Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kodama stencil

Anyone know where this stencil is located?

Upstairs at R. Hirt Jr. Co.

As one of the stores framing Detroit's Eastern Market, R. Hirt Jr. Co. is teeming with customers on Saturday mornings. Run-off from the farmer's market, perhaps weary of all the vegetables outside, these shoppers wiggle around the main floor, gape at the high prices on the Haribo candy, only to, inevitably, puddle around the cheese counter by the door, where the staff will slice samples as the clientele pretends to be torn between two kinds they'd never, before the French twisted around the salesgirl's tongue, heard of before.

Look what they're missing upstairs.

That's right: musical theater space robots.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What to expect from the Onion

Ann Arbor is about to join a group of 12 elite cities that have print editions of the Onion, America's Finest News Source. In your face San Francisco! What can we expect from this new weekly paper? Damn Arbor sent our finest team of investigators across the country to collect other city's print editions of the Onion. We managed to get our grubby little paws on a copy of the Washington D.C. edition from the week of July 28 and the Austin, TX edition from August 4 of this year. Both cities' editions were similar, starting with a "news" section that was almost entirely stuff that cold be found on the Onion's website. There were a few bits scattered here and there that are unique to the print edition: weather, real estate, TV highlights, etc. After a brief sports section and standard A.V. Club fare, the real difference between the online edition of the Onion and the print editions can be seen. The local A.V. Club is filled with local movie and concert listings and reviews. There is also a crossword puzzle and the comic Red Meat. All in all I am pretty excited about the Ann Arbor's edition of the Onion. The only question that remains is what the addition of this national satire chain will mean for our locally produced satire.

Move-in has begun at Mary Markley.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fraser's Pub

As an Ann Arbor resident for nearly two decades, I'm embarrassed to admit that until last week, I had not been to Fraser's Pub. I'm glad I finally took the time to check it out. Fraser's is pretty decent neighborhood pub with decent food and a respectable selection of beers. Definitely worth the trip.

On a side note the bimodal distribution of Fraser's Yelp reviews is interesting. Looks like you either love it, or think it's really middle of the road:

One man's multi-modal transit hub is another man's parking structure

Urban planning student and Damn Arbor contributor Joel Batterman has an informative opinion piece about the Fuller Road Station over on the Com. From the article:
More than two dozen U-M faculty, including a past dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, have petitioned President Coleman to consider this course of action. Four decks of concrete for cars doesn’t advance U-M’s sustainability mission, and the cost of the project works out to about $44,000 per parking space, roughly four years’ undergraduate tuition. With the same total sum, U-M could boost bus service, provide local funds for a train station, and retain more to spend on things like financial aid.
A strategy of perpetual parking expansion may have made sense in the Interstate era. It doesn’t make sense today, from the perspective of economics or ecology. By choosing cheaper, less polluting, and more effective alternatives, U-M has a chance to demonstrate the “Michigan Difference” and renew its commitment to be “leaders and best.”

It's really great to hear an urban planning take on some of our local issues.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Helicopter tour of Ann Arbor

Really it's just a helicopter tour of Ann Arbor until 2:30 or so. Then it's a tour of major construction projects in Southeast Michigan. Hope you brought your hardhats.

"View From the Top" Helicopter Tour from Specs Howard TV on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

There will be spin art

Charlie Slick and Thunda Clap are playing at Mark's Carts in just 6 short days. That's September 2nd for those of you who may struggle in the addition department. The shows at 7 pm and personally, I'm hella excited. Check out this awesome video of them putting up awesome posters in Ann Arbor:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Amtrak, Why?

I know there's a lot more I could do, but I generally try to do right by the environment: I don't have a car, I keep my house painfully cold in the winter, I try to eat locally, and I like trains. In fact, I would like to take the train to Detroit this evening. Unfortunately, as you can see in the image above, the Wolverine 352 has been arriving an average of 163 minutes late to Detroit this week. It's hard to stomach the idea of spending that much extra time on a train ride that's scheduled to take just 61 minutes. To put it another way Google Maps says it would only take 1 more minute to bike from Ann Arbor to Detroit than to take the train, and that's at the leisurely pace of 18.2 kph (11.3 mph)! Maybe I should just get a touring bike. I digress. My point is this: Amtrak, you're tearing me apart!

