C4W (Costumes for Woodrow)

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The challenge.

“I’ll NEVER use this in life!” I can hear myself saying in 9th grade in Algebra, but recently the day arrived where I needed to utilize these skills for practical purposes. I had a 48″ wide board that I needed to cut into three pieces to create a triangular receptacle that neatly fit in the 90° corner of the small foyer of the Raven Café. Its triangular design was important to retain the space’s handicap accessibility. What’s a girl who failed Algebra in high school to do? Ask her co-workers for help, that’s what. They put their heads together and sorted out that it the formula needed was the Pythagorean theorem: A²xB²=C²

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GM Alyssa Dauphinais & Handyman Higgins liked math in high school.

Coincidentally, this receptacle was for the use of collecting Halloween costumes for neighborhood elementary school Woodrow Wilson’s C4W’s (Costumes for Woodrow) initiative. Their new principal, Joe Kramer and his wife Sarah, were disheartened to see that approximately one-quarter of their students did not have costumes for their Halloween parade this year. They contacted the Raven and asked if we would be a drop-off spot for new and gently used costumes, so next year costumes would be available for students who came to school on Halloween without one. We at the Raven love Halloween (we celebrate all the way through New Year’s Day with jack-o-lanterns rocking Santa hats!) Halloween magic lives and breathes in our Poe-themed cafe, so we were on board!

Our triangular Frankenstein box contains one costume thus far. Woodrow Wilson Elementary and the Raven will be accepting donations through December 1st, so please consider donating your children’s old costumes or shopping the post-Halloween sales for some. Last year, Toys R Us had a whopping 90% off costumes after Halloween, which priced them at $3-$4!

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Fun fact: The Raven has dungeon-like workroom in the basement.

Dark Arts… Poe Would Be Proud

Photo Credit: Karleigh Martin


Nature beckons patrons to the lowest recesses of the Raven Cafe, where the ever-changing chalkboard art of Miss Marissa Page enhances the lavatory. Admiring the unique sounds of low music and bands like Harley Poe, Horror Funk Punk, she displays an unexpectedly upbeat, “almost comic style” in her own words as an artist, despite her frequent use of garbage animals and dark themes. Her Ghoulish Garbage art was recently featured at the 2017 Art Hop in Downtown Port Huron and select pieces, including unique graphic patches for $3 each, are still available at the cafe, where Ms. Page has been a cook for two years.
Many of her flyers include renditions of opossums, and when the world’s tensions sporadically overwhelm her, she likewise retracts until she releases her emotions in the creation of her art. When she’s not creating graphic or culinary art or attending shows, she may be found cuddling with her six adorable rats, two felines, and a friendly tarantula. When asked if there was anything she would tell her twelve-year-old self, she responded, “Don’t doubt yourself. You’ll get somewhere you didn’t expect to be,” expressing her path to becoming a member of the Raven Cafe family, as her gothic eyes smile.

Marissa keeps her prices reasonable, including her work she does as a graphic artist, designing show flyers, band art, shirt designs, album art, and other promotional materials for Mid-Michigan musicians. Her graphic designs are viewable on Facebook @hxrrorgrrl

Story by SK Mabry, Raven Media Specialist 

Job Opportunity for Creative/Responsible Student

librarian2HOURS PER WEEK: 6 (9 once a month)
PAY RATE: $8.90 per hour
APPLICANT: High School or College Student

RESPONSIBLITIES:
1. Manage Library

  • Check in new books
  • Organize and clean bookshelves as needed
  • Research old books, list on Amazon / process and ship orders

2. Manage Kid’s Table & Games

  • Check in new children’s books
  • Organize and clean children’s bookshelves as needed
  • Audit games for missing pieces

3. Some photography and photo editing

4. Stock and clean gift corner as needed

5. Assemble and package gift sets

6. Maintain online presence via Instagram, Facebook and WordPress

7. Similar miscellaneous jobs as needed

Ideal candidate will have strong communication skills (writing), basic photography knowledge, be comfortable working on a computer (Microsoft Word and Office) and be well versed in social media interfaces such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress.

Candidate will be a self-starter with the ability to work independently and without constant supervision. They’ll show a sense of urgency while working and be responsible with managing Raven social media vehicles without engaging in their own personal correspondence.

Interested candidates should submit a resume and 250-word writing sample that reviews a book or author they are familiar with to jody@ravencafeph.com

The 16th Member

In 2015 I joined Team Unmentionables to compete in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (aka GISHWHES). For the uninitiated, it was created by TV star Misha Collins (Castiel of Supernatural) to spread kindness, weirdness and creativity, which are all ideas the Raven actively supports.

It’s common to have profound epiphanies amid the week-long hunt. It has a way of forcing you out of your shell and connecting you with people in ways you never thought possible. I always come out the other side feeling grateful to my friends and family who are willing to help me with my crazy items.

Specifically the Raven proprietor, my husband Sadaat Hossain, was incredibly supportive with this and past years’ hunts. When I wasn’t using his back as a canvas or asking him to pose for crazy photos he was caring for our children, facilitating completion of items for the hunt.

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Additionally, I realized that my team actually has the advantage of a 16th member: the Raven itself. The premises of the building, it’s creative staff and patrons have helped with many items over the years.

From the bottom of my heart, to all who have helped me over the years, thank you.

Sincerely,
Jody Parmann

Feature Shelves

Feature shelves are relatively new here to the Raven and most people don’t know much about them, so we are always trying to find fun and creative ways to grab our customers’ attention.
You can tell whether a shelf is a feature shelf if they have a colorful backboard (as opposed to the exposed brick of our facility). Currently we have three shelves: Women’s Empowerment (red shelf), Blind Date with a Book (blue shelf), and Animal Lovers (green shelf.)
On the Women’s Empowerment shelf, we are featuring the Raven’s Women’s Rights Campaign, replete with beautiful art from some of our very talented female Raven family (more on that can be found here). Along with an array of books authored by influential women such as Maya Angelo you’ll find other Women’s Empowerment material, such as books of poetry to help combat and spread awareness on violence against women.
The Animal Lovers shelf is filled with memoirs, informational material, fiction and much more based around all animals. From creepy crawlers to poodle pups, if you’re an animal fanatic you will surely appreciate this shelf!
The third is the Blind Date with a Book shelf, chock full of unknown books wrapped in plain brown paper, ready for daring patrons to scoop them up and enter an adventure! New books are added regularly and ready for a new home.
These shelves change periodically, so if any of these pique your interest be sure to make an appearance before they change!

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– K. Jones

#RavenCafeROCKS

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The Raven Café in Downtown Port Huron is a big fan of the “Port Huron Michigan Rocks!” movement, and we’d like to help it along. This movement combines some awe-inspiring ideas:
  • Creativity & Art
  • Treasure Hunting
  • Being Outside
  • People Connecting
  • Family Fun
  • Kindness & Positivity

Who wouldn’t want to promote these things?

img_7345-2Living along the coast, there is no shortage of great rocks in our area, but if you’re short on time the Raven has some in their front foyer, free for the taking & complete with decoupaged tag.

To sweeten the deal, the Raven will be running a contest through the end of September. Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick up rocks from Raven foyer.
  2. Paint them! Leave the tag visible (we suggest putting a piece a tape over it before you begin painting).
  3. Photograph it when you hide it. Include picture of back (so we know it’s one of ours).
  4. Post on Facebook with hashtag #RavenCafeRocks (preferably the Port Huron Michigan Rocks! page)You can also post on Twitter @ravencafeph or Instagram @ravencafe_ph with #porthuronmichiganrocks as part of your caption.
  5. Submission deadline: September 30, 2017

Trophies and prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

“Most Artistic”
“Most Nerdy” (view trophy)
“Most Colorful”
“Most Adorable”
“Most Inspiring”
“Most Scary”

