Late in the World: Molly Lynch's new novel tracks the willing disappearance of a mother and wife

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Molly Lynch and her book The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman

Author photo by Hadji Bakara.

Imagine that you have an urge to disappear and be unreachable. 

Then, imagine that someone whom you care about has that urge, but you don’t know where they went or why. 

Now, add many more layers of complexity to the woman who disappears given that she has a family, including a child, and a career. 

These circumstances would raise many questions, and the premise of Molly Lynch’s new novel does just that. 

The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman tracks Ada, a mother and wife who goes missing suddenly. Her husband, Danny, and son, Gilles, are left behind, bereft and confused. Yet, Ada is following her thoughts and feelings. With an omniscient third-person narrator, the reader gets insights into all the characters. 

Early on in the book, the bond that Ada, Danny, and Gilles have with each other becomes clear, as “All three of them were one connected thing.” Yet, there are challenges: 

Out of This World: deegeecee finds relief on and off Earth on “Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon” album

MUSIC INTERVIEW

deegeecee records tracks for his album at home.

deegeecee explores loss, self-doubt, growth, and change on Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon. Photo courtesy of deegeecee.

deegeecee didn’t expect to find creative inspiration from a set of scientific encyclopedias.

The Ypsilanti hip-hop artist and writer read different volumes on his breaks while working as a substitute teacher at a middle school.

“From one of them, I learned the term ‘anthelion,’ which is similar to a sun dog,” said deegeecee, aka Daryhl Covington. “I looked it up later, and it had a cool picture that was associated with it … and I saw a sun dog.”

That fascination led deegeecee down a Reddit and Google rabbit hole where he learned more about the atmospheric phenomenon.

“It’s all the crazy stuff that happens in the world naturally … it felt cosmically humbling,” deegeecee said. “I was also reading a lot about spirituality and the guru movements of the ‘80s and ‘90s … it was like, ‘What if I could take that mystic feeling and put that in everyday words and stories that made sense?’”

Those words and stories resulted in deegeecee’s contemplative new album, Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon, which features 15 tracks about loss, self-doubt, growth, and change.

“It’s about dealing with loss, whether that’s the loss of a person or the loss of the past,” he said. “It’s [also] about my thoughts on life and the artistic process and coming to terms with the type of artist that I want to be and where that’s going to position me.”

On Sundogs & Weekends on the Moon, deegeecee positions himself in a mystical world filled with poetic lyrics, hypnotic beats, post-rock and film score samples, cosmic imagery, and manga references.

We recently spoke to deegeecee about his background, the creative process for his debut album, his appreciation for manga and Japanese culture, select album tracks and collaborators, and upcoming plans.

The debut novel by Ann Arbor author and therapist Jan Leland follows characters processing emotions in the early days of the pandemic

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

Jan Leland and her novel, After the Before-Times

We all collectively endured the pandemic, but we each had an individual experience of it. 

The unique but relatable stories from 2020 to 2021 are what Jan Leland tells in her new novel, After the Before-Times

The circumstances in which Leland’s characters’ find themselves all differ, but they converge at the same time—when COVID-19 emerges—and in the same place: the Clearview Inn on Orchard Lake in Keego Harbor, Michigan. Through these characters, Leland portrays the stress and anguish—as well as the triumphs and coping mechanisms—of the early days of the pandemic. 

One of these characters, Ashley Cooper who is known as Ash, works at The Book Shelf in town. The coronavirus affects her early on when her boss and close friend, Marla Phillips, sickens and passes away. As Leland is attentive to character development, we learn about Ash in detail: 

Pretty and petite with shiny shoulder length curly brown hair and brown eyes, high cheekbones and dimples, Ashley was smart and curious. Although Marla felt Ashley needed life experience, she perceived an inner strength to Ashley. It did not take much for Marla to convince Ashley to take the position of Store Manager at The Book Shelf

The job offered, in Ashley’s eyes at least, the opportunity to work and live in a small town where people were friendly and easy-going and where Ashley felt important and sophisticated in providing literary knowledge and expertise. 

This opportunity for Ash allows her to not only engage with books but also meet many others with whom she becomes close. 

Friday Five: Martes Martes, Tanager, Benji Robot, The Missing Cats, Totalitarians

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Art for the albums and singles featured in this week's Friday Five.