I realize Northfolk Southern has a substantial roll in the current delays, but the current state of passenger rail in Michigan is pretty depressing. Thank god for bicycles.

Hat tip Ed Vielmetti

The image above was produced using this page by Registration Software

More on Ann Arbor's Medical marijuana raids

Here's a better video of yesterday's dispensary raids from James Dickson's article in the Ann Arbor Journal (watch out, the Ann Arbor Journal site is quagmire of various annoying ads):


Thursday, August 25, 2011


In case you are one of the half dozen or so people who get their news exclusively from Damn Arbor (I am truly sorry if this is the case), you should know that there have been two raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in Ann Arbor today. The raids were carried out by the Ann Arbor Police Department, Michigan State Police and the Postal Inspection Service. According to sources, the raids have nothing to do with yesterday's State Appeals Court decision that ruled dispensaries are illegal under current Michigan Law. Read more:
Ann Arbor Chronicle - 1818 Packard
Ann Arbor Chronicle - Main & Liberty
The Com - Police raid 2 medical marijuana clinics in Ann Arbor
Here is a video of the police collecting evidence from the MedMar clinic on 1818 Packard.

MgoBlog posts on food

A Guide to Ann Arbor: Eating and Drinking from mgoblog. I like a lot of his choices. I am not a heavy drinker but I am most CERTAINLY a heavy eater, particularly in the breakfast area, and I can't help but point out they are missing two of the best. Afternoon Delight's weekend breakfasts are the BEST. You cannot beat their smoked salmon eggs benedict on latkes (potato pancakes for you gentiles out there), they also have great muffins and an excellent Belgian waffle for those of you who crave that morning sugar coma. Northside Grill is also a fantastic place a little outside of downtown on Broadway. It has a bit of a Fleetwood kind of feel but a little less grungy (don't get me wrong, I love me some fleetwood). A little more upper class hipster kind of place. Can't go wrong with either of these places in addition to the nice list provided by mgoblog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Et in Arcadia Ego

There's some turnover happening in the Nickels Arcade, as Ionnia, which sold jewelry and other accoutrements, is closing at the end of the month. Another boutique, named "Wendy" (I assume after the proprietress), opened earlier this year. Some of the businesses in the Arcade seem to be doing quite well - the Arcadian apparently has been open since before I was born - but I'm curious as to what might be a good fit for the open spot. Coffee, shoes, menswear, and barbershop are all taken, but maybe some other establishment might work? For one, I dream of the Pastry Peddler moving up from the undergraduate ghetto... but that's probably not going to happen, sadly.

Match by Match: American Crowbar

A few weeks ago, Damn Arbor received an email from Match by Match inviting us to download and listen to its latest album, American Crowbar. Before I begin my album review, I would like share a little background on Match by Match (MxM). The band was born when Gary Bouchard and Melissa Coppola met each other on Chatroulette. After talking for a few months the musicians clicked and started MxM last winter. This is noteworthy, not just because the sheer improbability of the two artists meeting on the site, but also because this might be the single most productive thing that has come out of Chatroulette.

Back to the music.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ann Arbor earthquake

From the twitter we are getting reports of a small earthquake being felt in the Ann Arbor area. Either that, or the library lot is collapsing. Preliminary data from the USGS suggests we might be feeling a 5.8 magnitude earthquake from Virginia.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Musicians burgled, an update

A few weeks ago a reader emailed asking us to keep an eye out for some instruments that were stoled from some of her friends. Well it turns out that the instruments have been recovered and that suspects have been arrested. You can read the full story at To make a long story short, the suspects who are accused of burgling Erin et al. are also accused of several other burglaries and home invasions in the area. The full story has some good lessons on what to do if you get burgled and what to do before you are burgled. It also features a prominent Southeast Michigan pawn shop. Check it out.

