Fabulous Fiction Firsts #654

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[https://www.nancypearl.com/about-nancy|Librarian Extraordinaire] and [http://www.npr.org/people/6395311/nancy-pearl|NPR books commentator] [a:Pearl, Nancy|Nancy Pearl's] debut novel [b:1516109|George & Lizzie *], is a loving tribute to Ann Arbor and her Alma mater (UM, AMLS, 1967).

In this "astute, nimble, funny, and affecting love story" (Booklist), a stoned Lizzie sabotaged George's near-perfect game and a dream date at the Bowlarama when they met. Weeks later, they shared a tuna fish sandwich at [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/17627|Drake's] on their first date. Almost against all odds, they married despite radically different upbringing and understandings of what love and marriage should be.

Discrete Ambiance: “Swarm Study/II” at UMMA

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Swarm Study/II

Random International's Swarm Study/II, on loan from by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art.

It’s not unfair to say [http://umma.umich.edu/exhibitions/2017/victors-for-art-michigan-s-alumn…|Swarm Study/II] is a visual art experience that will long stay with you. But such an accolade is also far too passive. If given the chance, Swarm Study/II will not only stay with you -- it will literally follow you.

This 2011 site-specific installation on display in the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Irving Stenn Jr. Family Project Gallery, mounted through the courtesy of the Maxine and Stewart Frankel Foundation for Art, is held in conjunction with the museum’s [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/362972|Victors for Art: Michigan’s Alumni Collectors -- Part II: Abstraction] exhibition.

Character Study: Celeste Ng at Literati

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Celeste Ng

U-M Helen Zell Writers' Program grad Celeste Ng returned to Ann Arbor for her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere.

In Shaker Heights, Ohio, if your lawn reaches a certain height, the city will mow it -- then send you a bill. Your house cannot be the same as any others on your street, but the paint color has to be approved so that it doesn’t clash. Your trash is not placed on the curb for pickup; instead, a small vehicle similar to a golf cart will speed down your driveway, collect your cans, and bring them to the garbage truck on the street. These are some of the quirks Celeste Ng shared at Literati on Friday about her hometown, which is the setting for her second novel, [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/1516115|Little Fires Everywhere].

Sibling Sounds: Wild Belle at the Blind Pig

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Last night was not [http://www.wildbelle.com|Wild Belle]’s first time playing at the Blind Pig. In fact, the group played one of its first ever shows there years ago, opening for the Afro-beat dance band Nomo in what was something like a family reunion. Elliott Bergman (saxophones, keyboards) is in both bands -- he founded Nomo while at the University of Michigan -- as are Erik Hall (guitar) and Quin Kirchner (drums), and Bergman's younger sister, Natalie (vocals, guitar), started guesting with Nomo when she was just 16. (Bassist Kellen Harrison is the only non-Nomo-affiliated member of Wild Belle.)

With a reserved “Hello, Ann Arbor” from Natalie, the band took the stage and launched into the first three tracks from 2016's Dreamland: “Mississippi River,” “Losing You,” and the title track. Natalie often seemed lost in her own world as she sang, but she was also a gripping stage presence, dressed in a loose white blouse and velvet pants emblazoned with white snakeskin stars.

The photography exhibit "In Transit" travels all around Ann Arbor

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In Transit at Ann Arbor Art Center

In Transit winners, clockwise from left: Jeannette Woltmann, Advice; Robert Conradi, WCC Metal Fabrication Department; Misty Lyn Bergeron, Flower of Life.

With over 70 photographs on view in locations throughout Ann Arbor, [https://www.annarborartcenter.org/exhibitions/intransit|In Transit] is a lively, four-headed monster of an exhibition. From the back hall of the City Council Chambers to [https://www.sessionrooma2.com|The Session Room] on Jackson Avenue, to the buses (inside and outside) of TheRide, this collection of photos by current and former photography students at Washtenaw County Community College will be all over town for the next three months.

But the best place to see all these photographs celebrating the local places and people of southeastern Michigan is right now through September 30 in Gallery 117 of the Ann Arbor Art Center.

Personal Universals: jessica Care moore at the Michigan Theater

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jessica Care moore

jessica Care moore's spirit and charisma cast a wide next.

I didn’t grow up going to church, but seeing the poet-playwright-author-musician-activist-performance artist [http://jessicacaremoore.com|jessica Care moore] do her thing is what I imagine an incredibly moving church experience feels like.

moore’s appearance at the Michigan Theater on September 14 was the kickoff event of the 2017 Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series. The series aims to bring innovators from a wide variety of fields to the university in order to interact with and inspire university students, faculty, and the greater community. (See the full fall 2017 lineup [http://stamps.umich.edu/stamps|here].)

After cancelled flights, Darlingside hit the road to sing harmonies for The Ark

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Darlingside

Real-close harmonies. Photo of Darlingside at The Ark by Andy Rogers.

In order to play at The Ark’s nearly sold-out fall fundraiser on Sunday night, [http://www.darlingside.com|Darlingside] had to skedaddle out of Kansas City after a show on Saturday night. The Boston-based quartet packed into a minivan with its sound engineer and drove through much of the night.

This hadn’t been the original plan, but the sudden appearance of a 200-mile-wide storm system meant that Darlingside's flights, scheduled several months earlier, weren’t going to happen. “So we arrived in Ann Arbor this morning, badly in need of a shower,” confessed cellist/guitarist Harris Paseltiner.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #652 and #653

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[b:1512910|Conversations with Friends * * * ] by [a:Rooney, Sally|Sally Rooney] ([https://www.tcd.ie/|Trinity College, Dublin]) is drawn largely from conversations with the author's own friends.

Frances, a poet and aspiring writer performs at spoken-word poetry events around the college with her best friend and former lover Bobbi. At one of these events, Melissa, a well-known photojournalist proposes to do a piece on them. Invited to her [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkstown,_County_Dublin|Monkstown] home, Bobbi falls under Melissa's spell while Frances is more impressed with the trappings of wealth and success, and instantly drawn to Melissa's gorgeous and standoffdish husband, Nick, an actor.

Shifting Ideals: "GLOSS: Modeling Beauty" at UMMA

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GLOSS: Modeling Beauty at UMMA

Philippe Halsman, Halle, 1942, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Hans Neukomm, 1996/2.7, Photo © Philippe Halsman Archive.

[http://umma.umich.edu/exhibitions/2017/gloss-modeling-beauty|GLOSS: Modeling Beauty] is a thoughtfully curated exhibition that focuses on the impact of fashion photography on the history of photography. The show explores “the shifting ideals of female beauty” in American and European visual culture starting in the 1920s with the work of Edward Steichen. The exhibition examines not only fashion photography and images from advertising campaigns but features documentary photography by Elliott Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, and Ralph Gibson, captured images of women and mannequins in urban environments. Furthermore, artists James Van Der Zee, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Nikki S. Lee “employ the visual strategies of traditional fashion photography, while offering alternative narratives to mainstream notions of female beauty.”

Vital Conversations: The Stamps Gallery's fall season launches with two exhibitions

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STAMPS's The Unfinished Conversation/Encoding/Decoding & Vital Signs for a New America

A captured moment from John Akomfrah's three-screen work The Unfinished Conversation. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

The [http://stamps.umich.edu/exhibitions|Penny W. Stamps' website] let me know that I could expect to be challenged by [http://stamps.umich.edu/exhibitions/detail/unfinished-conversation|The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding] and [http://stamps.umich.edu/exhibitions/detail/vital-signs|Vital Signs for a New America] exhibits.

But despite a deep interest in the overlap of politics and art in the 20th and 21st centuries, I wasn’t quite prepared for this collection of powerful, in-your-face images. I’m also glad that I have until October 14 to fully explore the exhibits.