AADL Talks To Commander Cody

George Frayne, aka Commander Cody, formed Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in 1967 while attending the University of Michigan. We had the opportunity to chat with George backstage at the Ark before the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally (Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen performed at the original Rally in 1971). George spoke about the formation of the band, his memories of some of Ann Arbor's musical hot spots, as well as his introduction to boogie-woogie piano, to pot, and to John Sinclair and the White Panther Party.

For more information on Commander Cody, visit commandercody.com and oldnews.aadl.org.

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AADL_Talks_To-Commander_Cody.mp3 22.86 MB

AADL Talks To David Fenton

While he was in town during the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, we had the chance to sit down with David Fenton, CEO and founder of fenton.com, about his time in Ann Arbor during the late 1960s and early 1970s. During these years David lived at the Hill Street Commune, worked on the Ann Arbor Sun, and helped with the campaign to free John Sinclair. David discusses Sinclair's influence on his personal and professional life; reflects on the excesses - both good and bad - of the countercultural movement as he experienced it, and its legacy 40 years later in its modern counterparts, including moveon.org and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

David also participated in our panel discussion, Culture Jamming: A Long View Back.

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AADL_Talks_To-David_Fenton.mp3 24.8 MB

AADL Talks to George Pomey

Local businessman and community leader George Pomey was a member of the illustrious 1964 and 1965 Michigan Wolverine Basketball teams that won back-to-back Big Ten titles, and took Michigan to the NCAA Tournaments. This March, he sat down and talked about those glory days.

Pomey remembered clearly his recruiting trip to Ann Arbor along with another teammate from his high school in Illinois; his warm relationships with his Wolverine coaches and teammates throughout his playing career; and their friendship over the years (they still have frequent reunions!). He also remembered the comparatively "primitive" sports facilities; playing to the capacity crowds at Yost Fieldhouse; his brief coaching and radio/television broadcasting experience after graduation; and his continued involvement with Michigan sports.

On March 16, 1965 Pomey and Teammate Larry Tregoning were named 2nd team Big Ten all Academic, Pomey talked about the tough schedule for athletes, and his admiration for the current Wolverine team.

Pomey also brought along these photos from the scrapbook his mother kept.

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AADL_Talks_To-George_Pomey.mp3 24.8 MB

This weekend is the 40th Dance for Mother Earth Powwow

Ann Arbor's Dance for Mother Earth Powwow celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend at Pioneer High School. The Powwow, hosted by the U-M Native American Student Association (NASA), is one of the largest university powwows in the nation. We've added to Oldnews some of the articles and photographs from past powwows that we found in our Ann Arbor News archive.

Grand entry is at noon and 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 17, and noon on Sunday, March 18. Learn what to expect if you're a first-time attendee. For more information, visit www.umich.edu/~powwow.

AADL Talks To Wayne Kramer

While he was in town for the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, Wayne Kramer, lead guitarist and co-founder of the seminal Detroit/Ann Arbor band, MC5, sat down to talk with us. Wayne discusses the early years of the band and the influence of jazz, Sinclair, and Detroit culture on their music. He also talks about his troubles in the years following the band's dissolution; his current work with Jail Guitar Doors and fondly recalls the concerts in West Park.

Read more about Wayne Kramer and the MC5 at oldnews.aadl.org and freeingjohnsinclair.org.

Photo by Robert Matheu

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AADL_Talks_To-Wayne_Kramer.mp3 24.8 MB

Culture Jamming: A Long View Back - A Panel Discussion With John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker

On December 10, 2011, the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, AADL invited former White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party members John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker to the Michigan Union for a panel discussion moderated by Professor Bruce Conforth of the University of Michigan Program in American Culture. These five panelists, central to the actions and ideals surrounding Ann Arbor's late-1960s counter-culture, reflect on what they called their "total assault on culture" during the late 1960s and early 1970s - what worked, what didn't, and what it means today.
View the video here or in other formats.

Photograph courtesy of Barbara Weinberg Barefield.
(Click image for a larger view.)

Michael Davis, MC5 bassist, dies at 68

Michael Davis, bassist for the seminal 1960s band, MC5, died last Friday of liver failure. The MC5's time in Ann Arbor as the propaganda wing for the White Panther Party under the management of radical poet and activist, John Sinclair, is documented in essays, interviews, and news articles at freeingjohnsinclair.org. You can learn more about Davis and the MC5 in author Brett Callwood's 2010 book, MC5: Sonically Speaking, a Tale of Revolution and Rock 'n Roll (we also have an interview with Callwood from 2010) and read a tribute to Davis at retrokimmer.com. The band's legacy is perhaps most memorably captured in the timeless photography of Leni Sinclair.

Ann Arbor Film Festival Archive

In celebration of the Ann Arbor Film Festival's 50th year, AADL has partnered with the AAFF to launch the Ann Arbor Film Festival Archive, an online collection of the Festival's history. Here you can browse through past programs or flyers and posters reaching back to the Festival's origins in 1963. The site also includes photographs, historical newspaper articles from the Ann Arbor News and Ann Arbor Sun, and interviews. (Look for additional interviews with past festival directors and visiting filmmakers to appear leading up to and following the 50th anniversary.)

If you have AAFF documents you would like to share - in particular, any from the few seasons we're currently missing - please contact us!

Celebrate 50 Years of the Ann Arbor Film Festival!

Friday, February 3, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Join Ann Arbor Film Festival executive director, Donald Harrison, and other voices from the Festival's past, this Friday evening as we celebrate the Festival's 50th anniversary with the launch the Ann Arbor Film Festival Archive. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the AAFF, Donald will present some behind-the-scenes stories from the longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America. AADL staff will also offer a sneak peek into Ann Arbor Film Festival Archive, which launches that night. This website will provide access to historical Festival programs, flyers, posters, photographs, articles from the Ann Arbor News and Ann Arbor Sun, and other documents from the Festival's past. Light refreshments will be served.

Corner of Main and Liberty to Lose A Landmark

Parthenon InteriorParthenon Interior

Several local restaurants have recently joined the ever-expanding list of Ann Arbor's Lost Eateries. Champion House closed suddenly last week, as did Old Country Buffet over the weekend. But I was particularly saddened to hear that the Parthenon Restaurant, which has stood on the corner of Main and Liberty Streets since John and Steve Gavas opened in 1975, will be closing its doors. Later this year Cafe Habana, formerly located on East Washington, will be moving into 226 North Main.

The Parthenon has command of possibly the best-known intersection in town, located on the same corner as Cunningham's Drugs and Mack & Co. a generation earlier.

We found some articles, a photo, and restaurant reviews on the Parthenon in our Ann Arbor News clipping file and have digitized them here for you to savor. While you're at it, you can also read about the Flim Flam Restaurant, which recently closed its doors after 30 years in business. Don't miss the Flim Flam's recipe for their famous eclair!

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