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Metro Times: Sue Summers of Static Records
Label owner and promoter puts out top notch music. Oh, and she also saves local cats.
By Brett Callwood
Published: March 11, 2014
Photo by Peter Schorn
Sue Summers was already a face in the local punk scene when she started her first label, Chaos, in the ’80s. That label morphed into Static Network and Records, which sees Summers promoting shows on top of putting out quality music. She’s played a big part in making the Erotic Poetry & Music Festival a success, and she hosts shows at the Corktown Tavern throughout the year, including the much-loved Todd’s Reunion. Oh, and she also saves a ton of local cats. Is there anything that Sue Static cannot do?
Metro Times: When did you start Static Records?
Sue Summers: My brother Joe and I (he’s the guitarist in Son of Sam), we grew up in the early ’80s punk and hardcore scenes over at the Freezer Theatre, and the Clubhouse. I was inspired by the whole DIY ethic that was around at the time. Touch n’ Go Records had just started and were releasing records, and I decided that was the route to go. After that, I was into the club scene over at Todd’s, and I had a store there called Chaos. We sold vintage clothes, custom made leather jackets, jewelry and what-not. I also started promoting bands there, and carrying their vinyl (as it was at the time). From there, I started to do shows in the late ’80s. I started at Finney’s Pub [on Woodward in Detroit], and from there I went to Alvin’s and then the Foundry, and then after that 313.Jac/Jacoby’s with Stirling. We ran that for 12 years. Now, I’m doing shows at the Corktown Tavern.
MT: Is Static more of a promo company than a label right now?
Summers: It’s both. The full name is Static Network and Records. We’re focusing more on the promotions end of things right now, doing all the publicity and promoting shows. But the label is still there. We have 29 releases out since we stated as Chaos back in 1991. I had a run in with Sony. We had to change the name, but I was able to prove that they got the name from me for their offshoot label. I was able to get some funds so I was able to start and maintain a label for all these years. That was nice. 29 releases later, and we’re still going.
MT: You don’t put out a huge amount of records – is it just something that you do when a band strikes you as worthy?
Summers: Yes, pretty much. I generally do something when I have it in the budget to work with somebody. The last record we did was actually a release by the Buck Brothers, a band from London. That was my first non-Detroit band. I saw them in Toronto at a conference and really liked them. …
… MT: What release are you most proud of so far?
Summers: That would be the Iggy Pop tribute compilation, Pop O.D. That was just a labor of love, and everything on there blew my mind.
MT: It is a very interesting album – they’re not obvious covers…
Summers: Absolutely, that’s what I was going for. I wanted a mix between experimentation and the tried and true covers. It worked out nicely.
MT: Is it still tough in this day and age for a woman in the music industry? One would hope not…
Summers: Not so much anymore. I guess I never looked at it that way. I just loved music and did it, so it’s never affected me. …
… MT: Do you have any more shows coming up that we should know about?
Summers: I do big charity shows each year – I do the [Halloween] Big ’80s Flashback Bash, the Home for the Holidays Songwriting Showcase and Charity Drive, the Summer Fest Songwriting Showcase, obviously the Erotic Poetry & Music Festival that just passed, and the Todd’s Reunion. Each one of them, a portion of the proceeds benefits a people or animal charity. I like that people can go there and discover some new bands, and also become aware of these community groups that are trying to help others. …
… MT: Excellent. Anything to add?
Summers: I have a Facebook page at HaterKitty.com. That’s what I do when I’m not doing music. I take care of cats in the neighborhood, and that’s my page dedicated to them. I’ve been doing that for years now. We re-home them, feed them, all of that.
MT: How many cats do you have in your house right now?
My BFF is a Goddess.
Lushes LaMoan performing during the 25th Erotic Poetry & Music Festival
The Erotic Poetry Fest comes to the Tangent
By Brett Callwood
February 11, 2014
On Saturday, Feb. 22, the Tangent Gallery will host the 27th Erotic Poetry and Music Festival, tagged “an eclectic celebration of the erotic arts.” A zany lineup of clowns, dancers, musicians and, yes, poets will come together to perform and, in the process, titillate.
“It’s an experience,” says poet Dena Luckett. “While the Dirty Show is more about the visuals, this is an auditory experience.”
