Got Plaid?

In the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland lies the Royal Mile. While taking a stroll down the street, some are instantly drawn to its rich history. Situated at the foot of the Edinburgh Castle, the street is filled with haunted closes and antique shops selling tea sets and paintings. Others see the Royal Mile merely as a tourist trap filled with souvenir shops. Hooded sweatshirts and shot glasses line windows while bagpipe music blasts from overhead speakers. However, to the fashion-savvy Scottish crowd of all ages, the Royal Mile is a catwalk overflowing with effortlessly cool style.
Scottish women know how to spice up an ensemble for any occasion, whether they are quickly running out to buy fresh fruit for tomorrow’s breakfast or grabbing a drink with friends at the local pub. While East Lansing’s own Grand River Avenue may not have the same prestige, it is the best place for MSU students to strut their stuff in clothing straight out of the United Kingdom.
Go ahead, ditch the “do’s and don’ts” of fashion
[cheerala1]”European women are much more fashion-forward. They don’t care about rules and wear whatever they want,” political science and journalism senior Vee Cheerala said. “If you were to [ditch fashion rules] here, people would be like, ‘What are you wearing?'” she said, adding students should be more daring.
Ruth Walker of The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper, examined style among different generations in her June 2007 article, identifying that while all ages are open to experiment with clothing, those in their 20s have the most freedom. “At this age, you can also get away with retro touches, a skinny tie here, a cardigan there, without looking as though you wore them the last time they were fashionable,” personal shopping consultant Kevin Stewart told Walker. It seems while 20-somethings in Scotland add panache to their wardrobe without a second thought, MSU students often hesitate to venture past the basic staples: a hooded sweatshirt and jeans.
Here are a few ways to take on the plaid-clad UK right here in E.L. It’s time to turn Grand River Ave. into our own version of the Royal Mile.
Spandex goes beyond step aerobics
The comeback of the spandex trend in the United Kingdom was recognized by Nicole Jackson of the UK newspaper,The Observer, who stated in a Jan. 2006 article that “everywhere you look, hip young things are prancing around with nothing buy a slip of tight black Lycra separating their leg-flesh from the elements.”
Spandex leggings and tights have been increasing in popularity in past years, a testament to their timeless appeal and versatility. They can easily be paired with tops and frocks of various lengths. This is a common look both in Edinburgh and at MSU, so be sure to jazz up your ensemble with bright colors, bangles and boots. Urban Outfitters is known for carrying a collection of clothes made just for this style. Lux, a brand sold at the store, delivers the look time after time. The Lux Tank Dress, sold for $38, is simple and perfect for pairing with tights or leggings of all colors. The short cut and scoop neck can be complimented with flats for class or fancier footwear for a night on the town.[edin3]
While black spandex is seen in the UK, Scottish women often opt to bring a piece of personal flair to the look by adding distinct color. “I was sitting in a park near the castle and saw a ton of girls wearing dresses with bright colored spandex underneath. It grabbed the attention of a few Scottish guys, who were looking and calling them ‘trendys!'” said journalism junior Karen Cassidy, who was in Edinburgh in June on a study abroad program.
Pashmina, please
Leggings are still adored with each passing season, and outfits can easily transition from summer to fall by adding a scarf. The scarf is an accessory that is practical for escaping harsh winds and is transformed from practical to fashionable when elegantly draped around the neck.
American Apparel offers a multitude of options both solid and striped. Cotton scarves are sold for $15 to $28 and add an instant pop of color to any ensemble. However, pashmina scarves are the way to go for the most authentic UK look. The textiles are extremely popular in Edinburgh and a wardrobe staple for Scottish women around the city. For the online shopper who can’t quite afford a trip to Scotland, The Pashmina Store offers solid colored scarves for $35.99 that can be shipped straight to your door.
Forever Plaid
When Scotland comes to mind, the thoughts of plaid kilts are not far behind. Plaids are going main-stream, no longer being seen as mere souvenirs thanks to jackets and vests of all kinds appearing in top designers’ fall collections, from Jean Paul Gautier to L.A.M.B by Gwen Stefani.
Forever 21, always a go-to for affordable and fashionable clothing, is overflowing with plaid patterns at the moment. They spill off hangers and racks in the forms of jackets with toggles or zippers and puffy vests with fur on the hood.
Similar designs continue to be served up at vintage shops such as Scavenger Hunt on Grand River Avenue. and W. Armstrong and Son Second-Hand and Vintage Clothing Emporium in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket area. These stores give their customers a little from each decade, and because their merchandise is authentic, shoppers can rest easy knowing they won’t see another person copying an outfit in line at Starbucks.
University of Edinburgh vs. Michigan State University
“I was walking through the mall last night and feel that the current trend is a little bit of everything – 60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” Scavenger Hunt owner Eric Merkling said. He takes care of customers at the register and faces a large rack of skirts, some of which are pleated and plaid. Best grab them early, as he acknowledged current culture determines what the most popular store merchandise will be.
You’ll instantly be drawn into the store by music playing on the sidewalk, and will be curious to see what treasures the underground locale may be hiding. Once down the stairs, racks of blazers with shoulder pads become visible, as do collections of vintage ties and T-shirts. Whether shopping for an everyday outfit or one designed especially for October 31, the options are endless.
[leggings2]University of Edinburgh and Art College of Edinburgh students also enjoy taking breathers from class to shop for vintage clothes near the Royal Mile in the Grassmarket area. Armstrong’s is to Scottish students what Scavenger Hunt is to MSU students. “They come searching for something unique that no one else will have. A few people know exactly what they’re looking for, but most just come to browse,” said Armstrong’s employee Becca Drew.
Across the store from her, a mannequin of a swimmer is diving from the ceiling, arms outstretched and filled with white and pink boas. “What I love best about working here is the creativity of the store,” she said of Armstrong’s, which was opened in 1840 and sells clothing as old as the Victorian era.
More mannequins on the floor indicate the styling capabilities of the employees and their ability to put a spin on traditional Scottish gear. One female mannequin is dressed in a kilt with a red, black and white pattern that matches a black sequin top and red vest. Underneath the kilt are layers of ruffles.
While Spartans may still prefer Bud Light to Strongbow with their cheeseburgers, it is undeniable the Scots are making their presence known this season. Look out, East Lansing. It’s time for a UK invasion.

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Got Plaid?

