Crossing Borders: National Theatre of Ghana explores Tennessee Williams’ "Ten Blocks"

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National Theatre of Ghana

National Theatre of Ghana will turn Ten Blocks on the Camino Real into a Ghanaian Concert Party."

Theater-goers in Southeast Michigan will soon have four chances to see a unique production of Tennessee Williams’ one-act play Ten Blocks on the Camino Real, the foundation of his later expanded work Camino Real. The National Theatre of Ghana -- aka Abibigroma, the Ghanaian name of the theater troupe -- will perform the one-act play at outdoor venues in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit in a performance style known as Ghanaian Concert Party.

David Kaplan, the production’s director and also the curator of the annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival in Massachusetts, said he “learned about Ghanaian Concert Party in 1997 from someone in the Peace Corps who had seen performances in Ghana. Concert Party is a form of outdoor theater that combines African stock characters, clowning, singing, and dance -- and social satire. I love clowning that delivers insight."

Kaplan "thought for years about a suitable text" to adapt for a Ghanaian Concert Party "and it seemed a perfect fit for performing Ten Blocks on the Camino Real. The American actor Greg McGoon, who had worked with Abibigroma, introduced me to the ensemble. It fit their mission, too, performing popular theater as a way to build community.”

Share Button: Scott Stabile's "Big Love" encourages people to express themselves

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Scott Stabile, Big Love

Share alike: Scott Stabile opens up about his life to let readers know they're not alone.

Love is the answer. Love will find a way. Love the one you’re with. Love is never having to say you’re sorry.

OK, fine.

But what does it really mean to embrace love and share that love with others?

Author Scott Stabile shares his thoughts on this and so much more on his social media accounts (followed by more than 350,000 people) and in his new book, Big Love: The Power of Living With a Wide-Open Heart. (He'll also share his ideas live at Nicola’s Books on Wednesday, September 13 at 7 pm.)

Oliver Uberti launches "Where the Animals Go" at Literati -- where it all began

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Oliver Uberti, Where the Animals Go

Oliver Uberti's new book, Where the Animals Go, was conceived in Ann Arbor.

On Tuesday, September 12, designer and author [http://www.oliveruberti.com|Oliver Uberti] returns to Ann Arbor to launch the [http://wheretheanimalsgo.com|Where the Animals Go] at Literati. It's a full-circle journey for the book and Uberti.

"I discovered graphic design as a student at the University of Michigan. I drafted many sections of Where the Animals Go in Literati’s cafe," Uberti said. "I found the book’s epigraphs on Literati’s shelves. Quite literally, Ann Arbor is where this book originated. I’m very excited to come back to say thank you."

Where the Animals Go is the first book to offer a comprehensive, data-driven portrait of how creatures like ants, otters, owls, turtles, and sharks navigate the world. Uberti teamed up with James Cheshire, whose award-winning maps have appeared in publications like the Financial Times and The Guardian, to create this collection of charts and maps that tell fascinating stories of animal behavior through an intersection of technology and design.

"James and I are not biologists. He’s a geographer; I’m a designer," Uberti said. "That’s the beauty of the animal-tracking revolution. The convergence of ecology and technology invites more people from more disciplines into the conservation conversation. We hope this book will inspire readers to get involved in any way they can."

The book has already earned incredible praise, including from legend Jane Goodall, who called Where the Animals Go “beautiful as well as informative and inspiring.” We chatted with Uberti ahead of his visit.

The Literary Works: Kerrytown BookFest offers a farmer's market of prose and poetry

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15th annual Kerrytown BookFest

The 15th Kerrytown BookFest will features dozens of authors while also reaffirming its dedication to highlighting book-making arts.

For the past 15 years, the [https://www.kerrytownbookfest.org|Kerrytown BookFest] has honored and celebrated writers and readers with speakers, panels, and a sprawling book fair held under the farmers’ market sheds.

