January 7, 2009
For Immediate Release
'Assembly Line' concert for American auto industry revs up for Guinness record
coffee shop owner, activist to host 240 hours of continuous music in tribute to U.S. workers, companies
FERNDALE, Mich., January 7, 2009 -- A Detroit area coffee shop is planning to break the Guinness record for "longest concert by multiple artists" when it hosts a 10-day continuous musical tribute to the American auto industry.
The 240-hour "Assembly Line" show -- planned for March 20-30 -- will be hosted by AJ's Cafe in Ferndale, Mich., the latest in a series of events planned by cafe owner and community activist AJ O'Neil. O'Neil made headlines in March 2007, when he hosted a 50-hour "Danny Boy" marathon. He recently made national news again with his offer of a free cup of coffee to customers who pledge to buy American cars.
The Assembly Line concert will bring the two worlds together as the music marathon pays tribute to American workers, products and automobiles. The Danny Boy marathon attracted singers ranging from local business owners to the governor of Michigan. The Assembly Line will also call on musicians from all segments of society to come together in the heart of hard-hit Main Street America and help pay tribute to the down, but not out, American worker.
"We call on every manufacturing plant, every car dealership, garage mechanic to join us," O'Neil said. "We call on politicians, loan officers, credit agencies, builders to join us. We call for music to heal us in these trying times.
"We call on the corporate world to join us to help us in our Main Street solution to this American challenge."
The Assembly Line Concert will feature at least 240 acts, performing for 240 hours, nonstop, at AJ's Cafe, 240 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, Mich.
Each of the 10 days will highlight different aspects of the American partnership between workers, employers, politicians and the media. One day, political leaders will play 24, one-hour sets; another day, auto workers; and another day, local Detroit bands. Even members of the media will have their own day to play and be a part of the big news event.
If anybody can pull off an event like this, it's AJ O'Neil, who has a history of bringing the community together for special events and causes.
In December, what began as O'Neil's small effort to show support for a bridge loan to the Big Three automakers grew into a movement and generated media coverage nationwide. His offer of a free cup of coffee to customers who sign a promise that they will buy an American-made car prompted an overwhelming response that resulted not only in O'Neil briefly running out of coffee, but also a new Web site: http://IPromiseAmerica.com, and social networking site: http://ipromiseamerica.ning.com. The online community has been growing ever since, and O'Neil plans on tying the effort to his Assembly Line concert idea.
O'Neil's 50-hour "Danny Boy" marathon last year brought prominent politicians, including Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, to his coffee shop stage. The marathon inspired a book about how the community came together for the marathon -- and about O'Neil's personal struggles. "In Sunlight or in Shadow," by Karen Wilhelm, is scheduled for release in February.
AJ's Music Cafe is located at 240 W. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, Mich. You can call O'Neil at 248-399-3946 or e-mail him at .
December 12, 2008
For Immediate Release
Detroit-area coffee shop's buy-American campaign goes national
Log on to IPromiseAmerica.com, sign pledge and get free coffee
FERNDALE, Mich., December 12, 2008 -- What began as a small effort by a Detroit area cafe owner to show support for the Big Three automakers as the bailout drama plays out in Washington has grown into a national movement with a new Web site: http://IPromiseAmerica.com.
AJ's Music Cafe, located on the main drag of a hard-hit Michigan community, began earlier this week offering free cups of coffee to customers who sign a promise that they will buy an American-made car. The reaction was so immediate and overwhelming, that owner AJ O'Neil briefly ran out of coffee.
The campaign is national now at IPromiseAmerica.com, where supporters across the country can sign The Promise online. If they're anywhere near Ferndale, Mich., they can print it out and come in for their free cup and to discuss the latest news from Washington on the automotive bailout.
"This is the Main Street solution to this American challenge," said O'Neil, who has received letters of support from officials at the United Auto Workers union.
"We are in the midst of an economic shift and no one quite knows when it will level off," he said. "Though it sometimes seems so, we are not powerless. When you sign the pledge on http://IPromiseAmerica.com, you're affirming to yourself that you are going to stay aware of that every time you make a purchase. Buying everything from cars that are American, to going to the the mom and pop grocery stores and coffee shops, will get us through this storm and return us to a strong economy."
O'Neil said http://IPromiseAmerica.com will be updated throughout the campaign, with a social network added, plus a signup for other coffeehouses that would like to participate.
O'Neil is also a playwright and community activist who has a knack for drawing the community together. He made headlines worldwide last March when he hosted a 50-hour "Danny Boy" marathon that brought prominent politicians, including Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, to his coffee shop stage. He is planning to repeat the "Danny Boy" marathon next spring and is scheduled to release a book in February 2009 about how the event came together.
AJ's Music Cafe is located at 240 W. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, Mich. Contact O'Neil at 248-399-3946 or .