The Ann Arbor District Library's Fifth Avenue Press, which started in 2017, helps local authors produce a print-ready book at no cost—from copyediting to cover design—and the writers retain all rights. In return, the library gets to distribute ebooks to its patrons without paying royalties, but authors can sell their books—print, digital, or audio—in whatever ways they choose and keep all the proceeds.
The Fifth Avenue Press event is part of the A2 Community Bookfest, which runs from 10 am to 5 pm at AADL Downtown, also on September 10, with a full schedule of renowned authors including J. Ryan Stradal, Sonali Dev, and Stephen Mack Jones.
Four new Fifth Avenue creators answered a questionnaire to help readers understand a bit more about the press process and their journey as authors. Also below is a list and descriptions of all the other Fifth Avenue books available on Sunday; click the titles to visit the books' web pages for more info on each. Many of the authors will be there to do readings and signings, too.
Literati Bookstore has a relatively small physical footprint. But what the space lacks in size, it makes up for in reputation and has become one of the most beloved independent bookstores in the literature world.
Scheduled to come out in 2024, the documentary tracks Engel—a self-described "struggling writer"—traveling to 50 states in 50 days to interview 50 authors about 50 books. His Literati / Ann Arbor stop includes an interview with author and University of Michigan professor Peter Ho Davies.
Some of the other authors who appear in Books Across America include James Patterson, David Baldacci, and Joyce Carol Oates.
The press release calls the film a "real-life version of the Great American novel," and says the "characters are all obsessed with books, and they’re all searching for a happily ever after."
In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Engel explained the reason why he decided to make a film rather than write about his experience: "[T]he film is to introduce or to depict reading to people who typically don’t read in a way that makes them want to pick up a book. I’m trying to meet people, my target audience, where they are—which is not in a bookstore, but on Netflix, on public television, on anywhere you find movies and shows."
Watch the trailer below:
Stamps Gallery launches its second annual "Envision" exhibition, which highlights Michigan-based contemporary artists
The University of Michigan's Stamps Gallery recently opened its second annual exhibit Envision: The Michigan Artist Initiative 2023, featuring works by contemporary artists living and working in the state.
But the finalist for the $5,000 grand prize won't be announced until June 29 at an awards ceremony.
Parisa Ghaderi, Levon Kafafian, and Bakpak Durden are the 2023 Envision finalists and you can see their multimedia pieces on display through July 29. All three artists will make individual appearances at Stamps in July to discuss their work.
You can learn more about the artists and watch four short videos documenting the Envision: The Michigan Artist Initiative 2023 below:
The University of Michigan's North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) is a place for scientists and businesses to develop ideas and projects that can affect real-world change.
The NCRC is also the home of two low-key galleries that run regular exhibitions featuring artists with connections to Michigan (the state and/or the university).
On June 15, 4-7 pm, the NCRC will host a reception for three new exhibits running in the Rotunda and Connection galleries through August 11:
Read more about the artists and their works below:
Watch Frederick Ebenezer Okai’s massive sculpture "When the Gods Speak, Heaven Listens" journey from Ghana to Ann Arbor
The We Write To You About Africa exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) isn't really an exhibition in the traditional sense.
It launched in 2021, both online and in person, and is scheduled to run indefinitely because rather than being a limited-time display of UMMA's art plus borrowed pieces, it's actually a reinstallation of the Robert and Lillian Montalto Bohlen Gallery of African art with the connected A. Alfred Taubman Gallery II space. The combined rooms double the amount of space the museum can use to highlight art drawn from collections across the U-M campus as well as new additions to UMMA.
The latest work to join We Write To You About Africa is Frederick Ebenezer Okai’s When the Gods Speak, Heaven Listens, a nearly 15-foot-tall sculpture by the Ghanian artist that comes in three parts: a vaselike clay body decorated with various patterns, topped by a ceramic depiction of two humans, with clouds hovering over the other sections.
UMMA released a video that follows the journey of When the Gods Speak, Heaven Listens from Accra, Ghana to Ann Arbor and its installation at the museum. Check it out below:
Uhle hosted a panel at AAFF, "Cinema Guild and Campus Film Societies: Their History and Legacy," a topic covered in the book, documenting the groups who brought cutting-edge films to the University of Michigan—and the controversies that sometimes ensued.
We interviewed Uhle about the film societies in a preview article for this panel discussion—check it out here—which included former U-M film society members Hugh Cohen, Dave DeVarti, Philip Hallman, and Anne Moray.
You can now view the panel discussion in the video above.
MLive.com staff writer Samuel Dodge wrote a wonderful obituary for the beloved educator, director, wife, and mother:
Executive director of Ypsilanti's ÆPEX Contemporary Performance discusses the music of Julia Perry with mezzo-soprano Olivia Johnson
Garrett Schumann, executive director of the Ypsilanti-based ÆPEX Contemporary Performance, and mezzo-soprano Olivia Johnson (Detroit Opera House, Seattle Opera) talked about the life and music of African-American composer Julia Perry (1924-1979) on May 28, 2022, in a Zoom discussion sponsored by the Ann Arbor District Library. The event featured rare archival materials from Perry's career as well as the first public screening of ÆPEX's video recordings from June 2021 of two of Perry's compositions, in which Johnson participated as a vocal soloist: "Pastoral" (1959) and "Stabat Mater" (1951).
