Friday Five: Kenyatta Rashon, Matthew Milia, Andrew W.K., No Author, Tanomura

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-25-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features R&B from Kenyatta Rashon, roots rock by Matthew Milia, techno-metal by Andrew W.K., techno via No Author, and jazzy electro-pop by Tanomura.
 

Friday Five: Sean Curtis Patrick, weretwins compilation, London Beck, Lightning Love, Jamie "Pops" VanEffen

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-18-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features ambient from Sean Curtis Patrick, an experimental compilation from the weretwins label, progressive R&B from London Beck, indie rock from Lightning Love, and psych-rock from Jamie "Pops" VanEffen.

 

Face to Interface: A2SF’s "Temping" is an uncanny, moving performance for one

THEATER & DANCE REVIEW

Ann Arbor Summer Fest's Temping

I double-checked that I was at the correct address, but the unmarked doors to the office building were locked.

After I tried the handles one more time to see if there was something I had missed, an extremely polite office worker let me in and gave me a welcome packet and some paperwork to sign.

At my appointed time, I was ushered into an isolated cubicle with the usual setup—computer, printer, shredder—but also, family pictures, sticky notes, and office cartoons.

However, I was not here to work but to watch a performance. Or was I the performer?

This is Temping, a show for one that is part of this year's Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

Much like an actual temp job, the show plunks you down into an already-established office eco-system and gives you little training or context for the tasks you are asked to complete. As you receive voicemails, printouts, and emails, you begin to understand your new job: filling in as an actuary for the firm Harold, Adams, McNutt, & Joy. While Sarah Jane Tully is on vacation, it is now your job to mark her clients’ employees deceased or estimate their life expectancy.

Detroit native and U-M grad Shannon McLeod’s new novella, "Whimsy," tells a different kind of teaching story

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Shannon McLeod and her novella Whimsy

Shannon McLeod’s new novella, Whimsy, depicts the perils of those post-college, early career years through the main character for which the book is titled, Whimsy Quinn, who narrates in first person. McLeod is a Detroit native, University of Michigan graduate, and now high school teacher in Virginia. 

Whimsy, who got her name because her parents wanted to name her something “that exuded light-heartedness,” works as a middle school teacher in Metro Detroit, copes with the aftermaths of a car accident that she was in, and navigates dating. She tells her story of how she weathers her setbacks, and it becomes clear how they strengthen her. When asked to describe teaching, for instance, Whimsy notes, “I told him I didn’t have much to compare it to, but that it seemed I had less free time and less money than people with other careers.” It is not a glowing description, but she also does not hate it. 

Much of the novella situates Whimsy in the classroom. Her profession brings both humor and growth for her. Of running a classroom, she reflects, “I don’t know if you ever recover from the feeling of thirty pairs of eyes staring at you in concert.” That description may sound nightmarish to those of us who do not want to be the center of attention. Yet, Whimsy gets through the first few days of the school year and finds that the students’ levels of observation fade because by "Halloween you’re at the bottom of the students’ lists of interests.” A welcome change. 

Teaching is fraught with challenges, though, from getting scolded by an administrator who questions Whimsy’s dedication to catching students passing notes in class, serving as a cafeteria monitor during lunchtime, and socializing with other teachers. Whimsy takes all these situations in stride. When she needs to be away from the classroom, she reveals, “I’d learned quickly not to expect my students to get anything done with a substitute teacher in the room.” A matter-of-fact and responsive character, Whimsy is well-suited to teaching even if she finds herself chagrined at times. 

While Whimsy is a self-aware and descriptive narrator, the prose remains sharp and tight. Scenes unfold and shift. The reader sees along with Whimsy what’s really happening, such as at a wedding where Whimsy drinks too much. She attends it with a journalist, Rikesh, who she’s seeing. When she finds herself crying in the bathroom, Rikesh finds her, and Whimsy notes, “He said he would take me home.” Yet, the next sentence shows a different outcome because, she thinks, “I thought he meant he was coming home with me.” The chapter ends there. Disappointment is palpable but not explicitly stated. The endings of all the chapters are poignant, each like a short story coming to a conclusion.  

I interviewed McLeod about her novella, participation with the Emerging Writers Workshops at the Ann Arbor District Library, the Wild Onion Novella Contest that Whimsy won, and what’s next.

Friday Five: A.D.D., Rudolf Steiner High School students, JDSY, Ma Baker, Barbaric Yawps

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-11-2021

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features rap/R&B by A.D.D., music from Rudolf Steiner High School students, video-game soundtracks via JDSY, jams from Ma Baker, and progressive world-jazz by Barbaric Yawps.

 

Ann Arbor Summer Festival announces 38th season, "Stories From the Top" podcast

MUSIC THEATER & DANCE

A2SF logo

Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) has a full slate planned for its 38th season:

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) announces a mix of new, in-person, and digital events that kick off on June 11. A2SF’s season anchor this year is a pop-up concert series Live Here Now presented by Toyota and will take place in public parks and spaces throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. A2SF is engaging a diverse group of community partners throughout the two cities and presenting many in partnership with the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) this summer.

