Memorialize and Remember: Grey Rose Grant's folk opera "Little Histories" explores the death ritual


Grey Rose Grant. Photo by Karl Otto/TheOttoLab.

Grey Rose Grant. Photo by Karl Otto/TheOttoLab.

Grey Rose Grant puts all of themself into projects. 

Their 2019 folk opera Michigan Trees came out of Grant's experience as a trans-femme person. The 2023 chamber-rock opera The Precipice was based on Grant's poems and songs along with the journals of Karl Ronneberg, their co-founder of Fifth Wall Performing Arts. Even Grant's new work, Little Histories, about a mortician looking back on the life events that made him turn to his profession even as they prepare to host a funeral for a former lover, has its roots in the composer, performer, and librettist's North Carolina childhood.

"Little Histories is deeply connected to personal experience," Grant says. "Back in the day I was surrounded by literary nerds and we went through an autofiction phase which has for sure affected how I want to tell stories within the medium of theater. Every little story told in Little Histories has some truth to it: memories of two of my grandparents' funerals; a memory of witnessing a bird fly into a window in high school; the pet cemetery we had in the woods behind my childhood home. That said, these memories are swirled together, misremembered, and injected with a healthy dose of retold mythologies, the story of the birth of the modern American funeral industry, and more. I enjoy beginning from the personal and moving outward from there."

Fifth Wall Performing Arts' production of Little Histories runs January 26-28 at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, and I asked Grant, a 2016 graduate from the University of Michigan who currently works at Ypsilanti's Riverside Arts Center, about their latest DIY folk opera.

Monday Mix: Father Dukes, Lo Dazz, Ownsey, Terminus, DykeChow


Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Monday Mix.

The Monday Mix is an occasional roundup of mixes, compilations, podcasts, and more by Washtenaw County-associated artists, DJs, radio stations, and record labels. 

For this edition, we have mixes from Father Dukes, Lo Dazz, Ownsey, Terminus, and DykeChow.


Friday Five: Jienan Yuan, Dabrye, Janelle Haskell, Jonathan Killstring, marto.matic


Friday Five 01-19-2024

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

This week features minimalist beauty from Jienan Yuan, a beat-tape teaser by Dabrye, fingerstyle folk by Janelle Haskell, retro-wave by Jonathan Killstring, and experimental musings by marto.matic.

Things to See: Pulp Art Exhibit Roundup for Winter


Three boys are astronauts on a colorful planet with purple, blue, yellow, and red objects around them.

One of the paintings featured in T'onna Clemons' Adventures of Lonely Afronauts: Paintings by T'onna Clemons exhibit on display at Michigan Medicine through March 1. Artwork taken from Michigan Medicine's website.

While it’s too cold to spend time outside this winter, there are plenty of places to stay warm indoors and peruse artwork from local creatives. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of visual art exhibits and events around Washtenaw County to visit and enjoy this season.

720’ 10”
January 25 to April 12
North Campus Research Complex Galleries, Ann Arbor

Designer and sculptor Peter Dunn’s body of work is rooted in the shutdown of shops and studios during the pandemic and the inability to receive materials for large sculpture and furniture fabrication. At its core, much of his work studies the manipulation of simple geometry. Dunn looks at the form from different forced perspectives—exploding, augmenting, slicing, repeating, and lighting. An opening reception will take place January 25 from 4 pm-7 pm. 

Stamps School of Art & Design Staff Exhibition
January 25 to April 12
North Campus Research Complex Galleries, Ann Arbor

This exhibit features artwork from U-M’s Penny Stamps School of Art & Design staffers Catherine Coveyou, Elizabeth Dizik, Veronica FalandinoRita K. LeeMatthew Pritchard, Joel Rakowski, Joe Rohrer, and Veronica Tabor. An opening reception will take place January 25 from 4 pm-7 pm. 

Anything Goes: All Media Exhibition
January 26 to March 2
Gutman Gallery, Ann Arbor

The fourth annual all-media exhibition will highlight artists, styles, and techniques of all kinds and be juried by Ingrid Ankerson, an Ypsilanti printmaker, quilter, graphic designer, and instructor.

Love Country: Erin Hahn's latest romance novel is humorous, songful, and lyrical


Erin Hahn and her book Friends Don’t Fall in Love

Photo courtesy of Erin Hahn.

Nothing burns like unrequited love or miscommunication. 

The two characters in Erin Hahn’s aptly named new romance novel, Friends Don’t Fall in Love, prove the title either right or wrong by the end of the book. This novel is the spicy second addition to Hahn’s trilogy that started with Built to Last

Friends Don’t Fall in Love takes place in Nashville, and things are already complicated given that character Lorelai Jones rents the other half of her friend—and crush—Craig “Huckleberry” Boseman’s duplex. The plot presents humor, missteps, sex, music, romance, and the potential for redemption.   

