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Saddle Up Saloon; Rodeo ta Radio!

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Congress of the Rough Writers, Carrot Ranch, @Charli_Mills

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“Hey Pal.”

“Hey Kid. Yer face is scrunched. Yer thinkin’.”

“Wund’rin. Wund’rin where Shorty’s at when she ain’t aroun’ the Saloon or the Ranch.”

“Shorty’s always aroun’, Kid. But when she ain’t she’s at World Headquarters as Charli Mills.”

“Puts me in mind a Clark Kent and Superman somehow.”

“She’s a super woman, alright Kid. An’ her superpower is story tellin’.”

“But why does World Headquarters have ta be way up there in the Keweenaw, Pal?”

“Mebbe all thet water is groundin’. Mebbe there’s all kinds a stories up there, pilin’ up like snow.”

“An’ mebbe there’s other artists an’ storytellers up there. Mebbe this here’s one of ‘em. Howdy Rebecca Glotfelty! Welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon.” 

“Hello Kid. Hello Pal.”

“Are you a storyteller Rebecca?”

“I sure am. I started out as a filmmaker and I wanted to help other people share their stories so I started a nonprofit called Real People Media – which has the mission to help people share their stories. And right now, we’re getting ready to open the Keweenaw Storytelling Center in downtown Calumet.”

 “A storytelling center!”

“Yep! A 7,800 square foot facility in which stories will be shared via the literary, visual, performing and media arts. We have an exhibit gallery, puppet theatre, 100 seat performance space and soon a throw back soda fountain. (It’s always fun to chew the fat around a soda fountain?)”

“Whoa. An’ right up there by Carrot Ranch’s World Headquarters. Mebbe the Keweenaw is the story tellin’ capital of the world!”

“Well, we hope to make it the capital of the Midwest at least. We provide exhibit opportunities for visual artists and performance opportunities for oral storytellers, singer-songwriters, and other performance artists.  One of our major programs is The Red Jacket Jamboree-— that’s an old-time radio variety show which shares, songs, stories, history and music from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

“Thet soun’s familiar Rebecca. Reckon we ranch hands been givin’ voice ta our stories at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community. I ain’t s’prised you an’ Charli Mills found one anuther up there.”

“I’m so happy that we did.  I had been following Carrot Ranch online for the past year and had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate in some way.  Last December I ran into Charli and several other local writers at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at a performance of Selected Shorts. I think it was a friend of Charli’s who handed me one of Charli’s essays about winter in the Keweenaw and I thought it would be perfect for The Red Jacket Jamboree Christmas episode that was coming up.”

“Whoa! So Charli Mills told a story as part a yer Red Jacket Jamboree radio program?”

“Yes, and another Carrot Rancher, Michelle Wright too. Last December we recorded two one-hour holiday episodes. Michelle shared her story during  ‘A Billie Holiday Holiday’ and Charli participated in ‘Christmas in the Keweenaw’. All our shows are recorded on stage in front of a live audience. These shows, which air this month on WNMU Public Radio 90, were recorded at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Michigan Tech University.”

“Cool.”

A Billie Holiday Holiday aired last Friday and Christmas in the Keweenaw, featuring Charli Mills, airs on the 20th. If you’re not located in the broadcast area, you’ll be able to live stream the show during the broadcast.

“We caught the Billie Holiday Holiday show! It was a lotta fun an’ we learned stuff too. Copper Country folks sure seem ta injoy the local hist’ry.”

“Yet they seem connected. Must be the stories… And Michelle did a great job, thought thet was a real fine story.”

“I’m glad you were able to do that Kid and Pal. For those that missed it, the Holiday show can still be heard. We’re sending the secret link to stream both these episodes over Christmas week to anyone who makes a minimum donation to Real People Media’s end of the year fundraiser.  $3 for two hours of fabulous entertainment. It’s a deal! Practically a steal.” 

“Dust off yer wallet, Pal, that’s all I want fer Christmas, ta hep out the Storytellin’ Center an’ ta listen ta some a our own share their stories with Rebecca.”

“Rebecca thet all soun’s like a lot a fun. What d’ya injoy the most ‘bout yer work with Real People Media ?”

“Oh, that’s a hard one. Because I’m super excited about opening the storytelling center to the public and helping to make Calumet a destination for the storytelling Arts. And I can’t wait to host storytellers from all over the country.”

“Pal, don’t that soun’ akin ta Charli Mills’ vision fer her Carrot Ranch Literary Community?”

“Yep, an’ ta the Roberts Street Writery. Beginnin’ ta see thet World Headquarters is takin’ root in fertile ground. Rebecca, this storytelling center soun’s great. We def’nitely wanna hep out Real People Media an’ their projects.”

“Thank you. More immediately, Real People Media just got a grant for The Voice Box Sessions. It’s an artist development series for young singer-songwriters and performance artists.  High School students work with professional artists to improve their performance skills. Every month we’ll be hosting a new singer-songwriter who will perform a set, share their experience as an artist and then for the next 45 minutes kids will take the stage. We’re creating a warm and welcoming environment for these young artists. So I’m really excited to bring this program to Calumet.”

“Thet’s awesome!” 

“But I have to say, Pal, working with the cast and performers on The Red Jacket Jamboree has been incredible. I love to collaborate and this show is all about collaboration. It’s a whirlwind performance. We have one rehearsal the day before the show, and then the dress rehearsal and then the performance.”

“Soun’s intense all right.”

“It’s a fun challenge, Kid.”

“What’s been yer greatest challenge since startin’ out?”

