Creative Beard Design: episode one

    I excused myself from dinner tonight to go and hack away at my beard. It had been bothering me for a while, and I felt that a change was in order. So I took a pair of scissors from the medicine cabinet and started cutting it away from my face in massive, white clumps. After a few minutes of this, I looked in the mirror and saw the following looking back at me. I hadn’t intended to develop a new beardstyle, but I think I came up with something pretty beautiful, a kind of bi-level construction comprised of a classic, pointed Van Dyke with a whimsical undergirding of neck beard.

    bearddesign

    My family, when I showed them, lost their shit. One cannot simply float a goatee above a neck beard, they told me. I thanked them for their input, but told them that I was going to wear it to work tomorrow. “I just want to try it out for a day or two,” I said to them. I must have been pretty convincing, because they believed me. They begged me not to. Clementine told me that she wouldn’t be seen in public with me. Linette tried a different approach. She just stared blankly in the direction of my face and silently shook her heard. I looked back at them like they were crazy. “I think it’s really nice,” I told them. “And I’m pretty sure the folks at work won’t even notice it.” I let it go on for way too long. By they time I told them that I was just kidding, they were almost in tears… For what it’s worth, though, I really did like it. I thought it looked distinguished. And why is it that neck beards are off-limits in the workplace anyway? Who decided that mustaches were alright, but that long, grey, neck beards weren’t? I’m too old to be at the forefront of this fight, but it needs to happen. For the sake of future generations, someone needs to pick up the cause of the Van Dyke neck beard combo and make it happen.

    Posted in Mark's Life, Photographs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

    And our Ypsilantian of the Year is…. Bee Roll

    BRwinssaturdaysixpack1

    As you may recall, about a month ago, I said that I’d like to bestow an Ypsilantian of the Year award, and asked for your nominations. Well, yesterday, on my new radio program, I announced the recipient. The first ever MarkMaynard.com Ypsilantian of the Year award was given to Bee Roll, the owner of Beezy’s… That’s her at the top of the page, proudly receiving the trophy. [Photo courtesy of Kate de Fuccio]

    For what it’s worth, it was not an easy decision.

    If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to read through all of the nominations that were submitted. The folks who wrote in were incredibly passionate, and dozens of worthy candidates from around our community were suggested.

    Krystal Elliott made the case for Police Chief Tony DeGiusti, for his commitment to community policing and his tireless work to build relationships with both the EMU police department and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office. Kayj Michelle, the driving force behind Ypsilanti’s First Fridays art walk, which has now grown to 16 venues, was nominated for all that she’s done to breathe new life into the Ypsilanti’s art scene. And Matt Siegfried was nominated for his work documenting Ypsilanti’s historic black community. The list goes on and on. And it wasn’t just the kinds of folks that you’d expect to have nominated for an honor such as this. A reader by the name of Lynne nominated her next door neighbor, who she said shoveled her sidewalk for her in the winter. And Rob Hess, the man behind Go Ice Cream, nominated 9 year old Juna Hume Clark, for distributing a little newspaper called “The Oakwood Seed” throughout Normal Park. “It’s a newspaper of love and imagination,” said Hess. “The little photo-copied paper was illustrated with pictures of her bunny and her cat, along with pictures of a peace sign, a recycling symbol and an anarchy symbol. I love that we are the kind of town where kids are encouraged to do things like this. Finding and reading this little story from a kid I don’t know was one of my favorite things of the entire year.”

    In the end, though, I decided to go with Bee. In part, I was persuaded by the following nomination, which came from Caleb Zweifler, one of her employees at Beezy’s.

    (I’d like to nominate) my boss, Bee Roll. Bee Roll runs a restaurant. Bee Roll runs a damn-fine restaurant. This, in and of itself, for anyone that’s worked in one, is a marvel. The amount of managerial curveballs she has to juggle whilst raising 2 adorable youngin’s (usually on her person) is simply astounding. I’ve never seen anyone take on so much responsibility with such grit and persistence. Even when a situation seems impossible, she always finds a way to mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually MacGyver her way out of it. She learns from her mistakes with scientific precision and rises to every challenge that presents itself.

    Her employees, whom she interviews personally and hand-selects with impeccable discernment, are not your typical hires. We are Peter Pan’s lost boys, we are Santa’s misfits toys. Yet she stops at nothing to accomodate us to the best of her abilities and circumstances. We are compensated well, we are well-fed, we are given flexible schedules to allow us to nurture our personal goals beyond Beezy’s, and when she works in the kitchen she doesn’t take a cut of the tips so we can have more to take home.

