The 41st Annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow is this Saturday & Sunday

This weekend, April 6th & 7th, the 41st Annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow will be held in Ann Arbor at the Crisler Center. The event is hosted by the Native American Student Association at the University of Michigan, and will feature an amazing display of singers, dancers, drummers, artisans, and food vendors.

I had the opportunity to attend this massive Powwow last year, and was blown away by the the turnout; The Mother Earth Powwow attracts people from all over the country, and is the largest Powwow held in the Midwest. The drum circles, dancing, and beautiful traditional dress created a wonderfully energetic atmosphere. In addition, the food was delicious; I tried the buffalo burger on the Native American staple, fry bread. You can’t go wrong there.

Powwows are commonly known as large gatherings that “Native American people use as a place to meet, dance, sing and otherwise renew and strengthen their rich culture. The Ann Arbor Powwow is one of the largest university-run pow wows in the country, with more than 1,000 of North America's greatest singers, dancers, artists and craftspeople.” For more information about what Powwows are all about, check out this fabulous information page on the U of M’s website, or read about Powwow’s and Native American History in the AADL’s catalog. In addition, if you’d like to sample some of the music you might hear at the Mother Earth Powwow, the AADL also has a large collection of Native American Music.

This is an event that only happens once a year, and is not to be missed! Doors will open at 10:30am and grand entries will be at 12pm on both Saturday & Sunday. Admission ranges from $10 for adults, with discounts for students, seniors, families, and children. For more information be sure to check out the official information page, as well as the event schedule. See you there!

AADL @ FoolMoon

Friday April 5, 2013: 6:00 pm to 11:59 pm

Join us for the annual FoolMoon event on Ann Arbor's Washington Street! Be sure to stop by the AADL activity area on Washington and Ashley to try your gaming skills playing Johann Sebastian Joust! If you participated in our March 'Logo remix' workshops, you may even see your animations projected above AADL's activity area!

Jazz Musician Esperanza Spalding to Visit Ann Arbor

At the prime age of 26, Esperanza Spalding won the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist, and for good reason. The jazz musician may be best known for her rad skills on the bass guitar, but she also both sings and composes her extraordinary tunes. The Grammys weren't the only ones to take notice to Spalding's sharp musical skills - at 20 she became one of the youngest faculty members ever at the world renowned Berklee College of Music.

The Ann Arbor District Library has several of Spalding's albums in our collection, including the winner of the 2012 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Radio Music Society.

Now, the city of Ann Arbor will have a chance to see her shine in action on the eve of Saturday, April 6th at the Michigan Theatre, starting at 8pm. For more information, see the UMS's website.

Ann Arbor Film Festival: Films, Archives, DVDs

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is next week! I love this time of year. So many films to see in just a few days time. Have you been hawking over the schedule and taking notes of what you’d like to see? Be ready, as the fun begins gala-style on Tuesday, March 19 and runs through Sunday, March 24.

Established in 1963, The Ann Arbor Film Festival is the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America, and we are lucky to have it in our own backyard. The 51st annual festival is bringing some wonderful experimental films to the Michigan Theater, and a visit from Ken Burns is also on deck!

Fore more film fodder, be sure to check out the Ann Arbor Film Festival Archive, accessible online. You’ll have full access to old photos, flyers, articles, festival programs, and interviews from past festivals. Meanwhile, to view some of the films of past festivals, check out these collections available at AADL:

Time Pieces: 46th Ann Arbor Film Festival, DVD collection, Volume 1

Unexplored territories: 47th Ann Arbor Film Festival, DVD collection, Volume 2

48th Ann Arbor Film Festival, DVD collection, Volume 3

Harpbeat! African Musical Safari

Thursday, February 21 | 10 - 11 am | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room | Preschool - Grade 5

Harpbeat's harpist, vocalist, and percussionist Donna Novack takes you on a magical world tour and explores the geography, culture, language, and music of Africa. Featured languages include Swahili and Zulu.

Travel across the "Middle Passage" to the West Indies. Take a ride on the Underground Railroad and arrive "dancin" in Motown. Learn how African musical styles -- call & response, work songs, spirituals and more, have revolutionized American music. Martin Luther King, Jr. is featured in Harpbeat's original "I Have A Dream," song, which is accompanied by simple sign language.

Harpbeat! recordings and Donna's original songs have won many national awards. The AADL has the Harpbeat! CDs Around the world from A to Z as well as Hopes & Dreams & Rainbows for checkout.

Performance Network: Good People

Performance Network will show Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire Feb. 21 through March 31. David Wolber directs this Michigan Premiere of a 2011 Tony Nominee for Best Play. The PN website describes the play as "a touching and funny look at American's great economic divide." Ticket information is here. Lindsay-Abaire also wrote Rabbit Hole which was made into a 2011 movie.

Human Rights Held Captive: Perspectives on the Justice System Conference

Thursday February 7th - Saturday February 9th | Rackham Graduate School Amphitheater Room 2435 (map)

The University of Michigan student organization Human Rights Through Education (HRTE) is holding a conference exploring imprisonment of minorities, prison conditions, incarceration and sentencing, prisoner reentry and rehabilitation, the school-to-prison pipeline, the death penalty, and detention and torture on both domestic and international levels.

