Issue 17

Issue 17 | 02.28.2019 | Holland, MI

Waves crash over the top of a lighthouse with a snow-covered beach in the foreground.
Photographer Joshua Nowicki captures St. Joe wind and waves on Feb. 24, 2019. See our interview with Nowicki next week!

  
Holland Weekly Feature Article: Michigan Congresswomen Call Out Racism in Cohen Hearing


Holland Weekly Art: Footsteps on the Moon: An Interview with Musical and Visual Artist Alex Perez

A corgie shepherd mix sits obediently.
Holland Weekly Local Tips: Adopt a Pupperz

A shot of what looks like minced egg salad.
Holland Weekly Recipe: Party Like It’s Portland Dip

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Holland Weekly Horoscope: Sylvia Reads The Stars


A forty-something Palestinian-American woman smiles confidently into the camera.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit). Twitter photo.
A silver-haired African American woman smiles confidently into the camera.
Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield). Twitter photo.

Michigan Congresswomen Call Out Racism in Cohen Hearing

By Kathleen Schenck
February 28, 2019

Leave it to Michiganders to tell it like it is.

Comments and questions during Wednesday’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee and the sitting president’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, followed party lines. The Republicans tried to paint Cohen as a self-serving jerk, while the Democrats tried to paint the president as a jerk who’s self-serving.

But in so doing, one Republican, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), employed an inherently flawed strategy to prove the president wasn’t racist, as Cohen had claimed in his opening statement. Meadows arranged to have an African American woman, HUD employee Lynne Patton, stand behind him while he stated, for the record, that since Patton worked for the president, the president could not possibly be racist.

Let the cringes begin.

The optics alone of having a white man with a seat at the table speak while a black woman stands silently behind him was and is disturbing. The fact that he was purportedly speaking on Patton’s behalf, telling her story about being raised by a father who was from Birmingham, Alabama, and about her being sure to never not ever work for a racist, was excruciating.

Enter Michigan congresswoman Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield). She began her allotted five minutes by stating, “I just want to put on the record as being a black American, and having endured the public comments of racism from the sitting president, as being a black person, I can only imagine what’s being said in private. And to prop up one member of our entire race of black people and say that that nullifies that is totally insulting. And in this environment of expecting a president to be inclusive, and to look at his administration speaks volume[s]. So I have some questions.” (Watch Rep. Lawrence on video from PBS News Hour.)

We the people have some questions, too. Like how in first-year writing classes at colleges across the land, professors teach students to avoid logical fallacies. Rep. Meadows must’ve missed that…semester? Or how his 2012 birther crusade against President Barack Obama (where he said send Obama back to “Kenya or wherever” ) could be seen as anything but racist.

Meadows’ political theatrics were in response to Cohen’s testimony earlier in the day. Cohen recalled that while driving through a poor neighborhood in Chicago, the president told Cohen “that only black people could live that way.” Cohen also stated that the president once remarked that “black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”

Imagine if Rep. Meadows had arranged to have a white woman stand behind him to prove the president wasn’t sexist. It would look ridiculous. And a black man? It wouldn’t happen.

The last committee person to speak was Michigan’s own Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), a Muslim and Palestinian American. Rep. Tlaib began her long-awaited five minutes by echoing Rep. Lawrence’s comments made earlier in the day: “Just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them does not mean they aren’t racist.” She then continued, her voice impassioned but clear: “The fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself.” (See Rep. Tlaib give her comments in a video from NBC.)

Then a man interrupted. (Shocking! said no woman ever.) Rep. Meadows leaned into his microphone, “Mr. Chairman…Mr. Chairman…” and demanded that Tlaib’s remarks be stricken from the record. A back-and-forth ensued, with Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) giving time back to Tlaib to clarify her remarks, and Meadows blathering that his niece and nephew were people of color, that it was Tlaib who was racist, and that—wait for it—he has a black friend. This friend is none other than the chair, Rep. Cummings, who validated his close friendship with Meadows, adding that it surprises some people.

