PencilPoint TheatreWorks' Ypsi THRIVE highlights new one-act plays

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Ypsi THRIVE

Four of Ypsi THRIVE's seven plays are by women, as are five of the directors, and the majority of the roles are for females.

Brian Cox returned to creating theater about five years ago when he began writing his first full-length play, [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/357697|Clutter], based on one of his short stories. Since then, he has written multiple one-act plays, directed, produced, and devised many more shows and storytelling nights, and started his own theater company, [https://www.facebook.com/PencilPointTheatreWorks|PencilPoint Theatreworks] in Ypsilanti. He’s an accomplished director, producer, and artistic director, and earlier this year Cox won Encore Theatre's [http://www.encoremichigan.com/2017/08/winners-2016-wilde-awards-winners|Wilde Award] for Best New Script with Clutter.

After offhandedly mentioning this during the interview, Cox pauses, glancing down and blushing slightly. “But I don’t act. No acting.”

So what is Cox’s newest project? On Sept. 28 he’s opening [https://www.facebook.com/events/302604126822030|Ypsi THRIVE], a three-day, new-play festival at Riverside Arts Center that features seven short plays.

Akropolis Reed Quintet debuts its latest web series with a world premiere

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The local ensemble [http://www.akropolisquintet.com|Akropolis Reed Quintet] made waves nationally in 2014 when the group won the prestigious Fischoff Gold Medal, the first group of its kind to win the award. Tim Gocklin (oboe), Kari Landry (clarinet), Matt Landry (saxophone), Andrew Koeppe (bass clarinet), and Ryan Reynolds (bassoon) founded [https://www.facebook.com/akropolisquintet|Akropolis] at the University of Michigan in 2009. The reed quintet has been extremely prolific from the start, including releasing albums, streaming concerts online, and conducting educational programs locally, nationally, and internationally (when I reached out to the group, they were in Abu Dhabi).

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Akropolis will relaunch its web series on [http://www.akropolisquintet.com|akropolisquintet.com] and [http://www.youtube.com/akropolis5tet|youtube.com/akropolis5tet]: "In 2011, we created our YouTube Web Premiere Series as a platform to showcase new works for reed quintet online, around the world," the group wrote on the Facebook event page for its latest, which will feature a live studio recording of Gregory Wanamaker's new arrangement of "Elegy" from his Duo Sonata written specifically for Akropolis. "This series has over 31,000 views, 522 subscribers, and features 13 online premieres, 9 of which are from American composers!"

I caught up with ensemble member saxophonist Matt Landry to chat about the group’s latest album, [https://www.innova.mu/albums/akropolis-reed-quintet/space-between-us|The Space Between Us] (“pure gold” according to the San Francisco Chronicle), classical music and popular culture, and what’s next for the group.

Theatrical Projections: Major plays and operas are just a movie ticket away

HD theater

Clockwise from upper left: Angels in America, Uncle Vanya, The Exterminating Angel, Norma, and Yerma are but a few of the HD theater broadcasts at two Ann Arbor movie theaters.

If you don’t live in New York City or London, and perhaps don’t have the money to go to The Metropolitan Opera or the National Theatre on a regular basis, you might feel like you’re missing out on some amazing arts events.

But HD broadcasts of productions from these venues to movie theatres around the world are a way for people all around the world to see legendary works like La Bohéme, Hamlet, Everyman,Der Rosenkavalier, and more, performed by legendary performers such as Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes, Plácido Domingo, Vittorio Grigolo, and Renée Fleming. NT Live has been broadcasting shows from the National and other theaters in London to movie theaters since 2009, and The Met: Live in HD has been broadcasting operas since 2006.

"The Zodiac Killer" comes alive in 4K at the Michigan Theater

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The Zodiac Killer

The restored Zodiac Killer is one of nine films the Michigan Theater will show as part of Art House Theater Day on Sunday, Sept. 24.

Many filmmakers have tackled the true crime saga of the Zodiac Killer, who stalked Northern California and stole national headlines in the late '60s, but only one has been brave enough to try to face the murderer himself. That distinction belongs to Tom Hanson, an L.A. fast-food-magnate-turned-amateur-director who made his 1971 debut, [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0143016|The Zodiac Killer], with the express purpose of catching the actual Zodiac.

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.”

Spectacular Vernacular: Echoing Air explores music of the Reformation

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Echoing Air

Echoing Air's mission breathes life into 500-year-old music.

Five hundred years ago a theological revolution was heralded in by the ping of hammer on nails. When Luther left his theses pinned to the church door at Wittenberg that day in 1517 he didn’t intend to start a schism or to tear asunder the heart of the Catholic Church. But with the posting of his grievances, Luther set into motion a series of events that would forever alter the history of the world, and in so doing, would change the course of all that his movement touched. Swept up in the wave of Reformation was the art of the age, which warped in such a way that new worlds were born -- and now, echoing down the halls of history, the music of that era of transmutation arrives in Ann Arbor.

“Probably the most important change that the Reformation brought us was that music started to be sung in the vernacular,” said [http://www.stevenrickards.com|Steven Rickards], founder and countertenor of the early music ensemble [http://echoingair.org|Echoing Air]. “The music of the language is going to affect how the text is set.”

