Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life, right? Well what if that love extends a little past the average work day and kind of permeates your every day existence? What if it's something that moves your soul and has been a part of your life since you were a kid? Such is the case with Steve Salter of Whitehall. He got the itch for music as a kid listening to WTRU and as he grew along came the era of the "British Invasion"....except he did something most people didn't even think to do as a music fan.....he asked "Who's this?"
"Who's this?" was the question posed when Steve saw the names next to the songs on the records. The writers, the artists who inspired and influenced The Beatles, The Stones, Herman's Hermits, The Small Faces and more. After all, those bands spent a LOT of time listening to music over across the Atlantic and were all heavily influenced by the American blues while here in the states, we were being serenaded by The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons, The Dixie Cups and more. "Jolly Old England" came calling with a much grittier and raw sound all based on the American blues and changed the face of music forever...and those who wrote that blues sound got their first exposure to a fairly unknown audience.
Today, the blues has a much bigger following and even a borderline "subculture" of fans who are loyal to their kind of music. But much like entertainers of stage and screen way back when, those founding fathers of the blues often worked for next to nothing, had little or no way of doing anything more than assuring they had enough to make it to the next town for the next gig. Retirement? Forget that. It was a hardscrabble life for entertainers who would have long been forgotten had their work not been recorded. The sad part is, some of these artists went on to have so little, there wasn't even money to provide a proper burial. Even Motzart was buried in a paupers grave.
As Steve followed his blues dreams, along the way, he plotted some side trips to visit the grave sites of some of his favorite artists. He was just shocked to find that some of these legendary artists who's music will be heard for eternity had no remembrance of them where they were laid to rest. A very hurtful end to a tough life spent in spreading joy to others. So, he took matters into his own hands. In 2009 the 501c3 was formed to help this project and to date, 100 graves that were unmarked have been given a headstone to commemorate these legends and not let them fade in memory any further. Pictured to the right, are all of the artists who's graves have received a headstone from The Killer Blues Headstone Project.
It's been a giveback for Steve and I sat down with him to talk a little more about it. Take a listen.
Is it preservation of history? Is it thanks for a liftime of music? Is it a chance to assure that those who gave so much to so many won't be forgotten? It's kind of all of the above. Add in a sincere dose of passion, and fair enough.... a reason to take a road trip once in a while and you've got the Killer Blues Headstone Project. It was a great treat to talk to Steve today to learn more about what he's doing and why. If you'd like to know more, or maybe help out a little, click on the link below to visit his website.
A while ago, we introduced you to local artist and gamer Jerry Maxwell. Jerry is a photographer, and he also loves to work in miniature and design some pretty remarkable things in his humble home in Muskegon Heights. Jerry "went rogue" for a little while and we kind of lost touch. Actually, Jerry had some life events pop up like we all do and just needed to take care of things at home....so he did.
Well, in his "down time", he decided to go a little bigger on what he's up to. He's worked to make more than just a corner of his house a studio. When we first met Jerry, he had an ideal little spot but he wanted to grow...so...he went big!
Jerry will continue to be Jerry. We'll continue to pick up his adventures and share them with you. There is a level of joy found in Jerry for the things he does that we can all learn from. He's detailed in his art. He's unassuming in his approach and he's one of the kind of guys Muskekegon should be famous for. Here's a tour of Jerry's new studio on Adventures With Jerry on The Muskegon Channel.
Through out the summer, The Frauenthal Center held several history tour inside the theater. It's a tour where people can get on the stage, backstage to the "green room" and up close and personal with the mighty Barton Organ. Did you know that Frauenthal Center, originally Michigan Theater, was built in 1930s with the idea of a Spanish castle in mind? And that it was designed by architect C. Howard Crane, the same architect that is responsible for the Fox Theater and the Detroit Olympia? Obviously, it would be the best to be there physically and see it for yourself. But if you haven't been able to make it to any of the tours, don't worry, we got you covered right here on Muskegonchannel.com
Video - Frauenthal Center History and Tour
2018 Derek Wong / The Muskegon Channel
Yes, there is still snow on the ground, but there is no proof that it's some kind of James Bond super villain that's in charge of controlling the weather, so lets go with the assumption that it's going to warm up and we're going to be enjoying everything fun about the movies in West Michigan that we know and love...including being one of the last bastions of hope when it comes to the timeless classic of having a drive in! More on the drive in in a moment, but let's talk about some cult classics first.
