Friday Five: The Solution, Telesonic 9000, Saturday's Cab Ride Home, Cat Lung, Dagoretti Records compilation

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 soul-rock by The Solution, synth-pop by Telesonic 9000, indie rock by Saturday's Cab Ride Home, prog by Cat Lung, and a Dagoretti Records compilation of vintage Kenyan nyatiti music.

Friday Five: Evan Haywood, XV, Lunch, Timothy Monger, "Ypsilanti Folk Singers" comp

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

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 cosmic folk by Evan Haywood, art rock by XV, no wave by Lunch, folk-pop by Timothy Monger, and a compilation of mid-2000s Ypsilanti DIY artists.

Friday Five: Minus9, Same Eyes, zagc, Gossamer, Benji Robot

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 vintage hardcore punk by Minus9, synth-pop by Same Eyes, electronic body music by zagc, black metal by Gossamer, and trip-hop by Benji Robot.

 

Friday Five: The City Lines, Juliette Freedman, Joanna Sterling, The Missing Cats, Big Chemical

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 the Midwestern power-pop of The City Lines, a jazzy original by Juliette Freedman, indie-folk by Joanna Sterling, jazz-and-blues by The Missing Cats, and folk-pop by Big Chemical.

Eyes on Watercolor: Jeremy Wheeler takes the bold step to get soft in his new collection of paintings at Ann Arbor Art Center

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Self-portrait watercolor by Jeremy Wheeler.

Self-portrait watercolor by Jeremy Wheeler.

When watercolor paintings started turning up on Jeremy Wheeler's social media accounts, I initially thought he was promoting the work of a friend.

One piece in particular I remember was of Naru, the protagonist warrior in the Predator series prequel Prey. While Wheeler is known for paintings inspired by science fiction and horror films, his use of watercolors for Naru captured the ghostly mystery of her character, not just her strength.

It's absolutely gorgeous.

The cozy, creamy vibe of watercolors such as this is the polar opposite of the bold pop art that brought Wheeler acclaim.

The long-time Ann Arbor creative is best known for his loud, psychedelic concert-poster work and stark, powerful interpretations of movie scenes. Bold lines, hard edges, and kinetic energy were intrinsic to his style.

But Wheeler's move toward the (literally) more fluid and flowing medium of watercolors happened at a time when the whole world slowed down due to Covid-19. Calling his exploration of watercolors a "respite" during the pandemic, there's a quiet, meditative quality to his works in the medium. While Wheeler used the watercolors to continue exploring portraits and figures of film, music, and TV actors, actresses, and characters who inspire him—he was a critic for AllMovie for 12 years—the results were warmer, lighter, and more delicate than his previous work in other mediums.

Fittingly, the title of his first watercolors exhibit matches the sensibilities exuded in the paintings: Soft Collections runs at the Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC) through March 28, and many works are still available for purchase. While Wheeler is a highly trained fine artist, he used the Art Resources videos made by A2AC, where he serves as the marketing manager, to help guide him in a medium that he hadn't previously worked in very much.

He was attracted by the speed of watercolors compared to the more laborious process of his more standard style, but Wheeler also loved the way he could keep re-wetting the paints until he could find the right balance. That process of trial and error is not afforded in ink washes, which can provide a similar look to watercolors but is more permanent and inflexible in comparison.

I spoke to Wheeler about watercolors and more, and you can see two recent videos he made discussing his work: one with the Detroit Institute of Arts and the other a live painting session he made for A2AC in conjunction with Soft Collections.

A Quick Guide to the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

The Ann Arbor Film Fest (AAFF) is always a tornado of activity and it's sometimes hard to keep up—not just with all the great events and screenings but also the media coverage.

We've published three articles highlighting the 61st edition of this Ann Arbor institution, which runs March 21-26 in person and through March 29 online, and fellow media outlets have also been on the case. Plus, AAFF published a wonderful series of video interviews with several directors whose films will be shown.

Below is a survey of all the coverage we've found for the 2023 film fest, along with links to AAFF's most pertinent schedules.

Sound "Waves": Chien-An Yuan plays off the screen at the Ann Arbor Film Festival

MUSIC FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW INTERVIEW

A portrait of Chien-an Yuan

The Ann Arbor Film Festival celebrates collaboration. Sure, there are some movie mavericks who do everything themselves when creating a film, but it's usually a talented group of people combining their resources to create something special.

Chien-An Yuan lives for collabs.

The Ann Arbor polymath is capable of making films, photography, art, and music all on his own—and he has many times—but he prefers to work with others to bring creations to life.

And there are so, so many creations in Yuan's world.

Yuan is a co-founder of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) performance troupe IS/LAND, whose latest work, TETRA, will be performed at the Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC), April 15-16 and 22-23. Featuring dancers J Amber Kao, Olivia Lemmenes, S Jean Lee, and Yuan on sound design, TETRA is all about transformation: "Forming rolls of colorful Hanji mulberry paper into shapes and pathways of wisdom, knowledge, and healing, the movement of the dancers offer improvised ‘rituals’ as communal gestures of healing and transmutation, ultimately creating a restorative healing space for both the audience and performers," writes Yuan.

