Tag Archives: Old Town

Scrapping Along

small_IMG_6772The warnings started arriving via phone apps early: Heat Advisory for your area. The warning for extreme heat isn’t new in the Lansing area but we hadn’t had much heat yet this summer. Despite the threat, a purposeful storm system with high winds, heavy rain and lightening pounded the area just before noon reducing the temperatures by 10 more degrees. I’m pretty sure the anticipated high of 90 degrees never arrived. But the damage was done and plans were canceled leaving our family with nothing to do. I suggested, once again, that we could all drive to Old Town for The ScrapFest. Within minutes we were traveling west.small_IMG_6765For the first time The Scrap Fest was venturing out onto its own; it wasn’t paired with the Festival of the Sun and Moon. I didn’t really notice a reduction in foot traffic and it seemed to have a more craft festival feel to it. There were crafter tables around the perimeter of the event as well as hands on activities hosted by REACH Studio Art Center. There was the given musical entertainment area under a large canopy which had kept the crowd dry earlier. At the center was the Scrap Art. Each year participants forage through Friedland’s scrap yard locating the perfect set of recyclable material to create their masterpiece and each year the resulting art is magnificent. This year was not any different. There was a flexible metallic fish that actually had a swimming motion when a wheel was manually turned.small_IMG_6785 There was a giant mosquito that despite being all metal looked horrifyingly real, given this year’s bumper crop of the pest.small_IMG_6770 Crafted in metal there were turtles, dragons, fish, flowers, and even a mosaic Michigan table, including the Upper Peninsula as a high top table.small_IMG_6779small_IMG_6794small_IMG_6792We spent about an hour there looking at the art, enjoying the music and running into quite a few people we knew, which is one of the great things I love about Old Town.

Dressing Up for the Dogs

Ariniko Atistry Event Photography

Super Dog!

Sometimes I have a side gig where I take photos and even write a small news paragraph to accompany the photographs for the City Pulse. I was recently asked to cover a Halloween activity in Old Town. I had a really busy week at the AA Creative Corridor and thought there was no way I could fit it in but it happened to fall into a time frame that I had nothing else planned. Plus it was something that I thought my kids might enjoy. So last Friday I loaded them both into the car and told them we needed to go to Old Town to take photos of the Old Town Doggie Trick or Treat. Our pet Samoyed, Sparty, had passed away a few years ago and both of the kids have wanted a new dog. I don’t know if my letting them hang out with a crowd of dogs benefits my reluctance to get them a dog or not. But I think they had a great time. Here are some of the photos we took.

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Fluffy Strawberry

I am always intrigued by the idea to put a pet into a costume.

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Love the Look

Most of the dogs were cute a cuddly. This one really made me laugh though. What an adorable face.

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Cuddly Pumpkin

Cuddly Pumpkin



An adult dressing up like a dog.

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Frog Dog

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Color coordination is always a winner!

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Super Hero Huskies

Happy Halloween Everyone! Stay safe, fun and be kind to your neighbors as you spend time out and about this Friday!

In Summary


I have been finding it very difficult to begin, let alone finish this blog post. How does one write a post that summarizes a three year project? It started out as a simple walking project. Somewhere along the journey it changed. I changed. It started as a show and tell; look at Old Town, now let me tell you about it. Here’s Hawk Island, let me tell you about it. Somehow, though, you let me get personal. You let me tell you about my deceased brother and our adventurous childhood in north Lansing. You let me express my heartache that comes with a grandmother aging out of her matriarchal position in a family.  You let me tell you about people I admired. You let me express great excitement with events and festivals. You put up with all the photos of my twins.


You followed me as I traveled through your streets, around your neighborhoods, and into your businesses. When I began to get attention from media, or a photograph was purchased, or I was asked to join in on something great, you cheered me on. Then as I was coming to the end I needed support for my gallery, and you all came through on that too! I sit here in a gorgeous turn of the century space with 32 framed pieces of art on the walls, four of which have little sold signs under them. I have my LSJ article framed as well as the Capital Gains article written by my friend Suban. I also have a pile of The Lansing City Pulse sitting on a table with my photo on the cover.