In the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland lies the Royal Mile. While taking a stroll down the street, some are instantly drawn to its rich history. Situated at the foot of the Edinburgh Castle, the street is filled with haunted closes and antique shops selling tea sets and paintings. Others see the Royal Mile merely as a tourist trap filled with souvenir shops. Hooded sweatshirts and shot glasses line windows while bagpipe music blasts from overhead speakers. However, to the fashion-savvy Scottish crowd of all ages, the Royal Mile is a catwalk overflowing with effortlessly cool style.
Scottish women know how to spice up an ensemble for any occasion, whether they are quickly running out to buy fresh fruit for tomorrow’s breakfast or grabbing a drink with friends at the local pub. While East Lansing’s own Grand River Avenue may not have the same prestige, it is the best place for MSU students to strut their stuff in clothing straight out of the United Kingdom.
Go ahead, ditch the “do’s and don’ts” of fashion
[tartan1]”European women are much more fashion-forward. They don’t care about rules and wear whatever they want,” political science and journalism senior Vee Cheerala said. “If you were to [ditch fashion rules] here, people would be like, ‘What are you wearing?'” she said, adding students should be more daring.
Ruth Walker of The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper, examined style among different generations in her June 2007 article, identifying that while all ages are open to experiment with clothing, those in their 20s have the most freedom. “At this age, you can also get away with retro touches, a skinny tie here, a cardigan there, without looking as though you wore them the last time they were fashionable,” personal shopping consultant Kevin Stewart told Walker. It seems while 20-somethings in Scotland add panache to their wardrobe without a second thought, MSU students often hesitate to venture past the basic staples: a hooded sweatshirt and jeans.
Here are a few ways to take on the plaid-clad UK right here in E.L. It’s time to turn Grand River Ave. into our own version of the Royal Mile.
Spandex goes beyond step aerobics
The comeback of the spandex trend in the United Kingdom was recognized by Nicole Jackson of the UK newspaper,The Observer, who stated in a Jan. 2006 article that “everywhere you look, hip young things are prancing around with nothing buy a slip of tight black Lycra separating their leg-flesh from the elements.”
Spandex leggings and tights have been increasing in popularity in past years, a testament to their timeless appeal and versatility. They can easily be paired with tops and frocks of various lengths. This is a common look both in Edinburgh and at MSU, so be sure to jazz up your ensemble with bright colors, bangles and boots. Urban Outfitters is known for carrying a collection of clothes made just for this style. Lux, a brand sold at the store, delivers the look time after time. The Lux Tank Dress, sold for $38, is simple and perfect for pairing with tights or leggings of all colors. The short cut and scoop neck can be complimented with flats for class or fancier footwear for a night on the town.[edin2]
While black spandex is seen in the UK, Scottish women often opt to bring a piece of personal flair to the look by adding distinct color. “I was sitting in a park near the castle and saw a ton of girls wearing dresses with bright colored spandex underneath. It grabbed the attention of a few Scottish guys, who were looking and calling them ‘trendys!'” said journalism junior Karen Cassidy, who was in Edinburgh in June on a study abroad program.
Pashmina, please
Leggings are still adored with each passing season, and outfits can easily transition from summer to fall by adding a scarf. The scarf is an accessory that is practical for escaping harsh winds and is transformed from practical to fashionable when elegantly draped around the neck.
American Apparel offers a multitude of options both solid and striped. Cotton scarves are sold for $15 to $28 and add an instant pop of color to any ensemble. However, pashmina scarves are the way to go for the most authentic UK look. The textiles are extremely popular in Edinburgh and a wardrobe staple for Scottish women around the city. For the online shopper who can’t quite afford a trip to Scotland, The Pashmina Store offers solid colored scarves for $35.99 that can be shipped straight to your door.
Forever Plaid
When Scotland comes to mind, the thoughts of plaid kilts are not far behind. Plaids are going main-stream, no longer being seen as mere souvenirs thanks to jackets and vests of all kinds appearing in top designers’ fall collections, from Jean Paul Gautier to L.A.M.B by Gwen Stefani.
Forever 21, always a go-to for affordable and fashionable clothing, is overflowing with plaid patterns at the moment. They spill off hangers and racks in the forms of jackets with toggles or zippers and puffy vests with fur on the hood.
Similar designs continue to be served up at vintage shops such as Scavenger Hunt on Grand River Avenue. and W. Armstrong and Son Second-Hand and Vintage Clothing Emporium in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket area. These stores give their customers a little from each decade, and because their merchandise is authentic, shoppers can rest easy knowing they won’t see another person copying an outfit in line at Starbucks.
University of Edinburgh vs. Michigan State University
“I was walking through the mall last night and feel that the current trend is a little bit of everything – ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” Scavenger Hunt owner Eric Merkling said. He takes care of customers at the register and faces a large rack of skirts, some of which are pleated and plaid. Best grab them early, as he acknowledged current culture determines what the most popular store merchandise will be.
You’ll instantly be drawn into the store by music playing on the sidewalk, and will be curious to see what treasures the underground locale may be hiding. Once down the stairs, racks of blazers with shoulder pads become visible, as do collections of vintage ties and T-shirts. Whether shopping for an everyday outfit or one designed especially for October 31, the options are endless.
[leggings1]University of Edinburgh and Art College of Edinburgh students also enjoy taking breathers from class to shop for vintage clothes near the Royal Mile in the Grassmarket area. Armstrong’s is to Scottish students what Scavenger Hunt is to MSU students. “They come searching for something unique that no one else will have. A few people know exactly what they’re looking for, but most just come to browse,” said Armstrong’s employee Becca Drew.
Across the store from her, a mannequin of a swimmer is diving from the ceiling, arms outstretched and filled with white and pink boas. “What I love best about working here is the creativity of the store,” she said of Armstrong’s, which was opened in 1840 and sells clothing as old as the Victorian era.
More mannequins on the floor indicate the styling capabilities of the employees and their ability to put a spin on traditional Scottish gear. One female mannequin is dressed in a kilt with a red, black and white pattern that matches a black sequin top and red vest. Underneath the kilt are layers of ruffles.
While Spartans may still prefer Bud Light to Strongbow with their cheeseburgers, it is undeniable the Scots are making their presence known this season. Look out, East Lansing. It’s time for a UK invasion.