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

This week features quirky sounds by Martes Martes, indie pop by Tanager, downtempo electronica by Benji Robot, fusion-jazz pop by The Missing Cats, and pure noise by Totalitarians.

Everyday Talismans: Amy Sacksteder's new Ann Arbor Art Center Exhibit is a collage of colors

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Artist Amy Sacksteder in her studio.

Amy Sacksteder in her studio. Photo by Abby Rosenbaum.

Amy Sacksteder explores life through collage art in a new exhibit at the Ann Arbor Art Center.  

Talismanic: The Collected Collages of Amy Sacksteder, on display through October 7, features four different series that she completed over eight years: Generations (2015), Grounded/Ungrounded (2019), Time Ghosts (2019-2020), and Echo Keepers (2021).

While the collages tend toward abstraction, the images are inspired by scenes and items in Sacksteder’s life, whether it's the natural beauty surrounding her house or the various common objects that reside within it. The cumulative effect of the Talismanic collection gives viewers the impression they are seeing snapshots from a personal photo album.

Spirit Animal: Theatre Nova’s “Mlima’s Tale" explores the costs of human greed

THEATER & DANCE REVIEW

Mlima's Tale

Mike Sandusky plays the spirit of the titular elephant in Theatre Nova’s production of Mlima’s Tale. Photo by Sean Carter.

At the start of Theatre Nova’s production of Lynn Nottage’s Mlima’s Tale, the four-person cast enters in a line, stomping and breathing deeply in unison, mimicking the movements of an elephant.

For that’s what Mlima is.

The old Kenyan “big tusker,” named after the Swahili word for “mountain,” lumbers onto the stage, at which point actor Mike Sandusky (who stands in for Mlima’s tusks, and spirit, through the rest of the play) speaks: of listening to the winds, and the love he feels for his mate, his family.

But it’s not long before Mlima—despite living within a preserve in Kenya—is felled by a poacher’s poison arrow. The animal’s enormous tusks simply garner too much money in the underground ivory trade to be resisted. 

Yet getting that money, because poaching is illegal, is a fraught process, so Mlima’s physical death is followed by a fairly predictable chain of interactions between corrupt authorities, smugglers, ship captains, shady art-world dealers and creators, and rich collectors who can’t be bothered with origin stories of “how the ivory gets made,” so to speak.

Previous critics have noted that a point of inspiration for Mlima’s Tale, which premiered in New York in 2018, is Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, which chronicles a linked series of sexual encounters across class boundaries. In Nottage’s piece, we follow the tusks, personified by the ever-looming Sandusky, as they change hands and enrich each person who briefly possesses them.

History From the Margins: UMS is bringing Druid Theatre's productions of Sean O’Casey’s "Dublin Trilogy" to the Power Center

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW INTERVIEW

The Plough and the Stars

Jack Clitheroe (Aaron Monaghan) throws up his big brown jug in the Druid Theatre's production of The Plough and the Stars. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

“The whole world’s in a terrible state of chassis!”
—Captain Boyle
Juno and the Paycock

In 1916 a large part of the world was in chaos and crisis. World War I was tearing Europe apart, and in Ireland, the leaders of anti-British forces saw an opportunity to rise against a pre-occupied British government and attempt to finally drive the British government from Ireland.

The deadly events of what is remembered as the Easter Rising were the beginning of a violent eight-year period that would in time free Ireland from British rule but at a high cost. Following the Rising, a war of independence began, ending with a treaty to give Ireland Free State status while still bonded to Britain. That treaty led to a civil war pitting defenders of the treaty against those who believed the treaty was a betrayal.  

Playwright Sean O’Casey grew up in the tenements of Dublin. He was a self-taught reader, a laborer, a railway worker, and eventually, a writer with a keen ear for the language of his native city. In the 1920s, he created three plays that covered the period from the Easter Rising to the Civil War. Each play centers on the lives of tenement dwellers in the Irish capital who become caught up in the frenzy and frustration of the long-running domestic war. O’Casey’s plays are both comic and tragic as well as deeply humane.

