The Literary Works: Kerrytown BookFest offers a farmer's market of prose and poetry


15th annual Kerrytown BookFest

The 15th Kerrytown BookFest will features dozens of authors while also reaffirming its dedication to highlighting book-making arts.

For the past 15 years, the Kerrytown BookFest has honored and celebrated writers and readers with speakers, panels, and a sprawling book fair held under the farmers’ market sheds.

But for this year, BookFest Co-Chair Linda Kimmel is particularly pleased with the festival’s re-emphasis on book arts, including “letterpress printers, binders, illustrators, papermakers. ... [W]e have once again increased the number of book artists who are vendors at the event ... and increased the number of book arts demonstrations to six this year.”

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Zilka Joseph will lead a panel of musing poets at Kerrytown BookFest

Zilka Joseph, Sharp Blue Search of Flame

Zilka Joseph (upper left) will moderate a panel with Michigan poets (clockwise from upper right) Keith Taylor, Z.G. Tomaszewski, Cindy Hunter Morgan, and Robert Fanning at the 15th annual Kerrytown BookFest.

On Sunday, September 10, the 15th annual Kerrytown BookFest takes over the Farmer’s Market and Concert House for a full day of book arts demonstrations, author signings -- see the full list here -- and panel discussions, such as "Short Stories From 'Bob Seger's House'" with Ellen Airgood, Loren D. Estelman, Gordon Henry, and Michael Zadoorian moderated by M.L. Liebler. (AADL card holders can download the book they're discussing here.)

It's truly a celebration of this region's rich literary scene, all neatly packed into one of Ann Arbor's most beloved neighborhoods. (See our full preview of the festival here.)

Ann Arbor poet, editor, and educator Zilka Joseph will moderate a 4 pm panel at Kerrytown BookFest called “Poetic Musings” with Robert Fanning, Cindy Hunter Morgan, Keith Taylor, and Z.G. Tomaszewski. Joseph’s most recent collection is Sharp Blue Search of Flame, published by Wayne State University Press in 2016. We chatted with her about Michigan poets, favorite Ann Arbor literary haunts, and being a citizen of the world.

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A2CT's “Seussical, the Musical” will transport viewers to a magic kingdom


Ann Arbor Civic Theatre presents Seussical, the Musical

Rob Roy and Eric VanWasshnova in SeussicalM, which takes aesthetic inspiration from a Disney Cruise restaurant. Photo: Lisa Gavan | Gavan Photo

The fanciful world of Dr. Seuss will come to life on the Mendelssohn Theater stage this weekend when Ann Arbor Civic Theatre presents Seussical, the Musical

“We were looking for a family fare kind of show,” said director Denyse Clayton. “Most every show for families is a ‘feel good’ show, but in the particular political climate we’re living in now, I think that to buy a ticket and go someplace magical to escape it all for a while feels particularly good.”

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Come Together: A2 Jazz Fest will showcase the region's rich talent


A2 Jazz Fest

2017 A2 Jazz Fest performers include (clockwise from left) Dan Bennett, Sean Dobbins, Tristan Cappel, and Janelle Reichman, among many others.

Although the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area is certainly home to many talented jazz musicians, sometimes it might seem that they fly a little under the radar. The A2 Jazz Fest is out to change that.

The free admission, two-day festival returns for its second edition Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9. Friday evening’s venue is the First Congregational Church, while on Saturday the festival takes over LIVE nightclub. (This is a change from the initially announced location at the Ann Arbor Distilling Co.)

“Currently jazz is featured at a number of restaurants and bars, once or twice a week, but there is no longer a dedicated jazz club in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti," says Dave Sharp, local bassist, bandleader, and organizer of the A2 Jazz Fest. "UMS and the Kerrytown Concert House certainly feature amazing jazz groups, but not on the scale or frequency of a jazz club or jazz festival."

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UMS's season starts with Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9's new spin on New Orleans jazz


Butler, Bernstein & The  Hot 9

Henry Butler, Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9 promise a U-M-worthy take on Jelly Roll Morton's "Wolverine Blues."

New York meets New Orleans in Ann Arbor on Friday, Sept. 8, as Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9 bring their unique twist on classic jazz to a special concert at Downtown Home & Garden/Bill's Beer Garden.

The show, which opens the new season of the University Musical Society, continues a successful partnership of the great New Orleans pianist and singer Henry Butler with Steven Bernstein, the accomplished New York trumpeter and bandleader known for working in a number of different styles with various ensembles.

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Tools Crew Live: Mark Kirschenmann & Adam Shead


Downloads:
MP3 for "Behind the Sky"
720p 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.

The most common use for effects pedals in AADL's collection is to change the sound of electric instruments, such as guitars and keyboards -- not acoustic gear, such as trumpets and drums. But there's nothing common about the music of Mark Kirschenmann, PhD. He's been experimenting with changing the tone of his trumpet through electronics since the '70s after he heard Miles Davis' electro-jazz-funk classic On the Corner.