Dolores Peek

Are you a lovelorn single trying to navigate Ann Arbor's dating scene? Turn no further than CTN's Dolores Peek. This 9 part video series was created in the late 1980's and just recently unearthed by CTN staff.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pizza Pino's secret ingredient

Am I misreading this sign? Is Pizza Pino admitting they cook up their employees and turn them into their corned "beef" reubens?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cuba Libre

Frita Batidos has finally gotten its liquor license. And it only took 8 months! I myself am looking forward to a mojito sooner rather than later.

Some thoughts on bikes

Look at this awesome bike rack I saw in Austin. Maybe the city could replace some of their temporary street bike racks with more permeant ones like these. On a related note, I went to Back to the Bricks in Flint last night. While celebrations of the automobile are cool and everything, wouldn't it be cooler to have a bicycle festival? People would bring out their bikes and park them all up and down Main Street. People would meander up and down the street trading tips on bike repair and snapping pictures of sweet bikes. Think about.

Free tomatoes

And peppers. Saw this sign on Arborview yesterday. Unfortunately there weren't any ripe veggies at press time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some local blogs

Blogs are often criticized for simply regurgitating others content. In honor of that, I am sharing some links to some cool local blogs.

Great Lakes Guru: Battle of Wheats: Bell’s Oberon vs. Arcadia’s Whitsun
A summer wheat ale smack-down

Motown to Tree Town: The 100th entry
Reflections on 100 posts worth of content

Meg.Goes.Nom.Nom: The BBQ Slaw Burger
Winner of Sidetracks burger challenge

A2 GastroBoy: Meet my MEAT!
All about Farmer Ben and Bending Sickle CSA

Local in Ann Arbor: What Does It Mean to be an Ann Arbor Townie?

Also, you should make sure to check out Michigan Exposures regularly.

Gentle readers, if you have any favorite local blogs you frequent, please mention them in the comments.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Come on down to Ye Olde Borders Towne

The Daily Show's Resident Expert, John Hodgman, suggests Borders stores should be preserved so that future generations will know what it was like to paw through bins discounted out of date calendars among other things.

Canoeing the Huron

Despite running through some of Michigan's most populous counties, the Huron River has remained relatively unpolluted. According to the Huron River Watershed Council, the Huron is the cleanest urban river in Michigan. I think it would be a really great adventure to canoe the Huron's entire 200 km starting from the headwaters in Oakland County to its delta just down stream of Flat Rock. According to this map, it would only take about 40 hours of canoeing. Who's in?

Picture via Dwight Burdette

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Big Dig

A little of the complaint factory today - the never-ending City Hall "improvement project" is, well, never-ending. I moved into my apartment two years ago this week, and the work continues apace at the same volume, intensity, and frequency as before. That is to say, it's not unusual for me to wake up at 6 AM to a Caterpillar backing up incessantly. As I said to some friends last night, "The damn thing seems like it's always in reverse."

Public works projects are of course necessary, but I can't help but wonder (spurred on by a friend) if it's just contractors seeking to extend their project a little bit longer. Let's hope not. And of course, it could be worse. I could be the owner of Jersualem Garden...

Zug: A short film

I know they have filmed big, Hollywood movies in Michigan. Still, every time I hear about a new movie shot in the area, it makes me feel just a little bit famous.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Green Drinks tomorrow

Green Drinks is tomorrow at the Wednesday Evening Farmer's Market. Stop by from 5 pm to 8 pm to stock up on produce, or unwind after work.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Decoding the Undulation of Things

One of our own, Mr. Ben Houston, is departing A2 today for greener pastures - Portland, OR! We're all very jealous, if only because Portland's the new Austin, the new Seattle, the apotheosis of being laid back and young. Or so IFC would want us to believe. We'll all miss his misanthropy (what else explains a costume from A Clockwork Orange). I myself am hoping that I still get random GChat messages at all hours of the day and night. But we hope to see him back soon.

Safe travels!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Salsa samples.

