Last weekend the Ann Arbor Synth Expo (formerly Mini MoogFest) returned to the basement of the Ann Arbor District Library's downtown branch for an afternoon of hands-on music-making and knob-twisting fun.
Approximately 350 patrons over the course of four hours had a chance to play with various synthesizers in the AADL Music Tools collection as well as talk to instrument and effects creators such as Vintage King, Zeppelin Design Labs, and North Coast Modular Collective. The day also featured performances and talks by Robot Rickshaw, Alex Taam (Mogi Grumbles) and Anıl Çamcı, and companies such as Sweetwater, Reverb, Pittsburgh Modular, Perfect Circuit, SynthCube, Electro-Faustus, Arrick Robotics, and more provided branded T-shirts, stickers, pens, screwdrivers, and more to the visitors.
Below is a collection of photos from the 2018 Ann Arbor Synth Expo by AADL staffers Josh Barnhart and Christopher Porter.
Building a month-long festival from the ground up is challenging enough when it focuses solely on one artistic discipline, such as music.
But last year's inaugural Rasa Festival was a multidisciplinary party with performing, visual, literary, media/films, and culinary arts from India, presented in various Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti venues.
It was a big achievement and the 2018 edition (September 1-October 7) looks to build on that success with more art exhibitions, dance performances, poetry readings, music concerts, film screenings, and a foodie event.
Here's the full calendar of events, many of which are free:
The band is comprised of Ben Collins on lead vocals and guitar, AADL’s own Christian Anderson on bass, and John Fossum on drums who create loud, fuzzy songs that are rich in melody. Collins' lyrics are reflected in minihorse’s responses to my questions: vacillating between insightful self-reflection and cheeky humor. Take the standout track “Blueblack” from last year's Big Lack five-song mini-LP: “The mailman’s dressing in all black / at least that’s who I think it is through the pinhole. / That’s him tilting his head back / I think I should let him into my VIP.”
Over tea and biscuits, we talked with minihorse about the band's forthcoming debut LP, inspiration, meditation, and mental health.
From Feb. 5 to April 16, the Michigan and State Theaters will be under the blade. Many blades, actually, as two film series exploring Japan’s historic warrior class will take over the screens.
Save for Kenji Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin, all the films in the Enter the Samurai series at the Michigan Theater were written and directed by Akira Kurosawa, the most celebrated moviemaker in Japanese history. Every film in the Lone Wolf and Cub series, screened at the State, is based on the epic manga by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima.
Enter the Samurai will occur weekly on Mondays except for March 26. Skipping a week gives viewers' sword scars a chance to heel since the Lone Wolf and Cub series will screen nightly between March 20-25. That’s hella consecutive days of samurai swords slicing up the cinema.
All 17 movies in both series are presented in Japanese with English subtitles. Written previews of each film are below courtesy of the Michigan and State, along with trailers and a link to the Samurai cinema in AADL's collection.
The Korean Cinema Now festival, sponsored by the Nam Center for Korean Studies, returns for its annual occupancy in the Michigan Theater’s 200-seat Screening Room theater. This year’s screenings are two Saturdays per month at 1 pm from Jan. 20 through April 21.
South Korea is known for its robust film industry, and the eight feature-length movies being shown at the Michigan Theater represent many high points from the peninsula's 2016-2017 movie scene.
But the best part of Korean Cinema Now? It's free.
Check out the trailers, dates, and synopses below:
The total combined running time of the eight movies in the first Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase is 59 minutes -- which seems the perfect length in our age of hyper-accelerated information cycles.
Sponsored by Duo Security, Ann Arbor SPARK, A2Geeks, and Q+M, the Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase is at the Michigan Theater on Friday, Jan. 19, 5-9 pm. Its mission is “to increase cultural diversity and interest in tech films and to promote, discuss and educate in the medium of science fiction and technology. We encourage rich storytelling, filled with infinite possibilities that challenge us and question our perception of the future.”
The evening kicks off with a pre-screening meet and greet in the lobby and the night will include a panel discussion with the filmmakers whose movies “explore a selection of short films that highlight the consequences of technology.”
The Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase is free, but you have to register for tickets.
Here's a rundown of the shorts being shown:
In some eras, artists were inspired by new techniques or materials. Now, it's mass consumption -- and we're not talking tuberculosis.
In the new U-M Institute for the Humanities exhibition Pre-Fab/Post-Fab: Art in a Readymade Era, three Detroit-based artists showcase works that speak to them growing up "with the influences of mass consumption, internet shopping, the glut of plastic toys, baubles, and tchotchkes."
From the press release:
We typically choose to see art by seeking it out at a museum. We want to be there.
Nobody wants to be in a hospital.
But if you are cooped up in the world of doctors and nurses, it's nice to have some high-quality culture to take your mind off your ailments.
Gifts of Art is Michigan's Medicine's way to assist healing by offering music performances and art exhibitions to its patients. But you need not be checked into University Hospital to enjoy the sights; Gifts of Art is open and free to all daily from 8 am-8 pm.
Visit med.umich.edu/goa/performances for a full list of the performances. For a sneak peek at the exhibitions running through March 11, most of which feature works by Michigan-associated artists, read on.
U-M's North Campus Research Center (NCRC) houses two galleries that might be off the radar for some folks, but the spaces are always bubbling with compelling (and free) exhibitions that run for months at a time.
Two new winter exhibitions opened Jan. 15 and continue through April 16, allowing you plenty of time to take in the sights.
The Threads All Arts Festival has finally been rescheduled. The second edition was originally set for August 2017 at the Ann Arbor Distilling Company, but when the city put a temporary kibosh on live events at the artisanal spirits space due to parking issues, Threads was called off. It took the U-M student-run festival a while to reorganize, but it has now found a home in Ypsilanti’s Historic Freighthouse and will present its rangy mix of live music, dance, film, poetry, and art on March 10-11.
The idea for Threads began in 2015 when Nicole Patrick (U-M 2016, percussion and jazz and contemporary improvisation) and her friends "wanted to find a way to share, with many people, all the amazing art they saw coming out of their friends and neighbors," they told Pulp contributor Anna Prushinskaya for piece meant to preview the 2017 edition.
But along with the break came a new mission statement that shows Threads has expanded its focus: