National Library Service in Novel Form

The novel Liberty Lanes by Robin Troy is a mostly lighthearted story of a group of elder residents in a small Montana town whose lives intersect through their three-times-a-week bowling league and their meeting a young reporter from a local newspaper. It’s a good read for the active social lives of the characters and how their friendships help them navigate one man's experience with the initial stages of dementia, relations with grown children, and budding romances. It also includes a first reference that I’ve come across to a character who is blind named Alastair who receives talking books from the National Library Service at the Library of Congress, which is what the Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled is all about. After all is said and done, not a line is bowled, but lines on friendship are on full display.

New United Way 2-1-1 Online Database

Find community assistance and support groups for Metro Detroit with the United Way of Southeastern Michigan's online database. Enter your zip or nearest city then search for services by category, keyword, agency or program. The database currently features 2000 agencies in Lapeer, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Click to apply if you are a service provider that would like to be included.

Video: Being Homeless In Washtenaw County: A Panel Discussion With The Washtenaw Housing Alliance

Did you know that 2,756 people will experience homelessness within a year in Washtenaw county? 26% are families and 41 people in the county in any given week become homeless. Last February, AADL hosted a panel discussion with the Washtenaw Housing Alliance (WHA). Watch the video of the panel discussion and learn about the innovative partnerships that have been created to address the need and the next steps needed to end homelessness in our community.

AADL Talks To David Fenton

While he was in town during the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, we had the chance to sit down with David Fenton, CEO and founder of fenton.com, about his time in Ann Arbor during the late 1960s and early 1970s. During these years David lived at the Hill Street Commune, worked on the Ann Arbor Sun, and helped with the campaign to free John Sinclair. David discusses Sinclair's influence on his personal and professional life; reflects on the excesses - both good and bad - of the countercultural movement as he experienced it, and its legacy 40 years later in its modern counterparts, including moveon.org and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

David also participated in our panel discussion, Culture Jamming: A Long View Back.

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AADL_Talks_To-David_Fenton.mp3 24.8 MB

Culture Jamming: A Long View Back - A Panel Discussion With John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker

On December 10, 2011, the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, AADL invited former White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party members John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker to the Michigan Union for a panel discussion moderated by Professor Bruce Conforth of the University of Michigan Program in American Culture. These five panelists, central to the actions and ideals surrounding Ann Arbor's late-1960s counter-culture, reflect on what they called their "total assault on culture" during the late 1960s and early 1970s - what worked, what didn't, and what it means today.
View the video here or in other formats.

Photograph courtesy of Barbara Weinberg Barefield.
(Click image for a larger view.)

AADL Talks To: John Sinclair (May 3, 2011)

In this interview from May 3, 2011, John Sinclair elaborates on the importance of black culture and, in particular, the Black Panther Party, in the formation of both the White Panther and Rainbow People's Parties in Ann Arbor; as well as the more humorous and theatrical elements of their antics during those years. He also reflects on his brother David Sinclair, his ex-wife Leni Sinclair, White Panther co-founder, Pun Plamondon, and artist Gary Grimshaw.

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AADL_Talks_To-John_Sinclair2.mp3 29.65 MB

AADL Talks To: Pun Plamondon

Pun Plamondon was a directionless teen with left-wing leanings when he met John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, and Gary Grimshaw in Detroit in the mid-1960s. He grew to become the co-founder of the White Panther Party/Rainbow People's Party as well as its Minister of Defense. In that role he found himself on the run as one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Criminals and the subject of a case before the United States Supreme Court. In this episode we talk to Pun about that journey, including the formation of the White Panther Party and Rainbow People’s Party, being there for some of the key events in 1960s Ann Arbor, and finding his Native American roots.

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AADL_Talks_To-Pun_Plamondon.mp3 57.26 MB

AADL Talks To: John Sinclair (March 22, 2010)

In this interview from March 22, 2010, poet, author, and activist John Sinclair reflects on music in Ann Arbor - from the MC5, the free concerts in the parks and the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz festival, to his specific memories of local clubs and musicians. He also talks about the influence of both the Beat generation and black music on his cultural and political awakening, the origins of the White Panther Party, and the importance of newspapers.

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AADL_Talks_To-John_Sinclair1.mp3 39.55 MB

AADL Talks To Jim Toy and Jackie Simpson

November 18 marks the 40th anniversary of the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center, making it the oldest LGBT student organization in the country. I spoke with Jackie Simpson, the director of the Spectrum Center, and Jim Toy, one of the two people who founded the organization in 1971. Jackie and Jim talked about the beginning of the organization, its history and ongoing development, and the challenges and joys of the center today. Make sure to visit the Spectrum Center’s website to check out all the great events planned for the anniversary weekend!

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AADL_Talks_To-James_Toy_and_Jackie_Simpson.mp3 23.1 MB

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #298

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle is the first title in our collection by novelist Monique Roffey, made memorable in its audiobook format by the narrator.

Adjoa Andoh is an accomplished British film, television, stage and radio actor who made her Hollywood debut as Nelson Mandela's Chief of Staff Brenda Mazikubio in Clint Eastwood's Invictus. She brings drama and texture in narrating this story of a marriage both passionate and tortured - between expat. George (British), Sabine Harwood (she is French) and Trinidad, the island that came between them.

Lush, and full of opportunities for a white man, George was immediately seduced by the landscape, and the easy expat. lifestyle, stretching a 3-year contract stay into a lifetime. Sabine hated the incessant heat, humidity, and the savage brutality of an island awakening to nationalism where the colonials were barely tolerated. In the early days, the only comfort which Sabine took was in the green bicycle that she rode all over the island oblivious to the stares and speculation, and her secret fascination with the charismatic freedom fighter Eric Williams, an Oxford-educated black man.

"Roffey succeeds wonderfully in writing an informative and deeply moving novel about her homeland. The white woman on the green bicycle is in fact her mother."

"Narrator Adjoa Andoh becomes each of the characters in turn, flawlessly giving voice to a variety of accents--from the languid and lilting cadence of the natives of Trinidad to the clipped and imperial English of the main character, Sabine. In addition to being a virtual chameleon in the realm of accents, Andoh portrays both men and women with equal ease and breathes life into each character so that the listener is apt to forget that anyone is narrating at all. As a result, it is less of a listen and more of an experience."

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