This post won’t have music.
I’m moving back east, something i half-predicted i would end up doing about a year ago when I moved out to Michigan. At least, now it’s not an emotional retreat, but a financial one money ran out at my current job, my lease ended, and there’s no reasonable prospects for finding another job i’d enjoy half as much in southeast michigan. As of next monday, I’m back in Jersey for a while. So here’s a list of some of the things things I’m going to miss about my two favorite Peninsulas.
1) A real Buy Local movement.
I’ve seen it present in other parts of the country, but nowhere is there as much urgency and passion behind supporting locally owned or operated businesses as I’ve seen in Michigan. Example: Lay’s Chips, a subsidiary of Pepsi, a company which will probably be selling boatloads of its products in a recession anyway, uses at least every third billboard in the state to tell people it’s supporting Michigan farmers with it’s potato chips.
2) The Metro Times.
You can call their political columns obvious, and say that their ear for local music isn’t permanently bolted to the the PA of the Lager House, but all of these are minor complaints. I have never seen an alt-weekly paper which was as varied in its coverage (as small as beautiful in depth story about an aging blues guitarist who sells raccoon meat from his house; as big as the trash incinerator debacle, costing the city millions every year, as creative as having every poet in the city contribute one line to a poem about Detroit, and making that the cover story). I have never an alternative weekly as consistently solid (and oftentimes more than that) in it’s quality of writing. But more than that, The Metro Times staff clearly cares about it’s city, sponsoring among other things The Hamtramck Blowout, America’s largest local music fest, the anti-pitchfork, where local bands of every age and genre gather in shitty polish bars and VFWs to play 40 minute sets and drink and laugh.
…speaking of Detroit
3) Monica Conyers.
the only politician strong enough to yell at a class trip of 6th through 8th graders. She not only accepted bribes and was caught by the FBI doing so, but she was bribed with EXPENSIVE JEWELERY. I bet they gave it to her in a sack with a dollar sign written on it. Top that, Jersey.
5) Honest ? John’s.
4) Being able to regularly get Goose Island.
in my remaining few days as a Michigander, I’ll make one treasonous statement: I don’t think that Bells Oberon is the best beverage on the planet. My favorite Bell’s, if you’re curious, is Third Coast. But my favorite beer has and continues to be Goose Island Honker’s Ale, and living in a place where you can regularly get that either in bottles or on tap is pretty amazing.
5) Ford Lake Park in Ypsilanti.
Buncha beautiful bridges bisect a brimming body of water next to what used to be a GM parts factory, until about 2 months ago.
Michigan has the fifth biggest prison population in the country, with somewhere around 45,000 people currently incarcerated. It has also the only, the ONLY state sponsored prisoner reentry program in the country. While the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative has its flaws, the fact that it exists, and that, as much as it can, it is working to get released prisoners emergency housing, jobs, health care, is so much more important to me at the moment.
7) Michigan’s short lived bid to become the next Hollywood.
So we had Grand Torino, which made detroit seemed as bad as it, at times, can be, and then…the tax incentives ended. It was a good run, guys.
11) The Mackinaw Bridge.
12) The Magic Stick, The Crofoot, and Cliff Bell’s.
Hosted, in order, some of the most cacophonous, touching, and harrowing concerts I’ve been to.
13) The state motto.
“If you are looking for a pleasant peninsula, look around you.”
that about sums it up.