Tag Archives: Michigan

Latest exhibit at Lawrence Street has ‘Some Strings Attached”

Stephanie Sokol for Digital First Media

Alice Frank combined her favorite artistic elements — watercolors, fired enamel on metal and stitching — to create unique pieces in her latest exhibit “Some Strings Attached.”

“These works are my own recipe — I have never seen anything like it,”

One of Frank's works, Willy B. Threadbear.

One of Frank’s works, Willy B. Threadbear.

Frank says. “I tried to experiment and see if I could add all the ingredients I enjoy into my paintings, and I am really pleased with my results.”

With this exhibit, she wanted to make something fun and interesting for both herself and observers. Working on multiple pieces at once, she created her works by firing metal as much as 20 or 30 times to achieve certain colors, then working it together with watercolor and stitching.

In addition, this exhibit also showcases fired enamel tabletop sculptures, and fun projects like her homemade string teddy bears with clever names such as Willy B. Threadbear and Vera Threadbear.

This work is unique artistically, and her goal with it is to bring people happiness.

“When people look at my art, I want them to smile,” Frank says. “I think smiling can never be overdone. I want people to feel that the pieces they’re looking at and viewing are things they want to look at a little more.”

Frank said the works in this collection just came to her. Describing her art as “whimsical,” she says inspiration can be triggered by something simple she notices in everyday life, or from the influence of others.

While teaching in Michigan, New York and New Jersey, as well as at Seoul National University in Korea for a year, she has seen different ways of life by visiting new places, and been exposed to different ideas in the art of her students.

“Going to a new place for travel or work, I’m always looking around to see what’s there,” Frank says. “The colors and the light are different. Depending where I am, I might carry my sketch notebook. It could be the way light is shining on a building, or how some dishes in a cafeteria are lined up in a way that they become shapes in my mind. It’s kind of an abstract, difficult thing to explain. I also get a big kick out of watching kids create.”

For Frank, creating art is rewarding and relaxing. She says time flies when she’s working on a piece.

She tries to create her pieces in a way that makes people take a second look, adding details that will be found when someone is paying attention and really taking in the art.

After 25 years exhibiting at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs and other high-end art shows, fighting the elements of Michigan weather, Frank says she now prefers to take her art to smaller, indoor venues.

Recently, she’s shown at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield with the Michigan Watercolor Society, at Michigan Fine Arts Competition in Bloomfield Hills and OUR TOWN Art show in Birmingham, to name a few.

She has also put her art on display at other places in six to 10 exhibits a year around Michigan and also making home visits to help people decide on the right painting to purchase.

“Art should be a feeling you have in your mind and heart. It should make you feel good about it, whatever it is,” Frank says. “Whether it’s a funny thing or a serious thing, it has to speak to you. I don’t put anything in my shows that doesn’t speak to me, so when it speaks to other people, that gives me a really good feeling.”

“Some Strings Attached” runs Nov. 4-28 at Lawrence Street Gallery, 22620 Woodward Ave., in Ferndale. The opening reception takes place 6-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, and the mid-month reception is 6-9 p.m. Nov. 20.


OU students succeed at MHacks national programming competition

Stephanie Sokol for OUSECS

Out of 1,000 students from across the nation competing at this year’s MHacks, 14 were from Oakland University, and Dominic Dabish, a senior computer science major, was on the team that earned the gold prize from Microsoft for their app development “Pong With Me.” 

Photo/Stephanie Sokol Dominic Dabish demonstrates "Pong With Me" during one of Sebnem Onsay's programming courses.

Photo/Stephanie Sokol
Dominic Dabish demonstrates “Pong With Me” during one of Sebnem Onsay’s programming courses.

“The experience was pretty awesome,” Dabish said. “Everyone was really inviting. I went there not really knowing what it was about but I got the idea. There was a lot of food and it was really good. I barely slept, but not because I was working too much — because I was having so much fun.”

MHacks started as a small University of Michigan-Ann Arbor hackathon group of 50 participants using their computer programming skills to compete. It now draws programming students from across the United States and is open to students at all levels.

“This is not a small event,” said Sebnem Onsay, OUSECS special instructor. “The fact that they (Dominic’s team) got selected and made it to the finals and got a gold prize is a huge deal. I treat them like local celebrities.”

Onsem said in addition to Dabish, many other OU students did great at the competition, including Andrew Clissold, Bhargavkumar Rughani, Stephen Payne, Ryan Conroy, Brandon Powell, Steven Wiggins, Arpan Rughani, Jack Stouffer, Archana Sevak and Ziyad Ol Obaidi.

The first time Dabish applied, he did not get in. He was then asked to take a C# programming test, and later,was invited to compete. 

Going in on his own, Dabish joined a group with 2 other students from other universities. 

Over a series of three days, the team created 3 applications, including the award-winning “Pong With Me,” which earned them the $1,299 Microsoft Surface Pro 3. 

The application was programmed for iOS, Android, Blackberry, OS X, Linux and Windows — and the people at Microsoft were impressed.

“We caught all of the Microsoft employees playing it when we stopped by, hours after we initially showed them,” he said.

In addition to competing, attending the hackathon gave Dabish and other students involved a great networking opportunity. Representatives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and company representativeswere onsite judging and interacting with participants. 

“Code Michigan,” a state-wide competition is coming up in early October, in addition to another MHacks in January and more programming competitions throughout the year. Dabish is looking to create a team with OU students. Through his student organization, League of Engineers and Computer Scientists, Dabish wants to get people more excited about computer programming. 

“Let’s try to get some OU people to be in the same group this time,” Dabish said. “Last time I worked with people from other universities, and that’s cool but I would love to work with students from my own university. I think that would be spectacular.”

Onsay and Special Instructor Laura Dinsmoor recommend students get involved in future programming competitions, regardless of their level of experience. 

They also hope to someday host a hackathon on campus.

“As soon as students see there’s a competition, they should sign up,” Onsay said. “The sooner they sign up, the sooner they see what they’re getting into. A lot of the students that we have are very talented programmers, but they question themselves. My advice to them: do not question — apply and go there. What’s the worst that would happen? You won’t like the project, so what? You’ll meet many people. Go there and take the opportunity.”

Regarding upcoming hackathon teams and LECS, Dabish can be contacted via email at dom@lecs.me. For more information about the computer science program, visit oakland.edu/secs/cse.

Griffins defeat Checkers 2-1

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Grand Rapids Griffins Goaltender Tom McCollum’s 35-save performance helped his team take down the Charlotte Checkers 2-1 Sunday at The Time Warner Cable Arena.

Grand Rapids Griffins Photo credit/Grand Rapids Griffins

With two games left on their schedule, Charlotte (37-34-1-2) started the game tied at 77 points for the eighth Western Conference playoff spot, with both the Rockford IceHogs and Oklahoma City Barons. This loss leaves playoff chances low. After today, Rockford has one game in hand to Charlotte, while Oklahoma City has two.

Grand Rapids (46-22-2-4) is two points away from the century mark, and could clinch the Midwest Division Title if the Chicago Wolves lose to the IceHogs tonight.

The Griffins return Van Andel Arena for their regular season home finale against the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday, before wrapping up their 76-game schedule with a match against Lake Erie on Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m.

13:51 into the first, Charlotte’s Philippe Cornet took Matthew Corrente’s rebound and sent the puck past a sprawled out McCollum, leaving the Checkers up 1-0.

The Griffins turned the tables at 19:21, as Cory Emmerton got the puck past Checkers netminder John Muse, tying up the game 1-1. Grand Rapids had been scoreless again him for 139:21 up until Emmerton’s goal tonight.

The game-winner, again on Muse, was scored by Trevor Parkes at 11:05 of the second period, when he sent Nathan Paetsch’s rebound air-bound, past teh goaltender’s shoulder, put put the Griffins ahead 2-1.

Later in the second, Paetsch sent the puck into Muse’s cage, but it was called off for goaltender interference, after Landon Ferraro got into  it with Mark Flood, who nudged him and sent him on top of Muse right before Paetsch’s shot.

While the third period remained scoreless, it was action-packed, with McCollum turning away all of the Checker’s 14 shots. Five tosses of the puck at Muse occurred before he was pulled in the last few minutes of the game for an extra attacker.

At the last minute, the Checkers came close to tying the game, but McCollum stopped all goals, earning first-star honors with 35 saves, while Muse had 25.

Notes from the Grand Rapids Griffins:  Defenseman Ryan Sproul made his NHL debut with Detroit this afternoon, becoming the 145th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL. 16 former Griffins were on Detroit’s roster in its 3-0 road victory over the St. Louis Blues. Petr Mrazek earned a 23-save shutout in the Wings’ final regular season game, his second shutout for the club in 11 career NHL games.

Pixies kick off North American tour after release of 2 EPs

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

The Pixies surprised fans with the release of EPs 1 and 2 in September and January, the first new music from the band after a 20-year recording hiatus.

FROM LEFT: Joey Santiago, Black Francis, David Lovering. Photo/PIXIES

FROM LEFT: Joey Santiago, Black Francis, David Lovering. Photo/PIXIES

“As a magician, I won’t reveal any secrets, but as EP 1 suggested, there might be an EP 2, and EP 2 suggests a possible EP 3. So I’ll just leave it there,” Drummer David Lovering said.

Formed in 1986 in Boston, Mass., Lovering, vocalist Black (Charles) Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago and bassist Kim Deal were the original members of the indie and alternative-rock group.

After years apart, the Pixies began a reunion tour in 2004. What was intended to be one year turned into seven, and eventually the demand from fans led to yet another tour, which went until 2012.

During those years on the road, the Pixies discussed making more music.

“Our management decided, ‘why don’t we just go with an EP rather than just have one big album?’ Our EPs were big surprises as well, and as a magician, I like surprises,” Lovering said. “So I think we discovered a fun way where we were able to do it all ourselves.”

Pixies chose the EP route because they had many songs written and were not on a label, in addition to the reduction of demand for physical album copies. Lovering said the group has been going more digital, and likes hearing from fans via their website.

When it came time to record in June 2013, there was a bump in the road as Deal left the band.  Pixies didn’t let that stand in their way though.

“I think (Kim leaving) had impact as where the three guys, Charles, Joe and I worked a lot harder,” Lovering said.

“We bonded a little more, and Joe and I decided to pick up more vocals,

David Lovering, drummer for the Pixies. Photo/PIXIES

David Lovering, drummer for the Pixies. Photo/PIXIES

because we were lacking Kim. Since we were lacking her vocals, we did double duty on that, just to fulfill the Pixie theme. That was about the only change that I see—a lot more work, and more vocals.”

Writing songs for the album was a Pixies collaboration. Francis did most of the writing, throwing ideas off of other members. The manager told them to produce what they would want their music to sound like, and having not recorded in a long time, they just went with what felt right, according to Lovering.

The group is now on their North American tour, performing works off their older and current albums, with new bassist, Paz Lenchantin. Lovering said they got back into the swing of performing, and after about five shows, are having fun with it.

As far as the new material goes, Lovering said it’s very different, but so were all of the Pixies’ other albums.At shows, he enjoys playing old stuff, including music from Santa Rosa and other earlier albums, as much as songs off the new EPs. Among his favorites are “Indie Cindy,” “Magdelina,” “Vamos” and “The Navajo Know.”

“Indie Cindy is very fun to play because it’s very complicated, and I like complicated, hard things,” Lovering said. “Magdelina’s a nice, groovy new one to play. As far as old material, Vamos is fun, The Navajo Know is fun, I think most of the songs that are really rock are the ones I enjoy playing most.”

Pixies will perform at the Fillmore in Detroit Feb. 8. For Lovering, a favorite part of touring is the food, so he looks forward to stopping at Greektown for a taste of Detroit.

“I think with our new bassist, the rhythm section is kick-ass,” Lovering said. “But Paz is so good, she’s making me play better. Because of that, the rhythm section is very powerful, and we’re sounding better than ever. The vocals are good as well. I think we’re sounding the best that we’ve sounded.”


Southfield resident Malaya Watson sang “Ain’t No Way” for her American Idol Season 13 audition. Watson will advance to the next round. Photo/FOX

Southfield resident Malaya Watson sang “Ain’t No Way” for her American Idol Season 13 audition. Watson will advance to the next round. Photo/FOX

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

It may have been her first time competing, but Michigan musician Malaya Watson, who will advance to the next round of American Idol Season XIII after her performance of “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin on Wednesday night’s episode, said her audition went well.

“At the time it was nerve-wrecking, but it was pretty cool,” Watson said. “I’m very happy with how it went.”

A resident of Southfield, Watson, 16, started singing at age three. In middle school she got more serious with music, and in high school, she realized it was her passion.

“Music really helped me through hard times,” Watson said. “It gives me hope and gets me going—music just helps me through life.”

Watson plays piano, tuba, sousaphone, drums and guitar, and sang in her school’s opera choir, in addition to performing as a vocalist with the Mosaic Youth Theater in Detroit.

To get her solo singing some exposure, Watson began uploading her own songs and covers to her Youtubechannel. Using social media to share her music gained her worldwide exposure, she said.

While she sings a variety of music genres, including pop and classical songs, many works she covered are by one of her favorite artists, Aretha Franklin. Growing up near Detroit and spending time downtown in Hart Plaza, Watson has a love for many music styles made famous in the city, including Motown.

“The music I make—the soul, Motown, funk and stuff—that’s the music I like, and (living near Detroit) really impacted my music style and my musicality,” Watson said.

Songwriting is a process for Watson, who writes songs about whatever is on her mind. She draws inspiration from her own life when making music.

“Usually when I write my own songs, its more of an experience,” Watson said. “You know how some people just write songs to write a song? I usually write songs about of how I feel, or what happened.”

American Idol is a chance to for Watson to give people enjoyment through her singing. Music inspires her, and she said she wants her audience to feel the same way.

Through Idol, Watson said her goal is to use music to succeed, so she can give back to others.

“When I was younger, people would tell me, ‘well you can’t do that.’ Basically, I just want to show people that you can do whatever you want if you set your mind to it,” Watson said.

History of the Woodward Dream Cruise

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

What started as a small fundraiser for a soccer field has grown into the world’s largest automotive event, bringing more than one million people to Oakland County. This year marks the 19th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

In August of 1995, retired plumber Nelson House was setting up fundraising to create a local soccer field. He contacted Jean Chamberlain, who later became the Cruise founding president, about his idea for “Cruising in Ferndale.”

FYI: The Woodward Dream Cruise draws nearly 1 million classic cars fans for 18 miles along both sides of Woodward Avenue, from Ferndale to Pontiac. This year’s event, on Aug. 17, again will feature the “Dream Cruise In Shoes” 5K run/walk on the morning of Dream Cruise in Royal Oak. Browse through all Woodward Dream Cruise merchandise online at www.shopwdc.com.

“It sounded like there would be more cities interested than just Ferndale,” Chamberlain said. “I gave (House) the numbers of the chamber directors on the route to Pontiac, and he called them and set up a meeting. That was how the Woodward Dream Cruise was born.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation and Oakland County Sheriff’s department partnered with the cities in the beginning to help the event run smoothly, Chamberlain said. The first year the non-profit automobile event was hosted, it received a lot of response from people around the country.

