Kitschy commercial to introduce Boston Coolers & Root Beer Floats at the Raven Café in Port Huron, Michigan. Enjoy!
While at first you might assume that this piece is religious in nature, it is not. This piece has to do with nature and science. The figures featured are the Madonna and Child because Mary is the most famous mother in all of recorded history. I chose her as my subject because in the time that she lived (and up until about 100 years ago), breastfeeding was natural and normal; it was a given.
The idea of decency, morality or the sexual nature people associate with breasts today did not exist in the same context back then. Breasts were for giving your child nutrition. As the most sacred of all mothers, Christians should feel comforted by the fact that Mary did breastfeed, as it is natural act shared between a mother and child.
Although I do not subscribe to any organized religion, I have a healthy curiosity about each of them. Religion is obviously a powerful motivator for people, as all the wars over it throughout history can attest to.
For me, breastfeeding my son was the closest thing I ever had to a religious experience. The primal connection that I felt while nurturing and comforting him was beautiful and amazing. So I hope that this piece in its own way helps to normalize breastfeeding and allows our breastfeeding patrons know that they are in a safe place where it is welcome.
Additionally, this piece speaks to the worship of false idols. For all of the 35 years I been on this planet I have only seen Jesus depicted as tall, white man. According to modern forensic and archaeological techniques, Jesus most likely appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, and was shorter and darker in appearance. Various religious people have argued with me that I am missing the point: It is not his appearance but his life and teachings that are most important. If that is the case then why paint him as a Caucasian (or African American, or Spanish depending on where the church is located)? Maybe there would be less racism if humans could be inspired by someone who looked different than them.
Painting & Artist Statement by Jody Parmann, Co-Owner Raven Café
Edited by Bonnie Sue Kalmar, Editor Extraordinaire
Reply by Bob Lotz, Raven patron and member of a local Episcopal church:
“I loved your article, and your depiction of Mary and Jesus — and your discussion of where so many Christians get it wrong. Of course Christians too often act like the all-white anti-sex league. Yes, let’s depict Mary, and Jesus, and the whole lot of them, as Jews from Palestine, people of color, descendants of the Hebrew slaves for whom Moses demanded, “Let my people go!” Let us see what this does to the theology in most of our white Christian churches. As for the notion that the point of Jesus is not his appearance … well, your interlocutors should remember that there is a context for everything, and in the context of the Roman Empire, Jesus came as a marginalized outsider, wrong color, wrong class, wrong nationality. If that doesn’t have to do with his teachings, what does?”
In last week’s e-newsletter I shared my desire for the creatures roaming the Raven Library. Inspired by one of my son’s toys I procured some mechanical fish for the Raven. I asked readers to help me out with a name in exchange for a sandwich or entree salad and non-alcoholic beverage. I’d like to say thank you for all the ideas!
The winner is (drumroll, please…) Kristin Hanson!
Just because I am a macabre individual (like Poe) doesn’t mean I’m not a firm believer in good vibes and positive energy, so here’s a chance for patrons to share some.
Like the sign says: READ, WRITE, SHARE…
They are located on the bookshelf by the western bank of couches.
New to the library is genre signage to help patrons find the perfect book to go along with their tasty beverage and/or meal. Enjoy!
Since Supernatural TV star Misha Collins’ retweet of the Times Herald story of the fundraising collaboration between the Deidre Murch and the Raven, folks from around the world have been contacting Deidre asking for photo of the wings empty so they can photoshop themselves in. Here they are! Because Deidre has now secured a spot on the trip, she is asking that donations instead be made to her friend Taylor, who is still working on her fundraising campaign. The money goes to the same place either way, so why not help get another worthy girl to Nicaragua? This is Taylor’s donation page: www.crowdrise.com/D2A-Nicaragua2015/fundraiser/taylorhardman. Thank you very much & enjoy!
