“No, not even for a picture”: Re-examining the Native Midwest and Tribes’ Relations to the History of Photography at U-M's Clements Library

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Medicine Bottle and Cut Nose by Joel E. Whitney, 1864

Wa-Kan-O-Zhan-Zhan (Medicine Bottle)
Joel E. Whitney
Carte de visite, 1864
Wa-Kan-O-Zhan-Zhan, or Medicine Bottle, was a Sioux wicasa wakan, or holy man, who stepped away from that role to defend the Dakota way of life in the rebellions. After the uprising, Congress called for the removal of all Sioux from Minnesota, leading Medicine Bottle to flee to Canada. Two years later, he was found, drugged, and brought as a prisoner to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, where he was tried for his participation in the 1862 uprisings. He was executed three years after the initial trial. This photo was taken shortly before his death.
Marpiya Okinajin (Cut Nose)
Joel E. Whitney
Carte de visite, 1862
Marpoya Okinajin (pronounced: Mar-piy-a O-kin-a-jin) was also known as Cut Nose or He Who Stands in the Clouds. His vibrant life was filled with stories of hunting, fighting, and womanizing. Cut Nose’s distinctive name is credited to John Other Day, who allegedly bit off a chunk of his nose during a fight. During the Dakota War, Cut Nose fought to restore Santee Dakota sovereignty in Minnesota and is remembered for his leadership and brutality in the uprisings at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota. He was ultimately executed for his violence against settlers on December 26, 1862. After his death, William Mayo, a founder of the Mayo Clinic, exhumed Cut Nose’s remains to use for science experiments, keeping his bones for over a century and a half. The eagle feathers appearing in this photo were likely retouched into the photo after it was taken.

As I look out over a pond that's rippling gently from snowfall, the pine trees and fields covered in white, I'm writing this post in my Christmas-light-bright house, which rests on Bodéwadmiké (Potawatomi) land ceded in a coercive treaty.

A version of the above sentence is also what begins “No, not even for a picture”: Re-examining the Native Midwest and Tribes’ Relations to the History of Photography, a new online exhibition produced by two University of Michigan students with Native American ancestry for the William L. Clements Library. Lindsey Willow Smith (undergraduate, History and Museum Studies; member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) and Veronica Cook Williamson (Ph.D. candidate, Germanic Languages and Literatures and Museum Studies; Choctaw ancestry, citizen of the Chickasaw Nation) used materials in the Richard Pohrt Jr. Collection of Native American Photography to explore ideas of consent, agency, and representation. 

Bootleg Washtenaw: Repulsion live at Schoolkids Records, June 9, 1991

MUSIC

Repulsion at Schookids Records, 1991

An occasional series highlighting live recordings made in Washtenaw County.

On Repulsion's lone album, Horrified, the Flint-based grind-metal pioneers' sound is a muffled blur of blast beats, gnarly guitar, and grunted vocals. Same is true of the band's many demos, which is what Horrified was when it was recorded in 1986 and released as the Slaughter of the Innocent tape. That sort of audio is what you'll hear times 100 as featured in this June 9, 1991, in-store concert Repulsion did at Schoolkids Records, 523 East Liberty Street. But it's still wonderful to see the inside of Ann Arbor's most legendary record store once again. 

Horrified received its official release in 1989, and that's the record vocalist-bassist Scott Carlson is referring to when he points to the wall at Schoolkids and says, "The is from our album—up there" before the band rips into "Pestilent Decay."

June 9, 1991, was a Sunday and, before the videographer steps into the record store, he records a long line of people standing in the dark to get into the Michigan Theater. East Liberty was hopping that night. The sunset was at 9:10 pm, so this show was likely after Schoolkids closed for the day, but I'm not sure what event was drawing such a big crowd at the Michigan Theater. According to The Concert Database, there were no bands playing at the Michigan Theater that night—the previous show was Laurie Anderson on May 11 and the next one was  Kraftwerk on September 27—and City Slickers was the number one movie in the country that weekend, but I don't recall first-run mainstream films being a regular thing then for this venue. (Looking into it; will update if I find anything. Very important, you know.)

Update: The crack staff at AADL's Old News figured out it was Taxi Blues, a critically acclaimed 1990 Russian movie, but not one I would assume could draw such a big crowd. Also, the start time was 8:40 pm, and despite the darkened skies, the Google Machine tells me sunset that day wasn't for another 30 minutes. The East Liberty corridor is a tunnel.

While you should absolutely listen to Repulsion's badass Horrified if you want to hear one of the earliest examples of extreme metal, the main draw of this video for Washtenaw County folks is seeing the racks and racks of expertly curated LPs at Schoolkids Records. Check out the 39-minute below, but fair warning: Some cretin on the street who was there to see the band uses the N-word at the :27 second mark.

2020 Ann Arbor Jewish Book Festival offers 25 authors over 20 days

WRITTEN WORD PREVIEW

2020 Ann Arbor Jewish Book Festival books

I've increased my reading tenfold since the beginning of the pandemic.

Of course, most of that reading is doom scrolling on Twitter, but nevertheless, words were seen by my eyes.

But my desire to consume books hasn't waned even if my attention span has, and the 2020 Ann Arbor Jewish Book Festival (AAJBF) has provided a host of authors and titles to add to my unconquerable to-read list.

From December 2 to 22, the AAJBF will present 25 authors discussing 22 books, which is a lot more than usual for this 33-year-old festival. If there's any benefit to the whole world being on lockdown and Zoom calls becoming a part of our collective DNAs, it means festivals like this and others are able to schedule more authors (or performers, etc.) because they don't have to travel to the events in person. While the arts and culture side of the AAJBF will be muted this year because of the pandemic, there's now an increased chance to engage with a wide range of authors writing about Jewish subjects or that have Jewish connections—and most of the talks are free of charge.

