Monday, January 30, 2017

Streets of San Francisco: Channeling Joseph Cornell in Bernal Heights

Streets of San Francisco: Storage with a View

Streets of San Francisco: Chevy Caprice Wagon

If you don't like my driving, or my Caprice wagon, stay off the sidewalk.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Flintoid's Marshmallo Dream?

Streets of San Francisco: Chevy Chevette on Divisadero Street

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Flint Artifacts: Look to Flint Brochure

"The Showplace of Michigan"
(Quotation marks are to indicate a quotation, not irony, unless that's what you're looking for.)

Flint Artifacts: Flint Wagon Works Coin Purse

Flint Artifacts: Flint Golf Club Invitational 1972 Shot Glass

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Flint Artifacts: Chevrolet Employee Badge

Monday, January 23, 2017

Greetings from Flint Expatriates World Headquarters

Sunday, January 22, 2017

White House Scientists Come to Flint

The New Yorker's Sarah Stillman delves into the role behavioral science can play in Flint.
A week after Donald Trump’s election, a thirty-year-old cognitive scientist named Maya Shankar purchased a plane ticket to Flint, Michigan. Shankar held one of the more unorthodox jobs in the Obama White House, running the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team, also known as the President’s “nudge unit.” When she launched the team, in early 2014, it felt, Shankar recalls, “like a startup in my parents’ basement”—no budget, no mandate, no bona-fide employees. Within two years, the small group of scientists had become a staff of dozens—including an agricultural economist, an industrial psychologist, and “human-centered designers”—working with more than twenty federal agencies on seventy projects, from fixing gaps in veterans’ health care to relieving student debt. Usually, the initiatives had, at their core, one question: Could the growing body of knowledge about the quirks of the human brain be used to improve public policy? 
For months, Shankar had been thinking about how to bring behavioral science to bear on the problems in Flint, where a crisis stemming from lead contamination of the drinking water had stretched on for almost two years. She wondered if lessons from the beleaguered city could inform the Administration’s approach to the broader threat posed by lead across America—in pipes, in paint, in dust, and in soil. “Flint is not the only place poisoning kids,” Shankar said.
Read the rest here.

Flint Artifacts: A.C. Spark Plug Tie Clip

Flintoids Travel to the Women's March on Washington

Lisa Ryan of New York Magazine interviews participants in the Women's March on Washington, including two from Flint.
We came to protest but we also came because we have a water crisis in Flint and we fight for clean water. It’s been going on for too long, and we’re tired of it and we need clean water. We caught a bus here — it was about ten hours. We hope people see this and realize we still are having a water crisis, and many people could speak out and we could get clean water.
Read all the interviews here.

Photo via New York Magazine.

Flint Photos: Coney from Starlite

Thanks to Flint Expatriate Brian McCall for the photo.

The Streets of San Francisco: Two Buicks on One Block

An extremely rare siting of not one, but two Buicks parked on the same block. Jarboe Street near Anderson Street in Bernal Heights.

Flint Artifacts: WKMF AM 1470 Belt Buckle

Flint Photos: Maxine Kronick in "Roger & Me"

Flint Photos: The Palace Theatre

Vintage Flint Expatriates: Originally posted on 8/11/09.

Fred Gonzales passed along these shots of Flint in the fifties. "I am also a St Mike's graduate," he writes. "During the late sixties my sister and I worked downtown after school and weekends. I was an usher at the Palace Theater. I can still remember folks catching a Kewpee burger, fries, and a Vernor's right across the street from the Palace and then crossing the street and lining up for tickets."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Capitol Theatre Comeback

When's the last time Flint was mentioned on Okay, when's the last time you read Regardless, there's a nice overview of the Capitol Theatre restoration posted today:
The Capitol Theatre is being revitalized in downtown Flint, Michigan, serving as an economic and cultural engine for the city and region. Through the restoration of its ornate John Eberson design and upgrades to its facilities, the Theatre will once again be a focal point for the community, presenting national acts and providing platforms for local arts groups. Enriching and expanding the city's arts and cultural resources, the Capitol Theatre will reopen in late 2017 with refurbished theater facilities as well as restored office and retail spaces. The Re-Opening date, and related programming and activities will be announced in the coming months. 
Long a vital part of the city's social and cultural fabric, the Capitol Theatre originally opened in 1928 as a vaudeville house and movie palace, serving as a center of arts and entertainment in Flint. The most lavish of Michigan's chain of Butterfield Theatres, the Theatre began to host concerts in the late 1970s, including performances by a range of popular musicians including Ray Charles, AC/DC, John MellencampGreen Day, Black Sabbath and more. Closing its doors in 1996, the Theatre sat dormant for nearly two decades, until restoration began in July 2016. Programming at the restored Capitol will include a diverse mix of popular and classical music, comedy acts, film screenings, contemporary and modern dance, spoken word, and theater works that play to the strengths of its intimate auditorium and a new flexible space for small-scale performances. 
Read the full article here.

