Madison Heights blogger brings writers together at Rust City Book Con

Rachel Moulden for Digital First Media

JMorgan.BioPic.01a.1700px
Jackie Morgan established the Rust City Book Con, running Friday through Sunday, Aug. 4-6, at Detroit Marriott Troy, 200 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. Courtesy of Jackie Morgan

Jackie Morgan, a Michigan book blogger at Literary Escapism, comes from a family of readers.

“I’ve read so many types of books over the years,” the Madison Heights resident says. “I initially started reading historical romances in my teenage years and now I read a lot of paranormal fantasy,” especially by authors Jeanine Frost, Chloe Neill, and Kim Harrison.

Morgan’s passion for books has manifested as an event readers will enjoy. She came up with the idea for Rust City Book Con after her experiences attending book conventions for several years. She has been blogging about books for more than 10 years and that, combined with attending conventions, enabled her to make connections with authors and publishers.

While volunteering at other conventions, many of Morgan’s friends suggested she should create one of her own. She decided to take their advice and Rust City was born to promote local and independent authors.

“When Borders closed it had a huge impact on readers and authors, especially the local ones,” Morgan says. “Borders was one of the big bookstores that constantly promoted indie local authors and when they closed it cut off a venue for authors to promote their works.”

In its second year, Rust City is still a “baby con.” Morgan’s goals are to bring more variety next year, especially sci-fi writers, particularly because the area has many sci-fi conventions. Her goal is no more than 300 attendees, allowing more one-on-one time with the authors.

“This year we have about 40 authors in attendance. A lot of the panels center around face-time with authors that you might not get to see at larger conventions,” she says.

Metro Detroit is a great area for conventions, Morgan says, because of its large population and with Canada so close, it’s convenient for Canadian authors, too.

Attendees of the 2017 convention have a lot to look forward to. Lunch and dinner buffets will make it easier for readers and writers to have access to food without leaving. The full schedule includes many activities.

“Every day there are writer’s workshops, author meet-and-greets, games such a bookish edition of the ‘Match Game,’ and even a charity raffle where attendees can win bookish prizes,” Morgan says.

Unlike other cons, she says the registration deadline is not cut off and those interested can still register. Saturday’s book sale and signing is also open to the public. In exchange, everyone is asked to bring a gently used book to help fill a new Little Free Library to be installed in the community after the event.

Attending authors are coming from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Some Michigan authors coming include C.K. Brooke, Rue Allyn, John David and Jenny Trout. All weekend there will be an indie bookstore where attendees can purchase the authors’ books.

Rust City Book Con takes place Friday through Sunday, Aug. 4-6, at Detroit Marriott Troy, 200 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. Registration is $85 and includes all events and activities through the weekend. For more information, visit rustcitybookcon.com/.

Oakland University dance professor curates The Michigan Five performance

Rachel Moulden for Digital First Media

Greg Patterson of Warren teaches dance at Oakland University. Courtesy Greg Patterson

Gregory Patterson shares his passion for music and dance through the students he teaches at Oakland University.

“I was always interested in dance as a kid, but was more of a sports guy growing up,” says Patterson, a Warren resident and associate professor of dance, who has been teaching at OU for 21 years.

Part of his duties is leading the Michigan Five, a performance highlighting the best dancers from colleges and universities in the state. Created to demonstrate to high schoolers what Michigan colleges offer in their dance programs, it will be at The Berman Center for the Performing Arts at on March 11.

“It’s an exciting idea because dancers are always looking for outside opportunities to perform,” says Patterson who curates the performance.

Participating this year are dancers from the University Of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, Wayne State University and Detroit Renaissance High School.

Schools chosen for The Michigan Five are confirmed in October, and their dances are prepared through their classes, usually modern and contemporary works.

This year’s show is dedicated to Carol Halsted, who was a vibrant symbol in the dance world of Metro Detroit. Halsted, who died in late January, founded the OU dance department and went on to become director of dance at Michigan Opera Theatre.

Patterson’s performance career stretches back to high school and college, where he participated in the musicals “West Side Story,” “Hello Dolly” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” He graduated from Bowling Green University with a psychology degree, but after taking some dance classes he decided to pursue it as a profession.

He eventually earned his master of fine arts degree at the University of Michigan and has danced professionally for more than 30 years — as a member of Harbinger Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance, Ann Arbor Dance Works and Rigmarole Dance Company. On top of that, he’s the dance program director and artistic director of Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company, which he created in 2000. And he serves as chairman of the Michigan Dance Council, as well as choreographing and assisting with musicals at Oakland University.

