Ann Arbor Conversations with David Sedaris

The fourth installment of Ann Arbor Conversations will be at the Michigan Theater soon, and features author David Sedaris. This new series wishes for audiences to “experience the ultimate in cultural entertainment,” and past evenings in the series featured Kevin Smith, Anthony Bourdain, and Frank Warren.

The last featured guest, David Sedaris, is in the forefront when it comes to contemporary humor writers. Some of the funniest, laugh out loud pieces I’ve ever read are from this man, and though I’m not a huge fan of audio books, I’ll listen to anything Sedaris as written, as he reads his own books in a fabulous fashion. AADL has a slew of Sedaris books needing a reading. If you’re attending this event, have fun!
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Wednesday, April 14 | 7:30pm | Michigan Theater

Author Gary Paulsen to visit Ann Arbor

Best-selling author Gary Paulsen will be in Ann Arbor on Monday, April 12. He’ll be signing books at Nicola’s Books from 7-8pm promoting his newest novel, Woods Runner. The well loved author has written many books for both children and adults. Hatchet, Brian’s Winter, and Mudshark are stand-outs. paulsenpaulsen

Author's Forum: A World Without Ice

U-M geophysicist Henry Pollack – who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore – will join U-M weather and climate scientist Richard Rood in a conversation called A World Without Ice on Wednesday, April 14, from 5:30-7 p.m. at U-M Harlan Hatcher Library. Topics covered will include why ice matters, the delicate geological balance between ice and climate, and the pending crisis of a world without ice. The discussion is being presented by the Author’s Forum, a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, and the Ann Arbor Book Festival.

Great Lakes, Great Times Reading Series 3/20

Great Lakes, Great Times is a monthly reading series that, according to the host, “showcases the best established and up-and-coming writers working today.” The March reading will take place at 826Michigan, and will feature readings from authors Dan Chaon, Laura van den Berg, and Christian TeBordo.

Check here to see which authors are up next in the series. So many authors are visiting, and these events have been filling the house!

The monthly event is geared towards adults, admission is FREE, and anyone is welcome. It's all happening Saturday, March 20, 7pm at 826michgan/ The Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Shop at 115 East Liberty.

Beyond Therapy: Are these people crazy?

Laughs and adult comedy are abundant in Beyond Therapy, being staged by PTD Productions in Ypsilanti. Written by Christopher Durang, the play is set and was first performed in the ‘80s. Impressively it manages not only an account of a bisexual man’s pursuit of romantic happiness, but also a send-up of psychotherapy. A review of the local production is here. The show runs through March 20, and Thursday is pay what you can. Durang's other plays include Baby with the Bathwater, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, and The Marriage of Bette and Boo.

Winter: Good Season for Plays

Theater has deep roots around here, as Grace Shackman chronicles in her Ann Arbor Observer article about the old Whitney Theater. Today we continue to enjoy a lively drama scene; this weekend (Feb. 27-28), at least three stage productions are running:
1) It Came from Mars! a screwball comedy about a group of radio actors terrified by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, playing at Performance Network. Read a review.
2) Gravity, spotlighting the secret life of Isaac Newton, at Purple Rose in Chelsea.
3) Cheaper by the Dozen, based on the book by Frank Gilbreth, at Riverside Arts Center.
Why not pick a drama, style your hat, and head out?

Great Lakes, Great Times Reading Series

Great Lakes, Great Times is a monthly reading series that, according to the host, “showcases the best established and up-and-coming writers working today.” The February reading will take place at 826Michigan, and will feature readings from authors Blake Nelson (Author of teen titles, Girl, They Came From below, and Gender Blender, among others), Kevin Sampsell, and Chelsea Martin.

Check here to see which authors are up next in the series. So many authors are visiting! I hear January’s event had quite the turn-out.

The monthly event is geared towards adults, admission is FREE, and anyone is welcome. It's all happening Saturday, February 27, 7pm at 826michigan/ The Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Shop at 115 East Liberty.

Mardi Gras Mambo

Mardi Gras MamboMardi Gras Mambo

If you can’t make it to Mardi Gras this year, you can celebrate here in Ann Arbor with Mardi Gras Mambo at the Michigan Theater on Wednesday, February 17th. This event will feature performances from Crescent City jazz legend Dr. John with Lower 911 and New Orleans’ First Family of Funk, The Neville Brothers. These performances will be a real treat to see during this time of year, without even traveling to The Big Easy!

Dr. John of New Orleans has been an iconic figure in music for over forty years, combining jazz, rock, blues and funk. Pianist and guitar player, he has worked with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Al Hirt, and many Louisiana-based musicians. His early musical career in the late 1960s and early 1970s involved many voodoo influences, beginning with his psychedelic debut album Gris-Gris in 1968. The stage name Dr. John was inspired by a 19th century Louisiana voodoo practitioner, and Dr. John himself was Jim Henson's inspiration for the character of Dr. Teeth on The Muppet Show.

The R&B soul troupe, The Neville Brothers, have been recording since the late 1970s. Brother Aaron Neville has enjoyed a solo career of his own with some adult contempory hits, such as a cover of "Everybody Plays the Fool." The Neville Brothers were a consistent closing act at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival until Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when they relocated to Nashville. They returned to the festival in 2008.

History of the Bible Exhibit at U of M

Manuscript BibleManuscript Bible
Today I had the opportunity to visit the current exhibit in the Audubon room of the Hatcher Graduate Library, A History of the Bible from Ancient Papyri to King James. As a bibliophile, I loved seeing the ancient papyrus manuscripts dating back almost to the very beginning of Christianity, as well as the illuminated medieval manuscripts. The history of the Bible is a fascinating microcosm for the evolution of the written word. One of the highlights of the exhibit for me was a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, which was printed in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type. I also enjoyed seeing the progression of the language in the English Bibles on display from Middle English into Early Modern English in the 15th century. Another interesting piece in the exhibit is a 1611 King James Bible, which had such an impact on the Christian world that it is still considered the standard translation of the Bible by many Protestant churches today. The exhibit will be open everyday until the end of March and is located inside the Library Gallery, which is just off the North Lobby of the Hatcher Library.

Naturalists and artists may also be interested in another codex on display in the Audubon room. It is John James Audubon's famous Double Elephant Folio, Birds of America. It contains hand colored, life sizes engravings of many American birds and is now worth more than $8 million, although when it was purchased new, as the first book in U of M's collection (before the University opened), it cost $970. If you want a closer look at some of the illustrations, check out The Audubon Society baby elephant folio.

Pioneer to stage "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"

Pioneer Theater Guild presents its mid-winter musical -- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee -- Feb. 12-21 in The Little Theater. This is a one act musical comedy about a spelling bee at Putnam Valley Middle School, where six quirky adolescents compete in a bee organized by three odd adults. Sounds fun. The web page says the show "features spontaneous and hilarious audience participation!" Sounds like even more fun. Check out our CD of the original 2005 Broadway cast recording. The show also is being performed this month at Encore Theatre in Dexter.

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