But for this year, BookFest Co-Chair Linda Kimmel is particularly pleased with the festival’s re-emphasis on book arts, including “letterpress printers, binders, illustrators, papermakers. ... [W]e have once again increased the number of book artists who are vendors at the event ... and increased the number of book arts demonstrations to six this year.”

Zilka Joseph will lead a panel of musing poets at Kerrytown BookFest

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Zilka Joseph, Sharp Blue Search of Flame

Zilka Joseph (upper left) will moderate a panel with Michigan poets (clockwise from upper right) Keith Taylor, Z.G. Tomaszewski, Cindy Hunter Morgan, and Robert Fanning at the 15th annual Kerrytown BookFest.

On Sunday, September 10, the 15th annual [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/365998|Kerrytown BookFest] takes over the Farmer’s Market and Concert House for a full day of [https://www.kerrytownbookfest.org/demontrations|book arts demonstrations], author signings -- see the full list [https://www.kerrytownbookfest.org/author-book-signings|here] -- and [https://www.kerrytownbookfest.org/2017-schedule|panel discussions], such as "Short Stories From 'Bob Seger's House'" with [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Airgood%252C%2BEllen|Ellen Airgood], [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/356660|Loren D. Estelman], [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Henry%252C%2BGordon|Gordon Henry], and [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Zadoorian%252C%2BMichael|Michael Zadoorian] moderated by [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Liebler%252C%2BM.%2BL|M.L. Liebler]. (AADL card holders can download the book they're discussing [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/record/wsu-3985|here].)

It's truly a celebration of this region's rich literary scene, all neatly packed into one of Ann Arbor's most beloved neighborhoods. (See our full preview of the festival [http://pulp.aadl.org/node/365998|here].)

Ann Arbor poet, editor, and educator [http://www.zilkajoseph.com|Zilka Joseph] will moderate a 4 pm panel at Kerrytown BookFest called “Poetic Musings” with [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Fanning%252C%2BRobert|Robert Fanning], [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Morgan%252C%2BCindy%2BHunter|Cindy Hunter Morgan], [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Keith%2BTaylor|Keith Taylor], and Z.G. Tomaszewski. Joseph’s most recent collection is [http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/Joseph%252C%2BZilka|Sharp Blue Search of Flame], published by Wayne State University Press in 2016. We chatted with her about Michigan poets, favorite Ann Arbor literary haunts, and being a citizen of the world.

A2CT's “Seussical, the Musical” will transport viewers to a magic kingdom

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Ann Arbor Civic Theatre presents Seussical, the Musical

Rob Roy and Eric VanWasshnova in SeussicalM, which takes aesthetic inspiration from a Disney Cruise restaurant. Photo: Lisa Gavan | Gavan Photo

The fanciful world of Dr. Seuss will come to life on the Mendelssohn Theater stage this weekend when [http://www.a2ct.org|Ann Arbor Civic Theatre] presents [https://www.facebook.com/events/160812731157599|Seussical, the Musical]

“We were looking for a family fare kind of show,” said director Denyse Clayton. “Most every show for families is a ‘feel good’ show, but in the particular political climate we’re living in now, I think that to buy a ticket and go someplace magical to escape it all for a while feels particularly good.”

Come Together: A2 Jazz Fest will showcase the region's rich talent

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A2 Jazz Fest

2017 A2 Jazz Fest performers include (clockwise from left) Dan Bennett, Sean Dobbins, Tristan Cappel, and Janelle Reichman, among many others.

Although the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area is certainly home to many talented jazz musicians, sometimes it might seem that they fly a little under the radar. The [https://a2jazzfest.com|A2 Jazz Fest] is out to change that.

The free admission, two-day festival returns for its second edition Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9. Friday evening’s venue is the First Congregational Church, while on Saturday the festival takes over LIVE nightclub. (This is a change from the initially announced location at the Ann Arbor Distilling Co.)

“Currently jazz is featured at a number of restaurants and bars, once or twice a week, but there is no longer a dedicated jazz club in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti," says [https://www.davesharp.com|Dave Sharp], local bassist, bandleader, and organizer of the A2 Jazz Fest. "UMS and the Kerrytown Concert House certainly feature amazing jazz groups, but not on the scale or frequency of a jazz club or jazz festival."

