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.

Funky Flights: Chirp to welcome 2018 with a new album

MUSIC PREVIEW REVIEW INTERVIEW

"This is for all you strutters out there," announced Jay Frydenlund midway through [https://www.chirpband.com|Chirp]’s headlining set at the Blind Pig on Saturday. On cue, the Ypsi-based quartet of fusion rockers launched into a swaggering, deep-pocket jam ("Dickerville") that sent an obvious ripple through the crowd as folks remembered what they came for and got their boogie on.

A Women's College? Maddest Folly Going!

THEATER & DANCE REVIEW

Dress Rehearsal photo from UMGASS's production of Princess Ida

Princess Ida and the Undergraduates of Castle Adamant. Photo courtesy of [http://umgass.org/|UMGASS].

The University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society ([http://umgass.org/|UMGASS]) is one of campus's most venerable and long-lived community arts organizations, and they can be counted on to produce two excellent classic operettas each year. This term, they've taken on Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant; not one of Gilbert & Sullivan's most popular works, but just as delightful and witty as ever. Directed by David Andrews, a cast of UMGASS regulars and some campus rising stars come together this weekend to stage this story of betrothal, education, evolution, the military, tenure, cross-dressing, and generally singing "hoity-toity" a lot.

Townie Tales: Richard Retyi's "The Book of Ann Arbor" at Literati

WRITTEN WORD REVIEW

Richard Retyi by Melanie Maxwell

Richard Retyi features all the stories fit for print (from [http://www.aadl.org/annarborstories|his podcast]) in his new collection, The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History Book. Photo by Melanie Maxwell.

On Dec. 7 at Literati, Richard Retyi read from his new book, The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History, which tells 41 townie tales in a humorous, accessible fashion. But Retyi didn't originally set out to write a book. His project began as a podcast, [http://www.aadl.org/annarborstories|Ann Arbor Stories], which Retyi produces with Brian Peters in partnership with the Ann Arbor District Library. (Retyi recently became the marketing and communications manager at AADL.) The podcast was modeled after another audio show, [http://thememorypalace.us|Memory Palace].

Remake, Remodel: The State Theatre rises once again

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

State Theatre, grand opening, March 1942

The State Theatre's grand opening, March 1942. Eck Stanger/Ann Arbor News photo from [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N018_0067_001|oldnews.aadl.org].

The March 17, 1942, edition of The Ann Arbor News was mental about the [http://statetheatrea2.org|State]. The paper’s entire second section was dedicated to the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-state_first_new_pg19|first movie theater to open] in Ann Arbor since the Michigan Theater flung open its doors Jan. 5, 1928. “[http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-ablaze_with_radiant|ABLAZE WITH RADIANT BEAUTY]” trumpeted the all-caps headline above a glowing black-and-white photo of the State Theatre’s gorgeous marquee. At least 18 stories were published about the State (“[http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-new_local_theater-pg14|New Local Theater Most Modern Found in Michigan]”), its owners (“[http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-butterfield_theaters_inc_pg16|Butterfield Theaters, Inc. Now Operating 114 Houses]”), and other film-related tales, including “[http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-opening_of_new_theater_pg14|Opening Of New Theater Revives Memories Here Of Student Riot In 1908],” which destroyed Ann Arbor’s original movie house, The Star. And the section was filled with congratulatory advertising, including one headlined “[http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-ad_new_pride_pg17|The New Pride of Ann Arbor],” purchased by the George W. Auch Co., the State Theatre’s general contractor, though [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/34829|35 different firms worked on the build]. That edition of the newspaper was a full-on love letter to the State Theatre, and The Michigan Daily was similarly smitten, dedicating [https://digital.bentley.umich.edu/midaily/mdp.39015071756113/205|six pages to movie-house-related stories]. There’s [http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2017/07/state_theatre.html|akin ardor] in today’s digital-media realm about the venerated movie house’s [http://www.secondwavemedia.com/concentrate/devnews/statetheatre0436.aspx|latest reinvention], which opens its doors to members on Friday, Dec. 8 and to the public on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Change & Growth: "Violet" at U-M's Arthur Miller Theatre

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Violet at U-M's Arthur Miller Theater

U-M's production of Violet doesn't shy away from looking at the play's themes of racism and acceptance in the context of today's socio-political troubles.

