Lansingites. It’s been awhile, no? This Lansing lover has been mad busy this Fall. As we all know from previous posts, I am what some friends refer to as a “nomadic twenty-something”, always looking for my next place in life; and this Fall it has taken me from downtown Lansing to the east side. That’s right, after fourteen months of calling downtown “home”, I decided to make another move. This time, to a beautiful house on the east side with two housemates.
Moving to a new location has led to many revelations for me, but the biggest being the realization that neighborhoods can offer a sense of community that can make the greater Lansing community not only a safer place for us all, but a happier place as well.
Let me go back a bit and refer to a NPR story I heard a few months ago on the Averill Woods Neighborhood Association. This Association was featured on the “What’s Working” segment of the NPR radio show, in which “Michigan Radio has been spotlighting people and organizations that are trying to improve life in Michigan.” Continue reading
Last year a group of Lansing residents, local officials and graffiti artists took a decapitated motel and turned it into one of the coolest attractions in town. Deluxe Inn was a motel in REO Town and was planned for demolition in late summer. Until that fast approaching demolition deadline the motel was an eyesore for hundreds of people who drove by it everyday. Deluxe Inn was located at the gateway from Downtown Lansing into REO Town and was an ill-representation for what REO Town has to offer.
In order to turn this abandoned building around, local organizers invited some of the best graffiti artists from all over the US and a few artists from abroad. With the seemingly omnipresent hissing of spray cans, the motel’s blank walls were converted into a giant piece of art. A once abandoned building became a major attraction. Local residents went there for picnics, photographers took models there to take advantage of the ambiance and others pulled in right from the highway to see all the art.
When the time came to demolish the building, I wasn’t alone in feeling a huge sense of loss. Seemingly overnight we were to lose a beautiful display of art. The demolition was inevitable and eventually the building became a flat piece of land.
In celebration of Hip Hop week and graffiti, the REACH studio art center has organized an event to display the works of Tom Sheerin, a local artist that has created new art on 3D wood and metal sculptures. Pieces from last years graffiti project will be installed on 3D metal sculptures along REO Town’s commercial corridor on Washington Sq. “The materials used go hand in hand with REO Town. It has a rich history in industry and by recycling and reusing materials it is acknowledging that history,” Sheerin said.
There are many contagions in the world that people are afraid of catching. People spend hundreds of dollars buying supplies in order to avoid catching the Ebola virus, SARS, or the Bird Flu. They may have even been the only people smart enough to convert all of their cash into gold and fill their bathtubs with water in order to avoid the catastrophe that was Y2K when all of the world’s computers became sentient and attacked the human race. If you don’t remember that happening, you are either under 10 years old or the computers have wiped your memory. I only hope that I can warn you that you live in the Matrix before they get to me.
Most of these contagions are overblown media extravaganzas. The level of threat that the average person faces is infinitesimally small. Not that they shouldn’t be taken seriously, but you and I should not avoid eating chicken (unless you are a vegetarian/vegan) because we are worried about getting influenza of the bird variety. You can safely ignore 99% of all contagions in the news.
However…there is a contagion that is spreading throughout Lansing. It is one that is affecting a large portion of the population, and is flying under the radar. You can find some newspaper reports about it, but by and large the situation is rapidly spreading out of control. I don’t want to spread alarm, but I think that the Lansing area is soon going to be completely swallowed by it. It’s going to be worse than the impending Zombie apocalypse. Our only chance is to embrace the contagion, and hope for the best.
What has me so worried, you ask? What is it that you have to prepare your family for?
Are you sitting down? You should be, because what I’m about to tell you is disconcerting, to say the least.
A few weeks back, I walked to the Hope Borbas branch of the Capital Area District Library, only to find that it was closed because a car had crashed into it. It is difficult to fully explain how much this upset me. As a near daily journey for me, the library has become an important part of my life. I, admittedly, am unemployed and find it difficult to fill my day as easily as when I was working. I find myself getting bored much easier, and I seem to have fewer chores to complete. The big difference of course being that everything I used as distractions or for pleasure when I was working, are now the only thing that fill my day. And there are only so many video games to be played and rooms to be cleaned. And I don’t like the way my wife looks at me when I am talking to the cats as if they are people.
So I find myself reading a lot more. Continue reading
Many of the men of the Lansing Collective have beards. Khalid has a beard. I have a beard. And oh boy does Buckler have a beard.
John Buckler is one of the founders of an organization based here in Lansing called The Great American Fierce Beard Organization, or GAFBO. As people who know me and how much I love my beard may guess at this point, I am a proud GAFBO Member.
What is GAFBO? Well, we’re a beard club, but as John puts it:
[GAFBO] isn’t just for beards, but for lovers of facial hair. When I write for GAFBO, I generally use the terms facial hair and beard interchangeably. I have a beard, GAFBO has the word beard in it, but we aren’t just for beards. Which reminds me, we need to get some moustaches in our group. But not hipsters with ironic mustaches. Mustaches, yes. Hipsters, yes. Irony, yes. But hipsters with ironic mustaches…no.
But what does GAFBO do? Obviously it is having beards that ties us all together. Even simply loving facial hair is enough – just ask one of our female members. That said we try to have GAFBO be something more than just an excuse for us to celebrate our facial hair.