1. From Here to Democracy: Strategies for Revoking Corporate Power and Building a Democracy Movement with Jeff Milchen: www.reclaimdemocracy.org
Please register via 
Jeff Milchen at (406) 582-1224, payment is due upon arrival: $30, with current or new (at $35 level or above) ReclaimDemocracy.org supporters paying $15. Maximum attendance is 22, with up to 3 slots offered to low-income folks willing to volunteer for ReclaimDemocracy.org. Participants must arrive on time. Some handouts are included in workshop fee.

This workshop will prod you to question some of your basic assumptions, deepen your understanding, and ultimately help sharpen your focus and effectiveness as an active citizen. We’ll explore the history of corporations rise to power, apply lessons of prior U.S. social movements to our struggle for democracy, and review some exciting new models citizens are using to stop corporate domination. We’ll also discuss how every campaign we wage on individual issues can help advance a larger movement to dismantle corporate power and revive democracy.

Jeff Milchen directs ReclaimDemocracy.org, a national, Bozeman-based organization working to revoke illegitimate corporate power systemically and realize equal political opportunity for all citizens. Their goals include revoking corporate claims to humans’ Constitutional rights and limiting corporations to strictly business activities. Milchen also co-founded of the American Independent Business Alliance, which helps communities nationwide support hometown businesses and resist chain proliferation.

2. Soul Work for the Social Activist: Peace of Mind in a Turbulent World with Nancy Shea:www.truenatureconsulting.com

Please register via Nancy Shea at (307) 690-1730, payment is due upon arrival: $30, with up to 3 slots offered to low-income folks. Participants must arrive on time. Please bring warm clothes for spending time outside.

How to keep our sanity in our work as activists. How do we work with the anger, grief and fear that arise when our work is about changing a world that we want to look different” In this workshop we will explore how to involve ourselves in deep life support. We will investigate the new capacities that are essential to living peacefully in our complex modern life: leading with compassion, working with difficult emotions, handling conflict, engaging more directly with nature, working with prejudice and privilege, creating safe environments, learning how to pause and to listen, navigating values and spiritual questions in a secular society. This is a retreat for activists. We will practice some of these fundamental skills with our colleagues.

Nancy Shea offers a broad and unique pallet of experience, knowledge and passion. She began her career thirty years ago, as a teacher and nature guide. Her curiosity about human behavior led to 20 years of study and training as a group leader, facilitator, conflict mediator, and life coach. As a natural leader, she spent 17 years in administration and executive leadership. Unique to her experience is her PhD in Philosophy with 15 years scholarship in human and environmental ethics. In 2005, she created TRUE NATURE CONSULTING to continue her commitment to creative cultural change.

JANINE BENYUS: What Life Knows: New Ideas from Biology that Could Change the World
Biomimicry seeks to emulate the time-tested adaptive strategies of many species of plants, animals and microorganisms to transform how we live on this planet. Janine Benyus of the Biomimicry Guild celebrates the newest ancient ideas bubbling up in the natural sciences, illuminating how evolution’s wisdom can help us design benign, life enhancing technologies while inspiring us to protect Earth’s biodiversity.

WIL BULLOCK: You Are Where You Eat: Growing Urban Food and Community
Boston’s famed Food Project has become a model for integrating food and health, city and country, justice and access. Wil Bullock, a remarkable 24-year-old community leader from Boston’s inner city, explores how the Food Project has successfully bridged these worlds and how youth are playing crucial roles in changing the food system.

VYACHESLAV TRIGUBOVICH: From Russia with Snow Leopards: The Future of Wilderness Protection
Since 1917, the former Soviet Union’s unique system of “zapovedniks” has forbidden the presence of people in some wilderness areas, except for scientific study. These truly wild, biodiverse nature preserves are under increasing threat from commercial development. The founder of the Altai Foundation, Slava Trigubovich is among the Russian Federation’s best-known anti-poaching rangers and advocates for the protection of wilderness and endangered species (including the fabled snow leopard).

BILL MCKIBBEN: Global Warming: A Climate of Fear and Opportunity
The mother of all environmental threats, global warming requires immediate technological and social responses on an unprecedented global scale. Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben, a frequent contributor to a wide variety of publications including The New York Times, explores how humanity is rising to the challenge.

DIANE WILSON: An UnReasonable Woman: UnReasonableness and Where It Gets You
An ad in National Geographic by the American Plastics Council celebrated plastic as the sixth basic food group. These chemicals can change the very character of human societies, producing behavioral abnormalities along with serious health problems. Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation shrimper on the Texas Gulf Coast, has used civil disobedience and other nonviolent approaches to stop corporate chemical giants from polluting.

Bioneers Mixer
Beginning at 9:30 pm, Baxter Hotel:

Robin Bar: The Shufflebums
Lower Ballroom: John Lowell, Kris Clone and Tom Murphy
Upper Ballroom: Andrew Gromiller & The Organically Grown: Andrew Gromiller, the leader of The Organically Grown band, has become a Bioneer. He and his wife, along with their five boys, eat, grow, and support the organic movement. They live on an organic farm, own diesel vehicles that they hope to one day run on biodiesel, and they are building a strawbale & stone home to provide a non-toxic space for their family. And to support his love of music, Andrew put together the funky and soulful Organically Grown Band. So put on your dancing shoes and get on down to the Baxter on Friday night and join us for the Celebration of Bioneers.

Welcome Entertainment & Keynote
8-10 am

Welcome entertainment: 8-9 am:
Bozeman’s own 
Ben Klein: Ben is a dynamic flute player whose high intensity performances have led him to regional renown in the northwest. In his unique style of extreme flute, which he calls Ben Flutism, you can hear the multi-cultural influences from his wide range of musical interests which range from blues and jazz to Indian classical and eastern European, which blend into a richly colored tapestry of sound, indefinable yet strangely familiar.

9-10 am, Earth Blessing:
Interfaith Ceremony of Planetary Thanksgiving with Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder, 
ANGAANGAQ LYBERTH,”THE MAN WHO LOOKS LIKE HIS UNCLE”: Bioneers honor the sacredness of all life and the many traditions through which we celebrate the sacred. Interfaith spiritual leaders of our community come together in this sacred ceremony of blessing and thanksgiving for the Earth. Offering prayers from many spiritual traditions, this ceremony reflects the richness of the devotional paths of our community sustaining us in faith, hope, and appreciation for the gifts of life. The ceremony is accompanied by the Chief Joseph Middle School Choir, directed by Laurie Jo Biggers.

Saturday Plenaries via satellite
10 am-2 pm, Emerson Theatre
Listed in order of appearance; see main Bioneers program for details.

JEREMY NARBY: Intelligence in Nature: A Predator’s Inquiry
How can “lowly” slime molds find the shortest route through a maze to a food source every time? Swiss-based Canadian anthropologist, Amazonian indigenous land-rights activist and author of Intelligence in Nature and The Cosmic Serpent Jeremy Narby recently traveled the world to meet shamans and scientists to probe what they understand about the intelligence present in all life forms. He explores how humanity can learn from nature’s economy and knowingness in our own search for a sustainable way of life.

CAROLYN RAFFENSPERGER: Bold Precaution: The Precautionary Principle Gains Traction
The Precautionary Principle is the wellspring of a new political agenda that grows from renewed respect for the natural world, the wealth we hold in common, and our collective responsibilities. Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, has been a leader in seeding the Precautionary Principle in the U.S., and describes remarkable successes in applying it in governments, companies and communities.

OMAR FREILLA: Greening the Inner City: Jobs, Health, Justice and the Environment
Environmental restoration can succeed only if it meaningfully addresses social justice and the elimination of poverty. Omar Freilla, one of the nation’s most dynamic and creative young environmental justice leaders, is a founding board member of Sustainable South Bronx and recently launched Green Worker Cooperatives, an inspiring initiative dedicated to the creation of worker-owned, environmentally friendly manufacturing cooperatives in the South Bronx.