Somehow, it was Tlaib who ended up apologizing to Meadows (Sorry! said every woman ever), and not the other way around. Tlaib clarified three times that it was the act she deemed racist, not the congressman, adding “I do apologize if that’s what it sounded like…”. Cummings addressed a visibly upset Meadows by saying, “I could see and feel your pain. I feel it. And so, and I don’t think Ms. Tlaib intended to cause you that, that kind of pain and that kind of frustration.”

Yet Michigan congresswomen Rep. Lawrence and Rep. Tlaib had spoken earlier in the proceedings and on the record that they were personally offended by Rep. Meadows. Meadows doesn’t need to apologize because…?

Here’s to Michigan’s truth-loving congresswomen. And here’s to the Michiganders who voted them in.


Holland Weekly welcomes letters to the editor at hollandweekly@gmail.com.


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A surreal painting of mouths, distorted faces in hot pink and orange.
paw print. Artwork and photo by Alex Perez.

Footsteps on the Moon: An Interview with Musical and Visual Artist Alex Perez

By Kathleen Schenck and Alex Perez
February 28, 2019

Holland Weekly (HW) connected with glee via email with Hollander Alex Perez. Here is the interview, lightly edited.  

HW: So, we at Holland Weekly have been enjoying not only your visual artwork, but your music, too. Do you have a preferred medium? 

Perez: Thank you! I have my preferences from time to time, and they don’t always align with where the creative work seems to want to go, so I find it best to follow my hands, and whatever it is they find most interesting.

HW: We in Holland have also, um, enjoyed some serious winter weather this year, with near-hurricane force winds, slick break-a-hip sidewalks, and arctic temperatures. How do the elements affect your process as an artist? 

Perez: When the winter came, I had to move my music gear from the basement and into my bedroom, since it had gotten quite chilly down there. That was kind of a bummer because I felt I had to quiet down, and also, I no longer get to sit beside a drum kit.

I read that the calls of birds have been adapted to fit their environment, and the same with musicians. So I’d say, I record less and write more. And the recordings, when they do happen, tend to lean into their reality, that is, a dude in his bedroom, rather than a wizard in his lair.

HW: Where do you do most of your work?

Perez: When I write songs, I think about the words. I suppose that’s because without words my musical ideas are generally overshadowed by the ones where my mouth gets to move. Singing is a relief of sorts. So, I write songs in my bedroom, or at a table in the kitchen, rarely in the basement. It’s always a treat when you find yourself at someone else’s house and with whatever instrument they have there, and usually, if it’s the same instrument, it feels totally different than your own. Those are special songs.

When I draw, it seems I often find myself at a bar seat at LJ’s [Lemonjello’s], and I think this is because I love the energy of having people around me, and simultaneously being in my own little universe.

A delicate rendition of birds, clouds, perhaps fishing line.
coastline. Artwork and photo by Alex Perez.

HW: One of our favorite musical pieces by you is melt stranger lightning strike. (Side question: Is that your cat?) Can you walk us through in layperson’s terms how you created that piece?

Perez: I don’t think I could recollect much of any of the process of that song, aside from the fact that I thought it was the best thing I had recorded at the time I’d finished it. Sometimes (and it’s my favorite when this is the case) songs happen in a whirlwind, where they go from your head, to the page, and back in your ears so fast that you don’t know what just happened.

Sadly, no longer [is that my cat], although he is still living! Only now with a friend of my mom’s. His name is Bonsai.

HW: While some artists prefer not to have their work described as looking or sounding like anything else, I wonder who or what influences you. Your music and your artwork remind me of both the album and the film Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. This to me is a happy association. You?

Groovy curvy disembodied body parts fill the page.
G’s room. Artwork and photo by Alex Perez.

Perez: I’m a huge Beatles fan, yet have somehow not seen a single one of their films! Of course, I’ve seen stills from a few, and yes, the similar vibe of yellow submarine is something I could not deny. I’m a big fan of the classics in both the music and visual art world: The Beatles, Dylan, Lou Reed, Etta James, Roy Orbison, Nina Simone, Picasso, Van Gough, Pollock, Warhol, and the lesser known, but equally great Barbara Nessim. As well as the more current, or underground: Karen Dalton, Angel Olsen, Pavement, the illustrator Nicole Claveloux, or any song at the right time.

HW: How did you become interested in making artboth visual and sound?

Perez: I think as a kid I was more gifted at drawing than about anything else, so I definitely leaned into that. I really had no interest in making music until my mom told me that I had to learn to play an instrument. Thank goodness for her, and that decision. As my body failed to keep up with the growth of the other athletes, I think that’s when I realized my destiny wasn’t to play pro basketball, but to be a rock star.

HW: While I know it may be difficult to pin down, what do you feel the tone or style of your music conveys? One of the tags is bedroom pop. Is the music meant to be peace-inducing, sleepy, romantic, all of the above?

Perez: I chose “bedroom pop” because it was the closest thing I could imagine someone else typing into their computer, where my music might pop up and they wouldn’t be completely turned off. The goal is when quiet, to be taking footsteps on the moon, and when loud, to feel like each step is taken in a mud bath. I’m certainly a romantic, and that’s always there—in many of its forms—but I must not neglect the opportunity to raise philosophical ideas in the music too.

HW: At the risk of sounding like one of your song titles, where are you from, where are you now, and where are you going? 

Perez: I was born and raised here in Holland, and I am currently in that same town, sitting at my desk! Soon, I’ll be going to band practice. (If I answered that question any less literally, I feel I’d either be lying to you or me.)

HW: Much of your visual artwork involves smooth lines, shapes. Have you tried other mediums (sculpture, ceramics, etc.) and if so, how’d it go?

Perez: Last fall, for the first time I made a Claymation. I felt that for my first try, it turned out well. And, over the summer I carved a few wood planks and pieces of linoleum. I’d like to have a phase with ceramics someday; we’ll see.

HW: Where has your visual artwork been, and where would you like it to go? 

Perez: I don’t think my drawings have made it all to far yet. Now, I wonder if any exist outside of Michigan! When it happens it’s often a doodle I post on Instagram. Sometimes when I design a poster for a show it’s printed and posted on various walls and doors.

I think to paint a mural somewhere around town would be a dream fulfilled.

HW: Have you supplied Hope College Radio with a demo? Or WYCE in GR? Seems your music would fit in with each station’s lineup nicely.

Perez: I have! A friend told me he heard me on WYCE, which was cool because I had no idea if they accepted my album or not. Occasionally I hear myself on WTHS (Hope College’s station), which is always funny and strange.

Here is a link to some of my music on Spotify.

It can also be found here if you don’t want to use Spotify: https://alexanderperez.bandcamp.com/.

HW: Anything else you’d like to add?

Perez: You can catch me rockin’ a gig tonight (February 28) at the Park Theatre at 7:30! If not, you’re bound to see me in a coffee shop window, working away on an illustration.


Alex Perez lives and works in Holland, Michigan as a part-time bartender and a full-time creative.


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A corgie shepherd mix sits obediently.
Sheba is waiting at Allegan County Animal Shelter for you to take her home.

Holland Weekly Dog of the Week

By Kathleen Schenck
February 28, 2019

Holland Weekly will feature a local shelter dog each week who is available for adoption. For more information, and updates on whether or not the dog is still available, please contact the shelter.

From the Allegan County Animal Shelter:

Meet Sheba

Hey there! Glad you stopped to check out my profile. My name is Sheba! I am an active young pup looking for a family to call my own. I love to play with toys and zoom around the outdoor pens. I know how to sit when asked and am ready to learn some tricks. The perfect family for me will spend time giving me plenty of love and attention. I am a bundle of enthusiasm, so my ideal family would include kids 15 years old and up. Training classes so that I can learn what a good doggie needs to do in a home will be very helpful. At this time, I would need to be the only dog in the house until I can get some regular exercise, decompress and relax in my forever home. I am pretty interested in cats, so a home without cats would be a good plan for now. If you think you have the right family home for me, please come on down and meet me! I have been waiting very patiently for a long time just for you!