A while back, we introduced you to The Denton County Play House, they "shadowbox" The Rocky Horror Picture show and their cast travels the state. Well, in Muskegon, they have a new home and it's the Plaza 1&2 on Henry Street! If you've been part of the phenom of the Rocky Horror Picture Show since "back in the day" you know you're in for a raunchy good time, and if it's your first time giving it a try...well, find a sitter and join the fun Saturday at 10:30!
Now, on the the Getty Drive In! It's opening weekend!! Double features at all showings! The nostalgia of the drive in, the fun of packing the family in the car and bundling up, maybe even getting to go to the movies in your jammies if you're a kid....doesn't get much better. This year, you'll find some new amenities at the Getty 4. The theater is now on with the rest of the Celebration Cinema family as far as rewards and online tickets. They are also launching a new express entrance for those who do purchase their tickets in advance, but that might take a week or two to perfect, so please, be patient if you head to opening weekend with tickets in hand.
Then there are the movies! It's going to be a great season with a little something for everyone. Comedy, action, super hero's, suspense and even Han Solo gets his turn in the spotlight!
Tom Bitson is the manager of The Plaza 1&2 and he's also "The Guy" when it comes to movies in Muskegon. We sat down to talk all things coming up in the near future of fun, take a listen!
It's going to be a busy summer! So much to do and see and as far as the movies go and as we've talked in the past, Celebration Cinema puts so much into the experience. The seating, the sound, the 3-D, the D-BOX, the concessions....the immersion into another world for a short while and a chance to escape it all at the movies! For tickets, shows and show times to all the Celebration Cinema theaters, click on the logo below!
Louie Anderson. A name long familiar with stand up comedy, movies, television and books is bringing his show for one night only to the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon on March 9th!
For 40 years now, beginning with an early discovery with Henny Youngman which led to an invitation from Johnny Carson and then on to the national platform with HBO Specials, Comedy Central, appearances in movies like "Coming to America" "Ferris Beuller's Day Off" Louie Anderson has found ways to continue his remarkable career not only as a stand up comic, but to extend that audience into all different age groups. His animated series "Life With Louie" based on his own childhood is a multi award winning show, his books are best sellers including "Dear Dad - Letters From an Adult Child" and "Goodbye Jumbo - Hello Cruel World" and he's still making television shows..touring and keeping things to his Midwestern roots.
Always with a note of innocence and warmth in his act, Louie has remained fresh and relevant over a long time by sticking to being himself..never forced into something he wasn't. His reflections on being part of a large family, being a little imperfect in the day to day of life, and working toward making himself better while sharing the thoughts and struggles with others through laughter have been one of Louie's strong suits. He's done everything from voice acting to game show hosting and at the end of the day, touring is still his favorite part of the gig.
Andy O'Riley had a chance to sit down and talk with Louie today. You can take a listen to some of Louie's thoughts on his career and why he thinks the longevity is there. What he's going coming around the corner, some of the things he didn't do along the way....including one HUGE movie that didn't work out due to scheduling...(huge moment...and you'll say you'll agree...Louie would have been perfect) and what we can expect in Muskegon March 9th. Also...does Louie drop a hint about a MAJOR sequel or reboot? Take a listen.
How's that for cool! Don't miss the show! We get one night with legendary comedian Louie Anderson at the Frauenthal Center. Friday March 9th. There are still great seats available and you can get yours by clicking on the photo below or, stop in to the Frauenthal Center Box Office and grab some! We'll plan on seeing you March 9th for Louie Anderson in Muskegon at the Frauenthal Center.
It was a one time occurrence. It was an almost unheard of happening to get so many giants of their industry into one room and it's only happened a handful of times since, and it could be argued that it was never "topped" because of the people that came together one time at a studio in Memphis in 1956. The People? Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. The studio? Sun Records. The instigator? Sam Phillips. If you know anything about rock history....you are intrigued now.
Well, that one session was not supposed to be recorded. Even back then there were things like record contracts and lawyers, but.. Sam Phillips did manage to hit record and the one time all four power house players were in the studio together, was captured in time. Even I have "Down By The Riverside" on my Ipod because it was such a monumental coming together. How do you NOT have that around?
