Bamboozle Unmasked!

Hi there!

“Oh, puppy farts…” I’ve been asked to unmask. Sometimes it stinks, like puppy farts, to have to share your secrets.

I’ve even been known to disguise myself as Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy to avoid unveiling my true identity and remain a bit of a mystery– I AM GROOT in those regards!

Now that I’ve been asked to disclose who the new Raven Café Librarian is hiding behind the blue police phone box door on the 2nd floor, I’ll open the door and let you in on another little secret: like the Dr. Who series, my world inside is much larger than it appears on the outside.

I’m happiest looking at the world through a child’s eyes, and that’s the only way I discovered an orchestra. Did you know that’s what a group of crickets is called, an orchestra? I didn’t until I heard them singing in a willow tree while working in Daytona Beach, Florida for three years and investigating who the voices belonged to. It was no common cricket!

Now take a moment to examine your thumb (someone else’s will work, if you don’t have one) and notice the distance from the top down to the second knuckle; that’s about as tall as they are after their third molting and they dress in clothes, only you can’t spot them unless you can be as a child, like me, and believe they exist. They’ve made life unpredictable for a diverse foster family and, recently, I discovered these mischievous crickets, Bamboozles, can be found almost anywhere, hoodwinking whomever they choose and changing the course of their lives.

In fact, I’m certain Bamboozles brought me to Raven Café last year on my quest for gluten-free menu options and a great cup of coffee, resulting in my recent return to fulfill my vision of becoming a children’s writer in residence. Raven Café feels like the kind of place you can be your quirky self and probably why a Bamboozle guided me here – I actually dreamt of readers one day coming to the café after the Bamboozles’ stories are published, just to see if there’s a Bamboozle hiding behind the door. Oh, how I hope I am!

Formerly I was all business, working in healthcare and legal offices to pay the bills for three decades, but that all gets too serious, ya know? I dabbled in freelance journalism, creative writing, children’s programming and community theater. Since I’ve given my bills away (thanks, honey!), I’ve found my voice to write children’s literature full-time. Bamboozles have given me the courage to take the leap and settled me into a tiny 651 square foot home on the banks of the Belle River in Marine City with my husband, Robert, and an extremely smart poodle named Ilsa.

As your new librarian at Raven Café I look forward to maintaining a comfortable literary environment and keeping you posted on what’s happening. I encourage you stop in and say hello, connect with me through email, or to drop off the last great book you read at my door to share with others- perhaps include a note telling me about your experience at Raven Café and why you think others might enjoy what you’ve read!

Yours truly,
Susan Mabry, Raven Media Specialist

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Michael Martin “Digger”

Breakfast, anyone?

Doors open at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and 9:00 am on weekends at the Raven Cafe, and the friendly staff is ready to get your morning started out right. Along with an assortment of breakfast items on the menu, you might want to try a house special called the Grave Digger’s Blanket.

Michael Martin, who’s been with the cafe since 2005, originally developed the combination of seasoned hash browned potatoes, skillfully grilled, smothered with your choice of cheese and topped with an over-easy egg, for his children. After preparing it for a server one morning it became a popular special request among regulars, and eventually a favorite on the Raven Cafe menu.

Who is Michael Martin? Friends know him as “Digger”, and soon enough we’re all friends at the cafe. He smiles when you ask him how he got the name. “It was a stage name,” he explains, “assigned to me when I worked as a lighting specialist for a band called the Salty Dog in Galveston, Texas.” He continued to use it as he traveled north to work on construction sites, because as he said, “when someone yelled ‘Mike’, every Mike turned around, but when they yelled ‘Digger’, there was only one.”

The oldest of four children, all boys, “I was a home cook. I learned many of the household cooking and crafts, including how to crochet and knit. I enjoy listening to people’s comments from the cafe as they enjoy the food I’ve prepared. My proudest moment at the Raven was when a young finicky eater tried a bite of their mother’s Grave Digger’s Blanket and went on to eat the entire thing!”

So dig yourself out from under those warm covers and head to the Raven Cafe for a warm breakfast. Try the Grave Digger’s Blanket, if you dare, and meet Digger if you’d like. He’s a great storyteller, avid collector of artifacts, and one of many friendly faces you’ll find at Raven Cafe! Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. on weekdays and until noon on weekends- come share the morning with friends!

Images & Story by SK Mabry, Raven Media Specialist 

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 Café, where the ever-changing chalkboard art of Mar Page enhances the lavatory. Admiring the unique sounds of low music and bands like Harley Poe, Horror Funk Punk, they display an unexpectedly upbeat, “almost comic style” in their own words as an artist, despite their frequent use of garbage animals and dark themes. Their 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 Page has been a cook for two years.

Many of Page’s flyers include renditions of opossums, and when the world’s tensions sporadically overwhelm them, they likewise retract until they release their emotions in the creation of their art. When Page is not creating graphic or culinary art or attending shows, they may be found cuddling with their six adorable rats, two felines, and a friendly tarantula. When asked if there was anything they would tell their twelve-year-old self, Page responded, “Don’t doubt yourself. You’ll get somewhere you didn’t expect to be,” expressing their path to becoming a member of the Raven Cafe family, as their gothic eyes smile.

Page keeps their prices reasonable, including their work they do as a graphic artist, designing show flyers, band art, shirt designs, album art, and other promotional materials for Mid-Michigan musicians. Their 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

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/