So let me tell you about Lansing. Lansing is my home. It’s filled with people I love, admire, trust, respect and believe in. It has mom & pop and farm to table. It has urban gardens and Land Bank restorations. It has local celebrities that aren’t afraid to wear a pair of red and white striped socks or don a suit to be auctioned off for charity. It has sports teams and races (dirty, marathon, or colorful). It has green enthusiasts (Sweaty Mouse, Mid-MEAC, Walk & Bike Lansing) and the Blues (Blues Fest, The Root Doctor). There is such an excitement for entertainment and fun that holidays are invented and created here; Plaidurday, Capital City Dragonboat Races, Vacant, Peace of Lansing. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here that pairs up alongside the corporate world creating this wonderful ebb and flow.  It houses a captivating Capitol building that spurs conversation and debate. This is Lansing, Michigan sitting dead center in the palm of my right hand that I forever will clutch to my heart. Thank you Lansing!  #lovelansing


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Winter Walks

It’s around this time of year I start noticing those who begrudgingly reside in Michigan. They greatly enjoy the temperate springs, lavishly sunny summers and moderately warm falls. However when winter comes they absolutely loath the cold. It’s hard for me to understand this. I feel the temperate spring only seems so because of the frigid winters. Then the moderate fall can only exist and cause so much excitement because we all know what’s right around the corner. A true Michigan winter is the gauge we use to extract the gifts of the other seasons. I love Michigan winters; love them. I love the snow. I love the winter sports. I love the bulky clothes and furry boots. I enjoy the warming drinks and romantic fires. I love walking outside and hearing the cold; the snow crunching, the tree branches chinking together, the air forming physically around you. It feels clean and sanitized. It’s amazing. I also enjoy walking my walks in the winter. I often get asked if I walk year round and yes I do. The winters are some of my favorite walks. I find these winter walks to be filled with peace and tranquility as I am often the only walker. Even today, as I walked a very urban neighborhood the loudest noises came from birds. I only came across one pedestrian, an elderly man who was walking to the bus stop. I offered pleasantries as I waited to cross the street and we both extended hopes of staying warm when the cold snap finally arrives this weekend. We haven’t had a true cold snap in over 2 years. If all works out as planned this deliciously cold winter will create the most abundance of flowers in the spring.
My walk.


Last week I went on a 7.72 mile walk. I chose not to write my blog until today. I had headed to Old Town because I wanted to have a little bit of good cheer. Old Town makes me happy. Getting pleasant salutations first thing out of my car by Chad Jordon, the owner of Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, makes me happy. Walking the river trail makes me happy. One of the reasons I went to Old Town was I was creating a photo of myself for a project a group of #lovelansing folks were doing for a friend; a good friend. She had recently been diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. It broke my heart to think about all she had been through and all that she was going to go through. I needed this picture to be in a good and happy place.

After taking my photo to my satisfaction, I started my walk. I had a destination to the north. I would get off the river trail at the Turner Dodge Mansion and walk Grand River to MLK. There was a neighborhood in the North West corner I needed to get to. If I had the energy I would walk Filley to Turner and back to my parked car in Old Town. I didn’t know how far it would be but I was prepared for a good walk. As I walked and after I got home I decided that this walk made me realize a few things I was thankful for. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving I thought that very appropriate. So here is my City Saunter list of things I am thankful for.

I am thankful to have made friends with an incredible, active, energetic and creative group of people. This is a group who is willing to take ridiculous, funny, spirited and creative photos of themselves doing crazy, happy, inspiring things to send a positive, hopeful message to our friend who started chemo treatments today. The printed book of these images was 50 pages and was presented to her yesterday.

I am thankful that I have the ability and stamina to walk 7.72 miles. I am thankful I don’t have injuries that keep me from walking. I know many who can’t.
I am thankful on my walks to be on streets that still produce such vivid memories of my childhood.
I am thankful to live in the Lansing area. My family is here and my husband’s family is here.
I am thankful to my friend who started cancer treatments because she gave me the courage to get tested myself and finally get some peace of mind. I had been putting it off for almost 10 years.
I am thankful for Old Town, because I love it there.
I am thankful for Lansing’s River Trail because it’s the heart of Michigan’s Trails.