I'm Proud to be a Realty-Based American

There’s a long list of performers bailing on President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities. Garth Brooks, the B Street Band, Paul Anka, Andrea Bocelli, and any Rockette with more than $100 in her checking account, to name a few. But one certified superstar remains, country legend Lee Greenwood, a performer born in the epicenter of the “real America,” a sun-dappled little place filled with humble, hardworking patriots known as Los Angeles, California. What better time than now to reflect on Greenwood’s mega-hit “God Bless the USA,” which will be in heavy rotation at all Trump celebrations?

"If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life/
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife/
I'd thank my lucky stars to be livin' here today/
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away"

Just to clarify, Lee Greenwood has been married four times. Would all the wives start again with him, or just his current wife, a former Miss Tennessee USA, whom he married when he was 49 and she was 24? Regardless, since Lee was a blackjack dealer before his singing career took off, the whole gang could end up in Vegas, a great place to start over with plenty of underwater mortgages and cheap real estate.
And who is this mysterious “they” who appears to want to take things away from Lee? Big government? Or perhaps those catty music critics? Maybe even Lee can’t identify the forces conspiring against him. But blaming failures and setbacks on vague, hard to identify forces — rather than our own shortcomings — is as American as apple pie. Delusional? Perhaps, but I prefer to call it optimism.

"And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free/
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me/
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today/
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land/
God bless the USA"

Again, just to clarify, some ladies also died for our freedoms, but who's counting?
Lee proclaims he would gladly stand up and defend our country, but he’s never actually served in the military. He got a hardship deferment from Vietnam because he had a child when he was 17. (See info on marriages above.)
Does anyone else find the “at least I know I’m free" line troubling? It implies that sometimes all you can expect from the greatest nation on earth is a concept, an ideal, not something more immediate like health insurance, or a living wage, or the right to drive a car without getting pulled over all the time for no good reason. I’m all for freedom, but it’s nice to have something more tangible, like a Social Security check.
And because freedom is a concept, it’s pretty subjective. Many would argue that we aren’t as free as other countries, like those boringly prosperous, low-crime countries in Scandinavia. Or Canada. I mean how free can you be when your president actually lost the election by millions of votes? But we are definitely more free than a lot of countries, like Russia, or what’s left of the U.S. in “The Man in the High Castle.” I realize that “And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm pretty much free, more free than some countries run by dictators, but less free than some other Western European democracies” doesn’t exactly flow, but I’m sure Lee could make it sound better with his innovative phrasing.

"From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee/
Across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea/
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA/
Well, there's pride in every American heart/
And it's time we stand and say that"

Hey, name checking geographic locations is a venerated custom in the music business. Some people will buy a record simply because their hometown is mentioned. Can’t fault Lee for being a good businessman. But as a guy who grew up in Flint, Michigan and had family in the Motor City, I will go out on a limb and bet that no one in Detroit has ever willingly listened to this song. Except Kid Rock.

Flint Water Crisis: 1,000 Days Later

Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press reports:
Though Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder touted the efforts made to heal Flint - "we've made progress, but our work is not done," he said Tuesday during his State of the State address in Lansing - city residents are still unable to drink tap water without a filter due to the lead contamination that began when the water supply was switched that day in 2014.
Read the full article here.

Flint Water Crisis: A Never Ending Story?

In case you hadn't guessed, the Flint Water Crisis has yet to be resolved. If you were expecting a speedy response by the state of Michigan, think again. 

Time's Josh Sanburn reports:
Today, Flint has largely dropped out of the national headlines, but the battles unleashed by the public-health disaster are far from over. Flint’s residents still can’t drink the water without a filter, requiring most families to rely on bottled water for everything from brushing their teeth to cooking and bathing. More than a dozen state and local officials have been criminally charged over Flint’s poisoned water, including two former emergency managers who could face decades in prison if convicted, while the state’s attorney general tells TIME that the investigation is not yet over.
Read the rest here.

Flint Postcards: Hamilton Dam

Flint Photos: Downtown Parade

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Maxine Kronick, R.I.P.

Flint legend Maxine Kronick died on January 13 in Flagler Beach, Florida. She was one of the people who made Flint such a fascinating place. She will be missed.