THOM HARTMANN: Beyond Framing: How Deep Neuro-Linguistic Programming Communicates
“Conservatives” and corporate interests use the powerful tools of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to define arguments, win elections and persuade the public. To be effective in the public arena, progressives and bioneers must first understand these tools. Thom Hartmann learned NLP 27 years ago as a psychotherapist and advertising agency CEO. He is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and award-winning author of 14 books including Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and The Theft of Human Rights.

RHA GODDESS: Who’s Got Next? Cultivating Feminine- Centered Leadership in a Hip-Hop Era
Young women are rising up to take their power, and in doing so they are re-weaving a web of relationship that promises to rock the world. Performing artist, activist and hip-hop entrepreneur Rha Goddess, renowned for her spoken-word dexterity and feisty political consciousness, explores how this generation’s daughters are branding their own movement of love, power and freedom.

Lunch
2-3 pm, Exhibit Hall:
Lunchtime entertainment: 
Sally Newsome

Workshops
3:30-6:00 pm:
Various classrooms throughout the Emerson Cultural Center

1. Sun and Salad Dressing: Alternative Energy and Fuels in the Northwest with Jake Lodato, Sandy Shuptrine, Paul Miller, Paul House, Al Kurki, and Dale Pickard
Join experts and activists from the Northwest to learn more about a variety of alternatives and technologies that replace the use of petroleum for transportation and other applications. Come prepared to ask questions and offer your ideas. View vehicles powered by waste vegetable oil, and take a ride in a hybrid car.

Jake Lodato is the Technical Consultant of the Greater Yellowstone-Teton Clean Cities Coalition in the alternative fuels/technology/energy programs. He is a retired Air Force jet pilot with experience in wholesale fruit marketing and the printing/publishing industry. He lives in Wenatchee, Washington. www.yellowstonetetonccc.org

Sandy Shuptrine is the Coordinator of the Greater Yellowstone/Teton Clean Cities Coalition. She is a community activist and served 12 years as a Teton County, Wyoming commissioner. She is the enthusiastic owner of a hybrid car and has shares in a truck that can run on waste grease. She lives in Jackson, Wyoming.: www.yellowstonetetonccc.org

Paul Miller is the President and Managing Member of Sustainable Systems, LLC. Mr. Miller is one of the principal founders of the Company who established the groundwork for the Company development beginning in June 2001 through the securing of both state and federal financial grants. Mr. Miller drafted and initiated the core business plan with an emphasis on raw material acquisition, process technology development and market development. Mr. Miller has been instrumental in recruiting and managing the team of professionals that have contributed to the positioning and success of Sustainable Systems, LLC. Mr. Miller provides a vision for the Company grounded in realistic business principles. Mr. Miller earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry (Fall 2005) from the University of Montana. He is a co-inventor on a drug manufacturing process, is a Clancy Gordon Scholarship Recipient andwas an NSF research fellow at the University of Wyoming. Mr. Miller serves at the pleasure of the members with emphasis and oversight on operations, business development, marketing, sales, product development, research, and finance aspects of the Company. www.sustainablesystemsllc.com

Paul House is an Energy Consultant & Waste Utilization Entrepreneur with Bozeman Biofuels. As a 2004 Bioneers spin-off, Paul and other volunteers created Bozeman Biofuels to bring awareness of biofuels to SW Montana and act as an informational resource on biodiesel and used vegetable oil utilization. With 8000 veggie miles behind him, he is looking for ways to spread the technology in SW Montana and close the loop by growing oilseed crops. Paul also runs a sustainable guest house reservation business called Bozeman Cottage. He lives here in Bozeman. www.bozemanbiofuels.org

Al Kurki is the Sustainable Agriculture and Energy Program Specialist, NCAT (National Center for Appropriate Technology). Al Kurki is a sustainable agriculture and energy program specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Al works for NCAT’s national sustainable agriculture information service called ATTRA. His main areas of responsibilities with ATTRA are sustainable farm energy development. He also works for the Western Sustainable Research and Education Grants Program. Al has worked on sustainable agriculture and renewable energy issues for over 20 years, including 10 years with the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO). He has an academic and professional background in community organizing and development. He lives and works in Helena, Montana. www.ncat.org

Dale Pickard is Founder, President and Co-Owner of Radiant Engineering. Dale directed consumer workshops for the State of Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation throughout Montana cities for solar water heating (September 1984) and retrofitting buildings for energy conservation (May 1986). He has completed extensive factory training schools for Viessmann Boilers, tekmar Controls, Wirsbo and Roth Radiant Floor Heating Products. He is the inventor of Radiant Engineering’s ThermoFin™ Product and has applied for and acquired a patent for ThermoFin in the United States and Canada. Dale has spent the past several decades working in the field of solar engineering. He has used his expertise in a variety of situations including a unique approach applied to a sustainable wool growing operation. www.radiantengineering.com

2. Building in an Ecosystem: Elements of Finding Humility in your Nest with Steve Loken
Steve Loken has been designing and building homes for over twenty-five years emphasizing resource conservation in design, material selection and construction. He currently owns and operates Loken Builders in Missoula, a full service construction company specializing in energy and resource efficient construction. www.lokenbuilders.com

3. Revoking Corporate Power and Reviving Democracy in Montana (Or Your Home State) with Jeff Milchen (this workshop will take place from 3-4:30 pm)
Jeff Milchen and a representative from Montanans for Corporate Accountability will introduce a new coalition for state-level action, discuss initial campaign ideas, and explore opportunities for participants to engage directly in this critical effort. This workshop is geared not just to inform, but to engage participants in action. The ideas will be applicable to residents of any state.

Jeff Milchen directs ReclaimDemocracy.org, a national, Bozeman-based organization working to revoke illegitimate corporate power systemically and realize equal political opportunity for all citizens. Their goals include revoking corporate claims to humans’ Constitutional rights and limiting corporations to strictly business activities. Milchen also co-founded of the American Independent Business Alliance, which helps communities nationwide support hometown businesses and resist chain proliferation. www.reclaimdemocracy.org

4. Strengthening Community-Based Enterprise: The Antidote to Corporatization and the Key to Reclaiming Our Home Towns with Jennifer Rockne (this workshop will take place from 4:30-6 pm)
Citizens around the country are breaking the chains — preventing absentee-owned corporate chains from driving out home town businesses — through local organizing, lawmaking and creating new alternatives to provide needed goods and services without depending on outside corporations. We’ll explore several of these models, including the rapid growth of Independent Business Alliances, and provide tools and information for you to apply them in your community.

Jennifer Rockne co-founded and directs the Bozeman-based American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), a national non-profit organization that works with communities to launch and perpetuate Independent Business Alliances. AMIBA’s mission is to reverse the trend of chains displacing locally-owned independent businesses while enabling communities to regain their ability to determine their own future. Jennifer served as outreach director for the Boulder IBA, the nation’s first IBA, for two years before launching AMIBA. She is a former corporate trainer, an active volunteer since childhood, and hails from a family with a four-generations-old independent business. www.AMIBA.net

5. Melting the Ice in the Heart of Man: Bringing About Global Healing for the Times to Come with Angaangaq Lyberth, or “The Man Who Looks Like His Uncle”
Through stories, songs, and the power of his Qilaut (drum), Angaangaq will introduce teachings from the Eskimo-Kalaallit people, a peaceful culture thousands of years old that has never known war. The teachings summon us to bridge the distance from our minds to our hearts through strength and gentleness; through compassion and love; through courage and grace, bringing about personal transformation and global healing for the times to come. By learning the teachings that have been handed down from a culture that has never known war, we begin to understand how it’s possible to live our lives with more compassion. The time has come to unite our voices and our hearts, to walk our spiritual paths with practical feet, to restore the balance that’s been missing on the Earth. We cannot wait. The teachings can create experiences that empower us to live more compassionately, transforming our world one life at a time, melting the ice in the heart of man.

Angaangaq Lyberth, whose name means “The Man Who Looks Like His Uncle”, is an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder whose family belongs to the traditional healers of the Far North from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland. As a traditional healer, storyteller, and carrier of a Qilaut (drum), he conducts Healing Circles, Intensives, and sweat lodges integrating the wisdom of traditional Inuit teachings from the unwritten healing traditions of the Eskimo-Kalaallit people. He is known for his “Teaching of the North”. Uncle, as he is frequently called, is an Elder of the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth, and the Tribal Link Foundation, Inc., and is a member of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality, acting as liaison to indigenous tribes. He is associated with the United Religions Initiative in alliance with the United Nations, the Club of Budapest International, The Masters Group, the Earth Restorations Corps and the Jane Goodall Institute. He is an Elder in association with West Virginia University and speaks frequently at universities and colleges in North America and Europe. Sharing healing circles with leaders of small villages and indigenous tribes from around the world is among his most rewarding work. Originally from Greenland, Lyberth now resides in Ottowa, Ontario.

6. Nozzle Heads Lament or How To Detox Your Homes, Gardens And Parks: Where To Begin! with Cliff Bradley, Jim Barngrover and Tara Hall
This workshop will present pesticide free solutions for pests and weeds and will share alternatives to pesticides in homes, gardens and public spaces. This workshop is a practical guide on alternatives to pesticide use at home and to changing policies on pesticide use in parks and other public spaces. We will also share models from successful programs in Portland, Oregon, and Tacoma, Washington. How about an action plan for pesticide free parks in Bozeman.

Cliff Bradley is an AERO member and Board Member of Northwest Coalition of Alternatives to Pesticides. Cliff has worked more than 25 years on agriculture policy issues, biological pest management, and value added processing. He has pursued a lifelong study of issues relating to hunger, agricultural trade, globalization, and volunteering with national and Montana organizations. www.pesticide.org

Jim Barngrover is Owner & Manager of Barnstormers. Jim is a sustainable agriculture and renewable energy gadfly for the Alternative Energy Resources Organization, distributor of organic “fair trade” coffee, organic agriculture and marketing consultant, and an organic gardener. www.pesticide.org

Tara Hall is a fifth generation Virginia Citian.

7. Expand Your Student’s World: Using Nature Right Outside Your Door with Tad Drake
This hands-on workshop is designed for teachers looking at ways to integrate experiential education into and outside of your classroom. Creative use of your school’s local surrounding can provide great opportunities to enhance your curriculum, illustrate concepts, build stronger relationships with and between your students and invigorate your lessons.

Tad Drake brings 13 years of experience in non-profit, environment education and outdoor recreation to MOSS. He received a B.A. in Natural Science from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, and completed an education internship with the National Audubon Society.

Teaching positions at various outdoor schools were integrated with leading wilderness expeditions and environmental trips before Drake spent four years as the director of an outdoor education center in the redwoods of northern California. Since moving to Bozeman two years ago he has completed teaching credential studies at MSU, worked as the administrative coordinator at Bohart Ranch cross country ski center and as a substitute teacher for Bozeman Public Schools as well as MOSS.

Drake’s passion for experiential education includes a spectrum of techniques for sparking student’s interest in a multitude of subjects and employs a variety of music as a powerful teaching tool.
www.outdoorscience.org

8. Community Service and Lasting Social Change with Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer
Today, there is a growing awareness of the work of creative individuals and organizations who are establishing new solutions to social challenges. In this participatory workshop, we will discuss strategies and tools to build momentum towards social change.

Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer is the director of Hopa Mountain, Inc., a 501c3 organization based in Bozeman, Montana that is dedicated to matching resources to the needs of rural and tribal community leaders. She formerly served as the director of the Native Waters Project at Montana State University. She holds a doctorate in education from MSU. www.hopamountain.org

9. Speaking Truth to Power in an Age of Societal Corruption and Deceit with Paul Richards
The “Clear Skies Initiative” allows more air pollution. The “Healthy Forests Initiative” cuts down old growth. The “No Child Left Behind Initiative” leads to record numbers of school drop outs. “Tort Reform” eliminates the only channel remaining for people to redress grievances. We are told we must fight endless wars against unknown enemies on countless fronts. Since the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, the United States must invade and occupy Iraq and prepare to take on Syria and Iran. On the domestic front, during presidential visits, police cordon off vacant lots with barbed wire far away from motorcade routes and call them “free speech zones” Thousands are “disappeared” – locked into isolation; with no charges, arraignments, hearings, lawyers, or even phone calls.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.” Thomas Paine, “The American Crisis,” Number 1, December 23, 1776. In the great tradition of Thomas Paine, this workshop will teach participants how to speak truth to power. We’ll learn how to start reclaiming our country, truth by truth.

Paul Richards has been involved in Montana journalism and politics for 37 years, including stints as newspaper editor, radio news service producer, AP newsman, and a member of the Montana House of Representatives. He operates PR Media Consultants®, a leading media consulting firm for nonprofit organizations throughout the western United States and Canada. He is currently a candidate for United States Senate: www.prmediaconsultants.com

MICHAEL ABLEMAN: Field of Plenty: A Farmer’s Journey to the Frontiers of American Agriculture
Using stories and pictures, Michael Ableman, founder and executive director of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens and author/photographer of From the Good Earth and the new Fields of Plenty, takes us to visit some of the most innovative individuals growing food today master farmers, food artisans, and those using their farms as platforms for social and ecological change.

OHKI SIMINE FOREST: Return of the Ancient Council Ways: Indigenous Survival in Chiapas
Of Canadian Mohawk descent, Ohki Simine Forest went to study with Mongolian shamans and ultimately moved to Chiapas, Mexico, where she was initiated into the world of Mayan healers. In 1994, she created a spiritual center in Chiapas and a nonprofit aimed at helping Mayan indigenous communities. She explains the vital importance of the Mayan resistance and the applicability of their ancient council ways as a model for all humanity.

ANDY LIPKIS: Restoring Los Angeles: Healing the Nature of Our Cities
As a teenager, Andy Lipkis learned that smog was killing the forests of Southern California. He and his friends began planting and caring for trees, and were dubbed the “tree people.” More than 30 years later, Andy’s pathfinding efforts have proven the feasibility of making large cities sustainable, and have resulted in the planting of two million trees, the education of one million schoolchildren, and, most recently, the retrofitting of a portion of Los Angeles to function as an urban forest watershed.

DAVID ORR: The Fifth Revolution: The Evolution of Ecological Design Intelligence
From the perspective of the sustainability of human life on the Earth, what does it mean to be intelligent? And what does the answer imply for education, learning and research? David Orr, professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College, is an award-winning scholar and leader in the sustainability movement, renowned for his seminal work on environmental literacy in higher education and on ecological design.

BERNICE JOHNSON REAGON: “And, there are those of us who straddle…”
A legendary composer, singer, historian, music producer, author and cultural activist whose career stretches over more than four decades, starting with her participation in the Civil Rights Movement, Bernice Johnson Reagon has received major recognition from the most prestigious institutions in the land for her pathfinding work as a scholar, teacher and artist in the history and evolution of African American culture.

1. The Independent Media Workshop with Charlotte Trolinger, Paul Richards and Marcia Youngman is a two-part workshop on the independent media, our sources of information beyond the mainstream media, 80% of which, in the U.S., are owned by five companies. The first part of the workshop will address where we are now, insofar as the mainstream media as well as the independent media. The second part of the workshop will be devoted to a discussion by audience and presenters on how to improve the status quo for our media and media access here in our region.

The first part of the workshop will include a brief description of the current concentration of ownership of the mainstream media, and then a presentation of the independent media sources available to us here in the northern Rockies, as well as throughout the U.S., for print, internet, radio and television sources. A brief report on the national conference, Reforming the Media, held in St. Louis, in May, will be made. A representative of radio will address the current status of radio reporting in our community and the potential for community radio. Marcia Youngman, Bozeman City Commissioner will speak on the current status of a public access television station for Bozeman. Community access radio and TV could each expand public access to information, understanding of issues, and citizen participation in community decision making by airing City Commission and other meetings, with interactive options also possible. Public access radio and TV can include programming developed by local groups as well as public service programming. Finally, this part of the workshop will also include a presentation by Paul Richards, a former newsman and now a media consultant for public interest groups, on how to make the most of a media relationship, whether with the mainstream or independent media, to expand coverage of news areas which are often ignored despite their importance to the public.