Guest speakers include: Shane Bauer - an investigative journalist detained in Iran from 2009 - 2011, William "Buzz" Alexander - founder of the Prison Creative Arts Project, and David Shapiro - attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project, among other speakers whose work focuses on the above topics.

There will be a film screening of "The Invisible War" and a theater workshop with Frannie Shepherd-Bates.

The conference is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required.

Mittenfest VII is coming up soon!

Mittenfest is an annual local music festival held in Michigan and played by Michigan bands. The festival serves as a fundraiser for 826michigan, dedicating 100% of its profits to the non-profit organization which helps tutor students ages 6-18 with writing. 826michigan is part of a nationwide network of non-profits, started in San Francisco by the acclaimed author Dave Eggers. Last year, Mittenfest raised $21,290.00 for 826michigan, bringing the total raised over the last six years to $55,000.00!

For its seventh consecutive year running strong, Mittenfest is going to run a full 5 days, over which 50 Michigan bands will perform live, including Frontier Ruckus, Starling Electric, Shigeto, Patrick Elkins, and Our Brother the Native, just to name a few! To see the other 45 bands and a complete 5-day schedule, click here.

Mittenfest VII will be held this year at Woodruff's at 36 East Cross Street in Ypsilanti, starting Friday Dec. 28th and running through Tuesday Jan. 1st. Bands will starting playing at 5:30pm and will run through 12:30am each day. Tickets are $10/day or $82.60 for the full 5-day pass. It's only 9 days away - don't forget! - head on out next weekend to hear some great live music and support a great local organization!

Your Guide to Buying Local This Holiday Season

Where will you shop for holiday gifts this year? It’s buy local week! In the recent years, local businesses in Michigan cities including Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have been participating in several “buy local” themed holiday sales in order to take some of the spotlight off of the big box stores. This growing trend to “buy local Michigan” is a great way to support our state’s economy. If you’re looking for gift ideas that will support southeast Michigan, or just the state in general, here are some ideas:

-Farmer’s Markets are on the rise! According to a study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Michigan has been leading the country in the percentage growth of farmers markets over the last two years and also “ranks fourth among the states in the number of farmers markets.” There are several local farmer’s markets that are open year-round, such as The Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market and The Detroit Eastern Market. Pick up a locally made loaf of banana bread for a stocking stuffer. Or, for the more adventurous, cook your own gifts to give from the fresh foods found at the markets. The AADL’s catalog has several local-themed cookbooks for you to draw ideas from.

-Michigan is famous for its vineyards and wineries. Take a friend or loved one who enjoys wine on a tour of Michigan wineries by following this guide. Or pick up a bottle from a local winery.

-Speaking of local drinks, Michigan is also well-known for its local breweries. Ann Arbor Brewing Company, Bell’s, and Arcadia are among some of the most popular Michigan breweries holding holiday sales this year.

-Within the last few years, there have been several “Michigan” themed retail stores popping up that stock Michigan-made products. Among these include The Michigan General Store in Ypsilanti, The Dixboro General Store, The Produce Station in Ann Arbor, and the website “The Mitten State” which sells vintage-inspired Michigan themed t-shirts and other Michigan-themed gifts. Buying gifts from Michigan retail stores is a great way to support your local and state economy.

-Over the next few weeks, Friday, December 7th, Friday December 14th, and Friday December 21st, Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor will be hosting “Festive Fridays” which include live street entertainment and extended hours for Main Street retailers! This is a great opportunity to enjoy and support your local economy.

-Connect with local crafters and support them at DIYpsi, coming up December 8th & 9th in Ypsilanti. Other local DIY craft events and holiday bazaars coming up include Tiny Expo in Ann Arbor on December 8th, the 7th Annual Holiday Baar Bazaar in Detroit on the 14th, The Detroit Mercantile Merry Market on the 15th & 16th, and The Detroit Annual Food Bazaar on December 10th.

-If you’re into crafting yourself, check out some of the craft programs coming up at the AADL to make your very own gifts to give!

-Do you have an avid reader to please this holiday season? Check out the AADL’s Friend’s of the Library Book Shop, located on the basement level of the Downtown branch. The shop’s holiday hours this season are: Saturdays, 10-4 and Sundays, 1-4 through December 16th, 2012. Then closed until January 5th and 6th, 2013. The shop includes a wide variety of gently-used books, CDs, DVDs, sheet music, and jigsaw puzzels.

Happy local holiday shopping!

Found and Read


Brothers Davy and Peter Rothbart visit their hometown of Ann Arbor tomorrow night at The Last Word as part of FOUND Magazine’s epic 10th Anniversary tour, which brings them to 37 states this fall. (The Ann Arbor stop benefits 826Michigan.) The tour also celebrates the release of Davy’s new book My Heart is an Idiot. MHIAI is a collection of personal essays, many regarding his search for love in all the wrong places. See here for info on the tour, and here for FOUND books at AADL.

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