The end of pregnancy is a strange time. You wait for the biggest change that can happen to a person other than death and yet, for most, you don’t know when the change will happen.
When will the baby be born? When will a woman become a mother?
When I was pregnant with my son, I read the title essay of [b:1519570|A Woman Is a Woman Until She Is a Mother] by [a:Prushinskaya, Anna|Anna Prushinskaya] probably 15 times. It became almost a talisman to me, a promise that he would eventually be born, that I would be able to cross over to motherhood.
When my water broke just like Anna described in her essay, unexpectedly and fast, I still had no idea what was coming. I was still perched between womanhood and motherhood.
In [b:1519570|A Woman Is a Woman Until She Is a Mother], Prushinskaya writes beautifully about her experience balancing between places, between states: between pregnancy and motherhood, and between her Soviet homeland and her current home of Ann Arbor.
I spoke with Prushinskaya about her experience writing the book, how motherhood has changed her as a writer, and the birth of her second son. Our conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.
Around the holidays, theater troupes often feature classic Christmas plays familiar to Americans. But for the past two years, Ann Arbor’s Theatre Nova has presented an American twist on a British Christmas tradition. A panto, short for pantomime, is a variety show that developed in England in the 18th century that employs song, dance, comedy, and much more to tell a Christmas-related story.
This year’s panto, The Year Without a Panto Clause, is written by Theatre Nova artistic director Carla Milarch and features original songs by the show’s music director, R. MacKenzie Lewis, who has composed music for Nova's previous two pantos as well as for last year’s hit musical Irrational.
I spoke with Milarch about the inspiration for her pantos and what makes this show unique.
Thanksgiving is all about traditions. And over the last couple of decades, one tradition that has taken root in Ann Arbor is [https://www.mattwatroba.net|Matt Watroba]’s Day-After-Thanksgiving Concert at The Ark.
The well-known Michigan performer, songwriter, and radio host isn’t exactly sure how long he’s been doing the concert on the day after the holiday, but he estimates it’s been about 25 years. It’s become his most popular annual gig, and he knows some families incorporate it into their regular holiday plans.
“It has taken on a real community feel,” he says. “People are actually making it a tradition.”
[https://www.moogmusic.com/legacy|Robert Moog] had no musical talent. But his talents changed music.
At the age of 15, Moog built his first Theremin, the ghostly, no-touch instrument created by Leon Theremin in the 1920s that used the amplitude and voltage of radio waves to manipulate two oscillators controlling pitch and volume. Moog continued to use his engineering skills to fine-tune these instruments, and by age 19 he was selling Theremin kits to help fund his college studies.
The [http://www.northcoastmodularcollective.com|North Coast Modular Collective] is like a modular synthesizer: made up of many parts to create a sonic whole. The group is a loose collection of Washtenaw County-area musicians and creators who teamed up earlier this year and pooled their talents to share gear, create new instruments, and trade ideas.
The trio of Joe Bauer, Dan Blades, and Bill Van Loo will represent the collective at Mini MoogFest, and we asked them their about plans for the event, the gear they'll be using, and their favorite synth-leaning recordings. (Also, [https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/secret-world-modular-synthesizers|here's a primer on Eurorack synths], which the collective mentions several times.)
[http://theattemptedtheftofmillions.com|Sean Curtis Patrick] is a visual artist who also makes music, so it's not unreasonable to expect when he and fellow visual artisan [http://www.kbabl.com|Kendall Babl] team up with Chuck Sipperley -- expert DJ and super-synther in [https://hydropark.bandcamp.com|Hydropark] and [
https://uticasound.bandcamp.com|Utica] -- the trio will paint electronic aural sculptures in your mind, MAAAAAAAAAN.
We asked Patrick what the group's plans are for the festival, the gear he'll be using, and received recommendations for his favorite synth-leaning recordings.