The second part of the workshop is intended to be an open discussion with all participants, audience as much as presenters from the first part, to explore how to further expand our community’s access to fuller news coverage, such as access to the very successful independent television and radio now available in other areas of the country, to explore community radio with news broadcasting originating in the community, how we as citizens can contribute to the formation of the public access TV station as will be described by Marcia Youngman, to explore possibilities for print venues for in depth reporting on community, regional and national issues and any other ways to expand reporting of issues of import to our community beyond the outlets we now have.

Time for audience access and participation here is vital; this workshop is about encouraging grassroots participation in the media and/or creation of media venues. As AJ Liebling said, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one”.

Charlotte Trolinger is a photographer who pursues self generated projects as well as doing work for conservation organizations. She recently resigned from the faculty of the Media & Theatre Arts Department of Montana State University where she had been teaching photography since 1981. In the 1980’s, Trolinger began including media ownership and related issues as a topic in one of her MSU photography classes.

Paul Richards operates PR Media Consultants®, a leading consulting firm for public interest advocates, environmental and sustainable agriculture groups, libraries, museums, universities, and First Nations/Native Americans. To date, Richards’ “How Media Really Work and How to Work Media,” “The Press and You – How to Have a Healthy Relationship,” and “Speaking Truth to Power: Public Interest Media In An Age of Societal Corruption and Deceit” workshops have reached over a thousand public interest staff and board members from every state and province. Richards is a former newsman with The Associated Press, stringer for United Press International, executive producer of the syndicated columnist, and editor or co-editor of three newspapers.

Regarding community service, Richards is a past member of the Montana House of Representatives, Montana Advisory Council on Children and Youth, Montana Youth Justice Advisory Council, and Montana Drug Education Consortium. Over the last 30 years, Richards has served as officer or board member for 12 public interest organizations. He is currently a candidate for the United States Senate:
www.prmediaconsultants.com

First as a grassroots organizer and activist and then as an elected official, Marcia Youngman has championed numerous measures that have improved communication and enhanced citizen participation in government. For the fourth time the city is on the cusp of moving forward to create a public access TV station, and Youngman is involved. Her background includes local, state, and national work and volunteerism on a variety of economic justice and other issues. She was chosen Montana Woman of the Year by Business and Professional Women
in 1998.

2. Beyond the Local Carrot: A “How To” Guide for Eating Local Montana Food 365 Days a Year with Jenny Sabo, Jacy Rothschiller and Deborah Beaver
This workshop will touch on garden foods, what foods are available when and how to grow them, meat products, buying in bulk, the history of food in Montana, storing foods, and techniques to vary a finite variety of foods.

After attending a 2-week permaculture course in 1997, Jenny Sabo moved to 500 acres of raw land 50 miles from Bozeman. Having never before grown vegetables or raised livestock, she rashly decided, over a 5-year period, to raise all the food she could. Today, she and her husband, Mark, and two small sons eat only their own meat (wild and domestic) and serve fresh milk and garden produce 12 months a year. This includes salad greens year-round from an unheated greenhouse. Jenny and Mark are intrigued and excited by the fulfilling detective work that eating locally provides. Come learn how to do it yourself, for one day, one month, or all year long! Jacy Rothschiller owns Gallatin Valley Botanicals with her husband, Matt.

Jacy Rothschiller, Co-owner Gallatin Valley Botanical. Jacy and her husband Matt run a 5 acre market garden. She sells seasonal produce to local restaurants and chefs 12 months of the year, provides an 18-week CSA subscription, and sells at two local farmers markets for 20 weekends of the year. Jacy and Matt are always looking for simple ways to extend their season for all crops and for crops that are not expected to grow in Montana, from arugula and spinach in February to artichokes and melons in August.

Debra Beaver is AERO’s Buy Local project coordinator. She works with communities to support grassroots buy locally grown efforts as well as coordinating AERO’s statewide communications and public awareness campaign. Debra has been involved with local foods from a variety of perspectives: as a market gardener, ranch hand, and in the catering- restaurant business. Debra has also worked for the Local Government Center at MSU where she conducted research on public participation in land use planning, and taught environmental education at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. She grew up in Northwest Oklahoma where her family runs a dry-land wheat farm operation. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA.

3. Tracking Inner Animals with Valerie Harms (this workshop will take place from 3-4:30 pm)
Based on the concepts in her new book, Dreaming of Animals, Valerie Harms offers a program focusing on how our thoughts and feelings about animals influence our actions toward them. While some species are closer in DNA than others, all comprise our community. What is our responsibility to this community. What functions do other animals provide for it ecologically and culturally? Discussion will center on how animals inspire and empower our lives as well as show us what we need to do to help heal the Earth’s wounds. Participants will be invited to discuss their own experiences with animals, including activism regarding the status of current endangered or threatened species. I will suggest guidelines for working with dreams and animals as wisdom figures.

Valerie Harms, a graduate of Smith College, is the author of nine books in the genres of psychology, nature, and biography. For over 20 years she has led workshops in centers around the country, plus Vancouver and Greece. After working as a Science Editor for the National Audubon Society in New York City, she became an “eco-psychologist” and moved to Bozeman (1995) to indulge her passion for wild animals. www.valerieharms.com

4. Partnership and Transformation: What the Element Water is Teaching Us with Sandra Bellingham (this workshop will take place from 4:30-6 pm)
Indigenous peoples throughout time have regarded all life as sacred, infused with intelligence and spirit. They have recognized the interconnectedness of life and the laws of reciprocity, living in partnership with life. For centuries the Judeo/Christian spiritual traditions taught that this world is not our home and that man was given dominion over all life. We see the result of this disconnection all around us.

Now we are coming to understand what physics and the world view of indigenous people teaches, that we live in a continuous web of life in which everything is connected and affected by everything. How do our lives change when we recognize this partnership. Is it possible that by transforming ourselves we also transform the life around us?

Through the work of Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto we are discovering the relationship between the physical structure of water and human consciousness. Spiritual practices such as Sandra Ingerman’s Medicine for the Earth use changes in consciousness to bring polluted water to a more neutral state. We are reminded of what the ancient alchemists knew, that as above, so below; as within, so without.

This workshop will explore the interrelatedness of human consciousness with the life around us, focusing on the practices of Medicine for the Earth. We will consider that it is not only what we do that changes the world, but who we are inside. Taking responsibility for our internal state leads to empowerment and hope, inspiring us to take steps both personal and political that foster all life.

Sandra Bellingham is an Associate of the Naos Foundation School for Sacred Studies, a member of the Association of Medicine for the Earth Teachers, and is founder of the One River Institute, which offers workshops in Earth-based spirituality. A composer and musician using music and voice as a pathway to inner discovery, she is also a facilitator of Authentic Movement, having trained with Janet Adler.

5. Seeing the Earth in the Human Body with David Cowan
From the romantic paintings of the early 19th Century to the earth sculptures of the late 20th, American artists have recorded the evolution of our interaction with the natural world. Views of geologic, organic, and architectural processes reflect the parallels between human physiology, natural landscapes, and built environments. While seeking a balance between figurative and landscape motifs, workshop participants will explore the symbolic interplay between material and image in a hands-on group sculpture.

David Cowan co-directs the Emerson’s place-based arts program, Yellowstone Artist-Explorers. His approach to teaching art about the environment was honed during two decades with the National Park Service and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

6. Finance Opportunities and Incentives for Renewable Energy Projects with Kathi Montgomery
This workshop will feature an overview of appropriate renewable energy technologies for our climate and a discussion of various financing options for renewable energy projects, including federal grants and loans, federal and state tax credits and exemptions, state revolving loans, private financing and power purchase agreements. The format for this workshop will be discussion lead by polled interests of the participants.