Kirschenmann is a U-M lecturer of jazz and contemporary improvisation, and he also leads the music school's Creative Arts Orchestra, which includes drummer Adam Shead, a grad student at U-M studying "cultural memory, tradition, and narrative in improvised music communities." Shead augments his standard drum setup with electronics and straight-up knick-knacks, such as a dishtowel or his wallet, so he can explore different tonalities on his kit.

Together, Kirschenmann and Shead combine their extended techniques -- such as playing the trumpet without a mouthpiece or putting a leg on the snare drum -- to create an improvised universe of sound.

We talked to the duo about why they began applying electronic effects to their acoustic instruments, Kirschenmann's use of AADL music tools in his classes, and the stories behind the two songs they recorded for us in the library's Secret Lab on April 20, 2017.

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Nature's Way: Chris Bathgate's "Dizzy Seas" is simultaneously ethereal and earthy


Chris Bathgate

Chris Bathgate hasn't lived in Ann Arbor or this state for a decade, but his songs still evoke the idea of "Michigan music."

The release of a new Chris Bathgate album is a major occasion for fans of great songwriting and enticing sounds -- especially in Michigan, where he has strong ties.

He released the Old Factory EP last year, but this spring’s Dizzy Seas is Bathgate’s first full-length album since 2011’s acclaimed Salt Year. (All came out on the Ann Arbor-based Quite Scientific label.) The songs on Dizzy Seas are as strong as ever, presented in a sound that’s simultaneously rich and stripped down. And although Bathgate now lives in California, Michigan has definitely left an impression.

He agreed to answer a few questions via email about the new record, the themes of his songs, and Michigan music.

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A2CAF 2017: Ben Hatke interview at AADL



Downloads:
720p Video
MP3

During the Ann Arbor Comics Art Festival -- aka A2CAF -- in June, cartoonist Jerzy Drozd interviewed his fellow author-illustrator Ben Hatke about his work. The two were on the third floor of the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library, standing in front of the framed works that comprise the exhibition Ben Hatke: Art and Adventure:

Explore the plucky heroes, eerie monsters, and fabulous realms of artist and author Ben Hatke in an exhibition of original art from his picture books and graphic novels. Illustrations and watercolors from Nobody Likes a Goblin, Zita the Spacegirl, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, and a few surprises. (The exhibition runs through August 31.)

The talk between Drozd and Hatke runs 41 minutes. Pressed for time? Grab the MP3; the conversation works fine as a podcast. Or if you want to skip around, see the list below with the topics discussed and their times in the video/MP3:

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Telling Tales: WordFest Two celebrates a multitude of storytelling arts


WordFestTwo

At left, a gesturing Josephine Rood and standing Lyn Davidge reheasrse for WordFestTwo.. Right: Bob Brill, Rood, Patti Smith, Lorelle Otis, and Davidge. Photos by Greg Napoleon.

What do the performers and writers for WordFest Two -- "a spoken word variety show, (with) original works by local wordsmiths" -- have in common? A limited investigation revealed overlapping histories that include performing on an Ann Arbor Civic Theatre stage, participating in the Ann Arbor Storyteller's Guild (AASG), or having written, then recited, poetry in public, doing improvisation, or producing small theater events.

Although the performers come from varied backgrounds, they all seem to have one thing in common: the desire for a live audience, which WordFest performers will get August 25 and 26 at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre (AACT).

"Live performance is about communicating -- sharing with the people in the room," says Catherine Zudak, one of the participants with extensive theater experience. "With film -- I've been in films, it's completely different. You lose a lot of intimacy. Facebook, YouTube -- it's like candy. Not very nourishing."

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Leave the Kids at Home: Grown Folks Story Time at BookBound


Grown Folks Story Time

Clockwise from the upper left: Ken MacGregor, Patti F. Smith, and David Pratt will kick off the first Grown Folks Story Time on August 24.

As adults, we often forget how pleasurable it can be shut everything off, stop talking for a while, and just listen to someone read a story out loud.

But Ann Arbor educator -- and frequent Pulp contributor -- Patti F. Smith remembered that childhood joy while skimming local event listings.

“There were all these different storytimes for children, and I thought about how much I loved story time as a kid when I was in school,” she said, adding that she then noticed that a group of young Detroiters “had an event that had interesting people reading interesting things. I went to it, and a woman -- not an author -- brought a book she just really liked, a memoir, and read some quick little lines from it. There was a brunch with mimosas, and it was just a lovely event. It wasn’t political, it wasn’t deep, it only lasted about an hour, but it just made me remember that it’s really, really nice to be read to. So I thought, well, why not have something in Ann Arbor?”

With this in mind, Smith has planned Grown Folks Story Time at BookBound on Thursday, August 24, at 7 pm. The theme is “childhood,” since the three participants will read from books they loved as kids.

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