PPNA Happenings

Happenings, history and news of the Prospect Park Neighborhood and Ypsilanti

Archive for December, 2007

Scotty Karate — Ypsilanti’s Best Musician

Posted by ppna on December 28, 2007

Scotty KarateIt must be 6 or 7 years since I first saw Scotty Karate at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti. That nights event might have changed my life forever. It was a big show night when Scotty Karate opened for Bob Log III, Scotty had his TeePee on stage and was backed by JoJo Buns (now a hairstylist if you can believe it). After that show I found out that Scotty and JoJo played happy hour sets every Friday at the Elbow and I probably only missed a few.

Scotty has been sticking with the music but hasn’t been noticed commercially for his fantastic talent even though he has been featured often in local publications. Dark Horse Brewery even created a Scotty Karate Scotch Ale on his behalf. If you are lucky enough you might even spot Scotty as the special date on an episode of Elimidate.

Scotty often plays as a one man band but also appears with his group Scotch Bonnet. If you see him with a band or by himself Scotty Karate shows are shows you shouldn’t miss. I mention this because Scotty will be playing TCs Speakeasy this Saturday Night. Make sure you pick up some T-shirts, CDs, CDRs, Over-alls or whatever else he might be selling when you see him at the show.

If you miss the show pick up Scotty merchandise below:
Get to CD Baby To pick up a full CD or head to Musicshere to buy Scotty Music for your MP3 player.

Videos on the Web.

Year of the Tranny
Eliza’s Over Check the related links at this video site for more videos.

Of course you can search YouTube for Scotty Too.


Posted in Kurt's Rants, Who's Who in Ypsilanti | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

New Years Eve Jubilee ect.

Posted by ppna on December 28, 2007

2007/2008 New Years Eve Jubilee celebration in Ypsilanti will mark the 16th year for the event. In the past it has been a great way for families to get out of the house together on a night that is known more for its adult activities than for family fun. This year promises to be just as much fun although the number of acts and venues has declined.

For other New Years Eve Fun:
*please visit the venues for specific details — I’m only a messenger of what I hear and am not fact-checking.

Frenchies which is the overflow portion of Sidetrack Bar and Grill is having a 70s and 80s themed New Year Celebration. There is no cover charge for this event but you are asked to show up in 70s or 80s styles.

The Corner Brewery This New Year’s Eve Corner Brewery is throwing a Beer Bash that you will not want to miss!! There will be live music by the Third Coast Kings, and a special Rat Pad will be tapped just before midnight to toast the New Year with. Best of all your favoite beer is on Happy Hour til midnight. The festivities start at 8pm and go til 1am. No Cover.

The Elbow Room: New Years Eve – FREE SHOW! – Suburban Sprawl Music Presents: Elbow Room 1 Year of Andy, Drunken, No-Pants Anniversary Party – Friendly Foes w/ Pop Project, Child Bite and DJ sets by The Revolutionary Politics of a Dance Party till 4am

TCs Speakeasy — NEW YEAR’S EVE BASH! bands: THE DISREGARDED wsg/ Chill Will & guest TBA 18 and over welcome Cover is $5/ $10

I’m sure there are more things happening but this is what I’ve got.

Kurt A.

Posted in Ypsilanti General | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Riverside Arts Center

Posted by ppna on December 26, 2007

Riverside Arts Center

Here in Ypsilanti we have The Riverside Arts Center a very nice building owned by Ypsilanti’s Downtown development authority. To me the Riverside Arts Center is another representation of a lack of representation. It is because we live in a city where the majority of the citizens, and city council members for that matter, don’t know what is going on that this project exists. The goal of the Riverside Arts Center is a “multi-purpose cultural arts venue providing performance, exhibit, studio, office and reception space for artists and arts and cultural organizations to enrich the Ypsilanti community through the arts and cultural experiences.” It’s a valuable goal but do we need to spend millions to reach it?

It seems to me that the Riverside Arts Center has become the venue of a few select amateur theater companies at the expense of the residents. I could be entirely wrong about this but when you learn that they want to spend 6 to 7 hundred-thousand dollars to put an elevator in the building it makes you wonder what we are doing as a community. These funds will come from grants which were supposed to be used for the Water Street Project but were transfered to the Riverside Arts Center. Keep in mind that every dollar of a grant is somebody’s tax dollar. A while back there was a great discussion of this on Mark Maynard’s site and I suggest you read through that.

This post was originally intended to be a historical piece on Quirk’s Ypsilanti Players but I was sidetracked when I wanted to mention the RAC as the modern theater in town. Ypsilanti is a town where theater should be cheap or free. If you want to bring theater to people put it in the park.

