"Korean Cinema Now" returns to the Michigan Theater with 8 celebrated films

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

Korean Cinema Now 2018 at the Michigan Theater

The Korean Cinema Now festival, sponsored by the Nam Center for Korean Studies, returns for its annual occupancy in the Michigan Theater’s 200-seat Screening Room theater. This year’s screenings are two Saturdays per month at 1 pm from Jan. 20 through April 21.

South Korea is known for its robust film industry, and the eight feature-length movies being shown at the Michigan Theater represent many high points from the peninsula's 2016-2017 movie scene.

But the best part of Korean Cinema Now? It's free.

Check out the trailers, dates, and synopses below:

Jillian Walker's "Speculative Histories" asked participants to look outside their points of view

THEATER & DANCE REVIEW

Jillian Walker

“What does it mean to see?” --Jillian Walker

Speculative Histories was a Dr. Martin Luther King Day Jr. event sponsored by University Musical Society as part of its No Safety Net festival. Hosted at the Ann Arbor District Library's downtown branch, award-winning playwright and UMS Research Residency artist Jillian Walker led a workshop that invited participants to engage with history in a way that may be new to them.

Sol Etudes: Poet and pianist Rebecca Biber at Bookbound

WRITTEN WORD REVIEW

Rebecca Biber reads from her book Technical Solace during the Fifth Avenue Press launch party at AADL on Nov. 5, 2017

Rebecca Biber reads from her book Technical Solace during the Fifth Avenue Press launch party at AADL on Nov. 5, 2017.

“I’m going to have my own experience of whatever writing is.” --Rebecca Biber

On Saturday, Jan. 13, at Bookbound Bookstore, Rebecca Biber read from debut poetry collection, Technical Solace. Her longtime friend Roy Sexton emceed the event. They know each other mostly through theater, where Biber often performs musical accompaniment for local shows. Sexton introduced her, listing some of Biber's accomplishments, but lingering over her musical talents. This was a fitting way to begin since Biber’s relationship to music is the first doorway into her work. 

Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase features 8 shorts that analyze the consequences of technology

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

A collage of stills from the 2018 Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase.

The total combined running time of the eight movies in the first Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase is 59 minutes -- which seems the perfect length in our age of hyper-accelerated information cycles. 

Sponsored by Duo Security, Ann Arbor SPARK, A2Geeks, and Q+M, the Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase is at the Michigan Theater on Friday, Jan. 19, 5-9 pm. Its mission is “to increase cultural diversity and interest in tech films and to promote, discuss and educate in the medium of science fiction and technology. We encourage rich storytelling, filled with infinite possibilities that challenge us and question our perception of the future.”

The evening kicks off with a pre-screening meet and greet in the lobby and the night will include a panel discussion with the filmmakers whose movies “explore a selection of short films that highlight the consequences of technology.”

The Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase is free, but you have to register for tickets.

Here's a rundown of the shorts being shown:

"Pre-Fab/Post-Fab: Art in a Readymade Era" both celebrates and critiques modern consumer culture

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

Artist Bailey Scieszka as her Old Put character. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.

Artist Bailey Scieszka as her Old Put character. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.

In some eras, artists were inspired by new techniques or materials. Now, it's mass consumption -- and we're not talking tuberculosis.

In the new U-M Institute for the Humanities exhibition Pre-Fab/Post-Fab: Art in a Readymade Era, three Detroit-based artists showcase works that speak to them growing up "with the influences of mass consumption, internet shopping, the glut of plastic toys, baubles, and tchotchkes."

Heidi Barlow, Shaina Kasztelan, Bailey Scieszka take these everyday objects and twist them into new forms to comment on pop culture, gender, and politics. 

From the press release:

Gifts of Art's exhibitions bring culture to U-M Hospital

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

A collage of Gifts of Art exhibitions running through March 2018

We typically choose to see art by seeking it out at a museum. We want to be there.

Nobody wants to be in a hospital.

But if you are cooped up in the world of doctors and nurses, it's nice to have some high-quality culture to take your mind off your ailments.

Gifts of Art is Michigan's Medicine's way to assist healing by offering music performances and art exhibitions to its patients. But you need not be checked into University Hospital to enjoy the sights; Gifts of Art is open and free to all daily from 8 am-8 pm.

Visit med.umich.edu/goa/performances for a full list of the performances. For a sneak peek at the exhibitions running through March 11, most of which feature works by Michigan-associated artists, read on.

UMS's "No Safety Net" festival digs into deep issues through play(s)

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW

UMS's Underground Railroad Game. Photo by Ben Arons.

Underground Railroad Game is one of four provacative plays presented in the No Safety Net festival. Photo by Ben Arons.

The three-week-long theater festival No Safety Net presented by the University Musical Society (UMS) will showcase four productions that focus on important and divisive social issues in modern society, from slavery and terrorism to transgender identity, radical wellness, and healing.

So, what do the four pieces in No Safety Net have in common?

Two winter exhibitions open at U-M's North Campus Research Center

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

Rainbow by Dalia Reyes; Unholy War by Joyce Brienza

Rainbow painting by Dalia Reyes; Unholy War triptych by Joyce Brienza.

U-M's North Campus Research Center (NCRC) houses two galleries that might be off the radar for some folks, but the spaces are always bubbling with compelling (and free) exhibitions that run for months at a time. 

Two new winter exhibitions opened Jan. 15 and continue through April 16, allowing you plenty of time to take in the sights.

Braids of Truth: Urban Bush Women's "Hair and Other Stories"

THEATER & DANCE REVIEW

 

Urban Bush Women by Hayim Heron
It's never about what it's about: Urban Bush Women used talk of black hairstyles to get at deeper truths. Photo by Hayim Heron.

On Friday, Jan. 12, the Brooklyn-based dance company Urban Bush Women performed Hair and Other Stories at the Power Center courtesy of University Musical Society. The show uses black women’s relationship to their hair to explore larger truths about the society we live in. I am neither particularly fluent in the world of dance performance, nor am I deeply entrenched in the dance world. I am most accurately described as an enthusiastically casual appreciator.

I am, however, well versed in black hair culture. 

This is probably why I should have known that the audience would be expected somehow to participate in the experience. 

Black hair is a contact sport. 

Woven Together: Threads All Arts Festival returns for 2018

Threads All Arts Festival

The Threads All Arts Festival has finally been rescheduled. The second edition was originally set for August 2017 at the Ann Arbor Distilling Company, but when the city put a temporary kibosh on live events at the artisanal spirits space due to parking issues, Threads was called off. It took the U-M student-run festival a while to reorganize, but it has now found a home in Ypsilanti’s Historic Freighthouse and will present its rangy mix of live music, dance, film, poetry, and art on March 10-11.

The idea for Threads began in 2015 when Nicole Patrick (U-M 2016, percussion and jazz and contemporary improvisation) and her friends "wanted to find a way to share, with many people, all the amazing art they saw coming out of their friends and neighbors," they told Pulp contributor Anna Prushinskaya for piece meant to preview the 2017 edition.

But along with the break came a new mission statement that shows Threads has expanded its focus: