May 3, 2014

The Circle Bar: A corner where the nights are for a singin' seizure, the days are for a drink in leisure

Inside, a sign
The bald guy's final report, written shortly before his death in April:

Facing north and looking out the Circle Bar's front window, I see a lot of Bay City's history, at least in the last two generations. 

With a little imagination, I can see the trolleys my dad used to ride, remember road rashes garnered from derfing my bike on their unused tracks, horse-drawn milk wagons ching-chinging down Johnson, the menacingly narrow  Belinda Street Bridge, ships coming off the races at Defoe's, three shifts of cars at the Chevy plant, and next to the Circle, porn, I mean "art," comes to Bay City.

I see a new-new bridge -- that's how my wife identifies our bridges built in her lifetime -- "The new, the new-new and the new-new-new."  That's Veterans (in spite of the fact it was opened in 1957), then Independence and Liberty.  And the scary thing is she's not alone -- we're in an elevator at Treasure Island in Vegas, guy gets in that Jan recognizes, they went to St. Mary's together, they start talking, he's working a business show, we're on a lark, he tries to tell her where he's now living and he says, "Take the -- what's that bridge? The new-new one, turn off on Marquette, blah blah."   I almost crapped my skivvies thinking,  OMG! there's more!

And now there's an old, old, rusty old boat, the Edson, upon which is pinned a lot of yesteryear and a lot of hope.

An endless stream of change yet always hearkening back to our Midwest roots and the values we hold dear: family, country, work ... and the right to party.

So what's next?  Will the Circle go unbroken?

I sure hope so, because (with apologies to the Sugarhill Gang) ...

I said a hip hop,
Hippie to the hippie and you can bet your bippy   
The hip, hip-a-hop, and you don't stop, a rock it
In your pocket,
To the bang bang boogie, say up jump the boogie,
To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.

Now what I'm 'bout to say ain't no test
When it comes to rappin' there's all the rest
Jam Master B he's wearing the crown
Cuz he's the baddest OG rapper in our town.
And "OG" here is not what you think,
Not what it sez in Webster's Inc.
Here's what it mean and this I quote,
Not "Original Gangsta" but decrepit "Old Goat."

So listen up dudes and dudettes too,
Cuz JMB is gonna rap at you ...
With meter sometimes gone askew,
And sometimes wearing just one shoe,
While eatin' things not good for you,
Nor for his poor aorta. Kinda sorta.
(Okay, smarty, YOU try rhyming "aorta," snorta, snorta.)

Now what I do, it's a doggone crime,
Gonna bludgeon meter, gonna torture rhyme,
Cuz I need to sound rough and gruff
Cuz that's all part of hip-hop stuff.
So now that macho's out the way,
Gittin' down to what I came to say.

Say Hey nonny-nonny, hey nonny-new
Skinamarinkadink, skinamaroo,
Flibbity, bibbity, bobbity-boo.

What's that, you ask, got to do,
With the Circle Bar and the Unsung crew?
Well, nothing, really, just part of the flow
Cuz now and then, no tellin' when, us rappers pen
In five or ten
Extra lines and sounds for show,
That too's how hip-hop go.

(Spitting noises, like fart sounds, what all us rappers do with our lips.  Or play air turntable to the beat -- wicky, wicky, wicky, weeky.)

Now at the Circle Bar don't come in satins,
Seeking fancy Scotch and fancier Manhattans,
You'll find no food, you'll find no craft,
They got Bud Light, Busch Light, and Busch on draft,
It's a working-class place with a working class face
Where you might see a guy like Studs Terkel,
He'd have a shot-'n-a-chase, and state his case
(And why ain't "Circle", "Kerkle"?)

It's a working class place with a working class face,
Where the patrons are downright friendly
There weren't none shy,
They looked us in the eye,
And the banter was never-endly.
And that's not all:  Listen up sucker,
You can also get some gnarly shots of several kinds of Pucker.