FlaglerLive reports:
Kronick was fierce about acting and actors, fierce about the theater she loved and the children’s theater she founded in Palm Coast, fierce about the arts and artists she championed, fierce about the Israel she loved and where she lived for a few years—as fierce a secularist as she was, and she was that, she was also a proud Jew—and she was fiercely proud of her children and loyal to her friends, and even, at times, to the odd enemy: she debated fiercely, she relished a confrontation, she did not back down, and she liked a forum. 
“As a former resident of Flint, Michigan, an active participant during the civil rights movement and an assistant to the first minority mayor, I am deeply saddened reliving these tragic times,” Kronick wrote in July in one of her innumerable and revealing letters to the editor in the News-Journal over the years, what would prove to be her next-to-last letter. She was decrying assault weapons and the latest mass shootings. And she would make her point quickly, sharply and with her usual wit: “When I lived in Israel a number of years ago, the style of gun used in these shootings was only in the hands of the army. There is no place for these rifles in the hands of everyday citizens. It’s my hope that the NRA will look at its policy on guns and review the horrendous killings we’ve had and re-evaluate its position on assault-style weapons. I don’t care about the caliber of the gun, the make of the gun, the size of it — there needs to be a stop to this. It’s too easy to get one of these weapons.  If you want to hunt, then go to hunting lodges. But stop hunting people on the street.”
Maxine Kronick's obituary, which appeared in The Flint Journal:
She was born and raised in Troy, New York, attended the University of Bridgeport, and lived most of her life in Flint, Michigan, where she developed an acting career. Maxine later was appointed Director of Special Events for the City of Flint, and went on to a career in international events in Israel and Brazil. 
She also produced two documentary films: one focused on the Jewish people remaining in Eastern Europe following the holocaust; and of the 30,000 Jewish lives saved in Shanghai, China. She had spoken in over 80 cities and the documentary "From the Shetl with Love" aired on public television. "Passport to Life, Destination Shanghai" was featured at the West Palm Beach Film Festival. 
Her "3 minutes of fame" was in Michael Moore's first documentary "Roger and Me." 
Upon her return to the States in 1992, she settled in Flagler Beach and created Theateriffic, a professional performing arts company for children. In 2005, Maxine was coordinator of the Daytona Beach Film Festival. "A Grandmother's Wish" by Grandma Max is a children's book written by Maxine, illustrated by young people from the area, and animated by her dear friends Leigh Ann Singleton and David Lawter. She has been a volunteer in the theater department of Buddy Taylor Middle School. 
Maxine leaves a devoted family: Brian and Kathy Kronick, Brittany, Rachel and Jordyn of New Jersey; Scott and Lisa Kronick, Jacquelin and Samuel of Beijing, China; Dana and Michael Buttlar, Eden and Rudy of Laguna Hills, California; and Erin Krugel, Sloane and Orley of Huntington Woods, Michigan.  She was also blessed with many incredible friendships. 
There will be a private funeral and no visitation at her request. Memorial contributions can be made to City Repertory Theater, City Marketplace, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, Suite B207, Palm Coast, Florida 32164; the Simon Wiesenthal Center or any children's charity of your choice . Condolences may be sent to

Monday, January 16, 2017

Flint Photos: Floyd McCree

Flint's first African-American mayor.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

We are grateful for your intelligence, passion, and dedication to making the United States a better, fairer, and more honorable place for all its citizens.

Listen to the "I have a dream" speech in its entirety here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Flint Photos: Flint P. Smith/Sill Building

Lead and Copper: A Flint Water Crisis Documentary

Amanda N'Duka of Deadline Hollywood reports:
Oscar-winning producer Paul Haggis (Crash) and his producing partner Michael Nozik have teamed with director William Hart on Lead and Copper, a documentary on the ongoing water contamination crisis in Flint, MI. 
The issue began in 2014 when Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The water from the river was not treated with corrosive inhibitors, and as a result thousands of children were exposed to lead contamination. A number of people involved with the conspiracy and cover-up have been charged with crimes, and it was a key issue during the presidentialial election cycle. 
“Once I learned of the depth of the problem and the extent of the cover-up, I was compelled to take a closer look and tell this story in the way it deserved to be told,” Hart said. 
Producers Alex Olsen and Patrick Letterii are also behind this documentary as well as Glen Zipper of Zipper Bros Films and venerable publicist Howard Bragman, a Flint native.

Flint Postcards: Hamilton Dam

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Felice Brothers

A sunny day, a shotgun and a Chevrolet
Wouldn't you like that?
A painted scene of horses on the city green
Wouldn't you like that?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

If I Could Turn Back Time

Roberto Acosta of MLive reports:
"A Thursday, Jan. 5 article by The Hollywood Reporter states Cher will serve as an executive producer in the TV movie "Flint" along with Katie Couric, Neil Meron, and Craig Zadan.
"Meron and Zedon have worked on "The Wiz Live!" and "The Sound of Music Live!" as well as a "Steel Magnolias" remake on Lifetime. Barbara Stepansky has been chosen to write the script."