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Posted on Mon, May 7, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Violin Monster's howl offends some in downtown Ann Arbor

By Cindy Heflin


Zachary Storey plays on the streets of Ann Arbor as the Violin Monster.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Werewolves are known for howling at the moon, but it seems not everyone in downtown Ann Arbor enjoys listening to them.

At least that was Zachary Storey’s experience last weekend. Storey, aka the Violin Monster, plays violin for tips on the streets of Ann Arbor wearing a werewolf mask. This year, he’s added howling to his act, and some people don’t appreciate it.

On both Friday night and Saturday (when the moon was not only full but especially large), Ann Arbor police told him someone had complained about his performance at the corner of Liberty and Main streets, one of his favorite spots, and asked him to move along. Storey complied, but said the incident cut into his earnings for the weekend, and he hopes to be back in that location in the near future.

Thumbnail image for Violin_Monster_2.jpg

Zachary Storey minus the mask.

“I make most of my money on Friday and Saturday,” Storey said. “So Saturday it kind of interrupted the prime playing time for me, but the big issue for me is continuing to be able to play there. … For a lot of reasons that particular corner is the best for me to play at.”

Cherry Republic store manager Keri Hardy said Storey was rude to an employee of her store who asked him to stop playing for a while or move to another location while a dance group invited by the Main Street Area Association was performing Friday night for the Midnight Madness event downtown.

“He kept playing and howling during their entire performance,” Hardy said.

Hardy said the store has generally welcomed and supported Storey and his music, but she was upset by the Friday incident and said the howling is a bit much. “It sounds like 'Werewolves of London' outside my store.”

Storey said he didn’t think he needed to move because the request didn’t come from the performers. “If someone from the performance group had come to talk to me I would have been more than willing.” He also denied he was rude to the Cherry Republic employee, and he believes the complaint that brought the police came from someone else.

Elaine Selo, owner of Selo/Shevel Gallery, across Liberty Street from Cherry Republic, said she’s had no problems with Storey and his act. “I like it. I think it’s great. I think he’s a pretty good musician, and I think it’s fun.” She also noted that the door to her business is always closed, unlike Cherry Republic’s.

Storey, 27, howls to acknowledge tips he receives while playing. He used to thank everyone who gave him money and bow. But howling seems to work better. Storey, who performed in several cities in the South this winter, added the howling to his act while playing in New Orleans. “It just came to me, and since I started it, it’s just worked out really well for me. … It always gets another laugh. … People seem to love it.”

Well, most people anyway. Storey acknowledged that police who talked to him on Friday night and Saturday said it was the howling that led to the complaints.

Storey said he’s trying to find out more about what he’s allowed and not allowed to do as a street musician by researching city ordinances and talking to the police. He’s also planning to talk to the businesses in the area to get their opinion of his presence.

“If I find that I’m not violating anything I’ll continue to play,” he said.

Ann Arbor city ordinances don’t address the issue of street musicians directly, said Senior Assistant City Attorney Kristen Larcom. “Nothing prohibits that activity, but that does not mean it can be done at any place and at any time,” she said.

Storey, who started playing full time for money on Ann Arbor streets last summer, said he doesn’t want to be a bother to anyone. “I don’t have the impression that I am. If it was the case that all of the surrounding businesses hated that I was out there, I’d have to maybe rethink.”

You can watch a short video of Storey playing and howling in New Orleans below:



Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

For a town that CLAIMS to be so progressive, I see a whole lot of uptight people.........


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

To those of you who don't understand how taxes work. At the end of the year, we have that little option to say whether or not we recieved any additional tips or compensation. Check, this individual does pay taxes so we can just drop that nonsense. Sure, Mr. Storey could have paused during the performance, however there is MORE than enough room in Ann Arbor to share the entertainment stage. "But oh, will somebody PLEASE think of the children!!!!???" Bah! children indeed, those of you screaming about children are yourselves STILL children. Lets just keep it real. The man is performing a service and being compensated. I don't hear any opposition to Arthur (A.K.A. "Crutch-Man") who prowls the streets looking for "fifty cents or a buck" 12 hours a day. For such a "progressive" town, it sures sounds stuffy to me...


Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2 a.m.