[https://smtd.umich.edu/performances_events/event.php?&id=11323|Violet] is a musical that’s known both for its soaring gospel- and blues-infused score and for its social commentary about race relations. Originally written for Off-Broadway back in 1997, the show follows a young, facially disfigured Caucasian woman in 1964 who travels across the United States in the hopes of having her outward scars healed by a TV evangelist. Over the course of her journey, she meets and falls in love with an African-American man. “It’s about finding out who you are, accepting who you are, appreciating who you, and loving who you are. And then being able to navigate this world,” says Mark Madama, who is directing a production of Violet this weekend through the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance department.

Pop-up exhibit "What Were You Wearing?" at UMMA examined sexual assault

VISUAL ART REVIEW

What Were You Wearing?

More than 500 people pondered the pointed question, "What were you wearing?" at the exhibition of the same name. Photo by Sherlonya Turner.

The last time I asked myself, “Was it what I was wearing?” was last Friday. I had been eating my dinner at the bar of a local restaurant when a man struck up a conversation with me. Eventually, he made a joke to the bartender about bringing me a “roofie colada.” The bartender responded disapprovingly. Then, the man doubled-down on his joke, adding, “Don’t worry; she won’t remember a thing.” As the evening went on, I couldn’t quite shake that joke. [https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/powerful-art-exhibit-powerfully-an…|What Were You Wearing?] is a pop-up installation that sets out to challenge the idea that sexual assault is somehow about clothing choice. On Monday, Dec. 4, this exhibit was at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, brought there in partnership with the [http://www.heforshe.org/en|HeForShe] student organization.

Sonic Sculpture: Adam Shead's "Adiaphora Music," a master's recital

MUSIC PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Adam Shead

Adam Shead's mix of punk, free jazz, and university-trained music gives his compositions a combination of raw grit and deep study.

As someone with a bachelor's of music in percussion performance from Columbia College Chicago and, soon, a master's degree in improvisation from the University of Michigan, drummer [https://www.adiaphoramusic.com|Adam Shead] sounds like an academic. But while growing up in South Bend, Indiana, it was hardcore punk that first informed Shead's attitude and artistic aesthetic. That combination of academic rigor and raw energy is what makes [https://adamsheadmusic.bandcamp.com|Shead's drumming] such a potent force, which he'll get demonstrate live on Friday, Dec. 8, at U-M's Duderstadt Video Studio when he presents his master's recital, [https://www.facebook.com/events/134772203891220|Adiaphora Music]. The seven-part suite features 11 musicians along with Shead exploring his influences, which run from Chicago visionaries [http://www.aacmchicago.org|AACM], [http://www.kenvandermark.com|Ken Vandermark], and [https://timdaisyrelayrecords.bandcamp.com|Tim Daisy] to South Africa's [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudu_Pukwana|Dudu Pukwana], and contemporary classical giants [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Feldman|Morton Feldman] and [http://johnlutheradams.net|John Luther Adams] to H.R., lead singer of the groundbreaking punk band [https://badbrains.com|Bad Brains]. We talked to Shead about his philosophy, sound, and the meaning of Adiaphora Music.

Craft Services: A peek at Winter Art Tour 2017

PREVIEW VISUAL ART

Winter Art Tour 2017

The second annual Winter Art Tour spans 10 locations across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

For the past few years in Washtenaw County, the second weekend of December has been the time to shop for wonderful handcrafted goods from local artists at pop-ups, craft fairs, and studio shows.

An easy way to find out what’s happening where is to check out the stops on the second annual [http://winterarttour.com|Winter Art Tour], which takes you to 10 venues across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti where you can shop handmade goods from over 300 artists during the weekend of Dec. 8-10. There's a passport to get stamped as you visit each of the tour's locations, and if you hit at least four spots, you have a chance to win beautiful handcrafted prizes.

The event features two large craft fairs and several smaller studio sales across Washtenaw County:

Poems Provoke: U-M's Institute for Research on Women and Gender discussed Petra Kuppers’ "PearlStitch"

WRITTEN WORD REVIEW

Petra Kuppers, PearlStitch

U-M professor Petra Kuppers' PearlStitch poetry collection was the focus of a panel discussion.

The cover of Petra Kuppers’ [http://www.spuytenduyvil.net/pearlstitch.html|PearlStitch] is provocative. It draws the eye and keeps it as the viewer takes in an open mouth and an extended lace-covered tongue with a bead of clear fluid at its tip. Her poetry is provocative, too, and after the Nov. 29 panel of University of Michigan faculty members discussing PearlStitch as a part of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender’s "[https://lsa.umich.edu/women/news-events/all-events.detail.html/46079-10…|Gender: New Works, New Questions]" series, I knew I wanted to dive into Kuppers’ latest collection. But I wasn't unable to put my hands on a copy of the book following the reading as Ann Arbor bookstores were sold out.