AADL 2022 STAFF PICKS: SCREENS

FILM & VIDEO

AADL 2022 staff picks for screens

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AADL 2022 STAFF PICS: SCREENS
TV, movies, DVDs, YouTube, streaming, etc.:

 

AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Audio

MUSIC

AADL's staff picks for audio

➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Homepage
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Words
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Screens
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Pulp Life

 

AADL 2022 STAFF PICS: AUDIO
Music, podcasts, CDs, records, and more:

 

AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Pulp Life

WRITTEN WORD PULP LIFE

AADL's 2022 staff picks for Pulp Life

➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Homepage
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Words
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Screens
➥ AADL 2022 Staff Picks: Audio
 

AADL 2022 STAFF PICS: PULP LIFE
Games, apps, sports, outdoors, and any other kind of hard-to-categorize cultural and life activities:

 

Friday Five: Balance, Hannah Baiardi, Lunch, HUES, Grandmaster Rodimus

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Art for the releases featured in this week's Friday Five.

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

This week features jazz by Balance, soul-pop by Hannah Baiardi, no wave by Lunch, and hip-hop by HUES and Grandmaster Rodimus.

 

Sparks and Sawdust: Erin Hahn's romance novel "Built to Last" reunites childhood sweethearts on a home renovation TV show

WRITTEN WORD INTERVIEW

A close-up portrait of Erin Hahn is on the left; the book cover for Built to Last is on the right.

A house is not the only thing being fixed up in Erin Hahn’s new novel, Built to Last.

Two childhood stars, Shelby Springfield and Cameron Riggs, try to rekindle their love when they are brought back together for a home renovation TV program set in Michigan—though things get off to a rocky start, not unlike how things ended. Lyle Jessup, their other costar and the person who caused conflict when Shelby dated him after Cameron, turns out to be the one who brings them together with his TV pilot proposal. While Lyle never left Hollywood and its gossip, Shelby and Cameron have diverged on their paths and must find out if they can work together again—and even have another try at a relationship. 

During a visit from Lyle, who becomes the showrunner, the now sober Shelby watches Cameron’s longtime friends, Beth and Kevin, at their bar: 

My cheeks hurt from smiling so hard and the fizzy ginger ale does a little swirl in my stomach. These two make it look so simple. You meet, you fall in love, you get married and have babies, and you spend the rest of your life with that one person who likes you best, who you like best. 

Both Cameron and Shelby are wildly attracted to each other, but the question becomes whether they can push past the drama of filming and reconnect. 

Cameron reflects, “Maybe I wasn’t looking for something to tie me down. Maybe I’ve been looking for someone, an anchor. And not just any someone. Not like the proverbial 'someone,' but her. As in, she is the only one.” He senses how important Shelby is, but their relationship could either be just a pivotal part of growing up or a long-lost—and now found—real deal. 

Hahn lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and two kids. Previously, I interviewed her about her last book, 2021's Never Saw You Coming. We connected again to discuss Built to Last, Hahn’s fourth book.

Friday Five: i-sef u-sef, Dresden Codex, Future Holograms, HORSE BOMB, labgrown podcast & compilations

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Album art for the music featured in this Friday Five.

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

This week features bassoon-fueled avant-soul by i-sef u-sef, space rock by Dresden Codex, chillwave-tronica by Future Holograms, noise jams by HORSE BOMB, and emo-rap highlights from the labgrown prodcast and its compilations.

 

Fraught reunions with old friends are at the core of Penny Seat's "First Snow"

THEATER & DANCE REVIEW

The cast of Penny Seats's First Snow sit on stage steps in front of the play's set.

Reunited and it feels so weird: Nora (Celah Convis), Bob (Jonathan Jones), Natalie (Patrice Linman), Lisa (Josie Eli Herman), and Evan (Michael Alan Herman) are old high school buddies who reunite after a long time apart in Joseph Zettelmaier’s new play, First Snow, produced by The Penny Seats Theatre Company. Photo courtesy of Penny Seats.

The prospect of seeing friends from high school, after a years-long separation, always feels fraught. Will it be awkward? Will they judge you? Will you judge them? What will you talk about? Will you somehow ruin perfectly contained, long-packed-away memories?