Trophy Rocks will be painted by local artist Jody Parmann (the gal writing this), along with a $10 gift card to Hobby Lobby (to buy more paints and brushes) and a $10 gift card to the Raven. Science has proved that caffeine and/or sugar promotes creativity. We read it on the internet, so it must be true.
Now if your wondering “what’s in it for Raven?” Beyond a little advertising for a business that likes to celebrate art and creativity, it’s all about the “ripple effect” (see GISHWHES). As members of this community, we want to be the proverbial pool where these pebbles are dropped.
Open to all ages (parents permitting). Winners announced October 1, 2017. Happy painting, Port Huron!

A Beast of a Bicycle Rack

The Raven Café has added a new beast to its collection, and it will furiously protect your bicycle while you’re inside.

Crafted by Detroit-born, Algonac-raised Port Huron native Warren Doss, this bike rack is a mixed-media piece that combines re-purposed metal, butter knives, a motorcycle tank, copper tubing, sheet metal mig-welded, silver-soldered and braised together. The driftwood that this monster of a bird is perched on was found at Marysville Beach. Doss burned it with a torch, sanded and stained it, and finally coated it with shellac.

Most days Doss can be found at Delta Industrial of Chesterfield, where he’s worked on and off since 1996. He was introduced to the welding industry by his older brother Dave. While having earned a great deal of welding experience at Delta Industrial, Doss feels he’s plateaued and now applies that knowledge to his fine art creations. He hopes to eventually make the transition to full-time artist, however he doesn’t feel comfortable calling himself that until he can dedicate the time and energy that the title deserves.

While on the topic of Doss’s art, he also has a large painted piece on display at the Raven. Doss describes his art as “spontaneous.” Paint is his preferred medium because it lends itself to conveying his ideas quickly. He is most creative early in the morning and late in the evening “when the rest of the world is asleep.” Doss is participating in an art show at The Loft Fine Art Gallery in Mount Clemens with a group of 5-7 artist, dubbed “The Creative Coalition.”

In 2002 Doss attended the Recording Institute of Detroit, where he received certificates in recording engineering with a producer credit. He uses these skills in his music project “White & Wong” with his friend and brother-in-law Chris Becker, whom he has been making music with since 2002. Near constant fixtures of this musical project, which Doss describes as spontaneous/experimental, are fellow miscreants Tim Kresevich and Pauly Zimmer.

Within Doss’s musical pursuits he is a circuit bending hobbyist. Circuit bending is the creative, chance-based customization of the circuits within electronic devices, such as low voltage battery-powered guitar effects, children’s toys and digital synthesizers to create new musical or visual instruments and sound generators. When producing music, Doss often starts with a circuit-bent beat and then builds on it.

Doss apparently doesn’t sleep, as his creative endeavors don’t stop with art and music. He also writes poetry, which he describes as “therapeutic self-help.” He utilizes this form of expression to remind him of who he really is, to burst the bubble of societal norms that demand conformity. Doss says he lives in them when he has to, but it’s an uncomfortable suit he shrugs off when he can.

The Raven bike rack is located at the rear of the building, and is Doss’s largest metal project to date. He is now more receptive commission-based work after the initial positive response to the bike rack. Interested persons can e-mail him at dossmetalworks@gmail.com

Wednesday Night Mystery Science Theater

If you’ve been paying attention (or haven’t been, but have ventured into the Raven on a Wednesday night) you know we show films upstairs weekly. They vary in theme and genre depending on the current season, upcoming holidays, reboots in production, anniversaries, etc.

This summer we’re doing things a little differently. To account for the longer days and the location of our screening area (directly against a window), we’re starting our movies at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7:00.

We’ll be featuring classic Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episodes. For the uninitiated it’s a comedic experience that features a dude marooned in space and forced to watch campy B movies. To maintain his sanity he builds himself some robot friends. They keep him company and provide commentary on each movie as it plays. It’s a riot!