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Glass & Class

The studio is buzzing with possibility, hands massaging the wet clay as it spins on the wheel, adding texture and spirit to the once smooth surface. As the clay begins to take shape, another student places a small bubble of molten glass on the end of a four-foot pipe. With the mouth set on the pipe and ready to exhale, it\’s time to breath life into another new creation.
East Lansing galleries are illuminating shelves with ceramic and glass creations of all shapes, sizes and techniques, attracting a large audience of residents and students and forcing them to stop and stare at the shiny figures. However, some local fans of such work are not satisfied as mere onlookers. MSU students interested in molding different materials are offered a receptive environment that encourages them to cultivate their talents and produce works of their own.
Talent on Campus
Brianne Hoffman and Jeff Blandford understand the time that is necessary to produce quality art. The studio art seniors have concentrations in ceramics and plan on turning their passion for the studio into permanent careers. Hoffman is a fan of transfer work and presses Xerox transfers from a copy machine to wet clay. When peeled off, an image is produced because the ink is resistant to stain and water. She said molding each piece of clay in her hands is very therapeutic. As the clay oozes between her fingers, thoughts of childhood creep into her art. \”I\’ve done a lot of video game imagery and a lot of work about how video games and technology affect us in positive and negative ways,\” she said. \”The images I use are mostly from Atari, Pacman and Super Mario Brothers – the games that I grew up with.\”
Blandford experiments with this form, as well as glassblowing. He has worked with ceramics for over five years and with glass for three years, creating mostly vases, tumblers and paperweights. He has rented space in Saugatuck for the past four summers that has served him doubly as both a shop and studio where he works and displays. His work has been sold in galleries in Chicago and Detroit, as well as across the country. He now has set sights on selling in the Tennessee area. \”I do a lot of glasswork but not as much as I would like,\” Blandford said. \”I\’ve sold some pieces and think that glass will be a huge part of my future. I want to open my own studio and be self-employed forever. That would be my dream.\”
Art Under the Sun
Those exhibiting their work at the 44th East Lansing Art Festival this spring will be in a similar position of open possibility. The festival, which provides excellent exposure for rising professionals, will be held downtown May 19 – 20. The Art Festival Board of Directors produces the festival in collaboration with the East Lansing Arts Commission and the City of East Lansing. Booths feature ceramics, glass, jewelry and painting, among others.
For the less-experienced artists still looking to showcase their abilities, the Spring Arts and Crafts Show will take place on campus the same weekend. The University Activities Board organizes the show, which runs separately from the festival each year.
Robert Eikholt, an artist whose studio is based in Columbus, Ohio, is proof that participation in the festival and weekend celebration of the arts can lead to a career of international acclaim. \”I walk through the festival every year, and every year his work is better. He\’s always coming up with new shapes and colors,\” Saper Galleries framing specialist Jennifer Cuthbert said.
Eikholt currently has pieces for sale at Saper Galleries and Custom Framing. His bowls and vases are well-known for their use of precious metals and oxides such as cobalt and copper – a perfect fit for the chic gallery, which contains work done by both local and international artists, from countries like Israel. \”The atmosphere is elegant and upscale. It\’s a very pleasant place to work and is also environmentally-friendly,\” Cuthbert said of the gallery, which began 28 years ago in owner Roy C. Saper\’s house on Bailey Street and later expanded to become the current Albert Avenue location. \”All of our air is filtered and the humidity is controlled,\” she said. \”We recycle everything – including newspapers and boxes. We also save energy by using skylights.\” Preservation of the environment at the gallery demonstrates how art can join forces to help great worldwide causes – an unbeatable combination.
World Exposure
This attitude to promote societal change and responsibility is a theme present at Trillium Gallery as well. Inventory is chosen with great care and supports local and international artists and causes. The gallery is currently displaying glass, wood and ceramic pieces from South America, Central America and Africa. Pieces are especially prevalent from Peru, Mexico and Kenya. Hand-carved ebony wood boxes made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are provided by MSU students from Africa who send profits back to their families.
Humanitarian efforts are continued with the sale of hand puppets from Peru, which raise money for mothers and daughters to receive proper education in order to become contributing members of communities. [fair]\”We focus on trying to get fair trade art to ensure that artists are paid properly for their work,\” Trillium Gallery owner Kalli Halpern said. \”We have glass from Colombia, and when you get something beautiful and know you\’re giving back, the purchase is a double present.\”
And much of the glasswork can be seen throughout the gallery, shining with different colors when the sunlight hits at the right spot. \”Dichroic beads are very vibrant and look irridescent,\” Halpern said. \”You can see them from a distance and know that something really brilliant is coming toward you.\”
While glass beads and jewelry may be among the most well-known glass creations, connoisseurs know that the options are virtually endless. Glass can be formed into items not only to be worn on the body, but for display in the home or office as well.
Ornaments hang in the windows of the gallery on Division Street and catch the eyes of those walking to class. \”People used to think of them as Christmas balls but they hang them everywhere now. Orbs can hang in the home and are especially peaceful to have in the kitchen when you\’re doing the dishes,\” Halpern said.
One-of-a-Kind
Various ornaments are also seen at Mackerel Sky Gallery of Contemporary Craft, as if a fruit basket full of pineapples and berries rains down from above. The boutique is named by owners Tom and Linda Dufelmeier after a cirrus cloud formation that resembles the scales of a mackerel fish, and is considered a good omen if seen over the Atlantic Ocean by sailors and aviators at sunset.
The Ann Street gallery sells a variety of glass pieces by individual artists and small studios from across the country, representing studios such as Callahan Mountain Studios in Arkansas and Fire Island Hot Glass in Texas. Pieces, including globes filled with rainbow bursts and paperweights shaped like sea creatures and hearts, are seen throughout the store.
[lady]Stemware and oil lamps are also featured, along with a wide selection of jewelry. These one-of-a-kind pieces are made using three different techniques – fusion, lampworking and glassblowing.
Glass beads are made when pieces of glass are fused together. Each piece begins clear and is mixed with broken pieces of colored glass. Glassblowing is done in three steps, and begins with molten glass that is manipulated by a process of heating and cooling. Designs can also be made by lampworking, which is done by winding glass around a steel rod called a mandrel. A torch is then used to mold the glass to a desired shape. \”Most glassblowing is hard to do on your own,\” Tom Dufelmeier said. \”You have to blow into the glass at the end of a pipe and at the same time another person will churn it to get a shape.\”
Artists use a furnace named \”the glory hole\” to continually reheat the piece until the preferred shape is achieved. It is then placed into an annealing oven and cooled to perfection. Temperature in the oven is gradually reduced according to size and density. \”A simple bowl without a lot of ornamentation would take 10 to 15 minutes, but it took artist Josh Simpson three months to create a 114-pound paperweight,\” Dufelmeier said.
The artist, who hails from Massachusetts, is always up for a challenge. He is now working on the Infinity Project, in which he buries marble glass balls called \”planets\” in hidden locations all over the world, creating a very unique exhibition of his art in various countries, hoping that more people will happen upon his glasswork.
\”People who find a planet may not be archaeologists. They may know nothing about art or science, they might not be able to afford one of my pieces. I like the idea of reaching a totally new audience for my glass – not just a socially or culturally different audience but potentially people separated by hundreds of years from present time,\” Simpson says on his website, www.joshsimpson.com, demonstrating that although an artist may not live forever, their work may leave a legacy.