Ypsi Play

Posted in Kurt's Rants | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Police Dogs and Tasers

Posted by ppna on December 26, 2007

Last night I had a dream about getting tasered by the Ypsilanti Police Department because I asked them not to taser somebody else. I’m not sure what the dream meant but I don’t like the idea of Tasers. I was happy to read that our own Councilman Brian Robb had the proposal for the city to buy tasers tabled until the Police Chief presented a use policy to the council. The City Council will revisit the taser issue on January 17th when the Police Chief should have his proposal ready. Steve Pierce has posted a video of one of the informational seminars the Police Chief held to answer community questions. The close to $50,000 cost for the tasers is said to be coming from a $25,000 grant with the remainder paid out of the drug forfeiture fund.

Earlier this year the city police department used it’s drug forfeiture fund to purchase a police dog “Buky” (Pronounced Boo-key) so watch out bad guys the police are coming at you.

Posted in Kurt's Rants, Ypsilanti General | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Elbow Room’s Free Music

Posted by ppna on December 25, 2007

Ypsilanti Elbow Room

If you’re like me you have probably been scared to enter the Elbow Room at one time or another. It may seem scary from the outside but I can tell you that the patrons and staff are pretty nice folk and the atmosphere can become incredibly entertaining.

If you have a favorite local band the odds that they have played the Elbow Room are probably pretty high. The Elbow Room now gives us the opportunity to download the bands we love or listen to bands we’ve never heard. They are posting past performances here. I would suggest watching the video for ‘Captured By Robots.’

Support these MP3s by showing up and listening to the music live.

Posted in Kurt's Rants | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Cannon in Prospect Park

Posted by ppna on December 25, 2007

Prospect Park CannonSister Cannons at Ft McClary

The site History of Fort McClary states that this 10-inch Seacoast Parrott rifle was sent to Ypsilanti in 1892 from Fort McClary in Maine. I have the date of 1902 in my notes. I’m going to have to check with the Ypsilanti Historical Society to find out more information. I’ve lost my original notes on the Cannon but I believe I read it took a special act of Congress for us to get the Cannon but this was done because of Ypsilanti’s help in the Civil War. Don’t worry I’ll get the truth.

I received this email as a reponse to an inquiry to the canon/gun/rifle

Based on your photo, the gun was made in 1865 at either Watertown
Arsenal, Mass., or West Point Foundry, New York.  It's hard to tell
from the markings.  Serial number looks to be #1.  I'll have to ask
around for sure.  It was a 10-inch rifled gun (the rifling sleeve is
still visible in the throat).  Very powerful gun for the day.   I was
not aware of the gun numbers for the Parrott guns used in Kittery (I
assume it is the same gun that was once in Maine), and it's good to see
one of the guns still exists and wasn't caught up in the 1940s scrap
metal drives.  Give me a week or two to find my files and I'll get back
to you.  To answer one question, it was never fired in anger, only
practice shots (at least while it was used in Maine).

As a side note: In 1976 Mrs. Clarke’s 6th grade class from Adams Elementary buried a time capsule alongside the cannon. The capsule contained items donated by the class. What is in the capsule and exactly where it is is not known. We do know, from an Ypsilanti Press article from the time, that it is buried close to the cannon and about 3 or 4 feet down.

Posted in Ypsilanti History | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Blog as a research tool

Posted by ppna on December 25, 2007

After only a week of using this Blog I’ve determined it is a great research tool.  Posts about subjects are likely to change as I find more information on subjects.   I also plan on linking my research and the ‘Timeline Page’ so that will act as an index of the blog itself.   I’ll also link to the source materials to make it easier for those interested to read the full histories of events and people.

If you have any information to add on a post or a correction in data please post it.   Please let me know your source material even if it is just, “I heard from a guy who heard from a guy that used to live here.”


Kurt A

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Make sure you visit the “Pages”

Posted by ppna on December 25, 2007

I just want to make sure that those of you that are reading this blog click on the ‘tabs.’ and read the pages. I’ve posted a pretty complete Ypsilanti Time-line and will continue to add items as I go through my notes.

I also want to remind you to keep up the blogs that are linked to in the ‘blogroll’ I’ll probably comment on things I find interesting in those blogs but don’t count on my judgment-look at them yourself.

Also keep in mind that you can find posts by category.

Kurt A.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Justus McKinstry — The Man behind ‘Pork Barrel Politics’

Posted by ppna on December 24, 2007

Justus McKinstryJustus McKinstry’s Grave
Ypsilanti was home to a lot of interesting people during their lives but there are also some people whose stay in Ypsilanti Came after their death Justus McKinstry is one of them. Justus McKinstry was U.S. Army Quartermaster at St. Louis during the short but lively Fremont era (July-November 1861), McKinstry was arrested by military authorities in November of 1861 and dismissed from the army by President Lincoln in January of 1863. It was said that McKinstry used his position as quartermaster to better his own situation with bribes and payoffs but history it seems has cleared him of these charges.

There is a lot of information on Justus McKinstry probably the best being the website civilwarstlouis.com which the following quote was taken ….. “And then there was the literal pork barrel. A letter from President Lincoln sweetly suggesting that a fellow Illinoisan was a fine fellow, a loyal Unionist, and that McKinstry should buy as much pork from him as he could. ”

Justus was such a character that there is a book, Rouge, dedicated to his military career.

