Mini MoogFest 2017: Mike Dykehouse


#modularsynth #eurorack #computer #rock #riot #manic #electromagneticpulse #mantra #speakingintongues #haunted #medical #equipment

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In addition to being a remarkable painter, Mike Dykehouse is an immensely creative musician. But after his Dynamic Obsolescence (2001) album on the influential British electronica Planet Mu and another on Ghostly International with the shoegaze-y Midrange (2004), Dykehouse mostly went underground.

Or rather, to Instagram.

Dykehouse's daily video clips of new synth jams -- ranging from straight-up techno and boogie-bass electro to hip-hop boom-bap and exploratory noise -- are often highlights of his followers' days. (Am I projecting?)

In a rare live appearance, Dykehouse will demonstrate the latest version of his ever-changing modular synth setup at Mini MoogFest, giving listeners a front-row seat to his daily sonic rituals.

We talked to Dykehouse about his Mini MoogFest plans, the gear he's bringing, and asked him to name his favorite synth-related recordings. But to evoke the immortal Joe Perry Project, Dykehouse mostly lets the music do the talking.

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Pop-Up Patriarchy: "WORLD LEADERS" exhibition by Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen


Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen, Skin suits and saddle shoes makes a mamma want to rage, 2017, inkjet print on vinyl banner

Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen, Skin suits and saddle shoes makes a mamma want to rage, 2017, inkjet print on vinyl banner.

The University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities’ pop-up exhibition WORLD LEADERS showcases the work of photographer Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen. She has an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BA in social science and history of art from the University of Michigan. Currently based in Los Angeles, Von Habsburg-Lothringen has curated projects at Los Angeles Museum of Art, Detroit Design Festival, the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead, and Cranbrook Museum of Art.

The exhibit consists of one large photograph, printed on a vinyl banner, and hung on the back wall of the common room, adjacent to three small, framed still-life photographs of presumably designer clothing. The exhibition announcement states that Von Habsburg-Lothringen’s newest series, Conditions, “continues to examine the position of the woman in neo-liberal society as both object and agent. It reflects on the slippage between aspiration and desperation in the face of the vanishing American Dream.”

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Catching a Classic: "Casablanca" is 75 & everybody has seen it ... right?


Casablanca is 75 years old.

I was invited to see the film at Saline's extra fancy Emagine movie theater, with its leather recliners and cafeteria-style concessions. Casablanca is a beloved favorite of the person who invited me, and despite watching it numerous times, he was looking forward to seeing the film on the big screen.

I, on the other hand, was embarrassed by my reaction to his invitation. A normal person, a person with better manners would have answered the invitation with a polite "yes" or a polite "no." Instead, I said, “I bet I could write about it from the perspective of a first-time viewer.”

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U-M’s "Blood at the Root" challenges audiences to deal with race


Blood at the Root

Left to right: Kathleen Taylor (Toria), Eddie Williams Jr.(Justin), Erin Croom (Raylynn), Elyakeem Avraham (De'Andre), and Kevin Corbett (Colin) in U-M's production of Blood at the Root by Dominique Morisseau. Photo by Peter Smith Photography.

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
--Abel Meeropol

In 2014 Stori Ayers was a graduate student in acting at Penn State University. She had the rare opportunity to be the first actress to play a key role in Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root, which had been commissioned by the university. She and other cast members worked with the author to develop the play

After performances at Penn State, she continued to perform the role of Raylynn in a touring production across the United States and internationally.

Ayers, who now teaches at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, will direct a U-M production of the provocative play, Nov. 16-20 at the Arthur Miller Theatre.

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It’s the silly season at PTD Productions with "Farce of Nature"


PTD Productions, Farce of Nature

PTD Productions' Farce of Nature offers more ham than Easter dinner.

Hee-haw! Rural comedy is still alive, kicking, and knee slapping in the PTD production of Farce of Nature.

In a note to the audience, directors Janet Rich and Dennis Platte write, “We wish for you to take time to set aside the troubles of the world, to smile, and to be silly.”

The directors keep the silliness moving along at a quick pace and have encouraged the cast to bring on the ham.

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Personal View of a National Tragedy: Alexandra Zapruder's "Twenty-Six Seconds"


Alexandra Zapruder, Twenty-Six Seconds

In Twenty-Six Seconds, Alexandra Zapruder tells the tale of her grandfather Abraham's famous film of the President Kennedy assisination. Author photo by Linda Fittante.

“My grandfather came to America hell-bent on becoming an American.” --Alexandra Zapruder

Alexandra Zapruder’s Twenty-Six Seconds tells the story of the 26-second home video, recorded by her grandfather Abraham, that came to be known as the Zapruder film, the one video that showed President Kennedy’s assassination. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Zapruder spoke at the Ann Arbor District Library about her book to an audience of about 80.

Zapruder never thought that she would write this book. She grew up in Washington, D.C., in a family that rarely talked about the film. She said that she is often asked whether the film was taboo or somehow a secret in her household. “It wasn’t that,” she said.

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trustArt Gallery's "Studio Works" exhibit encourages community engagement


Studio Works at trustArt Gallery

Pyramid power: Eight artists are combining their talents for the Studio Works exhibition at trustArt Gallery in Ann Arbor.

The trustArt Gallery's Studio Works exhibition (Nov. 11-19) will display multi-media works by artists and designers who work in rented studios at the venue. The exhibit features works by Larry Cressman, Liz Davis, Elizabeth Barick Fall, Rose E. Gomez, Barbara Hohmann, Allen Samuels, Laura Shope, and Lissie Williams, and it also offers an intimate look into the studio space and how it relates to the artists’ practices and everyday environments.

In addition to the more common gallery exhibition, the added opportunity to see the artists’ studios and working spaces aims to create community engagement with the arts, according to trustArt Gallery's statement: “We are connected through our location and environment as we pass through the shared open space of our gallery: it provides an opportunity to intersect; to cross paths; a place for our studio works to be shared and reflected upon; a chance to interact with each other and the community.”

The opening-up of studios to the community will allow for many people to interact with art and art making in an expanded capacity. It allows unique insight into aspects of the creative process and creates a chance for discussion and dialogue between the artist and the community.

Featured artists/designers:

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Amorphous, Anomalous: The Knights, Avi Avital & Kinan Azmeh at Rackham


The Knights, Avi Avital & Kinan Azmeh at Rackham Auditorium

The Knights, Kinan Azmeh, and Avi Avital will break down all the walls between musical genres at Rackham Auditorium on Nov. 12.

When we hear the word “orchestra,” we usually think of a group of musicians who play classical music. But the trailblazing Brooklyn-based orchestra The Knights -- coming to Rackham Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 12 courtesy of UMS -- are known for turning the word on its head by challenging orchestral norms and often using untraditional environments (from parks to bars) and repertoire (from avant-gardist Karlheinz Stockhausen to singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens) to connect to a wide range of audiences.

Such a genre-bending, rule-breaking orchestra needs soloists who are just as adventurous, and for this tour, The Knights have teamed up with two superstars of instrumental music, Avi Avital and Kinan Azmeh.

Both Avital, an Israeli mandolin virtuoso, and Azmeh, a celebrated Syrian clarinetist and composer, produce just as diverse and tremendously compelling a repertoire as The Knights, and the combination of these three forces is a treat not to be missed. Their program on Sunday will jump from their unique arrangements of pieces by Purcell, Bach, and Schubert to some of Azmeh’s own compositions, including one he wrote specifically for The Knights, Avital, and himself. They will also feature a piece by Knights co-leader and Silkroad Ensemble member Colin Jacobsen as well as traditional Middle Eastern, Balkan, and klezmer pieces.

I spoke with Avital and Azmeh about their solo work, collaboration with the Knights, and more.

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Staying Alive: Melanie at Green Wood Coffee House


Melanie wowed audiences at Woodstock back in the summer of ’69 with her hit "Beautiful People." On that rainy night, spectators lit the night with candles, inspiring her song "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)," which sold more than a million copies in 1970. Billboard, Cashbox, Melody Maker, Record World, and Bravo responded by naming Melanie female vocalist of the year.

Her single "Brand New Key," an almost-innocent sexy delight, topped the charts in '71. She appeared on Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, and Dick Cavett. She played the Royal Albert Hall in London, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Cher and Dolly Parton are among those who covered her songs.

To those who enjoyed folk music, and even some who didn't, Melanie was a household name.

Now, at 70, she tours and tries to stay afloat, which includes a sold-out show at Green Wood Coffee House in Ann Arbor on Friday, Nov. 10.

Still, she says, “I’ve been carefully airbrushed out of history."

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Brass Tacks nails Shakespeare's dense & difficult "Measure for Measure"


Brass Tacks Ensemble, Measure for Measure

Brass Tacks Ensemble has workshopped Measure for Measure for 10 months. Photos by Aaron C. Wade.

Nearly every play that is performed for an audience is a culmination of many people’s collective time and effort. A play is often a culmination of countless hours of rehearsals; of actors having learned the basics of their blocking and memorizing their lines, only to then attempt the feat of embodying becoming other people; of a director grappling with ideas and how to bring their artistic vision to a stage.

But rarely is a play a culmination of almost 10 months of other workshops and productions. Measure for Measure, a Brass Tacks Ensemble show that runs Nov. 10-19, is precisely that.

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