UMS's season starts with Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9's new spin on New Orleans jazz

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Butler, Bernstein & The  Hot 9

Henry Butler, Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9 promise a U-M-worthy take on Jelly Roll Morton's "Wolverine Blues."

New York meets New Orleans in Ann Arbor on Friday, Sept. 8, as Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9 bring their unique twist on classic jazz to a special concert at [http://www.downtownhomeandgarden.com|Downtown Home & Garden]/[http://www.billsbeergarden.com|Bill's Beer Garden].

[https://ums.org/performance/butler-bernstein-the-hot-9|The show], which opens the new season of the University Musical Society, continues a successful partnership of the great New Orleans pianist and singer [http://henrybutler.com|Henry Butler] with [http://www.stevenbernstein.net|Steven Bernstein], the accomplished New York trumpeter and bandleader known for working in a number of different styles with various ensembles.

Tools Crew Live: Mark Kirschenmann & Adam Shead

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Downloads:
➥ [http://www.aadl.org/files/media/pulp_tcl_20170420-kirschenmann_shead-be…|MP3 for "Behind the Sky"]
➥ [http://www.aadl.org/files/media/pulp_tcl_20170420-kirschenmann_shead-be…|720p video]

[http://pulp.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/107572|Tools Crew Live] is an ongoing video series where we invite artists to perform with gear borrowed from the Ann Arbor District Library's Music Tools collection: [http://www.aadl.org/musictools|aadl.org/musictools].

The most common use for effects pedals in AADL's collection is to change the sound of electric instruments, such as guitars and keyboards -- not acoustic gear, such as trumpets and drums. But there's nothing common about the music of [http://www.music.umich.edu/faculty_staff/bio.php?u=sonikman|Mark Kirschenmann], PhD. He's been experimenting with changing the tone of his trumpet through electronics since the '70s after he heard Miles Davis' electro-jazz-funk classic On the Corner.

Kirschenmann is a U-M lecturer of jazz and contemporary improvisation, and he also leads the music school's [https://www.music.umich.edu/performances_events/event.php?id=11297|Crea… Arts Orchestra], which includes drummer [https://adamsheadmusic.bandcamp.com|Adam Shead], a grad student at U-M studying "cultural memory, tradition, and narrative in improvised music communities." Shead augments his standard drum setup with electronics and straight-up knick-knacks, such as a dishtowel or his wallet, so he can explore different tonalities on his kit.

Together, Kirschenmann and Shead combine their extended techniques -- such as playing the trumpet without a mouthpiece or putting a leg on the snare drum -- to create an improvised universe of sound.

We talked to the duo about why they began applying electronic effects to their acoustic instruments, Kirschenmann's use of AADL music tools in his classes, and the stories behind the two songs they recorded for us in the library's Secret Lab on April 20, 2017.

Nature's Way: Chris Bathgate's "Dizzy Seas" is simultaneously ethereal and earthy

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Chris Bathgate

Chris Bathgate hasn't lived in Ann Arbor or this state for a decade, but his songs still evoke the idea of "Michigan music."

The release of a new [http://www.chrisbathgate.org|Chris Bathgate] album is a major occasion for fans of great songwriting and enticing sounds -- especially in Michigan, where he has strong ties.

He released the Old Factory EP last year, but this spring’s [http://store.chrisbathgate.org/album/dizzy-seas|Dizzy Seas] is Bathgate’s first full-length album since 2011’s acclaimed Salt Year. (All came out on the Ann Arbor-based [http://www.quitescientific.com|Quite Scientific] label.) The songs on [http://store.chrisbathgate.org/album/dizzy-seas|Dizzy Seas] are as strong as ever, presented in a sound that’s simultaneously rich and stripped down. And although Bathgate now lives in California, Michigan has definitely left an impression.

He agreed to answer a few questions via email about the new record, the themes of his songs, and Michigan music.