Khalid

FT3 Fly Fishing Film Tour

A couple of years ago I saw a film called Eastern Rises at a small film festival put on by the Michigan State University Outdoors Club. I am not exaggerating when I say this, but was is one of the most beautiful films I have seen in a very long time.

Granted, my fishing experience only extends to fishing for eel in the rivers of Pakistan; Eastern Rises  made me want to learn how to fly fish properly. Also, it sent me on a hunt for other fly fishing films. Thanks to an email from a dear friend, I am excited to share that the FT3 Fly Fishing Film Tour is rolling through our area this month.

The event is hosted by Nomad Anglers of Okemos and will be held at Dublin Square Irish Pub  on April 23rd. Doors open at 6pm and films starts at 7pm.

Tickets($15) are available in advance at Nomad Anglers (5100 Marsh Rd  Okemos, MI 48864, 517-349-6696), online($18) and at the door( $20) on the night of the event.

Maybe, after the week of Capital City Film Festival, you will be ready for some more quality time in front of the screen.

Khalid

ADDYs 2013

Every year some of the greatest creative minds of the Greater Lansing Area come together at the  Mid-Michigan ADDY awards.

According to the Mid Michigan Creative Alliance (MMCA), the “ADDY Awards are the advertising and marketing industry’s largest and most recognized competition” and “the local ADDY Awards are the first of a three-tiered national competition … Local winners then compete against other winners within their regions in one of 14 District competitions. District winners are then forwarded to the National ADDY Awards competition.” The ADDY awards are also a host to really impressive entries from college-level students for the student competition at the ADDYs.

As you will see in the photos below, the theme this year was Mad Men and this is also a testament to how well dressed Lansing folk are. Many thanks to the wonderful folks at MMCA for putting on such a fun event. I was awestruck by some of the student work. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible design talent in our city.

Way to be creative Lansing!

The wonderful Kat Cooper was the master of ceremonies at this year's ADDYs.

The wonderful Kat Cooper was the master of ceremonies at this year’s ADDYs.

The programs waiting for the guests

The programs waiting for the guests

This man is always wearing nice hats.

This man is always wearing nice hats.

Drinks

L 186IMG_0997

Mad Man

:)

Ken

Starfarm: A Lansing Staple for a Decade

In most of life’s venues, dressing up in solid-color Adidas jump suits, donning a pair of cheesy sunglasses and rocking out to 80s music is completely unacceptable behavior. Unless, of course, you’re actually in the 80s.

But you’re not.

You’re in the 10s… or something like that.

Starfarm at their most serious.

If you’re in central Michigan, however, there is one caveat to the rule. You could just be enjoying one of the region’s most popular tickets, Starfarm. Decked out in fabulously hideous clothing from a period in style most would rather be forgotten, the musical group performs the hits that won’t ever be. I myself have been known to hit the dance floor while screaming the chorus of many a Journey song expertly rendered by the local group.

For more than a decade, the core group of instrumentalists has built quite the following in mid-Michigan. Dana Mirate (drums), Sean Mirate (keyboards), Ryan Tarrant (bass) and “Slammin’ Danny” (guitar) have been together since 2001. And though the role of lead singer has had its instabilities, the group has hit solid ground through the vibrant vocals of Whitney Spotts for the past three years.

Having been members of the Lansing community for so long – all currently live in the greater Lansing area and most have been residents for more than 10 years – Starfarm has seen many changes in the city throughout the years.

If you ask Dana Mirate about the changes in the music scene specifically, he’ll quickly launch into a comparison of the past decade to the early 90s when he first arrived in East Lansing. As a music major at MSU, Dana was involved in the music scene from the word go.

“Everywhere you went, there were a lot of bars and clubs where you could play,” he recalls. “More people were writing original music and you could actually play that at bars. You could be an all-original band and play just one cover.”

Dana from Starfarm, who was gracious enough to sit and chat before a show at The Green Door.

Ryan Tarrant, though, is quick to point out that most all of Starfarm’s members still work on original music on the side, writing and recording songs. They just lament the loss of many quality establishments willing to push original bands.

But if you are looking for some original acts, they suggest checking out Mac’s Bar on East Michigan Avenue. They also identify The Green Door, Rick’s American Café, Lou & Harry’s Sports Bar, Dublin Square, Harper’s and The Exchange as decent places to catch live music in the area. Both agree that none of those, however, have a good house sound system or a good sound technician that really knows the space and how to make a band sounds good.

Which is why Dana makes me promise to mention Starfarm’s sound guy, John Miller, who is, “worth his weight in gold.”

For them, it’s something that Lansing is still in need of, even though they see a lot of positive changes happening downtown.

