Ferndale DIY Profile: Dustin Leslie, Musician and Outdoorsman
As part of our DIY Project, we've asked Ferndale residents to tell us about what DIY means to them.
Dustin Leslie is probably best known as the singer and guitarist for Dutch Pink, with his trademark voice that bring his lyrics to life. He can also be found at Sakana Sushi Lounge or in the great outdoors.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve lived in Ferndale with my wife Lora and a menagerie of rescue animals for just over eight years. I work at Sakana Sushi Lounge. When I’m not roaming Michigan’s outdoors after fish and game, I’m seated at a piano or playing a guitar on my back deck. I feel fortunate to play music with some stand up men and damned fine musicians in our band Dutch Pink.
2. What does DIY mean to you?
I look at DIY as a loaded exclamation. At its root I believe it is about the confrontation between a task—or a problem—and the individual response. In that sense it is about failure and the guts to fail in order to fulfill an innate curiosity, create solutions or even simply to live better. It stands for the genesis of progress. However, I firmly believe that there is a conflict in the application of the DIY term and spirit if the goal is about monetization over subsistence or solution.
Entrepreneur is probably a better term. But that may be splitting hairs. With that said, I do not believe it is defined by producing bric-a-brac. How many scented candles do we need? I have this fear of all my neighbors easing into bubble baths and in unison heaving one great abracadabratic olfactory-induced sigh that levels my block like a hurricane.
3. Tell us about a DIY project (or projects) you have worked on and why it was DIY.
As far as projects go, I am not sure what would fit in the DIY constraints I have laid out. I avoid both tasks and problems when I can. Dutch Pink relies heavily on each other and even as a band we rely on our fans, booking agents, etc. so it is almost insulting to say we Do It Yourself. And we certainly do our best to earn what we can at it beyond subsistence. I will be running a food booth at this year’s DIY Street Fair with my friend Brent Foster from Omnivore Catering, but that is purely entrepreneurial in nature. I suppose as a recovering vegetarian I am looking forward to the salmon run and bow season with a DIY glee.
4. Why does the DIY attitude fit Ferndale?
I think the DIY attitude fits Ferndale because as a community the only thing we seem to like better than drinking good beer, is patting ourselves on the back while not dancing to great music. I am mostly joking. Ferndale seems to nurture the individual in a way that elicits equal parts “look ma no hands” and inspiring creativity. I love it here. There is a tangible quality of acceptance and plenty of basements. Also, I’m willing to bet we have more unemployed xylophonists per capita than any other city on the planet. I know five talented xylophonists on my street alone.
5. Who is your favorite DIY artist/musician/human?
My favorite DIY individual is from my past. I lived for a time in Key West as a caricature of the artist as a young man. While working at a bar on Duval Street I befriended an older transvestite named Kristine. She was one of my regulars and we would philosophize, reminisce, and poke fun at the Margaritaville tourists together. She was quite the sight. Tall, 6 feet 4 inches or more. A hay straw blond who everyday wore the same slinky red dress, gaudy cubic-zirconium earrings and black stiletto heels. She was capable of both subtle tenderness and vile insults that paired with her thick German accent and came across as particularly charming or harangue, depending on the circumstance. She always stood up for herself against impolite stares or rude asides. I greatly admired her. Early one morning as I was veering home after an all-night bender I walked past the laundry-mat and saw Kristine standing by one of the dryers. She was wearing only a thin, almost gossamer nightgown and the same black heels. There were about 12 other people in the place going about their business. All of them seemed to be pretending that she wasn’t there. I watched a while as her red dress and blond wig tumbled in the dryer. I noticed for the first time that she was bald. Moon glow bald. I was moved in a way that is hard to describe except to say, that that took guts. Real guts.
This profile is part of Ferndale Patch's month-long DIY Project where we talk with residents, artists, musicians, crafters, anyone with an opinion about DIY. The project will lead up to the DIY Street Fair Sept. 16-18. If you'd like to participate, email Ferndale Patch editor Terry Parris Jr. at email@example.com.