Today, the memory lives on in a rock musical coming to the Frauenthal Center March 3rd. It's appropriately called "The Million Dollar Quartet". The performers actually play their real instruments....they are actually the singers....they are in character and as the show builds to it's electrifying ending...the lives of Johnny, Carl, Elvis and Jerry are shared leading right up to the moment they all started jamming out that December night in Memphis!
I had a chance to site down and talk with "Elvis" himself... Daniel Durston plays Elvis in the show. Daniel is a pretty well established touring musician with some time in musical theater, some singing and song writing credits of his own...which by the way....are really good... check out Daniel Durstononline. We talked a little about his background, what got him into musical theater and what to expect from this awesome night coming up at the Frauenthal. Take a listen to our chat below!
It's a great show for the entire family and to think we get one night with it in Muskegon....it's a can't miss! If you were a fan from way back or, you'd like to take the kids out to show them how it's really done without the "autotune" and all of today's modern techno mumbo jumbo they listen to....don't miss the show! Our many thanks to the Frauenthal for the the hand setting up the interview and their great sponsorship of our work, as well as Daniel Dunston for taking a few minutes out of his day to talk about the show and his career! Click on the link below and get your tickets while you can!
The dog days of summer are nearly over and as back to school looms for many. You might be sitting there wondering what can be done on a budget, close enough to home that would be fun for the whole family, or maybe a group of friends. Well, a short drive to Saugatuck is all it will take and when you get there, you'll be able to step back in time and enjoy a really great cruise on a vintage fiberglass boat for an hour and a half from Retro Boat Rentals!
The idea came to life as Lauren Stanton and her boyfriend John were hammering out what to do with their "spare time". Lauren is of course the morning news anchor at WZZM and John works for Airgas, so as you can imagine, there's plenty of "spare time". But like most..when there's a dream involved, the time is found and the passion can come to life. As they kept eyeing an old building in Saugatuck which was primarily used to gut fish, the idea come to be that it might be cool to find some vintage boats and rent them out! Thus...the birth of Retro Boat Rentals and The Old Boat House which you'll find right on the first turn as you head down Water Street in Saugatuck.
The boats are remarkably charming. They are clean, restored and best of all, what looks like a classic engine.. it's actually a shell encasing a silent, eco friendly electric motor that will provide you a very relaxing site seeing cruise on the Kalamazoo River and out to Lake Michigan. The boats too, are all named. You'll find "Stella" and "Jane" along with "Dottie" and "Ruby" and a host of other boats currently under restoration in The Old Boat House awaiting their grand debut.
I hopped in the car and headed south to see Lauren and turn the tables on her some. In my career, I have found no one more willing to help me on things, no bigger advocate for Muskegon and in all honesty there are not many with a kinder heart than Lauren....so without further adieu....
I have to admit, it's been YEARS since I have been to Saugatuck. The last time I was there, all I really remember about it was getting stung in the eyelid by a bee that wanted the cotton candy I had. Your first thought might be "that was probably last week" but I think I was more along the lines of 7 or 8. It's remarkably charming, it's a beautiful setting and I wish I had more time to have seen more, but fear not.... Mrs. O got one look at this and is not planning a trip so we'll be back soon.
It's my sincere wish to Lauren and John that their business is a hit for years to come and that the people that take them up on the chance for a spin in a Retro Boat enjoy the scenic beauty as well as the relaxing atmosphere provided. What a fun day to be had and what a great way to wrap up the summer! For more, click on the image below to visit the Retro Boat Rentals website and reserve your ride!
I will be the first to admit....I don't get it. I don't understand the Rocky Horror Picture Show, I don't think I have ever seen it in it's entirety and that's beside the point. I do know that there are generations of fans who LOVE the experience and all that comes with the Rocky Horror Picture Show and that many people can't be wrong. So, I was intrigued enough when the invite came from Kevin Kilbry of The Denton High Drama Club reached out to see if we'd take a few minutes to talk about the upcoming production of the classic at the Harbor Cinema's located in Lakeside in Muskegon on August 19th.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show first hit screens in 1975 and to quote Wikipedia "The story centers on a young engaged couple whose car breaks down in the rain near a castle where they seek a telephone to call for help. The castle is occupied by strangers in elaborate costumes celebrating an annual convention. They discover the head of the house is Frank N. Furter, an apparent mad scientist who actually is an alien transvestite who creates a living muscle man in his laboratory. The couple is seduced separately by the mad scientist and eventually released by the servants who take control."
