Down by Law: David Wells' "Resisting" world premieres at Theatre Nova

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Resisting at Theatre Nova

Brutal truths: David Wells' Resisting explores justice and systemic racism.

“Resist” is not only a rallying cry of our political times; it was the seed of Ann Arbor-based playwright David Wells (“Irrational,” “Brill”) latest world premiere play at [https://www.facebook.com/theatrenova|Theatre Nova].

[https://www.theatrenova.org/link-to-artfully|Resisting], which runs Oct. 27-Nov. 19, grew out of a news story Wells read about what’s called “broken windows policing.” Born in New York City in the ‘90s, “It’s essentially a zero-tolerance approach, that was combined with ‘stop and frisk,’” said Wells. “(Broken Windows) started with a scholarly paper that suggested that ... if one window in a building is broken, and it’s not fixed immediately, all of them will be broken. ... So the police were compelled to start ticketing or arresting people for every little infraction, no matter how small -- whether it’s jumping a turnstile, or jaywalking, or spitting in public. This led to a more antagonistic relationship between the police and the citizens they were supposed to serve. And these policies also only seemed to be applied in low-income neighborhoods.”

What Happened: Recapping Hillary Clinton's appearance at Hill

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Hillary Clinton evokes feelings.

I hadn’t fully understood the extent of this until I poked around online to get myself in the mood to attend her Oct. 25 talk at Hill Auditorium about her newest book, What Happened. I made the mistake of searching #hillaryclinton on Twitter. I almost injured my jaw as my mouth hung open while I glanced at the results.

Yeah, Hillary Clinton makes people feel things.

Hell's Bells: "The Haunted Belfry" casts creepy chimes across campus

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Haunted Belfry

The community can try their hands at clanging the carillon at The Haunted Belfry -- don't be scared of no ghost.

Spooky music is coming from somewhere on the University of Michigan’s campus. You move toward the creepy, clanging sound, the bells getting louder and louder with every passing step as the sky turns dark and everything suddenly seems eerie. Finally, you arrive at the carillon in the Burton Memorial Tower and you see people going inside. You pause at the entrance and wonder whether you should go in. The thunder crackles as you cross the precipice and step into the unknown.

Welcome to The Haunted Belfry.

“It’s a really good opportunity for people to actually connect with the carillon and understand that it’s (played by) a human and not, like, a robot,” laughed Hoai An Pham, one of the family-friendly event’s organizers. “The event is very casual and really a chance for people to get to learn about the carillon and also, get in the Halloween spirit.”

The Haunted Belfry has been helping students, and the community, get in the Halloween spirit since 2015 after Tiffany Ng, University of Michigan assistant professor of carillon, spearheaded it. This year, the annual event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 3:30 pm. It’s being organized by three carillon students: Pham, Michelle Lam, and Rachael Park.

Scary Rituals: U-M's Halloween concert has haunted for 4 decades

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U-M Halloween Concert

Conductor Kenneth Kiesler will direct a bunch of li'l monsters -- and maybe a [http://www.annarbor.com/assets_c/2009/10/HalloweenThingsToDo-thumb-537x…|banana-clad cellist] -- at U-M's annual Halloween concert.

Sunday’s 40th annual Halloween concert at Hill Auditorium -- which combines the Campus Symphony Orchestra with the Campus Philharmonia Orchestra -- will mark conductor [http://www.kennethkiesler.com|Kenneth Kiesler]’s 23rd time on the podium while in costume. (What he’ll be dressed in this year is under wraps.)

But what you might not know is that he and the student musicians get one chance each year to raid the theater department’s costumes.

“They have a huge warehouse,” said Kiesler. “You could get just about anything you want.”

The comedy "Nice Girl" is Redbud Productions' latest family affair

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Redbud Productions' Nice Girl

Nice Girl breaks the mold for Redbud Productions: "We have a reputation in Ann Arbor of doing these darker, heavier dramas,” said director Loretta Grimes. “This one is funny."

[https://www.facebook.com/Redbud-Productions-227460685594|Redbud Productions] shows are truly a family affair. My interview with Loretta Grimes -- who is directing [https://www.facebook.com/events/115813302392688|Nice Girl] at Kerrytown Concert House, Oct. 26-28 -- along with her husband and Redbud collaborator, Tim Grimes, was one of the warmest interviews I've conducted. Like the archetype of a loving married couple, Loretta and Tim -- who is the Events Manager at AADL -- finished many of each other's sentences during out chat in their rehearsal space, which is the basement of their home. It has been converted into an acting space complete with spike tape (to signify where the boundaries of the stage are), the set for their new show, and framed posters from their 19 years of previous productions.

Tools Crew Live: Stef Chura

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Downloads:
➥ [http://www.aadl.org/files/media/pulp_tcl_20170419-stef_chura-slow_motio…|MP3 for "Slow Motion"]
➥ [http://www.aadl.org/files/media/pulp_tcl_20170419-stef_chura-slow_motio…|720p video]

[http://pulp.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/107572|Tools Crew Live] is an ongoing video series where we invite artists to perform with gear borrowed from the Ann Arbor District Library's Music Tools collection: [http://www.aadl.org/musictools|aadl.org/musictools].