“We decided that if we got 25,000 people, it would be a huge success,” Chamberlain said. “The first year we had 250,000 people.”

Chamberlain said the Cruise started out small, quickly growing to be known worldwide and sponsored by advertisers. The board splits money with the cities the Cruise goes through, including Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak and Ferndale.

Driving up and down Woodward Avenue was popular before the Cruise was created, however. Former Madison Heights resident Terry Bistue has been driving down the road since he was young, participating in the Dream Cruise from its start as well.

“Back in the ’60s, I was a weekend warrior,” Bistue said. “Every Friday and Saturday night I would go cruising up and down Woodward. I worked at a gas station on Woodward as a teenager, so it’s always kind of been part of my life.”

The owner of a ’67 blue Chevy II, Bistue said the cruise started out as people driving up and down the street like he used to, though it has evolved past a simple cruise to more of a party.

The Cruise has grown more commercial, with businesses and vendors putting on parties and the Big Three sponsoring activities and entertainment, though he said it is still a lot of fun.

“It’s always an experience to go because every year you see something you’ve never seen before,” Bistue said. “The one thing about it is you get people from all over the world coming to Woodward. All kinds of cars, from junky things that people find out in a field, to quarter million or million dollar cars, you see a lot of variations. It’s always special to the guy driving it, it’s theirs.”

While the cruise has evolved since its start, with additions like corporate involvement the weekend is still reminiscent of the ’50s and ’60s when people took their cars for a spin down the street.

“It’s a chance to see a happy face on the Detroit area,” Chamberlain said. “People hear horror stories about Detroit not being safe, with bankruptcy and everything. It gives us a chance to show off our city, the region, and certainly Oakland County.”

Northville hosts 2nd annual Concours d’Elegance Preview rare car exhibit

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Rare vintage cars will fill the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth for the 35th annual Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, July 28.

Northville will host a preview event the day before, featuring 30 pre-war rare vintage cars and other entertainment. This is the second year for the preview, said Lori M. Ward, AICP director of the Northville Downtown Development Authority.

Howard Payne's '37 Cord is an example of the cars that will be shown at the Northville Annual Concours d'Elegance Preview Event and Rare Car Exhibit , 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 27. Courtesy Photo

Howard Payne’s ’37 Cord is an example of the cars that will be shown at the Northville Annual Concours d’Elegance Preview Event and Rare Car Exhibit , 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 27. Courtesy Photo

“(Northville is) a great place to show off these cars like this. Northville is such a quaint town,” Ward said. “It’s got a lot of charm to it, and we take a lot of pride in history of community and just showing these vintage cars in that kind of a setting is a really good fit. Having these two things together makes a lot of sense and makes for a good event.”

Concours d’Elegance is a high-profile show of valuable vintage vehicles. The event was originally hosted at Meadow Brook Hall, but was relocated to Plymouth three years ago for more space and convenience to the exhibitors, said Executive Director Jim McCarter.

The main show features 300 cars from around the world, selected based on uniqueness. Owners will be onsite with information about their vehicles, as they participate in a competition by class, where cars are judged on varying criteria from unusualness to restoration, McCarter said.

A 1932 Ford V-8 Roadster and 1923 Kissel Brougham Sedan are among the 30 pre-war vehicles that will line up between Hutton and Center Streets in downtown Northville for the Concours d’Elegance Preview Event and Rare Car Exhibit the day before.

The Tom Allport Band will perform live to close the night. The preview was originally set up as entertainment for guests bringing their cars for Sunday, but the event is free and open to everyone, Ward said.

“We’re hoping it will bring people who are not as familiar with Northville into the community, so they can get acquainted with our restaurants and shopping to get an idea of who we are and spend some time here,” Ward said.

FYI: Northville’s Annual Concours d’Elegance Preview Event and Rare Car Exhibit takes place from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 27, between Hutton and Center Streets in downtown. Admission to the preview is free. Concours d’Elegance takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, and tickets are $25.