I am thankful for Lansing’s rivers even if it stinks sometimes, it’s so pretty!
I am thankful for life and trials and death because it breaks the norm and forces growth.
I am thankful for friends who have supported this project and me.
I am thankful for family for loving me with all their imperfections and despite my own.
I am thankful for my faith because without it I feel I would be so broken I couldn’t move.
Apologies for the typo!
Tomorrow I will be thankful for a great meal cooked by my husband’s mom who is an amazingly loving and kind person.
I am thankful that I can laugh and be happy and trust that even something really bad can be turned into something good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lights, Camera, Action

It’s spring here in Lansing. The flowers are blooming, the birds are flitting through the air chasing after each other; passion is in the air. Today I found some of that passion. However, it wasn’t the type that involves red roses and boxes of candy. It’s the type of passion found in a person who has determined that he is incomplete unless he is doing the thing he loves. In this instance I found a whole group of them working together, creating a dream out of their collaborative passion. As I made me way up Grand River in Old Town I could see the group, neatly staged in the outer lane of Artie’s Filling Station. Today they are shooting their 5th day out of a nine day schedule. After shooting they will edit their work to create an 80 minute feature. It will take roughly 2 to 2 1/2 years to have this film ready for the public. This is the fourth feature that Michael McCallum of Rebel Pictures, A.E. Griffin of UnSAFE Film Office and Jonathon Worful of Vernacular Films have created together. After all this time (Michael and A.E. have created over 30 films together), they work well together, like a choreographed Fred and Ginger number. They move together in a synchronized motion, finish each other’s sentences and create award winning movies together. In 2010 A.E. was named “Michigan Filmmaker of the Year” by Muskegon Film Festival and this year Michael was named “Michigan Independent Film Maker of the Year” at the 3rd annual Michigan Film Awards. That’s just the beginning of the awards won. Their process is simple: fast shoots, small group of dedicated workers, including family if need be and they’re really good, fundraisers and day jobs to fund it and a small town that eagerly hosts their projects. Yesterday the crew was set up at Golden Harvest, another locally owned and admired hole in the wall. Today it was Artie’s Filling Station. When John Miller, owner of Artie’s, was first approached he admittedly wasn’t sure, since he recently opened seven weeks earlier and didn’t want to deter customers. Then Michael came out and the two chatted. Sometimes ideas just seem to meld together. John not only wishes to serve up the best coffee in town but he also wants to expand the Artie’s experience with a live music show. Jazz & Joe would commence every Saturday in the very spot Michael’s crew was set up. It was the perfect test drive.

The thick clouds begin to part and the gusty wind starts to die down. “Sun”, someone casually states. Then another, more urgent this time, “Sun!” Quickly the reflector is grabbed, the light meter is positioned, and Michael’s father, William C. McCallum, star of this feature, is put into his position. Everyone is in position. It’s a moody scene with some swearing. The gruff, bearded actor is not happy about something. But the warm, not used to such a long, itchy bearded father of the director/producer has a coffee from Artie’s and a love for what he is doing. The theme of this feature, Buffalo, is regret and redemption. After talking with this small group of entrepreneurial artists, I can confidently state that regret is something these guys will not have. They’ve all struggled to make their dreams come true. They all love what they do, from making movies to opening a drive up coffee shop, and it shows.
Spring in Lansing begins the active festival season. In the next two weeks we get to experience the second Capital Area Film Festival. It is being paired up with the third TEDx Lansing. As the photographic coordinator of both I feel obligated to bring attention to these exciting events. Each on their own offers a great opportunity for individuals to experience a talk or movie that they might not get to without the event. This year A.E. Griffin’s The Girl with Blue Eyes will be shown at the CCFF. It stars Michael and A.E. won best editing at the Uptown Film Festival for it. April 13 is TEDx Lansing and the beginning day of the Capital City Film Festival which runs until April 15. Be a part of Lansing’s first significant events of the year. You won’t regret it.