Offshore Scores: Maureen Dunphy's "Great Lakes Island Escapes"


Maureen Dunphy, Great Lakes Island Escapes

Maureen Dunphy’s Great Lakes Island Escapes explores Michigan's many slivers of land in the lakes.

In grade school, we learn the mnemonic HOMES to remember their names. We know they are the largest freshwater system on the planet. And those of us lucky to live near them get to enjoy recreation opportunities year-round.

But did you know that over 30,000 islands can be found in the five beautiful Great Lakes?

Maureen Dunphy’s new book, Great Lakes Island Escapes: Ferries and Bridges to Adventure takes us on an amazing journey to more than 100 of these slivers of land.

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American Music: Brazilian pianist André Mehmari dazzles in Kerrytown


André Mehmari

André Mehmari.

As he introduced each piece during his July 16 performance at Kerrytown Concert House, André Mehmari tended to position himself between the small audience and the jet black bulk of the concert piano behind him on stage. Standing in a manner that was at once relaxed and poised, the 40-year-old Brazilian pianist and composer would sometimes lightly rest a hand on the edge of the instrument’s body as he spoke, engaging with his audience in a manner befitting the intimate space of the venue.

“I think that it’s very important to play this music, to tell the story of Brazilian music,” he explained. Mehmari -- who appeared at Kerrytown Concert House nearly a year prior -- brought with him an exciting collection of repertoire, music infused with influences of jazz, ragtime, classical, and all manner of Brazilian and Latin American music.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #646



World Fantasy Award–winner Theodora Goss's debut The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter * is reworked from an earlier short story, bringing her "Gothic-inflected fantasies roaring into the steampunk era." (Publishers Weekly)

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless after her mother's death, found among her mother's ledger monthly payment to the Magdalen Society for the upkeep of "Hyde". Curious and eager to claim the reward for the capture of Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, Mary enlisted the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, who were somewhat distracted in consulting for Inspector Lestrade in a series of gruesome murders of Whitechapel prostitutes.

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Strike Up the Band and KissME: Swing dance fest jitterbugs back to Ann Arbor


KissME, Keep It Simple and Swing, Ann Arbor

From the ballroom to the Huron, KissMe's swing dancers are ready to wiggle it (just as little bit). Photos by Kenny Schabow.

Time to jump, jive, and wail at the 9th annual KissME (Keep It Simple and Swing) in Ann Arbor! The event brings "hundreds of people together for a weekend of music, fun, and dancing," says organizer Kenny Schabow.

While many folks enjoy jitterbugging about, they might not know swing dancing's storied history. When swing jazz took off in the 1920s, the style of dance we now call “swing” exploded right along with it. While the origins of jazz and swing dancing predate that era, its popularity began hitting the mainstream in the early decades of the 20th century. Dozens of styles were being flaunted in the dance halls with the most popular being the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, and the shag.

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Local Artists Reflect on Ann Arbor Art Fair


Ann Arbor Art Fair 2017

The poster for 2017's Ann Arbor Art Fair by Debo Groover.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair showcases the work of artists from around the country, but it’s also an important outlet for many local artists as well. Here, some working artists from the greater Ann Arbor area who are exhibiting this year share some thoughts on the event. The fair takes place July 20-23; for more information, see the Pulp preview article.

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UMMA's "Victors for Art: Michigan’s Alumni Collectors -- Part II: Abstraction" makes the private public


Hans Hofmann, St. Francis

Left: Hans Hofmann, St. Francis, 1952, oil on canvas. Right: Artist unrecorded, Kota peoples, Mahongwe group, Gabon or Republic of Congo, Reliquary figure, late 19th century, brass, copper wire, wood.

University of Michigan Museum of Art’s recently opened Victors for Art: Michigan’s Alumni Collectors -- Part II: Abstraction is the second show in a two-part series that began in February with Part I: Figuration. The exhibition includes a wide range of art, from an Amish quilt by an unknown maker to modern and contemporary works by influential artists such as Pablo Picasso, Christo, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Barbara Kruger, Jasper Johns, John Baldessari, and many more.