“The downtown has gone through a lot of changes,” says Ryan. “There didn’t used to be anything down there just six or seven years ago. When the Capital closed down, when the state workers weren’t there, they just rolled up the sidewalks and every single thing was closed. But now you can go down there and there are cool places to eat, there’s a lot of different bars to go to and you can get a lot of different vibes. “

Ryan of Starfarm fame, who was also nice enough to sit and chat before a show. And also nice enough to get me a beer.

“I like it,” adds Dana.

Take, for example, the outdoor Octoberfest music festival that downtown bars banded together to put on last Fall. Starfarm was ready to rock out Washington Street in a giant block party, if only Mother Nature had cooperated. The skies would not stop pouring rain and the temperatures dropped, making it unlikely to pull off the show.

“It was a shame,” says Dana. “It could have been very cool.”

One event that they did manage to pull off this year, however, was a rocking 80s party fundraiser for REACH Art Studio Center, put on by the Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine. You may remember hearing about it from our own Anika Fassia, who attended with some friends who came to town from Chicago to see what Lansing was all about.

“They go all-out decorating it,” Dana says, noting that it was the second time Starfarm had played the fundraiser and that they already had been booked for next year. “It’s top notch. I’d recommend it. It includes food, all these great party favors, candy from the 80s. You mingle with some pretty important people and, I think it’s cool.”

“And it’s fun,” chimes in Ryan, repeating the mantra of this very blog. “There’s a lot of really cool people, a lot of young professionals, who want to come out and have a good time for a charity.”

After talking to the pair for some time, it becomes obvious that, yes, Lansing has a long way to go. It’s tough to make a living as a musician in the area, getting paid little to nothing for years of tuition, practice and investments into equipment. Working a day job while being gone every single weekend performing is difficult, especially for those in the band with kids.

But there is still plenty to celebrate and use as a springboard into the future.

Starfarm at their finest.

“There’s some great stuff that you can see for free even sometimes like at the Wharton Center,” agrees Ryan.

“I remember once when Branford Marsalis was at the Creole Gallery down here and they just went out and did a show,” continues Ryan. “One of the top jazz musicians in the entire country just kind of on the down-low went in and did a show. You’re just walking down the street and you’re like, ‘Is that Marsalis playing here? That’s pretty cool’”

“Rodney Whitaker teaches jazz at MSU and is one of the most sought after bass players for jazz,” says Dana, chiming in. “And he brings in these cats. He brings in Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis. And that’s here. You won’t see that in Iowa. You’ll see it in Chicago, but you’ll pay a lot of money.

“I’ll tell you right now, every city you go to sucks to the people who are there all the time. There’s a level of suckiness in every single city; but it’s what you make of it. It’s about the community and the effort you put into it.”

Pam

Banff Mountain Film Festival

This past Thursday, April 12th, 2012 was the evening chosen for, hands down, my favorite event of the year. Started in Banff, Canada, one of the most pristine (and most visited) landscapes in the world, home of Canada’s oldest national park, is a film festival. However, this is not your ordinary film festival. Combine Banff National Park, National Geographic, and the North Face along with film makers and the most extreme non-traditional athletes of the world, and you have the most stunning visuals and unpredictable action you have ever seen or experienced. It is truly an experience.

Located in Alberta, Canada, the Banff Centre receives approximately 300 film applicants per year. Top films are chosen, and shown to approximately 75,000 audience members at the Centre. Then the film festival goes on a World Tour, in 30 + countries, reaching 280,000 people. Michigan State University Outdoors Club sponsored a viewing on campus, for a 3 hour showing. MSU chose the films, with each film length varying, some up to 45 minutes long, but most approximately 15. Last year one clip was only a few minutes.

The films are breathtaking, and the action has you at the edge of your seat. The trailer (which I watched about 4 times prior to the show) is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHDGv1RR2v4 It includes a few ads, but I feel they do an excellent job of incorporating the incredible natural footage we want to see and then the ad or the plug to the company and gear.

Continue reading

Khalid

A perfect weekend at CCFF

Captial City Film Festival logo

Last weekend the two of us (Khalid and Shannon) jam packed our schedules with Capital City Film Fest fun, and for anyone who says there is nothing to do in Lansing, well, I call your bluff! We took advantage of the $50 festival pass deal and were able to come in and out of various films, parties, and shows for the festival’s four day entirety. There was so much to do this year that we had to carve out unique paths through the weekend festivities to make the most of all CCFF.

I went to see a bunch of the films and as you may have read in my previous post, I was especially anticipating the series of films directed by women. – Shannon

For me, the film festival was more of a music festival. I came out of the CCFF weekend with wonderful concert memories and new musical crushes.  – Khalid

 

This is how we spent our weekend….

Continue reading