IS/LAND then returns to the Ann Arbor District Library on May 20 for KIZUNA TREE, an interactive installation and performance. The event combines an Ikebana tree designed by Celeste Shimoura Goedert, sound recordings from the collaborative series AAPI Stories, which was co-developed by Zosette Guir of Detroit Public Television and journalist Dorothy Hernandez as a response to the Atlanta spa shootings in 2021, and movement, visuals, and readings by IS/LAND. "KIZUNA TREE is an exploration of communal healing for AAPI peoples, across generations, communities, and ethnicities," writes Yuan.

More immediately, Yuan has a couple of projects at the Ann Arbor Art Center—both collaborative, of course.

He worked with artist Thea Augustina Eck to create a string installation in the rear staircase of A2AC, using colored yarn to create a web of lines that fan out from single sources, only interacting in separated layers when looking down or up the length of the well.

The fiber art will still be at A2AC when Yuan, using an iPad, and percussionist Jonathan Barahal Taylor improvise a score to Mattieu Hallé's May Waves Rise From Its Floor on Thursday, March 23, as part of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Based in Ottowa, Canada, Hallé will be in Ann Arbor to screen the 16mm film of an abstract ocean landscape. He'll use a modified projector with a candle as its light source; the flame is moved and modified by Hallé's breathing and handheld pieces of broken crystal. As the shadows and light move and morph, Yuan and Taylor will react musically in real-time, making every screening of May Waves into a singular experience.

I spoke to Yuan about his current slate of artistic projects, and he gave us an update on some music he's preparing to release on his experimental record label, 1473.

Friday Five: Dr. Pete Larson, Varient/Echospace, Verzerren, Jason Adam Voss, AGN7 label

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 improvised synths by Dr. Pete Larson, ambient by Varient/Echospace, modular tunes by Verzerren, math music by Jason Adam Voss, and drum 'n' bass remixes on the AGN7 label.

Societies of Cinema: Frank Uhle creates AADL exhibit, hosts a roundtable at the 61st Ann Arbor Film Fest discussing the cultural influence of campus film groups

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Portrait of Frank Uhle on the left; image of a Cinema Guild poster listing events, taken from the Cinema Ann Arbor-related exhibit at AADL.

Left: Frank Uhle photo by Amanda Uhle. Right: Cinema memorabilia seen in the AADL exhibit "Cinema Ann Arbor: Film Societies, Film Festivals, and Filmmaking in the Analog Era"; photo by Nate Pocsi-Morrison.

Frank Uhle's upcoming book, Cinema Ann Arbor, covers the entire scope of film history in the city, from the old theaters no longer with us to the students who went on to be famous moviemakers.

But the campus cinema societies, who brought art films and experimental movies to town, are the heart of the tome's 344 pages.

Cinema Ann Arbor is a co-publication of Fifth Avenue Press—the Ann Arbor District Library's publishing imprint—and the University of Michigan Press and officially comes out in June, but Uhle will have 50 copies for sale in time for the roundtable he's hosting on Friday, March 24, as part of the 61st Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF).

Uhle will moderate "Cinema Guild and Campus Film Societies: Their History and Legacy," a discussion with former University of Michigan film society members, including Hugh Cohen, a longtime cinema professor, a juror at the second AAFF in 1964, and the faculty advisor to Cinema Guild in 1967 when he and three others were arrested for showing Flaming Creatures, a short that was deemed obscene. Cohen is joined by Dave DeVarti (Alternative Action film series), Philip Hallman (Ann Arbor Film Cooperative), and Anne Moray (Film Projection Service).

To coincide with AAFF, Uhle also put together an exhibit at AADL's Downtown location, "Cinema Ann Arbor: Film Societies, Film Festivals, and Filmmaking in the Analog Era," which is on display through April 13. It features artifacts from Uhle's personal collection as well as material he gathered during his extensive research while writing Cinema Ann Arbor. (Additionally, Uhle and AADL's archives team are posting material to an online repository at aadl.org/cinemaannarbor.)

We'll speak to Uhle more in-depth about Cinema Ann Arbor when it comes out this summer (though you can pre-order it now). Our interview below is specifically about the cinema societies that helped influence Ann Arbor culture for nearly 70 years as well as his AADL exhibit.

Friday Five: Abigail Stauffer, Eye O Mighty, Hannah Baiardi, MEMCO Exposure Mixes, Jason Adam Voss

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 soulful pop by Abigail Stauffer, rap by Eye O Mighty, jazzy pop by Hannah Baiardi, MEMCO Exposure Mixes by Goodmother and Naphtha, and experimental piano by Jason Adam Voss.