140 comments on the Wolfman violinist....mostly negative...but. Really folks. This guy is just a part of the ambiance of A2. Let's lighten up a bit.


Thu, May 10, 2012 : 4:21 a.m.

i am a regular customer at cherry republic and receive their monthly orchard report. i have joked light-heartedly about the VM's playing with cherry republic employees before and they are supportive of his playing, even if they have to occasionally close their door because he clashes with their music. cherry republic's owner wrote about VM and seems to support his performing at main and liberty. although i am a lover of cherries, ann arbor's rich culture, and the VM...i am disappointed with the negative press this is receiving. i don't think the opinions of cherry republic or the vm are being portrayed accurately and that's sad to me. i hope storey can learn from his mistake and continue to play courteously on main and liberty so both he and cherry republic can benefit.

Robert Granville

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

""Nothing prohibits that activity, but that does not mean it can be done at any place and at any time," she said." Actually that's exactly what that means. The statement is moot since there are laws in place but it's good to know that our assistant city attorney is just as willing to overstep the law to pursue "justice" as Wild Bill Schuette. Newsflash... if it's not illegal, you don't have any authority.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

So I wonder how much a violin monster clears per year, before taxes?

Angela Todd

Wed, May 9, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

I had my photo taken with him...the day of the FestiFools Parade. I also snapped 1200 photos of the parade (narrowed down to around 450 or so...on Facebook). Anyway, I love street musicians and people who are creative. People who never listen to people who tell them that they're weird, etc. People should never listen to those who put them down, discouraging them from being different, etc. Anyway, we howl (as do others, also) along with Wolfman. I'd sure rather watch him than those who hustle, steal, or panhandle...aggresively several times per week. Ann Arbor resident, Angela Todd.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

Local characters in Ann Arbor keep life interesting. I love howling! (Alaskan Malamute owner)


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

Cherry Republic actually talked about him in a very positive light in one of their email newsletters a couple of weeks ago. They have no beef with him, it just sounds like he was being very inconsiderate.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

Is this's next target?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

It is unfortunate that this has been blown so out of proportion. I did have a conversation with Mr. Storey and asked him to consider the possibility of stopping while the performers were doing their thing, or perhaps move to a different corner for the Friday night event in question, but we did not harass, threaten, or call the police. The police were called, supposedly on our behalf by our "manager". This "manager" that made the call was a man; we don't know who he is. As such, he does not represent Cherry Republic in any way. Informationally; Cherry Republic is a one owner store that is dedicated to help preserve the cherry farmer's way of life, along with environmental and farmland preservation. They also dedicate resources to local good causes through donations to charity events. Yes, they are importing cherries from Poland this year. it certainly is not their usual way of doing business, but the devastating effects of a couple of hard frosts make it imperative that they do so. Here's a link to a Washington Post story: fruits/2012/05/04/gIQAwJt61T_story.html In doing this, they keep their employees at work, add to the local economy, and most importantly, they remain true to their core values, which can be found here: We have been very supportive of the Violin Monster; included him in a recent Cherry Report that is available to sign up for on our site, but you can see it here: And lastly, I personally love living in a town where people can publicly engage in creative pursuits; it is also true that the howling can sometimes get to be a little hard to handle after 3+ hours, but we welcome Violin Monster, know that people like his act, and hope to have him in front of our store again.

Paul Wiener

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Let me join the many who strongly believe this is not a newsworthy story. Moreover, it gives both wide negative and positive publicity, and profit, to this person, neither of which he deserves.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Amazing that this guy has been preforming so long and actually makes money from it.

