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."

Film & Discussion: Telling Amy's Story

Monday October 24, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, AADL and SafeHouse Center present a special screening of the award-winning documentary Telling Amy's Story.

The film, hosted by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay and told by Detective Deirdri Fishel, follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in 2001. The victim's parents and co-workers, law enforcement officers, and court personnel share their perspectives on what happened to Amy in the weeks, months, and years leading up to her death.

While the ending to Amy's story can never be changed, it is hoped that it's telling can change outcomes for the millions of victims, survivors, and loved ones affected by domestic violence every day. A discussion (led by SafeHouse Center) will follow the screening of the 43 minute film, which is not rated.

Ann Arbor in the Sixties: Were you there?

Girl on CurbGirl on Curb

Students for a Democratic Society. White Panthers. Student Riots. Sit-ins. The Great UFO Chase. Concerts in West Park. Sheriff Doug Harvey.

Were you in Ann Arbor during the Sixties? Do you have a story to tell? Award-winning author and archivist of popular culture Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide (and related All-Movie Guide and All-Game Guide), ClassicPosters.com, and lead singer for the Prime Movers Blues Band (Iggy Pop was his drummer), will share some of his personal memories of the cultural shifts that took place in Ann Arbor during the Sixties and early Seventies. If you were there, we'd like to hear from you as well.

We'll also let you know about a related series of events the Library is planning in collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December to mark the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally that took place on December 10, 1971.

Ann Arbor in the Sixties | 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Housing Access for Washtenaw County

One of the agencies that's been instrumental in housing & services to the homeless in Washtenaw County for decades, SOS Community Services, will be closing from September 21st -September 30th. When the doors re-open they will be called Housing Access For Washtenaw County. This means the Food Pantry at SOS will close on Tuesday September 27th and will resume Tuesday October 4th under its new name, Housing Access for Washtenaw County. We will keep you posted as more details are announced.

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