    She is incredibly sharp and methodical. She has keen business sensibilities and is constantly searching for ways to improve herself and her environment. Her work ethic is steadfast and tireless. She is loyal and she is a force to be reckoned with. She doesn’t talk feminism, she walks feminism. She, in the most benevolent sense, is the self-empowered woman incarnate. And she’s infinitely more likely to take more weight on her shoulders than to ask for help.

    She is the most generous person I’ve ever met. With what little she is able to provide the community, she offers freely and without want of anything in return. From the 826 Tutoring Program to First Fridays; Bee invests in Ypsilanti’s past, present, and future.

    Above all, Bee Roll cares about this town. She cares about her customers. She cares about her staff. She cares about the troubled youth that grow up here, and the starving artists that work here. Bee, next to Pete Seeger and my own parents, is my hero. I, along with everyone in this town should consider themselves proud, and profoundly lucky to have her in our lives. And though she’s probably the least likely to accept this kind of praise, she is absolutely the most deserving of it.

    I’ll be posting audio of last night’s radio show later, so you can hear the conversation that I had with Bee about why I decided that she should win the 2014 award. But, here, in a nutshell, is why I chose her. She’s the kind of person, in my opinion, that Ypsi needs more of. She purposefully moved to Ypsi, and invested here. She opened a restaurant across the street from a strip club, on a relatively desolate street, and she made it work. She hustled her ass off and built something great that people in this community could be proud of, a little business that not only turns out consistently good food, but serves as a meeting place for people across the region who, like Bee, are doing great, inspiring things. Beezy’s hosts concerts. Beezy’s was one of the first First Friday venues. Beezy’s is home to the 826 after-school tutoring program. Beezy’s, in short, is a place were good things happen. And that’s just the tangible, well-known stuff. There were also all of the little things that one hears about through the grapevine. Stories about pots of soup being carried down the street for the at-risk kids at the Ozone drop-in center, and things that she’s done for her employees. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s also the fact that Beezy’s has been an incubator for other food-based startups, like Theresa Rickloff’s Riki Tiki Pies, and Stefanie Stauffer’s salsa company Nightshade Army Industries. Theresa, you might recall, said the following in an interview on this site not too long ago. “It would only be a slight exaggeration if I were to say that Beezy’s gave me everything.“… I love that awesome little things spring forward from Beezy’s and I suspect that we haven’t seen the end of it yet.

    So, congratulations, Bee. You deserve it. And I’m sorry that I just wrote your name in sharpie over one of D’Real Graham’s old basketball trophies. You deserve better.

    update: When contacted by the press and asked for a comment, Bee had the following to say.

    I’m really thrilled at how that went down last night, very little fanfare, and plenty of awkward conversation and of course, I am honored to be regarded so well.

    I write a letter to my staff every week when I send out the schedule. Usually on Thursday mornings. I’ve always done it as a way to document upcoming events or ongoing group issues and to spend a few minutes reflecting on the week. Sometimes they’re pep rallies and sometimes they read like a hall monitor’s citation. And sometimes they’re work diary entries and it’s the only way I can get my voice heard above the daily fracas.

    The last year, especially, managing being pregnant and toting a toddler around, moving while doing all the things I try to do just to keep up with a growing business and the balancing the needs of 15 individuals on staff and like, being radically aware of every shortfall and changing my own work dynamic and execution and struggling with depression to boot, I’ve felt like the biggest phony. Walking to and from work in tears, wondering how to keep going, how to keep my staff motivated and happy and myself from a total meltdown. Big sobbing tears up and down Michigan Avenue.

    I’m really just coming out the other end of the tunnel. There were a lot of broken lights and dark days (metaphorically and literally) and self preservation, one long, too fast day at a time, has been my biggest goal.

    Day after day of not feeling good enough, well enough, or deserving of much wears on a guy, ya know? And I constantly worry about my staff and my community and feeling that I have so much more to do and well, I could go on at greeeeeeaaaat length. But the point is, it’s been all I can do to put my head down and GET THROUGH.

    I entertained all sorts of dialog about everyone thinking I haven’t been working hard enough, visibly enough. That I wasn’t having a positive impact on my staff. That I’ve been distant, aloof, uncaring. I mean, I know that’s depression talking, I do, but that’s what’s there.