Violin Monster

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

You can view my reaction to this situation on my facebook page:


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

Don't get me wrong, I like these weird little quirky things that make Ann Arbor what it is as much as the next person. But here's the problem - the dance group that he was interrupting that he expected to speak up for themselves were KIDS. Sure he has as much right to perform as others, but c'mon. It's a 1-time, special event for them. Show some courtesy. It's not like they were going to take all his tips away... On a side note - the bigger problem isn't his howling - it's the influx of motorcycles that cruise Main Street. Can we erect a sign to tell them to go back to Royal Oak?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Zachary Storey would do better to consider his mobility an advantage; Main Street retailers can't move to please Mr. Storey or his fans. There has always been and always will be a fine line between whimsy and nuisance: all he has to do is recognize that fact and move about a bit when it's appropriate. Just a note to one of my negative comments about a Main Street business manager's behavior in which I said I no longer patronize that place was deleted (this was last year). Yet, here I see negative comments about a named business with the same sentiment being left up. That's even though the business being criticized hasn't done a wrong thing to their customers. Any reason for that?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

Whoever organized the dance group should have approached Storey prior to their performance to see if he would be willing to take a break for a few hours, go elsewhere or share the corner without the howling. Why is it so difficult to be considerate? And why do people assume others can read their minds - "He'll stop once we start because he knows we want him to." Really?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

Maybe he should wear a cat mask and purr if someone gives him a tip. It's much more quite and a win-win for all....hehe.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

I am thinking of a movie plot now - the locals who object all pool their funds and hire Dr. Van Helsing, who hunts down the Violin Monster. Supportive villagers come to his rescue. The third act features an angry mob with torches and pitchforks overrunning the Big House. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the Violin Monster and we are all led to wonder whether it was all a dream...


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

I find this whole story another example of the vocal minority "ruining it" for the rest of us. It sounds as though the Violin Monster is generally enjoyed, but there were a couple of people - employees of local stores who may or may not have been speaking on behalf of those stores - who complained and had him shut down. All it takes in this PC era is for one person to complain loudly about something that many might find valuable or enjoyable, and it is taken away. What's happened to the voice of the majority? Or, heck, simple tolerance and lightheartedness?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

The Ann (not news) article has made Cherry Republic out to be the bad guy. Storey was asked to stop playing during the performance of the dancers. He did NOT move and continued to play. Ok....obviously he was there first as Storey stated. Pretty pathetic comment from a grown man and yes, you were rude when I asked you to hold off playing while they were performing. He was still playing outside the store late into Friday evening - his profits were not cut into on Friday night. Saturday there was no complaint from Cherry Republic. Business as usual for both the store and Storey. Whoever complained - it wasn't from Cherry Republic. The police stopped into the store to ask if there was a problem. The answer, "NO, we welcome his performances and feel he is a draw to customers and adds to the color of Ann Arbor". Is the howling a bit much? Who knows but this article IS!

Cindy Heflin

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

As noted in the article above, Cherry Republic store manager Keri Hardy said the store has generally welcomed and supported Mr. Storey and his music. Today, she sent me a link to a newsletter featuring him that Cherry Republic sent out to subscribers. You can see it here:

A2 Rulz/Rulz

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

Sounds like has created a mess out of this. They should formally apologize to CR and to VM! Next time focus on real news, like college kids tossing Frisbees willy-nilly all over town!

A2 rulz x2

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Why does it matter? The issue is can Cherry Republic staff or ownership tell a street performer not to perform (or not to perform in a certain way)? It sounds like the answer is no. They need to let go of their sense of entitlement and take the issue up with the city.

Raylan Givens

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

This guy is pretty cool, but the howling could get annoying...


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Ok, I just watched the embedded video of VM's howl. Seriously... people are complaining? About THAT??? I would submit that some folks are in serious need of getting a life.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5 p.m.

So the business ACROSS the street from where the VM performs doesn't have a problem with it, lol? And they keep their door closed. What was the point of asking them?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

"Storey, who started playing full time for money on Ann Arbor streets last summer, said he doesn't want to be a bother to anyone. "I don't have the impression that I am. If it was the case that all of the surrounding businesses hated that I was out there, I'd have to maybe rethink."" People complaining, asking you to move, and the cops being called he still isn't getting the hint? Or does he just assume he isn't bothering anybody since the entire street isn't complaining?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

If he had a real job, then he wouldn't have to worry about things like this happening. But look at it as an occupational hazard for what you chose to do.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Violin Monster is fine, but he needs to learn street etiquette for sure. He played all the way through the Mexican troupe's performance, howling too, and I thought that was pretty lame. That corner doesn't belong to him, he has to share it with other performers or businesses, especially if they are the ones paying rent. I'm not going to express an opinion about the howling, but he really doesn't need it if he's playing the violin for tips. Probably no one would have called the police if he hadn't been howling, and the kids would still love him.