Critics first panned the film for the most part, but over time, fans began to interact with the film at the midnight showings and dressing up like the characters in the film. They act out what's on the screen, thus the "shadowcast" experience and if you can believe it or not, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is still in limited release and after 4 decades, it's the longest running movie in film history. Amazing!
All the history aside, we're here to talk about something fun to do in Muskegon and starting on August 19th at Harbor Cinemas you have the chance to relive the fun, or experience it for the first time. Kevin Kilbry joined me in the lobby to tell me a little more about it, take a listen.
First time or the next time...which ever you are seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show head in with an open mind, be ready to laugh and help support the actors of The Denton High Drama Club. We're proud to help shine a light on things happening in Muskegon and if you could use a night out with some laughs check it out. You can find a link to Facebook event page below!
It's a coveted prize. The Celebrated Service Award is offered by Celebration Cinema in the markets they have theaters in and annually, so of the best of the best in the area bide for the prize. This year, in Muskegon the spotlight is on the Getty Street Grill for their dedication to excellent food, customer service beyond compare and a team of employees who truly understand that a nice meal out is so much more than the food. A trip into the Getty Street Grill is like being served by family and it's evident in a hurry why on weekends you usually find a line out the door to get in there and enjoy a great breakfast or lunch.
We've covered the award winners in the past between Positively Muskegon and now the Muskegon Channel, but this year we thought it might be a good idea to get the word out that the "tagging" season is beginning and that Celebration Cinema Employees are going to be out on the street...soon...looking for that awesome experience to hand someone the tag, which just happens to be a movie ticket too, and get them in the running for the award!
It's an extension of Celebration Cinema's mission to provide the best experience possible from the minute you walk into the theater, till the end of the credits and you're back out the door. Striving to make your entertainment better every time you enter. Well, there are other business in the area who share the same values and strengths, so Celebration Cinema chooses to highlight them for their dedication. If you've been to Cinema Carousel or The Plaza 1 and 2 lately, you've seen the promotion for Getty Street Grill. Did you know that that clip runs before every movie...at both theaters for a year? Think of the promotion and value they get for just getting it right. It's priceless in it's reach and truly a great way to honor a local business.
How do you get nominated? Well, be on your "A Game" all the time. Celebration Cinema employees are all armed with a "tag" that they can pass along to a business they are in that exceeds expectations, once tagged you're in the hunt to become a finalist and the public vote begins. Thomas Bitson of Celebration Cinema joined me at Cinema Carousel to talk about the nomination process that's opening right now. Take a listen to how it works and how you can be part of the excitement of the nominations and awards.
If you run a small business like Getty Street Grill or maybe you've got a little bit bigger of an operation, now's the time to get with the staff and polish up your customer serivce skills. The crew from Celebration Cinema is out on the street looking for those who provide Celebrated Service and next year, it might very well be you up on the big screen showing the rest of the world how to get it right and provide the level of service that's deserving of an award of such magnitude! To learn more, you can click on the Celebrated Service Award logo below! Good Luck!
Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane in London is an address you may be familiar with. Sure, maybe not quite as familiar as an address like 1600 Pennsylvania Ave or 10 Downing Street, but you might just stop and think... "I've heard that address somewhere..." Well, think back a few years to times that were a little more innocent, and you may have had a favorite story or movie...getting warmer? Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane is where the world famous nanny Mary Poppins flew into back in 1934 if you're a fan of the book and in 1964 Disney got a hold of the story and turned it into a timeless movie that has been shared by generations ever since. It's a staple of story telling and a great family friendly production. You've got the opportunity to be part of the magic once again as the Muskegon Civic Theater presents Mary Poppins opening May 4th at the Frauenthal Center in Downtown Muskegon.
It's huge cast of 35 performers and 16 musicians that are putting on this incredible performance. They have been working for months to rehearse, choreograph, sing and act. In fact, Mary Poppins if the largest production ever put on by the Muskegon Civic Theater. Opening night is only a few days away, and if you have not been to the Frauenthal Center lately, this is the perfect occasion to get the family together and enjoy a show in Muskegon and support the Muskegon Civic Theater who has been keeping the performing arts alive since 1985. Not only with the productions they put on, but they also offer a performing arts school, theater camps, and internships for those who are looking for some experience in theater.