Sucka Pucka Chuck-alucka Sis-boom-bah,
Gimme Lions, Loonies, Hot dogs and some apple pa
Patrice Lumumba was no goombah nor am ah.
My sister wear man-boots and my brother a bra.
(That's not true, I'm funnin' you, it's all a big fat lah.)

(Spit for awhile.)

Some pi r square and some pi are round,
But the Circle Bar's an oval we have found,
Which leads one to wonder, was the name a blunder,
Should it be "The Oval"? Should it be another?
(I know that last don't make good rhyme,
But this is hip-hop baby, close is fine.)

The name itself comes from the fact
In 1935 there was a track
For the trolley. End of the line, by golly. So Solly.
On a big, flat wheel set flush to the ground
Men jumped from the car and helped turn it around.

Trolley folks called it the "Belinda Turntable"
But the citizens knew it by a different label,
When the bar was built 'twas a gone conclusion
About its name there could be no confusion
And everafter known both near and far,
There's a bar at the "circle", it's the Circle Bar.

They got posters on the wall, they got posters in the hall,
They got beer mirrorsposterspix -- and that ain't all,
They got freezers full of -- I lied about the craft --
Cans and bottles of what ain't on draft.

(More spitting.)

Our barmaid's name is Marci,
Speaks not a word of Farsi,
And never saw Canarsie,
Nor dined at Montauk Point.
Something something,
Something something,
(Got no frickin' rhyme) co-owner of the joint.

She goes about her duty
Not all Additudy-Judy,
And can tell you who's on first and what's the score.
With a nod and a wink she will fix you a drink
And be ready when you're ready for more.

It was quiet that day
But I figger it may
Have to do with why the old place is OK (oak)
E-ver-y night, come hell or come blight,
-- And here I ain't-ain't-ain't at all a-jokin' --
They got open mike for all who would like
To do a little k-k-k-karaokin'.

Marci's husband's name is Terry,
And because he's not so scary
Looks more like Doc than Harry
And let me get right to the salient point
He and his wife
Are working hard for their life
So you'll enjoy your visit to their joint.

(Wicky, wicky, wicky, weeky; wicky, wicky week.)

That, as they say, is a wrap for today,
I spose I shoulda wrote a little deeper
To cause a psychosis or nitrogen narcosis
Or worse, crank out a brain-numbing sleeper.

So if you're out and about,
Give the Circle a shout,
Stop in and have a drink or a beer,
The folks'll treat you nicely,
You will find it's not high pricely,
And at nite you can sing, laff and cheer.

They call me Def Baldo, I could be in "Where's Waldo?"
In a crowd I can't be found with a map.
But when it's word-hurlin' I'm a regular Merlin,
I'm the rhymin'-est grandpa of rap

They call me Def Baldo but the thing that I fear,
It's not because I'm cherry, it's these things in my ear,

(Final spit, fold arms, look menacing and shout, "Blog it!"

See the hairy guy's report on the Circle Bar: Where every night is karaoke night and there's plenty of beer (but, sadly, no sloe gin)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

If you are looking at tracing bars in "Bar City", pack a lunch. From Fournier (inspiration for Paul Bunyan according to my Grandpa, George Summers) biting a chunk out of a bar on Water St because they ran out of sandwich meat, which was free with $.10 buckets of beer. Grandpa would buy a quart of hard liquor to take home under the seat of his Dad's wagon by way of the Kawkawlin Rd (Improved from sand to some sawmill slats and/or graded horse-drawn). If the jug froze the damned proprietor was watering down his booze. I've been in the catacombs which ran below ground all around and under Water St in the '60s. The Cotton Rock was known for whores drugs poison booze beatings killings etc. Some said bodies could be dumped in the river through tunnels. I have old recordings like "The dirty river Saginaw, kills the fish for K(C)avanagh, but we love it just the same" and "The barefoot boy with shoes on"