HHM News

Hell’s Half Mile becomes nonprofit, hosts summer beach party

By on June 16, 2016

By Cole Waterman, Mlive Crime Reporter.

To view the original article visit Mlive.

BAY CITY, MI — Newly designated as an official nonprofit, the Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival is hosting a throwback beach party at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bangor Township.

The event, featuring an Americana cookout, a mural painting competition, sand castle building, volleyball and other beach-themed activities, is Saturday, July 9. The event also features live music from the Kickstand Band, Shady Groves, and Valentiger, whose sounds are all conducive to the summer and sand vibe.

The event is sponsored by Graff Chevrolet and Jack’s Bicycle Shop.

Festival founder and director Alan J. LaFave took a few moments to answer some questions about the event:

MLive: Where did the idea for this beach party come from?

AL: We were planning a fundraising event for last summer, but about 60 days out from the planned event date, we just didn’t feel like we were far enough along to execute it properly. We ultimately decided to push it to next year. In the meantime, another group decided to do a similar type event for this summer, so we needed to come up with something different, something fresh. It’s important for us not to duplicate what’s already happening in the community.

And for the last couple summers I have been riding my bike out to the Bay City State Park and beyond and noticed how great the beach has been looking. The muck is virtually gone. This beach was a regular hangout for me when I was in my teens, so it brings back great memories. I pitched the idea of a beachside Hell’s Half Mile event to our group as something completely different from what we have done in the past. The idea we developed as a team was a good, old-fashion beach party, like the kind you would see in the old 1960s films like “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “Muscle Beach Party”. Our version of it, anyway.

MLIVE: What are some of the activities that will be present?

AL: The cool thing about what we’re planning is that if you can come out and just chill, or you can join in some activities. The event is from 5-10 p.m. and we have music playing the entire time, including three bands with summer sun-drenched-style music, including the Kickstand Band, Shady Groves, and Valentiger. Outside of the entertainment, we’re planning an Americana cookout, a mini volleyball tournament, a half-mile beach race, Frisbee and other games. There’s even a sandcastle building competition for adults and kids, plus a few other surprises.

MLIVE: Where can tickets be purchased and what comes with the ticket price?

AL: Because it’s a bit of trek out to the beach from the parking lot, we’re currently asking people to purchase their tickets in advance online through Eventbrite, which you can find through our website or our Facebook event. Tickets to the event are just $10, but you are required to have a DNR Recreation Passport to enter the park. They are available for purchase at the park but most people buy them when they renew their license tabs. We also have a great Americana cookout, which includes a burger, beef or vegan, plus grilled corn on the cob and side. Drinks will also be sold at the event.

MLive: Is this replacing or in addition to the Unity Park event held the last two years?

AL: So, what we did was shifted the date for the summer party we usually have at Unity Park. The format is the same, but that event will be Aug. 5 and include our “launch” event where we disclose the films and bands for this year’s festival. This new beach party is the week the Unity Park event usually takes place. It’s just a shift of events, really.

MLive: Is there anything attendees are asked not to bring (kids younger than a certain age, their own booze, etc.)?

AL: Attendees still have to follow all the State Park rules, including no outside alcohol. We’ve applied for a liquor license for the event and will likely have beer available for purchase. Kids are welcome, but need to be watched by their parents. We’ll have volunteers running the activities, but they won’t be responsible for watching the kids.

MLive: How is planning Hell’s Half Mile’s 11th year coming along in general?

AL: We’re in the thick of planning right now. We start right after the festival ends and keep moving. We have most of the bands locked for the music side and we’re just about ready to make some of the film selections and invite guest filmmakers and so forth. People should join us Aug. 5 in Unity Park in downtown Bay City for a preview of what’s to come this fall.

MLive: On the nonprofit side, what changes for HHM with this new status?  Also, what does it mean to have the official nonprofit distinction for the festival?

AL: As of the end of April, Hell’s Half Mile Events is the newest nonprofit arts group in Bay County. We have been under the umbrella of the Bay Arts Council for the past 10 years and they have been a great organization to work with. Now that we’re on our own, we will first and foremost concentrate on growing the festival and secondly on bringing more cinema and music to Bay City, as well as other alternative entertainment cultural events.

Again, we’re all about bringing new things to our community and not duplicating what is already available. This is a big deal for our group and hopefully for the community. The age groups that attend our festival the most are millennials and baby boomers. Both demographics are strongly represented and that becomes an effective tool in attracting or retaining young audiences in our community, while at the same time not leaving the older audiences behind.

MLive recently wrote an article on how millennials are skipping out on the Great Lakes Bay art scene. I assure you, that’s not the case with Hell’s Half Mile. I think it can be directly attributed to our strong focus on various indie rock genres, and that we take chances with unknown filmmakers who are amazing storytellers. We’re looking forward to our future contributions to our community.

HHM teams with Patrick Ewing’s Flattop for 3rd annual All-Day Indie Music Showcase

By on May 4, 2016

May 21 posterHell’s Half Mile and Patrick Ewing’s Flattop are teaming up once again for the third annual All-Day Indie Music Showcase. On Saturday, May 21, a bevy of the finest independent music across the Mitten is descending at BeMo’s Bar, 701 S. Madison Ave. in Bay City.