In-person events include Live Here Now pop-up neighborhood concerts, RSVP-based concerts and movies at Fuller Park in Ann Arbor, a downtown Ann Arbor theater installation for one audience member at a time titled Temping, a community-based Indian dance event Garba360, and Sidewalk Chalk Day featuring local favorite David Zinn. 

Digital events include the premiere of an A2SF new commission by New York-based Theater in Quarantine, an interactive performance by Brooklyn-based 600 Highwaymen titled A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call co-presented with University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), and the second season of the A2SF podcast: Stories from the Top.

A2SF is working closely with local officials on event safety protocol for all limited capacity, in-person events. All in-person events will follow current safety guidelines from the State of Michigan, Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, and other local municipalities as well as national best-practice.

Reservations and tickets to most programs will become available at a2sf.org.

Kirstin Valdez Quade’s novel "The Five Wounds" expands on her New Yorker-published short story

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Kirstin Valdez Quade and her book The Five Wounds

Author photo by Holly Andres.

All of the characters in Kirstin Valdez Quade’s new book, The Five Wounds, are going through something major. While the challenges—teen pregnancy, addiction, cancer—are not uncommon, the ways that each generation of the family handles their circumstances drive the novel.

One character, Angel, has a son at age 15 and quickly becomes aware of how the adults around her do not actually have their lives together. Not only does she have that insight but she also must persevere when she doesn’t get the support that she needs and when she has to instead support the people who are supposed to be helping her. 

Yet, Angel proves herself resilient, even from a young age. Her mother, Marissa, informs Angel:

“When you were three you said, ‘Mama, can you tell me all the things I don’t know?’ You were so impatient to learn and make your own way.

Angel smiles. “I don’t remember that.” 

Knowing things does not comprise all of Angel’s learning, though. Along the way, she gains wisdom on what people are like and how to interact with them. 

Her father, Amadeo, tries and tries to get his life together but keeps succumbing to alcoholism. He acts before he thinks. An accident caused by his carelessness and drinking miraculously results in only minor injuries, but it is the only thing that can convince him to get his life on track, not just for himself but for his family, especially as the whole family dynamic shifts when people enter and exit their lives. 

U-M Medicine's Gifts of Art program has an open call for artists for its 2021/2022 exhibits

VISUAL ART

Gifts of Art homepage

 

Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan has put out a call for artists for its Gifts of Art 2020/2021 exhibition season:

CALL FOR EXHIBITS 2021/22 – GIFTS OF ART - MICHIGAN MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

The Gifts of Art Program is seeking submissions for solo and group art exhibits for the September 2021 to August 2022 exhibition year. One of the first and most comprehensive arts in healthcare programs in the nation, Gifts of Art brings the world of art and music to Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan. Our nine 2-D and 3-D galleries throughout the medical center are viewed by approximately 10,000 people a day and display over 30 exhibits a year.   

Gifts of Art’s rotating gallery program is intended to support the healing process by calming nerves, lifting spirits, engaging minds and thereby reducing the stress and anxiety often associated with healthcare settings. At Michigan Medicine, inclusion is a core value with the goal of fostering an environment where every individual has a sense of belonging. This value is reflected in the artwork we select for our galleries: art that welcomes, art that amplifies voices, and art that reflects the community we serve at Michigan Medicine. People of all races, ethnicities, ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions, beliefs, abilities, socioeconomic statuses and levels of education are welcome to apply.

For more information about our mission and other Gifts of Art programming, please visit www.med.umich.edu/goa.
 
To see the full prospectus and submit to this call, please visit: med.umich.edu/goa/CallforExhibits.htm

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:

Friday Five: Disaster Relief with Thornetta Davis, The London Beck, Joshua Logan Alexander, G.B. Marian, Isolation Sundaze

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five 06-04-2021

Friday Five is where we highlight music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features soul from Disaster Relief with Thornetta Davis, hard rock from The London Beck, acoustic from Joshua Logan Alexander, industrial from G.B. Marian, and eclectic everything from Isolation Sundaze.

 

International DJ and Ann Arbor native Tim Baker passed away April 4

MUSIC

DJ Tim Baker

On April 4, Ann Arbor native DJ Tim Baker died of a heart attack while spinning for a charity live stream on Easter morning.

A 1985 graduate of Huron High School and Eastern Michigan University, Baker had residencies at Ann Arbor's Nectarine Ballroom in the late 1980s and in the 1990s he started touring Europe and producing his own Detroit techno- and Chicago house-influenced tracks for a variety of labels including his own, Real Estate Records.

Baker died in Chicago, where he had lived since 1998.

A service was held April 15 at Nie's Family Funeral Home on Carpenter Road in Ann Arbor, and according to a friend, Baker was "laid to rest in a U of M casket with a [drum machine] on his lap and some silver shoes."

Below are a selection of Baker's tunes, mixes, live appearances, and some remembrances by several electronic-music website's and the family's obituary.