In keeping with the rock spirit of music festivals, MI Fest has corralled an impressive roster of talented and creative people – individuals who have lent a great deal of color over the years to the shake and rattle. They've created music in their own right, they've designed posters, they've given us canvases imbued with the same "beat" as the songs being played on the stage. In short, they've added to the soundtrack in a number of ways.
The gallery tent itself will be supervised by none other than Mark Arminski."We put together a respectful sampling that complements the music and the shared history of so many of the performers coming here. What you'll be 'seeing' is a visual counterpoint to what you'll be 'hearing' and enjoying."
Arminski (whose own works will be part of the show) devoted his early years to pieces inspired by the Detroit music scene. The same MC5 and Cass Corridor era was integral to Carl Lundgren's career. A contemporary and friend of Gary Grimshaw, Lundgren took his considerable graphic skills beyond the Grande Ballroom and into the fields of painting and illustration.
One featured artist simply went directly from drumsticks to paintbrush. Johnny "Bee" Badanjek supplied powerful percussion for Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels when that band was the only competition giving Berry Gordy sleepless nights. Badanjek will be playing with The Rockets and his portraits and abstract renderings will be in the gallery. Steve Galli is also in the house and we imagine that the pictures taken by the Palace's house photographer more than capture that pure energy we mentioned earlier. Similar prediction for those snapped by travelin' man Tom Weschler.
Describing one participant as legendary may strike some as extreme, but in the case of Stanley Mouse ... well, the adjective fits. Mouse, the Detroit native described in many quarters as "the man who drew the face on rock music," gave The Grateful Dead a resonance of fire from the spectrum that perfectly matched their melodies. And if Mouse belongs proudly to a past generation, his torch was picked up with great alacrity and skill by Ron Jacek and Mark Thompson.
So stop by the tent. Buy a print or an original work. Rock n' roll never forgets – and if the memory falters a little from time to time, there's always the art to serve as a reminder. | RDW
Mi fest artist gallery • 9/17, gates open at noon • mi-fest.com