The Run Across Palestine

I am on the board of the nonprofit On the Ground. We work to raise money for projects that help the people who produce our food all over the world. Last year we did the Run Across Ethiopia, generating money and interest to build 3 schools that will serve 1500 children and also to pay some of the expenses. We work with real people: farmers and families to help them build the tools to raise themselves from poverty.

Right now we are kicking off the Run Across Palestine, which will raise funds and awareness for olive farmers in Palestine. Our runners will basically run a marathon a day for five days, 129 miles from Hebron to Burqin.

Here’s the first video from our media team, edited by the incomparable Aaron Dennis.


The most beautiful place…

j jumps

Late last month the Sleeping Bear Dunes was named “Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America.

There have been toms of these “most beautiful”, “top 10” and “best-ist place ever” awards in my memory, but I can’t ever remember one that was so tangible and immediate in its impact. 2 hour lines at Pierce Stocking, media from everywhere descending on the region and generally a ton of attention.

While I love the pristine aspects of the Lakeshore, I don’t think there’s much chance that they become like Yosemite or other over-exposed beautiful places anytime soon. While I don’t like to see too many people at the beach or on the trails, I also love it that one of the places I feel is among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen is being seen for the first time by appreciative eyes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, like any of our national treasures, deserves to be enjoyed by people.

The photo is mine and so is the son. 😉

Here’s a pretty cool video of the song Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie from Michigan by Sufjan Stevens.

Forget Idaho.

Tahquamenon Falls I

Laura and I just got back from a weekend in the Upper Peninsula. At every place we visited – Miner’s Castle, Grand Sable Dunes, Sable Falls and even Tahquamenon Falls – we were the only people.

Our own private UP … minus the 3 ft tall hair.Checking all these amazing attractions out made me wonder why there’s any season that Michigan isn’t mobbed by scenery seekers.

Here’s the slideshow and let me say that the trout from the fish market in Marquette is amazing!!

ArtPrize is AmaZing

ArtPrize has returned to Grand Rapids for the second year. For my money, this is hands-down the most amazing event I’ve ever been to. I’m in GR right now, ready for a day of exploring this multi-venue art explosion. We’re featuring ArtPrize on Absolute Michigan once again too – here’s the montage video I made for ArtPrize 2009 – I’ll try to do one for 2010 too!

Rain is good … most of the time

Comerica Park

We had some rain last weekend that probably depressed attendance at the first ever Traverse City Wine & Art Festival. It felt like we had plenty of people though!

This morning on Michigan in Pictures I have a post where I started thinking about rain and events and tourism and such and how I’m still going to the first-ever Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival.

I do know that the rain will depress attendance at events like the TC Beer Fest that are just getting going and also at established ones that rely on good weather for big crowds. At a time when major event sponsors and – in cases like the GR & Leelanau bike races – whole events are vanishing due to Michigan’s dire economic climate, it seems to me that it’s almost a duty to lace on those boots and don raingear and get out to support & enjoy these events.

In Traverse City this year, our CVB started a new committee that is engaging lodging properties in the establishment, creation and promotion of events at a high level. I suspect that it’s going to help a lot of events that might otherwise fail to keep going and wonder if there are similar efforts on the statewide level brewing as well.

Check this and other pics out bigger in Nathan’s favorites slideshow or in his Detroit Tiger set.

…on a possibly related but probably unrelated note, we had a post earlier this week on Absolute Michigan about how the Tigers were providing folk in Michigan with something to roar about that you might enjoy.

Traverse City Film Festival #5

Here’s a recap of the 2009 Traverse City Film Festival that was produced by Drago & edited by Ed Einhorn. Filmed by Mike McGee, Bill Latka, Jon Casey. I think Ed did an amazing job of getting this together in a short time and can’t wait to work with him again next year!

Also check out this video by Scott Allman of Jeff “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Garlin & Larry “Borat” Charles with yours truly as the interviewer