Servers often get asked, “What’s good here?” So, in honor of National Wait Staff Day, we polled our wonderful staff regarding what they enjoy at the Raven. Here are their responses:
Ian: “Loss of Breath” Grilled Cheese Deluxe & Peanut Butter Banana Yerba Mate Chiller
Todd: “Mother’s Sinful” Sicilian Hoagie, Mushroom Brie Soup & Stewart’s Root Beer
Carol: “Loss of Breath” Grilled Cheese Deluxe & Caramel Hazelnut Latté
Alyssa: “Mother’s Sinful” Sicilian & Espresso
Katie: “Valentine” Vegetarian Sandwich & Caramel Hazelnut Iced Coffee
Brittiany: Grilled Peanut Butter & Jelly, Mushroom Brie Soup & any Flavored Latté Over Ice
Mike: “House of Usher” Turkey Sandwich & Blake’s Flannel Mouth Hard Cider
Jeanette: Hummus Pita Pizza & Chai Chiller
Storm: “Bon Bon” Olive Feta Melt, Mushroom Brie Soup & Vanilla Hazelnut Yerba Mate Chiller
Erin: “Oval Portrait” Spinach Salad & Super Green Fruit Smoothie
Eric: “Landor’s Cottage” Salad & Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
Kristen: “El Dorado” Mesquite Chicken Salad & Raven’s Brew Wicked Wolf Coffee
In conclusion, I’m pretty sure our Mushroom Brie Soup and Caramel Hazelnut-flavored anything is off the hook! Come visit your favorite server and give them a BIG FAT TIP in honor of the day.
Our t-shirts feature collective nouns that describe a group of Ravens. There are four, and they change depending on the the group of ravens’ activities.
- CONSPIRACY: When it comes to intelligence, these birds are in the same league as chimpanzees and dolphins. People imagine that if any species were capable of such dark collaboration, it would be them.
- CONSTABLE: This refers to the group of ravens often seen flying around the Tower… of London. Historically they were thought to be watching over the monarchy in residence there.
- UNKINDNESS: Ravens are clever and very adaptable. While they mostly feed on carrion, occasionally they will team up to hunt live prey. As you can imagine, it’s a gruesome sight to see.
- STORYTELLING: Ravens disseminate information to others in their group. For example, scientists have found that if they assist or are friendly to an individual raven, the other ravens in their group become friendlier towards that member.
These threads are $17 when purchased at the Raven. They’ll also be available online via CafePress.
I was watching one of my favorite serials called Supernatural, and an epic battle culminated in an angel dying, which burned giant beautifully macabre black wings on the concrete where he lay. I instantly started plotting how and when I’d reproduce them. The idea was perfect for three reasons:
- As an artist, they took my breath way.
- As the owner of the Raven, a big black bird, they made sense.
- The best way to photograph the reenaction of the scene is from above, with the subject lying down. The Raven has a second-floor balcony that’s the perfect vantage point.
The opportunity arose when my dear friend and community activist Deidre Murch was raising money to build a school in Nicaragua with non-profit outfit Random Acts, headed by Misha Collins, an actor we both have an affinity for, who plays an angel on Supernatural. All of a sudden I had a good cause to make beautiful art! So, coming up in this month I’ll be creating giant black wings in the alley behind the Raven (weather permitting). I’ll be announcing the date one week in advance. Supernatural fans, cosplayers and folks who just really want a unique photo are invited to come get their photo taken with them.
We’ll have a donation jar available to help Deidre get to Nicaragua. Stay tuned to Raven Cafe’s website, Facebook and/or Twitter for the announcement of the date!
Did you know Raven patrons have been sharing secrets for years in shared journals, as well as leaving notes in our coffee tables to the point of overflowing?
It was so bad I was forced to clean out the drawers, but what to do with all the beautiful artwork, thoughtful quotes and scintillating secrets? These days immortality can be achieved digitally, so in an effort to preserve the crumpled napkins we’ve started an album called “Coffee Table Tales” via Facebook. We post a few every week- enjoy!