Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ann Arbor Film Festival, thoughts on opening night

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of the 55th Ann Arbor Film Festival. I took in the first round of Films in Competition. I was taken aback by the incredible diversity of the films being shown--everything from minute long psychedelic animations (Mindframe)to two touching films about elderly couples. LUIS & I which documents the marriage of an aging human cannonball and the dance form Liverpool who fell in love with him was hart warming. Victor & Isolina in which director William Caballero interviews his grandparents after his grandmother kicks his grandfather out of the house. It's pretty funny and you can see the trailer here.

All of this reminded me what I love about the Film Festival: it's a chance to see incredible films you would never otherwise see; it's a reminder just how diverse, weird, and wonderful the world of film is. The Film Festival is an antidote to the formulaic films that Hollywood keeps churning out. If you're interested in checking out the Film Festival for yourself, Thursday's retrospective, 100 Years of Dada, looks great. Though you really can't go wrong checking out any of the Film Fest.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

55th Ann Arbor Film Festival opens tonight

55AAFF Trailer from Ann Arbor Film Festival on Vimeo.

Tonight's opening night for the Film Festival. The day's events kick off early with a 2:00 pmOff The Screen reception at North Quad. This evening's main events kick off with an opening night reception at the Michigan Theater at 6:30 followed by the first round of Films in Competition at 8:15. There is also an after party at 10 pm at Sava's. Should be a fun night. I'll be around checking out the reception and the films in competition so stop by and say "Hi."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Torch Murders on Ann Arbor Stories

If you're into the true crime podcast phenomena, you will want to check out today's Ann Arbor Stories. In it, Rich Retyi tells the story of 1931's Torch Murders. Be warned though, the story contains graphic depictions of violence and sexual assault. It also contains a cameo from Harry Bennett, the subject of Ann Arbor Stories #26.

Monday, March 13, 2017

55th Ann Arbor Film Festival starts next week

55AAFF Trailer 2 from Ann Arbor Film Festival on Vimeo.

Hot off the press: here's a new trailer for this year's Ann Arbor Film Festival. The Film Fest runs from March 21st through 26th. It's such a great chance to see unique films you would otherwise not see. I can't recommend the Film Fest enough.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ma Lou's Fried Chicken, a review

West wall of Ma Lou's with picnic table in foreground.
Ma Lou's Fried Chicken opened last Friday to much fanfare. After a few false starts, last night I finally had a chance to get some takeout from Ypsilanti's newest restaurant. Here's what I ordered:
Big box (feeds 2-4) 2 breasts, 2 leg quarters, half southern half medium spiced, $19
Large side of potato salad, $2 as an add on to the big box
Biscuit-donut, $3
Let me begin by saying this: if you are a fan of fried chicken, I am confident you will like Ma Lou's.
Clockwise from top: medium spiced chicken thigh; a bit of potato salad; pickle slice; southern spiced chicken thigh.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Celebrate International Women's Day with a working women walking tour of Ypsi this Saturday

The Hay and Todd Woolen Mill, the largest mill in Ypsilanti. The mill was located on Forest across from Frog Island from 1865 until 1933.

Gentle readers, International Women's Day is tomorrow. If you're looking to really celebrate the spirit of the day, originally called International Working Women's Day, there is an awesome event with local historian Matt Siegfried this Saturday in Ypsilanti. Matt will be leading a walking tour of Downtown Ypsilanti highlighting the contributions of women to the city's early industries. If you've never been to one of his historical tours before, you're really in for a treat. Matt does such a good job bringing historical landscapes to life. He has an incredible knowledge of both people and space which really allows you to feel like you're "seeing" history. I spoke with Matt and he said the tour will highlight the "hundreds of women and girls were laboring in the city's factories and mills" like the Hay and Todd Woolen Mill pictured above.

So, if you're interested in learning about the important contributions women made to industry in Ypsilanti, or you are just interested in Ypsilanti history, you won't want to miss Matt's walking tour. The tour begins at 11am on Saturday in the Riverside Arts Center parking lot and will last about 2 hours. Admission is free.

On a related note, here's an old advertisement for a popular product from the Hay and Todd Woolen Mill, Ypsilanti Health Underwear:

“Never a rip, never a tear, Ypsilanti Underwear”

Image via Ypsilanti Historical Society.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Harry Bennett on Ann Arbor Stories

Bennett's men attack UAW organizers during the Battle of the Overpass at the River Rouge Plant in 1937.

Harry Bennett was hired by Henry Ford to work as a driver and enforcer. He eventually was promoted as personnel manager for the River Rouge plant where he was essentially the worst director of human resources in history. Most HR directors don't shoot their employees, right? If you'd like to learn more about Harry Bennet, who lived in a Castle on Geddes Road with secret tunnels and machine gun turrets, you should check out today's Ann Arbor Stories podcast.

If you'd like to hear more about Bennett, check out Mark Maynard's interview with local historian Matt Siegfried on episode 2 of the Saturday Six Pack.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Everything you've always wanted to know about Detroit Style Pizza but were afraid to ask

The stuff dreams are made of. 

Writing on Serious Eats, chef J. Kenji López-Alt just published his extensive quest to make Detroit style pizza at home. It is a great read. Not only does he detail what makes our region's pizza so special, he also chronicles his successes and failures in his attempts to recreate it. The secret seems to be bread flower, 73% hydration, kneading, Wisconsin block cheese, and a steel pan. You can read the recipe here. From the article:

This is not everyday pizza. It's not every-week pizza. It might not even be every-month, if you want to live to a reasonable age. But damn, is it good pizza. So good that it's worth a trip to Detroit just to taste it. So good that it's worth devoting months of time, weeks of research, and dozens and dozens of experiments to developing a recipe to duplicate it at home. So that's exactly what I did. Here's what I found.