The cards are not exactly stacked for these two. Craig and Lorelai are both navigating their thorny profession—and pasts. Craig is growing his indie record label and songwriting prowess after separating from the popular but toxic lead singer, Drake Colter. Lorelai is taking baby steps to rebuild her career after getting kicked out of the spotlight—a choice she made at her last concert—and having that same singer, Drake, break off their engagement. 

Despite the setbacks, Craig and Lorelai are both in it for the love of music. Craig reflects on his connection to songs: 

Friday Five: Telesonic 9000, skyline, Kat Steih, Tru Klassick & Ilajide, Live at Fun Fest 2023


Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

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

This week features new-wave rock by Kat Steih, slowed-down R&B haziness by skyline, Fundamental Sound Co. concert videos from Fun Fest 2023, a new single and video by rapper Tru Klassick, and a multimedia single by Telesonic 9000.

50 Years of Hip-Hop: Influential albums From Washtenaw County


A collage of colorful boom boxes with the word "Washtenaw" across it to represent the recent 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

A salute to Washtenaw County hip-hop artists and some of the influential albums they've made over the years. Graphic by Nate Pocsi-Morrison.

Hip-hop started in the Bronx in 1973 and spread across the world to become one of the most popular and influential genres ever created.

There were numerous 50th-anniversary celebrations for the art form in 2023, and we're working on some articles about the history of hip-hop in Washtenaw County that we’ll be sharing soon.

But before that, we wanted to share some influential hip-hop records made by Washtenaw County artists—as identified through research and interviews with local creatives for our upcoming history pieces.

There were plenty of other important recordings that were cited, too, but we're highlighting these selections because they’re the only ones you can listen to online. (A broader list will accompany one of our upcoming articles.)

Read on and drop us a line at if you want to share stories and memories about the Washtenaw County hip-hop community.

For Love and Money: U-M professor Scott Rick explores how couples navigate finances in "Tightwads and Spendthrifts"


Scott Rick and his book Tightwads and Spendthrifts.

In my family, I’m the person who insists on setting apart the cans that can be returned for deposit, while my husband says, “What do you get, three dollars? Not worth it.”

Perhaps not. But different philosophies about money, at the macro and micro level, are all-too-common in marriage. I mean, there’s a reason that finances always make the list of “things couples fight most about,” right?

To address these differences, Scott Rick, a U-M Ross School of Business marketing professor, has a new book called Tightwads and Spendthrifts: Navigating the Money Minefield in Real Relationships. Billed as distinct from conventional self-help or personal finance books, the book instead uses behavioral science as scaffolding for a broader discussion of how spending plays into our sense of personal identity; why we’re sometimes attracted to people who are quite unlike ourselves (in terms of spending); and practical ways to work through money-related conflicts.

Friday Five: The Boy Detective, JDSY, ness lake, Same Eyes, LinX & KAISTO


Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

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

This week features ska-punk by The Boy Detective, electronic all-over-the-placeness by JDSY, indie-electronic emo by ness lake, synth-pop by Same Eyes, and rave music by LinX & KAISTO.

Peak of Success: Nick Baumgardner and Mark Snyder Revisit U-M Wolverines’ 1997 National Championship Season in New “Mountaintop” Book


The cover of Mountaintop on the left along with authors Nick Baumgardner (top right) and Mark Snyder.

Mountaintop: The Inside Story of Michigan's 1997 National Title Climb features interviews with past team members, coaches, and staffers. Authors Nick Baumgardner (top) and Mark Snyder spent two years putting the book together.

Books about the University of Michigan’s football team could easily fill several shelves, but strangely, one thing that’s been missing is a deep-dive chronicle of the 1997 National Championship season.

Don’t worry, though. Longtime local sports journalists Nick Baumgardner and Mark Snyder just filled that gap by way of a brand new book, Mountaintop: The Inside Story of Michigan’s 1997 National Title Climb.

Yet the arrival of Mountaintop inevitably begs the question: Why did it take so long for a book about that hallowed season to appear in the world?

“A lot of it has to do with Lloyd Carr, who doesn’t like to talk about himself a lot,” said Baumgardner, who now writes about the Detroit Lions for The Athletic. “That’s a big part of it. … The other thing, too, is a lot of these [former players] … they’re protective of it, and they aren’t very trusting about people getting their stories right, so it’s a hard group to crack.”

But crack it he (and Snyder) did, interviewing, over the course of two years, not just every surviving member of the team that they could track down, but also coaches, staffers, and others while doing loads of research, too.

“Mark Snyder came to me; he’d covered Michigan at the Free Press for a long time, and The Oakland Press and The Michigan Daily, and he’d known Lloyd for a long time ... he was certainly closer to him than I was,” Baumgardner said. “Lloyd and a few other people from that era came to Mark with the idea of maybe doing a book, since no one had done one on the ‘97 team.”