This is the space for our members to discuss and share their creative projects, ranging from written works to drawings, photography, and even craft projects such as knitting and woodworking. Self promotion is welcome (websites where we can view and/or purchase your work). Please do continue to preface if content is NSFW and be sure to properly spoiler/link such content.
For some years, the town next door (Ypsilanti, Michigan) has used every first Friday of the more clement months to hold an arts and music festival in the downtown areas. The great crisis has obviously made this tricky, but they’ve kept plugging away, the vitality of the local scene keeping things on the boil despite the pandemic and its challenges. Ypsilanti has been described as the Brooklyn to Ann Arbor’s Manhattan, a diamond in the rough enriched by its own traditions and (according to some) by the growing exodus of (increasingly white and middle-class) people priced out of the latter (and, to be sure, now seeing affordability issues of its own given the former). While I (a technically working-class service worker who’s managed to hold onto a place in the larger city despite the increasingly powerful urge to move) roll my eyes at the party line sometimes, there’s no question that there’s a different (and personally friendlier) vibe on Ypsi’s streets these days than there is in Ann Arbor.
With that in mind, I was able to make it down there Friday, for the second time in a week, to check out the goings-on. September’s First Friday had been declared “Festival of the Honeybee” and there were plenty of kid-friendly activities as well as the usual musical performances and gallery openings (a lot of drag shows this time). I’d decided to take the bus back instead of biking and so sternly warned myself not to dawdle too long, whether in gallery, performance space or bar. I did pretty well for the first hour, moseying through shows and galleries-cum-gift shops (the one I prioritized this time far more of the latter) before having a beer and a bit of a sketch in Depot Town and then heading back towards downtown and the bus station. Stopping in Ziggy’s, which has helped keep the indie music flame alive in Ypsi after a number of false starts and also-rans early last decade, I ran into a couple of different friends from separate spheres of my life, and within something like two minutes.
One was an old friend I’d made in the late-aughties heyday of the Ann Arbor music scene wherein my social life was constructed more or less out of whole cloth. He’d been the drummer for one of my favorite local bands and was definitely the guy therein to whom I’d grown closest. We caught up, talked a bit about our pandemic experiences and then the shaky starts that local music (which had been on shaky enough ground before the pandemic) was making to get back into fettle. I was then invited to sit down with my co-worker and a few of his friends, including a former co-worker and, as it turns out, the editor of the local spec fic mag in which an old story and a few pictures of mine had appeared the previous year. The latter came up in conversation, but the chat was pretty far-ranging, and I wound up staying a half-hour longer than intended (it would have been longer than that if I hadn’t had to work the next day, also the first home college football game of the season).
It was the first time I’d randomly run into people I knew at a bar since well before things went south and I’d forgotten what such a rush of community and energy could do to the creative faculties, especially given that these folks were creators themselves (my co-workers are actually in a metal band of some sort and I’ll be keeping my ears peeled soon despite my general apathy for metal). Between incidents such as these and the online meetups to which I’ve been going the past couple of months, it feels like a genuinely new normal is starting to surface despite the perils of the present moment.
How’s your work going?