Dog Guy

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

The English legal tradition is , "Whatever is not forbidden is allowed." In Germany, "Whatever is not allowed is forbidden." In DPRKorea, "Whatever is allowed is also compulsory--and be on time!" In Russia, "Whatever is is forbidden." In France, "Whatever is is allowed." In Ann Arbor, "Whatever."


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

The major issue left out of this article: the other performers on the street were CHILDREN, on the hottest day yet this spring. (What child is going to go up to this guy in the middle of their dance performance and ask him to stop?) Would you be ok with this guy trying to outperform your kids?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Every one is someone's child....


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

Please stop posting the SAME post over and over. You are wrong. It was teens and adults and it was NOT the hottest day of spring so far. *insert eyeroll here*


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

eagleman - every teenager is someone's child.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Someone else said teenagers. Which is it, children or teenagers?

A2 rulz x2

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

A friend of mine dropped some money down for VM on Friday afternoon. One of the Cherry Republic staff came out and commented after he howled, "can we pay you to make him stop howling?" I thought they were rude and passive aggressive - not the other way around! I don't get why people are minimizing the fact that VM was asked to move. He can't make very much each week, and giving up his spot during peak hours is probably like any of us showing up to work and hearing, "Hey, we don't want to pay you today. Someone else wants to do your job, so can you go work somewhere else until tomorrow?" If he has a legal right to be there and isn't violating any laws, even the police can't force him to move.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

The issue isn't his right to play where he wants. It's courtesy for other street performers - especially when the dance group was a bunch of kids who posed no threat to his tip money.

A2 rulz x2

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

If loitering and disturbing the peace apply to one street corner, how do they not apply to another? Isn't the problem here that there are a lack of guidelines?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

"If he has a legal right to be there and isn't violating any laws, even the police can't force him to move." Loitering and disturbing the peace are a couple that come to my mind.

Daniel Schultz

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

I was downtown Ann Arbor Friday night with my wife, daughter (13) and son (11) and we all LOVED it. My son and daughter were laughing and having a great time with him. He was personable and fun loving. Not to mention a good violin player playing fun music. The howling was fitting and fun and really not that loud at all. And he did a great job doing it as it sounded like a really good howl. I am SHOCKED that Ann Arborites would have a problem with this at all! If anything he is a drawing for business as he certainly drew people and created a fun atmosphere. He made us want to stay downtown longer and shop more. There is PLENTY of space for all the musicians and I didn't sense a competing for air time at all. There seemed to be no conflict of sounds and anyone annoyed needs to get a LIFE!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

It doesn't seem to me that Cherry Republic has a problem with him in general. It sounds like it was just his actions that one evening. In fact I just received an email a couple of weeks from Cherry Republic and they were highlighting him on their Orchard Report as being a great addition to Ann Arbor. Seems silly to be placing so much negativity around one event. I hope that it was just a misunderstanding as I enjoy both the VM and Cherry Republic and I would hope everyone else will still support both.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

The major issue left out of this article: the other performers on the street were CHILDREN, on the hottest day yet this spring. Would you be ok with this guy trying to outperform your kids? The Cherry Republic employee asked him to stop only for the children's performance, because it was distracting and rude to do so when the kids were dancing so hard and sweating bullets.

Ron Granger

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Some businesses think they own the sidewalk and downtown. Sad. Never again, Cherry Republic.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

What I don't get is that I saw the cops tell him to move along Saturday afternoon around 4PM. What did that have to do with Midnight Madness?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

And when asked to move, he did.

Cindy Heflin

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Ariel, the police also asked him to move on Friday night.

A2 Rulz/Rulz

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Every time you pass CR howl in protest!

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

"Ann Arbor city ordinances don't address the issue of street musicians directly, said Senior Assistant City Attorney Kristen Larcom. "Nothing prohibits that activity, but that does not mean it can be done at any place and at any time," she said." Brilliant legal advice. Lol.