Here's the calendar for the 2020 Ann Arbor Jewish Book Festival; click on the authors' names for event links on the AAJBF website:

Friday Five: The Stooges, The Ridiculous Trio, Kelly Moran, Tunde Olaniran, Ione Sanders & Kate Ziebart

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 11-27-2020

Friday Five is where we celebrate new and recent music by Washtenaw County-associated artists.

This holiday edition features folks who haven't called Washtenaw County home for a while—or ever—but they still have some sort of connection to our little slice of Michigan. The week includes live recordings of Iggy and The Stooges, a jazz-punk interpretation of The Stooges by The Ridiculous Trio, Kelly Moran's prepared-sound electronica, future funk from Tunde Olaniran, and experimental-classical ambiance from Ione Sanders and Kate Ziebart.

Inna De Yard: Ann Arbor's Evan Haywood directs a music video for Jamaica's Israel Voice

MUSIC FILM & VIDEO

Israel Voice in the video for his song Nyomi

Longtime Ann Arbor creative Evan Haywood is known for his solo work as a singer-songwriter and as one of the voices in the Tree City hip-hop collective.

He's about to add filmmaker to his resume after traveling around Jamaica in May 2019 to film Blood & Fire, "a documentary on anti-colonial narratives in Jamaican music and culture," Haywood said, with one of the biggest stars in the movie being Lee "Scratch" Perry, reggae's eccentric genius. Haywood is still editing the film, but while in Jamaica, he also shot footage for several music videos, one of which has just debuted: Israel Voice's "Nyomi," which features the sweet-voiced veteran crooner looking for spiritual love; the roots-reggae tune was co-produced by Earl "Chinna" Smith. Haywood filmed part of the video at Chinna's yard as well as the surfing hot spot Bull Bay. 

We asked Haywood about the making of the video, so he wrote a narrative on the process and also updated us on the other music videos he has planned and where he's at with Blood & Fire.

Singing Bodies, Electric: U-M SMTD's offers a "Grand Night" of virtual choirs

MUSIC

Singing is one of life's greatest joys, whether you're crooning in a choir or car jamming with friends.

But projecting your voice in a group setting is also one of the best ways to spread Covid-19, so singing with other humans was an early loss during the pandemic.

It seemed a certainty that annual vocal events such as the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance's Grand Night for Singing were going to be postponed until a cure was found. But as has happened with so many certain-to-be-canceled things, creative people found ways to continue on within the current reality, and Director of Choirs Eugene Rogers organized a virtual version of this show that mixes newly sung songs with prior performances.

The virtual choir features more than 360 singers recorded in their homes, from Ann Arbor to China, singing four songs:

Friday Five: Fred Thomas, Chris Dupont, The Kelseys, Bruce Lo, G.B. Marian

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 11-20-2020

Friday Five is where we celebrate new and recent music by Washtenaw County-associated artists.

This week we feature ambient indie-pop from Fred Thomas and friends, orchestral folk-rock from Chris Dupont, radio-ready pop from The Kelseys, drum 'n' bass from Bruce Lo and Bruce Li, and scary soundtracks by G.B. Marian.

 

Food, immigration, and female experience intertwine in poet Jihyun Yun's book "Some Are Always Hungry"

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Some Are Always Hungry by Jihyun Yun

Some Are Always Hungry by Jihyun Yun concentrates not only on cuisine but also on the ways the world views, consumes, and treats womanhood—how women are made to push through and past very physical, personal challenges, and to try again. The attention to these topics is inseparable from history, trauma, and family, whether it’s on memories of immigration, the shame carried in female bodies, or the comfort of a meal made from bodies of animals. 

These poems tie together generational and physical pain, recipes, and urges—the urges to survive, to procreate, to eat, to seek fullness. They read in the way that you may listen to someone talking with the leaps between thoughts that are colored in by context and word choice. One poem looks back on a moment:

Map of the Interior: Sarah Rose Sharp’s "Results or Roses" at U-M Institute of the Humanities Gallery

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Sarah Rose Sharp's Hand of Fate
Hand of Fate, 2019, screen print by Too x Nail, fabric, embroidery thread, charms, beads, etc., 11.5” x 6” x 2.5

During these Covid times, visual artists’ exhibitions have migrated to online locations, with mixed results. For some whose work is photographic or text-based in nature, the effect is hardly noticeable. But for artists making very tactile or three-dimensional work, like the artworks in Detroit artist Sarah Rose Sharp’s Results or Roses at U-M Institute of the Humanities Gallery, much is lost in translation. I felt some guilty delight when the gallery curator, Amanda Krugliak, consented to open the gallery (now temporarily closed to the public during the pandemic) for my visit, but you can still view the exhibit online

Sharp employs traditional needlework and sewing techniques to create a diaristic map of her interior life. The intimately scaled artworks illustrate several different trains of the artist’s thought and share the walls of the gallery and an adjacent vitrine, providing a virtual tour of the artist’s memories, observations, and preoccupations. The overarching intention of the work seems to be located somewhere in the psychic territory between nostalgia and satire. 

Friday Five: Dani Darling, AGN7 Audio, The Millwrights, CryptoPolitics, Tyrus Archer

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 11-13-2020

Friday Five is where we celebrate new and recent music by Washtenaw County-associated artists.

This week we feature neo-soul indie-rock from Dani Darling, a drum 'n' bass comp from the AGN7 label, power-pop from The Millwrights, chiptunes from CryptoPolitics, and hip-hop from Tyrus Archer.