Kathi Montgomery has worked with energy conservation and renewable energy programs since 1981, spending the last 20 years with the state of Montana. She currently manages the Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program and the Montana Geothermal Program for the state and works on the State Buildings Energy Conservation Program. Ms Montgomery is a member of the Montana Renewable Energy Association and works with Montana residents and the business community to promote energy awareness and to expand the use of renewable energy sources. 

PAELLA IN THE PARK 2011

This Friday! August 5, 2011, 5 PM – 10 PM

at Clinch Park in Downtown Traverse City

Featuring 7 Old Mission Peninsula Wineries, 7 Chefs, 4 Bands (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Hoots & Hellmouth, Grupo Aye, and Johnny Rodgers), professional swing and salsa dancers and dance floors, and a beautiful evening on the shores of West Grand Traverse Bay.

PHP, WOMP Present PitP

Tickets are $46 at the door – while tickets remain (the additional $1 per ticket will benefit Traverse City’s Bay Front Parks) and include a commemorative wine glass, (5) 2 oz. wine pours, (3) 4 oz. servings of paella and all entertainment. Additional food and wine tickets will be available for purchase at the event.

WINERIES & CHEFS
2 Lads & Chez Peres
Black Star Farms & The Inn at Black Star Farms
Bowers Harbor Vineyards & Soul Hole
Brys Estate & The Bay Leaf
Chateau Chantal & Firefly
Chateau Grand Traverse & Siren Hall
Peninsula Cellars & Mission Table

SCHEDULE
5 PM – Doors open to the public
5 PM – Hoots & Hellmouth
6:30 PM – Grupo Aye
7:30 PM – Johnny Rodgers
8 PM – Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
10 PM – Drive, bike, boat, walk safely home!
(10 PM – After party at the Loading Dock with Hoots & Hellmouth!)

Information you should be aware of:
> Each cork gets you a helping of paella from the local chefs of your choice.
> Drink tickets are $2 each. There will be wines that are 1 ticket, 2 tickets, and possibly 3 tickets. Each winery will provide a 2 oz. pour of the wine you choose.
> Additional corks ($3 each) and drink tickets ($2 each) are available for purchase at the merchandise tent.
> FREE water, Northwoods refreshments, and Moomers ice cream are available at the merchandise tent.
> Please be conscious! Please reduce and reuse before you recycle.
> 21+ only. No exceptions, please.
> Re-entry allowed.

A mixed paella made for a recent family gathering

WHAT IS PAELLA (pronounced Pie-Eh-Ya)?
Paella is a Valencian rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Lake Albufera, a lagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.
There are three widely known types of paella:
1. Valencian paella: white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), land snails, beans, and seasoning.
2. Seafood paella: white rice, seafood (mussels, squid, shrimp, octopus, fish, lobster, crab, etc.), and seasoning.
3. Mixed paella: a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes beans.

THANK YOU!

Wineries, Chefs, and Sponsors

Wineries, Chefs, and Sponsors

CHERRY POPPIN’ DADDIES TO HEADLINE SECOND ANNUAL PAELLA IN THE PARK FESTIVAL AUGUST 5

Last August, we enjoyed perhaps the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula’s finest evening, as nearly 2,000 gathered for Blues Traveler live in concert, along with pairings of great local wines and paella.

Now prepare for Paella in the Park 2011, set for Friday, August 5.

Traverse City’s bayside Clinch Park grounds will transform into a swingin’ festival! This year’s lineup features: Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, the swing group known for “Zoot Suit Riot,” Groupo Ayé, a 10-piece Cuban salsa band, and Hoots And Hellmouth, a mix of rockabilly and funk.

This 21+ event (no exceptions, please) will again pair the seven wineries with local chefs. Guests will enjoy Spanish paellas from fresh ingredients cooked over an open fire, right on-site.

The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and Porterhouse Productions are teaming up to produce the annual summer culinary and music event. Last year’s inaugural festival, featuring Grammy-winning artists Blues Traveler, attracted a sold-out crowd of close to 2,000 attendees.

Paella in the Park, which will go from 5-10 p.m., will feature the seven wineries of Old Mission Peninsula paired with seven regional chefs who will prepare Spanish paellas on-site. Each winery will host a station featuring three 36” pans in which chefs will cook paella using featured wines from that vintner and fresh local ingredients.

The evening will be capped by a live performance by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies at sunset on the shores of beautiful West Bay. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, renowned for their high-energy live shows, were the first band to ever have a neo-swing album crack the Top 40 on the Billboard 200.

Rolling Stone declared them the “leaders” of the swing revival, and the group has toured with everyone from Ozomatli to Reel Big Fish to The Mighty  Mighty Bosstones. A popular touring and festival act, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies have often averaged 300 shows a year, traveling internationally as headliners with major music festivals such as Warped Tour.

Popular Michigan-based Afro-Cuban band Grupo Aye and Philadelphia-based roots rockers Hoots & Hellmouth will perform as opening acts at the event. Grupo Aye specializes in a grooving, danceable sound that mixes salsa, Latin jazz, bachata and merengue influences. Hoots & Hellmouth has toured with such renowned musical acts as Langhorne Slim and Grace Potter, winning over audiences with their blistering foot-stompers and tight three-part harmonies.

Chefs representing various local restaurants will prepare their own unique takes on paella at the event. Paella, a rice-based dish that boasts hundreds of variations using different ingredients, is one of Spain’s most popular food entrees. Festival attendees will have the opportunity to converse with local chefs about the art of making paella, as well as enjoy food and wine at each station.

Tickets to Paella in the Park, which will be held in conjunction with Friday Night Live and Traverse City’s Annual Downtown Street Sale, will go on sale Friday, July 1 at Oryana and online at www.porterhouseproductions.com. Tickets are $41 in advance or $46 at the door (the additional $1 per ticket will benefit Traverse City’s Bay Front Parks) and include a commemorative wine glass, (5) 2 oz. wine pours, (3) 4 oz. servings of paella and all entertainment. Additional food and wine tickets will be available for purchase at the event.

Attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance, as space is limited. This event is open to ages 21+, no exceptions. Festival proceeds will benefit local non-profits Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and Bay Front Parks.

*Advance ticket price does not reflect outlet or online handling fees. We encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance. Even though we advertise a “Day Of” ticket price, there is always a chance it can sell out before hand.

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Zoot Suit Riot

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Thank you so much for bringing such great music to my community. I have been able to expose my friends and family to music they wouldn’t have heard otherwise by picking up CDs at the shows I’ve seen. Good music helps us grow into better people. Thank you for making my life better.” — Amy

GREAT WAKES FESTIVAL 2012

[Logo designed by www.hitchdesignstudio.com]

GREAT WAKES FESTIVAL
in partnership with Bay Area Recycling for Charities

Friday & Saturday, June 1 & 2
at The Open Space in Downtown Traverse City
where Union Street & Grandview Parkway meet
RAIN OR SHINE!

A rockin’ celebration of water with a mission to raise funds and awareness for water-focused non-profits, to support efforts to protect and keep clean the region’s rivers, streams and lakes, and to offer a wide variety of water-themed activities and entertainment throughout the weekend.

Friday Evening (21+) | 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | $15 ADV, $20 DOOR
Saturday
 | Registered Activities begin at 9:00 a.m.
Saturday Daytime Events
 | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | FREE & FAMILY FRIENDLY
Saturday Evening (21+)
 | 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | $15 ADV, $20 DOOR
Friday/Saturday Evenings Combo Ticket
 | $28 ADV ONLY
Advance tickets will be available online until 11:00 a.m.
Door tickets will be available at the gate

PARKING at Old Town Parking Deck & Hardy Parking Deck
Friday, June 1: FREE Parking after 5:00 PM
Saturday, June 2: FREE Parking All Day

Visiting Traverse City for the Great Wakes Festival on June 1 and 2?Grand Traverse Resort & Spa is offering a special accommodations package for the festival for just $129/night, which includes complimentary transportation to and from the event. To book your stay, click here and use promo code “GREAT”, or mention the Great Wakes Festival over the phone.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 1
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | $15 in advance, $20 at the door | Ages 21+

Friday evening features
• Great live music (see schedule below)
• Yummy local food (sold separately) from Siren Hall, Mana, Goodwillies Café, House of Doggs, U & I Lounge, Moomers Ice Cream, Northwoods Soda, Free Culligan Water
• Local wines (sold separately) from Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP) and Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) – Proceeds from beer and wine purchases will go toward BARC’s fundraiser for the Great Lakes Water Fund (see mission below)
• Brews (sold separately): Bell’s Oberon, Bell’s Amber, Bell’s Java Stout, Arbor Brewing Larry Hoppe, Arbor Brewing Strawberry Blonde, North Peak Furry Black IPA, North Peak Dubious Stout, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, Good Island Matilda, Stella Artois, Shock Top Shandy, and Bud Light – Proceeds from beer and wine purchases will go toward BARC’s fundraiser for the Great Lakes Water Fund (see mission below)
• Wakeboard Aerials & Pro Competition | Sponsored by Action Water Sports
• Parkour Demos with Parkour master Levi Meeuwenberg and his team of 7
• LED Hula Hoop Troup

EVENING MUSIC SCHEDULE

Main Tent Stage (HEATED, thanks to Team Bob’s Heating & Cooling!)
5:00 p.m.: DJ/House Music
5:15 p.m.: Soul Patch
6:30 p.m.: Heatbox
7:50 p.m.: Funktion
9:30 p.m.: Heatbox & Funktion
10:00 p.m.: CURFEW – walk, drive, and ride home safely!

Silent Disco Tent (HEATED, thanks to Team Bob’s Heating & Cooling!)
spinning mash-up, dub-step, 80s, 90s, and popular dance music

5:00 p.m.: DJ Dominate
6:00 p.m.: DJ Scott Perry
7:30 p.m.: DJ Dominate
9:00 p.m.: Heatbox with DJ Dominate

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SATURDAY, JUNE 2
Registered Activities begin at 8:30 a.m.
Daytime Events | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | FREE and FAMILY FRIENDLY!
Evening | 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | $15 in advance, $20 at the door | Ages 21+

Registered Activities
8:30 a.m.: Captain’s Meeting for Volleyball Tournament
9:00 a.m.: Volleyball Tournament
9:00 a.m.: Beach Race | Sponsored by March of Dimes
12:00 p.m.: Boardman River Stand Up Paddleboard Race (please note, this time has changed from 11:00 a.m. due to Coast Guard scheduling)

Great Wakes Festival | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | FREE and FAMILY FRIENDLY!
10:00 a.m.: Gates Open
11:00 a.m.: Aerial Art | Sponsored by Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan
12:00 p.m.: Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo & Display
12:00 p.m.: Music begins (see schedule below)
1:00 p.m.: Wakeboard Aerials & Pro Competition | Sponsored by Action Water Sports
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Education at the TACS (Traverse Area Community Sailing) Tent
• Kayaks, Kayaks … Which One Is Right For Me? with Michael Gray of Uncommon Adventures
• North American Fur Traders with the Maritime Heritage Alliance
• TACS – Who Are We & What Do We Do?
• Water Safety
Daytime events feature

• Great live music (see schedule below)
• Yummy local food (sold separately) from Siren Hall, Mana, Goodwillies Café, House of Doggs, U & I Lounge, Moomers Ice Cream, Northwoods Soda, Free Culligan Water
• Wakeboard Aerials & Pro Competition | Sponsored by Action Water Sports
• Watercraft Demos & Rides (kayaks, stand up paddleboards, ski boats, sailboats, and more
• Parkour Demos with Parkour master Levi Meeuwenberg and his team of 7
• Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Associations TROUT DERBY 2012

DAYTIME MUSIC SCHEDULE
12:15 p.m.: Deep Blue Water Samba Drumming (on main lawn)

Main Tent Stage (HEATED, thanks to Team Bob’s Heating & Cooling!)
12:30 p.m.: Funktion
2:00 p.m.: Heatbox
3:00 p.m.: Roster McCabe

Nauti-Cat Stage
12:00 p.m.: Motus Mixtus
1:00 p.m.: Garret Borns
2:00 p.m.: North Shore
3:00 p.m.: Ratone
4:00 p.m.: Motus Mixtus

Silent Disco Tent (FUN for all ages | HEATED, thanks to Team Bob’s Heating & Cooling!)
spinning mash-up, dub-step, 80s, 90s, and popular dance music

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Come see what the FUN is all about!

————————————————

SATURDAY EVENING
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. | $15 in advance, $20 at the door | Ages 21+

Saturday evening features
• Great live music (see schedule below)
• Yummy local food (sold separately) from Siren Hall, Mana, Goodwillies Café, House of Doggs, U & I Lounge, Moomers Ice Cream, Northwoods Soda, Free Culligan Water
• Local wines (sold separately) from Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP) and Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) – Proceeds from beer and wine purchases will go toward BARC’s fundraiser for the Great Lakes Water Fund (see mission below)
• Brews (sold separately): Bell’s Oberon, Bell’s Amber, Bell’s Java Stout, Arbor Brewing Larry Hoppe, Arbor Brewing Strawberry Blonde, North Peak Furry Black IPA, North Peak Dubious Stout, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, Good Island Matilda, Stella Artois, Shock Top Shandy, and Bud Light – Proceeds from beer and wine purchases will go toward BARC’s fundraiser for the Great Lakes Water Fund (see mission below)
• Wakeboard Aerials & Pro Competition | Sponsored by Action Water Sports
• Parkour Demos with Parkour master Levi Meeuwenberg and his team of 7
• LED Hula Hoop Troup

EVENING MUSIC SCHEDULE
7:15 p.m.: Deep Blue Water Samba Drumming (on main lawn)

Main Tent Stage (HEATED, thanks to Team Bob’s Heating & Cooling!)
5:00 p.m.: DJ/House Music
5:15 p.m.: North Shore
6:00 p.m.: Roster McCabe
7:30 p.m.: Heatbox
8:30 p.m.: That 1 Guy
9:30 p.m.: Heatbox & That 1 Guy
10:00 p.m.: CURFEW – walk, drive, and ride home safely!

Nauti-Cat Stage
5:00 p.m.: Garrett Borns
6:00 p.m.: One Hot Robot
7:00 p.m.: Ratone
8:00 p.m.: Northshore
10:00 P.M.: CURFEW- walk, drive, and ride home safely!

Silent Disco Tent (HEATED, thanks to Team Bob’s Heating & Cooling!)
spinning mash-up, dub-step, 80s, 90s, and popular dance music

5:00 p.m.: DJ Dominate
6:00 p.m.: DJ Scott Perry
7:30 p.m.: DJ Dominate
9:00 p.m.: Heatbox with DJ Dominate
10:00 p.m.: CURFEW – walk, drive, and ride home safely!

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LATE NIGHT AFTER-PARTIES
10:00 p.m. at Union Street Station and Brew – don’t miss ’em!

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BAY AREA RECYCLING FOR CHARITIES’ mission is to help raise awareness and action to support our local watersheds. The Great Lakes Water Fund is designed to provide grants, donations, and support to local watershed and water related causes. This year BARC is embarking on a campaign to eradicate cigarette butts from the streets and parks of Traverse City and the greater Grand Traverse area. There will be street sweeps, awareness displays, and lots of discussion and education regarding this problem.

Stay in the loop!

Thank you to the following businesses and organizations for making the Great Wakes Festival possible:

CITY OPERA HOUSE/WHARTON CENTER

COH

Porterhouse Statement on Wharton Center/City Opera House Contract

Throughout Porterhouse Productions’ relationship with the City Opera House and Wharton Center, our purpose has been to stay positive and open to the collaborative opportunities presented by an entity like Wharton, while still asking the necessary questions to protect our right and the community’s right to access and enjoy this publicly owned building. As one of the major producers of concerts and events at the Opera House, we felt compelled to lend our voice in shaping the future of the venue to ensure it was the best fit for all. The process wasn’t always comfortable – for anyone involved – but it was both necessary and productive. At the end of the day, because user groups and community members came forward and got involved, the public had the invaluable opportunity to share their input on this operating arrangement. Students and young professionals who might not otherwise ever engage in local politics came to a city commission meeting to speak out. Arts groups had a chance to share their stories of being in the Opera House and what the venue means to them. Opera House staff and board members were able to publicly present their arguments. The community, though coming from different viewpoints, all rallied around a central cause: protecting the future of one of Traverse City’s most treasured landmarks.