Dog Guy

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

The English legal tradition is , "Whatever is not forbidden is allowed." In Germany, "Whatever is not allowed is forbidden." In DPRKorea, "Whatever is allowed is also compulsory--and be on time!" In Russia, "Whatever is is forbidden." In France, "Whatever is is allowed." In Ann Arbor, "Whatever."

rusty shackelford

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

As stated no licence is required for street performers. It's a pity that the manager of a second-rate store decided to try to use the power of the state to infringe on the free speech rights of a performer, and sad that the police complied. I never would have shopped at such a silly store anyway, but I'll certainly make it a point not to do so now. Amazing how many business owners don't know their own self-interest when it bites them in the rear.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 4:56 a.m.

Rusty, the police were called by an unknown person. No managers of any stores were involved. Violin Monster has updates on his Facebook page concerning this incident, if you care to look.

Village Person

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

I was downtown on Friday and thought he was fun. That said, he should have moved on when asked. Need to respect the business owners.

David Johnson

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

I often play downtown. I always check in with the business owner of the establishment where I am playing. They have never turned me away and we have a good relationship. I occasionally change song lyrics to include their business. I like VM. I like his hook and the style that he adds to the city. I have to imagine that it is hard to have created a hook or a gimmick that attracts additional tips but at the same time can become annoying to people that hear it repeatedly. The trouble seems to be that the tips he receives is not for his playing but more of a game to 'Make the Wolfman Howl.' I have watched him play for a while at a time and see children lining up to put a dollar in his pumpkin. Although this can be fun when there is not an event going on downtown, I can understand how an invited performance group would ask an uninvited performer to step aside for a bit. I hope cooler heads prevail and we can all continue to enjoy the offbeat style of the Violin Monster.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

David, there is simply no place for your reasoned logic and common sense here.

Roy Munson

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

Why is this guy such a problem while the aggressive panhandlers and the crackheads high out of their minds screaming obscenities are ok?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

This dude is great! Rock on Wolfman and boo Cherry Republic and your foreign cherries.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 5:16 a.m.

We, at Cherry Republic, do not think we can tell the "wolf man', or Violin Monster what to do. We made a suggestion based on other events that were taking place outside. Violin Monster decided to keep playing. End of story from our perspective. The police were called, but that was from a person out in the world that claimed to be associated with our store. No idea who that person is. Cherry Republic is purchasing cherries from Poland as there will not be enough cherries from this year's harvest to keep us going, which would halt production of our product, which would then cost some Americans their jobs and we would no longer be able to contribute to our communities. If you would like to hear from the Violin Monster himself, do as he suggests and go look at his comments on his Facebook page...

A2 Rulz/Rulz

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Rock on Frank! #3 is the most important point of all this....But still, why not switch to selling local walnuts instead of foreign cherries that kill American Jobs!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

I know 3 things about Cherry Republic. 1. They sell cherries. 2. they sell foreign cherries this year because a frost killed the local crop. 3. they think they can tell the wolfman what to do. the only one that bothers me is number 3


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Why are you and others here castigating Cherry Republic for buying foreign cherries this year to try to stay in business despite a MAJOR CROP FAILURE that is not their fault? And what does their supply stream have to do with this VM story?

just a voice

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

I propose a take back your rights rally around Cherry Republic on a Thursday night (so as to not hurt VM's earnings). Figure out what our legal right is as far as sound level and then march around Cherry Republic howling the whole time. I find the street preachers 100% more annoying and at least as loud, yet they are never stopped by the cops. This isn't about rude, this is about rights and not letting our be walked all over.

Nain Rouge

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Really? C'mon Cherry Republic. Loosen up. Time to put our Big Girl Pants on. I love this guy, too. Musically, very gifted; but a little PR training is in order. I say, move across the street, Mr. Storey, to a more hospitable corner in front of Silo/Shevel Gallery. Wish the scaredy cats at CR well. The howling shouldn't bother anybody. (The Zombie Violinist would be w-a-a-a-y more disturbing.)


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

For the CHILDREN...oh for crying out loud!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

The major issue left out of this article: the other performers on the street were CHILDREN, hottest day yet this spring. Would you be ok with this guy trying to outperform your kids?

A2 Rulz/Rulz

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

As an avid fan of the VM I am vowing to no longer shop at bring my many out of town guests to Cherry Republic until they formally apologize for their treatment of the VM. Shame on you.... shame on you.... Delete


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Go to his facebook page for more on what Violin Monster has to say about this...

Unusual Suspect

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

This isn't surprising. Most, if not all, street performs are oblivious to how annoying they are. Add the entitlement attitude on top of it, and you get a problem like this.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

I know! I can't believe that citizens of Ann Arbor dare to feel entitled to use public sidewalks. It is like they don't realize that once a business comes to town, they own *everything*.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

"Ann Arbor city ordinances don't address the issue of street musicians directly, said Senior Assistant City Attorney Kristen Larcom. "Nothing prohibits that activity, but that does not mean it can be done at any place and at any time," she said." I would suggest that unless it breaks some law it can be done "at any place and at any time,". You can't just make up laws as you go along.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

Just another form of aggressive panhandling. He started this foolish stuff with the mask,etc. just as I moved away. I'm surprised he's able to make a living with this sort of entertainment this long--but than again it is AA.

Daniel Schultz

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

He wasn't aggressive at all. Any implication that he was is from someone who wasn't there. He may have been a little persistent to make his livelihood, Only the others were aggressive. I was there when he was packing up and there were no displays of anger whatsoever, just disappointment. And who wouldn't be.

David Johnson

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

He has a pumpkin (think halloween treat holder) that sits in his violin case. When someone puts money in the pumpkin, he lets out a nice long howl. Kids are usually mesmerized by him and parents often give them money to put in the pumpkin.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

I've never seen the guy. Does he actually ask people for money? Because if he just plays with a "hat" on the ground to throw money in its not panhandling.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11 a.m.

Really You're front page top story is about a feud that's just started between a local business and a street musician? Are you serious? This sounds and reads like a personal issue that someone on your staff want's made public. 1: The area of the sidewalk that Storey plays on isn't owned or maintained by Cherry Republic. It's owned and maintained by the City of Ann Arbor which means it's public property. Storey isn't the only musician to play this corner. 2: Friday was Midnight Madness downtown with the really horrible theme of Cinco de Mayo (even though it was the 4th, not the 5th of May). Musical entertainment was provided by the Main Street Area Association. If Storey moved or didn't move, played or didn't play while the other musicians we're playing IT ISN'T NEWS. It's barely even a story. 3: He was rude to an employee? Are you kidding me? It's retail. Ask Selo Shevel (since that's the only business in the area that you cared to interview) how many rude customers they've had in their 30 something years of maintaining two retail locations. How was he rude? The article seems to suggest he was rude by continuing to play despite the other group of musicians. Is the employee offended because he was rude, because he wears the mask, because he howls or because he didn't move from a spot on public property? Do you really think businesses on Main Street are worried about Storey howling when he gets a tip? Do you really think there's a population of people going "oh my. I'm so offended that wolf playing a violin on the street corner just howled at me when I threw a dollar in his case." Come on. There are bigger issues in this city! If you want to be a legitimate news source, publish legitimate news. And support your local businesses by not making them (or Main St, downtown or the city at large) look petty and foolish. This article is shameful.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

But the CHILDREN...still?

just a voice

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

seems any comment negative of Ann gets down voted hard, wonder if that's all the employees


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

Wow. For such a non-story, you sure had a lot to say about it. Longest post on the subject yet.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

The major issue left out of this article: the other performers on the street were CHILDREN, on the hottest day yet this spring. Would you be ok with this guy trying to outperform your kids?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

YES! Ann Arbor dot com is definitely the poorest excuse for a "local" newspaper (read: owned and operated from out of state) I have EVER seen!

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

Welcome Cherry Republic. I don't think you want to mess with the forces of the universe otherwise you're imported from Poland 'local' cherry business isn't going to be as successful as you might want it to be. Trust me on this.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

You do realize that they imported Polish cherries because Michigan's crops were severely damaged by weather condtions don't you? You also realize that they normally sell Michigan cherries don't you?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 8:49 a.m.

This is absurd. The guy's trying to make an honest buck. Leave him alone. I don't see many stories ran about the panhandlers on Main Street, but I guess that would make A2 look bad, wouldn't it?

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Halter, do you know he doesn't pay taxes? As to a license it appears he doesn't need one. The story says the city has no rules on street performers.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 9:43 a.m.

There is absolutely nothing honest about this buck. A2 has looked the other way about street buskers in the past unless people complain. An honest buck implies he pays his share of federal and state taxes on hs income; has a license to perform on the steet, and understands city laws and policies.

Pizza Man

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:40 a.m.

The idea that he is on the corner of Main and Liberty is one of his favorite spots is a little misleading. He doesn't preform there much. I am in front of starbucks most friday and saturday nights and I have not ever seen him there. First he got kicked off his corner in front of the cherry store, then he started to annoy the rest of the people when he moved in front of starbucks. The manage of the Black Pearl said he could play there but he couldn't howl because it would bother the outdoor patio guests. He did not comply with moving along, he just went across the street! He should go back to South U. or play down the street from Main & Liberty, where people aren't sitting outside.

Big Fish

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

People commenting are losing site of the fact that this isn't an issue about whether or not Storey is entertaining and has a right to perform on the streets of Ann Arbor. The issue was that for 2 hours, from 7pm until 9pm, children were performing outside Footprints to add to the Midnight Madness festivities - yes - CHILDREN. Storey was asked nicely not once, not twice but a few times to hold off performing for 2 hours while the children performed. Storey will be on the corner of Liberty and Main for the entire summer, and if he didn't want to stop his playing, it was suggested that he move to one of the 3 other corners available at this intersection - for 2 hours. This isn't a particular store having an issue with him, this isn't an issue of a single person having an issue with him, this is a performer being too pig headed to realize that he should of been professional enough to allow children to perform without his competition. Not once did he take a break and allow them to be heard. The louder they tried to be so people who were standing around them could hear, the louder Storey played. Maybe he could have played in between their sets while they changed costumes but that would of been something an adult might have done.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

The Troupe performing was mostly adults and some kids, they are very good: Ballet Folklorico, MOYOCOYANI IZEL from Detroit. Violin guy was pretty self centered to play through their performance. Storey, ya gotta share!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5 a.m.

That isn't true at all. I was there and children were not performing. They were adults and maybe teenagers. Don't make it sound like it was tiny children performing. And the dancers' music was LOUD. Very loud. It would have been impossible for a violin to drown it out. You are exaggerating.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:33 a.m.

Hey Cherry Republic - Story was there on that corner long before you were, and will likely be there after as well. If you didn't want the peculiar cultural antics of the corner of Main and Liberty, perhaps somewhere out on Jackson or Washtenaw would have been a better location for your store.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:05 a.m.

I guess you have a point widmer. What really defines the true character and appeal of an Ann Arbor street corner is not the unique local personalities and artists, but the of course gift shops. Interruptions of local color no doubt have always been a curse on these establishments, typically destroying any chance of their survival.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:50 a.m.

Who cares how long Storey has or has not been on that corner? Cherry Republic happens to be the one that is investing in that corner right now; paying to help keep it a corner.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

Cherry Republic might want to reconsider. Anything that causes people to linger might net them more rather than fewer customers. Lord knows I've walked past that place a hundred times and never slowed down, unless I was waiting to cross Main Street.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

I never even noticed the Cherry Repub store until the artist brought it to my attention this weekend. This guy is great for A2! Leave him alone!!!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

"I make most of my money on Friday and Saturday," Storey said. "So Saturday it kind of interrupted the prime playing time for me, but the big issue for me is continuing to be able to play there. … "For a lot of reasons that particular corner is the best for me to play at." Midnight Madness last weekend was the prime time for shopkeepers to make money as well - to pay their rent, to pay their employees, and to pay their portion of the taxes - none of which this individual does. Its fine that he busks, but please, have enough sense to step aside, Main St Assoc invited performers, and it was your time to step aside. A little short sighted on his part. Play nice in the sandbox and everyone is happy. Hog the toys, and you'll get yourself justly booted. There's a time and a place, and this individual missed both.

