City Slang: Kerrytown rocks

September 9, 2013
By

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OK, guess who was late to his own party. I’m a man who abhors tardiness, and yet on Sunday afternoon I suffered from the most wretched of brain farts. Convinced the music panel, “From Motown to Iggy Pop,” which I was scheduled to moderate, began at 1 p.m., I showed up at 12:15 only to discover that it started at noon. I apologize to everyone who was there on time (pretty much everyone else).

Still, all’s well that ends well. The panel was a success, thanks in no small part to the panelists, authors Peter Benjaminson and Steve Miller, plus the kind and frankly wondrous Kerrytown volunteer who stepped in and filled in for me before I was able to settle in.

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Peter Benjaminson wrote The Story of Motown in ’79, the first U.S. book ever written about the Motown Record Company. In 2008 he wrote The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard. His next book, Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown’s First Superstar, the first biography of Mary “My Guy” Wells ever written, was released by Chicago Review Press on November 1, 2012. He lives in New York City, but it was awesome to meet the man. I had bought The Story of Motown at John King Books in Detroit shortly after moving here from England in January 2008.

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Steve Miller’s most recent book is Detroit Rock City, though he is also the editor of Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-83. He was the front man in Lansing hardcore band the Fix, and the coeditor of Commando: The Johnny Ramone Autobiography. He also writes true crime. Miller, too, is a fascinating guy and I wish I had had more time for questions.

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We discussed the similarities and differences between Motown and Detroit rock ’n’ roll, and what they guys are going to be doing next. Also, SRC manager Pete Andrews showed up to regale us with a few choice tales. Much fun was had by all.

Outside of the music panel, the festival was a huge success overall. Local authors looked to be selling and signing plenty of books, while the kids were able to enjoy arts and crafts and story time. The event was a true celebration of literature for all ages.

Oh, and the Lions won.


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