Take some time and read up on Justus then visit him at Highland Cemetery.

Posted in Buried at Highland, Famous Ypsilantians | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Memory of the Ypsilanti Boys Club

Posted by ppna on December 23, 2007

The Following is an excerpt from my brothers’ paper, ‘Memories of an Ypsilanti Childhood.’ The time period for this memory is sometime in the mid 70s.

Gilbert House / Boys Club

When Eric and Robert were in the 4th or 5th grade, Mom went back to work. She was no longer able to greet them as they came home from school, so it was decided that they should join the Boy’s Club. The Boy’s Club was located on Grove road, just across the street from the Bennett twins’ house, only a short walk (about ½ mile) from school. It was located in one of the scariest looking mansions one could imagine – the Gilbert House. The Gilbert house looked exactly like a haunted house. It was a dilapidated, white, three story house with a mansard roof, in much need of repair. At one time, it must have rivaled the best houses in Ypsilanti. By the time the Boy’s Club moved in, it was one rotten step away from condemnation. The house was three stories tall with an attic and a basement. The Boy’s Club offered all kinds of great activities for 10 year-old-boys like Robert and Eric. In the basement was a large wood shop. As they recall, there was plenty of free wood and adult supervision to use the power tools. They remember, vividly, the smell of sawdust upon opening the door to the basement. They must have made many projects, but they don’t remember specifically what many of them were, nor do they recall ever having them displayed around the house. The only project they distinctly remember building was a boat that had a paddle that spun around on a rubber band.

The attic was home to a great slot car track that was only opened on the weekend for races. The track was large and had many overpasses and underpasses. The cars that were used on the track were rather large slot cars. Robert and Eric would watch mesmerized, as they would race around the track lap after lap. They must have shared their enthusiasm with their parents, because one Christmas or birthday, they bought them each a new slot car (with banana colored yellow controllers, as they recall). Unfortunately, the cars were smaller than the ones that normally raced on the track, so when they took them to the track, they were outsized and overpowered, and were very difficult to control.

The main activity at the Boy’s Club was playing pool on the many pool tables. As they mentioned, the Boy’s Club was located in a mansion with many different rooms. Each room had a pool table and a pop machine. They remember that it was at the Boy’s Club that they fell in love with Faygo red pop. The kids did not have pop in the house as a kid, but Mom would give them a quarter to buy a pop to enjoy at the Boy’s Club. They became very skilled at pool. They remember that there was a young black hustler named Stewart whom they played with a lot. Stewart was a legend at bumper pool and Robert and Eric once witnessed him “running the table” to win a game (he sunk five straight balls at the beginning of the game by banking them all off of the wall and into the pocket at the other end of the table). They would spend hours playing bumper pool, 8 ball, 9 ball, and rotation (still the only pool games that they know).

One year (while they were in 2nd or 3rd grade, but before they regularly visited the Boy’s Club on their own), they were members of a basketball league at the Boy’s Club. Eric was on the Trail Blazers and Robert was on the Golden State Warriors. All they remember from that league was wearing a shirt that was so long on them that it was like a dress, and never scoring a basket. They even wore the shirts to school to play in games right after school. Robert and Eric also learned how to shoot BB guns in the basement of the Boy’s Club in events known as “Turkey Shoots.” They got pretty good at shooting and may have even won some contests.

Robert and Eric stopped going to the Boy’s Club around the time that the city built a new building to replace the aging (and probably condemned!) Gilbert House. The new building was built next door and was an ugly green box-shaped building with no windows. It had no charm at all. Half of the fun of the old building was to explore new rooms in the house. They could almost always find a free room, complete with pool table and pop machine. The new building was so open that it completely lost its mystique. Shortly after they stopped going (around 8th grade or so), the Ypsilanti Boy’s Club made national news. They had organized a trip to drive to Disney World and drove a school bus down. On the way down, the bus driver fell asleep in Georgia and ran off the road, killing three people. They remember seeing it reported on the national news that evening. In fact, the Ypsilanti Press published a rare 2nd edition of the paper that covered the event. They knew that one of their friends, Jesse Hunt, was on that bus so they were worried. It turns out that he was not injured. When he got back, he came over to their house and they remember distinctly asking, “What Happened?” His response was, “We got in an accident.” They replied, “We know that, but what happened to you?” It turns out that Jesse was riding in the back of the bus and when it landed on its side, he actually broke out the window with his bare hands (he was a big kid!).

Robert and Eric have many fond memories of the Boy’s Club. Sometime around 1990, they restored the Gilbert House and turned it into condos. Robert and Eric are glad that there are still people able to explore the old mansion as they did when they were kids. They might even still be playing pool in the same rooms that they once did!

Posted in EandR Memories | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »