Personal Universals: jessica Care moore at the Michigan Theater


jessica Care moore

jessica Care moore's spirit and charisma cast a wide next.

I didn’t grow up going to church, but seeing the poet-playwright-author-musician-activist-performance artist jessica Care moore do her thing is what I imagine an incredibly moving church experience feels like.

moore’s appearance at the Michigan Theater on September 14 was the kickoff event of the 2017 Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series. The series aims to bring innovators from a wide variety of fields to the university in order to interact with and inspire university students, faculty, and the greater community. (See the full fall 2017 lineup here.)

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Vital Conversations: The Stamps Gallery's fall season launches with two exhibitions


STAMPS's The Unfinished Conversation/Encoding/Decoding & Vital Signs for a New America

A captured moment from John Akomfrah's three-screen work The Unfinished Conversation. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

The Penny W. Stamps' website let me know that I could expect to be challenged by The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding and Vital Signs for a New America exhibits.

But despite a deep interest in the overlap of politics and art in the 20th and 21st centuries, I wasn’t quite prepared for this collection of powerful, in-your-face images. I’m also glad that I have until October 14 to fully explore the exhibits.

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Truth in Dares: Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, "Finding My Badass Self" at Literati


Sherry Stanfa-Stanley, Finding My Badass Self

Bare all: Sherry Stanfa-Stanley challenged herself to try something new every week of her 52nd year.

When one of the main things you know about someone is that she visited a nude beach, participating fully, with her mother, it is extremely difficult not to imagine that person naked.

You might as well surrender.

On Friday, August 24, Sherry Stanfa-Stanley came to Literati to read from and answer questions about her book Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares. I had read part of the book; a light and funny read that chronicles her quest to, in her 52nd year, try something new each week. I hadn’t quite expected to be, based on appearances, the youngest person in the room with the exception possibly of bookstore staff and my 13-year-old son. As we waited for the event to begin, I examined Stanfa-Stanley, and overheard her say casually, “No one expects perfection out of me.”

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Food Class: S. Margot Finn and "Discriminating Taste" at Literati


S. Margot Finn at Literati

U-M lecturer S. Margot Finn explores America's eating habits and how they relate to class in Discriminating Taste.

On August 10, S. Margot Finn spoke at Literati about her new book, Discriminating Taste: How Class Anxiety Created the American Food Revolution. Her book argues that over the last several decades, Americans have become interested in the way they eat as a result of class anxiety born from increasing income disparity between the middle class and the very wealthy. Finn says the professional and managerial class display their class status through food choices.

While I know Ann Arbor is a food town, I was surprised to find the event was standing room only. Maybe, though, I shouldn’t have been, considering the role food takes in so many areas of daily life, from sustenance and ritual to entertainment. And I suppose it's not a stretch that a town known both for dining and a liberal slant would show up for a book about food that mentions class anxiety in the subtitle.

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Hunger for Life: Roxane Gay at Hill Auditorium


Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay shows strength via her ability to be vulnerable in her writing. Post-It crammed book photo by Sherlonya Turner.

Roxane Gay is an endurance performer.

She is a professor, essayist, fiction writer, and cultural critic. Any pair of these things could fill or even overwhelm a professional life, but she does not stop there. As a person who at times fetishizes achievement, I am awed by the sheer quantity of pages that she has loosed into the world. And that is before we consider her Twitter presence or the volume of reading that she does, evidenced by the book giveaways that appear on her Tumblr from time-to-time.

I know that Gay’s smarts help fuel her accomplishments as do her talents, but when I think about her -- like, big picture her -- I just think, "Damn, she works hard. She hustles."

At Gay’s reading for her new book, Hunger, on June 16, I took a seat toward the back of Hill Auditorium and watched the audience file in. I've never been someone who needs an excuse to gawk at and examine other women’s bodies, and I was wondering who would join me to hear excerpts from Hunger, which tells the story of Roxane Gay’s body.

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Unicorning: Samantha Irby & Scaachi Koul at Literati


Samantha Irby, Scaachi Koul

Samantha Irby and Scaachi Koul induced some unicorns at Literati on Tuesday.

Unicorn should be a verb. As a verb, this would be what you do when you project all sorts of magical qualities onto somebody else.

But I recently read an essay called “Samantha Irby Needs to Talk About Some Sh*t” and I was hooked. We’re talking immediate Google stalking. That’s how I knew that I could -- despite the title of her new release, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life -- meet her in real life.

On Tuesday, June 13, Irby and Buzzfeed culture writer/essayist Scaachi Koul appeared at Literati where they read selections from their books and answered questions to a full house.

I really, really tried not to unicorn them.

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All the Way In: Diving into the Ann Arbor Film Festival for the first time



hashtag by Sherlonya Turner

Confession: Despite living in the greater Ann Arbor area for nearly 20 years, I have never attended any part of the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

The poster caught my attention. I’m a sucker for bright colors.

Seduced by the orange, pink, and yellow in this year's AAFF poster, I thought, "Wouldn’t it be funny if I watched as many episodes of Dallas as I can before the film festival and then went to the screening of Hotel Dallas?," which documents Romania's strange fascination with the TV show that ran from 1978 to 1991.

An experience was born, but instead of diving into Dallas, I decided to steep myself in the Ann Arbor Film Festival experience.

First, I had to learn about the thing, so I did some light research on the festival’s founder, George Manupelli. I stumbled upon a memorial blog for him and read the whole thing click-after-click on my phone. Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to create for myself the experience that this man would have appreciated.

I like to imagine that he’d approve of my plan to jump right in.

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