Architect of Suspense: Tom Grace presents "Undeniable" at Nicola's

WRITTEN WORD PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Author Tom Grace and his book "Undeniable"

He's a thriller: Michigan native and U-M grad Tom Grace brings his latest Nolan Kilkenny novel to Nicola's Books on Sunday, Jan. 21.

The inspiration for his hero’s name comes from his nephew and ancestral home. His love for thrillers comes from his father and brothers. And being an architect leads to a unique and intriguing writing style. These influences all lead to the successful Nolan Kilkenny series by bestselling author Tom Grace.

The first Kilkenny book, Spyder Web, is a thriller that launched the former NAVY seal protagonist into a pursuit of modern day pirates who stole intelligence programs from the CIA -- the titular SPYDER program. Book six of the Kilkenny saga, Undeniable, finds the hero involved in a race against time to find a cure for a young boy suffering from a genetic disease. Genetic testing shows that the boy, adopted in a “blind” adoption, and Kilkenny have the same biological father. This revelation thrusts Kilkenny into the world of reproductive technology of clones, stem cells, DNA -- and blackmail. 

Ann Arbor Favorite Corndaddy Celebrates 20 Years at The Ark

MUSIC REVIEW

Local Americana band Corndaddy celebrated its 20th anniversary at The Ark on Thursday in a birthday party that perfectly showcased some of the reasons for its longevity.

The well-paced show highlighted the different sides of the band’s musical personality, starting with a rock-oriented set, followed by a more country-flavored interlude; a purely acoustic, no-drums set; and a fitting finale wrapping everything together. Old songs met new songs, dedications were made, and tributes were paid. And the band sounded great throughout.

A well-done opening set from another longtime local favorite, Paul’s Big Radio, perfectly set the stage for the headliners -- partly because talented bass player Jerry Hancock anchors the sound of both bands.

Life, Stories: "Me, the 'Other'" makes its world premiere at the Michigan Theater

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Me, the "Other" is a documentary that explores the ways race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender have impacted 12 Washtenaw County college students. The film makes its world premiere on Monday, Jan. 15, at the Michigan Theater.

"'Otherness' is never one thing" is the doc's guiding light as the filmmakers allow the students to tell their disparate tales in full so viewers can understand and appreciate their humanity. “I’ve come to see our differences in beauty like different flowers in one garden," said Shahrzad Mirafzali, co-producer of Me, the "Other" and University of Michigan School of Dentistry faculty member.

Jessica Shattuck wrestles with her family's Nazi history in "The Women in the Castle"

WRITTEN WORD PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Jessica Shattuck, The Women in the Castle

Jessica Shattuck was a teenager when she learned her grandparents had joined the Nazi party before World War II.

Jessica Shattuck says that it wasn’t a big secret in her family. She always knew her grandparents were “ordinary Germans” during and before tWorld War II. “But in my late teens, I grasped that they had also enthusiastically joined the Nazi party in the late 1930s,” Sattuck said. Learning this family history from her grandmother prompted Shattuck to begin writing what became her new book, The Women in the Castle, which she'll read from, discuss, and sign at Nicola's Books on Friday, Jan. 12.

Pith Helmets & Pithy Plays: A2 Civic Theatre's “The Explorer's Club"

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's The Explorer's Club

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's The Explorer's Club is set in a long-ago time but relevant to today. Photo by Lisa Gavan | Gavan Photo.

Once you learn that someone has an “adventure tiki room” in his own home -- well, let’s just say it’s not so surprising to learn this same person was inspired to direct an Ann Arbor Civic Theatre production of Nell Benjamin’s comedy The Explorers Club.

“(My adventure tiki room) is very empty right now,” said Brodie Brockie. “Pretty much everything is on the stage.”

The Arthur Miller Theatre’s stage, to be exact, where this weekend audiences will be transported to an exotic gathering spot for male adventurers in 1879 London. The Explorers Club, which had its Off-Broadway premiere in 2013, tells the story of what happens when a gutsy female explorer, Phyllida Spotte-Hume, crashes the club, with a non-English-speaking tribesman from a “lost city” in tow.

AADL 2017 Staff Picks: Books, Movies, Music & More

MUSIC FILM & VIDEO WRITTEN WORD REVIEW

 

Ann Arbor District Library's Pittsfield branch at night, 2007.

 

Ann Arbor District Library's Pittsfield branch at night, 2007.

The list below is a collection of books, music, movies, and more that made an impression on our eyes and ears in 2017.

Lyrical Lines: “Matisse Drawings: Curated by Ellsworth Kelly" at UMMA

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Lemon and Mimosas by Henri Matisse

Sketch for the Painting "Lemons and Mimosas on Black Background" by Henri Matisse; ink on paper, 1944.

Matisse Drawings: Curated by Ellsworth Kelly at the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s spacious second-story A. Alfred Taubman Gallery is proof that less is more when it comes to art.

Principally managed by the UMMA’s Assistant Curator for Western Art, Lehti Mairike Keelmann -- herself working from the late-Ellsworth Kelly’s instructions -- this exhibit of 45 Matisse drawings (with an additional nine Kelly lithographs) from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation Collection cuts an artful swath across this French master’s career.

“This exhibit reflects the imaginative artistic rapport of two celebrated artists through lyrical line and efficiency of gesture," Keelmann said in a recent interview. "But how they get to the place where they intersect is the subtle underpinning of this deceptively complex exhibition.”

Margaret Condon Taylor's photographs capture a lost Seoul

VISUAL ART

Margaret Condon Taylor, An Accidental Photographer: Seoul 1969

So much Seoul: Margaret Condon Taylor took photos in South Korea when she worked for the Peace Corps nearly 50 years ago.

Margaret Condon Taylor is not a typical photographer. The University of Michigan alumna gained a Ph.D. in psychology, which she currently still practices. So, in the spirit of Taylor's day job, the viewer may feel the need to ask probing questions about the photographs on display in An Accidental Photographer: Seoul 1969 at U-M's Institute for the Humanities Osterman Common Room, such as: What do they tell us? And why is the project “accidental”? 

Although the title of the exhibition raises questions, one does not need to look far for answers.

January 2018 Book & Author Events

WRITTEN WORD

January 2018 Book & Author Events

What does having an amazing university, a plethora of fantastic local independent bookstores, and a pretty slam-bang public library system (if we do say so ourselves) bring to a town?

Authors. Lots and lots of authors.

In fact, so many authors pass through the area that sometimes it can be hard to keep track of who is speaking and when and where. To help guide you, Pulp curated a highlights list of January 2018 author events.

Contemporary History: Ann Arbor Art Center's 95th "All Media Exhibition"

VISUAL ART

Lisa Marie Barber's Brownish-Girl, Ann Arbor Arbor Art Center's 95th All Media Exhibition

Lisa Marie Barber's Brownish-Girl Arbor won first prize at the Ann Arbor Art Center's 95th All Media Exhibition. Recycled clay multi-fired with glazes, underglazes and slips.

The 95th All Media Exhibition marks the continuation of a tradition established in 1922 when the Ann Arbor Art Center was known as the Ann Arbor Art Association. There are 29 artists’ works on display through January 13, with a large portion from Michigan and others from surrounding areas including Illinois, Indiana, New York, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Ann Arbor Art Center’s previous shows have illustrated its commitment to exhibiting an extensive variety of contemporary artwork, and the All Media show is no exception.