Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Just Pickin‘ - The Hayloft...
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Just Pickin‘ - The Hayloft Offers an Open Mic with a Hootenanny Flavor

Robert Downes - March 18th, 2004
Open mics in Northern Michigan run the gamut from dismal to exuberant, with audiences to match, ranging from hostile drunks to acoustic aficionados.
One of the most promising open mic venues in the area, however, is one of the region‘s newest: Early this winter, The Hayloft outside Traverse City began hosting an acoustic open mic on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. that has attracted a wide range of solo players and group jams.
“It‘s been going really well -- we‘ve been thrilled with it,“ says veteran host Bill Dungjen. “We had a dozen guys up there picking bluegrass last week.“
Located about five miles west of Traverse City on M-72, The Hayloft has always been a destination for country/western music; but Dungjen‘s Thursday night show changes that dynamic, bringing a melange of blues, folk, bluegrass, old time string music and folk-rock players to the stage.
While Dungjen frequently plays bluegrass and western songs, he encourages diversity as a host and often gives newcomers an assist on guitar, bass or mandolin. “A good open mic has the spirit of ‘anything goes,‘“ he says. “If you‘ve got something to put out there, I‘ll amplify it.“
A resident of Cedar and an employee of Lakeshore Title in Benzie County, Dungjen,32, started playing guitar as a freshman in high school. Four years ago, he inherited the legendary acoustic open mic scene at the Cedar Tavern from Third Coast players Chris Skellenger and Pat Niemisto. That led to hosting another venue at Mackinaw Brewing in downtown TC.
Dungjen‘s present gig seems to be generating the most heat, however, and is beginning to gather an audience following as well as a flock of return musicians.
What makes a good open mic?
“I‘ve been to all of the open mics around the area and the thing I try to do with mine is avoiding that cliquey, in-crowd feel,“ he says. “I make sure that everyone feels welcome to play and encouraged to play.“
The result is often a group jam with half a dozen guitars on stage backing vocalists.
When he‘s not hosting the open mic, chances are you‘ll find Dungjen onstage with Susan Marie and the Cedar Valley Boys, a western band he shares with his wife Susan and brother Brian. The band‘s next performance is this Wednesday, St. Patricks Day, at Sleder‘s in TC at 5:30 p.m.

 
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