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The Original People

[center]Founded in 1855, East Lansing has long been the home of MSU. Residents and students take pride in this school\’s history. Rarely, however, do students think of a time before the region was painted green and white, before UGGS and iPods were ever plenty. Long before the Spartans roamed the Lansing area, the Anishnaabe inhabited mid-Michigan.
\”Anishnaabe\” means \”the original people\” in different forms of the Algonquian language, elucidating the deep roots of American Indian history and culture present in the Lansing area. Descendents honor their ancestors by continuing tribal traditions and educating community members about their people.
\”There are many native cultures, not just one,\” Susan Applegate Krouse, associate professor of anthropology and AISP director, said. \”Learning about these people and the Three Fires teaches students about the history of this area and to have respect for the original inhabitants. It also creates a better understanding of the relationships between tribal governments and the United States government.\”
The Great Lakes region is home to tribes who lived peacefully on the land before European settlement, beginning with the French in the fifteenth century. These tribes continue to thrive and include the Three Fires: the Ottawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwa [or Chippewa.]
Residents of East Lansing and surrounding areas are able to enjoy the presence of the Nokomis Learning Center, an American Indian cultural center in Okemos. The center promotes an understanding of the dynamic past of the Anishinaabe people to the surrounding community through interactive learning and the utilization of the senses. [banks]
\”There is a natural curiosity about native people – about who we are and what we do – and we try our best to fulfill that educational need at the Nokomis Learning Center,\” Nokomis Learning Center executive director Janis Fairbanks said. This is achieved through a strong dedication to the preservation and presentation of history, arts and culture. The cultural center provides exhibitions, programs and special events to the public and frequently arranges group programs for schools and scouting organizations. \”Native Cycles, Sacred Circles\” is the central group program which gives visitors an introduction to the tribes of Michigan and specifically those of the region.
[wheel]Those simply looking to spend an inexpensive and informative afternoon with a small group of friends or family may attend for $3 per person. An estimated 2,500 students took advantage of this opportunity and experienced the true value of their spare change in 2006. Visitors may take tours of the art exhibits and learn about the significant symbol of the Medicine Wheel. According to the Canadian Health Network, \”the number four is sacred to the Aboriginal People of North America. The Medicine Wheel is an ancient North American abstract symbol that stands for \’the sacredness of four.\’ Usually, four spokes create four quadrants of the wheel. The four quadrants can represent many different ideas or concepts in their relationship to each other, the universe and the individual, Examples include directions, seasons, stages of life, and parts of a person including mental, physical, spiritual and emotional.\”
\”The fact that we have a Native American cultural center in the area is very important because there are a lot of people out there who want to learn more,\” Fairbanks said. \”The phone calls and questions that I receive on a daily basis are what form my ideas for new programs.\”
A future program is in the works that will spotlight tribal sovereignty, treaties and contemporary issues facing American Indian communities. This will supplement the free lecture series available on contemporary concerns, the 2006-2007 topic being \”Gender Diversity in Great Lakes Native Communities\” and taking place at the cultural center on the first Tuesday of every month.
On April 3, Dr. Heather Howard, an ethnohistorian who has worked in the US and Canada, will be speaking. Howard is a former Nokomis Learning Center board member and will be directing her lecture toward women in her speech, \”Anishinaabekweg in the Meeting Place: Native Women Building Community in Toronto.\”
Leaders who have skills on canvas, as well as those who have a way with words, frequent the cultural center and provide for fascinating exhibits. The latest art exhibit is \”Blood Memories\” by Chicano and Latin studies and Native American studies senior Rachel Dennis. The exhibit is a series of paintings and drawings presented as a fusion of contemporary urban culture and the simplicity of the past. The display of her artwork is evidence of the lasting relationships that the center continues to form with the student population – both by supporting talents of native students and encouraging the spread of knowledge through various outlets.
[pretty]Students have many means to explore the heritage of their homeland through the American Indian Studies Program, which offers MSU students an opportunity to take courses in a wide range of disciplines relating to several facets of American Indian history and culture to obtain a specialization. The program covers courses in the fields of anthropology, law, family and child ecology, history, linguistics and languages, nursing, religion, social work and writing, rhetoric and American culture.
\”I took ANP 433 – Contemporary American Indian Communities – because I knew very little about American Indian culture and thought it would be an amazing supplement in my religious studies major and to [further] my knowledge of native religion and spirituality,\” Kristy Slominski, a religious studies senior, said in an e-mail interview. \”Dr. Susan Applegate Krouse has given the course a really unique emphasis on contemporary community construction. I think all MSU students would benefit from a similar course. It has helped me to wrap my head around the government policies and unique history that has contributed to very complex modern American Indian identities.\”
American studies professor George Cornell currently teaches HST 379 – Native Americans in North American History from 1830. His course focuses on the unfolding of the North American continent and the relationship of the American Indians to those developments. Cornell works specifically with students of native ancestry in his role as Director of the Native American Institute. Approved by the MSU Board of Trustees in 1981, the NAI supports North American Indian organizations and tribal governments. There are striking differences between the tribal governments of past generations and the forms of government currently in place on reservations, which have become more democratic through influence of the federal system.
MSU administration members, as well as students wishing to pursue or strengthen ties to native people, may collaborate with the NAI or join other campus organizations for outreach to create campus awareness.
The faculty and staff organization, Educating Anishnaabe: Giving, Learning and Empowering (EAGLE), and the undergraduate student organization, North American Indian Student Organization (NAISO), are open to those with this desire.
It\’s easy to think of East Lansing as a place for studying and partying, but the history of the area runs deep. Campus groups, lecture series and the Nokomis Learning Center are attempting to spread knowledge of Lansing\’s often overlooked past, a time long before 1855.

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A Modern Canvas

[albums]Cruising the aisles of Best Buy, music lovers are instantly drawn to the bright colors, flashing chains, and beautiful faces staring back at them. The album covers on display immediately grab our attention and leave us wanting more. How is it possible to turn away from Nick Lachey and his bulging biceps?
Such polished images and poses are the result of modern technology and the ability to manipulate images to perfection. Although resulting in powerful products that fly off of shelves, it is undetermined if such technological advances are moving the art of album covers forward or negatively impacting the creativity involved.
“I don’t think that what musical artists are trying to portray has changed, but the technology available definitely has. Digital images and special effects that are used today make it possible to create more professional looking covers than the basic photographs and hand paintings of the past,” CD Warehouse manager Rick Pniewski said.
With the emergence of the infinite technology, the creative process has changed a bit. “Ever since records were put into albums in 1978, photographs and original artwork have been placed on the covers. Artists such as Salvador Dali and Matisse created art to be used on vinyl,” Dick Rosemont, the Flat, Black, and Circular co-owner, said.
The avid record collector opened the store to share his love of music with the people of East Lansing. He believes that the changing methods of album production have enhanced creative possibilities in recording and artwork but have also presented limitations. “The CD is a smaller and more limited palette than the record,\” Rosemont said. \”Records used to have movable parts on the covers and were very creative. People used to buy records to collect them and save the artwork, whereas today it is more likely to be thrown away. The artwork on the front cover has become superfluous to most college students and how they consume music.\”
Although artwork is readily available with each purchase from the iTunes music store, it isn’t properly appreciated when only viewed on iPod screens. Students walking to class with earbuds in place are more focused on the busy streets around them than the tiny picture in the corner of their nearly invisible nano. “The 3-D optical illusions that Aerosmith used on album covers were really cool, but today it’s just someone’s name and their face on the front. The art really isn’t as important anymore,” social work junior Brooke Hall said.
This trend has been fueled by changes in the way that we discover and listen to music. Although unearthing inspiring cover art in music stores still plays a part in discovering new favorites, exploration through the shelves may take a backseat to convenience and the rising popularity of digital music downloading. “I can’t even remember the last time I bought a CD, but I think that Radiohead has a few great covers. They’re full of different colors and words that really express who they are and what their music is all about,” history junior Johna Willis said.
Despite the changing technology, it is obvious many students and faculty members continue to value the album covers of their favorite musical artists. Art history teaching assistant Brynn Juranek is inspired by the contributions that musicians of the past and present have made to both the art world and society as a whole. “What I love about this kind of art is the ability to express visually what artists are feeling but can’t easily put into words. What I especially love about album cover art is that it’s something that everyone has at home and is so common but also considered high art, especially album covers of the 1960s and \’70s. Art is not just sculpture, painting, and museums. It’s everything,” Juranek said.
Many collectors choose to display their art in homes or offices. Record frames sold at stores such as Restoration Hardware and Urban Outfitters provide collectors a chance to showcase covers for nostalgia and inspiration. “The art on album covers allows us to see visual representations of musical artists and not just as people. For example, when I think of The Velvet Underground, I don’t exactly think of the faces of the band members. I think of the banana on the front of the album [the iconic image designed by Andy Warhol],” she said.[banana]
MSU students can be seen purchasing the banana and other Warhol pieces on a daily basis at stores such as Beyond the Wall on Grand River Ave. These images add class and culture to any living space. However, his artwork is valued most when the history behind it is revealed.
Another historical and influential album cover is the 1967 Beatles hit Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was created with input by all of the band members and was designed by Jann Haworth and Peter Blake, who won a \”Best Album Cover\” Grammy for the album in 1968. It features the Beatles dressed in colorful suits while surrounded by an array of famous faces including Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan and Gandhi.
“There are also albums where the art is so minimalist that it’s awesome,\” Juranek said. \”One of my favorites is David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust.’ On the cover he’s sitting on a stoop in London. His persona is very grandiose but he’s just sitting there. There could be a very simple cover for something absolutely amazing.\”
Although true that art has enjoyed a greater presence in the music scene of past eras, it has not completely vanished. Artists like Regina Spektor, Mates of State and Of Montreal are among those striving to break ground not only through their lyrics, but through their album cover designs as well. These musicians have blended elements of color, space and heritage to invent art that is truly unique.
Of Montreal has been catching eyes with a retro and psychedelic style reminiscent of The Beatles. Flashy neon colored stars and thunderbolts are trademarks of the group, which hails from Athens, Ga. While from the US, the group has obviously implemented styles from various areas of the world as part of their persona. “Of Montreal’s style and cover art is almost art deco. It’s very eclectic and the lines are in your face. I feel like there’s a little bit of Asian and European influence to the look, and it’s all very dynamic,” child development sophomore Tracey Robina said.
The band also utilizes the use of caricatures in their artwork. Artist David Barnes has worked with Of Montreal and designs covers for any musical artists interested in his work. Simply send him a description of the cover you want and he will work out a price and an original design based upon it for you or your band. He maintains the website www.thebeewithwheels.com/main.htm. Although his portraits and designs are progressive, they have not yet reached their maximum audience.
“I believe that a lot of original artwork is still present on album covers, but most of it goes unnoticed,” Pniewski said.
As these artists and others gain more exposure in the mainstream music scene, their ambitions to further all aspects of the arts will be recognized. While sparkling white teeth and a flawless figure may be attractive, the substance of the album is ultimately what is most significant. Sometimes beauty is only insert deep.

