Paul is dead: old evidence brought to light

If you're a Beatles fan old enough to have owned the 'White' album and fondly recall playing it backwards listening to "Turn me on, dead man" -- as well as other clues that Paul McCartney was dead -- you have Fred LaBour to thank, and you can do so at The Ark on Monday, December 5. LaBour, bassist for the fun retro-cowboy band Riders in the Sky, was a U-M student back in October of 1969 when he wrote a satirical review of the Beatles' "Abbey Road" album for the Michigan Daily that began with the headline, "McCartney dead; new evidence brought to light." In his review, LaBour invented several clues that McCartney had died and was replaced by a double named William Campbell, thereby fueling an urban legend that quickly swept America. The Ann Arbor News covered the hoax a week later in October 1969, and Alan Glenn, chronicler of Ann Arbor in the 1960s, wrote about the story in 2009.

Riders in the Sky will appear at the Ark on Monday, December 5, in which LaBour (as his stage alter ego, "Too Slim") plays a mean double bass.

"Freeing John Sinclair" website and events coming in December

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, which took place in Ann Arbor on December 10, 1971, the Library will launch a website documenting the history of the White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party in Ann Arbor circa 1968-1975. The site will include the full run of both parties' underground newspaper, the Ann Arbor Sun; a series of original essays; audio files from the Bentley Historical Library's John and Leni Sinclair Papers; and dozens of hours of interviews with people central to this period in Ann Arbor history. For all of this and more, check out freeingjohnsinclair.org on December 9!

To launch the site, the Library is sponsoring a series of events and an exhibit titled "Rock and Revolution", on display at the Downtown Library from December 2 - January 15.

Related events in December are:

December 2, 7:00 pm: "Rock and Revolution" exhibit opening with appearances by Gary Grimshaw, Leni Sinclair and an illustrated talk on Michigan rock poster art by Michael Erlewine. (Downtown Library)

December 9, 8:00 pm: a free concert with the Commander Cody Band and special guest John Sinclair & Beatnik Youth (The Ark, 316, S. Main St, Ann Arbor) (map)

December 10, 1:00 pm: "Culture Jamming: A Long View Back", a panel discussion featuring John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton and Genie Parker. With host and moderator, U-M professor Bruce Conforth (Pendleton Room, Michigan Union, 530 S. State St, Ann Arbor) (map)

AADL Talks To Veteran Ann Arbor News Reporter Bill Treml

Bill Treml spent forty years at the Ann Arbor News working the police beat--"chasing cops and robbers," as he puts it. In that time he saw and reported on many of the stories we remember: the Coed Murders of John Norman Collins, UFO sightings, a bank robbery in Ypsilanti that left one police officer dead. Much of what we remember we remember from what he wrote. We got a chance to talk to Bill about some of those stories and what kept him at it through all those years. Treml's self-effacing manner cannot hide the fact that he went places most of us have never gone and witnessed things most of us never want to see. He stood in mud in his pajamas at murder scenes. He chased down paddy wagons. He took a front row seat to riots. He sat across the table from one of the worst serial killers in Michigan's history. Treml shared his stories of years as a reporter and told us what it takes to be a great reporter in any age of news reporting. Read some of Bill Treml's articles from the Ann Arbor News at Old News.

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AADL_Talks_To-Bill_Treml.mp3 32.2 MB

AADL Talks To Heritage Business Owner David Vogel of Vogel's Lock & Safe

Four generations of Vogels have been giving Ann Arbor what they want and need since 1913, changing the business with the tastes and tempo of life in the town. We talked to David Vogel, the 3rd generation of Vogel's Lock & Safe, who retired and handed over the business to the 4th generation, Rob and Denise Vogel, some years back. Dave has done a lot of research on the family's coming to Ann Arbor area over a hundred years ago and has collected a trove of documents, photos and family stories and shares them with us in this podcast.

The Vogel's began fixing, building and re-building "anything and everything mechanical" that farmers and businesses brought to the shop. Dave gave us a tour of the building's back rooms that house some of the equipment used back then and we've put a selection of those images up with the podcast. The business eventually changed to safes and locks and Dave talks about the "dividing line" in the 1960s, when the townspeople and students at the University of Michigan began asking for locks and deadbolts instead of sporting goods and bicycles. Dave has some interesting stories to tell about raids with the FBI and opening safes with the U.S. military.

The family is one of the older Ann Arbor "townies" and Dave keeps up with the other families that built the businesses, homes and neighborhood that define Ann Arbor. Dave talks about hunting where Pioneer High School now sits, living through World War II in Ann Arbor and the way local heritage businesses still depend on each other for support and growth.

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AADL_Talks_To-David_Vogel.mp3 21.4 MB

Old News Launch This Friday at AADL

Old News Launch | Friday, October 21 | 7 pm | Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Join us this Friday as AADL unveils Old News, a new, online product devoted to the digitization of newspapers from Ann Arbor's past. Old News features articles and images from Ann Arbor newspapers including selections from the clippings and photo files of the Ann Arbor News, as well as 18 years of issues of Ann Arbor's 19th century newspapers.

