Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along premiers

Rob Bliss & Jeff Barrett, creators of the fantastic Grand Rapids lip dub video premiered their Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along at halftime of the Lions game on Sunday. It was filmed in 50 Michigan cities in 7 days. It’s a pretty cool travelogue of the Great Lakes State in under 4 minutes.

Check out the finished video below and also don’t miss the behind the scenes blog from PureMichigan.org.

The Daily Michigan: Massage at SolSpring

Today on The Daily Michigan we’re giving away relaxation, in the form of a 50 minute Massage at SolSpring.

SolSpring in Kalamazoo is a spa and wellness center that offers massage therapy, spa services, acupuncture, chiropractic care and naturopathy. They seek to provide a sanctuary where education, passion and experience serve one purpose – improved wellbeing.

Click here to sign up

Taste of Kalamazoo Festival ~ July 21-23

taste-of-kalamazooEvery year, on the fourth weekend of July, thousands of hungry festival-goers flock to downtown Kalamazoo to enjoy the endless variety of foods prepared by Kalamazoo’s most popular eateries at the Taste of Kalamazoo Festival.

More than 30 local restaurants and chefs will offer mouth-watering ethnic items, family favorites, exotic dishes, and local specialties. Enjoy almost 200 items ranging from savory offerings like crab rangoon, shrimp etouffee, sushi and sashimi, prime rib, sunset scampi, beef satay, coconut shrimp, chicken curry and jambalya to desserts including bananas foster, tiramisu, strawberry shortcake, baklava, cannoli, and turtle torte. Vegetarians aren’t left wanting either and there are a wide variety of beer, wine and other alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy.

There’s also live music from bands including the Macpodz, Matt Giraud and Edgar Winter along with all kinds of family fun including ice sculpting, grill-offs and the Greatest Kazoo Duck Race!

Our giveaway includes 2 free entry passes and $10 in tasting tickets and all it takes to enter it (and all our other giveaways) is to be on our email list – use the box below!

Absolute Michigan will not share your email address with anyone. Period. Your inbox is safe with us. What we will share with you is a periodic but usually no more than weekly update, possibly including a special offer, potentially a prize or giveaway and definitely some great news about what is working and fun to do in the Great state called Michigan that we love!

Kalamazoo Water Festival ~ August 14, 2010

Kalamazoo Water FestivalThe Kalamazoo Water Festival happens this Saturday (August 14) at the Arcadia Creek Festival Site in Kalamazoo. While the festival has been planned for months, it’s especially poignant this year as the Kalamazoo River watershed is reeling under the largest oil spill in Michigan history. Hopefully this event and this festival will drive home the importance of protecting Michigan’s precious water resources.

The Water Festival is a rotating festival that takes place in every season in locations across Michigan, bringing together great music and the people and organizations that are standing up to protect Michigan’s water. From 12-6 the festival offers FREE admission and great opportunities to hear speakers on important topics, talk with over a dozen organizations who are working every day to restore and protect
our water resources, meet the animals of Michigan’s wetlands and hear some great music.

The evening concert is just $7 and funds the next Water Festival and Kalamazoo River Watershed Council programs. It features the starred acts below along with wine from Fenn Valley Vineyard and Wine Cellar and several beers from the Great Lakes region for purchase after 6 PM.

Music Lineup

Here’s the Facebook event page for the water festival and the Kalamazoo Water Festival Facebook Group! We’ll let the Red Sea Pedestrians take you out…

Michigan seeks to use Land Banks for redevelopment

Abandoned Richardsonian Romanesque House in Detroit ( Former James Scott Mansion ) by Derek Farr
Abandoned Richardsonian Romanesque House in Detroit
( Former James Scott Mansion )
by Derek Farr

Michigan has 29 land bank authorities – more than any state. The Detroit News reports that Michigan is going to try to use these land banks to spur redevelopment and garner nearly $300 million:

With the federal money expected to come in January, cities such as Detroit and counties such as Oakland are starting land bank agencies for the first time. The state filed for the Housing and Urban Development funding through a coalition that includes 12 city governments and eight counties. It’s a national competition, and the overall fund totals $1.9 billion. Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Saginaw and Wyandotte also would be targeted for revitalization.

The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority would provide land bank services in Detroit; Oakland County, including Pontiac; and Kent County, including Grand Rapids, until local land banks are ready to take over.

Under the plan, the Michigan land banks aim to buy and redevelop more than 6,000 foreclosed, abandoned and vacant properties. The land banks also envision razing 2,500 structures and rehabilitating or building 1,500 homes.

There’s also an effort to encourage urban gardeners to develop empty city lots and allow homeowners to buy inexpensive vacant lots next to their property. “We expect (Detroit’s land bank) to be the most aggressive developer in the city,” said Douglas Diggs, interim director of the city’s land bank office.

Good news for Michigan cities! Check out the Abandoned slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool for some likely suspects for the money!

Michigan Good Food Tour: Fair Food Matters in Kalamazoo

beets450 by CreateWithKim
beets450 by CreateWithKim

The Michigan Land Use Institute’s Patty Cantrell is reporting on how communities across Michigan building stronger communities with healthy, local food in the Good Food Tour. The latest, Kalamazoo: Oh, the Webs They Weave!, begins:

The rise of Kalamazoo’s strong Good Food movement is a story about people—and about how one good thing often leads to another when those people are passionately committed to a local food economy—and communicating with each other.

