Fabulous Fiction Firsts #648



Balli Kaur Jaswal was named Best Young Australian Novelist by Sydney Morning Herald for her hardcover debut, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. The book is set in the Sikh community of Greater London.

A great disappointment to her Punjabi immigrant family, a "westernized" Nikki Grewa tends bar at the local pub after dropping out of law school. She is bewildered that her sister Mindi, a nurse, is willing to try arranged marriage. While at the community center to post Mindi's dating profile, she impulsively answers an ad for a creative writing teacher.

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Variety Show: STAMPS's alumni exhibition "Ambiguities/Innuendoes? Go Fish"


Disney Room

A still from Alisa Yang's award-winning short film Please Come Again.

The 2017 University of Michigan Alumni Exhibition Ambiguities/Innuendoes? Go Fish features an eclectic collection of alumni works that engage, in varying capacities, with the terms “ambiguity” and “innuendo.” The annual exhibition allows STAMPS alumni to show their work. This year, work represented over 70 years of alumni from 1955 to 2016. This year, the exhibition featured juror Brian Kennedy, the president, director, and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art.

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U-M SMTD's tidy exhibition of Beatles material celebrates the 50th anniversary of "Sgt. Pepper's"


The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance's “Summit of Creativity: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ of 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band'" drew experts from across the country in June to examine and analyze this timeless music with an academic panache typically reserved for the likes of Shakespeare, Gilgamesh, and radioisotopes.

By contrast, U-M musicologist Walter Everett’s 46-item exhibit 50th Anniversary of the Release of 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band' is tidy in comparison to the sprawling analysis bestowed on The Beatles and this record in particular. Both the band and Sgt. Pepper's are now part of the firmament in our shared cultural and intellectual history, and they are now well worthy of deep study and scrutiny. But The Beatles certainly didn’t conceive the album with all that in mind.

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Multimedia Meditations: Ann Arbor Women Artists 2017 Summer Juried Exhibit


Ann Arbor Women Artists 2017 Summer Juried Exhibit

Left to right: works by artists Kathy Hiner, Bonnie Wylo, Susan Clinthorne, Kathy Kelley, Barbara Goodsitt, and Patricia Davenport.

The 2017 Ann Arbor Women Artists Summer Juried Exhibit illustrates the diverse talent in the Ann Arbor area. Though the name implies this nonprofit organization features women artists only, by 2008 the group included 10 men. The volunteer-run organization is now open to all artists 18 and older. Today, this local art group has over 300 members. In this year’s annual AAWA Juried exhibition, 46 artists have their work on display. The works represented are executed in a variety of media, both 2D and 3D.

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However it’s made, Ellipsis Theatre's "Sausage" is good fun


The School for Sausage

Masked men and women: The School for Sausage is a commedia dell’arte filled with high-energy humor.

The raucous atmosphere of The School for Sausage is evident even before the play starts -- one of the characters plays ukulele in the middle of the stage, other characters prance about to warm up, and the director tells you that because this is commedia dell’arte and you will never see this exact play ever again.

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Backyard Dreaming: Penny Seats' "Peter and the Starcatcher"


Penny Seats, Peter and the Starcatcher

Rarely has an Ann Arbor stage been so uniquely suited to a play as West Park is to Peter and the Starcatcher, Rick Elice’s Tony-winning prequel to Peter Pan, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

West Park, which serves as the summer home of The Penny Seats Theatre Company, is versatile and adaptable to a wide variety of theatrical experiences. When I saw Peter and the Starcatcher last weekend, a friend turned to me at intermission and said, “This set looks like it would if I were a kid playing pirates and make-believe out in my backyard.” And it does. Many of the imaginatively used props consist of mismatched, cobbled-together items like grocery shopping carts, kitchen timers, a plastic pineapple, coconut shells, and more.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #647



Denver's Tattered Cover Bookstore alum and winner of the Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize, Matthew Sullivan has been named Goodreads Debut Author of the Month, and Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, an Indie Next Pick. What's not to love -- a suicide in a bookstore, a 20-year-old triple-murder cold case, and a survivor who turns to clues hidden in books to solve the mystery.

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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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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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