    So of course I don’t feel like I deserve an award. All I’ve done is say yes to some stuff. Everybody else is doing the work. And then I read Caleb’s passionate nomination and it chokes me up. And every word of it is meaningful and what I fight for and what I stand for… I’ve always felt like I found my place, my home, since I moved to Ypsi – and to have grown up so scattered and rootless, a veritable rhizome of life experiences, to be understood and accepted, and, well, wanted and appreciated isn’t something I figured anybody ever really achieved in this world. And I’m amazed that whenever I shake off the emotional rain cloud, Ypsi’s got that for me. That’s my award. Caleb’s nomination and knowing that I’m having some impact just being and doing my best to kick ass at getting better at life, helping other people do that too, that’s so fucking great to me.

    This town is full of amazing people doing great work. Most of them have impressive resumes and CV’s and experience and education and are wildly more active engaging the community. But I’m a scrappy high school drop out from a broken home and a self made boss that’s been so lucky to have so many people on my side. I don’t know how I did it, but I’m grateful I’ve found my place. I’m also happy to be the practice run/guinea pig/scapegoat for this experiment. The backlash doesn’t seem too terrible yet.

    And that’s probably way more than you want/need and I don’t care what you use if any at all- I just needed to get it out. Thanks for the opportunity. Thanks for being Mark Maynard.

    [note: As I’ve said before, I’m not suggesting that my selection of Ypsilantian of the Year is, in fact, the best Ypsilantian. I don’t know every Ypsilantian, and I’m sure there are a lot of folks out there doing good work. There may even be a few that are more awesome than Bee. I agonized over this decision for a while because of this. And I thought up any number of different ways to go about making the selection. I thought about appointing a panel, soliciting nominations from non-readers of my blog, and drafting formal selection criteria. I tried, to the best of my ability, to come up with a system that would deliver someone that the entire community could rally behind. But then 2014 came and went, and I decided I had to just do something. And I realized that, even if I did everything right, people would stil have issues with the selection. So I decided to just pick the person I felt the most strongly about. So don’t be mad if I you think I picked the wrong person. This is just one award. There can, and should, be others. In fact, I’d encourage you to go out, find an award of your own, and give it to someone whose efforts you appreciate. Or, if you want to be really ambitious, work with the City to make an officially sanctioned Ypsilantian of the Year award, complete with a parade, and songs written in the recipient’s honor. The important thing, in my opinion, is not so much who the person is, but the fact that someone in our community is being thanked for their roll in making good things happen. And the more we start doing that, the better.]

    Posted in Local Business, Locally Owned Business, Special Projects, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

      If Washtenaw Avenue were a taint, would that make Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti the anus?

      I’d like to preface my comments by saying that I like the Ann Arbor News. I may, on occasion, disagree with their corporate leadership, but I think the people in their Ann Arbor office are trying to do the best that they can in an increasingly difficult environment. As we’ve discussed here before, the demands on them are incredible. I know people on the staff, and I cannot imagine having to work as hard as they do, churning out story after story with little in the way of time or resources, knowing that, to a great extent, your worth within the Advance Publications family is measured more by clicks and shares than by journalistic ability. With all of that said, though, headlines like this make me crazy.

      ypsibrooklyn

      Advertising dollars are dwindling. I get that. And I understand that, in order to make money online, you have to break through the clutter and attract viewers via social media. But at some point, you have to draw a line and say, “Well, this really isn’t news,” right? I mean, I get that the news business has always been about blood, guts, crime and sex. We tend to romanticize it now, but, truth is, it’s never been perfect. It’s always been about attracting eyeballs. And I get that everyone in the online content business right now is trying as best they can to replicate the the Buzzfeed business model, putting more effort into the writing of catchy headlines than the content to follow it. But at some point it just gets silly. And that’s what I’m thinking here. I mean, I could accept the recent Ann Arbor News story about the changing size of Melissa Gilbert’s breasts, as there was kind of a story there, but I can’t see how today’s “Could Ypsilanti be the Brooklyn to Ann Arbor’s Manhattan?” article is anything but a hollow attempt to leverage previously reported information about the recently released Washtenaw County Affordable Housing Needs Assessment under a meaningless headline meant to grab interest and inflame the passions of online trolls, who are always looking for an opportunity bash either Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti.

      And, plus, the whole thing just sounds embarrassingly provincial to me. Can you just imagine someone in New York reading this headline? I’m picturing coffee and soggy bits of bagel being sprayed across sophisticated urban kitchens everywhere, as people erupt in uncontrollable fits of laughter… Why not compare the UM art museum to the Louvre, while we’re at it? Or Ann Arbor to London? Or Ypsilanti to the moon?