[https://www.facebook.com/EchoingAir|Echoing Air], which will be performing a program of music from the German Reformation at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at 8 pm on Saturday, September 16, was founded by Rickards in 2009 with the purpose of advocating for music that features the pairing of two countertenor voices, two recorders, and basso continuo.

Variety Show: A2 Symphony Orchestra's new season offers something for all

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Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, 2017-18 season

Some of the views from A2SO this season (clockwise from upper left): Hill Auditorium, Jinjoo Cho, Arie Lipsky, [http://www.a2so.com/events/blue-cathedral|"Blue Cathedral,"] Zlatomir Fung, and the music of Star Wars.

Saying the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s 89th season has variety would be a gross understatement.

“We like to feature pieces that were written all the way from the Baroque era to the classical era to the romantic era to the 21st century and beyond, even pieces that were written in the last couple of years,” said Arie Lipsky, A2SO’s musical director and conductor. “I think the variety is much more apparent in this season.”

Rasa's Riverside Arts exhibition features South Asian-inspired multi-arts

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Sangchen Tsomo

Sangchen Tsomo's figurative oil paintings mix Eastern themes with Western art styles. Photo courtesy Riverside Arts Gallery.

One component of the ongoing [https://rasafestival.org|Rasa Festival] can be seen through September 30 at the [http://www.riversidearts.org|Riverside Arts Gallery] in Ypsilanti. [https://www.facebook.com/riverside.arts.center|Riverside Arts Gallery]’s lower-level space houses many large, vibrant, and gestural paintings, and geometric, mandala designs in ritualistic floor art known as [http://www.culturalindia.net/indian-art/rangoli/index.html|rangoli], [http://www.culturalindia.net/indian-art/rangoli/alpana.html|alpana], or [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolam|kolam].

The show, Madhavi: Illusion’s Beer, which is a part of 2017’s [https://www.facebook.com/aksharaartsorg|Rasa Festival] exhibitions, collectively focuses on the Navarasa (Nine Rasas). This can also be translated as “the nine moods,” which are various facets of Indian aesthetics. These facets include love/beauty, laughter, sorrow, anger, heroism/courage, terror/fear, disgust, surprise/wonder, and peace/tranquility.

Journalism advocate Wallace House expands programming to engage the public

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Wallace House, Lynette Clemetson, Lydia Polgreen, David Fahrenthold, Alec MacGillis

Clockwise from left: Wallace House director Lynette Clemetson, Huffington Post editor Lydia Polgreen, Washington Post journalist David Fahrenthold, and ProPublica's Alec MacGillis.

Wallace House at the University of Michigan features two major programs that recognize the work of early career and mid-career journalists.

"The [https://wallacehouse.umich.edu/knight-wallace|Knight-Wallace Fellowships] for journalists is a residential program here at the University of Michigan," said [http://annarborobserver.com/articles/lynette_clemetson_full_article.html|Lynette Clemetson], director of Wallace House. "We bring roughly 20 mid-career journalists to the university every year for an academic year of immersive study related to their work as journalists. Our other program is [https://wallacehouse.umich.edu/livingston-awards/winners|The Livingston Awards], which is an awards program recognizing excellence in journalism by journalists under 35."

Wallace House was a gift from 60 Minutes's Mike Wallace and his wife, Mary, but its offerings aren't strictly for journalists and the organization is expanding its public programming. On Thursday, September 14, award-winning political reporter [https://www.propublica.org/people/alec-macgillis|Alec MacGillis] will give the [https://wallacehouse.umich.edu/?p=8287|32nd Hovey Lecture], and he'll cover income inequality in the U.S. and the perilous implications of winner-take-all cities and left-behind places. The additional talks feature the Washington Post’s [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Fahrenthold|David Fahrenthold] (October 26), who was awarded a Pulitzer for his reporting on the Donald J. Trump Foundation, and [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_Polgreen|Lydia Polgreen] (January 16), editor of The Huffington Post.

We chatted with Clemetson about these upcoming events, demystifying journalism, and its vital role in a functioning democracy.

Magical Connections: Bookbound's Open Mic & Share Poetry Series turns 5

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Bookbound open mic

Leslie McGraw (left) curates the Open Mic & Share Poetry Series at Bookbound, which is co-owned by Megan Blackshear (right).

There are those who believe the poets will save us all, and those people are probably correct. Lucky for us locals, there are several places around town that feature live poetry readings including the independently owned and operated bookstore [http://www.bookboundbookstore.com|Bookbound] on the north side of Ann Arbor.

Every second Thursday (except in August and January) at 7 pm finds poets and poetry lovers gathered in Bookbound’s comfortable space. Self-described poetry enthusiast Leslie McGraw curates and leads the Open Mic & Share Poetry Series, which can veer from scheduled poets to open mic explorations and pure party slams.

“There are many poets who write it because they love it and not because it’s their 'career,'" McGraw says. "Poets who have self-published or published with independent presses may not get that big 'book launch' feeling and all of them should still have the chance to market their work. One of the best ways to do this is for readers to meet the person, hear them reading their creations.”