"Korean Cinema Now" returns to the Michigan Theater with 8 celebrated films

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

Korean Cinema Now 2018 at the Michigan Theater

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:

Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase features 8 shorts that analyze the consequences of technology

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW

A collage of stills from the 2018 Ann Arbor Tech Film Showcase.

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:

"Pre-Fab/Post-Fab: Art in a Readymade Era" both celebrates and critiques modern consumer culture

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

Artist Bailey Scieszka as her Old Put character. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.

Artist Bailey Scieszka as her Old Put character. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.

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."

Heidi Barlow, Shaina Kasztelan, Bailey Scieszka take these everyday objects and twist them into new forms to comment on pop culture, gender, and politics. 

From the press release:

Gifts of Art's exhibitions bring culture to U-M Hospital

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

A collage of Gifts of Art exhibitions running through March 2018

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.

UMS's "No Safety Net" festival digs into deep issues through play(s)

THEATER & DANCE PREVIEW

UMS's Underground Railroad Game. Photo by Ben Arons.

Underground Railroad Game is one of four provacative plays presented in the No Safety Net festival. Photo by Ben Arons.

The three-week-long theater festival No Safety Net presented by the University Musical Society (UMS) will showcase four productions that focus on important and divisive social issues in modern society, from slavery and terrorism to transgender identity, radical wellness, and healing.

So, what do the four pieces in No Safety Net have in common?

Two winter exhibitions open at U-M's North Campus Research Center

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

Rainbow by Dalia Reyes; Unholy War by Joyce Brienza

Rainbow painting by Dalia Reyes; Unholy War triptych by Joyce Brienza.

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.

Woven Together: Threads All Arts Festival returns for 2018

Threads All Arts Festival

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:

A2 Art Center's "Favorites’ Favorites" kicks off Jan. 19 with a party

VISUAL ART PREVIEW

Mark Lyon, Dr. Lustbader DDS, Exam Room, 2012, archival pigment print

Dr. Lustbader DDS, Exam Room by Mark Lyon, 2012, archival pigment print.

The Ann Arbor Art Center exhibition Favorites’ Favorites opens Friday, Jan. 19, kicking off with a free opening night party from 6-9 pm. The artists will be in attendance, and you can ask them why they chose their individual pieces in the show.

That's right, though there was a curator who chose which artists would exhibit, it was the creators who picked what would be displayed in Favorite Favorites.

Architect of Suspense: Tom Grace presents "Undeniable" at Nicola's

WRITTEN WORD PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Author Tom Grace and his book "Undeniable"

He's a thriller: Michigan native and U-M grad Tom Grace brings his latest Nolan Kilkenny novel to Nicola's Books on Sunday, Jan. 21.

The inspiration for his hero’s name comes from his nephew and ancestral home. His love for thrillers comes from his father and brothers. And being an architect leads to a unique and intriguing writing style. These influences all lead to the successful Nolan Kilkenny series by bestselling author Tom Grace.

The first Kilkenny book, Spyder Web, is a thriller that launched the former NAVY seal protagonist into a pursuit of modern day pirates who stole intelligence programs from the CIA -- the titular SPYDER program. Book six of the Kilkenny saga, Undeniable, finds the hero involved in a race against time to find a cure for a young boy suffering from a genetic disease. Genetic testing shows that the boy, adopted in a “blind” adoption, and Kilkenny have the same biological father. This revelation thrusts Kilkenny into the world of reproductive technology of clones, stem cells, DNA -- and blackmail. 

Life, Stories: "Me, the 'Other'" makes its world premiere at the Michigan Theater

FILM & VIDEO PREVIEW INTERVIEW

Me, the "Other" is a documentary that explores the ways race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender have impacted 12 Washtenaw County college students. The film makes its world premiere on Monday, Jan. 15, at the Michigan Theater.

"'Otherness' is never one thing" is the doc's guiding light as the filmmakers allow the students to tell their disparate tales in full so viewers can understand and appreciate their humanity. “I’ve come to see our differences in beauty like different flowers in one garden," said Shahrzad Mirafzali, co-producer of Me, the "Other" and University of Michigan School of Dentistry faculty member.