A Tanglewood fellow and graduate of the Juilliard School, Perry built an accomplished international career as a composer and conductor in the face of enormous obstacles. Despite receiving a commission from the New York Philharmonic and awards from both the American Academy of Arts & Letters and Guggenheim Foundation, Perry's music fell all but silent following her death.
This presentation explores the reasons behind Perry's muted posthumous legacy by diving into the constellation of documents that record her life and career, including archival audio of the composer describing her music at a Columbia University forum in 1954.
Fifth Avenue Press celebrated the release of five new books by Ann Arbor-area authors and illustrators
Last fall, the Ann Arbor District Library released five new literary works on its Fifth Avenue Press imprint, which focuses on works by local writers:
by Amy Hepp
School’s out and first-grade teacher Emma Richards is desperate for a vacation. Two weeks in a gorgeous lodge in northern Minnesota is a perfect way to escape the congested city and the reality of her failed marriage. Much to her surprise, a registration error lands her in the middle of a 10-day canoe camping adventure through the rugged wilderness of the Boundary Waters with an eclectic group of campers including Mark, a handsome teammate who is looking to soothe the ache of his recent loss. Together, they face miles of open water, storms, bears, and steep portages in the Boundary Waters. But the biggest challenge might be opening their hearts.
Ann Arbor Adventures: Visit to the University of Michigan's Museum of Natural History
Ann Arbor Adventures: Visit to Matthaei Botanical Gardens
both written by Ashlee Edens and illustrations by Nicole Ray (Sloe Gin Fizz)
Ann Arbor Adventures is a picture book series that captures the magic of the city of Ann Arbor. In Visit to the University of Michigan's Museum of Natural History, a family of beavers explores the recently constructed building and learns about Michigan ecosystems, fossils, the solar system, rocks, minerals, and so much more. In Visit to Matthaei Botanical Gardens, a family of squirrels wanders through the conservatory looking at tropical plants and cacti, visit the outdoor gardens and bonsai, and explore the trails as they learn what blooms all year long.
Skip, the Stone
written and illustrated by Emily Siwek
A wave carries Skip, the Stone from the safety of the lake bottom all the way to the surface and he's not sure if he'll sink or swim. Embracing the unknown, the Petoskey stone’s true nature is revealed as generations experience the joy of discovery, the timeless nature of memories, and the unexpected delight of letting go.
My UnBEElievable Life
by Rebecca and Owen Wittekindt
This colorful, hardcover children’s picture book takes you into the hive as one worker bee tells you about her life. From the first stages of development and through all her jobs in the colony, you learn through whimsical verse all the amazing things bees do in their short yet productive lives.
On December 2, 2022, AADL hosted a reception at its Downtown branch to celebrate the release of the books; below is a video of the event where the authors talked about their work and their creative processes:
How Human: Lily Talmers returns to Ann Arbor with two new excellent albums that explore deeply personal and universal experiences
I’m alright; I am
Just the tide’s gone still and I’m left waiting for something to happen
For anything to happen; For good things to happen
Well, good things are happening for the Birmingham native and University of Michigan graduate.
In the past few months, she's released two terrific albums: the aforementioned Killer, an 11-track, stripped-down collection of songs performed live, and Hope Is The Whore I Go To, which features 10 strings-and-brass-colored tunes recorded in studios from Ypsilanti, Michigan to Brooklyn, New York.
Both albums highlight Talmer's exquisite amalgamation of 1960s folk-pop, Eastern European brass bands, and the melancholy melodies of Brazilian and Mediterranean music. Her twang-tinged voice is a slightly untamed powerhouse that's more than capable of delivering her heartfelt, poetic lyrics exploring personal and spiritual relationships with the drama and delicacy they deserve. Think of a jazz singer who hasn't sanded the edges off her voice but can still duck and weave in and out of the music like an instrumental virtuoso. (Canadian cult singer-songwriter Mary Margaret O'Hara is the closest analog to my ears.)
"If Hope Is The Whore I Go To is the primordial scream version of the message I’m trying toward," Talmers says in the interview below, "It's Unkind to Call You My Killer is the inward recoil. I’m telling you something in the first record, and in the second I’m kind of just admitting things to myself."
Since graduating from U-M, Talmers has moved to Brooklyn but makes frequent trips back home, including a stop on Sunday, January 8 at The Ark for her first headline show at the venue.
In 2021 Pulp did an extensive piece on Talmers for her debut full-length release, Remember Me As Holy, and in late summer of this year, former AADL public library associate Katy Trame talked to Talmers about her life and brilliant new records.
—Christopher Porter, Pulp