Laughter Blast!

One of my favorite creative teams is coming to town to give you a chuckle and a lift this holiday season on Saturday, December 27 at 2:00 pm Downtown. Talented storyteller and Hopwood Winner, Badria Jazairi, is joining her theatrical expert husband and Pioneer teacher, Phil Walker, for laughter yoga and creative play for the 9 year old and up crowd. Adults and teens are very welcome!

Mittenfest of Music to Benefit 826Michigan


Ypsilanti’s Elbow Room will play host to the 3rd annual Mittenfest. This year’s Mittenfest is three nights of local musicians at one location, where all proceeds will go to 826Michigan. Ann Arbor's 826Michigan is the Michigan chapter of 826National, which was started by Pulitzer nominated author Dave Eggers. 826 is a "non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write." They offer totally free programs, such as tutoring, workshops, drop-in writing and all sorts of other fun things. (And they are housed in a robot store!) Mittenfest is a great way to enjoy quality local bands (such as Great Lakes Myth Society) and support a great organization. See here for a list of all the bands.

Elbow Room | 6 South Washington St. Ypsilanti | Dec 26, 27, 28 | Doors open @ 5pm, Music @ 6pm | $5 per night | $12 for 3-day pass

A touch of Ireland

Catch the music of Teada, an acclaimed quintet that plays traditional Irish music. They play at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 17 at the Ark. Its five members play guitar, bouzouki, flute, accordian, fiddle and bodrahn (traditional Irish drum). Well known on the international stage, Téada has played major festivals around North America, and in Europe they've drawn crowds of more than 30,000. Tonight they're joined by County Cork resident and former Solas vocalist Karan Casey, whom the Washington Post called "the Irish equivalent of Emmylou Harris." Doors open at 7:30.

Also, check out the Library's great collection of Irish musicteadateada.

2009 It's All Write! Short Story Writing Contest

short storyshort story

It's almost time for the 2009 It's All Write! Short Story Contest to begin! In less than one month, on FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, entries will start being accepted in our annual writing contest. Winners will be announced at the Ann Arbor Book Festival Short Story Contest event, Saturday, May 16 featuring teen book author Gary D Schmidt. Here are the facts for this year's contest:

1st Place ($250), 2nd Place ($150), and 3rd Place ($100) prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Grades 6-8, Grades 9-10, and Grades 11-12.

Entries accepted FRIDAY, JANUARY 23 through FRIDAY, MARCH 20.

Guidelines are attached here.

Prize Winning Short Stories is a booklet available for check out of previous years' winners, or you can read last year's winners online. Good Luck!

Author Greg Mortenson comes to Ann Arbor in January

AADL is pleased to bring American mountain climber and humanitarian Greg Mortenson to Ann Arbor on January 24 as part of his nation-wide tour to promote the new youth and teen versions (coming soon!) of his book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time. This event, which will include a book sale and signing courtesy of Nicola's Books, will take place on Saturday, from 6-7:00 p.m. in the Huron High School Auditorium at 2727 Fuller Road in Ann Arbor.

T-o-o-o-o-o-t! Trains in Toyland sounds fun

Tomorrow Dec. 13 the Washtenaw County Historical Society opens its Trains in Toyland exhibition which runs through Sunday Jan. 25 at the Museum on Main Street, 500 N. Main St. Hours are 12-4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday, and demos will be offered each Saturday and Sunday by the Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club. Firefly the Magic Clown is scheduled for Sunday Dec. 14. Remember, the exhibition will be closed Dec. 24 and 31, but open on Jan 19 Martin Luther King Day. Sounds like a good winter outing for young train fans, who may want to prepare by checking out a train book, maybe C is for Caboose: Riding the rails from A to Z or Puff, puff, chugga-chugga.

A touch of bluegrass in the snow


Tonight, December 12, The Ark presents the RFD Boys a favorite local bluegrass band. Their shows are a mix of great music and funny in-between songs dialogue. Proceeds from the concert go to the Leslie Science Center, a city parks facility that provides environmental education activities to the community. The show starts at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30. Get those toes tappin'. Also, check out their cd at the library.

Chesstastic moves to Traverwood and other good stuff

Black and White King

We had a great turnout for last Sunday's Chess Strategies and Tips session. Now Chesstastic officially moves to Traverwood this Sunday, December 14 (1-4 p.m.). Join the fun by taking on players of all ages. Sets are provided, but feel free to bring your own.

Ever tried a chess tournament? If you are in Kindergarten through 8th grade, try the Thurston Chess Tournament on Saturday, January 24. This local, low-cost tournament is a great first tournament for kids and parents who want to see what a chess tournament is like. There will be two afternoon sections for beginners and casual players, and two full-day sections for more experienced players. Space is limited to the first 120 players, so sign up as soon as possible. Entry fees range from $6-$10, depending on the section and if you sign up prior to December 31.

Listen up!

Don't miss the the 8th Annual Poetry Night in Ann Arbor this Thursday, December 11 at Rackham Auditorium at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 6:15 if you want to get a good seat). This celebration of the spoken and written word will feature poets Marty McConnell and Tim Seibles and a special return guest appearance by Paco, the 2003 Ann Arbor Youth Poetry Slam Champion and former U-M Poetry Slam Champion. Also appearing will be poets from the Volume Youth Poetry Project and A2 Wordworks, a U of M troupe. This is always an "electric" evening full of the passion and joy of these young people who literally speak truth to power.

The Victors: Michigan Jazz with Hazen Schumacher

Come celebrate the publication of Hazen Schumacher’s A Golden Age of Jazz Revisited, on Sunday, December 14, 2-3:30 at the Downtown Library. The book makes the case that the years 1939-42 were the artistic highpoint of popular jazz, and it includes 2 CDs with the tunes he feels back up his claim. Schumacher, who was jazz radio host at UM for thirty years (WEMU-89.1 FM has taken over that role), will discuss and play recordings of the most loved jazz in Michigan and on the UM campus of the mid-twentieth century. He is a master of the genre and will entertain and enlighten new and old jazz lovers.

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