For many in this region, the Good Food movement revolves around a non-profit called Fair Food Matters. FFM hosts the Eat Local, Kalamazoo! group, which sponsors events throughout the year to connect local people and local foods. FFM also puts on the Fair Food Film Festival and operates projects like the Can-Do Kitchen, summer chefs classes for kids, and learning gardens, like the Roots of Knowledge garden at Woodward Elementary School, in nearby Portage.

Read on for much more about good, local food in Kalamazoo & Southwest Michigan and also check out Fair Food Matters.

Electric Blues: Remembering Les Paul

“Les Paul brought six strings to electricity and electricity to six strings. Les Paul was an innovator, a groundbreaker, a risk taker, a mentor and a friend. Try to imagine what we’d be doing if he hadn’t come along and changed the world. There will always be more Les to come. That’s certified.”
~ Billy Gibbons, one of many to praise Paul

Electric Blues by Rudy Malmquist
Electric Blues by Rudy Malmquist

Les Paul, designer of the Gibson Les Paul and an incredibly influential musician, passed away Friday at the age of 94.

Wikipedia says that in addition to collaborting on the the guitar that bore his name, Paul is credited with recording innovations including overdubbing, tape delay, phasing effects, and multitrack recording. The “Wizard of Waukesha” was also one of the most influential guitarists ever, developing licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing that set him apart from his contemporaries and have carried through to the modern day.

There’s so much more to be said. Start with:Les Paul by Thomas Faivre-Duboz Paris, France

Photo: Les Paul by Thomas Faivre-Duboz Paris, France

100 Hours of Astronomy

100 hours of AstronomyThe 100 Hours of Astronomy project (100HA) is a worldwide event with a wide range of public outreach activities including live webcasts, observing events and more taking place during a 100-hour period in early April. One of the key goals of 100HA is to have as many people as possible look through a telescope as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago.

The Kalamazoo Astronomical Society will co-sponsor simultaneous 100HA events on both April 3rd and 4th with the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Kingman Museum of Battle Creek as part of the International Astronomical Union’s “100 Hours of Astronomy” celebration by inviting the public to take a closer look at what’s up there — way, way, way up there. This event takes place just when the Moon goes from First Quarter to Waxing Gibbous, good phases for early evening observing. Saturn will be the other highlight of early evening observing events.

Using much more sophisticated and technical equipment than Galileo had in 1609, society members and museum staff will point their telescopes to provide views of the moon, the vast plains called Maria, chains of mountains and craters. Further east, the planet Saturn will come into focus, revealing the rings that remained a mystery to Galileo.

Eric Schreur, the museum’s planetarium coordinator, said the free stargazing will begin at 8 p.m. on both that Friday and Saturday, and continue until people’s eyes grow tired of the celestial sights.

The concept of “100 Hours of Astronomy” is derived from the fact that, beginning on the evening of April 2, backyard stargazers around the world will set up their telescopes to give public audiences the chance to look up close and personal skyward.

As the earth turns into its shadow, observers in different cities will keep a continuous watch on the night sky until four days have elapsed. Major observatories around the world will participate by streaming webcasts to audiences in distant cities.

Throughout the four-day period, somewhere around the earth a telescope will be aimed into the night sky.

Another IYA goal is to have millions of people viewing the night sky through telescopes of their own.

Some people have telescopes buried in a closet or garage. The Telescope Amnesty Program invites people to bring them to IYA events, including those at the museum, where experienced stargazers can demonstrate how to set them up, or tune them for better performance.

Windmill School in Kalamazoo

windmill (sepia) by idiot_girl
windmill (sepia) by idiot_girl

In Training Turbine Installers: A Michigan First, the blog Got2BeGreen tipped us off to:

A school in southwest Michigan called Kalamazoo Valley Community College is launching a first-of-its-kind program to train people to install wind turbines. If you want to get one of those green jobs that Van Jones and the others keep talking about, you might want to sign up.

…the KVCC Wind Turbine Technician Academy program is set to begin in October. It will run for 26 weeks, be based on a European certification standard and train people in the installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of commercial-scale turbines, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.

From the Gazette’s article:

There is a similar program to it in Alberta, Canada, but when this program launches in October through KVCC’s Michigan Technical Education Center, it will be the only one like it in the United States, said Jim DeHaven, vice president for economic and business development for KVCC.

“People are going to be coming from all over the country to get into this class because the waiting list is so long in Alberta,” DeHaven said.

“It’s going to put us on the national and international map,” he said.

The article also notes that KVCC will be offering a program starting this summer to teach people to service commercial-grade wind turbines and Got2BeGreen called out a similar program that Delta College in Bay County is working on.

The 49ers were after gold but it looks like the 09ers will be after wind!

Michigan celebrates the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial

Abraham LincolnThis year is the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth (Feb. 12, 2009) and the Michigan Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Committee is working to help the people of Michigan to appreciate how Lincoln’s life relates to the lives of Michiganians today.

You can click over to see events & exhibits in Michigan relating to Abraham Lincoln, including the cool ” This Week in the Life of Lincoln” feature and an essay contest. Check out a video of Lincoln’s only Michigan appearance, on August 27, 1865 at a rally for the first-ever Republican presidential candidate, Charles C. Fremont, in Kalamazoo: