Local Creators

The Ann Arbor area has no shortage of great authors, musicians, filmmakers, and artists. AADL wants to help you find some of that great local talent through our blog, our catalog, and our events. AADL also provides access to the University of Michigan Press Online, a database where you can browse or search over 500 titles published by the University of Michigan Press right in your browser.

Our staff have pulled together some lists and tagged some content by local creators to help you find some homegrown work.

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Music

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Movies & TV

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Reveal Your Detroit

Reveal Your Detroit: An Intimate Look at at Great American City is a community engagement project led by the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Detroit Revealed exhibition at the DIA featured more than fifty works created from 2000 to 2010. The artwork captured a diverse Detroit, featuring urban architecture, urban gardens, community, art, and decay.

Reveal Your Detroit is a community based public art response to the exhibit. The project was a dialog between the museum, established artists and community organizations, asking these questions:

What does your Detroit look like?
How do you want others to see it?

After it was announced in March 2012 the project received over 10,000 images taken with disposable cameras in less than three months. The photographs included in this book are from that lot and are photographs taken with disposable cameras by local residents, and for the most part not hobbyist or professional photographers. Even if you did not visit Detroit Revealed at the DIA this book is a wonderful celebration of collaboration and community and is a positive look at the heart of Detroit: its people.

Book Release: Eric Shonkwiler's Above All Men at Literati, 2/17

This coming Monday, Literati Bookstore hosts a launch party for Eric Shonkwiler's Above All Men, at 7pm. The title is published by Michigan’s own MG Press, a micro-press devoted to publishing a small number of titles each year.

An extension of the literary journal Midwestern Gothic, MG Press retains the same core values: shining a spotlight on Midwest authors by focusing on works that showcase all aspects of life—good, bad, or ugly.

Tom Lutz of the Los Angeles Review of Books declares that "Shonkwiler takes the world on his own terms, and wrestles it to the ground.”

AADL cardholders who are curious about Shonkwiler's writing can download one of his stories, "Gripping the Heel," in Issue #3 of Midwestern Gothic. In fact, Midwestern Gothic's entire back catalog is available electronically for cardholders.

Eric Shonkwiler’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Fiddleblack, [PANK] Magazine, and Midwestern Gothic. He was born and raised in Ohio, received his MFA from The University of California Riverside, and "has lived and worked in every contiguous U.S. time zone."

New Podcast Series: Martin Bandyke Under Covers

Many Ann Arborites recognize Martin Bandyke as the longtime morning drive host at ann arbor’s 107one, WQKL-FM, his home station since 2006. In addition to a friendly voice guiding locals through their a.m. soundtrack, Bandyke is also known for his delightfully format-free Fine Tuning program on Sundays. Readers of the Detroit Free Press may have enjoyed his periodic music coverage as well.

Prior to his tenure with 107one, listeners in Southeastern Michigan benefited from Bandyke's vast musical knowledge through his role at WDET-FM, Detroit - first as a host, and subsequently as Music Director from 1995-2005. His own passion for music began with his father Ted's love of records, evolved through his role as a gigging drummer, and led to working behind the counter as a musical matchmaker at Dearborn Music and Car City Records.

Although Bandyke's talent is no secret, many of the things he loves are found between covers - including both records and books. With this in mind, AADL is pleased to be partnering with Bandyke for a new series of podcasts, called Martin Bandyke Under Covers. These podcasts, hosted by Bandyke, evidence his knowledge of music and pop culture in interviews with a variety of authors, musicians and creators.

In the first Under Covers podcast, Bandyke chats with Ray Davies of the Kinks about his new memoir, Americana. The second episode features Bandyke in conversation with Vivek Tiwary about his graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle (a recent #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list), which traces the story of Brian Epstein, the Liverpool record shop owner who discovered and then managed the Beatles from 1961 until his untimely death in 1967.

These two episodes are just the beginning for Martin Bandyke Under Covers - stay tuned for more conversations and interviews with creative minds! If your interest in popular culture and media extends to film, we hope you'll join Bandyke with Michigan Theater director Russ Collins for an Academy Awards Preview event, Downtown on Wednesday, February 26, 7-8:30pm.

Now Available Through AADL: 250+ Downloadable & Streaming Albums from Ghostly International & Spectral Sound

For over a dozen years, record label Ghostly International has made Ann Arbor its home. Haven't heard of them? The Ann's piece highlighting them as a "hidden gem" will help get you up to speed.

Founded in 1999 in a dorm room by a then-UM student, Sam Valenti IV, the label has grown steadily in scope and size. Beginning with talented locally-based artists such as Matthew Dear and Dabrye, the Ghostly crew has expanded over the last decade-plus to include illustrious alumni and around a dozen currently active artists, including Shigeto, ADULT., and Tycho. A spin-off/related label -- Spectral Sound -- also emerged, and 100+ of their albums are also included in this special AADL collection.

As its roster of musical artists has grown, Ghostly has also maintained a careful, deliberate approach to the visual elements of each release (and to the aesthetic of the label as a whole), evident by their attention to cover design and frequent partnerships with companies that are beyond the imagination (aim) of many more traditional labels.

