Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!

AADL Productions Podcast: Bring It Back, Take It Forward Conference

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Bring It Back, Take It Forward (BIBTIF), a 3-day conference celebrating 50 years of activism in southeast Michigan, will take place March 12-14, 2010. In this podcast, we talk with two of the conference organizers, Elizabeth Gonzalez and James Toy. Gonzalez, a graduate student in the UM School of Social Work, and Toy, a veteran activist and founding member of the University's Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office in 1971, reflect on the achievements and challenges of activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as their hopes for the conference and the future of the progressive movement.

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AADL_Productions_Podcast-BIBTIF.mp3 28.71 MB

Bring It Back, Take It Forward: March 12-14

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What do Michigan alumni Arturo Rodriguez, Dean Baker, Bill Ayers, and Harvey Wasserman have in common? They were all campus activists in the late-1960s and early 1970s--and they're coming back to the University of Michigan March 12-14 for Bring it Back, Take it Forward (BIBTIF), a three-day conference at the Rackham Building. The conference will feature a dozen panel presentations focusing on several topics including the environment, health care, feminism, immigration rights, the underground media, TBLG issues and the progressive movement itself. Speakers will consider the future of progressive activism and reflect on previous milestones, including the 40th anniversary of the Black Action Movement (BAM) and the 45th anniversary of the first teach-in against the Vietnam War here at the University of Michigan.

A full list of presenters and programs is available here. For additional details and background on the presenters, visit the BIBTIF website.

Germantown: Old but in the news

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Among articles called out in the recent “Proposed Fourth and Fifth Avenues Historic District Study” is Grace Shackman’s Old West Side Story: The Germans in Ann Arbor. In this article, Grace carefully traces the longstanding German influence, back to 1825 when Mannheim baker Conrad Bissinger apparently became the first German to set foot in town. Reading this article, you can see why some people want an historic district that might include Bethlehem United Church of Christ and nearby historic homes. Click here to read a news story from AnnArbor.com. The actual report about the proposed historic district is here.

Winter: Good Season for Plays

Theater has deep roots around here, as Grace Shackman chronicles in her Ann Arbor Observer article about the old Whitney Theater. Today we continue to enjoy a lively drama scene; this weekend (Feb. 27-28), at least three stage productions are running:
1) It Came from Mars! a screwball comedy about a group of radio actors terrified by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, playing at Performance Network. Read a review.
2) Gravity, spotlighting the secret life of Isaac Newton, at Purple Rose in Chelsea.
3) Cheaper by the Dozen, based on the book by Frank Gilbreth, at Riverside Arts Center.
Why not pick a drama, style your hat, and head out?

Ice Skating and Winter: A high-performance combination

Ice skating has a long, fascinating history in this area -- and the allure continues today. Earlier this month, U-M students Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates were headed to the national figure skating competition in Spokane, the Ann Arbor Observer reported. To see a dicussion with Samuelson, Bates, and other skaters, check out our DVD The Life of a Figure Skater: Local Ice Dance Medalists Discuss National and International Competition.

Brewed in Ann Arbor

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With another brewery set to open, this seems like a good time to reflect on the history of drinking and brewing in Ann Arbor. Local historian Grace Shackman has written about the old Ann Arbor Brewing Company on 4th Street and the once-popular Court Tavern. And did you know that an old West Side bar once stood on Bach school's playground? You can feast on several other articles detailing the history of drinking and dining in Ann Arbor...and while you're at it, why not raise a toast to Ann Arbor's Lost Eateries?

AADL Productions Podcast: Lola Jones and Carol Gibson

Lola Jones and Carol Gibson are well-known to anyone familiar with Ann Arbor history. Over the past 30 years they have sought out and documented the history of the African American experience in Ann Arbor through a series of projects under the moniker Another Ann Arbor; it is largely through their work that the Ann Arbor African American story is a part of our shared community identity. Lola and Carol stopped by the library to talk with us one day about the work they have done over the years and where they are headed next. They shared with us some of the interesting people and events they have learned about and brought to the community in their television program, their documentaries, and their book.

You can now watch one of their documentaries online at aadl.org in our video collection. A Woman's Town was produced in 1991 and tells the story of Ann Arbor through the voices of prominent African American women.

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AADL_Productions_Podcast-Lola_Jones_Carol_Gibson.mp3 30.8 MB

Preserving Your Photographic Heritage

Photo Restoration

How can you preserve and protect precious photographs so that memories may last for future generations? Learn how to protect your personal mementos with local experts. Dianna Samuelson of the Bentley Historical Library will explain how to preserve and restore photographs, while George Borel Jr. of Huron Camera Shop will give information on what can be done digitally to repair photos. Get a head start by checking out these books on photography and some on digital preservation.

Join us Wednesday January 13, 2010: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room for Preserving Your Photographic Heritage.

A century ago: Christmas in Ann Arbor

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On Christmas, 1909, the staff of Fred Hoelzle's butcher shop worked all night cutting fresh meat for their customers' holiday celebrations. (Click on the photo for a larger view.) Read more about the shop and Metzger's restaurant in our digital collection of Then and Now columns from the Ann Arbor Observer.

The Original Green Machines: Electric Trolleys of Washtenaw County

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In the 1890s, electric mass transportation flourished in Washtenaw County, yet suddenly became extinct after only a few decades. What made this mode of transportation so popular and why did it die so quickly? Find out when authors H. Mark Hildebrandt and Martha Churchill join us to discuss their new book, 'Electric Trolleys of Washtenaw County' on Wed. Dec. 2nd, 7 p.m., at the Downtown Library. This event will include a book signing and books will be on sale courtesy of Nicola's Books.

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