The University Musical Society (UMS) is presenting the Druid Theatre’s production of O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy, under the direction of Druid founder and artistic director Garry Hynes, October 18-21. The Galway-based theater company is bringing the play to New York City and Ann Arbor only. 

Hynes was artistic director for Druid Theatre from 1975 to 1991 and again from 1995 to the present. From 1991 to 1994, she was the artistic director of the famed Abbey Theatre, where many of O’Casey’s plays premiered.

In a telephone interview, Hynes said O’Casey’s trilogy is about the working people of Dublin living in the tenements.

Monday Mix: MEMCO and Immaculate Conception dance sets, Indie Pop Takeout radio shows

MUSIC MONDAY MIX

Cover art for the collections discussed in this edition of Monday Mix.

Every week since September 11, 2020, we've published the Friday Five to highlight local music. By my abacus, that's more than 150 columns spotlighting nearly 800 music projects—singles, EPs, albums, and videos—by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

Dance mixes by student DJs at the (University of) Michigan Electronic Music Collective (MEMCO) are featured frequently on Friday Five, as are those by Immaculate Conception, a group comprised of MEMCO grads that promotes works by women and gender-nonconforming people.

With MEMCO and Immaculate Conception cranking out mixes almost weekly, it made sense to highlight these DJ sets alongside various other Washtenaw County music-based podcasts and radio shows in an occasional column: Monday Mix. 

For our first round, here are five recent dance mixes by MEMCO and Immaculate Conception members along with recent episodes of the weekly internet radio program Indie Pop Takeout.

 

Friday Five: Milan Seth, Skyline, Jah Sun / WhereIsJah, Nancy Zeltsman, Eve Machines

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the music featured in this Friday Five.

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

This week features Americana by Milan Seth, downtempo jams by Skyline, hip-hop productions by Jah Sun / WhereIsJah, marimba music by Nancy Zeltsman, and rocktronica by Eve Machines.

Sobering Thought: Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds Remember a Late Friend’s Determination to Overcome Alcoholism on “Liquor Store” Single

MUSIC INTERVIEW

The Ragbirds' Shannon Wade, Erin Zindle, Loren Kranz, and TJ Zindle gather on The Ark's stage in Ann Arbor.

Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds honor a late friend's memory and his determination to overcome addiction on the new single, "Liquor Store." It's the latest release in a series of new singles from the band, which includes Shannon Wade, Erin Zindle, Loren Kranz, and TJ Zindle. Photo courtesy of Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds.

Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds remember a late friend’s strength and determination to overcome alcoholism on “Liquor Store.”

The bluesy new single from the Ann Arbor folk-rock band addresses the daily struggle Nelson Whitehorse faced while trying to fight addiction and follow a path to recovery.

“He was from St. Louis actually and moved to Ann Arbor to be in a band with me, and we lived together for a year,” said Zindle about Whitehorse, who passed away several years ago. “We lived on the west side of Ann Arbor and he had been an alcoholic since childhood.”

Throughout “Liquor Store,” Erin Zindle and bandmates TJ Zindle (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals), Loren Kranz (drums, vocals), and Shannon Wade (bass, vocals) chronicle Whitehorse’s ongoing challenge of having to walk past a liquor store each day to visit the local Alano Club.

Ominous keys and drums follow Zindle as she sings, “You said ‘Grace is new every morning’ / As you stared into your black coffee cup / Today you’re gonna make it past the liquor store / To get to the Alano Club.”

“I saw that battle play out over and over every day, and sometimes he made it, and sometimes he didn’t,” she said. “The daily work is just getting there every day.”

The band opted to release “Liquor Store” on September 14, which coincides with National Sober Day, to celebrate sobriety and raise awareness about addiction. 

The track also helps Whitehorse’s family and friends to take comfort in his memory as a “hilarious, loyal, giant-hearted friend” as Zindle noted in a Ragbirds’ Facebook post

“The message I hope people will take away is that today you’re going to make it,” Zindle said. “It literally is just that one day at a time. I’m so grateful that the song came to me, and it came with that wisdom to know not to add any message to it.”

We recently spoke to Zindle about the band’s new single, its strategy for releasing new songs and an upcoming album, the inspiration behind several tracks, the creative process for writing and recording them, a Halloween show at The Ark, and additional plans for new material.