Remembering Mick Vranich
After being badly injured in an accident, Mick Vranich had lots of people pulling for him. Four or five benefits for his medical expenses brought out a great outpouring of love and support. Now, with word of his passing, another great hole exists within the Detroit arts community.
These are some my impressions of Mick Vranich. I never got to know him as well as I'd like to have. Yet I was always glad to see him, to be in his presence.
He was a humanist and an activist. Some causes I know he cared about were veteran's issues, Native American issues (especially the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier) and the fate of the Earth.
He was an excellent carpenter and worked on many houses. My grandfather Herbert Greenia was also a carpenter who worked on houses all over Detroit. I always thought Mick followed in the sort of work that he did.
Mick was one of those 1960s Detroit figures who was always still very much on the scene. They're a little older than I am, so I sort of felt "right behind them." He was one of the few I got to know a bit.
There's a tradition of performance poetry with music. Some of the local practitioners include M.L. Liebler, John Sinclair and Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts have all performed poetry backed by live music. But I believe Mick was one of the best at doing this.
He'd also had his writings published, including his book, Saw Horse. And, since 1995, there have been a number of intriguing exhibits at the art gallery Alley Culture. Mick helped run this space with his wife Sherry Hendrick.
These are some of the ways he was in and of the community, on the scene. He worked hard and still kept up his creative work. His loss is very sad, terrible news for many of us. I offer my condolences to Sherry and to his friends and family. —Maurice Greenia, Detroit
What about Goldie?
Re: Metro Times' review of The Runaways ("Queens of noise," April 7), I have to admit I am disappointed that someone of Bill Holdship's knowledge would make a statement that the Runaways were the first all-girl rock and roll band — "at least the first that mattered." I think the release of this film would have been a perfect opportunity to highlight the many all-girl bands that preceded the Runaways. Bill could have even done an article highlighting the all-girl bands that Kim Fowley ripped off in creating the Runaways, bands like SHE and Isis. To his credit, he did mention Fanny who David Bowie called the best band of their era, but failed to mention Suzie Quatro's all-girl band the Pleasure Seekers. Incidentally, the first all-girl rock 'n' roll band was Goldie & the Gingerbreads, who signed with Decca in 1963. They were fronted by an "oversexed vixen" named Genya Ravan, who went on to sing for the blues rock group Ten Wheel Drive and dance half-naked at the Fillmore East when Joan Jett was still in diapers. Yes, Bill, the groups that preceded the Runaways did not register — at least with the critics. —Bob Denial, Wyandotte
So he sings?
Great column by Jack Lessenberry on the historic health care reform bill signed this week by President Obama ("Victory for all," March 24). One minor suggestion to Jack's characterization of House Minority Leader John Boehner: Add "lounge lizard" to make it "sleek, tanned pseudo-fascist lounge lizard."
I like Jack's columns better when he's picking on the right-wing GOP dolts than the ones on Gov. Granholm. But keep 'em coming, Jack. —Ralph Deeds, Birmingham
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