Fun events for every purrsonality at Tiny Lions lounge and adoption center

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Tiny Lions lounge and adoption center

The Humane Society of Huron Valley's Tiny Lions lounge and adoption center entertains visitors with movies, yoga, and kitty cats.

History records that cats were worshiped as gods in ancient Egypt -- and they have never forgotten that! Our furry feline friends may be finicky at times, but they are also devoted, cuddly, and loving. If you don’t or can’t have a kitty (and even if you do!), you can get your feline fix six days a week at our own cat cafe, Tiny Lions.

The “catfe,” which is run by the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV), opened in 2016 and cat lovers have been cuddling, petting, and snuggling felines ever since. Visitors can drop in -- even grab a coffee from the Biggby next door -- for some pettings and purrs, or they can attend events such as [http://www.tinylions.org/yoga|yoga], [http://www.tinylions.org/mewvienights|Family Mew-vie Night], [http://www.tinylions.org/trivia|trivia] for grownups, or [http://www.tinylions.org/coloringwithcats|coloring] for all ages.

Stately Songs: Michigan folk legend Jay Stielstra feted at The Ark

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Jay Stielstra

Jay Stielstra in 1984 at the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice sendoff party at West Park following the Peace Parade. Photo via [http://www.aadl.org/icpj_0803|oldnews.aadl.org].

Jay Stielstra will be receiving a Michigan legislative [http://theark.org/shows-events/2017/aug/15/michigan-tribute-jay-stielst…|tribute at The Ark] on Tuesday, August 15. Many Michigan music fans will agree the award is well deserved and long overdue. Few musicians command more respect and affection than Stielstra, 83, who has been writing and singing about his beloved Michigan for nearly five decades.

State Senator Rebekkah Warren will present the award, which honors Stielstra’s lifetime of artistic contributions to the State of Michigan, and former State Senator Lana Pollack will introduce Senator Warren and will also make brief remarks. After Stielstra is presented the award, the music will begin. A large group of musicians will be on hand to help celebrate Stielstra by performing and/or accompanying his songs, which shouldn't take too much practice: His songs are a part of the repertoire of many musicians throughout the state.

"The Belle of Two Arbors" is a historical novel that's heavy on research

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The Belle of Two Arbors

The Belle of Two Arbors is about a U-M student in 1921 who wrestles with misogyny and meets with Robert Frost.

“Epic” is not a word to be thrown about lightly, especially in the literary world. But Paul Dimond’s gorgeous historical novel [https://www.facebook.com/TheBelleofTwoArbors|The Belle of Two Arbors], which details the towns of Glen Arbor, Ann Arbor, and a lifetime that spans decades, should at least be under consideration to be called as such.

Dimond graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1969 and enjoyed a long career as an attorney (including a stint as Special Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy) and is the author of three books on law and policy. He credits the Ann Arbor District Library and the Bentley Historical Library for helping him research [https://belleoftwoarbors.com|The Belle of Two Arbors], and he'll give a talk at AADL's downtown branch about researching the novel on [http://www.aadl.org/node/364420|Wednesday, September 13], at 7 pm. He will also be at [https://www.thehenryford.org|The Henry Ford] on Thursday, September 14, from 6:30-9:30 pm to talk about turning the Frost house into a living center for innovation and the creation of poetry. Dimond and book contributor Martha Buhr Grimes will be at [http://www.literatibookstore.com/event/fiction-literati-paul-dimond-and…|Literati on Monday, August 14], at 7 pm to discuss The Belle of Two Arbors.

Contemporary Celtic: The Moxie Strings at The Ark

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Individually, all three members of [http://themoxiestrings.com|The Moxie Strings] have played at [http://a2ark.org/shows-events/2017/aug/13/moxie-strings|The Ark] many times before, backing other musicians, but on Sunday, August 13, they will be making their headliner debut there as a trio.

Diana Ladio, Alison Lynn, and Fritz McGirr have long been sought after as accompanists and sidemen by bands and musicians who play in a variety of styles, but for the last six years have put most of their energy into teaching, touring, and recording with the unique brand of contemporary Celtic-influenced, rock-inflected music that is their trio’s trademark. Think Riverdance, and then think again.

Cut Out for It: The Matisse Jazz Project explores the art of improvisation

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The Matisse Jazz Project, Christopher Bakriges, Gwen Laster

Christopher Bakriges and Gwen Laster return to their native Michigan for three concerts by their Matisse Jazz Project.

In 2009, pianist [http://bakriges.com|Christopher Bakriges], a former student of Oscar Peterson, had the idea to compose music that corresponded to individual pieces in Henri Matisse’s [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_(Henri_Matisse)|Jazz] series, which was published in 1947 and consists of 20 striking paper collages inspired by improvisation. It was 2012 when Bakriges finished all 20 compositions, and [http://bakriges.com/matisse-jazz-project|The Matisse Jazz Project] was born soon after.

