AADL Talks To: Gary Grimshaw

Gary Grimshaw is one of the most renowned and recognizable poster artists to come out of the 1960s. His most prolific period as a graphic artist was his time spent with John and Leni Sinclair in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, first in the Detroit-based Trans-Love Energies commune and then in Ann Arbor with the White Panther Party/Rainbow People's Party. In this interview we talk with the former White Panther Party Minister of Art about creating art for the Grande Ballroom and the White Panther Party, the night John Sinclair met both him and the MC5, and how he made his art then and now.

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AADL_Talks_To-Gary_Grimshaw.mp3 17.32 MB

AADL Talks To: Judge Damon Keith

In June, 1972, then-U.S. District Judge Damon J. Keith of Detroit foiled the Nixon Administration's plan to use the Ann Arbor CIA Conspiracy trial as a test case to acquire Supreme Court sanction for domestic surveillance. Keith's ruling - that the Justice Department's wiretapping was in violation of the 4th amendment - led to a unanimous Supreme Court decision making domestic surveillance illegal…during the same week as the Watergate break-in. In this interview, Judge Keith, now Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, recalls his memories of the case and his famous Keith Decision. He also talks about how he handled similarly difficult cases, and the legacy of his work.

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AADL_Talks_To-Judge_Damon_Keith.mp3 21.91 MB

AADL Talks To: Pun Plamondon

Pun Plamondon was a directionless teen with left-wing leanings when he met John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, and Gary Grimshaw in Detroit in the mid-1960s. He grew to become the co-founder of the White Panther Party/Rainbow People's Party as well as its Minister of Defense. In that role he found himself on the run as one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Criminals and the subject of a case before the United States Supreme Court. In this episode we talk to Pun about that journey, including the formation of the White Panther Party and Rainbow People’s Party, being there for some of the key events in 1960s Ann Arbor, and finding his Native American roots.

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AADL_Talks_To-Pun_Plamondon.mp3 57.26 MB

AADL Talks To: John Sinclair (March 22, 2010)

In this interview from March 22, 2010, poet, author, and activist John Sinclair reflects on music in Ann Arbor - from the MC5, the free concerts in the parks and the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz festival, to his specific memories of local clubs and musicians. He also talks about the influence of both the Beat generation and black music on his cultural and political awakening, the origins of the White Panther Party, and the importance of newspapers.

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AADL_Talks_To-John_Sinclair1.mp3 39.55 MB

AADL Talks To: Leni Sinclair

In this interview, photographer and activist Leni Sinclair recalls the origins of the Detroit Artists Workshop and first Trans-Love commune in Detroit, and their strategic retreat to Ann Arbor following the Detroit Riots. She also talks about the groups' politicization as the White Panther Party and reflects on life at their Hill St. commune, including what led to its breakup in the mid 1970s.

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AADL_Talks_To-Leni_Sinclair.mp3 27.56 MB

AADL Talks To: Bruce Conforth

Rob talks with University of Michigan Professor of American Culture, Bruce Conforth, about the cultural and historical significance of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, in particular John Lennon's decision to appear at the Rally and the role Ann Arbor played in the 1960s.

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AADL_Talks_To-Bruce_Conforth.mp3 21.39 MB

Freeing John Sinclair Concert with Commander Cody Band and John Sinclair

December 10, 2011, marks the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally at Crisler Arena, held to protest the ten-year prison term given John Sinclair for the possession of two marijuana cigarettes (he was released soon after the Rally). On the evening before the anniversary, we'll celebrate the launch of our Freeing John Sinclair website (coming December 9!) with a FREE concert at The Ark featuring the Commander Cody Band (Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen played at the original Rally), with special guest John Sinclair & Beatnik Youth.

Admission is FREE, and first-come, first-served, so get there early!

Friday, December 9, 2011 | 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:30) | The Ark | Ann Arbor

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

Saturday December 10, 2011: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm - The Michigan Union - Pendleton Room - 530 S. State Street on the UM Campus

UM Professor Bruce Conforth moderates this panel discussion with John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton and Genie Parker--all members of Ann Arbor's White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party. All were central to many of the actions and ideals surrounding Ann Arbor's counterculture. The panelists will reflect on their "total assault on culture" during the late '60s and early '70s- what worked, what didn't, and what it means today.

"Culture Jamming: A Long View Back" is the final event of the Library's 'Freeing John Sinclair: The Day Legends Came to Town' series celebrating the launch of AADL's Freeing John Sinclair website (available Friday, December 9), marking the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally that took place in Ann Arbor on December 10, 1971.

"Rock and Revolution" Exhibit Opening This Friday!

Friday, December 2, 2011: 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. -- Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Join us this Friday evening for the opening of Rock and Revolution a Downtown Library exhibit featuring the works of celebrated poster artist Gary Grimshaw and photo journalists Leni Sinclair and David Fenton, plus documents on loan from the John and Leni Sinclair Papers at the Bentley Historical Library.

Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide and ClassicPosters.com, will present a brief talk on Michigan Rock Concert Posters from the 1960s & 1970s. Light refreshments will be served. Leni Sinclair and Gary Grimshaw will be in attendance and some of their work will be available for purchase. We'll also have several drawings for free posters signed by Gary Grimshaw!

This exhibit and opening are part of the Library's Freeing John Sinclair series of events to mark the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally and our upcoming freeingjohnsinclair.org website (premiering December 9). The exhibit will be on display in the Library's Lower Level Multi-Purpose Room, the Lower Level Glass Cases and the Third Floor Display Area from December 2 - January 15.

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.

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