As the final touches get put on the set, and the curtain sets to rise... I was able to catch up with some of the primary folks that are helping make this amazing show come to life in Downtown Muskegon. Teri Gust is the Executive Director of the Muskegon Civic Theater, Jason Bertoia is directing the performance and Philip David DeYoung is the musical director. I had a chance to join them on the stage at the Frauenthal to talk about this great production....and we might even have a walk on cameo by one of the illustrious stars of the show... talk a listen below.
Folks, like I made mention of in the video there. Performing Arts are essential for young minds. So often today kids are immersed in digital media like games, social media, television and more. There are some advantages to a little more digital savvy, but things like imagination and inspiration need to be fueled too and what better way to do that than an evening of live theater? Real people on stage....real musicians playing right before their eyes, people flying away on umbrella's in the case of Mary Poppins....all amazing things for young minds to see and older minds to marvel at as well. Make sure you head down to the Frauenthal Center and enjoy a performance of Mary Poppins. You can find the link for tickets in the photo below!
The Muskegon Channel is pleased to introduce you to our newest member of the show. James Saville. James is what you would call a beer connoisseur, and amazing computer guru and an all around great guy. Now, since it's been a few months since Andy has had a sip of beer, we needed to hunt down someone who's been plugged into the craft beer scene since day 1. James had to be the choice!
James job is a tough one. He'll be going around to different breweries and tasting rooms to not only sample the goods, but he's going to meet with the people who actually came up with the recipe, got to work making it and finally that sample at the end of the discussion. It's a fun way to find out just how much goes into a craft beer from conception to consumption.
We'll be featuring Muskegon area breweries...but we've also got a designated driver, so plan to watch as James Saville and The Muskegon Channel expand the reach a little and show you places where you can find some great tastes, great atmospheres, and great people!
The first stop - Unruly Brewing on Western Avenue in Downtown Muskegon. Eric Hoffman is the guest. You'll find out about a couple beers, some history on Unruly and some of the upcoming things to do revolving around beer this Summer in Muskegon. Take a listen!
In as much fun as beer is, we ask only 1 thing. Please....never drink and drive!
That's how it goes! How about that for a great first effort? Stay tuned! There will be more from James and more from the Muskegon Channel! We have a new story to tell! Thanks so much to James and Eric for helping to tell it. For a visit to Unruly's website, click on the logo below.
If you're of a certain age, you probably remember packing everything and everyone you can into the car with blankets, kids were probably in their pajamas and mom and dad waiting for mother nature to dim the lights at sunset to get the show rolling at the drive in theater! The little speaker hanging from the window....the sounds of kids running around on the playground....that hut....right in the middle of it all showing movies in every direction on massive screens...that somehow become invisible once it's dark out. The night air settles in the show gets underway and with any luck.. the kids are asleep in the back before the second feature starts.
Yes, it was once common place for a drive in theater to be in any town. As time has worn on tho, they are fewer and far between. In Muskegon however, that tradition continues on and the chance to be part of the fun outdoors is still there for hundreds who show up every week from near and far to enjoy a night out at the Getty 4 Drive In in Muskegon. There have been some rumblings in the past about our drive in, but those have long settled and Celebration Cinema has enjoyed a resurgence of the audience for the shows!
The Getty 4 has adapted to the changes in technology too! That old speaker that you took a chance on working or not, well, it's still there but the sound is also delivered on an FM signal that you can listen to on your car stereo, or a pair of headphones! (Never thought of the headphone idea till just now).
As the lead photo says, April 14th is the opening night of the Getty 4 in Muskegon. I was able to catch up with Thomas Bitson from Celebration Cinema to talk about opening night, the first features that will be shown and how much West Michigan loves the nostalgic feeling of the "good old days" at the drive in. Take a listen to our talk below!
A great time for anyone and a really great experience to share with your kids. I think back...far as I can and can distinctly remember the movies I saw at a drive in. "The Apple Dumpling Gang" "Every Which Way But Loose" and in as much as I can't remember the feature I was taken to....I remember watching "Stripes" out the back window of the car I was in...talk about contraband for an 11 year old at the time. Plan a night out this summer at the Getty 4 Drive in in Muskegon. Bring the kids, bring some friends and neighbors and let them make the memories you hold so dear. The hot summer nights are not far off in Muskegon. We'd love to have you out for a night you won't find anywhere else for miles and miles! For more details on the Getty 4 and Celebration Cinema, click on their logo below!