Friday Five: The Stooges, cv313, YY Ori, False Figures, Alex Blanpied

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five album covers by The Stooges, cv313, YY Ori, False Figures, and Alex Blanpied

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

This week features live music and demos by The Stooges circa 2003-2007, dub techno by cv313 and YY Ori, rustic Americana by False Figures, and modern classical courtesy of Alex Blanpied.

The Guild of Artists & Artisans with Gutman Gallery showcase up-and-coming artists in their annual "Emerge" exhibition

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

Phantom Barber by SHoNobi

ShoNobi, Phantom Barber

An exhibition featuring newer or less-established artists might conjure up thoughts of an elementary school art fair. 

But one peek at the new Emerge exhibit at Ann Arbor's Gutman Gallery will banish those incorrect thoughts right back into that giant box of unexamined fingerpaintings your kid did as a tot.

Like last year's inaugural edition, the Gutman Gallery and The Guild of Artists & Artisans have created another show worthy of excitement and praise for all the fresh talent highlighted in Emerge.

Check out the press release below and see some samples of the work featured in the exhibition.

Friday Five: Lily Talmers, Olivia Cirisan, Otherseas, Magic Toaster, Tru Klassick

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Album covers for the music discussed in the July 29, 2022, edition of the Friday Five

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

This week features orchestral indie-folk from Lily Talmers, beat-driven tunes by Olivia Cirisan, otherworldly electronica via Otherseas, power-pop by Magic Toaster, and the return of the boom-bap by Tru Klassick.

Out of the "Shadows": Jazz vocalist Olivia Van Goor explores lesser-known songs on her debut EP and returns to Blue LLama

MUSIC PREVIEW INTERVIEW

A headshot of jazz singer Olivia Van Goor. She has brown-blonde bob-type hair and blue eyes and is wearing a blue dress.

Photo by Ryme Media

This story originally ran on February 7. 2002. We're featuring it again because Olivia Van Goor will play Blue LLama Jazz Club on July 30.

For her debut EP, When The Shadows Fall, Milford jazz vocalist Olivia Van Goor unearthed and reshaped five hidden gems from the Great American Songbook and beyond.

“None of them are any of the classic standards like ‘Fly Me to the Moon,'" Van Goor said. "I intentionally chose standards that most professional working jazz musicians know, but not all of them. The two that are standards are ‘Willow Weep for Me’ and ‘No Moon at All. ... I did the Detroit Jazz Workshop two years in a row, and the first time I sang ‘Willow Weep for Me,’ and the second time I did ‘No Moon at All.’ I picked my milestone moments with learning the music.”

Those milestone moments also serve as a timeless journey through a spectrum of emotions ranging from hope to heartbreak. Each When The Shadows Fall track waltzes, swings, and bops from one era to the next. 

“I was really inspired by Veronica Swift, and she’s one of the best jazz vocalists of the time right now," Van Goor said. "On her last album, she took some musical theater songs that haven’t been taken by any of the legends and turned into standards and did them in that format.

“If you listen to an old recording of ‘Shadow Waltz,’ you’ll notice the style is completely different (from my version). I arranged all of the songs, and that’s my biggest originality to it, except I wrote the lyrics to ‘Hershey Bar.’”

The Olivia Van Goor Quartet will return to Ann Arbor’s Blue LLama Jazz Club on Feb. 18 July 30 and will perform songs from When The Shadows Fall as well as some past and new tunes.

Poet and U-M professor Linda Gregerson’s “Canopy” takes its impetus from gratitude and wonder at the saturating intelligence of the natural world

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Poet Linda Gregerson and her book Canopy

Author photo by Nina Subin

Linda Gregerson’s new book of poems, Canopy, lifts us to the heights of the treetops and also studies those who toil below where “There’s always a moment before the moment when nothing / is ever the same again.”

The single word “canopy” as the title conjures both a place to aspire to and a boundary delineating human limitations. 

Gregerson teaches at the University of Michigan as the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English and directs the Helen Zell Writers Program. She is a chancellor emeritus of the Academy of American Poets and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of seven books of poetry and two books of criticism, and she is the co-editor of one collection of scholarly essays.

Trees, land, and the whole environment figure strongly in these poems in Gregerson’s most recent volume. A painting on a panel of oak allows for the identification of when it was created. When shipping was a dangerous, frequently fatal endeavor on the Great Lakes, a relative several generations back “was among the ones / who did not drown. Who sold his ship / and bought a farm.” The land and the trees bring surety and safety. 

The reality on the ground, however, often carries both happiness and disappointment, as a poem asks, “What is it / you love / that has not been ruined because of you.”

Canopy considers not just the ecosystem in which we live but also the current events in it, such as the COVID-19 pandemic threaded through several poems and the murder of George Floyd in “Fragment.” Yet addressing these significant events and issues leave us “bound to act and bound / to be not enough.”

Action is necessary, but the problems are much bigger than any individual.  

Emilio Rodriguez asks who gets to decide what’s offensive in his play "God Kinda Looks Like Tupac"

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW INTERVIEW

A photo of Emilio Rodriguez, author of the play God Kinda Looks Like Tupac.

Emilio Rodriguez, author of the play God Kinda Looks Like Tupac. Photo via his Facebook page.

NOTE: "God Kinda Looks Like Tupac" has been pushed back from its original opening date to August 5 due to illness.

Emilio Rodriguez, whose play God Kinda Looks Like Tupac opens at Ann Arbor's Theatre Nova on July 29 August 5, says his theater career started early.

Very early.

Donning his mother’s high heels and appropriating her broom and a funnel, he performed “one-kid adaptations of The Wizard of Oz” in the family’s living room.