Allegan County Animal Shelter
2293 33rd Street
Allegan, MI 49010
shelter@wishbonepetrescue.org
269-686-5112


A shot of what looks like minced egg salad.
Party Like It’s Portland Dip. Photo by Holland Weekly.

Party Like It’s Portland Dip

By Kathleen Schenck
February 28, 2019

If you’ve been to Portland and were lucky enough to be invited to a house party, chances are this dip was on the table. The original hails from the Eugene area, but Michigan is far from Oregon, and you can save some cash by making it at home.

I will not waste too much time arguing how delicious this is given that it’s made from tofu. Haters gonna hate. But it is absolutely scrumptious, and addictive.

Yield: Makes 4 cups

Prep: 30 min. plus fridge time, if desired

Ingredients

1  14 oz. pkg. firm tofu

2 ribs of celery

4 Tbsp. parsley leaves

1/3 medium sweet onion

1/4 red bell pepper

2/3 cup mayonnaise of choice (vegan options are fine to use here)

2 tsp. mustard

2 tsp. nutritional yeast

1 tsp. turmeric

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt to taste (see note in Instructions)

Instructions

Drain the tofu and press while getting other ingredients ready. Use a food processor for veggies. Don’t obliterate them because you still want some crunch. Mix the mayo, mustard and spices in bowl. Crumble tofu in. Stir, then take about 2/3 of that mixture and food process it till smooth. Add that back in along with veggies. Chill in fridge for a couple hours. Salt to taste once it comes out of fridge. (Note: Not before. I made that mistake and it was way too salty. And I like salt.) I eat this with melba crackers cuz I love melba crackers. But can be eaten as a dip for carrots, spread on toast like egg salad, you get the idea. It’s yummy. I’m not messing around. There are displaced Oregonians who pine for this stuff in exotic locales like Madison, Wisonsin and Topeka, KS.


Have a recipe to share? Email us at hollandweekly@gmail.com and help your neighbor cook something different tonight!

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Madam Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.

Sylvia Reads The Stars

Week of February 28, 2019

Pisces Feb 18 – Mar 20

Pisces, I do believe you get me when no one else does. Remember to show yourself the same empathy.

Aries Mar 20 – Apr 20

Aries, you’ve had a hard time of it. To quote poet Hafiz: Just sit there right now. / Don’t do a thing. / Just rest. […] You can use my soft words / As a cushion / For your / Head.

Taurus Apr 20 – May 21

There’s no one I’d rather be snowed in with. And that’s no bull.

Gemini May 21 – Jun 21

Gemini, Gemini. Your throat’s got you down. Maybe you need to say something you’ve been holding back?

Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 23

Crab, only you get to decide if your shell is soft or a crackling suit of armor this week.

Leo Jul 23 – Aug 23

Leo, poet Hafiz wrote these words for you: For every sign Hafiz has ever seen / Reads the same. // They all say, // “Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun, / In the Beloved’s Divine / Game, // O, in the Beloved’s / Wonderful / Game.”

Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 23

Quaint little Virgo, what have you been formulating this time? Methinks it has to do with a pocket watch.

Libra Sep 23 – Oct 23

Libra, I’ve never met a beach I didn’t like. Some make me sad with their pollution and litter. But all retain their dignity. See past the pollution of whatever person, place or thing crosses you this week.

Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 22

Scorpio, let go of that need to control e v e r y t h i n g. You deserve a break, and so does e v e r y o n e!

Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 23

What time like the present to take advantage of Holland’s heated sidewalks! Will you busk? Will you run?

Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan 20

You’re like a mountain goat who just won’t get out of the way on a narrow path in Glacier National Park. Get out of the way! Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18

Aquarius, I don’t hear you singing. Yet.


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Thank you for your interest in Holland Weekly.