Old News opens with thousands of articles and images from Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas and is just a beginning to be added to as time goes by. In addition to the ever-growing collection of materials from the Ann Arbor News documenting the 20th century in Ann Arbor, Old News provides online access to decades of newspapers from the 19th century as well. Browse or search through full issues of the Ann Arbor Argus, Ann Arbor Courier, Ann Arbor Argus-Democrat, Signal of Liberty, and Michigan Liberty Press. Explore over 100,000 articles from 1880-1900 to learn about where Ann Arbor was 125 years ago.

This event includes a discussion of the importance of historic newspapers and digitization from Frank Boles, Director of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University; an introduction/demo to Old News by AADL staff; and post-presentation refreshments.

Ann Arbor in the Sixties: Were you there?

Girl on CurbGirl on Curb

Students for a Democratic Society. White Panthers. Student Riots. Sit-ins. The Great UFO Chase. Concerts in West Park. Sheriff Doug Harvey.

Were you in Ann Arbor during the Sixties? Do you have a story to tell? Award-winning author and archivist of popular culture Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide (and related All-Movie Guide and All-Game Guide), ClassicPosters.com, and lead singer for the Prime Movers Blues Band (Iggy Pop was his drummer), will share some of his personal memories of the cultural shifts that took place in Ann Arbor during the Sixties and early Seventies. If you were there, we'd like to hear from you as well.

We'll also let you know about a related series of events the Library is planning in collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December to mark the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally that took place on December 10, 1971.

Ann Arbor in the Sixties | 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

AADL Talks to Steven Ball

steven ballsteven ball

In this episode, we talk with Ann Arbor's "village bell ringer," Steven Ball, about the history of the carillon in civic life and his experience writing and performing accompaniment to silent film. Steven also chronicles his journey as a carillonneur and organist, and his unique role in the restoration of two of Ann Arbor's rare and beautiful public instruments--the University of Michigan's Charles Baird Carillon and the Michigan Theater's Barton Pipe Organ.

On Tuesday, June 28, the Ann Arbor District Library and the Michigan Theater are pleased to present the WORLD PREMIERE of "Back Page: A Super Colossal Production," a silent film made in 1936 by Ann Arbor News staff and recently unearthed from the archives of the Ann Arbor News. This event, which is free, will also include a second short film from 1936 titled, "The Casting of the Baird Carillon." Steven will accompany both on the Barton organ following a brief talk at 4:30 p.m. And don't miss Steven's performance on the Baird Carillon that evening when he provides live accompaniment to the Top of the Park screening of "The Phantom of the Opera" (1927).

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AADL_Talks_To-Steven_Ball.mp3 21.86 MB

Celebrities love The Making of Ann Arbor

The Local History databases aren't just for Ann Arborites, international celebrities like them too! The AADL's resources got some national attention this weekend when Russell Crowe retweeted a link to our The Making of Ann Arbor database!

Ann Arbor has been a used as a film location for many years, which means we've had our fair share of celebrity visitors to our fair city. This weekend, actor Russell Crowe tweeted about enjoying a visit to Ann Arbor and asked his followers if they knew the origin of the name. Local History Databases to the rescue! Woo hoo!

As Russell and his followers soon found out, the origin of the name "Ann Arbor" is still hotly debated. Ann's Arbor? Annarbour? Depending on which tome you consult, the name has a different origin. There are a litany of possible Ann's from history that could hold the honor of having the city named after them but which one? The world may never know! But if you want to do your own research beyond The Making of Ann Arbor be sure and check out:

Clang, Clang, Clang Went the Trolley

Goodbye TrolleyGoodbye Trolley

While browsing through old newspapers and listening to the radio at our archive this afternoon, I caught part of a 2006 interview with Hugh Martin, composer, lyricist and arranger of such classics as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "The Boy Next Door" and "The Trolley Song" from the great 1944 musical Meet Me In St. Louis. Martin, who died last Friday explained that he was browsing through an old newspaper at the Beverly Hills Library when he saw a photograph of a trolley with the caption, "Clang! Clang! went the trolley"...and three hours later the song was done. In his honor, and because my love of old musicals, libraries, newspapers and photographs just collided and I can't help myself, here's a photograph of an old Ann Arbor trolley. May it inspire you to write the next great American song.

Thanks to Site 3 of the Downtown Historical Street Exhibits Program there are several photographs of old Ann Arbor trolleys to choose from. And if songwriting isn't really your thing, we have an entire book on the subject.

101 Things You Didn’t Know About Ann Arbor…

…But Are About to Find Out Why is a new book by Martin Woodhouse. The author presents “fascinating tangents and tidbits in purposely random sequence” about the fair city of Ann Arbor. He ups the “quirk quotient” and treats readers to some interesting stories and facts about A2 and some of its story-worthy inhabitants.

Perhaps you’ve read Wicked Washtenaw County, Strange Tales of The Grisly and Unexplained, and are looking for more facts about the area. This book is right up your alley. Also recommended for some local trivia is another new book, Ghostly Tales of Michigan, which shares ghostly tales of some of Michigan’s more ghostly places.

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