Prior to 2017, Bakriges had performed his Matisse-inspired compositions with violinist Stanley Chepaitis, but now the project features [http://www.gwenlaster.com|Gwen Laster] on violin. The duo will play three shows in Michigan this weekend, including two concerts in Ann Arbor and one at the Detroit Institute of Art.

“It’s expansive. It stimulates the senses differently," Laster said about the Project. “Each piece has a distinct personality and flavor in your mind."

New leader in place, UMS raises the baton for a new season

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Ragmala Dance Company, Matthew VanBesien

[https://ums.org/performance/ragamala-dance-company|Ragmala Dance Company]'s Written in Water sways into town Oct. 20. But new UMS president Matthew VanBesien is already in A2.

When the curtain rises on the new University Musical Society (UMS) season next month, for the first time in 30 years the venerable performing-arts presenting organization will do so with a new president. Matthew VanBesien comes to Ann Arbor from the presidency of the New York Philharmonic, but that’s not as big a leap as it might appear.

“I was born in the Midwest,” he explains during a recent interview. “I was definitely a product of good midwestern public school music education. I went to school at (Indiana University) for music. ... The times that I’ve been back in this part of the country, it always feels like home.

“Ann Arbor, of course, is a very special place. It’s hard to think of very many small cities in America that have the complete package the way this place does,” he adds. “I really value what’s here -- the environment, the spirit, the intellectual curiosity -- it’s terrific.”

Our Lady Georgie: Rhys Bowen's "On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service"

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Rhys Bowen, On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service

For everybody's eyes only: Rhys Bowen visits AADL to celebrate the 11th release in her Royal Spyness series.

A lot happened in 1930s Great Britain: Neville Chamberlain became prime minister of England, the economy fluctuated as it tried to recover from the world war, and Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter of the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch, found herself broke and jobless forcing her to leave Scotland for London.

OK, the last part only happens in [http://rhysbowen.com|Rhys Bowen]’s Royal Spyness series -- but what an amazing ride it has been for the titled but insolvent Lady Georgie.

To celebrate the release of the 11th book in the series, On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, [https://www.facebook.com/RhysBowenAuthor|Bowen] will appear at the downtown branch of the library on August 3 at 7 pm. The event, co-sponsored by Aunt Agatha’s, will present this New York Times bestselling author as she talks about the latest installment of her successful series.

Brass Tacks' take on "Merchant of Venice" lets you decide who's a hero or villain

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Brass Tacks Ensemble, The Merchant of Venice

The 2017 Brass Tacks ensemble is taking on three Shakespeare plays this season and stripping them down to their essence.

The [http://btensemble.org|Brass Tacks Ensemble] has been performing shows in Ann Arbor since 1999. The company is known for stripping down its productions to the most basic elements of theater -- the text of a script and actors acting -- and eliminating as many distractions as possible so the audience's attention is focused on universal themes.

According to artistic director James Ingagiola, “The more you add to a production in terms of costumes, props, sets, etc., the more you lock it into a specific story about very specific people in a very specific time.” Put another way, Brass Tacks prides itself on being the antithesis of spectacle theater.

Michigan Chamber Folk: Chris DuPont is “Live in A2" (and Ypsilanti)

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Chris Dupont

Chris Dupont's new CD is a love letter to his loyal fans.

While building a reputation as a talented performer and songwriter, Ypsilanti’s [http://www.chrisdupontmusic.com|Chris DuPont] has kept up a schedule of releasing an album every couple of years. After [https://chrisdupont.bandcamp.com|three well-received studio outings], this year’s release is called [https://chrisdupont.bandcamp.com/album/live-in-a2|Live in A2] -- and it developed as something of an accident.

“I honestly don’t really like live albums very much,” [https://www.facebook.com/chrisdupont|DuPont] says with a smile. “There are a couple I love, but it’s not something I really imagined doing.”

But a soundboard recording was made of his show last year at The Ark. Listening to the results, he was struck by how good it sounded. So he decided to do a low-key release, with the first half of the album drawn from The Ark show and the second half featuring some concert favorites recorded “live in studio” at Ann Arbor’s Solid Sound Recording Co.

Partners in Rhyme: Katie Geddes and David Vaughn at The Ark

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Katie Geddes and David Vaughn at The Ark

Katie Geddes and David Vaughn's musical partnership extends from the Green Wood Coffee House to The Ark.

[https://www.facebook.com/KatieGeddesMusic|Katie Geddes]' warm voice and inviting onstage personality make you feel like you are getting a virtual hug at her concerts. And maybe that feeling will make you want to hug someone, too.

Her voice is a cross between Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, and her music selections hark back to gospel and country stars of old, but there is a contemporary edge to her presence and vocal stylings. The result is a sound that makes her sound simultaneously modern and timeless.