“I’m a get up in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom.”
Robert Johnson, “I Believe I'll Dust My Broom”
Funky Mojo Daddy, featuring Kenny Kinsey of Kinsey Report and the dynamic Nick Byrd, played at IUN’s midday Thrill of the Grill. They did funky renditions of blues classics, such as “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” (recorded by Robert Johnson in 1936 and a 1951 Rhythm and Blues hit by Elmore James), with long, improvisational instrumental detours. Angie, James, and Becca joined me for grilled burgers and hot dogs, as did Chris and Myriam Young and daughter Marianna, who is in Ryan Shelton’s basketball camp. Ryan stopped by our table and conversed with Marianna, who was initially shy but then found her voice after Ryan said she was one of his star participants. This is Ryan’s sixth year running the camp, and from his interaction with Marianna it was obvious he has a great rapport with the hundred kids. Some of Ryan’s players help out. Marianna has a photo of the Lady Redhawks in her room, along with one of Patrick Kane. She, like her dad, plays ice hockey.
above, Marianna Young; below, Maurice Yancy
On my advice Archives intern Maurice Yancy took in the music at the library courtyard, and Mojo Daddy did not disappoint. At the Taste of Chicago Blue Bunny exhibit Yancy posed holding a giant spoon and with an IUN bag at his side in what appears to be a huge container of ice cream.
Producer Omar Farag, responsible for booking Mojo Daddy, said Chad Clifford of Crawpuppies would be performing in a month or so. He told me Mojo Daddy would be playing with reggae legend Jimmy Cliff at Festival of the Lakes at Wolf Lake in Hammond and he offered me VIP passes to see Blues Traveler and Sugar Ray there on Friday.
Since I started following high school sports during the 1970s, NWI Times writer Al Hamnik has been entertaining readers with far-out comparisons. Concerning Carmelo Anthony’s flirtation with the Bulls prior to re-signing with New York, Hamnik claimed the Knicks star “can score points faster than you can ring up a Kid’s meal at The Golden Arches.”
NWI Times columnist Marc Chase reported that convicted felon Roosevelt Powell, who served two years for conspiring to defraud Lake County of nearly $60,000 in a real estate scheme, won a $1.4 million judgment against the county for fees he earned recovering delinquent taxes. Even though the treasurer’s office has 37 employees and an annual budget of $1.8 million, Chase points out that they pay out huge commissions to attorneys who do their work for them. This practice goes on in other county offices as well. Chase concluded: “Politically connected third-party consultants – not just tax collectors – are siphoning millions in county money every year for performing the work of a legion of county workers and elected officials already on the government payroll.” Instead of going after this type of “honest graft,” the U.S. Attorney concentrates on trivial cases like indicting county surveyor George Van Til, who asked an employee to pick up his tuxedo at the cleaners.
Joe D'Amico and Lisa Newhuis at Marquette Park; NWI Times photos by John Luke
The so-called summer Polar Vortex produced large whitecaps along the Lake Michigan shoreline as NWI Times photographer John Luke captured at Gary’s Marquette Park. They reminded me of Hawaii. In 1965 I body surfed at an isolated Oahu beach not realizing how powerful the waves were until violently knocked straight down. I escaped, sore and with a face full of sand. Similarly several Region residents and visitors drown each year from being caught in riptides on days like this.
Dolly and Naomi Miller, photo by Jeff Manes; Broadway Street construction crew, 1907 (CRA)
The Post-Trib website carried numerous photos of early Gary from the Calumet Regional Archives along with Jeff Manes’ interview of 94 year-old Dolly Millender. Dolly told about getting a Bicentennial grant to start the Gary Historical and Cultural Society (GHCS). Needing the approval of a skeptical City Council, during her presentation she decided to sing a song she wrote based on the Woody Guthrie tune called “Gary Was made for You and Me.” With her were IUN professors Fred Chary and Nick Kanellos. As she sang about the dozens of nationality groups that chose to settle in Gary, she recalled, “Fred’s little boys were beating away on sticks and Nic was playing the guitar. He could really play.” Dolly’s group met Sundays across from IUN at Jenny’s Café, owned by union leader Larry Regan, a GCHS board member. Dolly recalled: “If the Lithuanians were going to tell about their culture, Jenny would cook Lithuanian food.” And so on.
I gave away copies of Shavings, volume 42, with a photo of Corey Hagelberg’s “In the Garden” woodcut on the cover after he told me the piece was part of his Savannah Gallery show. I loved his recent work done with scraps of salvaged materials. Surprisingly, given that it’s summer, a large crowd was on hand, including family (Kate, Dick, and Cheryl Hagelberg), friends (one from as far away as Indianapolis), Fine and Performing Arts faculty (drawing instructor William Hafer brought his entire class), Millerites (Steve Spicer, Carolyn McCrady, among others), and Gallery Northwest regulars, including Chancellor Lowe. I talked quite a while with curator Gregg Hertslieb from Valpo U’s Brauer Museaum of Art, who bought several Shavings issues at IUN Bookstore. Coincidentally, Jerry Davich did a piece today about a show at Brauer featuring octogenarian Eleanor Lewis. Steve Spicer showed me a Selfie from last Friday’s Gardner Center event of him with Ron Cohen.
At Ken Carlson’s for a condo owners meeting I spotted Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his bookcase along with several books by David McCullough. I hadn’t known about Bonhoeffer until Pam Kosenka’s book club presentation in January.