A sneak peek into the future of the University Musical Society's past

Bernstein conducting

Join us on Sunday, March 14, when the Ann Arbor District Library and the University Musical Society (UMS) will unveil two new collections as part of an ongoing collaboration to bring UMS archives online. We'll demonstrate how to browse and search thousands of pages of historical programs from the Society's first 100 seasons. We'll also provide a glimpse into our growing collection of over 900 photographs featuring backstage and candid shots of performers throughout UMS's rich history. Following a brief demonstration of each collection, UMS President Ken Fischer will highlight some memorable events and anecdotes from seasons past.

Sunday, March 14, 2-4 p.m. | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

AADL Productions Podcast: Bring It Back, Take It Forward Conference

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Bring It Back, Take It Forward (BIBTIF), a 3-day conference celebrating 50 years of activism in southeast Michigan, will take place March 12-14, 2010. In this podcast, we talk with two of the conference organizers, Elizabeth Gonzalez and James Toy. Gonzalez, a graduate student in the UM School of Social Work, and Toy, a veteran activist and founding member of the University's Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office in 1971, reflect on the achievements and challenges of activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as their hopes for the conference and the future of the progressive movement.

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AADL_Productions_Podcast-BIBTIF.mp3 28.71 MB

Bring It Back, Take It Forward: March 12-14

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What do Michigan alumni Arturo Rodriguez, Dean Baker, Bill Ayers, and Harvey Wasserman have in common? They were all campus activists in the late-1960s and early 1970s--and they're coming back to the University of Michigan March 12-14 for Bring it Back, Take it Forward (BIBTIF), a three-day conference at the Rackham Building. The conference will feature a dozen panel presentations focusing on several topics including the environment, health care, feminism, immigration rights, the underground media, TBLG issues and the progressive movement itself. Speakers will consider the future of progressive activism and reflect on previous milestones, including the 40th anniversary of the Black Action Movement (BAM) and the 45th anniversary of the first teach-in against the Vietnam War here at the University of Michigan.

A full list of presenters and programs is available here. For additional details and background on the presenters, visit the BIBTIF website.

Winter: Good Season for Plays

Theater has deep roots around here, as Grace Shackman chronicles in her Ann Arbor Observer article about the old Whitney Theater. Today we continue to enjoy a lively drama scene; this weekend (Feb. 27-28), at least three stage productions are running:
1) It Came from Mars! a screwball comedy about a group of radio actors terrified by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, playing at Performance Network. Read a review.
2) Gravity, spotlighting the secret life of Isaac Newton, at Purple Rose in Chelsea.
3) Cheaper by the Dozen, based on the book by Frank Gilbreth, at Riverside Arts Center.
Why not pick a drama, style your hat, and head out?

Brewed in Ann Arbor

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With another brewery set to open, this seems like a good time to reflect on the history of drinking and brewing in Ann Arbor. Local historian Grace Shackman has written about the old Ann Arbor Brewing Company on 4th Street and the once-popular Court Tavern. And did you know that an old West Side bar once stood on Bach school's playground? You can feast on several other articles detailing the history of drinking and dining in Ann Arbor...and while you're at it, why not raise a toast to Ann Arbor's Lost Eateries?

AADL Productions Podcast: Lola Jones and Carol Gibson

Lola Jones and Carol Gibson are well-known to anyone familiar with Ann Arbor history. Over the past 30 years they have sought out and documented the history of the African American experience in Ann Arbor through a series of projects under the moniker Another Ann Arbor; it is largely through their work that the Ann Arbor African American story is a part of our shared community identity. Lola and Carol stopped by the library to talk with us one day about the work they have done over the years and where they are headed next. They shared with us some of the interesting people and events they have learned about and brought to the community in their television program, their documentaries, and their book.

You can now watch one of their documentaries online at aadl.org in our video collection. A Woman's Town was produced in 1991 and tells the story of Ann Arbor through the voices of prominent African American women.

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AADL_Productions_Podcast-Lola_Jones_Carol_Gibson.mp3 30.8 MB

A century ago: Christmas in Ann Arbor

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On Christmas, 1909, the staff of Fred Hoelzle's butcher shop worked all night cutting fresh meat for their customers' holiday celebrations. (Click on the photo for a larger view.) Read more about the shop and Metzger's restaurant in our digital collection of Then and Now columns from the Ann Arbor Observer.

AADL Productions Podcast: David Alan Grier

When David Alan Grier was in town to promote his book, Barack Like Me: The Chocolate-Covered Truth, Eli had a chance to chat with him about growing up in Detroit and his time in Ann Arbor while attending the University of Michigan in the late 1970s. DAG also talks about his work on In Living Color and Dancing with the Stars; celebrity and the internet; and Obama's inauguration.

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AADL_Productions_podcast-DAG.mp3 31.71 MB

Forest Hill Cemetery Interpretive Tours

Founded in 1857, Forest Hill is Ann Arbor's oldest cemetery, rich in history and remarkably colorful this time of year. Indeed, it's a perfect time for an interpretive tour of the graveyard with local historian Wystan Stevens, who leads groups through the grounds with stories of Ann Arbor's history every Sunday from Oct. 4 - Nov. 8 starting at 2pm. Be sure to catch him this time around, for Stevens will end his popular 30 year tradition this year. The tours are $10 for adults and free for children, and they begin at the cemetery gate on Observatory, north of Geddes. Additional information is available at 734.662.5438. For a further glimpse into the lore of Michigan's past, try the books Ann Arbor Area Ghosts, and Ghost Towns of Michigan.

Now online: The Signal of Liberty newspaper

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Take a step back to the 1840s when a cord of hickory wood or "produce of every description" assured Ann Arborites a year's subscription to The Signal of Liberty--the voice of the Liberty Party in Michigan and the state's most prominent antislavery newspaper. Published in Ann Arbor above a shop on Broadway by Theodore Foster and Reverend Guy Beckley, whose home on Pontiac Trail was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, The Signal of Liberty brought Ann Arborites seven years of emotionally charged news from the many stories of slavery's outrages to the speeches of great statesmen and important national issues of the day, to more sobering local news, notices, and advertisements for dubious health cures. You can now browse The Signal of Liberty or search the full text online.

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