[http://pulp.aadl.org/node/358606|Alex Taam] is a recording-studio engineer, composer, and all around gearhead. His mastery of synths is one of the reasons why we asked him to write and record two songs using instruments from AADL's Music Tools collection, which [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/358606|he did in February]. Taam's knowledge about all things electronica is also the reason why we asked him to help us host [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/369408|Mini MoogFest]. He'll be on hand to demonstrate some instruments, including a modular synth, and guide you through many of the other instruments we'll have on display for hands-on play.
We talked to Taam about his [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/369408|Mini MoogFest] plans, the gear he's bringing, and asked him to name his favorite synth-related recordings.
In addition to being a remarkable painter, Mike Dykehouse is an immensely creative musician. But after his [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If2jmSktVl0&list=PLRpJCElODjoFLb-tIcJjb… Obsolescence] (2001) album on the influential British electronica [http://planet.mu|Planet Mu] and another on [http://ghostly.com|Ghostly International] with the shoegaze-y [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XmCGFBDDRM&list=PLVOsx7yFGGviWngj7qBNg…] (2004), Dykehouse mostly went underground.
Or rather, to Instagram.
Dykehouse's daily video clips of new synth jams -- ranging from straight-up techno and boogie-bass electro to hip-hop boom-bap and exploratory noise -- are often highlights of his followers' days. (Am I projecting?)
In a rare live appearance, Dykehouse will demonstrate the latest version of his ever-changing modular synth setup at [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/369408|Mini MoogFest], giving listeners a front-row seat to his daily sonic rituals.
We talked to Dykehouse about his [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/369408|Mini MoogFest] plans, the gear he's bringing, and asked him to name his favorite synth-related recordings. But to evoke the immortal Joe Perry Project, Dykehouse mostly [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVkzvkGeLIo|lets the music do the talking].
The [http://www.trustartstudios.com/|trustArt Gallery]'s Studio Works exhibition (Nov. 11-19) will display multi-media works by artists and designers who work in rented studios at the venue. The exhibit features works by Larry Cressman, Liz Davis, Elizabeth Barick Fall, Rose E. Gomez, Barbara Hohmann, Allen Samuels, Laura Shope, and Lissie Williams, and it also offers an intimate look into the studio space and how it relates to the artists’ practices and everyday environments.
In addition to the more common gallery exhibition, the added opportunity to see the artists’ studios and working spaces aims to create community engagement with the arts, according to [https://www.facebook.com/trustArt-studios-709238372470689|trustArt Gallery]'s statement: “We are connected through our location and environment as we pass through the shared open space of our gallery: it provides an opportunity to intersect; to cross paths; a place for our studio works to be shared and reflected upon; a chance to interact with each other and the community.”
The opening-up of studios to the community will allow for many people to interact with art and art making in an expanded capacity. It allows unique insight into aspects of the creative process and creates a chance for discussion and dialogue between the artist and the community.
When we hear the word “orchestra,” we usually think of a group of musicians who play classical music. But the trailblazing Brooklyn-based orchestra [http://www.theknightsnyc.com|The Knights] -- coming to Rackham Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 12 [https://ums.org/performance/the-knights|courtesy of UMS] -- are known for turning the word on its head by challenging orchestral norms and often using untraditional environments (from parks to bars) and repertoire (from avant-gardist Karlheinz Stockhausen to singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens) to connect to a wide range of audiences.
Such a genre-bending, rule-breaking orchestra needs soloists who are just as adventurous, and for this tour, The Knights have teamed up with two superstars of instrumental music, [https://www.aviavital.com|Avi Avital] and [http://kinanazmeh.com|Kinan Azmeh].
Both Avital, an Israeli mandolin virtuoso, and Azmeh, a celebrated Syrian clarinetist and composer, produce just as diverse and tremendously compelling a repertoire as The Knights, and the combination of these three forces is a treat not to be missed. Their program on Sunday will jump from their unique arrangements of pieces by Purcell, Bach, and Schubert to some of Azmeh’s own compositions, including one he wrote specifically for The Knights, Avital, and himself. They will also feature a piece by Knights co-leader and Silkroad Ensemble member Colin Jacobsen as well as traditional Middle Eastern, Balkan, and klezmer pieces.
I spoke with Avital and Azmeh about their solo work, collaboration with the Knights, and more.