While we still believe the ideal operating arrangement for the venue would be one in which the management remained in local control, we appreciate the financial commitment Wharton has made to the venue, and plan to continue producing our events and shows under its umbrella. Because the public and user groups fought strongly for guarantees of rates and access, the contract was refined to the point where we now feel cautiously optimistic about moving ahead if the commission approves the agreement. It is our hope that we will turn over a new leaf through our relationship with Wharton; that our past challenges with the oversight of the facility will be dissipated, and that we can reinstate as many of our shows as possible that were canceled for 2010 under former management. We hope to meet with Wharton as soon as this week to discuss our relationship going forward, and the next steps for bringing Porterhouse events back to the City Opera House.

We look forward to the return of Porterhouse events at the City Opera House in the very near future.

12/8/2009 – BY Sheri McWhirter

smcwhirter@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — The show will go on at the City Opera House and a downstate group will raise the curtain.

On Monday, Traverse City leaders unanimously approved a three-year contract between the opera house and the Wharton Center for Performing Arts to manage the facility on Front Street. It’s a deal pitched as a way to boost performance offerings and reign in deficit spending at the city-owned historic building.

“They are absolute pros and we look forward to working with them,” said Sam Porter, of Porterhouse Productions, a frequent opera house renter who previously voiced concerns about maintaining local access to the facility.

Wharton, an organization based at Michigan State University in East Lansing, will take over operations, finances and bookings for the City Opera House on July 1, but will play an advisory role until then. The opera house will pay Wharton $75,000 a year for three years to manage the downtown Traverse City facility and Wharton will absorb any financial losses during that time, but will not cover the opera house’s $250,000 operational debt.

Any earned profits will be split between the opera house and Wharton, with the latter receiving 25 percent. Additionally, annual financial reports will be filed with the city.

Wharton and opera house officials worked on the deal without public input for months and last month brought it to elected officials’ attention. The secret negotiations angered some city residents, who attended a Nov. 23 city meeting to complain and express concerns about continued local access.

City and Wharton officials agreed to include in the management contract a clause that ensures local access to rent the opera house will be maintained.

Those conversations are encouraging, said both Porter and Ed Downing, executive director for the Traverse Symphony Orchestra.

Downing said he took Wharton’s offer to cover financial losses as a sign of commitment to the opera house.

Commissioner MaryAnn Moore said she’s glad Wharton worked out concerns about local access and she “thinks it’s great for Traverse City.”

Angela Schuler, opera house board co-chairman, said they are pleased to move forward with Wharton, despite recent concerns in the community about how the deal was struck.

“Ultimately, I think the integrity of the proposal spoke for itself,” Schuler said.

The debate about opera house management showed the community’s interest and commitment to the facility, said Commissioner Mike Gillman.

“The community was reminded this is a jewel and should be treated as such,” he said.

————————————

Wharton contract process concerns citizens

Published: November 24, 2009 07:40 am

By Sheri McWhirter
smcwhirter@record-eagle.com
TRAVERSE CITY — A potential operating agreement for the City Opera House in downtown Traverse City brought dozens out to voice support and concerns, including issues with secretive deal-making with a downstate group.

The Traverse City Commission met Monday to discuss a proposed three-year contract between the opera house board and the Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University, but did not take any action. Many city residents spoke favorably about the organizational abilities and experiences Wharton could bring to the city-owned opera house, but others voiced worries about how the public was left out on decision-making.

“I think the public will always crash the party when they’re not invited,” said Beth Milligan, a Traverse City resident who also noted there’s a “long history in Traverse City of back-room deals.”

Wharton stands to receive $75,000 annually to manage the opera house and would guarantee any losses be absorbed by the organization, should the facility fail to turn a profit. Wharton would not cover the opera house’s current $250,000 debt.

Residents questioned why Wharton is the sole organization pitched to run the opera house and why a local manager wasn’t pursued.

“It feels like the decision has all but been made,” said Ansel Bowden, of Traverse City. “I think there needs to be more time for discussion and input from residents.”

Mayor Chris Bzdok described the situation as “being painted into a corner” with Wharton as the only option.

“It’s been determined without our input and without our knowledge. I don’t want that to happen again,” Bzdok said.

Michael Moore, founder of the Traverse City Film Festival, said festival officials were never consulted about a deal with Wharton, despite being among the most frequent facility renters.

“You don’t make the best decisions when you make them this way,” Moore said. “The best decisions get made when everyone is involved in the decision.”

It’s not so much a concern about how well Wharton would run the venue, he said, but how contract details for a publicly owned building were negotiated behind closed doors.

Sam Porter, of event presenter Porterhouse Productions, another frequent venue renter, said he opposes exclusive management at the opera house, preferring a partnership among stakeholders.

“I hope that after this talk we have the chance to collaborate,” Porter said.

Bob Spence, co-chairman of the opera house board, said the deal required a confidentiality agreement at the outset, but opera house officials are “not trying to hide anything.” He spoke about local access being maintained for groups like the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, the film festival and Porterhouse, and how the board turned to Wharton because it can protect the opera house’s financial and programming interests.

Wharton Executive Director Mike Brand said there are no pre-conceived ideas about what acts will be booked. He guaranteed local access will continue and agreed to insert language to that effect in the proposed contract.

“I think we’ll try to make a business out of what’s already there and then grow it,” Brand said.

Commissioner Mike Gillman said he’s not sure another offer to manage the facility without a financial risk — beyond the annual fee to Wharton — will surface.

“That’s an offer I don’t think we can turn down,” he said.

The facility on Front Street went through a multimillion-dollar renovation paid for by a long-running community fundraising campaign. The venue is now available for private rentals as a performance house directed by the City Opera House Heritage Association, the nonprofit that raised money for restoration.

The opera house is entirely funded through donations and venue rental rates, paying both taxes and rent to the city. No city tax dollars go to the opera house and Wharton’s fee will be paid from the facility’s operational fund, should the deal be approved by city commissioners.

Wharton will take over operations, bookings and financial responsibility for the opera house on July 1, 2010. Wharton and the opera house will split any earned profits, with the downstate organization taking a 25-percent cut, according to contract details.

City Manager R. Ben Bifoss will work out local access issues in the proposed contract and will bring the matter back before commissioners, perhaps as early as next month.

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Public Expresses Support, Concern Over Opera House Plan

Listen to IPR’s interview here: http://ipr.interlochen.org/episode/5700

11/24/2009 – Last night, Traverse City commissioners met to examine the City Opera House’s plan to have Lansing’s Wharton Center manage the historic theatre. And nearly 25 people cmmented on the issue at the study session.City Manager Ben Bifoss offered to meet with the parties involved and present his findings to the panel.Mayor Chris Bzdok said he was unhappy with City Opera House managers for springing the idea on the city without much warning. He said that makes it hard for the commissioners to make a decision.“There’s a certain amount of uncertainty there,” Bzdok says. “And if our job is to make sure before we hand the keys over, how do you help us? Is there better way we could peel that banana?”

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Editorial: Is deal worth loss of trust?

Record Eagle – Published: November 28, 2009 10:05 pm

Haven’t we been here and done this?

About two years ago city residents had their ire up over a proposal to bring a steel I-beam sculpture titled “Time Myth” to Traverse City and plunk it down in the middle of the Open Space.

Their anger seemed equally divided: putting anything at all on the Open Space that would block views of West Bay; and the fact that the deal had almost been finalized before the public knew what the heck a “Time Myth” was. Residents felt they were the last to know, and they didn’t like it.