AADL is thrilled to partner with Ghostly to offer DRM-free downloads and streaming of 150+ Ghostly and 100+ Spectral Sound albums to all AADL cardholders. All you need is to have an AADL library card. Then, login with your linked AADL online account, and all of these tracks are yours for the listening!

Wild Swan Theater: Under the African Sky

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 1 pm, when Wild Swan Theater presents Under the African Sky in Towsley Auditorium. The other three performances already are sold out. The play is a humorous collection of well- known African tales including Why the Sky is Far Away, The Talking Vegetables and Tug-of-Vine. Performers will use acting, storytelling, and drumming, with instruments including a balaphone, a djembe, and a talking drum. The show is for children age 4 to third grade and there will be plenty of chances for audience participation.

Now Available Through AADL: Downloadable Issues of Midwestern Gothic

Literary journals can be a marvelous way to discover work by writers you might not already be familiar with — a gateway to some of the most interesting new writing. Midwestern Gothic is "a quarterly print literary journal out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicated to featuring work about or inspired by the Midwest, by writers who live or have lived here."

Is this limiting? The breadth of work collected in Midwestern Gothic — issue after issue — proves that it's not.

The journal, now on its twelfth release, "aims to collect the very best in Midwestern fiction writing in a way that has never been done before, cataloging the oeuvre of an often-overlooked region of the United States ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales." An August interview with AnnArbor.com gives more insight into the journal's background and its founders, Robert James Russell and Jeff Pfaller.

We're happy to report that now you can read every issue of Midwestern Gothic by downloading them directly from AADL's website! A dozen issues are currently in our catalog, and new issues will be added upon release.

If you like what you read in Midwestern Gothic, their MG Press imprint will be celebrating the release of the novel Above All Men with an event at Literati Bookstore on Monday, Feb 17 at 7pm.

Learn about The Polar Express' Michigan Roots

How many of you knew that the classic picture book, The Polar Express, has Michigan roots? The book itself is based in Grand Rapids, which is where the author, Chris Van Allsburg, is from! The story starts out with a young boy who is feeling a bit sad because he’s not so sure anymore that Santa Claus is real. As he lies in bed on Christmas eve, waiting hopefully for the sound of Santa, he instead hears the sound of a locamotive! He hops out of bed and runs outside, only to find a gigantic train waiting for him, filled with other young children. Together, they set off on a Christmas eve adventure to the North Pole.

The Polar Express was also adapted into a film back in 2004, starring Tom Hanks. Did you know that the film, too, has Michigan connections? NPR recently did a story on the locamotive that the film makers used for direct inspiration. When making the movie, the film crew traveled all the way out to little Owosso, Michigan, in order to capture the magic that is the 400 ton Pere Marquette 1225!

“Finally, the train arrives: 16 feet tall, puffing huge blasts of steam. The smell of burning coal fills the air, and the ground literally shakes.”

Do you love The Polar Express? Click through the links in this blog post to place requests on the original book, DVD, or Blu-ray. In fact, if you or your little one are interested in some festive decorating during this holiday season, the AADL even has a Polar Express art print that you can check out and hang up on your walls at home!

Graphic Novel Recommendation: Little Fish

Little Fish : A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year begins with Ramsey Beyer’s reflections on growing up in a little farm town, Paw Paw, Michigan. But nothing exciting seemed to be happening there and the culture felt one-dimensional. As a high schooler, the most fun she could extract from between the cornfields was punk music and the internet (Livejournal, to be more specific). Armed with her own intimate records from years worth of personal journals, Beyer crafts her memories into an offbeat coming-of-age story with intricate details and drawings in a zine-like fashion. Eventually, she makes her way off the farm in Paw Paw and into the big city of Baltimore, where she transitions into a whole new life at an art college; the graphic novel continues to blossom from there.

Personally, I can relate immensely to this unique story: I, too, grew up in the little town of Paw Paw, Michigan, pop. 3,534. I also spent my childhood following my mom to “The Shopping Center” and eating ice cream in the summertime at “The Sugar Bear” (see Ramsey’s map of Paw Paw in the book). Although I didn't leave to go to art school, I also flew the coop as soon as I could, and headed due east. I have in turn grown an appreciation for the distinct city life and diverse cultures that fill the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti/Detroit area of Michigan, and have had many new experiences similar to Ramsey’s since leaving our small town.

Don’t get me wrong, though, Paw Paw - with its vineyards and slower ways of life - will always have a place in my heart, and Ramsey’s too, as anyone can tell from this extraordinary graphic novel.

Comic Artists Forum with Ted Woods

Sunday December 1, 2013 | 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm | Downtown Library-4th Floor Meeting Room

We all have our favorite artists and try to emulate them. But how do you develop your own style? Artist Ted Woods, creator of The Book of Love, will focus on the long development of his own artistic style. He'll discuss the various artists that have influenced him over the years, and the different ways he has melded their styles into one of his own.

Get fresh ideas for your next comics or graphic novel creation at the Forum. Drawing supplies are provided, so drop in to draw, learn, and network with other cartoonists.

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