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Final installment, Up The Wall Tour: Update #4 – Detroit to home

Stephanie Rearick
Sat, Nov 5, 2011

Final installment, Up The Wall Tour: Update #4 – Detroit to home

In Detroit...
We stayed with Kim Hodge (in Lathrup Village), organizer extraordinaire and founder of the Michigan Alliance of TimeBanks, who hosted and co-facilitated the two days of trainings we did.

The trainings were in a great church in Detroit, the Lighthouse Community Church on Wyoming St., thanks to Joan and her son the pastor.

First day we focused on identifying and engaging stakeholders – the organizations, groups and individuals who can help each timebank meet its goals.

We went through how to identify your vision, mission and objectives and base your activities around those things. Once you're clear on what your real vision and goals are it's much easier to determine who needs to be involved to make those things happen and what messages might appeal to them.

We also discussed how to approach organizations with one need that timebank members could fill and one asset the organization can provide in return, in order to make it very clear and simple how timebank involvement can be mutually beneficial. And how to know whether an organization has someone internal or with a strong active connection who will be willing to do the work to make timebank participation flow well. I always advise that this is essential to success with each organization, or at least has been for us at the Dane County TimeBank.

In the afternoon we were joined by a few additional people, including some stakeholders that organizers are working to get involved. During this time we went through some nuts and bolts issues about liability, insurance, resources available for these things, policy decisions and more (TimeBanks USA, Michigan Alliance of TimeBanks, Dane County TimeBank among others).

Then we did a visioning exercise focused on how we could use timebanking to facilitate successful and healthy reintegration into the community for returning soldiers. We first determined who would need to be involved in order to create a robust circuit of assets and needs. Then we mapped how a variety of community members could participate, based on each ones' own assets and needs, and create a web of resources that can support the returning soldier and everyone else in the neighborhood. This seemed to help participants to see how they could create similar networks in their own communities, tailored to meet their own goals.

We had some practice rounds and a lovely close led by Kim and contributed to by everyone.

Next day was on funding and sustainability. Again, we focused on how to use your mission, vision and objectives to identify what resources you'll need, best adapted to meeting your goals. We also did a lot of need and asset mapping and identification of non-monetary resources that can be brought in, then went through sources for monetary resources and what they tend to be necessary for. Sources identified were member fees, organizational member fees, contracts, grants, services provided, and various fundraising strategies. We explored some of these options in greater depth and then did individual need and asset mapping to begin picturing what sustainability would mean for each project.

After the session and a potluck, we got a little rest before I went to play at an art reception at Mercado art gallery in Mexicantown, Southwest Detroit. The gallery was beautiful! Big glass walls, boxy white rooms with a great art show inside. I found my new favorite artist, Susan Aaron Taylor (or at least from the three pieces she had there). Spaceband played first and were great as always. I really enjoy playing in a boxy echoey space with good sound and lighting so I had a great time.

Next day we had a potluck at Kim's house with some of Lathrup Village TimeBank's members and organizers. Really wonderful people. A couple of them were a little tired because they'd been up late the night before, one helping the other with an emergency water heater replacement!

And that night I played the Devil's Night Party at Trumbullplex. Trumbullplex Theater is a cool (very literally, too, that night) art space connected with Trumbullplex anarchist housing collective. This was a serious (and fun) night of experimental music and performance – and rock. I was first. I went as Chunks the Clown and played all spooky, dark stuff. Opened with Charlie Cheney's Chunks the Clown joke to set the mood, then played 'Secret,' 'Night,' 'Eating Machine' and some others I haven't been playing in awhile. Also Icarus' Himself's 'Cadaver Love Song' – seemed appropriate for the occasion. After me was Julie Patton, then Paul Van Curen, Spaceband, and Marco Polio and the New Vaccines. Lots of brilliant moments through the night topped by Polio et al's stunningly fantastic rock show. Their vibe was similar to Iowa City's Utopia Park, also reminiscent of Shane Shane who's a friend of the Vaccines. But their costumes made them total superstars – they were all angels, with crisp white clothes, one in white satin shorts, one shirtless, all with white feathered wings and halos of gold leaves. They looked awesome, then put on a hyper-kinetic show with lots of jumping back and forth between being on the stage and in front of the stage, sometimes enlisting the dancers to wave a big white sheet together, popcorn style. Pretty awesome. After the show the singer (in his lovely white angel costume, covered with sticky fake blood) had us all put our hands in football-style, and say 'everyone is everyone!' A fine way to end Devil's Night.

And I was exhausted. That was the last show of the tour, next morning we drove back to Madison, stopping at Sultan's Market in Chicago for some of the best falafel around. I'm happy to be home!!

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