Fast forward to last week when a lot of people wondered how we came within a whisker of approving a three-year deal for the prestigious Wharton Center for Performing Arts to manage the City Opera House although virtually no one outside the opera house community knew a thing about the deal.

In neither case was someone trying to pull a fast one or feather their own nest at the public’s expense. In both cases dedicated people who had put in long hours of volunteer work for the city were doing what they thought was best.

In both cases, though, the process bypassed the people who ultimately matter the most — the taxpaying public.

While a lot of people panned the Time Myth idea (partly because of the sculpture itself and partly because this was the Open Space, after all), the Wharton Center proposal is an altogether different issue that deserves careful consideration, after the fact or not.

After all, the opera house stands to come under excellent management and benefit from expanded and upgraded programming; and there’s Wharton’s promise to absorb any losses during the proposed three-year contract.

But the fact remains that this was a closed loop. Some opera house people talked to some Wharton people and all of a sudden, with no request for proposals, no other bids and no public notice, we’ve got a deal — or we’ve almost got a deal; the city commission has to sign off, and plenty of them were not happy with the chain of events.

Mayor Chris Bzdok described the situation as “being painted into a corner” with Wharton as the only option. “It’s been determined without our input and without our knowledge. I don’t want that to happen again,” Bzdok said.

And maybe not this time, either.

After all, the Traverse City area is not without resources or resourceful people who could perhaps offer the city similar services.

Whatever one thinks of his politics, the city would be foolish indeed not to look to Traverse City Film Festival co-founder Michael Moore and the expertise the festival has gained over the years. The group manages the State Theatre, which is open every day of the year and offers a dizzying array of programs, after all. In fact, the State is one of the most frequent opera house renters.

At a recent city commission meeting at which the Wharton proposal came in for criticism because it looked to be a “back-room deal,” Moore said festival officials were never consulted. “You don’t make the best decisions when you make them this way,” he said.

He’s right.

Bob Spence, co-chairman of the opera house board, said the deal required a confidentiality agreement at the outset. Sorry, but this is city business.

The opera house is a private, non-profit organization; it pays rent and taxes to the city, and salaries come out of opera house revenue. But in the end, the city — and city taxpayers — own the opera house, and city business must be public business.

If the opera house, which is carrying a $250,000 debt, had said, “We think we can do better with an outside manager” and gone out for bids, no problems. That’s what a public process is all about.

But that’s not what happened, and we’re in a jam. Now, the city can accept what appears to be a generous and beneficial offer from a renowned operator in the field, but at a cost — more public trust down the drain.

This isn’t about the Wharton Center. It is, as it too often is around here, about process and who gets — or decides — to speak for the rest of us.

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TC Commission to vote on Wharton Center

Traverse City Record-Eagle – Published: December 02, 2009 07:30 am

3-year deal would cede management

By Sheri McWhirter
smcwhirter@record-eagle.com
TRAVERSE CITY — A decision could come soon on the City Opera House’s future.

Traverse City commissioners may decide next week whether to sign off on a proposed three-year management deal between the opera house board and the Wharton Center for Performing Arts from Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Wharton would take over operations, bookings and financial responsibility for the venue in July, should commissioners approve.

The deal was negotiated quietly for months and the public and elected officials learned about the proposal late in the game, a situation that drew heavy criticism at a Nov. 23 city meeting. The contract could have been pursued differently, but it doesn’t diminish the promotional expertise Wharton can offer the opera house, officials said.

“In hindsight, could we have done it differently? Yes, maybe. But I don’t know that we’d come to a different conclusion,” said Bob Spence, opera house board co-chairman.

Spence said board members discussed other possible management organizations, including national companies, but did not issue a request for proposals. They decided a deal with nonprofit Wharton couldn’t be outdone, he said.

Wharton would be paid $75,000 a year and will absorb any financial losses during the contract period. It will not cover the opera house’s current $250,000 operational debt.

“I just hope (commissioners) keep in mind the fact that Wharton is a high-quality venue manager and we’re lucky to have this proposal in front of us,” Spence said.

Local author Doug Stanton is a frequent opera house renter for an author’s speaker series that raises money for college scholarships. He’s not worried that Wharton will deny local access to the venue. Additionally, the partnership will be beneficial, no matter how it was reached, he said.

“It sounds like a good deal thus far,” Stanton said. “I wouldn’t position this as a back-room deal. My perception was it was a volunteer board trying to figure out how to stay in the black.”

And that’s exactly what Wharton intends to do for the opera house, said Michael Brand, Wharton’s executive director.

“I think we can bring the knowledge of how to lay the business plan out for how this theater should operate,” Brand said.

Wharton will book a dozen or more events each year, leaving plenty of available dates for local groups like the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Traverse City Film Festival, Porterhouse Productions and more, he said.

Mayor Chris Bzdok said it’s important for city leaders to ensure local access is maintained at the opera house. He also said surprise contracts like the one commissioners will consider shouldn’t happen that way.

“People expect us to be in charge, so we need to make sure we’re in charge,” Bzdok said.

If you go

The Traverse City Commission will discuss whether to approve a three-year City Opera House management contract with the Wharton Center for Performing Arts on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. on the second floor at the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman Ave. in Traverse City.

TENT VENUE

Porterhouse Productions Launching New Mobile Entertainment Venue in Michigan

Spectacular Structures – a high-capacity, four-season mobile venue – will be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Traverse City, Mich – August 6, 2013 – Concertgoers, festival attendees, event planners and conference organizers in Michigan will soon have access to a resource that’s previously been unavailable to many communities in the state: a high-capacity entertainment venue capable of hosting year-round, four-season local and national events.

Porterhouse Productions in Traverse City is launching Spectacular Structures, a brand-new luxury mobile venue designed to host 4,000+-capacity events. The customizable, sophisticated tent structure is the first of its kind in the country and will dramatically expand the state’s programming and hospitality capabilities, particularly in Northern Michigan. The enterprise has secured an early investment partner in Start Garden, the Grand Rapids-based venture capital firm launched by entrepreneur and ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos.

Sam Porter, owner of Porterhouse Productions, says the mobile venue – which can be heated or cooled, enclosed or opened, and scaled in size to house both intimate and large-scale events – has the potential to revolutionize the event-planning industry in Michigan.

“Whether it’s local symphonies looking to play in an outdoor covered venue, chambers of commerce planning business expos, wedding planners looking for a unique event setting or national touring artists booking high-capacity stages in Michigan, this venue will allow us to cater to every single one of those demographics,” says Porter.

The mobile structure comes with a 53-foot semi-trailer that doubles as both transportation for the venue and a independent refrigeration unit that can be used separately for food and beverage service. Porter, who plans to offer sponsorship branding space on the side of the trailer, says the asset will allow the company to offer local food and beverage options at events and will provide much-needed infrastructure for small businesses and vendors who are otherwise restricted in service capabilities.

Porter plans to first put the venue to use in Traverse City, debuting the structure at a weekend of festivities in the Open Space August 16-17 that includes the fourth annual Paella in the Park event on August 16 and the second annual Great Wakes Festival on August 17. From there, the tent will be utilized on an ongoing basis for both Porterhouse concerts and festivals as well as for outside rental by communities, event planners, corporations and conferences throughout Michigan and the Midwest. The company will manage two interactive public brands: Spectacular Structures, the parent company and rental division, and Tent Venue, a fan-driven branch focused on concert and event updates, crowd-sourcing campaigns and marketing and social media outreach.

Porter says the launch of the venue is just the beginning for the business. In 2014, he plans to add an additional component to the structure that will expand its total capacity to 10,000. His ultimate goal – and that of his partners and investors – is to eventually take the business national, expanding its market reach into key cities across the country with high demand for event space.

“Our first priority is to build a market here in Traverse City, providing this venue as a resource for our community as well as other communities in the state,” says Porter. “By focusing on bringing tourism dollars, national partners and high-profile entertainment and business to Michigan, we hope to build a nexus of excitement and energy that can then expand outward to other states.”

Complete details on Spectacular Structures – including venue information, schedule of events and rental information – will be available soon at www.tentvenue.com.