Luckett joins a lineup of poets that includes Jimmy Doom, Lianna T., Michele Lundgren, Veronica Frick, and Scott Boman. There will also be performances by Satori Circus, the Detroit Dizzy Dames Burlesque starring Lushes LaMoan, Audra Kubat, Stephanie Loveless, Margaret DollRod, Anastasia Gold, Olive Jus and Tara Lazaroff.
“I’m a voyeur,” Luckett says. “I like to watch people and sometimes I’ll write about the people in the room, on the spot. I like to make people see what I’m trying to get them to think.”
Artist Tara Lazaroff says that she will actually be performing three songs at the event, as well as displaying a few pieces of art. “This is my fourth year here,” Lazaroff says. “It’s at the Tangent Gallery, a larger venue than it has been at in the past, so we might see more art.”
Lazaroff says that the secret to good erotica is “being a little mysterious. I like writing with double entendres, keeping it interesting. See if you can interpret something a couple of different ways.” …
The 27th Erotic Poetry and Music Festival takes place at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Tangent Gallery; 715 E. Milwaukee [near Woodward and The Boulevard], Detroit; 313-873-2955; $10
NB: This article has several of Dena Luckett’s way cool poems too, also.
See you there, fellow Detroiters!
27 January 2014 Last updated at 19:43 ET
Frost fair: When an elephant walked on the frozen River Thames
By Tom de Castella BBC News Magazine
It is 200 years ago since the last “frost fair” - an impromptu festival on a frozen Thames, complete with dancing, skittles and temporary pubs. Could such hedonism be repeated today?
Londoners stood on the Thames eating gingerbread and sipping gin. The party on the frozen river had begun on 1 February and would carry on for another four days.
The ice was thick enough to support printing presses churning out souvenirs. Oxen were roasted in front of roaring fires, drink was liberally taken and dances were held. An elephant was marched across the river alongside Blackfriars Bridge.
It was February 1814. George III was on the throne, Lord Liverpool was prime minister and the Napoleonic wars would soon be won.
People didn’t know it then but this “frost fair” - a cross between a Christmas market, circus and illegal rave - would be the last. In the 200 years that have elapsed since, the Thames has never frozen solid enough for such hedonism to be repeated.
But between 1309 and 1814, the Thames froze at least 23 times and on five of these occasions -1683-4, 1716, 1739-40, 1789 and 1814 - the ice was thick enough to hold a fair. …
… When King Arthur started knighting the cyberpunks, I knew I was witnessing the greatest counter-culture medley the world has ever known.
Throughout my time at Stonehenge I had met hippies, Norse gods, ancient kings, bygone warriors, conspiracy theorists, senile Druids, schizophrenics, witches, wizards, demons, hackers, viking families, trance-heads, and even a guy who thought he was a squirrel in human form. Is atheism passé for the left now? Is it time to define a new spirituality for ourselves—one that dances over the line of true belief and metaphor? What if we agreed to harness this prediction and let the proclaimers be right for once? The world may not have ended, but with Obama’s re-election it isn’t hard to see this as a shift in consciousness. And even if that doesn’t really mean anything, we may as well act like it does.
For those who don’t know or who think this is the Mexican Halloween, it’s not. I may be pale, but I have a blood heredity to the tradition. The Apache have a similar tradition as do a few other indigenous American tribes. Many South American countries other than Mexico also have a similar tradition. It is a time of giving to our dead, celebrating the lives they led, and if we are lucky they will come to visit. The calavera (skull) paintings you see either on people or sugar skulls and in art are not a costume.
Calaveras de Azúcar - Festival Cultural del Alfeñique - Toluca, Edo. Mexico
The one on the right’s my all-time favorite calavera de azúcar - so far, that is. I found some great ones this year.
Continuing with the Day of The Dead activities, the following day after visiting Tultepec, we went to Coyoacán. An old town absorbed by the city and now a n¡eighborhood, it’s always pretty during this festivity. Lots of people and many of them dressed like skeletons and Catrinas. A mega offering is placed at the square’s main fountain.
Like every year, the Popular Culture Museum displays an exposition of offering from various parts of the country. There is a lot of handcraft and traditional candies and dead’s bread. …
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