New Wave/Post-Punk Redux

Good news for those still arguing over whether New Order is a better band than their previous incarnation, Joy Division, or if David Byrne of Talking Heads ever did go corporate: the new wave/post-punk sound is alive and well in this millennium. As evidenced by the popularity of Franz Ferdinand's latest record, Tonight, and The Killers continuing to sell out arena shows and summer festivals, the synth-driven, lo-fi tones of many bands from the late '70s/early '80s are proving to be increasingly influential on the direction of rock music in the coming decade.

So does this mean it's safe to blast some XTC and Gang of Four at your next party without fearing everyone will laugh at you and leave? Guess that depends on your audience, but chances are if your iPod shuffles to "Blue Monday" after playing Passion Pit's "The Reeling," few will notice that the former came out in 1983, and the latter in 2009. Now, whether you want to look like you're post-punk in 1982 at said party, that decision is entirely up to you.

AADL Productions Podcast: Mr. B

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Local musician Mark Lincoln Braun, aka Mr. B, is celebrating his 30th year playing street boogie-woogie piano as part of the original Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. We talked recently with Mr. B about his memories of art fairs past; his musical influences; and his most recent venture, Mr. B's Joybox Express, a 125-mile bike ride he began July 13 for charity, riding a special bike designed to haul his piano. You'll find Mr. B playing every day during the art fair, Wednesday, July 15 through Saturday, July 18, on North University near Ingalls Mall.

AADL is also happy to help the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair celebrate another milestone with 50 Years of Originality: A History of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, a website of images, text, audio and video from the past half century of Ann Arbor's first fair.

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AADL_production_podcast-mrb.mp3 26.3 MB

Pink Floyd

See you on the dark side of the moon... Or should I say, see you Saturday night at the Pink Floyd light show. On July 11th at the DTE Energy Music Theatre there will be an event featuring over two hours of the band's music accompanied with a mesmerizing light show, giant moving inflatable people, laser beams, and three dimensional images. AADL owns several of Pink Floyd's albums for you to enjoy whether or not you plan to attend the light show.

Shi Pei Pu, Singer, Spy and ‘M. Butterfly,’ Dies at 70

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The story of Shi Pei Pu and Bernard Boursicot is more proof truth is stranger than fiction.

Bouriscot, was a worker at the French Embassy in Beijing when he fell in love with Shi Pei Pu, an opera singer who was a man masquerading as a woman. Read the obituary for the incredibly strange story of love, espionage and music.

Music Services for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals

The Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicappped (NLS) offers an extensive music program for its patrons. The NLS Music Services has scores, music theory, instrument instruction, biographies, and articles reprinted from periodicals. They are available in large print, Braille, Web-Braille, and on cassette. Anyone residing in the U.S. or its territories, or an American citizen living abroad, whose visual or physical impairment prevents them from reading regular-print, is eligible. Music lovers with disabilities can get in tune with this wonderful program by calling 800-424-8567 or by going to the NLS Web site.

Weekend Plans

Rothbury begins this Thursday and runs until late Sunday night. It should be a thrilling festival featuring a variety of acts ranging from legendary musicians (such as Bob Dylan, The Dead, Willie Nelson, etc.) to fresher talent (Steppin' In It, The Ragbirds, G Love and the Special Sauce, etc.) However, even those of us that had planned on going may find the festival a little pricey for our Fourth of July plans. There are plenty of local activities that are cheap but still nearly as fun as Rothbury. Michigan will have many fireworks displays no matter what area you live in. You could also plan a weekend camping trip to one of the State's numerous campgrounds. Or you could stay in town and enjoy the Ann Arbor Summer Festival!

Music for a cause

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Help support the activities of the Huron River Watershed Council this Saturday, June 27 at 11300 Island Lake Rd. (off Dexter-Pinckney Rd. just west of downtown Dexter). "Black Train," a local roots band that features country vocal harmonies, will be playing. Bring a blanket or a chair. Gather round a huge bonfire after dark. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $10. Phone 769-5123, ext. 19 for more information.

Notorious: From Bed-Stuy to Sky High

It's been 12 years since Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G., was shot and killed in his escort SUV in Los Angeles, yet his killer and the reason for his murder remain a matter of speculation. So instead of focusing on the legendary rapper's death, director George Tillman Jr.'s 2009 biopic, Notorious, captures the multifarious challenges of Biggie Smalls' rise from Brooklyn crack dealer to superstar MC, along with his "everyday struggle" of trying to balance a personal life with staying on top of the game.

Played capably by Jamal Woolard -- an up and coming rapper in his own right -- Wallace is a young man searching for his identity through music and the high-risk chance at monetary success on the street corners of New York City. Some of the best scenes in the film are where Biggie realizes he can gain credibility as a rapper (and possibly get out of the drug trade) by challenging neighborhood emcees to improvised rap battles, and when he takes his nuanced flow to the mixtape, which eventually falls into the hands of Sean "Puffy" Combs.

The rest is the history of East Coast rap in the '90s, as Combs' Bad Boy records, with the help of multi-platinum Notorious B.I.G. releases, Ready to Die and Life After Death, becomes the most successful label in the industry. As troubling as it is inspirational, Notorious succeeds because Tillman remembers that the life of the individual is paramount to the story, not rumors of how or why he died.

I Heard it on NPR

What was that song on NPR? I'd know it if I heard it again! If you've ever been frustrated by that conversation, now you're in luck, for National Public Radio has begun releasing the music collection series, I Heard it on NPR, and the AADL owns several of these diverse box sets. Fill your house with the voices of Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall and others on these long, hot summer nights with Ladies Jazz It Up. Or for those looking for music from around the globe, check out One World Many Voices, featuring the Algerian folk-pop of Souad Massi and the Brazilian rhythms of Caetano Veloso, among others. Other sets in this collection include alternative country artists in Down to the Roots, stellar jazz standards in Jazz for Blue Nights, and premier singer-songwriters in Singers, Songs, and Sessions.

Top of the Park 2009

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Looking for something to do this weekend?

Top of the Park kicks off this evening at 6:30pm. Tonights entertainment includes opening act Fubar, Nomo, and After Dark at TOP featuring DJ Special K. Bands play every evening and movies show Sunday through Thursdays at dusk (10 pm). Some of the movies featured this year include: Iron Man, Twilight, Quantum of Solace, Airplane!, Forbidden Kingdom, and The Sound of Music: Sing-a-long Edition.

You can view the entertainment schedule at the Festival Website. For a printable Calendar, click here.

Top of the Park is located at Ingalls Mall, directly in front of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies on Washington Street near the Burton Memorial Tower.

Don't forget to check out the performaces at our Mainstage as well. Artist/Comedians that are performing at the Power Center include: Ahn Trio, Los Lobos, Diana Krall, Gladys Knight, and Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival runs till July 5th, so come prepared to dance, sing along and have a good time!

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