As the title suggests, the show consists of a diverse range of works collected by University of Michigan alumni. The contributors come from 70 years of graduating classes, displaying the long-standing, continuing impact of university alumni collectors on the global art world. UMMA states that the show “offers an unprecedented opportunity to view art that may have never been publicly displayed otherwise -- and most certainly, not all together.”

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Making the Most of the Ann Arbor Art Fair 2017


Ann Arbor Art Fair 2017

Looking down at the 1970 Art Fair from a cherry picker. Photo from artfair.aadl.org.

Whether you’ve never been to the Ann Arbor Art Fair before or you’re a veteran fairgoer, there’s always something new to learn that can improve your experience.

The top piece of advice from Karen Delhey, one of the event’s organizers: “Do your research. It’s really important to go on our website before you come out and make your plan of attack.”

Everyone’s interests and tastes are different, so Delhey suggests you figure out your own must-dos and must-sees ahead of time. Check out the list of artists to find your favorites or seek out potential new discoveries. And you might want to map your route before you head out as well.

The 2017 edition of the Ann Arbor Art Fair runs Thursday-Sunday, July 20-23, throughout the downtown and campus areas of Ann Arbor. One of the largest and most prestigious events of its kind, the fair showcases the works of more than 1,000 artists in individual artist booths. Other attractions include live music, artist demonstrations, and activities for kids.

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Ann Arbor in Concert’s "Spring Awakening" was lovely and heartbreaking


Ira Glass

Spring Awakening rehearsal photos by John McCarthy.

For a few moments during Ann Arbor in Concert’s production of Spring Awakening on Saturday night at the Power Center, all the heightened hormonal chaos, longing, joy, freedom, and frustration of adolescence was on resplendent display.

The number, which I’ll politely refer to “Totally F-ed,” arrives late in the Tony-winning stage musical, and in the words of Rohit Gopal (who played Moritz) during the talkback, “It’s a banger.” The entire cast embodies revolt through song, and at one point Christopher Campbell’s deft choreography clearly dictates that each performer “rock out on your own as the spirit moves you.”

And boy, does the overall effect work.

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Tools Crew Live: Approachable Minorities


Downloads:
MP3 for "Bodies” + “Bet"
720p video, 480p video or 240p video

Tools Crew Live is an ongoing video series where we invite artists to perform with gear borrowed from the Ann Arbor District Library's Music Tools collection: aadl.org/musictools.

* This video contains explicit content. *

As evidenced by their name, Approachable Minorities make strong social statements couched in playfully pointed language. The Ypsilanti hip-hop trio -- MCs Drew Denton and TJ Greggs with DJ Marcus McKinney -- released its debut album, Afro-American, in April 2016, and Denton’s solo LP, The Ascension Theory, arrived in December.

Approachable Minorities have worked hard to promote their music through a series of concerts under the name Northern Threat Entertainment, but the group is largely still a Washtenaw County phenomenon. But any label or manager looking to sign a talented and motivated group of artists who are ready to put in the work to promote their art would do well to turn 2017 into Approachable Minorities’ breakout year.

Impressed by the ensemble’s creativity and energy, we invited Approachable Minorities and their friend Cole Greve to check out a bunch Music Tools from the Ann Arbor District Library, learn how to use the gear, and come cut a Tools Crew Live video. The group re-created two cuts from Afro-American -- “Bodies” and “Bet” -- on the library’s gear and performed the songs at AADL’s downtown branch on June 9, 2017.

We spoke with Denton about the group’s history, the stories behind the songs, and the challenges and rewards of learning new music gear from scratch.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #645



The Reminders *, a debut novel by writer, singer-songwriter, and actor Val Emmich (Vinyl and Ugly Betty) is the unlikely friendship between a gifted child who remembers everything and a grieving man who is trying to forget.

The 10-year-old Joan Lennon Scully (named after her father's favorite songwriter) has HSAM: highly superior autobiographical memory. While she can recall every minute detail of her life, she is frustrated that everyone else forgets, even the most important things and people in their lives. She thinks winning a local songwriting contest might make her unforgettable.

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