Ypsi Immigration Interview: Misha Tuesday

After fleeing Ypsilanti for Chicago several years ago to pursue fame and fortune in the lucrative field of birthday party entertainment, the man who now calls himself Misha Tuesday has returned home to Michigan. This is his formal re-entry interview.


MARK: What’s your name?

MISHA: For me, that’s a complicated question. I used to change it every day. It’s currently Misha Tuesday, and has been for a while, but I still use a lot of different stage names, like Magister Freud, Dizzy the Clown, and Rathbone the Pirate.

MARK: Can we trust you?

MISHA: I think to some extent all words are lies, in a “map-is-not-the-territory” sense. As an actor and magician, I make my living through lying and deception. I think truth is overrated, and often what people mean by “truth” is merely a petty devotion to facts. But, yes, you can trust me.

MARK: What’s your first memory?

MISHA: I remember hanging on to my dad’s shin, sitting on his foot like a sit-and-spin, and having him walk around like my own personal amusement park ride. He was a potato farmer, and this happened when he got home from a day of working in the fields. He tired of it way before I did.

MARK: Where did you grow up?

MISHA: I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, then spent about 7 years in Pittsburgh before moving to Michigan.

MARK: What did you think of Pittsburgh? I quite like it there.

MISHA: Pittsburgh is a great town. I think of it as a town, or a town of towns, rather than a city. The hills keep the neighborhoods very distinct, and they all feel like towns. I lived there when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup two years in a row, and it was hard, even for a non-sports-fan, to not feel the camaraderie and civic pride.

MARK: So what brought you to Michigan from Pittsburgh? Did you come to EMU for school?

MISHA: I originally moved from Pennsylvania to Ann Arbor because my son’s mother went to U of M for grad school. But I soon found that most of the artists and musicians I got along with lived in Ypsi. I was spending all my time here anyway, so I stopped going to Ann Arbor, or paying rent there. After brief sojourns to Pittsburgh and Arizona, and a long one to Chicago, I’ve realized that Ypsi is where my heart and my people are.


MARK: Do you remember your first experience in Ypsi? I’m curious as to what brought you here from Ann Arbor the first time.

MISHA: My earliest memories of Ypsi are going to basement art parties and playing at house shows. I met Emperor Chadness and Adam Winnie at a show at the Trumbullplex in Detroit. They played on stage with me without knowing who I was or what we were going to play and that’s pretty much the definition of instant friendship in my book. They were both living in Ypsi at the time, so I started taking part in some of their shenanigans, which is how I met and started occasionally collaborating with Pat Elkins. Parallel to that, I had close friends from Pittsburgh who lived in Ypsi and kept talking about this cool art space called Dreamland, and, since Naia is so welcoming, I started doing shows there. Short answer: the names I wanted to drop turned out to be Ypsi names instead of Ann Arbor names.

MARK: What kind of kid were you?

MISHA: A dreamer, and robotically rebellious. I always wanted to do things that caused consternation in grown-ups.

MARK: Was life in rural Pennsylvania difficult for you, given your interests?

MISHA: If it was, I didn’t realize it at the time, and now I think bitching about it would just be the beginnings of a bitter old man. Every time I fix something around the house that’s broken, I’m thankful of my farm upbringing. And even though my high school football field was literally right next to a cornfield, there were still musicals and marching band and even stage magic classes at the community college.

MARK: Why did you leave Ypsilanti? I have a very vague memory of you yelling at me dressed like a giant rabbit. And then you were gone.

MISHA: I left Ypsi for one part love, one part adventure, and one part ambition. My wife lived in Chicago when I met her and I got tired of driving to Chicago twice a month. Of course, when I moved I still had gigs booked in Detroit so I ended up still driving back and forth until my own practice got off the ground.