With our most gracious sponsors of Catholic Federal Credit Union, D-Street Music Foundation, A Clean Cigarette, Electric Chair Tattoo Bay CityJake’s Corner Lounge, and Populace Coffee, we’re bringing you one of our most varied lineups yet. From grimy and sleazy surf goth (Mexican Knives) to melodious power pop (Andy Reed), from smooth-grooving hip hop (LXL) to fuzzy psychedelia (Bronze Mambas), from swampy, voodoo psychobilly (DUENDE!) to scathing garage rock (Baggage), and solid anthemic indie rock (ADABOY!, Paint, Noble Whips, Amplitude), this is not a gig to miss.

Lightnin’ Licks Vinyl Preservation Society will be on hand to keep the tunes going between bands. They might also host a few rounds of “Can You Name That Tune?” trivia.

More details are coming, but expect Brooklyn Boyz Pizza and Villarreal Authentic Take-Out as food vendors, Populace to be selling iced coffee, games, and 50/50 raffles. We’re also seeking submissions from area artists who would like to present their wares and creations for sale or display.

The order of the lineup is pending, and expect another group to be announced shortly, but here are the groups we have on board thus far:
Amplitude: https://amplitudeband.bandcamp.com/releases
Noble Whips
Paint: https://paint2.bandcamp.com/releases
ADABOY!: https://adaboy.bandcamp.com/releases
Andy Reed: https://andyreedaau.bandcamp.com/
Bronze Mambas: https://bronzemambas.bandcamp.com/
LXL: http://www.modernknotartists.com/lxl-nosh-pit/
Baggage: https://baggageband.bandcamp.com/releases
Mexican Knives: https://mexicanknives.bandcamp.com/
Detroit’s DUENDE!: https://duendetroit.bandcamp.com/

The show starts at 2 p.m. There is no cover, but as this is something of a fundraiser to ensure we can keep doing these events, we’re asking attendees for a small donation if they can spare it.

HHM Spit N’ Spin Indie Showcase – April 8th @ Bemos

By on March 20, 2016

There is perhaps no greater influence on modern pop culture than that of hip-hop music. It is with this fact in mind that we cordially invite you to join Hell’s Half Mile as we celebrate the fashion, beats, rhythms and rhymes of independent hip-hop at our first SPIT N’ SPIN concert event. In addition to DJs Lightnin’ Licks Vinyl Preservation Society spinnin’ classic cuts from their extensive catalogue of hip-hop LPs, some of the Mitten State’s most accomplished underground artists will be sharing the stage at BeMo’s on Friday, April 8.
The players:

Rare book dealer by day, experimental rapper by night, Doc Waffles is widely regarded as one of Eastern Detroit’s most notorious wordsmiths, erecting poetic landscapes with a foundation of lush verbage and antiquated vernaculars. In other words, He’s got words.

Eddie Logix used to sell mix tapes, but now he’s an emcee. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, he rocks rhymes and beats, used to rock them tapes.The premier CoOwnaz beat creator may seem recognizable to HHM audiences as he is 1/2 of the dreamy synth pop duo Sleepless Inn.

Obese Ghost Children are mysterious. Intense live performers, they build their anthems with complex yet palletable lyrical versus, howling choruses, and hauntingly crisp production. The triple threat. Not to be slept on, certainly not to be missed.

Making another go ’round through Bay City are Mister and Blaksmith, infamously and hilariously described by Pitchfork as Motown’s “cross-racial hip-hop buddy duo” Passalacqua. Pass is bringing along even more fresh material, proving themselves as prolific as Ghostface while still promising to bring it on the stage presence tip like, ‘whoa’. Even casual hip-hop heads will find it difficult to keep their noggins from nodding along with the cadence of the crushing beat when these guys get at it.

As always with BeMo’s, admission is free. The needle drops at 8 p.m. sharp, rappers appearing shortly thereafter.spit and spin

Hell’s Half Mile Indie Music Showcase: VSTRS, Odd Hours, Earth Engine

By on February 13, 2016

Alright lads and lassies, it’s time for another Hell’s Half Mile Indie Music Showcase, this time with a wee bit of a St. Patrick’s Day theme. On Saturday, March 19 — that’s one day before the 62nd annual Bay City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, mind you — we’re hosting a night of indie rock dabbling in the funk, jazz, art, electro, and prog realms. The St. Patty’s theme comes in the form of Brooklyn Boyz Pizza graciously providing some green garlic knots and green pizza for the gig.

Coming back for their first time in 10 months in support of their latest EP “norepinephrine + dopamine” is Odd Hours. Bookending them are two acts new to the HHM banner — Earth Engine and VSTRS. All three bands are known for their refusal to be pigeonholed into any single genre, Frankensteining disparate elements into new concoctions.

Equal parts post-punk, industrial, and glam rock, Odd Hours are experimental to the core, but pepper their songs with myriad earworms. They’re a spectacle to behold on stage, with the commanding presence of vocalist Natasha Beste and guitarist Timothy Jagielo’s performance-art approach.

Earth Engine, a sextet releasing their debut five-song EP in February, merge funk, jazz, and prog rock into a savory stew. Think Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, but with more groove.

VSTRS also have penchant for sonic experimentation. Spacey and grinding, psychedelic and pummeling, shimmering and murky, they’re like Radiohead mixed with Tool mixed with Smashing Pumpkins, without being too self-serious. They released their marvelously evocative eponymous LP in July 2015.

The show is at BeMo’s Bar, 701 S. Madison Ave., and doors are at 8 p.m. Lightnin’ Licks Vinyl Preservation Society will be spinning before, between, and after the bands. As always, there’s no cover.

HHM Indie Showcase