“Well, I started Real People Media ten years ago, so there’s been many challenges in that time. The biggest challenge continues to be raising funds to make it all possible. I’m the main fundraiser, although our board is now taking on more of that responsibility. But I’m the grant writer, the producer, the principle writer of the show, the marketing director, the janitor— you name it.”

“Whoa. What don’t ya do ‘roun’ there?”

“Remarkably, our incredible stage band kind of fell into place. Jerry Younce is our incredible guitarist and music director. He’s just incredible. He pulls the best out of everybody. And Bill Carrothers is one of the top jazz pianists in the world. And he lives in the U.P!! How lucky is that!! Harry South is a young bass player who lives in Negaunee and we rotate between different percussionists. All so talented. Actor Ralph Horvath has been with us since day one and I can’t imagine him not being a part of the show. Marty Achatz, Poet Laureate of the U.P. is the show’s co-host. His voice lends so much to the show. And then there’s host Lena Dorey— need I say more?”

“Soun’s like a great crew. Thinkin’ thet Keweenaw might be a artists vortex a some sort.”

“I get to work with great people, and in a beautiful place.”

“Reckon yer in a historical buildin’?”

“Oh yes. There’s been challenges with the building as well. But that’s another long story. Family Dollar said they would donate the old Woolworth’s building to us via email on Feb. 4, 2019; on March 7 of that year, ¼ of the roof collapsed. They said they would tear it down instead. We said, no donate it to us, and $70,000 to repair the roof. They said ok and that is what happened. We got the deed on July 17, 2019. We repaired the roof, tore up 15,000 square foot of flooring – sanded (one pass only) 7,800 square feet of wood floor, took down pegboard, put up drywall, etc.”

“Whooie, thet’s a lotta work, but what wunnerful programs!”

“The renovations are not complete but the center is operational (we recorded our last episode of the The Red Jacket Jamboree there end of September). It will be awhile before the theatre is walled in. For now we have a portable wall defining it.”

“Thet’s great yer in there though.”

“Yes, but due to the rise in COVID cases we are not open to the public and won’t be opening until the beginning of the new year. We just continue to have our window displays and shows on the radio at this point. Next up we’re opening an Exhibit called ‘Around the World in 80 Hats’.  We hope to livestream events from the Center early in 2021. But who knows. COVID makes planning difficult!”  

“It’s a horrible thing. We’re all in it t’gether.”

“Rebecca, we’re real glad ya took time outta yer busy schedule ta share with us. We’d love ta hear from ya agin, an’ git caught up.”

“Thank you Pal and Kid. Don’t forget, your audience can hear both Charli and Michelle telling their stories as a part of the Red Jacket Jamboree radio show. You can hear Charli through a live-streamed radio recording or a minimal donation gets you a link to these shows open December 23-27.”

“Thanks fer takin’ the stage Rebecca. It was great meetin’ ya an’ we wish ya well with all yer projects.”


WMNU Public Radio 90! CLICK HERE to listen to the live stream of the show.
An exciting episode which explores the life and struggles of Billie Holiday through tunes performed or inspired by the acclaimed African American jazz vocalist. 

The show weaves together musical performances, interviews, and radio theatre  which help to convey the African American experience as it relates to the Copper Country.  Host Lena Dorey and Martin Achatz interview archeologist Timothy Scarlett, of MTU and Lynette Webber of the Keweenaw National Historical Park to learn about an archeological dig in Calumet which unearthed clues about the town’s early African American immigrants.  The show also includes dynamic performances by Jennifer Barnett, the Copper Cats, and Younce Guitar Duo. Storyteller, Michelle Wright shares her story on how she found warmth in the middle of a Keweenaw winter.  That and so much more in this upbeat holiday show with just a touch of sass!
Not able to listen tonight?
We’re offering a link to both of these Christmas episodes (From Dec. 23- 27th) to everyone who makes the minimum donation ($3) to Real People Media’s end of the year fundraiser!  Merry Christmas!
Donate Now
There’s nothing like Christmas in the Keweenaw!  Michigan’s magical winter wonderland!   The episode features Jennifer Barnett and the Copper Cats performing some of our favorite holiday tunes including “Keweenaw Snow.”  
Local author Charli Mills share’s her recollections of her first winter after moving to the copper country. 

They’re looking for lyrics for their Karaoke program next week! Free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch, Pal & Kid now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon . Got something to share? Take the stage! If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact Pal & Kid via  shiftnshake@dslayton.com.


13 Comments

  1. Sounds like a fantastic partnership! Yeehaw!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is awesome! There is an old saying, “I saw it on the radio.” The Red Jacket Jamboree does that. I have now downloaded the app onto my phone and thanks to modern technology, I can listen anytime, anywhere.
    Kid and Pal, you have done it again! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jules says:

    As the snow falls… I ‘spect there’s already a bunch up there in the U.P. –
    What a great program for artists and storytellers!

    Thanks Rebecca for being a superhero for the Arts!
    Thanks Pal and Kid for another fine interview!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “That was easy! Guess what I jist done, Pal?”
    “Uh-oh. Whut?”
    “I clicked on that Donate Now button up there above the last poster an’ I got us a link ta listen ta the Red Jacket Jamboree!”
    “Thought we was gonna stream it live when they play it this Sunday?”
    “We are. But I cain’t tell ya how good it felt ta contribute ta a storytellin’ center that’s up near HQ. An’ now we kin listen over an’ over agin.”
    “Yeehaw! Good on ya, Kid.”

    Like

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