I have yelled at a lot of people in a lot of costumes. I delivered a breakup letter (to a pawn shop employee) dressed as a circus clown. I have been hired to do wedding proposals as both a giant squirrel and a clown fish. I’ve been pulled over as a pirate, Santa, and the Cat in the Hat. I’ve seen on-duty police officers crack up a lot.


MARK: What, in your experience, is the best outfit for getting out of a speeding ticket?

MISHA: Santa is best if it’s December. Otherwise it’s a risky venture. When you get pulled over in a costume or wearing face paint, the cop usually has his hand on his sidearm as he approaches the car. It’s only after explaining that you just entertained a classroom or whatever that they have a laugh and lighten up with you.

MARK: What’s the biggest mistake one can make when performing in front of kids?

MISHA: Trying to dictate what they should be interested in. Rules and structure are for class time, not fun time. If I have a magic show prepared and the kids are more interested in singing songs, I’ll sing with them the whole time. To paraphrase Roald Dahl, a kids’ entertainer should be in conspiracy with the kids against adult authority. That’s why so many kids magic acts have the magician repeatedly failing until the kids say the magic word. Seeing grownups as fallible, and seeing themselves as being able to fix things, is an important part of growing up.

MARK: The last I heard, you were running some kind of birthday party entertainment empire in Chicago, or something. Do I have that right?

MISHA: That’s right. I started booking myself as a clown and magician when I moved to Chicago, and quickly had more demand than time, so I started booking other people as well, and a few years later I was an entertainment agency. I still have people that I book in Chicago, and I’m working on building a clientele for my own act here in the mitten.

MARK: And what is your current act?

MISHA: I have a lot of different skills, and I usually customize my character and presentation based on the expected audiences at the events I perform for. For kids, it’s most often magic and balloon twisting as a clown or pirate. For adults, it’s usually straight-ahead magic, or mind reading and fortune telling.

MARK: What called you back to Ypsi?

MISHA: In my experience, there’s no place weirder (in a good way) or friendlier than Ypsi. Chicago has lots going on, and tons of opportunity, but it’s a little impersonal. Everyone gets lost in the shuffle, and, if you didn’t go to school there, it’s hard to make lasting friends.


MARK: I’ve heard that you’ve recently created a child. How are you enjoying fatherhood?

MISHA: That was a big reason to leave Chicago. My wife and I both grew up in small towns, and want the same for our daughter, at least for her little little years. She’s my wife’s first child, but my third. My other two kids are adults (a magician friend of mine sardonically calls me “Tony Randall”). This time around it’s pretty easy. My wife and I both work from home most of the time; she’s a grant writer for an arts organization, and I sell entertainment (being a working entertainer is mostly a phone sales job). I can’t imagine how people do daycare, logistically and economically.

MARK: How is the new Misha different from the old Misha, who used to live here?

MISHA: The old Misha wouldn’t have followed through with this interview. The old Misha didn’t pay his bills or carry car insurance or care about the future. The old Misha thought he was a creative genius, but he was just yelling at people from a bunny suit.

MARK: What would you like to accomplish over the next five years?

MISHA: I’d like to put together a semi-regular magic and mystery variety show featuring local and touring magicians and variety acts. I’d also like to join or start a homeschooling cooperative, where parents take turns hosting all the kids and teaching what they know. There’s another difference for you: the old Misha never planned more than five days in advance.

[Still wondering why people are moving to Ypsi? Check out the Ypsilanti Immigration Interview archive.]

Posted in Art and Culture, Special Projects, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Building a kayak and canoe launch in Ypsi

On last night’s episode of The Saturday Six Pack, in a discussion with Elizabeth Riggs, the deputy director of the Huron River Watershed Council, about efforts to improve fish habitat along the Huron, Riggs mentioned work that had been done earlier that morning at the north end of Frog Island Park to create an access point for canoes and kayaks. Well, here, in case anyone is interested, are a few photos that I took after completing my shift clearing brush… It’s pretty incredible what a dozen or so volunteers can accomplish in a single morning, especially if they have a few chainsaws, a little backhoe, and an industrial wood-chipper at their disposal.




