Monsters of Bluegrass; Steve Martin & Summer Fest

This weekend is the annual Ann Arbor Summer Festival, a festival of events ranging from music, dance, comedy, film and much more. One of the main acts at Summer Fest is comedian Steve Martin performing with the bluegrass band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, on Saturday evening at 8 PM. As you may know from from his auto-biography, "Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life", Steve Martin has been an accomplished banjo player for over 40 years and an acclaimed bluegrass performer.

Though considered a traditional form of American folk music, Bluegrass as a genre is becoming more popular in recent years thanks to popular movies like "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and bluegrass events like the Los Angeles Bluegrass Situation put on by writer and comedian Ed Helms. Over the years various Bluegrass bands have mixed their sounds with Blues, Country, Honky Tonk and electronic instruments but performers like Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers play more contemporary Bluegrass music with traditional roots.

If you're interested in listening to some Bluegrass similar to Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, check out:

Kids Read Comics!

KRCKRC

The Kids Read Comics Celebration kicks off this Friday, June 17, at 6pm at the Downtown AADL branch with a live comics reading by Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy, X-Men: Misfits) and Raina Telgemeier (SMILE, Baby-Sitters Club). Then at 8pm, Kevin Coppa will join Dave for a live performance of Dave Roman Presents: Avatar: The Last Puppetbender live!

The fun doesn't stop there! Saturday and Sunday (June 18-19), Kids Read Comics will take over downtown Chelsea with free events for comics lovers of all ages! Festivities begin at the Chelsea District Library at 10am, the event will also expand down Main Street to the Clocktower Commons, where shops and restaurants throughout the downtown business district will host artists and special activities from 10am to 8pm Saturday and noon to 6pm Sunday.

Events include:
Artists’ alleys where you can meet comics and animation professionals
Hands-on comics workshops
Art demos and discussions
Portfolio reviews for youth and teen artists
Opening reception for the Comics Jam! art exhibition at the River Gallery (Saturday at 6pm)
For preschoolers through preteens:
Costume parade
Superhero crafts
For teens:
Giant drawing wall and interactive art events
Cosplay classes and marketplace, plus Saturday evening costume contest and masquerade party
For teachers and librarians:
Professional development workshops on Sunday

See a complete list of events on the Kids Read Comics Programming page!

The Winter's Tale at the Arb

Winter's TaleWinter's Tale Enjoy Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" in June at Nichols Arboretum. Starring Leontes, Polixenes, Hermione, Camillo, and Perdita! Directed by Kate Mendeloff, all shows begin at 6:30 pm and the box office opens at 5:30 pm. The performances will be held June 9 - 12, 16 - 19, and 23 - 26. For more information, see the website: mbgna.umich.edu or call 734.647.7600. General Admission: $18. Members: $15. Seniors: $16. Students: $10. If you go soon, you may be able to enjoy the Peonies!

Rainbow Picnic!

The whole family is invited to the Washtenaw Pride Picnic, 1-5 pm on Saturday, June 25 at Olson Park, 1505 Dhu Varren Rd, Ann Arbor. You bring your own food and beverages (no hard liquor) and fun stuff like a DJ, lawn games, face painting and relay races will be provided. More information can be found at the Facebook event page by searching for “Washtenaw Pride Picnic.” If you would like to volunteer, contact Scott Klee at scoklee@gmail.com. Everyone under the rainbow is welcome!

Steve Hamilton Author Talk on Thursday

Michigan author Steve Hamilton will be giving a talk on his latest novel Misery Bay on Thursday, June 9th, at Aunt Agatha's Book Shop.

Misery Bay is set in Paradise, Michigan, and is a part of the Alex McKnight mystery series.

This year Hamilton won the Edgar Award for Best Novel and the Alex Award for The Lock Artist, also set in a Michigan town.

The talk will take place at 7pm, and admission is free. Aunt Agatha's is located at 213 South Fourth Avenue, about a block away from the Downtown branch.

African American Downtown Festival & the history of African Americans in Ann Arbor

This Saturday, June 4th, will be the annual African American Downtown Festival in Ann Arbor! The festival will be a multicultural and multi-generational celebration of African American history in Ann Arbor. The location of the festival (4th and Ann) is significant due to it being the historical epicenter in Ann Arbor of African American owned businesses, culture and family life. Fun times to be had by all!

