Fela! at Michigan Theater

felafela

If you’re a fan of Fela Kuti’s music, you may be interested in the filmed theatrical production of FELA! coming up at the Michigan Theater, thanks to a partnership between UMS and the theater. FELA! Is a hybrid of dance, theater, and music, and tells the story of afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, whose music is a blend of funk, jazz and African Rhythm. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winning Bill Jones, the film is part of the National Theatre Live series, featuring high-definition screenings of live theater broadcasts by the National Theater, London. It takes place at the Michigan Theater on Sunday, January 30 at 2pm. See the theater's website for more details and ticket information.

Nellie McKay to play The Ark

Nellie McKay brings her incessant folk-pop rambling to The Ark on Sunday, January 23 at 7:30pm. It is hard to define McKay’s musical style. Her background has taken her all over the map genre-wise. In addition to making her own music, she has also done covers, acted in movies, done Broadway, and recorded an album that is a tribute to Doris Day.

McKay may be a jazz-influenced pop artist, but her songs wouldn’t necessarily be described as romantic, they’re more along the lines of edgy. Her songs are humorous, endearing, and spit-in-your-face all at the same time. Her critically acclaimed albums, Get Away From Me, Pretty Little Head, and Obligatory Villagers, are filled with sharp feminist vocals brimming with infusions of cabaret, pop, vocal jazz and rock. McKay’s new album, Home Sweet Mobile Home, brings her out on tour, and lucky for us there’s a stop in Ann Arbor.

Visit The Ark’s website for full details and ticket information regarding her upcoming live performance.

Take Part in Art -- Art that Tells a Story

by "T" altered art, Flickr.comby "T" altered art, Flickr.com

People have been using pictures to tell stories since…well, forever! Cave paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and the Bayeux Tapestry are all ancestors of modern picture books and graphic novels. To explore the relationship between art and storytelling, you could always come visit the Youth Art Table downtown, or enjoy our abundant and awesome resources at home.

Some excellent artists – modern and historical – have focused on using art to tell stories. To learn more about these artists try reading:
Brueghel: A Gift for Telling Stories – about the life of Dutch artist Pieter Brueghel.
En mi Familia and Family Pictures by Mexican-American artist Carmen Lomas Garza.
Pretty much anything about Norman Rockwell.

To explore how artists tell stories using pictures, try these books.
Telling Stories in Art by Joy Richardson provides examples readers can use to create their own story in art!
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud describes how graphic novelists use pictures to tell their stories, and Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel guides readers in creating their own graphic novels!
Read a wordless picture book to see how amazing a story without words can be.

If you have children ages 4-7, you can also attend one of the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Storytime in the Museum programs starting January 8. University of Michigan students read stories related to the art on display at the museum to bring art to life!

Finally, to see how art can tell different stories to different people try Twice Told -- a collection of short stories based on paintings. The twist? Each painting inspires two stories by different authors. See how different stories based on the same picture can be! What story would you tell?

Boomerang Bonanza and Book Launch!

Okay makers, mark your calendars. Friday is the book release party for local author David Erik Nelson’s latest endeavor, Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids. It’s not your average book launch though. In addition to checking out the book and hanging out with the author at this free, family friendly event at the Workantile Exchange, you can also partake in making and throwing boomerangs while enjoying an adult beverage as your kids have fun. The boomerangs are one of the many fun, hands-on projects featured in the book.

Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred also features projects such as a simple electric guitar, board games, an oversized joy buzzer, and kites, to name a few. These make-tastic projects are sure to keep kids and parents busy for hours. If you're curious about the projects, ask the author about them!

The Boomerang Bonanza launch party coincides with Main Street’s Midnight Madness, so there’s no excuse not to pop in and get your make on amidst all that shopping and caroling.

Friday, Dec 3 | 6–8pm | Workantile Exchange,118 S. Main St.

5 Bowls of Oatmeal

826logo826logoHungry yet? Oatmeal may be the perfect, comforting breakfast as we enter another Michigan winter, but I’d like to entice you to brave the chill on Monday, November 22 for the “Scifi Fantasy RomCom Epic Adventure” of a lifetime. Five Bowls of Oatmeal is a festival of one-act plays that are written by 8- to 12-year-old playwrights from 826Michigan, performed by U of M performing arts students, and yes, they all involve oatmeal. Five Bowls starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Mendelssohn Theater at University of Michigan. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in advance from brownpapertickets.com.

At Performance Network: The Drowsy Chaperone

Performance Network will stage The Drowsy Chaperone Nov. 11 – Dec. 26. Music and lyrics are by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Thursday (Nov. 11) is “Pay-What-You-Can,” with a suggested donation of $10. The show -- which pays tribute to American musicals of the Jazz Age -- debuted in 1998 in Toronto and opened on Broadway in 2006. It was given the Tony Award for best book and best score.

Take Part in Art -- Mix It Up

Wings by Laineys RepertoireWings by Laineys Repertoire

Mixed Media Art combines more than one medium -- painting, drawing, collage, stenciling -- to make something unique and new. You can always visit the Art Table downtown to make some cool mixed media art, or you can follow along at home!

Making mixed media art is as easy as can be. Pencils, markers, crayons, interesting magazine pictures, paper scraps and paint -- you can use anything, in any combination! Think about combining different materials to make a picture, or tell a story -- or just have fun with patterns, colors and shapes. For more ideas, check these websites by Kinderart and PBS. An excellent and detailed introduction to mixed media is Donna Hugh's Collage Art For Kids DVD series. This series has four volumes, everything you need to become a mixed-media maestro!

Adults interested in making their own mixed media art can check out Creative Collage by Marie Browning, or maybe stop by the University of Michigan Museum of Art's Mixed Media Workshop Series. To learn more about two excellent mixed media and collage artists read Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories by Jan Greenberg and Ooh! Matisse by Mil Niepold.

Sculpture and Poetry in Nature

TransformationsTransformationsOaken Transformations, an innovative integration of "art and poetry in a natural environment to promote community, support of the arts, and preservation of wilderness places," hosts its grand opening on Sunday, October 17, 1:00-4:00. Oaken Transformations was borne of Dr. Fred Bonine’s experience of the transformative and healing qualities of art and nature. Dr. Bonine invites the public to share in this experience by walking the .4 mile nature trail behind his office, throughout which are installed original sculptures and poetry from local and nationally-renowned artists and poets including John Sauve, Kate Silvio, Janet Kauffman, and Robert Fanning. This free exhibit will run for one year in Brighton, at 6893 Grand River Road, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but will be closed for holidays.

Raising Money for Breast Cancer Research

Greenhills School will present ACTivate the Cure Oct 16 (Saturday) at 8 p.m. in the school's Campbell Center. Students and faculty will dance, sing, act, and play music, in this annual show to benefit breast cancer research and patient care at U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. An art show and silent auction will take place 6-7:30 in the entrance to the center.

Every Generation: Family Secrets and Their Consequences

U-M's Center for the History of Medicine will present Steve Luxenberg, associate editor at the Washington Post and author of Annie's Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret. His talk is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at U-M Hatcher graduate library, and is called "Every Generation: Family Secrets and Their Consequences." His book -- a 2010 Michigan Notable Book -- chronicles his investigation into the life of Annie, his mother's sister who was committed at age 21 to Eloise Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Wayne County. Luxenberg will sign books at 6 p.m. before his talk. For directions to the library, call 647-6914.

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