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Reader Friendly

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
[curious1]The words of Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye capture a true emotional connection with a story and its characters. It’s felt upon picking up that special book from the shelf: the one that grabs the reader’s interest from the opening sentence, forcing one to skip meals and go to bed at sunrise just to finish it.
Realizing that someone else sees the world the same way we do can be very comforting. There are times when even those closest to us do not understand what we are going through, and it takes the support of a complete stranger to help us get by. Maybe they have experienced the same troubles, needs or desires. Along the way, they have made the same mistakes or accomplished the same goals. The only problem is finding the voice that will truly speak to us among the stacks and shelves.
Independent bookstores are an excellent place to start this search. \”I like to read mystery and fiction when I have the time, and by shopping at these smaller bookstores I [can] find different collections than I\’m used to,\” human biology junior Brittany Burkhart said. \”I usually go to Barnes and Noble, but by buying them [at indepedent bookstores] I would also be supporting local business.\” In the Lansing area, Everybody Reads, Schuler Books and Curious Bookshop offer students unique outlets for personal exploration and growth.
So, Everybody Reads?
[everybody1]Upon entering Everybody Reads on Michigan Avenue in Lansing, the inspirational words of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quip, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” are seen immediately. Scott Harris, owner of the Lansing independent store, is working at doing just that. His store features a vast selection of reading material with an emphasis on social issues and activism, including information on environmentalism, gay and lesbian rights and diversity.
Harris said he finds it frustrating that people often focus on a few individual issues to fight for, rather than seeing how all issues are related. He hopes that when people come into the store, they will see the correlation among many of the world\’s most pressing issues. “Involvement in the recent election is evidence that people care about issues,” he said. “We have a place for them to look for more information on peace, justice, and multiculturalism.” He desires to educate the public on these issues, serving as a resource center for individuals with specific needs ever since the store opened last June, as well as providing information that may not otherwise be available to them.
Harris has personally experienced the help that a community has to offer, and this is his way of giving back. After his wife passed away, he and his children went through very difficult times and received great support from friends and organizations. It became clear to Harris that students in the area were often not as fortunate in receiving the help and support that they needed. The bookstore and its missions were soon developed, and sections are dedicated to family issues such as grief recovery, divorce and adoption.
The books available include information that both adults and children can utilize, serving as a tool to help themselves and others around them. In addition to purchasing books, Everybody Reads has a section of free books and a book exchange program available to the public and those who may not be able to afford them. “The overall vision is that everybody counts – you are who you are, and everyone should be given equal opportunities,” Harris said.
Schuler Books is Indie?
These similar goals are echoed by Schuler Books and Music, another local independent bookseller which strives to cater to the needs and wants of individual clientele. Bill and Cecil Fehsenfeld, a husband and wife team from Grand Rapids, started the small chain, and two of the four stores are located in the area at Meridian Mall and Eastwood Towne Center.
“We choose on a store level what we want to buy and display,” said Audrey Brockhaus, promotions coordinator of the Okemos store. “Therefore, the differences between the stores are striking. We love to feature staff selections and we want to get people excited about what we like. We promote more quirky stuff instead of just cranking out Danielle Steele.” She acknowledges that each location has a personalized vibe, offering merchandise that may not be available in other places.
[audrey]As a fan of classic literature, Brockhaus takes pride in the fact that the store she works for is best known for its classic selection of both literature and music. She believes that her store is oriented toward older generations, while the Eastwood Towne Center store caters more to the college crowd. “We sell classic literature and they sell graphic novels,” she said. “They’re definitely more of a ‘hip’ store.”
It is clear that the owners desired to bring together both audio and visual art elements when they began operating the business in 1982. The stores satisfy a variety of tastes in each department and find ways to combine the two. As a testament to the establishment’s name, stacks of audio books are available, and there are prominent displays of literature on musical artists and groups. At the front counter of the Eastwood Towne Center store, books on U2 and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band surround the customer.
Curious About Books?
The counter at Curious Book Shop, on the other hand, looks completely different. It’s Seth Cohen and every other version of a hipster’s paradise, complete with a display case full of comic books. The store sells a variety of collectible comic books and magazines. [employees]“We sell pulp magazines such as The Shadow and Astounding Stories that were printed in the 1900s up until WWII,” Mark Wojcik, a sales associate at Curious, said. “Some of them are being reprinted, but we have originals, which are becoming increasingly hard to find.”
The most popular merchandise is the mystery and science fiction genre; however, the store features a wide variety of literature. The first floor of the store ranges from archeology and anthropology to Great Lakes nature and Michigan poetry. The second level of the store is home to sports, movies and rock n’ roll, with everything from MSU vs. Notre Dame programs from the \’50s to Rolling Stone covers and Beatles memorabilia.
Owner Ray Walsh has been adding to this collection for years, and started the business in the 1960s out of his MSU dorm room. In addition to attending various auctions, customers also come to the store to sell him their collectible paperback and hardcover literature, some of which is no longer in print or sold at large chain bookstores.
“We sell old copies of books such as The Wizard of Oz that only collectors will want to buy,\” Wojcik said, \”But we also sell more popular books that the students are looking for, like The Catcher in the Rye.\”

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Reader Friendly

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
[shelf]The words of Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye capture a true emotional connection with a story and its characters. It’s felt upon picking up that special book from the shelf: the one that grabs the reader’s interest from the opening sentence, forcing one to skip meals and go to bed at sunrise just to finish it.
Realizing that someone else sees the world the same way we do can be very comforting. There are times when even those closest to us do not understand what we are going through, and it takes the support of a complete stranger to help us get by. Maybe they have experienced the same troubles, needs or desires. Along the way, they have made the same mistakes or accomplished the same goals. The only problem is finding the voice that will truly speak to us among the stacks and shelves.
Independent bookstores are an excellent place to start this search. \”I like to read mystery and fiction when I have the time, and by shopping at these smaller bookstores I [can] find different collections than I\’m used to,\” human biology junior Brittany Burkhart said. \”I usually go to Barnes and Noble, but by buying them [at indepedent bookstores] I would also be supporting local business.\” In the Lansing area, Everybody Reads, Schuler Books and Curious Bookshop offer students unique outlets for personal exploration and growth.
So, Everybody Reads?
[everybody]Upon entering Everybody Reads on Michigan Avenue in Lansing, the inspirational words of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quip, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” are seen immediately. Scott Harris, owner of the Lansing independent store, is working at doing just that. His store features a vast selection of reading material with an emphasis on social issues and activism, including information on environmentalism, gay and lesbian rights and diversity.
Harris said he finds it frustrating that people often focus on a few individual issues to fight for, rather than seeing how all issues are related. He hopes that when people come into the store, they will see the correlation among many of the world\’s most pressing issues. “Involvement in the recent election is evidence that people care about issues,” he said. “We have a place for them to look for more information on peace, justice, and multiculturalism.” He desires to educate the public on these issues, serving as a resource center for individuals with specific needs ever since the store opened last June, as well as providing information that may not otherwise be available to them.
[books]Harris has personally experienced the help that a community has to offer, and this is his way of giving back. After his wife passed away, he and his children went through very difficult times and received great support from friends and organizations. It became clear to Harris that students in the area were often not as fortunate in receiving the help and support that they needed. The bookstore and its missions were soon developed, and sections are dedicated to family issues such as grief recovery, divorce and adoption.
The books available include information that both adults and children can utilize, serving as a tool to help themselves and others around them. In addition to purchasing books, Everybody Reads has a section of free books and a book exchange program available to the public and those who may not be able to afford them. “The overall vision is that everybody counts – you are who you are, and everyone should be given equal opportunities,” Harris said.
Schuler Books is Indie?
These similar goals are echoed by Schuler Books and Music, another local independent bookseller which strives to cater to the needs and wants of individual clientele. Bill and Cecil Fehsenfeld, a husband and wife team from Grand Rapids, started the small chain, and two of the four stores are located in the area at Meridian Mall and Eastwood Towne Center.
“We choose on a store level what we want to buy and display,” said Audrey Brockhaus, promotions coordinator of the Okemos store. “Therefore, the differences between the stores are striking. We love to feature staff selections and we want to get people excited about what we like. We promote more quirky stuff instead of just cranking out Danielle Steele.” She acknowledges that each location has a personalized vibe, offering merchandise that may not be available in other places.
[audrey]As a fan of classic literature, Brockhaus takes pride in the fact that the store she works for is best known for its classic selection of both literature and music. She believes that her store is oriented toward older generations, while the Eastwood Towne Center store caters more to the college crowd. “We sell classic literature and they sell graphic novels,” she said. “They’re definitely more of a ‘hip’ store.”
It is clear that the owners desired to bring together both audio and visual art elements when they began operating the business in 1982. The stores satisfy a variety of tastes in each department and find ways to combine the two. As a testament to the establishment’s name, stacks of audio books are available, and there are prominent displays of literature on musical artists and groups. At the front counter of the Eastwood Towne Center store, books on U2 and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band surround the customer.
Curious About Books?
The counter at Curious Book Shop, on the other hand, looks completely different. It’s Seth Cohen and every other version of a hipster’s paradise, complete with a display case full of comic books. The store sells a variety of collectible comic books and magazines. [mark]“We sell pulp magazines such as The Shadow and Astounding Stories that were printed in the 1900s up until WWII,” Mark Wojcik, a sales associate at Curious, said. “Some of them are being reprinted, but we have originals, which are becoming increasingly hard to find.”
The most popular merchandise is the mystery and science fiction genre; however, the store features a wide variety of literature. The first floor of the store ranges from archeology and anthropology to Great Lakes nature and Michigan poetry. The second level of the store is home to sports, movies and rock n’ roll, with everything from MSU vs. Notre Dame programs from the \’50s to Rolling Stone covers and Beatles memorabilia.
Owner Ray Walsh has been adding to this collection for years, and started the business in the 1960s out of his MSU dorm room. In addition to attending various auctions, customers also come to the store to sell him their collectible paperback and hardcover literature, some of which is no longer in print or sold at large chain bookstores.
“We sell old copies of books such as The Wizard of Oz that only collectors will want to buy,\” Wojcik said, \”But we also sell more popular books that the students are looking for, like The Catcher in the Rye.\”