I may have misheard Bill Kinley, as he was running along the riverbank with a chainsaw at the time, but I’m pretty sure he said that, not too long ago, it had been proposed that the cement staircase, which can be seen above, be removed. [As I understand it, no one really knows why it was put here in the first place.] This, I believe Kinley said, would have cost the city over $200,000. Instead, however, he and folks at the Huron River Watershed Council called in a few favors, and put out the call for volunteers, and we were able to clear the overgrowth around the stairs and create a usable river access point without spending a single dollar of the city’s money. There’s still some work to be done, but a huge number of rocks were pulled from the river, and an entire 40-foot expanse of the riverbank was cleared. So, if all goes according to plan, next spring you’ll be able to put your tubes, kayaks and canoes in at the north end of Frog Island, and travel all the way through the city to Water Works Park.

[Special thanks, as I understand it, are owed to Margolis Nursery, which provided the backhoe, the wood-chipper, and the folks to operate both.]

Posted in Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Incredibly moving video documenting the creation of Ypsi’s HP Jacobs mural

Not too long ago on The Saturday Six Pack, I talked with Ypsi Community Schools (YCS) art teacher Lynne Settles, local historian Matt Siegfried, an Ypsi High student by the name of Paris, and Jackson-based artist Douglas Jones about the work they’d done, along with several dozen YCS students, to create a new mural on the south side of Ypsi commemorating the incredible life and accomplishments of HP Jacobs, a runaway slave from Alabama who made his way to Ypsilanti, became a janitor at what is now Eastern Michigan University, and then went on to found both a church and a school for black children here, before heading back south for several years after the Civil War, where he served in the Mississippi State Senate, helped found what is now Jackson State University, and, at the age of 65, become a doctor. Well, as much as I’d like to think that, during our discussion, we collectively conveyed a sense of just how incredibly inspiring this project was, there’s really no substitute for seeing Ypsi’s young artists working on it firsthand. And, now, thanks to the folks at Dream Real Photo & Video, you can do just that… Check out this incredible piece of video.

[The HP Jacobs mural can be found on the side of Currie’s barbershop, at 432 Harriet Street, in Ypsilanti.]

Posted in Art and Culture, Education, History, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Killing Ann Arbor’s deer, bringing native fish back to the Huron, saving Michigan’s bats, and the music of Heather Evans… on this weekend’s edition of the Saturday Six Pack


This evening, on a special episode of the Saturday Six Pack, we’ll be changing course a bit and discussing wildlife. To be more specific, we’ll be talking about killing deer, saving bats, and making habitats for native fish.

During our first segment, we’ll be discussing Ann Arbor’s somewhat controversial deer cull with U-M Associate Professor Rebecca Hardin, the host of WCBN’s environmental news show It’s Hot in Here, and our old friend Ben Connor Barrie, the editor of the award-winning Annarbour blog Damn Arbor. If all goes according to plan, Hardin, whose research deals with human/wildlife interaction and wildlife management, and Connor Barrie, who once grilled deer meat live on the Saturday Six Pack, will be joining me in a lively discussion on the recent growth of the deer population in Ann Arbor, the various solutions that have been considered, the ongoing debate, and plan that was recently adopted by Ann Arbor City Council. [I’ve heard a rumor that a listener in Ann Arbor may be delivering deer stew to the studio, but, as of right now, I can’t confirm this.]

And, during the second segment, we’ll be talking local fish habitats with Elizabeth Riggs, the deputy director of the Huron River Watershed Council, and Schultz Outfitters fly fishing guide James Hughes, both of whom will likely be coming to the show directly from Frog Island Park, where, tomorrow morning, folks are going to be gathering to build a canoe landing. [If you’re interested in helping clear brush, just show up at the north end of Frog Island Park, by the Forest Avenue bridge, between 8:30 AM and noon. More details can be found on Facebook.] Among other things, I’m sure we’ll be discussing the current state of the Huron as it flows though Ypsi, the kinds of fish that call our part of the river home, and their efforts to both bring back native species in significant numbers and decrease the number of non-natives. So, if you have an interest in fish habitat restoration, be sure to tune in at 6:30.

