The Play Ground

The Play Ground

Gotta "Love Me Tender" or at least, love that Michigan Elvisfest on Saturday, July 7th and 8th at Riverside Park located in Ypsilanti's Historic Depot Town. This is the largest Elvis tribute concert in North America! So, shake, rattle and roll with award-winning Elvis tribute artists and Las Vegas impersonators. Events for kids also. "Don't Be Cruel" and wear your "Blue Suede Shoes" to Ypsi this weekend. Friday, July 7, 5 PM - Midnight and Saturday, July 8, Noon to Midnight.

Did He or Didn’t He?

That’s usually a question for the detective in the book to answer, not the reader of the book. But Vince Lardo’s follow-ups to the very dead mystery writer Lawrence Sanders Archie McNally books have readers debating whether Vince ghostwrote them all.

Listen to all our McNally mysteries on book on cd and decide for yourself. Start with a few Sanders wrote (or didn’t) like McNally’s Secret, McNally’s Risk or McNally’s Caper. Then try a few of the Lardo titles beginning with McNally’s Dilemma and our latest addition to the series, McNally’s Bluff.

Lena Horne

lena

Lena Horne, great lady of song, was born 89 years ago on June 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. Horne broke the color barrier in film by being the first African American woman to sign a long-term contract with MGM. In 1943, she became famous for her song, Stormy Weather, which she sang in the movie of the same name. Because of discrimination, Horne was never given a major role in any of her films except Cabin in the Sky.

Horne also

Celebrate July 4 with a bang!

July 4 is one week from today, and that usually means fireworks and impressive visual shows. But with those shows are often pretty impressive classical music pieces themselves.

One of the staples of brass is the 1812 Overture, by Peter Tchaikovsky, a piece that celebrates the Russian victory over Napoleon's army. Done properly, the piece calls for cannons, and is one of the loudest pieces in classical music, but most orchestra halls are a little leery of firing grapeshot into the audience.

A Splash of Pops or Mr. Holland's Guide to Classical Music have the piece in their collection, but if you're interested in more of Tchaikovsy's work, you can check out his symphonies, as well.

Road Trip

Why not spend the hours traveling to your vacation spot listening to someone else's travelogue? Start with a masterpiece, Blue Highways by William Least-Heat-Moon, a journey across the backroads of America. Visit Whynot, Mississippi and Remote, Oregon with one of the best storytellers out there. The Ride of Our Lives brings together three generations of NBC correspondent Mike Leonard's family on a road trip across the states to meet the first member of the family's 4th generation. If you're still in the car (our sympathies) here's a quick list of recommended listening: Feet on the Street, A Year in the World and City of Falling Angels.

A Horse by a Different Author

Dick Francis has probably written his last mystery, a loss for all of us who loved his books set in the world of horse racing. Fear not! Top-notch mystery writer John Dunning has taken up the race track theme and combined it with another great mystery subject, bibliomania, to create The Bookwoman’s Last Fling, starring rare-book dealer and former cop Cliff Janeway. Cliff is brought in to appraise a horse training family's book collection but bodies keep getting in the way of his research. So it’s

Bad Dog Club

Does this sound familiar? Your dog is kicked out of obedience school for terrorizing the instructor. He chews on walls for entertainment. She thinks light bulbs are a great appetizer. Then Marley and Me is the book on cd for you. John Grogan’s loving tribute to the Labrador from Hell (or Heaven depending on the day) will make you appreciate your dog – or at least find comfort in knowing he’s not the only one who stayed a puppy his whole life.

The Play Ground

The Play Ground

Ok, if you don't already know about the tragic Mimi how can I summarize La Boheme in a few sentences? I can't. But, describing Act I gives a good entre into this classic opera.
Paris, Christmas Eve, c. 1830. In their Latin Quarter garret, two starving artists try to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo's latest drama. They are joined by their comrades bring food, fuel and funds. Meanwhile, the landlord arrives to collect the rent. There is another knock: a neighbor, Mimì, says her candle has gone out on the drafty stairs. Offering her wine when she feels faint, Rodolfo relights her candle and helps her to the door. Mimì realizes she has dropped her key, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. In the moonlight the poet takes the girl's shivering hand, telling her his dreams. She then recounts her solitary life, embroidering flowers and waiting for spring. Drawn to each other, Mimì and Rodolfo leave for the café. Sigh.
La Boheme by Guiacomo Puccini, Arbor Opera Theater, June 15-18, Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre

Oasis Definitely, Maybe Beats the Beatles

In a recent poll, 40,000 music fans voted the debut album by British rock band Oasis, "Definitely, Maybe," as the best album of all time. It topped the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band and Revolver and several others in the top 10, including Nevermind by Nirvana and OK Computer, by Radiohead. Naturally, there's plenty of controversy over the rankings. So, what do you think?

History Repeats Itself

Starred reviews all around for Saving the World, Julia Alvarez’s fifth novel that tells the story of a present-day Latina writer retelling the story of a real-life woman of uncommon courage, Dona Isabel Sendales y Gomez. Dona Isabel served as guardian to nineteen orphan boys with smallpox who were used by Dr. Francisco Balmis to inoculate the citizens of New Spain against the dreaded disease. When the writer’s husband, a humanitarian activist, is taken hostage in the Dominican Republic, the story of Dona Isabel prov

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