Grab a friend (or Trumpy), a tasty beverage and come check it out. You could be doing stupider things.

ms_logoJune
6/14 – The Movie
6/21 – Werewolf
6/28 – Boggy Creek

July

7/5 – The Giant Spider Invasion
7/12 – SoulTaker
7/19 – Manos: Hands of Fate
7/26 – Time Chasers

August

8/2 – EEGAH!
8/9 – Final Justice
8/16 – Hobgoblin
8/23 – I Accuse My Parents
8/30 – Prince of Space

Inspired by Our Libraries

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It’s National Library Week and, coincidentally, I’ve been updating our Kid’s Corner with new things inspired by our local libraries.

Weekly my children and I patronize one of our local libraries (our favorite is the St. Clair County Main Library, but occassionally you’ll find us at Marysville or G. Lynn Campbell). It’s usually for their amazing Storytimes, but even when nothing’s going on we’ll spend a few hours their perusing books, doing activities and playing with their toys.

The first shelves we visit at the library are the new and featured books, so at the Raven we rotate our children’s collections quarterly (ish) – choosing appropriate books for the proximal seasons and holidays.

Always looking for ways for my wee children to work on their fine motor skills, we love the magnetic tabletop games (found at Marysville Library), so I picked up a few of those (no pieces- parents rejoice!).

Finally, new to the kid’s corner, will be a fun lil’ wooden tea set. This one is a no-brainer for the Raven. Little people having pretend tea parties. TRES ADORBS!

When spending quality time with your little people, please consider bringing them to the Raven – it’s magical place for making magical memories.


If you haven’t visited our local libaries lately, you should! They have lots of great stuff going on. http://ebw.tv/more-than-books/

Women’s Rights Artful Campaign

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(R to L): Jody Parmann, Kristen DeWitte, Samantha Damon and Marissa Page.

About two months ago I was contacted by a patron inquiring if we’d be interested in doing a postcard campaign as part of the “Women’s March: 10 Actions/100 Days”. I thought it sounded like a fantastic idea, as I’ve personally been troubled with recent proposed and passed legislation that infringes on women’s rights.

Wanting to put a personal spin on it, I solicited some art from a few talented staff members. The Raven seems to attract the creative sort, and we have artists, musicians and crafty folks coming out of the woodwork (see what I did there?). The only direction I gave them when commissioning the pieces was “women empowerment”, and they did not disappoint! The pieces vary in style, medium and message.

Monday, April 10th was our official kick off and let me just say, wow! The response has been overwhelming (in good ways and bad). The very first day a gentleman came in and donated $40 to the cause while speaking fondly of his daughter. Just this morning I witnessed two gentleman filling out postcards! I’m humbled by the fact that men are involved and passionate about the cause. Being a feminist means “equality for all”, and I imagine these men possibly have mothers, sisters, and/or daughters that have had a positive influence in their lives. Who wouldn’t want get behind the idea of “women’s rights”, right?

Well… there have been some naysaysers online, so I want to be very clear with this campaign’s intention: it is to give a voice to those who have concerns. The postcards are blank and can be personalized in a way that is meaningful to the author. Personally, and ESPECIALLY as a business, we understand that we all walk our own paths, and we would not be so discourteous as to insist that you follow ours. The campaign is to provide a vehicle for folks who choose to voice their opinions, be they on the left, right, in the middle, up, down, sideways, or any other orientation.

Art prints are displayed on the first level and 11×17″ prints are available for purchase (half of the proceeds go to the artist and half goes to pay for printing and postage for the campaign). Because there have been a lot of inquiries, we are also selling the postcards for $3 each. They are FREE for those interested in filling one out and leaving them in the mailbox we have stationed downstairs. The Raven will take care of the postage and put them in the mail for you.

If you are not local but interested in purchasing a print or postcards, do have them available on our Cafe Press page.

Cheers,
Jody Parmann