      Could Ann Arbor be the earth to Ypsilanti’s moon?

      And I don’t mean to suggest that this is terrible reporting. The headline references something said by the head of Ann Arbor’s DDA. I just didn’t like it, as I think the analogy is ridiculous. But maybe some people need shorthand… a way to wrap their minds around what’s happening. And maybe, in that sense, this is necessary. I would have just titled the piece, “Fuck, all the interesting people are leaving,” but maybe it’s better to use code. (Manhattan = rich douche bags)

      And, buy the way, the analogy is pretty dated at that. The interesting people, by now, have almost all been pushed out of Brooklyn.

      [Apologies all around. The article just rubbed me the wrong way. I just hate that analogy. It triggers something in me. I’m sorry if I suggested that it was just Ann Arbor News click bait. I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now.]

      Posted in Ann Arbor, Rants, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

      How do we deal with the homeless in Ann Arbor? Easy, hire greeters on Segways to shoo them away… Introducing Ann Arbor’s new “Ambassador” program

      A few days ago, in a post about the increasing number of economic refugees making their way from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti, I noted a new program being considered by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) that would put a small army of paid “ambassadors” on the streets of tree town, opening doors for people, shooing away panhandlers, and the like. Proponents say that these activities are necessary if we want to improve “the user experience” of downtown Ann Arbor, and attract more well-heeled visitors (who are apparently terrified by Ann Arbor’s current grittiness). Others, myself included, believe that the addition of Walmart-like greeters on Segways, removing band flyers from light poles and pointing people toward the safety of the nearest Starbucks, would be the final nail in the coffin for a city struggling to maintain some sense of identity in the wake of massive outside investment.

      I’m not typically prone to hyperbole, but this “ambassador” program, if enacted, would effectively complete the mallification of this once interesting city.

      Thankfully, some people are pushing back. As I write this, several folks are making plans to attend the January 21 open meeting of the DDA Operations Committee (11:00 AM at the DDA office) to express their displeasure, and suggest other, more meaningful ways in which this $900,000 might be put to use. ($900,000 is the projected cost of the program over 3 years.) Based on what I’m hearing, the meeting will likely be somewhat heated. At least that’s the sense that I’m getting from the Annarbourites that I know, who seem to feel very strongly that this program is not only misguided, but ridiculous and embarrassing… Yes, it would seem some folks don’t much like the idea of Walmart-like greeters making their way around the city, encouraging the poor to move along, while helping the more well-off to find their way into downtown stores.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve heard several people suggest that a better long term strategy to address the panhandling issue might be to increase funding for proven programs, like those currently operated by Washtenaw County’s Project Outreach Team (PORT), instead of hiring out-of-state consultants to outfit “ambassadors” with aps giving them tips on how to get undesirables to move along. But why put in the effort and do the hard work when you just shoo people along, and give the illusion of perfection, right?

      Here, before we get deeper into the growing backlash, is a note posted to social media today by Mary Morgan, the former editor of the Ann Arbor Chronicle, on the background of this proposed initiative.

      This all started years ago in the context of the DDA wanting additional police patrols downtown. Here’s some background from The Chronicle’s archives – a 2013 article:

      “For several years, the Ann Arbor DDA has had an interest in maintaining some kind of additional police patrol presence in the downtown. In the mid-2000s, the DDA entered into a contract with the city of Ann Arbor with the implicit hope that the city would maintain the dedicated downtown beat cops. That contract was structured at the time to pay the city $1 million a year for 10 years, with the city able to request up to $2 million a year for a maximum of $10 million.

      That hope was not realized, and the DDA has since discussed the idea of providing additional funding for police or for ‘ambassadors.’ The idea of ambassadors was explored in the context of subsequent re-negotiations of the contract between the city and the DDA under which the DDA operates the parking system. The DDA wanted to be assigned responsibility for parking enforcement (a function performed by the city’s community standards officers) and imagined that activity to be performed in an ambassador-like fashion.

      At its June 3, 2013 meeting, the city council approved a resolution encouraging the DDA to provide funding for three police officers (a total of $270,000 annually) to be deployed in the DDA district.”

      Instead of paying for additional police – and politics plays a role in this too, given the dynamics between councilmembers and DDA board members – the DDA has decided to pursue an ambassadors program.