This anxiety’s at the core of Joseph Zettelmaier’s new play, First Snow, now having its world premiere production via The Penny Seats Theatre Company at The Stone Chalet Event Center in Ann Arbor.

Evan (Michael Alan Herman), a Chicago-based photographer, vanished from his small hometown shortly after his high school graduation, when both of his parents died in a car accident. In the 10-year interim, he’s eschewed all contact with his best high school band buddies Lisa (Josie Eli Herman) and Bob (Jonathan Jones).

But music teacher Lisa—with whom Evan was once romantically involved—finally tracks him down to invite him to a holiday party in her home, which she shares with her young daughter, Natalie (Patrice Linman); and because Evan is working on a photo series about holiday celebrations, the invitation dovetails with his work. What Evan doesn’t know, though, is that he and Bob—and Bob’s wide-eyed, former-popular-girl wife Nora (Celah Convis)—are the only ones on this party’s guest list.

Not that this is malevolently ominous. The three friends simply have things they need to say to each other in order to move forward.

A modern Marion takes the lead in U-M’s "The Heart of Robin Hood"

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW INTERVIEW

The Heart of Robin Hood

Erik Dagoberg (Robin Hood) and Stefania Gonzalez (Marion) practice swashbuckling on a ramp during rehearsals for U-M's production of The Heart of Robin Hood. Photo by Chris Boyes.

The legend of Robin Hood has been told for centuries. In the usual version, he is a nobleman who has been forced from his estate. He gathers a band of “merry men” who are dedicated to robbing from the rich and giving to the desperately poor.

But in earlier versions of the story, told in verse and song, Robin robbed from the poor but didn’t give to the rich and didn’t have noble aspirations. Playwright David Farr has returned to that earlier version of Robin Hood and to a very different Maid Marion, who challenges the outlaw to be a better man.

The University of Michigan Department of Theatre and Drama will present Farr’s The Heart of Robin Hood at the Power Center for the Arts, December 8-11.

Director Geoff Packard said that Farr takes a decidedly different view of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Friday Five: Rohn - Lederman, Dre Carlan, zagc, Modern Lady Fitness, MEMCO mixes by Natalya & Space Age Bachelorette Pad

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Friday Five album, single, and video art

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

This week features electronic industrial pop of Rohn - Lederman, pop-punk from Dre Carlan, hard techno via zagc, a new video by indie rockers Modern Lady Fitness, and MEMCO mixes from Natalya and Space Age Bachelorette Pad.

 

In Real Time: Chickenwire Canöe’s rock-opera concept album “Joey Wendt” tells the tale of a budding conspiracy theorist during the pandemic

MUSIC INTERVIEW

Chickenwire Canöe’s Mike Gentry, Brian Delaney, Tim Delaney, and Tony Mitchell explore the mind of Joey Wendt on their latest rock-opera concept album.

Chickenwire Canöe’s Mike Gentry, Brian Delaney, Tim Delaney, and Tony Mitchell explore the pandemic plight of Joey Wendt on their latest rock-opera concept album. Photo by Misty Lyn Bergeron.

Brian Delaney admires how Gordon Lightfoot documented the 1975 sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior.

The Chickenwire Canöe guitarist applauds the Canadian folk singer-songwriter with respectfully recounting the tragedy and remembering the 29 lives lost in his 1976 hit, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

“For somebody like Gordon Lightfoot to be able to write that story to song in a way that didn’t capitalize on somebody else’s calamity, that’s always stuck with me. That’s art in the moment … you’re looking at a situation and documenting it,” said Delaney, who’s from Dexter.

“When I thought about that calamity and then thought about the pandemic, I knew it would be a real crime not to have somebody document it in a somewhat well-rounded way.”

By summer 2020, he landed on a pandemic-themed album and contacted childhood friend Mike Gentry, now Chickenwire Canöe’s vocalist-guitarist.

“I just sat down and wrote a proposal to Mike, and I briefly outlined with bullet points what it could be as a concept,” Delaney said.

“The concept was a record of vignettes of what we were going through related to the pandemic. Some of the best art will take you back to a moment in time where you’re like, ‘This could have only happened then.’”