Perhaps one reason why a movie with the famous line "There's no place like home" resonated with Rodriguez is that he is a self-described “military brat” who grew up on the move. Rodriguez says he didn’t have a sense of hometown until he moved to Detroit in 2012 to teach high school English and drama for AmeriCorps. One thing that informs all his work, he says, is “a loose sense of the idea of home. The plays are not necessarily set in someone’s home [but ask] … how do people make a sense of home?”

When Rodriguez began teaching, he saw the classroom as “an extension of home. … In the younger grade levels, kids spend more time at school than with their families.” He also found that friendships with colleagues gave him a sense of connection, of a mock family, a home. 

Rodriguez set God Kinda Looks Like Tupac in a Detroit high school, where a white art teacher in the mostly Black school has been targeted as insensitive. A Latino teacher offers a suggestion to the art teacher that might help him keep his job: It’s Black History month, she tells him, and there’s a competition; if a student he enters can paint something in celebration of the month and win, chances are good he will be named Teacher of the Year.

And who would fire Teacher of the Year? 

Friday Five: Andy Adamson Quintet, Ki5, Alvin Hill, Half Blue, Live sets on WCBN's Local Music Show

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Album covers for music featured in the Friday Five 07-22-2022

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

This week features jazz/fusion by the Andy Adamson Quintet, a capella-tronica via Ki5, neo-IDM electronica by Alvin Hill, trip-hop courtesy of Half Blue, and various live sets on WCBN's Local Music Show from Dr. Pete Larson, Tanager, Girth, XV, Jim Cherewick, and Flwr.Child.

 

Prime Times: Michael Erlewine on The Prime Movers Blues Band, Iggy Pop, and Ann Arbor in the 1960s

MUSIC INTERVIEW

The Prime Movers, late 1965 or 1966: From left: Robert Sheff, James Osterberg, Michael Erlewine, Dan Erlewine, and Jack Dawson.

The Prime Movers, late 1965 or 1966: From left: Robert Sheff, James Osterberg, Michael Erlewine, Dan Erlewine, and Jack Dawson. Image via Bruno Ceriotti and Michael Erlewine.

Though they never released a record in their heyday or topped a concert bill outside their hometown, The Prime Movers were unquestionably one of Ann Arbor’s most important bands of the 1960s.

While some 38 musicians would eventually rotate through the group, its core lineup came to include drummer James Osterberg, christened “Iggy” by the band; keyboardist Robert Sheff, later famed as the avant-garde composer “Blue” Gene Tyranny; guitarist Daniel Erlewine, known today as one of the world’s top luthiers; and vocalist/harmonica player Michael Erlewine, who would go on to found the All Music Guide, All Movie Guide, and a host of spinoffs.

One of the first white American bands to devote themselves to Chicago-style blues when originators like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were still in their prime, the group was regularly on the bill at Ann Arbor’s Canterbury House, Clint’s Club, Mother’s, The Ark, The Schwaben Inn, The Fifth Dimension, and The Depot House. The Prime Movers also appeared at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom and Living End, and even the Fillmore and Matrix in San Francisco. But their devotion to the blues led them to turn down an offer to sign with Motown and split with manager/A-Square Records founder Jeep Holland, who sought to force them into a pop-rock mold. As a result, The Prime Movers’ powerful sound became just a fading memory to those lucky enough to hear them in person. 

But stashed away in the basement of Michael and Daniel Erlewine’s brother Stephen were well-recorded tapes of the group in action at Clint’s Club and The Schwaben Inn. In 2008 a track appeared on the Ace/Big Beat compilation A2 (Of Course), then a 45 rpm single was released by Third Man.

Finally, in late 2019, Sundazed Records’ Modern Harmonic imprint issued a full 10-track CD and two-LP set of The Prime Movers' work. Highlighted by the stabbing, string-bending guitar leads of Dan Erlewine and the soulful organ of Robert Sheff, the 1966-7 recordings also feature the future Iggy Pop singing their Yardbirds-style cover of “I’m a Man,” which reveals more than a hint of what was to come two years later in The Stooges. 

I spoke with Michael Erlewine about the band’s history and the recent release of their music, more than 50 years after it was recorded.

Friday Five: Halfright, Grandmaster Masese, Jeevan Angelo, Seaholm, Jevon Alexander

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Albums covers for the Friday Five 07-15-2022

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

This week features a pop mini-album by Halfright (ex-Kelseys), Kenyan folk music and stories by Grandmaster Masese, hip-hop by Jeevan Angelo and Jevon Alexander, and a pop-punk video by Seaholm.

 

Late-Night Journals: Former Ann Arbor police officer Peter Stipe recalls 18 years on the force in his memoir "Badge 112"

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

On the left is author Peter Stipe; on the right is the cover of his book Badge 112

For almost 20 years, Peter Stipe served as a police officer in Ann Arbor. After getting off work late at night, “I would be amped up, go home, and write it all down,” he says. “I wrote a lot of profiles of people at work and their personality quirks.”

The result of all that late-night journaling is now Stipe's memoir, Badge 112.

The idea for putting this writing into a book came from a police inspector Stipe met while visiting his stepbrother: “After hearing me tell stories about my days on the job, he said that I should write a book.”

Stipe began by posting his stories on Facebook.

“I did my test drive there,” he says. “It helped me to figure out how long the stories should be, if I was grabbing people at the beginning, giving a satisfying payoff, and so on.”

He also had people from a variety of backgrounds proofread the material so as “not to err on any sensitive issues.”

Badge 112 is a series of vignettes that allows the reader to drop in and drop out of the book wherever they choose, and Stipe composed his prose in a way inspired by the memoirs of a famous actor.

“David Niven wrote some books about his Hollywood adventures … as a witness to what was going on around him, not as the main character," Stipe says. "I tried to model my writing on that to tell what happened as I witnessed it.”