The Thrill Isn't Gone Yet

Eight films from director Alfred Hitchcock are featured this month as part of Michigan Theater's Great Directors series, and although most of the films were shown earlier this month, you can still catch three of his best on the big screen. Watch Tippi Hedren duck and cover in The Birds this Friday, January 16 at midnight, or see if Jimmy Stewart can snare his suspicious neighbor in Rear Window next Monday, January 19 at 7p.m. If dark comedy is your style, then watch Barbara Harris swindle the gullible in Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot, playing the following Monday, January 26 at 7p.m. The AADL also owns Psycho, North by Northwest, Vertigo, and The 39 Steps if you missed them at the Michigan Theater this month.

To delve into the director's psyche and his unconventional relationships with the actresses in his films, try the 2008 book, Spellbound by Beauty: Alfred Hitchcock and His Leading Ladies.

Transition Towns

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Last year Boulder, Colorodo was named the first Transition Town in the United States. The movement asks an entire community to address the concern, “how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change?” in the deepest way possible. At the end of this month Ann Arbor will host the first Transition Town Training session in the Midwest, which will be lead by Michael Brownlee and Lynette Marie Hanthorn of Transition Boulder County. For information on the training, registration and fees, see here. To understand the ins and outs of Transitioning, check out The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local self-reliance by Rob Hopkins. (Crazy Wisdom Bookstore is offering a 10% discount on this title for the month of January.) To see how a large community is handling things, check out the wonderful film The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. (Film’s website here.)

The Play Ground

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Our favorite local orchestra begins its 9th season with a concert this Sunday.
The Life Sciences Orchestra was founded in the spirit of the U-M to encourage collaboration between academic disciplines in the sciences. The orchestra is made up of members of U-M’s medical, health and life science community and was founded by students and staff. This week's concert will feature 4 pieces: Promenade Overture by John Corigliano, Variations on a Theme by Haydn by Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 12 in E Major by Joseph Haydn and lastly, Symphony No. 12 in D Minor by Dmitri Shostakovich.
Hill Auditorium on Sunday, Jan. 11, 4pm. Free and open to the public.

The Play Ground

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We have been trying very hard lately to be local. You know, we go to the Farmers' Market, we shop at bricks and mortar instead of online and we try to support our small town merchants. So, speaking of home-town, who's better to support than our local favs, The Chenille Sisters at The Ark on New Year's Eve? They are described as "a little bit Andrews Sisters, a little bit Supremes, and a little bit Roches, with honeyed harmonies from bygone days and a big dose of modern attitude and humor." This NYE they are teaming up with the Royal Garden Trio for a nice pairing of harmony and jazz. Wednesday, December 31 at 10pm.

Mittenfest of Music to Benefit 826Michigan

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Ypsilanti’s Elbow Room will play host to the 3rd annual Mittenfest. This year’s Mittenfest is three nights of local musicians at one location, where all proceeds will go to 826Michigan. Ann Arbor's 826Michigan is the Michigan chapter of 826National, which was started by Pulitzer nominated author Dave Eggers. 826 is a "non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write." They offer totally free programs, such as tutoring, workshops, drop-in writing and all sorts of other fun things. (And they are housed in a robot store!) Mittenfest is a great way to enjoy quality local bands (such as Great Lakes Myth Society) and support a great organization. See here for a list of all the bands.

Elbow Room | 6 South Washington St. Ypsilanti | Dec 26, 27, 28 | Doors open @ 5pm, Music @ 6pm | $5 per night | $12 for 3-day pass

Winter Shadow Art Fair This Saturday

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The Winter Shadow Art Fair, featuring more than 40 local vendors and artists, is this Saturday from noon to midnight at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti. Stop by the PLAY Animation Station at the Ann Arbor Film Festival's table to make your own animation right on site. If you like what the Animation Station has to offer, then check out Terence Sacks' Opportunities in Cartooning and Animation Careers available at the Library. The AAFF will also be selling and playing their new DVD, Time Pieces, which highlights last year's winning film submissions. The Art Fair costs 2 cents for admission (so remember your shiny Abe Lincolns), and if you're under 21 you will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Funky Frosty Fridays are here!

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If you’re looking to wind down after a day of maddening bargain hunting, or if you need to wake up after a day of sleeping off that turkey/tofurky, why not grab your Hawaiian shirt & grass skirt and head over to Buhr Park Outdoor Ice Rink this Friday. Huh? The Ann Arbor Parks Department presents “Luau Skate” for all ages from 7:15-8:45pm, where you can open skate to Hawaiian music. Prizes awarded for best Hawaiian costume. Before you head out, brush up on your skills with Ice Skating Basics or have a laugh with some old friends in She's a good skate, Charlie Brown.
Other upcoming Funky Frosty Fridays (on the 2nd & 4th Fridays of the month) are: Celebrity Skate, Ugly Sweater Holiday Skate, Disco Skate, Disney Night, Valentine’s Skate, Rock the 80s Skate, St. Patrick’s Day Skate.

Buhr Park Outdoor Ice Rink | 2751 Packard | Adults $6/$5, Youth under 17 & Seniors 60+ $5/$3.75 | Skate Rental $3

The Play Ground

The Play GroundThe Play Ground

Here's a nice, soothing option for pre-holiday madness: An Evening of Brahms. This Friday evening the Kerrytown Concert House Classical Series is featuring an all-Brahms program comprised of: Sonata #2 in A Major for Violin and Piano; Trio in a minor, Op. 114 for Clarinet, Cello and Piano; Selected Songs. Performed by a mostly local group: 8pm, November 21. 734-769-2999

Ann Arbor Film Festival Just Around the Corner

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The 47th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival is a few months away (March 24-29, 2009), but that doesn't mean the AAFF has been resting on their laurels waiting for spring; rather, up until November 15th they've been receiving and evaluating this year's cutting-edge film submissions. The AAFF awards prizes in eighteen categories, including the Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental film and the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary film, with prize purses up to $3,000.

Additionally, from August to January the Festival's International Tour has been visiting world theaters and art houses showing the award winning films from last year's festival. The Tour has been rolling since 1964 and will be making continental stops in cities such as Providence, Winnipeg, and Portland before closing in Chicago. Want to check out last year's winners but you missed the Tour? The AAFF is selling the DVD collection through its website.

National Survivors of Suicide Day Teleconference at Malletts Creek

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November 22nd is National Survivors of Suicide Day and the 10th annual teleconference sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reaching over 170 sites across the country.

You can register to watch the conference on your computer at home or you can attend the teleconference at the Malletts Creek branch from 12 to 3 pm. Registration is not required for the teleconference at Malletts Creek. The 90 minute conference will broadcast from 1 to 2:30 pm EST.

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