REVIEW (Pulp): Purple Rose Theatre’s ‘Never Not Once’ takes past trauma by the jugular

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Michelle Mountain (Allison), Caitlin Cavannaugh (Eleanor), Jeremy Kucharek (Rob), and Casaundra Freeman (Nadine) star in Carey Crim’s grab-you-by-the-lapels drama Never Not Once. (Photos by Sean Carter Photography.)

We often hear that people shouldn’t be permanently defined by their worst decision or act. But on the other end of that equation, all too often, are men and women who are irrevocably shaped by the violence committed against them.

Carey Crim’s latest world premiere play at Chelsea’s Purple Rose Theatre, Never Not Once, directed by Guy Sanville, treads rather boldly across this ethical minefield.

When Rutgers student Eleanor (Caitlin Cavannaugh) comes home unannounced, with boyfriend Rob (Jeremy Kucharek) in tow, and announces to her two moms that she aims to track down her biological father, her birth mother, Allison (Michelle Mountain), balks, insisting that the one night stand that left her pregnant in college was so inconsequential that she never even learned the man’s name. But when Eleanor’s other mom, Nadine (Casaundra Freeman), secretly supplies Eleanor with a possible clue regarding her father’s identity, the search narrows, and Allison is forced to revisit a trauma from her past.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but Never Not Once is an intense 90 minutes of live theater, despite some moments of levity in the early going. It tackles some tough stuff, and for the most part, it doesn’t pull its punches. But then, it can’t afford to. If you’re going to “go there,” as Crim has chosen to do, you’ve got to have the guts to go all in. So don’t go to the Rose expecting to passively sit back and be entertained by Never. It’s more a grab-you-by-the-lapels kind of show. READ THE REST HERE

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My latest WEMU-FM 89.1 Art & Soul segment with Lisa Barry, and artists from Encore Theatre’s ‘Next to Normal’

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 3.35.04 PM.pngThis week, “Art and Soul” is about the local performing arts scene. 89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry is joined by writer and reviewer Jenn McKee and guests from the Encore Musical Theatre Company to talk about their latest show, “Next to Normal,” and look ahead to many other local performance arts events. LISTEN TO THE 8 MINUTE SEGMENT HERE

My On the Ground Farmington story about Korner Barbers

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Photo by David Lewinski

Businesses come and go, but in downtown Farmington, a handful of merchants have weathered decades of economic and technological shifts, establishing themselves as tried-and-true anchors of this vibrant, small-town community.

To celebrate these beloved local institutions, Metromode’s On the Ground Farmington project has been publishing a Fixtures of Farmington series, whereby we shine a spotlight on these businesses’ owners; chronicle each venture’s origin story; and gather insights on how and why these businesses, after so many years, continue to thrive.

This week, we focus on one of Farmington’s most enduring businesses, Korner Barbers, where customers who first came as boys now bring their own children and grandchildren.

Before Korner Barbers opened in 1963, and staked its claim at the intersection of Grand River and Farmington Rd., its building had been a dry goods store; a general store; Grimes Cleaners; a jewelry store; and, for a brief time, a Republican campaign office during an election year.

But these days, most of us can’t imagine a time when the space didn’t house a series of classic barber chairs.

Owner Dan Klawender started working at Korner Barbers in 1967, when he was just 19 years old.

“To this day – and my wife would tell you this, too, she’ll say, ‘He still loves getting up every day and going to the barber shop,’” says Klawender, who also noted that the conversations he has with his customers, and the connections that result, are what keep his job enjoyable.

What started Klawender on this path?

“When I was growing up, my dad cut my hair, and I thought, ‘Well, if he can do it, so can I,’” said Klawender, who grew up in Farmington. “And I liked doing it. … I used to cut a lot of my buddies’ hair. Back when I worked at a Clark Gas Station, I’d sometimes cut my friends’ hair in the bathroom.” READ THE REST HERE

My On the Ground Farmington story about Focal Point

Businesses come and go, but in downtown Farmington, a handful of merchants have weathered decades of economic and technological shifts, establishing themselves as tried-and-true anchors of this vibrant, small-town community.

To celebrate these beloved local institutions, Metromode’s On the Ground Farmington project has been publishing a Fixtures of Farmington series, whereby we shine a spotlight on these businesses’ owners; chronicle each venture’s origin story; and gather insights on how and why these businesses, after so many years, continue to thrive. This is the last story of the series.

Focal Point Studio of Photography started small, and moved to several progressively bigger spaces, before landing in its current longtime (and enormous) home at 33431 Grand River.

Founded by photographers Jerry Jakacki and John Prusak in 1973, Focal Point first opened in a tiny, 300 square foot office in the Village Mall, at the corner of Grand River and Farmington Rd.

 

Michele and Marisa Jackacki.“Then we moved to where the tailor (Farmington Alterations) is now, which was maybe 900 square feet, and then we moved into what was a health food store and space next to that, which was 2,000 or 2,200 square feet,” said Michele Jakacki, owner/manager of Focal Point. (She and husband Jerry bought Prusak’s share of the business in 1976, and Michele took the reins with her sister, Marisa, well before Jerry’s death six years ago.) “In the mid-80s, we bought the building where we are now. … At the time, it was kind of a big eyesore in town – this dilapidated, abandoned old factory.” READ THE REST HERE