We are at a time in our history when “the establishment” would like to see us living a cookie-cutter life, in a vanilla relationship with perfectly behaved gingerbread children. However, life doesn’t look like this for most of us and that in itself is cause for celebration. For those who have creativity oozing from every pore, who live an authentic life brave enough to let your freak flag fly, we salute, thank and celebrate you. You are in-the-flesh art. You decorate our world with your uniqueness and make it interesting.
So. We want to know: how do you Christmas? We want see and share all the unique ideas and traditions you bring to the holiday because, at the Raven Cafe in Port Huron, Michigan, we do things a little differently.
Considering that Poe is our inspiration, we try to add some darkness to the red and sparkly mess that is Christmas.
From now until December 17th we’ll be looking for your photo or video submissions with #celebratestrange posted to our Facebook page or #celebratestrange @ravencafeph on Twitter.
The winner will win the featured Raven swag in the video. Submit as many entries of yours as you like. The more you enter, the better chance you have to win!
Please SHARE and help us bring the incredible weirdos out of the Weirwood. We love them and want to celebrate them.
Q: Do I have to be a US resident to play?
Q: Do I have to be a US resident to win?
A: No, you’re already a winner in our book, but to win the prize, yes, you must be a US resident.
Q: Does, the photo or video have to be from this year?
A: Nope, traditions take time to build. If you have a killer photo from your childhood by all means upload and tag it for consideration.
Music by Myuuji
There are countless great and worthy causes a charitable spirit can get behind, and as independent business owners Sadaat and I are approached regularly for support. The hard part is choosing where to dedicate our efforts, though. For us, it often comes down to proximity. We like to impact our local community, neighbors, etc. (in effect, “friends of friends”).
Recently, however, we’ve been encouraged by our staff to get behind a cause that has been making ripples nationally. They are called “Water Protectors” and our staff, Sadaat and I stand with them. Living in Michigan surrounded by beautiful blue water, we appreciate their concerns about how the Dakota Access Pipeline could affect their water supply someday. We have not forgotten the people injured by the Flint water contamination.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! It doesn’t matter what you call them: balloons, jugs, bombs, melons, hooters, dirty pillows, boulders or a rack, the Raven wants to SAVE THEM ALL! We will be selling t-shirts and taking donations for McLaren Port Huron’s Free Mammogram Fund. The fund helps local uninsured and under-insured women get life-saving mammograms.
We have new artists displaying their work at the Raven. In addition, we have purchased a few new thought-provoking prints centered on social commentary. I have also pulled a few of my old dusty peaches out of the archive to hang. For me, art is like a child: I create it, I love it and then I send it out to the world.
As an ambitious young pup I was fortunate enough to be aided by members of the community to get my work out there and sold. This kindness has stayed with me and now, as a business owner with lots of expendable wall space, I love to have original art up. To pay it forward, when an artist sells work at the Raven the business does not take a commission. Only 10% goes to the employee who facilitates the selling of the piece, the rest goes to the artist.
Artists currently showing work in our Café include:
Nathan Dauphinais – A current resident of Hillbilly Problems, Michigan (originally from Port Huron), Raven staff member with a graffiti-illustrative style. The man also responsible for the Raven Cafe sign hanging immediately outside of the rear entrance of the building.
Carol Mason (MASON MADE) – A resident of Croswell who makes all sorts of arts and crafts (often aided by her handy husband Dean Mason), including decorated wooden boxes, candles, jewelry, wearables and so much more.
Cecil Williams – The Blue Water Area’s crown prince of stained glass, Cecil has pencil drawings on display as well. He has entire series hanging in the Raven’s upper-level balcony . The current series illustrates seminal Detroit rockers the MC5 in saint-like depiction.
Nick Dubay – Port Huron resident, Nick is a tattoo artist by trade (look him up and check out some of his tree tattoos – quite stylish). A fan of the macabre, many of his pieces reflect this affinity – which is right up our alley.
Joanie Parmann Roehl – Marysville High School art teacher and resident, Joanie has been making art for many years. She along with her students are responsible for many of the gorgeous murals at Marysville High.
Lee Hillis – Marysville resident and stained glass enthusiast. Lee has been dabbling in art since high school. Over a year ago she apprenticed under Cecil Williams at Studio 1219 and fell in love with the stained glass medium.
John Henry – An AMAZING artist, and dear friend of ours, John recently passed away and gifted us a few Poe-inspired pieces before he died. He has an posthumous art show coming up July 5 – 29, 2016 at Studio 1219.
Jody Parmann (me) – Port Huron resident, co-owner of the Raven and Marketing Specialist. I’ve been making art since I can remember. I work in many mediums and many styles. It’s just fun to get messy, and sometimes I make cool stuff in the process.
Technically it’s not missing, per se, we’re getting a new one! The old girl was up there for many years doing us proud, but she needed to be put out to roost, so to speak.
We’re having local blacksmith/wood carving artist Rick Russel create a new one for us. You’ve probably seen his work around town and didn’t know it. He’s one of the artists responsible for the gorgeous leafy railings in front of Studio 1219, the art gallery just down the road from the Raven.
Originally from Marysville, Michigan, Rick has traveled the northwest as a young man and apprenticed under a prolific metal smith in Oregon. He is currently the VP at a fencing and fabrication company in Warren. He’s a busy guy, as you can imagine, so he only occasionally gets to indulge in fine arts projects such as this. The projects that excite him are the ones that beautify his hometown and present unique challenges for him as an artist.
Stay tuned – we’ll keep you updated as our new raven nears completion.
Sadaat first met former server Andrew Ferriell when he performed at one of the Poltroons’ celebrated open mic nights at Lynch’s Irish Tavern. He immediately offered his band Poor Richard’s Almanac a handful of musician’s slots at the Raven. A few months down the line Andrew appeared in the afternoon with an impressive resume looking to join the team. He was hired on as a server and while in our employ he received many glowing comment cards from patrons. He left us recently to further pursue his music full-time after receiving an offer from a producer in Indiana. We wish him all the best and thank him for sharing his gifts with the Raven (even if only for a short time).
If you’d like to keep up with his music online, check out his bandcamp at https://poor-richards-almanac.bandcamp.com/releases
Recently when I came into work and saw a beat-up box with a note saying “scrapbook coming soon for these”, I couldn’t help but take some time to look at what was inside. In the box were pictures and post cards either from Michigan or being sent to Michigan. I couldn’t contain my excitement looking through the large pile knowing that I would to be the first to see them, read their messages and have the privilege to assemble them into a book.
The photo album cover says “Life Is Meant to be Shared” and the cards fit perfectly in it. Between the old, yet elegant, pictures ranging from portraits to ships to scenery, I became nostalgic for bygone times, and I have no doubt that our patrons will feel the same. The pictures are simply breathtaking! One that caught my immediate attention was of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. What a sight! Every man was wearing a suit and the women were decked out in elegant dresses. The greenery stood tall and proud as if it were straight out of a Robert Frost poem.
I can’t wait to add this to the library and see the impact it has on the Raven’s customers. It will be kept on the shelf for over-sized books located on the upper level balcony. I would love to see our patrons scroll through these magical pages and find that the pictures tickle their insides as they did mine.
Plus, there are about twelve postcards of kittens, from the Port Huron area nonetheless. Honestly, who could resist that?!
P.S. Postcards were donated to us by the Salvation Army located at 729 Howard St., Port Huron, Michigan.