves the Everly Sisters.

5. Sidewalk artist Brian Little, who lives just down he street, came in at some point with a few bags of popcorn, a spool of thread, and some stuff to make ornaments with. Fortunately, at about the same time Little showed up, we started getting kids dropping by the studio. Nick and Yen Azzaro came by with their son. Dug and Linh Song stopped by with their kids. And, toward the end, Linette came by with our kids, Arlo and Clementine. With their help, the tree filled up pretty quickly with paper chains, popcorn strings, and tiny clay creatures with hooks protruding from their heads.

6. And there was more music. J.T. Garfield and Gregory McIntosh stopped by with their guitars. They said that they’d been listening at home when they decided to write a Christmas song for us. What they’d come up with was a dark, beautiful song called “Cheer and Loathing.” Everything was going well until a man called in and told me that they didn’t really write the song in just 15 minutes, while listening to the show. J.T. said that he recognized the caller’s voice, and that we shouldn’t pay attention to him, as he was “a fool and a liar.” Then, perhaps reflecting on the spirit of the holiday, J.T. said that we should pity the caller as he suffered from debilitating diarrhea.

7. At some point we got a call from our favorite troll, The Who Guy, who told me that he’d sent a gift into the studio for me with J.T. Garfield. He said that he’d wait on the line while I opened it, which I did. Inside the box, which Garfield said had been handed to him outside by a man in a mask, was a Who t-shirt, which I’m wearing right now, and a CD, which The Who Guy instructed us to listen to. It was a recording of him wistfully narrating the milestones of our tumultuous on-air relationship over Christmas music. And it was absolutely magical.

8. A red-faced Santa in a green crushed velvet suit ran into the studio at some point, screaming like a professional wrestler. He handed over a six pack of beer, after checking to make sure my name wasn’t on the naughty list, and then proceeded to sit down in a corner and feed pot cookies into his mouth through a hole in his filthy beard. [I’ve never seen Santa more alive, in-the-moment, and alarmingly sweaty.]


9. There were quite a few callers this episode. My mother and her sisters called in from Kentucky, where they were listening with my grandmother. And someone called in with a list of little known “facts” about Santa’s reindeer. And there were calls for Santa from what sounded like adult men trying to sound like small children. And Ethan Wampler, who I interviewed last week about the Climate March in Ann Arbor, which had taken place earlier that day, called in to tell us how things had gone. [Aside from the fact that it was over 60-degrees in mid-December, it went well.]

10. Bee Roll walked over from Beezy’s, sipping on a mason jar full of booze. She presented us a box of toffee and told us that a hip hop video was being shot on the sidewalk outside the studio. [I’d love to see that video, if you should ever happen across it.]

11. Demanding time equal to what we gave Santa, Krampus then came in and began spanking people. And, if I remember correctly, Jim Cherewick, who had arrived by then, attempted to woo the evil beast with a love song.

12. Colin Moorhouse then dropped by to share the last issue of his zine, Ypsi Underground, which he’d just had printed, and play a song for us, which he said had been written by his cult leader.

13. And, of course, there was group singing. A bunch of middle school girls, who just happened to be caroling downtown, stopped in to sing “Little Drummer Boy” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” and the show ended with everyone in the studio singing “I’ll be Home for Christmas” together without really knowing the words.

14. Oh, and Saturday Six Pack woody plant expert Ben Connor Barrie stopped in with his wife Erika to assess the health of our Christmas tree and identify it as a white spruce.

15. Our old friend Peter Larson in Kenya wrote a special song for the show, but it didn’t make it to the studio in time. Here it is. It’s called “Karaage Xmas.” [Karaage is apparently a Japanese fried chicken nugget dish that Pete eats a lot of.]

Station owner Brian Robb had the following to say about this episode of the Saturday Six Pack. “In the final episode of 2015,” he said, “Mark pushes the boundaries of what is listenable radio right into a woodchipper. He then douses those remaining fragments with gasoline and lights them on fire in a glorious homage to Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.'” And I think he’s probably right, which is why, as I mentioned above, I’m not terribly anxious to listen again. I do think that, at times, it probably veered toward the unlistenable. I also think, however, that it was kind of beautiful. While I knew some things would likely happen, I had no clue about others, and it was fun just to see how things unfolded… being instructed by a caller to open a box and play the enclosed CD, being serenaded by a saw and banjo, having my 91 year old grandmother call in… there was just a lot of great stuff, stuff that I’ll remember forever. Sure, there was some strangeness, but there was also a great deal of beauty. It’s kind of amazing what can happen if you just open up your door and allow your community to come in, especially when you live in a magical little place like Ypsilanti. And this is a good time of year to be reminded of that.

Thanks, as always, to AM 1700 for hosting the show, and Brian Robb for running the board, making sure the bills paid, and insuring that the toilet paper and bleach stays stocked.

If you like this episode, check out our archive of past shows at iTunes. And do please leave a review if you have the time, OK? It’s nice to know that people are listening, and, unless you call in, that’s pretty much the only way we know.

Now, if you haven’t already, please listen for yourself, and experience the magic firsthand… Oh, and Happy Holidays.

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  1. Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Staff photographer Kate de Fuccio wasn’t with us for this episode, so there wasn’t a lot in the way of photographic documentation, is one of the reasons I’d really like to see the hip hop video that was being shot outside of the studio while we were on the air. I’d love see footage of Jason bringing in the Christmas tree and the guys from Frontier Ruckus playing their saw and banjo through the window. If you happened to be in the area and took any photos, please send them my way. Thanks… And Happy Holidays.

  2. Peter Larson
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    I was ill so could not call in. I sent a song anyway, but the file didn’t arrive.

    I failed.

  3. Peter Larson
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    It was kind of you to post the song.

    I am sorry that I failed you.

  4. Ryan Dawson
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    best show ever! I think you’ve found your new format

  5. X
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Emmet Cousino, a sad little man with diarrhea.

    Pretty much sums it up.

  6. Lynne
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I certainly enjoyed the show! I was going to call in but I was…um…”enhanced”

  7. 734
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The Who Guy should communicate this way all of the time. Instead of calling in, he should convince someone at the bus station to cross the street and hand you a CD.

  8. Posted December 23, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Someone who apparently just listened to our Christmas special wrote in to me to let me know that, despite what Brigid said, murder does happen on Kelleys Island… And old men in Ohio apparently have “houseboys”.

    Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.41.01 PM

  9. Phlegm
    Posted December 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for continuing to embed the show on your page. For some reason it isn’t working on iTunes.

One Trackback

  1. […] Davey, who play together in the band Frontier Rukus, appeared as a saw and banjo two-piece on the Saturday Six Pack Holiday Special this past December. [They called themselves The Everly Sisters at the […]

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