And, during the the third segment, we’ll welcome Aja Marcato, the conservation programing director at the Organization for Bat Conservation, who will be coming on to talk about Michigan’s bat population. [She tells me she’ll be bringing at least one bat with her into the studio.] Among other things, I’m sure we’ll discuss why bats are so important to our ecosystem, the various species that call Michigan home, and the work being done to increase their numbers.

And, once we’ve gotten the bats out of the studio, we’ll turn our attention back to the human world with musician Heather Evans, who will be playing a few songs for us, and answering our questions about her recent decision to relocate to Ann Arbor from Marquette. [If you follow that last link, you’re see video of Heather performing.]

Oh, and, speaking of music, I should mention that our part-time music director, the great Jim Cherewick, will be back with us this week, providing musical accompaniment throughout. [It’s been requested that he cover the Ted Nugent song Fred Bear, but he’s yet to let me know if he intends to accept the challenge.]

And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and distribute them in the Meijer’s parking lot.



Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of TuneIn.com.

And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes. If you start right now, and listen to everything at double speed, but you can do it.

One last thing… If you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about the program, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.

And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please scratch this number into the cinder block wall of the recreation room of whichever facility you’ve been assigned to… 734.217.8624… and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show is nothing without you. Sure, sometimes it’s nothing even with you, that’s true, but usually you make it better.

Posted in Ann Arbor, Art and Culture, Environment, The Saturday Six Pack, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The desperate need for affordable housing in Ann Arbor, the story of the black history mural that brought the community together, and nudity on the radio… on episode 32 of the Saturday Six Pack


Every episode of the Saturday Six Pack, toward the end, devolves into chaos. It’s been that way since we first started the show. We begin each episode with the best of intentions, but, somewhere along the line, things start to careen off in a direction that would wouldn’t have thought possible just a few hours earlier. Sometimes it’s because we’ve opened one beer too many, and sometimes it’s because, despite our efforts to keep the the insanity of Ypsilanti outside, it finds its way into the AM 1700 studio. And that’s what happened this past episode, when a young man came in, took a seat, and promptly began disrobing…

Before we get to that, though, I’d like to talk about our first guests, all of whom had the decency to remained clothed through their segment… For the entire first hour, after kicking things off with a song by Minus9, we talked about affordable housing with Ann Arbor City Council’s Chuck Warpehoski, the former Director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development Mary Jo Callan, Avalon Housing’s Michael Appel, and Brett Lenart, who, as deputy director of Washtenaw County’s Housing and Community Infrastructure department, worked on the drafting of the 2015 Affordable Housing and Economic Equity Analysis which informed much of our conversation.

While our conversation, for the most part, centered around the growing need for affordable housing in Ann Arbor, we covered a lot of ground over the course of the hour. We discussed the perception that Ann Arbor doesn’t need affordable housing, “because that’s what Ypsilanti is for,” and what might happen in something significant isn’t done soon to create more balance across the County. We talked about consultant Rob Krupica’s recommendation that, over the next 20 years, 3,139 “non-student affordable rental units” be built in Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township, while, at the same time, policies be enacted to increase demand for housing in Ypsilanti (both City and Township) that would draw an additional 4,178 “college educated” households. (By doing this, Krupica said, we might be able to avoid the financial collapse in Ypsilanti, which would in turn negatively impact the rest of the County.) And we talked about what might happen if action isn’t taken, and Ypsilanti’s poverty level rises above 30%. We also discussed what efforts were already underway in Ann Arbor to help address the growing economic segregation we’re seeing as a community. (Our’s is now the 8th most economically segregated region in the entire United States.) My guests and I discussed the 50-unit affordable housing development that’s been proposed on Platt Road, the community uproar against it, and what it might mean for the future of the County if 50 units can’t be built in Ann Arbor when over 3,000 are needed. We talked about the history of Avalon Housing, and the lessons that they’ve learned after 20 years in the business of providing affordable housing in Ann Arbor. And we discussed the possibility of enacting laws that would require developers in Ann Arbor to build a certain number of affordable apartments for every so many luxury units that are built. There was a lot more, but my hope is that’s enough to get you interested enough to listen… Here, clockwise from the top left, are Michael, Mary Jo, Brett and Chuck.