      So the DDA, at the behest of a group of downtown merchants, had started looking into the hiring of more police officers. At some point, however, they decided that it would be more cost effective, and give them more control, if they were to develop an “ambassador” program of their own, like the one in Grand Rapids, which would utilize relatively-low-paid part-time workers trained to greet people, give directions, keep panhandlers from Ann Arbor’s sidewalks, and the like…. essentially a smiling, private security force charged with making the city more commerce-friendly. And they entered into negotiations with the Louisville-based company Block by Block to manage the program. While most members of the Ann Arbor DDA were enthusiastic about the prospect, a few were not. The following comes from one of them, DDA member Al McWilliams.

      Downtown ambassadors are supported, passionately, by a majority of the DDA board, most advisory groups and merchant associations, and the bulk of the emails/feedback that came into the DDA preceding the vote two meetings ago (yeah, it’s been that long already, but people are just now getting amped up). I did not support the program. The driving idea for the program is that it will shore up the “public nuisance” activities downtown while offering a welcoming hand for visitors. At best $900k is a lot of money to shoo away a few panhandlers, and can do more to spur economic development downtown in some other capacity. At worst, it works against our goals of attracting the young folks, keeping grads in town and creating a unique place and personality. The feedback from downtown tech folks has been especially brutal.

      Where it stands now is that the budget is approved, and the operations committee has been given the go-ahead to negotiate a contract which will come back to the full board for approval. At this point, it is my hope that the contract will include specific direction & requirements for the vendor that will create a program more in line with Ann Arbor’s aesthetic (read: I’ll do my best to keep them off of Segways).

      I will offer this: it’s excellent that the DDA board is divided on this issue. It means that it’s working. There are passionate folks on both sides of the program, and it was in committee and discussion for a very long time. There were board members who were very much undecided and were convinced through respectful debate and, well, for me – you win some you lose some, but I like that everyone is thinking independently.

      And, with a little more on the perceived downside of this program, here’s a letter that was sent to the DDA yesterday by former Jefferson Market owner Jean Henry.

      This is a really terrible idea. On every imaginable level. 1) It looks desperate. It tries too hard. 2) It’s sterile and doesn’t look like us (likely because it doesn’t originate with us). 3) Grand Rapids’ success is not attributable to Walmart-like greeters but a considerable investment in a positive future – local business and arts support, green building development, public transport, etc. 4) It’s unsustainable. What will you do after 3 years? 5) If you do this, it will be an embarrassment. Please don’t. I really appreciate the DDA’s work, but looking to outsource solutions that could be better generated internally, by our own dynamic, smart and savvy creative class, is a terrible idea on many levels. It’s like a harbinger of the future A2 we all fear. As a friend opined. “Welcome to Ann Arbor, the 7-Eleven is just down the street from the Walgreens, and across from 5 guys.” Our strength of character comes from who we are as a town. Put your considerable resources behind supporting local character. Look for win-wins, rather than lose-lose-lose. Why not use that 900k to fund low cost – high impact ideas to move our town forward and make it more interesting rather than more sterile. We have plenty of people gifted at generating those. Let’s put our money behind them. Thanks.

      It’s kind of sad seeing the life drained out of a community, isn’t it? I mean, I can see how, in the short term, this might be good for business. Maybe, with a program like this in place, more folks will drive in from Southfield to spend the day. And, maybe, more large restaurant and retail chains will open places in Ann Arbor. Without show flyers on light poles and homeless people leaning against walls, maybe the mallification of Ann Arbor will be complete. Maybe it’ll become the completely safe, sanitary place that our new corporate stakeholders are looking for. I can’t help but think it’ll come at a cost, though. It’s not just ugliness that’s being scrubbed away… it’s character and history. And those are things that make a community. Sure, the per square foot value of Ann Arbor real estate might rise with an initiative like this, as Ann Arbor becomes more of a high-end, open-air mall, but there will eventually be a price to pay. More young people with energy will gravitate away from the city. More young families, who value things like community and authenticity, will start looking to put down roots elsewhere. And Ann Arbor will cease being culturally relevant. Sure, it may be profitable for some, but it won’t be dynamic. It won’t be interesting.

      gob_segway2

      If I had more time, I would have made a comic to accompany this post. It would have contained the following exchange between two people in downtown Ann Arbor.

      “How does one completely drain the life and authenticity out of a city?”

      “Easy, Block by Block.”