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I-KEA I-DEA

[ikea2]You hear the crashing of drums and cymbals, smell hot dogs fresh off the grill, and almost get run over by a mob of people. No, you’re not tailgating on a Saturday morning. You’re shopping at IKEA – where the search for home decorations and furniture has become a party.
The wildly successful chain began with a vision by a young Swedish businessman named Ingvar Kamprad. He opened his first store in 1943 to sell home necessities, such as paperclips and matches to neighbors at reasonable prices. Word of his office-supply concept traveled fast across Europe and business boomed.
Today, IKEA can be found in 29 countries across the world. Products range from bookshelves to twinkle lights, pots and pans to scented candles. This great variety of both basic and fun products has been attracting customers for years and is taking the U.S., and in particular the Midwest, by storm.
“I’ve lived in Massachusetts and New Jersey and been to the stores there,” MSU first-year law student Samir Asthand said. “[IKEA is] huge on the East Coast, and now it’s branching out and getting just as big here in the Midwest. It’s cheap, it’s trendy and it certainly makes your apartment more attractive.”
To say that the store is continuing to gain popularity among Midwest families is an understatement. The chain opened its first Michigan store in Canton this past summer and received an overwhelming response from the public.
“IKEA pretty much took over Canton,” Katie Calille, a Canton resident and journalism junior said. “They had non-stop news coverage on the TV and radio, as well as a countdown leading up to the grand opening. People came from all over Michigan and surrounding states to shop, and many of the hotels in the area were booked. They had tons of police directing traffic out front and it was impossible to drive anywhere near the store because there were people everywhere.”
[cash] Another Canton resident, Marissa Malcolm, was also present at the grand opening. The advertising sophomore describes the store as a real phenomenon that turned her town upside down. She and her family couldn’t wait to go on a shopping spree. “It was a madhouse,” said Malcolm. “The parking lot was huge but totally full. We had to go around about 15 times, but it was worth it. My parents bought tall shelves, shoe organizers, mirrors, picture frames, pillows, and even Swedish meatballs!”
Malcolm said one of the best draws about IKEA is the good food. “The Swedish meatballs are good, but I can’t forget the cinnamon buns!” she said. “Those are the real craze there.”
Shoppers are not only drawn to the aisles of unique inventory, but also to the food court, live music and ball crawl available for young children. It seems the only downfall is that all merchandise is do-it-yourself. Although time consuming and possibly disastrous, few are hesitating to break out the toolbox in exchange for a little Swedish ambience.
“I think that IKEA has changed the way that we shop,” said Calille. “People are very interested in the basic products at a low price and don’t even seem to mind that you have to put some of the bigger pieces together yourself.”
And in the end, for some shoppers, it feels better to put a little work into the piece that will ultimately serve as your bedside table or magazine rack.
“I bought a shelf that I had to put together myself and a tool kit to do it,” said Malcolm. “It comes with all the nails and everything it needs, which is nice. My books were lying all over the place and I needed to organize.”
These students wish there was a store closer to MSU, as do many others who have shopped there to decorate their campus living space. The relatively inexpensive cost of quality goods is a main reason why students and recent graduates are drawn to the store. After spending so much money on tuition, rent and groceries, there isn’t much left over. That’s why IKEA has become a favorite one-stop shop for those who want to jazz up their dorms, houses and apartments.
[stuff]And in an ultra-cool move for the European lifestyle store, IKEA has also outfitted homes for MTV reality shows, including “Sorority Life” and “The Real World”; the latter being well known for its posh homes. This adds an element of glamour to the mix, making shoppers believe that they, too, can live such a fantasy lifestyle.
“When I hear \’IKEA,\’ all I think about is Fight Club,” MSU Law student Aimee Briacombe said, referring to the book – and film based upon it – by Chuck Palahniuk.
Palahniuk, who published Fight Club in 1996, denounced the phenomenon in his work. He challenges the message of global consumerism that the store embodies, and the idea that increased spending coincides with increased happiness and social status.
“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things that you own, now they own you.” (taken from an excerpt of Fight Club, chapter 5)
This concept of decreased prices and increased buying power has become a fundamental part of mainstream American society. Therefore, IKEA is not only a store – it is a way of life that the United States and the Midwest are obviously embracing.
“I definitely think our society is becoming more materialistic, and that’s a bad thing,” finance sophomore Kristina Worthy said. “We’re buying more products that we want instead of just what we need. However, this could be good for the economy.”
Whether you like the idea of IKEA or not, the truth is, it\’s here to stay. Might as well enjoy the party in Canton for the time being – you can even grab a hot dog if you want.