[If you would like to listen to episode thirty-two of The Saturday Six Pack, you can either download it from iTunes or scroll the bottom of the page, where you’ll find the Soundcloud file embedded.]

Then, during the 7:00 hour, we talked with Ypsi Community Schools art teacher Lynne Settles, local historian Matt Siegfried, an Ypsi High student by the name of Paris, and Jackson-based artist Douglas Jones, who, along with several dozen YCS students, just created a new mural commemorating the life and accomplishments of HP Jacobs, a runaway slave from Alabama who made his way to Ypsilanti, became a janitor at what is now Eastern Michigan University, and then went on to found both a church and a school for black children here, before heading back south for several years after the Civil War, where he served in the Mississippi State Senate, helped found what is now Jackson State University, and, at the age of 65, become a doctor. [below: The HP Jacobs mural on the side of Currie’s barbershop, at 432 Harriet Street.]


My guests and I discussed the amazing life of HP Jacobs, and why it is that, while everyone in town seems to know about the successful black inventor Elijah McCoy, few seem to know him. [Siegfried suggests that we know about McCoy because he was a black man who “made it” in a white man’s word, whereas Jacobs had been successful in creating a strong and independent black world.] We discussed how the mural came to be, and the impact the project had on those young people who helped to create it. We talked about the need for projects like this, which give young people a voice in their community, and the possibility that we could see more murals like it in the near future. And Lynne, who just began teaching in the district, gave us her impression of Ypsi’s kids. [She likes them quite a bit.]… Here, clockwise from the top left, are Lynne, Matt, Douglas and Paris.


Finally, at 7:30, reporter Tom Perkins came by to talk about his his role as local muckraker and how it sometime interferes with his love of pickle-making. Sadly, though, halfway through our conversation, just as things were starting to get heated between us, the door of the studio swung open, and our lives were changed forever…

Colin Moorhouse, the editor of the zine Ypsi Underground, stepped into the studio. I didn’t make much of it at first, as he’s stopped by the studio before to drop off copies of his zine, but, this time, he took a seat and just sat there, looking at us…

I can’t remember when exactly it occurred to me that he’d begun taking off his clothes. I think maybe Tom and I were beginning to talk about his recent article on the toxicity of Water Street, when, out of the corner of my eye, I caught Colin beginning to unbutton his shirt. And that’s when things started to move in slow motion for me, as it dawned on me what was happening…

Here are Colin and Tom, just hanging out and chatting with me. [My favorite line of the night had to be when Conlin said, “My face is up here, Tom,” to Perkins.]

Shortly after the following photo was taken, we heard a police siren approaching, and Colin ran into the night, while the rest of us got to work disinfecting the studio furniture with bleach. [Colin had sat nude in multiple chairs over the course of the 15 minutes or so that he was with us, drinking beer, and talking about the new issue of his zine, which, not surprisingly, is full of nudity. [It even contains a full-color photo of his cult leader’s taint.]]


Oh, and our favorite prank caller, The Who Guy, phoned in after a long absence… Or at least someone called in claiming to be him. Either way, it was wonderful.

Thanks, as always, to AM 1700 for hosting the show, Kate de Fuccio for documenting everything with her camera, 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.

Posted in Art and Culture, History, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments


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