When not on tour, indie-rocker [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/357860|Stef Chura] runs several karaoke nights in Detroit, the city where she lives. It's common for karaoke hosts to sing a few songs to set the stage and encourage the crowd, and Chura told MTV.com in a January 2017 [http://www.mtv.com/news/2975756/stef-chura-interview|interview] that [http://www.cranberries.com|The Cranberries] are one of her go-to bands to croon.

Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan comes up a lot in articles about Chura. Fleetwood Mac's [http://rockalittle.com|Stevie Nicks] comes up, too. So does [http://www.lizphair.com|Liz Phair] and [http://thepretenders.com|The Pretenders]' Chrissie Hynde. [http://www.bettieserveert.com|Bettie Serveert]'s Carol van Dijk has also been mentioned, and so have [https://www.mergerecords.com/destroyer|Destroyer]'s Dan Bejar and [http://www.thewonder.co.uk|Television]'s Tom Verlaine. There are hints of [http://www.billieholiday.com|Billie Holiday], too.

"River in Our City, the River in Our Veins" celebrates the Huron

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The River in Our City, the River in Our Veins

U-M's Christianne Myers said River in Our City... is "a combination of performance and museum" -- with music and puppets.

The 130 miles of the Huron River have inspired everyone from poets and writers to biological researchers and naturalists. Now, it’s serving as inspiration for [https://events.umich.edu/event/41638|The River in Our City, the River in Our Veins], a processional performance at 12 noon on Friday, Oct. 27, in celebration of the University of Michigan’s bicentennial.

“Part of it was wanting to find something that impacts everybody on campus,” said Christianne Myers, associate professor of theater (costume design) and head of design and production at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. She’s also one of the event’s organizers. “Whether it’s actually something people are studying or doing research on, or if its just students riding inner tubes. It can be a lot of things to a lot of different people."

Bent into Shape: Circuit Bent Organ Duo at Kerrytown Concert House

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Grammy-nominated and Hammond-endorsed organist [http://www.briancharette.com|Brian Charette]’s music encompasses a jostling, unruly mix of influences and timbres. While powered by groove-centric basslines, peppered with blistering bebop licks, and firmly grounded in the Hammond B-3 canon, Charette's sound also includes crunchy waveforms flowing from an array of analog synthesizers and custom electronics in his Circuit Bent Organ project.

Fresh off the summer release of its latest album, Kürrent -- which one reviewer described as the kind of soundscape that might result if Jimmy Smith and Kraftwerk collaborated on the score to a ‘80s video game -- two-thirds of the Circuit Bent Organ Trio returned to the [http://www.kerrytownconcerthouse.com/index.php/events/event/Charette_20…|Kerrytown Concert House] on Monday, Oct. 23, to showcase some new tunes. The pared-down duo format left plenty of auditory space for the kind of sonic exploration and experimentation that Charette clearly thrives on, and Jordan Young’s sensitive and dynamic approach to the drums provided an impactful and grounding counterpoint.

Singing Truths: Mary Gauthier's raw, vulnerable songs are like short stories

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Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier's forthcoming LP, Rifles and Rosary Beads, was co-written with wounded veterans. Photo by Jack Spencer.

[http://www.marygauthier.com|Mary Gauthier] is the perfect songwriter and performer for an intimate venue like the [http://greenwoodcoffeehouse.org|Green Wood Coffee House], where she plays Friday, Oct. 27.

Her voice is untutored and unassuming but deeply evocative and powerful, and her songs go straight to the heart in a way that is personal, candid, and unaffected by artifice or unnecessary frills. Every line of every song is its own entire world, its own little gem of a thought. Her straightforward and relaxed style of performance lends these songs a truthfulness which is best experienced up close.

“Small venues lend themselves to a more personal show. Small rooms suit my music and storytelling,” she says.

Civic Theatre prepares a "Cabaret" for our unsettled times

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Civic Theatre, Cabaret

Trish Fountain takes on the traditionally male role of the Emcee in Civic Theatre's updated version of Cabaret. Photo by Lisa Gavan.

When the musical Cabaret opened on Broadway in 1966, memories of World War II and revelations about Nazi concentration camps were still fresh for the majority of Americans. The story of Weimar Germany’s plunge into nihilism and the rise of the Nazi Third Reich resonated with audiences as a reminder of how insidious evil can be.

Kat Walsh and Jennifer Goltz-Taylor hope their production of [http://www.a2ct.org/shows/cabaret|Cabaret] for the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is equally relevant for our troubled times.

“When Jennifer and I first proposed the show, we were looking at how polarized people are around a number of issues in our country and around the world,” said Walsh, the show’s director. “There’s a feeling of being unsettled on all sides of the political world. When we looked at the cabaret world in the 1930s, there was that same feeling of unsettledness. David Mamet said we’re here to engage with our audience and create a community, to ask what in the hell is going on it this world.”