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Best You\’ve Never Heard: Cryn\’ Wolf

[never]What do you get when you give country music an electric punch? “We call it power-twang,” bass guitar player Rich Wyllis said. “Our lead singer has the classic male country thing going, but our two guitar players tend to rock out a little bit more.”
The lead vocals of David Cranfill combined with Rich Wyllis on bass guitar, Brandon Lardie and Jeff Pardee each on guitar, and Jim Pardee on the drums creates a sound uncharacteristic of the genre.
It’s a sound that has been developing in the Lansing area over the past 10 years, when the band was originally formed. Since then the members have changed, but the group as it stands today has been playing together for a little over a year. Rich Wyllis and Jim Pardee met while playing with another band Audio Vertigo, and the rest is history. They hail from nearby towns such as Holt, Haslett and Williamston but came together to play across the greater Lansing area.
[crying]Today they are finding much success playing original material as well as covers. Performances across the state have included a wide variety of country, classic rock and 80s hits. The band members, who are between the ages of 29 and 38, are encouraged to spice up the sound by incorporating the styles closest to their hearts. “My personal favorite to play is the rock-oriented country, like Big and Rich, but everyone has their own taste,” Wyllis said. This dynamic explains the unique flavor of Cryn\’ Wolf.
“We’re grown men with jobs and families, but this is more than just a hobby,” Wyllis said. “It’s like another full- time job.” This obvious hard work and dedication combined with natural talent is what has won over fans and earned them a contract through the Colgate Country Showdown.
Regarded as one of the top talent searches in the United States, nearly 50,000 aspiring country singers compete in the Colgate Country Showdown on local, regional and national levels each year. On Oct. 14 they will be playing at the regional finals in Wheeling, W. Va., for the first time. The band has had previous experience playing back-up for competitors at the state finals, which took place Sept. 2 this year in Detroit at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.
Last year they played a show before the state competition began and opened for country singer and American Idol contestant Josh Gracin. “It was an excellent show and probably the biggest one we’ve done,” Wyllis said. “There were about 1,700 people there and everyone was really hyped and really into it.” [wolf] And really, who wouldn’t be once the boys start jamming?
“I checked them out online and even though I’m not a huge country fan, I would love to see them play live,” elementary education sophomore Megan Augustyniak said. “I’m all about supporting bands from the East Lansing area.”
Cryn\’ Wolf recently celebrated the opening of the Stampede Saloon in Lansing. Their performance was a hit, and the owner plans to keep them as a staple at the saloon. “The grand opening was a success,” Stampede Saloon owner Terry Ranshaw said. “The reception of the show was very good. They’re a great bunch of guys and very professional.”
If you haven\’t seen Cryn\’ Wolf yet, check them out at Stampede Saloon in Lansing, located on NE Street at the previous location of the Cactus Juice Saloon – they\’ll be playing there Sept. 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30. “We heard their music and liked them, so they’ll be playing here for the next three weekends,” Stampede Saloon manager David Matthews said.
The band will be performing from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. To find out more information, head over to their website at www.crynwolf.com.

Posted in Arts & CultureComments (0)

Best You\’ve Never Heard: Cryn\’ Wolf

[earphones]What do you get when you give country music an electric punch? “We call it power-twang,” bass guitar player Rich Wyllis said. “Our lead singer has the classic male country thing going, but our two guitar players tend to rock out a little bit more.”
The lead vocals of David Cranfill combined with Rich Wyllis on bass guitar, Brandon Lardie and Jeff Pardee each on guitar, and Jim Pardee on the drums creates a sound uncharacteristic of the genre.
It’s a sound that has been developing in the Lansing area over the past 10 years, when the band was originally formed. Since then the members have changed, but the group as it stands today has been playing together for a little over a year. Rich Wyllis and Jim Pardee met while playing with another band Audio Vertigo, and the rest is history. They hail from nearby towns such as Holt, Haslett and Williamston but came together to play across the greater Lansing area.
[band3]Today they are finding much success playing original material as well as covers. Performances across the state have included a wide variety of country, classic rock and 80s hits. The band members, who are between the ages of 29 and 38, are encouraged to spice up the sound by incorporating the styles closest to their hearts. “My personal favorite to play is the rock-oriented country, like Big and Rich, but everyone has their own taste,” Wyllis said. This dynamic explains the unique flavor of Cryn\’ Wolf.
“We’re grown men with jobs and families, but this is more than just a hobby,” Wyllis said. “It’s like another full- time job.” This obvious hard work and dedication combined with natural talent is what has won over fans and earned them a contract through the Colgate Country Showdown.
Regarded as one of the top talent searches in the United States, nearly 50,000 aspiring country singers compete in the Colgate Country Showdown on local, regional and national levels each year. On Oct. 14 they will be playing at the regional finals in Wheeling, W. Va., for the first time. The band has had previous experience playing back-up for competitors at the state finals, which took place Sept. 2 this year in Detroit at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.
Last year they played a show before the state competition began and opened for country singer and American Idol contestant Josh Gracin. “It was an excellent show and probably the biggest one we’ve done,” Wyllis said. “There were about 1,700 people there and everyone was really hyped and really into it.” [wolf] And really, who wouldn’t be once the boys start jamming?
“I checked them out online and even though I’m not a huge country fan, I would love to see them play live,” elementary education sophomore Megan Augustyniak said. “I’m all about supporting bands from the East Lansing area.”
Cryn\’ Wolf recently celebrated the opening of the Stampede Saloon in Lansing. Their performance was a hit, and the owner plans to keep them as a staple at the saloon. “The grand opening was a success,” Stampede Saloon owner Terry Ranshaw said. “The reception of the show was very good. They’re a great bunch of guys and very professional.”
If you haven\’t seen Cryn\’ Wolf yet, check them out at Stampede Saloon in Lansing, located on NE Street at the previous location of the Cactus Juice Saloon – they\’ll be playing there Sept. 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30. “We heard their music and liked them, so they’ll be playing here for the next three weekends,” Stampede Saloon manager David Matthews said.
The band will be performing from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. To find out more information, head over to their website at www.crynwolf.com.

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