#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

Blind Date with a Book

blinddatewithabook

There’s always a new adventure when stepping foot into the Raven Cafe. Everywhere you turn there is a book in view, yearning for you to open and enjoy with your coffee. There are mysteries and escapades right at your fingertips, ready for you to grasp and escape from reality. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve that experience and keep the adventure alive. One of our dearly beloved Raven family members, Ian “Tacoslayer” Haas, brought up this wonderful idea of having a “Blind Date with a Book.”

Therefore, I have gone through our library and picked out books from random sections to contribute to this project. They are all wrapped in the same kraft paper and have reviews from real-life bookworms that state what might pique your interest and find out what’s behind the enigmatic wrapping without giving away the actual title.

These treasures are priced at $3 and will initially be displayed on our “Featured” shelf located behind the couches. It currently has a selection of “love” inspired books. Ultimately, the Blind Date books will be located in the sections where they would be usually shelved. While this may give the genre away, the rest is up to you to uncover. Look around, read the reviews, find one that provokes something inside of you and take flight!

The wonderful thing about books is their power to take you away to somewhere profoundly new and riveting, somewhere only you and your imagination can go, so why not let it? Open your mind and go on a Blind Date with a Book!

~K. Jones

Adventure Awaits

california
CALIFORNIA CLUB Turkey breast , bacon, cream cheese, fresh avocado, tomatoes and spinach served on our rustic country loaf , grilled with butter and garlic…$8.99
Stories of adventure often begin with old books, treasure maps and thought-provoking art. The Raven has all the elements to get you started, including engaging your taste buds. With the passing of 2016 we laid our “Daily Specials” to rest and replaced them with a Happy Hour and a featured food or drink, dubbed “Flavor of the Week”.
dailyspecialsFor Happy Hour, each week we’ll offer a featured draught for $2 a pint, Monday through Friday from 4:00-6:00pm.
Flavor of the Week will include drinks, sandwiches and salads that are new to the Raven. We’ll be encouraging folks to try them out and, based on the feedback, they may become part of our permanent menu.
For those of you who are greatly mourning the death of the Daily Specials we’ll be offering a Loyalty Special for cardholders that will alternate between $2.00 off our entree salads and entree sandwiches with each newsletter publication (see the black sidebar to the left). If you don’t already have a Raven Loyalty Card, what’s taking you so long?

Librarian’s View: Featured Book Shelves

55688026-515a-4139-80ff-618d56840647Whenever we do anything new here at the Raven, I get overly excited. Whether it be painting stools or simply changing out whole sections of books. It makes me over-the-top happy. I have been doing weekly book features for almost a year, and it has been quite a bit of fun for me. I got to personally choose one book from our library each week and make a post about it on our website and Facebook page. However, one book a week simply won’t suffice.
My exquisite boss, JP, came up with the idea of doing Feature Shelves; compiling all of the books that fit into a specific category, based on upcoming events and/or seasons, and dedicating one whole book-shelf to it. With that being said, I have already implemented this into the cafe! Art, Politics and Boating are our three Featured Book Shelves you can see for the next month. These shelves are all located in the upper section of the café, and we encourage our patrons to rummage through and find something you like, read it and shove it back! Make a mess and don’t worry about it! I’m the librarian for a reason.
~Kira J.

New Art & Artists

artbanner2We 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:

Warren Doss – Painter, welder, musician… a real renaissance man!

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.

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.

 

 

The Case of the Missing Raven

ravenTechnically 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.

rick

Rick Russel

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.