Patterson says he’s incredibly fortunate to be involved in so many aspects of dance, but his biggest challenge is always having too much on his plate.

“I just can’t seem to say no when people ask for help,” he says with a laugh.

For Patterson, the most rewarding aspect is “being able to see students I have trained to go on in life and become successful dancers, working with well-known choreographers, and having the opportunity to tour internationally.”

The Michigan Five performance takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at The Berman Center for The Performing Arts, 6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield Township. This performance is sponsored by Harriet and Irving Berg. For more information about the show or to purchase tickets call 248-661-1900 or visit theberman.org/.

Oakland County resident composes score for upcoming indie horror film “The Dark Below”

Rachel Moulden for Digital First Media

DarkBelow
Oakland County resident David Bateman composed the music for this independent horror movie, “The Dark Below.” Courtesy David Bateman

Oakland County resident David Bateman composed the music for this independent horror movie, “The Dark Below.” Courtesy David Bateman

Oakland County resident David Bateman composed the music for this independent horror movie, “The Dark Below.” Courtesy David Bateman

Since his childhood local music composer, David Bateman, has always had an ear for music. Growing up in Royal Oak, Bateman began to study music at an early age by taking piano lessons.

“I remember my Dad playing this boogie-woogie riff on the piano all the time and being mesmerized that anyone could make that groove with their fingers,” he says.

Bateman, who now lives in West Bloomfield Township, was 15 when his father died, and music became a source of therapy for him. Since then he’s never stopped playing an instrument or learning music. He plays the piano, guitar and trumpet, among other instruments.

Bateman’s start as a music composer came during his high school years, when he wrote a lot of music and instrumentals in various genres for his own enjoyment. In the early ’90s, he was approached by his friend Michael Ozias — with whom he still works to this day — to write music for Ozias’ thesis film at Michigan State University.

“It was then, when I developed a passion for writing music to picture,” Bateman says. “I fell in love with not only the musical aspect of film scoring, but the technical side of things.”

Creating a film score can be challenging, and as he jokingly says, it also requires copious amounts of coffee.

“I take a lot of time trying to make each music score unique and interesting,” he says.

In preparing most of his scores, he gathers a wide range of field recordings to combine them as a hybrid orchestra. From there, he plugs the sounds into special software to create a musical “instrument,” or overall atmosphere.

Bateman says his biggest challenge with music composition is scheduling enough time to work on a film.

“Sometimes the request is to have music completed in two weeks. That’s writing, recording, mastering and delivering the final mix,” he says.

Bateman mostly gets called to work on horror and suspense movies, but prefers composing a wide variety of scores. Some of his favorite films he’s gotten to work on include “World of Art,” “Arlo” and the “The Burping Pig.” He’s also worked on multiple shows on Discovery Channel’s Investigative Discovery series, including “Homicide Hunter,” “Deadliest Catch,” and “People Magazine Investigates.”

His most recent work is in the upcoming indie horror film “The Dark Below.” It is about a woman who struggles to survive under the ice of a lake while a serial killer stalks her from the surface. The film is directed by Douglas Schulze and stars screen veteran Veronica Cartwright, Lauren Mae Shafer, and David G. Brow. It premieres on March 10 in Los Angeles, but as of yet there has been no announcement for a Detroit-area release.

Bateman described this as one of the most challenging films he’s worked on during his career. While he has written 45-50 minutes of music in his average film score, for “The Dark Below” he had to write more than 90 minutes. Plus, this movie has very little dialogue.

“Since the film mostly takes place on and underneath a lake, I created a lot of custom instruments using objects such as ice, water, shovels, axes and ice picks,” Bateman says. “The music needed to tell a story and gradually increase in pace with the mood growing eerie and twisted.”

Before recording many of the parts, to achieve a tense and bone-chilling atmosphere, he held ice cubes in his hands while fans blew cool air on him, making the studio temperature uncomfortable.

“The actors and crew in this film worked through some brutal conditions and did such an amazing job onscreen, that I wanted to share the same commitment and intensity,” Bateman says.

Now he is finishing the score to the thriller “Anders Manor,” starring Christina Robinson (Actor on “Dexter”). After wrapping up that project, he’ll be working on an MMA action film called House Rules which stars Tom Sizemore.

For more information about Bateman visit batemanmusic.net/.