      Posted in Ann Arbor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

      The Saturday Six Pack with Mark Maynard, tune in this Saturday at 6:00 PM

      AM1700 Mark Maynard f4

      OK, the contract negotiations are now over, and it’s official. As of Saturday, I will be a part-time, non-compensated employee of Ypsilanti’s AM1700, where I’ll host “The Saturday Six Pack with Mark Maynard”. (Other Mark Maynards were interviewed, but I came out on top.) As we discussed earlier, the show will be extremely free-form in nature. Depending on how I feel, I can either just sit and stare quietly out the window, while those of you at home listen to me breathe, or I can open up the door of the station and invite people in to share a beer and chat for a minute… There are no sponsors. There is no mandate to increase listenership. There is just me in a room, doing what I want in front of a mic for as long as there is beer. And you can either listen, or not. It could not be any more elegant and beautiful.

      The premise of the show, as you may recall from our earlier conversation, is pretty simple. I walk into the station at 6:00 with a six pack, and then leave once it’s done. So, if there are quite a few live guests, the show could be extremely short. Conversely, if it’s just me, the show could go on for hours and hours. As I’m pretty good at pacing myself, though, I suspect I can time things, and dole out the beer accordingly, so that shows don’t run too much longer than two hours. So, if you tune in between 6:00 and 8:00 PM (EST) this Saturday, I’m pretty sure that you’ll hear something. It may not be terribly interesting, but you’ll hear something that you would never hear on commercial/professional radio.

      I only have two things planned. I’ll begin the show with a surprise guest at 6:00. And, at 7:00, Brigid Mooney will be coming in to pitch the idea of a weekly “shy comedians” segment on the show. (Brigid’s of the opinion that funny people, who are terrified of performing in front of people, should have a non-comedy club venue, like the Saturday Six Pack, where they can do their thing without having people watch them perform. I told her that she could come in and make her case, and then we’d put the idea to a vote. If people like the idea, we’ll make some time available every week to these terrified, yet funny, people.) And, otherwise, we’ll just see what happens. I’m not going to stress about it. I’m happy to just see what develops. Ypsi, I’ve found, usually comes though in situations like this… And, if nothing magical happens, I’ll just read Prairie Home Companion transcripts (adding sexy parts where necessary).

      I should warn you that it’ll likely be really sloppy. There’s no call screener, so there will be no jumping effortlessly from one call to the next. And there’s no talking to four people off-the-air in order to determine which one might have something interesting to say. There’s just one phone line, and me talking with whoever gets through. And I know that we’ll have technical glitches. I just hope it comes across as more small town charming than embarrassingly lame. Either way, though, I think it’ll probably be interesting. Painfully awkward, maybe, but interesting.

      If you want to call in, here’s the number: 734.217.8624. Please take a minute to write it on your hand.

      And, like I said, I’m happy to talk about almost anything… Seriously, we can talk about anything, from Ypsi politics and dating advice to animal husbandry and movie recommendation. It’s up to you… As I’ve said before, “I’ll bring the beer, you set the agenda.”

      As for the poster at the top of the page, the station owners Brian and Kate put it together. The body’s not mine. I’m not sure where they got it. The head, however, does belong to me. It’s usually more pudgy, though. I think they thinned it out a bit. I suppose I should be thankful for that… I like their decision to go retro with the design. An AM radio program, I think, kind of demands that.

      For those of you living more than a block away from our 100 microwatt antenna, you’ll want to tune in online. And, from what Brian tells me, you can do that in a few ways. You can stream the show directly from the AM1700 website. (Just select your desired format.) Or, you can listen by way of TuneIn.com. If you want, you can even download the TuneIn ap and listen on your phone. As I understand from station management, you can also listen through your television, if you have something called Roku. Or, if you want, you can just stand on Washington Street and press your good ear against one of the station’s windows. So, really, there’s no excuse not to listen.

      There’s also been a Facebook event page set up for the first show. As of right now, 23 people say they’re going to be listening. If I’m not mistaken, that should leave us with a few milliwatts to spare, but they’re going fast.

      Oh, I should also warn you that it’s not recommended that you just drop by the station. I know I said I’d have six beers there, but it’s a small space, and I can’t invite everyone in. Yeah, if you look interesting and knock, I may let you in for a Dixie cup full of PBR, but it’s more likely that you’ll freeze to death outside while watching me act out scenes from a Prairie Home Companion and lap up warm beer from a saucer. And no one should have to die like that.

      Posted in Art and Culture, Mark's Life, Special Projects, The Saturday Six Pack, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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