Valentines Day: Make a Date with Your Kids

To properly celebrate Valentines Day, a little planning is always good. Cards and candy are fun, but this year how about enjoying a craft or dance with your children? Consider a Daddy-Daughter Dance at the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center on Friday Feb. 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Or plan to Create a Valentine at our AADL Mallets Creek branch Saturday Feb. 13 from 2-4 p.m. If staying home sounds like just the thing, why not make a paper craft to celebrate the holiday. Whatever you decide to do, have a wonderful celebration!

Rock musical Aida coming to Huron High

The Huron Players and Huron Music Department are gearing up to perform Aida, the version with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. The story is based on the classic opera by Verdi, chronicling the forbidden love between an Egyptian soldier and an exiled princess. The show runs Feb. 11-14, and ticket information is here.

Purple Rose to Spotlight Isaac Newton

Scientist Isaac Newton is the star of the upcoming play Gravity, running Feb. 11 through March 27 at Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea. Here’s your personal invitation from PRTC: “Join us for this magical journey into the 17th century, a World Premiere about the secret life of Isaac Newton that promises to be a production unlike any in PRTC history.” If you'd like to know more about play director Guy Sanville, check out the DVD Guy Sanville Discusses The Art of Directing.

Great Lakes, Great Times reading series

Great Lakes, Great Times is a monthly reading series that, according to this month’s host, “showcases the best established and up-and-coming writers working today.” The January reading will take place at 826Michigan, and will feature readings from authors Brian Evenson, Joanna Howard, and Blake Butler. (Find Evenson's The Open Curtain at AADL.)

The event is geared towards adults, admission is free, and anyone is welcome. It's all happening Saturday, January 23, 7pm at the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Shop at 115 East Liberty.

City of A2 conducting interviews for 'library lot' proposals

The public is invited to attend and participate in development proposal presentations and interviews for the 5th Avenue parking lot immediately north of the Downtown Library. All interviews are open to the public and will be held on the fourth floor of the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave. Community Television Network will televise the presentations.

A public open house featuring all six proposers will also be held on Wednesday, Jan. 20 from 6-8pm at the library. The public will have the opportunity to review each proposal at the open house. Questions from the public may be submitted in advance by e-mailing More information about the project, including links to the proposals, is available here.

U-M authors tackle germs, epidemics

Heads up for a fascinating conversation between U-M faculty members Laura Kasischke, poet and novelist, and medical historian Howard Markel at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20 in Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University. These prominent writers will "reflect on how their research methods, narrative styles, and sense of themselves as authors challenge our knowledge and sentiments about diseases and ourselves." Kasischke’s latest novel, In a Perfect World, is set in a time when Phoenix Flu is ravaging the country. Markel has written books including When Germs Travel. The event is presented by the Author’s Forum, a collaboration of the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, and the Ann Arbor Book Festival. Learn more here.

Performance Network is doing K2

The mountain K2, on the border between China and Pakistan, is the second highest on earth, behind Mount Everest. If you read one of our books about the mountain, you will understand why it is considered deadlier than Everest. Maybe that's why I'm dying to see Performance Network's production of Patrick Meyers' "K2" which is being staged through Feb. 7. The theater has been converted to a thrust-stage, and the performance promises high excitement and drama around the story of two men stranded on the mountain -- with no supplies and a storm approaching. Read a preview or order tickets.

Mittenfest is coming to Ypsilanti


The fourth annual Mittenfest will be happening this weekend at the Elbow Room in Ypsilanti on Dec 31, Jan 1, Jan 2, and Jan 3. Its fourth year expands to four days in length, and this year there is another great line up of nearly 40 local bands and DJs playing each night, including Chris Bathgate, Frontier Ruckus, Timothy Monger, and Drunken Barn Dance, to name a few. All proceeds from Mittenfest benefit the local non-profit 826Michigan. This event is a sure-to-sell-out happening event that raises a lot of money for a good cause. Hearing live music and supporting free tutoring and workshops for kids? You can’t go wrong.

Here is a great interview with Brandon Zwagerman, the organizer of Mittenfest. He talks about how he plans it and discusses everything from why certain bands play to why it benefits 826Michigan.

The event is 18+, doors open at 4pm each night, New Year’s Eve is $9 cover, all other nights are $7 each night. See here for a full schedule of bands.

Christmas Carol'd at Performance Network through Dec. 27

For holiday entertainment, consider Christmas Carol'd at Performance Network Theatre. In this adaptation by Joseph Zettelmaier, five actors play all the parts. Sounds fun. To get into the spirit, you could read the classic story, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, on which the play is based -- or just some words spoken in the original story by Scrooge's nephew, calling Christmas "a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time, the only time ... when men and women seem by common consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow travellers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

Wild Swan Theater presents Little Women

Meet the March sisters -- Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth -- Dec. 10-13 as they appear in Wild Swan Theater's production of Little Women in Towsley Auditorium in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College. The show is for grades 3-12. I'm hoping to take my 13-year-old son, to see one of our friends play Meg. To get ready, why not read the book, or even check out Becoming Little Women : A Novel About Louisa May At Fruitlands, set in 1843, when Little Women author Louisa May Alcott was ten years old, and moved with her family from Boston to a farm where they tried to set up a community based on equality and love.

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