Scott Rosencrans

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

Perhaps you have heard of Shakey Jake. I loved Jake, we always had a good connection, but this guy actually knows how to play. Jake never claimed to know how to play - he just played. Play on Mr. Storey. Many of us are grateful for your talents.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

A part of what makes things "fun" is mutual respect for people... Store owners, customers, other performers. There is no doubt Storey is talented and highly entertaining. The howling is not. To somehow imply that Cherry Republic is to blame here is ridiculous. This whole incident could be resolved by Storey being a better performer by paying attention to what is going on around him.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:46 a.m.

That's all there is to it.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

If he were true he'd be howlin' on Washington St. in Ypsi.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

Heck, I'd take his howling in downtown Ann Arbor anytime over some of the loud, obnoxious stuff I have to put up with here at home in Ypsi!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

As far as I know Ypsi has only one busker and lot of us like the man. What's wrong with hearing some Saxophone when getting gas?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

The true test for the Violin Monster's talent lies in how kids react to him. Seriously. This guy is like the Pied Piper. Anyone with the tiniest appreciation for whimsy can see how fun his act is. This bodes poorly for the Cherry Republic, too. I'll toss a few bucks the Violin Monster's way before I spend a dime there from now on.

Vivienne Armentrout

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

Love busking. Street performers add to the vitality and "vibrance" of Ann Arbor. How hard is this to get?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

It's hard to 'get' if the performer is talentless ( and i have no basis for opinion on the current case), and confines intrusive noise to one area...which must drive merchants nuts!! ( im thinking of some of the drummers who have turned up near the defunct Borders....and also really horrible 3 chord ' sensitive singer songwriters') Boston, i believe, requires street musicians to audition and stay in stipulated areas..and with the number of music conservatories in that city buskers often provide world-class entertainment. in any case ,one would hope your city council bid would develop a bit more sensitivity to legitimate concerns with the acoustic equivalent of '2nd hand smoke".

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

The police were called because he howled? Some people must not get out much!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Even funnier, I ran into the cop that had to ask him to switch corners who had a massive eyeroll for the whole thing. He said the store owner had been calling repeatedly so he had to say something to VM, but that he actually really liked him and thought he was a neat Ann Arbor entity.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 10:02 a.m.

@Jonathan - are you surprised? People in the bubble look for things to complain about. Being validated by a police officer does something to their brain's reward center and then they tell their friends about it and they feel like they saved the world. @grimmk You know people from the bubble would call the police if they heard a coyote. They would ask for the coyotes to be removed and feel justified in that request and then wonder why they were laughed at.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

I think they'd freak if they went out into the country and heard the coyotes. Would they call the police on them?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

The Violin Monster is awesome! I go downtown just to see him play, then I spend money at local establishments.

Robert Hughes

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Mike's a jokester!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

You do not.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:19 a.m.

Storey said he didn't think he needed to move because the request didn't come from the performers. "If someone from the performance group had come to talk to me I would have been more than willing." Sounds pretty rude and inconsiderate there. Also, "If it was the case that all of the surrounding businesses hated that I was out there, I'd have to maybe rethink." Again, inconsiderate. You'd have to " maybe rethink" it. THEY are the ones PAYING MONEY to have those businesses there. I love the idea of street musicians being in A2, but don't act like you are the only person that matters, think of others too. I'm sure the howling would annoy me to no end.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

I think it would have made quite a difference if the "Cherry Republic employee" hadn't approached him in the manner in which he did. It was very confrontational and threatening. He wasn't in any way polite or nice.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Ha ha I remember being told to stay out of Dexter, but lookie where you turn up!! Ha ha

just a voice

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

forget rude, how about simply exercising his right. Some people think its rude to say hell in public, that doesn't mean I need to follow their rules. And the question of Main Street paying to have their businesses there, well they don't own the Main Street or rent it, just the buildings. They don't (although would like to) control what happens around Main St, we all pay taxes for that and I don't see what right the cops had to ask the guy to move.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

"I make must of my money" Psssst...little problem there. :) I think it's cool. Costume + music = awesome. It's what makes Ann Arbor different and great.

A2 Rulz/Rulz

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

I agree! People like him separate A2 from the rest of the boring cities in this dull state!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

Him and washboard guy are both annoying.

Robert Hughes

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Someone is annoying, Lacunainc, but it ain't the werewolf; or me either.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

This comment violates the terms and conditions of the posting guidelines: It is a personal attack on the victim. Better remove the post.