Blog: Melinda Clynes

Melinda Clynes has worked as a freelance writer and public relations/marketing consultant in the Detroit area for 19 years. She is the owner and creative hook for Left Jab LLC, a marketing and special events company she formed to put on the Detroit Wig Out party and charity fundraiser. She now owns 10 wigs (one must be prepared when planning the Detroit Wig Out).

Her portfolio includes newsletters, brochures, video scripts, corporate magazine articles, Web content, development materials, press releases, annual reports, and other direct mail and promotional projects.  Melinda also has edited speeches, proposals, and books.

Additionally, she writes for magazines, newspapers and guidebooks, with a focus on travel and features. Her journalistic work has involved research, writing, and often photography for a variety of publications, including Trips Magazine, Detroit Free Press, Outside, Automotive Executive Magazine, Cooking Light, Denver Post, Miami Herald, Journey Magazine, Walking, and PINK, and more recently, Detroit-area online publications Model D and metromode.

Prior to starting her own freelance business, Melinda directed communications for various nonprofit organizations. She was also a specialist in public affairs at a naval submarine base in Connecticut, and has held contractual positions in development, communications, and market research.

Melinda holds a master's degree in English and a bachelor's degree in advertising.  She has taught composition, communication skills, and technical writing courses at Wayne State University and Washtenaw Community College.

Melinda is a single parent with a six-year-old son, Jonah. She owns two accordions and a dog, Moxie. She played theramin, glockenspiel, pump organ and melodica in a local band, Fez, from the mid-1990s to 2000.

She's traveled the world, from New Zealand to Poland, Portugal, Spain and Ireland, and all over the U.S. She has a passion for non-profit work and loves working with agencies that help those who have not enjoyed a similar education and advantages.

Melinda Clynes - Most Recent Posts:

Melinda Clynes - Post 3: Detroit Wig Out Leaves Good Will in its Wake

It was wiggy, indeed, as more than 200 wig-wearing revelers gathered last Saturday night for the first-ever Detroit Wig Out at the Magic Stick in Detroit. The crowd was a flurry of head-topping color, from red, to green, to pink and every shade in between, and man, oh man, everyone was having a hoot. The Detroit Wig Out greeted Detroit with an infectious spirit amplified by excellent entertainment.

Here's a quick-and-dirty summary of how the night unfolded…

Silverghost launched the evening's music, with a lively performance on the deck, culminated by a Wig Walk to one of the duo's fabulously poppy numbers. A big thanks to Flip Salon for designing the 10 ornate wigs that were modeled during the Wig Walk.

By 10:30, Dale Beavers & Bootsey X were revving up the crowd inside. Dale, sporting a full-height blonde pompadour, at one point yelled, "Come on you wig-wearing mother f*#&-ers, come out here and dance."

Mesmerizing and talented, SPAG Burlesque riveted the crowd with six sassy routines. And our engaging emcee for the night, Creepy Clyde, kept the entertainment moving and the crowds amused, as his horror-show voice bellowed through the Magic Stick between acts. He also, constantly reminded us why we were there: to support Gilda's Club, the charity that will receive proceeds from the event.

The grand finale of the Detroit Wig Out was a performance by six members of Black Jake and the Carnies, all wearing silver-white, Mark Twain-esque wigs, eyebrows and mustaches. The performance was so raucous that most of their facial hair ornamented the stage floor by the end of the night, having fallen off from sweat. I wonder what the janitor thought while sweeping the stage the next day?

So, what did I learn about wearing a wig and being wig-consumed for the past three months? Mostly, that everything is more fun in a wig, especially a big night out on the town. Dancing and beer-drinking are loads of fun in a wig, but so is talking politics and religion. I think Obama and Jesus would be proud.

Planning this event also reaffirmed that Detroit is filled with a slew of really good, silly people who are eager to step outside their comfort zone to support this city's cultural life and who believe in the admirable work of our local nonprofits. From the folks who posted Detroit Wig Out posters in their storefronts, to the accommodating crew at the Magic Stick, to all of the local media outlets that talked-up the event – Metro Times, Detroit Free Press, Model D, WDET and Real Detroit to name a few – everyone I came in contact with was interested, engaged and willing to lend a hand.

Thank you, Detroit, for making the Detroit Wig Out a huge success in its infancy. I'm already scheming about next year's event and how we'll enhance it and make it even better. Maybe the Detroit Wig Out will become the city's signature eccentric event, like the Halloween Parade is to New York City or Mardi Gras is to New Orleans. Ten years from now, we may be taking up two street blocks for this party, with people flying in from across the country to be a part of the Detroit Wig Out because it's our coolest, hippest party. Amen to that.  

Melinda Clynes - Post 2: Build Your Portrait Collection

If you haven't done so already, it's high time you race to your nearest Detroit Wig Out trading card outlet and collect your free 2009 limited edition, one-of-a-kind, curio cards. Act now. Don't delay. This unprecedented offer will not last. All cards will be cleared off the shelf on Monday, and stored away in the annals of Detroit Wig Out history. I repeat: act now!

The trading cards are available in Ferndale at the Pinwheel Bakery and Flip Salon; in Royal Oak at Bean & Leaf; in Detroit at People's Records and the Majestic Café; in Hamtramck at Design 99; and in Ypsilanti at Beezy's Café.

Bravo to the owners of these fine establishments who agreed to promote the Detroit Wig Out in their shops, bakeries, studios and restaurants, because:

1) they are cool people
2) they believe in promoting good things happening in Metro Detroit, and...
3) they may gain some new customers who might not have otherwise visited their business unless they came looking for the trading cards.

In support of these groovy, community-minded businesses, go forth and collect your cards. While you're there, buy a cookie, grab a tote bag, t-shirt or old LP, or just enjoy a cup of coffee. You'll find business locations and hours at our website.

The trading cards feature the wig-wearing photographs of six people who will be entertaining us at the Detroit Wig Out this Saturday, June 6. The sassy portraits are courtesy of long-time Detroit photographer Bruce Giffin. On the reverse side are Wig Star Stats describing each guy and gal's connection to wigs and/or the Detroit Wig Out. All six cards are available at no cost at each of the seven Detroit Wig Out trading card outlets. Here's who is featured…

  • Black Jake, leader of Detroit Wig Out headliner Black Jake and the Carnies, a raucous, six-piece band bringing their contagious punk-bluegrass sound to wig-wearing revelers.

  • Lisa Legion and Lily Lollipop (two separate cards) of SPAG Burlesque, a troupe that will perform two acts of traditional burlesque, with a few specially choreographed Detroit Wig Out routines.

  • Dale Beavers, who will partner up with Bootsey X at the Detroit Wig Out to stomp out their raw, stripped down music.

  • Marcie Bolen of Silverghost, who will kick off the night's entertainment with her duo's fuzz-pop melodies.

  • And, DJ Adam Stanfel, who will share his amazing collection of Detroit-bred, vintage 45s between bands and burlesque.

All of the entertainers look mighty fine in their Detroit Wig Out portraits. So remember: Act now. Don't delay.

Melinda Clynes - Post 1: Wiggin' Out in Detroit

Brace yourselves, folks.

This Saturday, June 6, we'll have the largest convergence ever of people wearing wigs in Detroit. It's the first-ever Detroit Wig Out, and the wandering bums of Midtown won't know if that last pint put them over the edge or if people just look a little skewed.

What is the Detroit Wig Out, you might be asking? In a nutshell, it's an unrestrained, one-night party to enjoy great live music, flamboyant burlesque, and other shenanigans under the alternative guise of your choice and in the name of good fun.

The party starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Magic Stick in Detroit and continues into the wee hours of the next morning. (And, "no," you don’t have to wear a wig, but you might have a more intriguing experience if you do). All the entertainment details – from what three local bands will be shaking it up to the time of the Wig Walk – can be found on our website.

What I've discovered by planning the Detroit Wig Out is that a blow-dryer force energy and momentum are being generated by the sheer idea of wearing wigs. From the espresso maker in Ferndale to the ad agency exec in Dearborn, every guy and gal are scheming about their wigs and getting a little giddy in the process.

Why so much interest and intrigue? Maybe we need a forum to be a little kooky, provocative and playful in these doleful times. Or maybe, like me, folks have a few wigs hiding in their closets that they've been itching to wear. Better wigs than skeletons any day.

Actually, that's how I came up with the concept of the Detroit Wig Out. I had a couple of wigs sitting around my house. One was my mom's from the late 1960s and one was what I'd call a break-up wig. While I always wanted to wear the wigs out, I never got up the guts. So, I thought "why not create a party where everyone wears a wig?" Bam: a regular passing thought turned into a three-month crusade of coiffure.  

Party-planning well underway, I teamed up with a local cancer charity that will benefit from the proceeds. Asking Gilda's Club Metro Detroit to be the recipient made sense. First, the agency provides cancer support, which seemed appropriate for the Detroit Wig Out, since many cancer patients wear wigs if they lose hair during chemo. I hesitated a little in approaching Gilda's Club, wondering if their staff members would see compatibility and fun in this association or be completely insulted by it. They loved the concept. Second, Gilda Radner had a number of famous looks, accentuated by wigs, so, to me there was a direct and perfect tie-in that fit Gilda's spirit and sense of humor.

In that same spirit of silliness and adventure, a group of local stylists at Flip Salon in Ferndale have been scheming up some auxiliary activities around the Detroit Wig Out. On Friday, June 5, between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m., Flip is hosting a Wig & Wine pre-party. Come to the salon for a little primping and styling on your wig for a donation to Gilda’s Club. You can chill with a glass of wine and hors 'd oeuvres, and get a sneak preview of what sort of wigs your fellow hipsters will be wearing.

Additionally, Flip is adding a bit of high-class flair and eccentricity to the event by orchestrating the Wig Walk at Saturday's Detroit Wig Out event. Models will be strutting around in their wild wig creations at 9:30 sharp. Don't miss it. 
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