If you're interested in doing some research into the history of African Americans in Washtenaw County, the AADL has several resources for you:

Additional local resources include:

The Dexter-Ann Arbor Run: From 195 to a Cast of Thousands

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They were a hale and hearty group in 1974 despite being temporarily delayed by a passing train at the first Dexter-Ann Arbor Run. We've gathered together a few articles and pictures from the Ann Arbor News Archives about the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run to jog your memory and get you motivated for this year's race on Sunday, June 5th.

Check out a few items from the archives:

-Article about the first race

-Photo of runners pack in the 1979 Dexter-Ann Arbor Run

-Article about friendly rivalry

Literacy Series -- Be a Renaissance Kid

Ben Franklin caricature by Donkey Hotey, Flickr.comBen Franklin caricature by Donkey Hotey, Flickr.com
You may have noticed that here at the library we are crazy for Ben Franklin. In honor of Ben's 300th birthday, we are going to party all summer long, and the literacy series is getting into the act.

Why was Ben Franklin famous? Because he was a true "Renaissance Man" -- someone who has many different talents. If you would like follow Ben's lead and be a Renaissance Kid, just take a look at these suggestions below:

1. Music -- Ben Franklin was a talented musician who played the guitar, violin and harp, and invented an instrument called the glass armonica. Be like Ben by exploring music.
Check out this interactive glass armonica.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony webpages.
Renaissance Kid - Music

2. Reading -- Ben Franklin created the first American library. Be like Ben by enjoying some books!
Ben Franklin for Children
Renaissance Kid - Reading

3. Sports and Games -- Ben Franklin was an avid swimmer and a chess fan. Be like Ben by cultivating your physical and mental health!
Parent Child Education -- Colonial American games, crafts and activities.
Renaissance Kid - Sports and Games

4. History -- Ben Franklin lived during an exciting time in history, the founding of our nation! Learn all about this tumultuous period in our history.
Colonial Williamsburg's kids' page
Liberty! -- A page by PBS on the American Revolution.
Renaissance Kid - History

5. Science and Invention -- Ben Franklin's curiosity and constant exploration of his world led him to make inventions that are still used today. Be like Ben by exploring and inventing!
Ology -- The American Museum of Natural History's website for kids.
Inventive Kids
Renaissance Kid - Science

6. Spycraft -- Ben Franklin was part of the exciting world of Revolutionary War spies. Learn more about espionage of the past...and the present!
International Spy Museum's kids' page
Renaissance Kid - Spycraft

Of course, don't forget to come to our Ben Franklin events! Concerts, Spy School, Crafts -- we have it all. Hope to see you there!

Teen Stuff: It’s time for Breakin’ Curfew!

Breakin CurfewBreakin Curfew

The Neutral Zone and UMS present the 8th annual Breakin' Curfew. The event is created, produced, marketed, and performed by local teens. The performances at Breakin' Curfew feature everything from dance, spoken word, jazz, classical music, rock, to hip hop, and much more. The electricity of a teen-centric audience watching a show of teens, produced by teens, is amazing. It is quite the unique showcase of talent. All this fun takes place at the Power Center on Saturday, May 14 at 8pm. See here for ticket info and more. Yes, adults are of course welcome to attend and support these great minds!

May 14, 8pm | Power Center | See UMS site for ticket info

George Washington's Beer Recipe

george washinton's beer recipegeorge washinton's beer recipe

The New York Public Library recently published George Washington's recipe for a "small beer" that he wrote in a notebook while serving in the Virginia Militia. The recipe lists the ingredients as bran hops, yeast and molasses--could this have something to do with his becoming a dental victim?

In any event, the Ann Arbor District Library has many books devoted to home brewing:

Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide : Everything you Need to Know to Make Great-tasting Beer is written by a powerhouse in the small brewing industry and covers beginning and advanced techniques.

Homebrew Favorites : a Coast-to-Coast Collection of over 240 Beer and Ale Recipes has chapters according to types: pale ales, brown ales, porters, stouts, European lagers from serious home brewers.

Better Beer and How to Brew It is a great place for a beginner to start.

And don't forget the upcoming 14th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Depot Town - Riverside Park, Ypsilanti, July 22-23

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