Free salsa samples on the corner of North University and State. I'm not really sure why, but I'd start a stockpile if I were you.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Prodigal Student

For the third year in a row, I am planning to return to fair Michigan (and Ann Arbor) after a summer away pretending to be a lawyer. The bags are packed, my flight's in three hours, and I am currently occupying my time trying to think of what, exactly, I want to do as soon as I am back home. Given the high student population of A2, I thought I'd post the question to our readers - once you've schlepped your luggage into your dusty, hot apartment, what's on your "just back" list?

Punk Week X

Punk Week IX's adopt a bridge program

Punk Week may be starting on the 15th. Surprisingly, it's difficult to find information about it online. According to a post by Drunken Marauder on Squatter Planet, at least some people have started to gather and camp around Ann Arbor in preparation for the event. There are murmurs on the message board that the people who normally organize Punk Week may have thrown in the towel after last year's event. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Photo by A. W. Warner.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Robot roadkill

Maybe we should amend the pedestrian ordinance to say cars must stop for people and robots approaching intersections. I wonder if the people at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair know about this.

Last Friday at Mark's Carts

Phil Doaks tweeted this at us over the weekend. Looks like a great time. I'm glad to see the food carts doing well. Can't wait to see Charlie Slick play there on September 2nd.

Photo via Phil Dokas

Protests at family court

Today, is organizing protests outside circuit courts around the state to voice its discontent with the family court system. (Though Washtenaw County is off the hook, apparently.) Namely, this group wants to severely limit the use of guardians-ad-litem--people or organizations, sometimes attorneys, appointed to represent the interests of the child in neglect, abuse and, less often, divorce proceedings. This seems like a difficult position to defend: Mom gets an attorney, Dad gets an attorney, the state has an attorney, and now we want to deprive the child of the maybe-attorney he or she has access to? I don't think anyone's denying that the family law system has its problems, but it's not this.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fucking Awesome Fest this weekend

Fucking Awesome Fest kicked off at the Majestic in Detroit last night. It's going all weekend and there are some great acts!

If you haven't been, the Majestic complex is a joy to see shows at (that roof deck on the Stick is a beautiful place to enjoy a Ghettoblaster on a summer night). Not to mention all the great bands. And the thrill of visiting Detroit.

Here are a couple of recommendations, but there is way more to be seen:
Fucking Awesome Fest is all ages, $30 for a 4-day pass or $15 for a 1-day pass. Learn more and tickets here.

I smell cheese

There is also a NSFW version of this sticker

I've seen this sticker and its partner (NSFW link above) a few places around town. Do you think this is the same Beast that loves sugar, or are there multiple beasts in this town?

Town versus Gown

Saw this graffiti conversation in one of the upstairs bathrooms at Dominick's last weekend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Longboarding in Ann Arbor

I always thought longboards were more for traveling and shorter skateboards were for doing tricks. Guess I was wrong.

Brew for the River

The Huron River Watershed Council and several Huron River Watershed brewers are hosting Brew for the River. Your chance to support water quality and conservation in the Watershed while drinking beer made from watershed water. The event kicks off tomorrow at Wolverine State Brewing Company. They will have live music and free pizza. That's right, free, as in beer, pizza (I don't think the beer is free, as in beer thought.). During Brew for the River events breweries will be donating a percentage of their proceeds to HRWC.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A2 Dining

I'll admit it, when I first saw the sign for Mani Osteria go up, I thought it was just going to sell seafood. I guess I just sort of assumed that "osteria" translated to "oystery" or "a restaurant specializing in oysters." I told few about my error, especially after Quinn wrote her review of the place. That's why I'm glad A2 Dining had the courage to admit he made the same error in the first line of his review of Mani. I also admire A2 Dining for the simplicity and impracticality of his mission: to objectively rate every restaurant in Ann Arbor. From the blog:
I look to take on a project I have always wanted to venture into – trying my best to objectively judge the range of restaurants of a community I live in. While I don’t think I was endowed with talents greater than any other foodie out there, I believe that my heart and mission is in the right play. My recent move to Ann Arbor, with its rich store of cultures and restaurants, has provided me with an opportunity too good to pass up. I want to do this for me as much as the prospective readers out there. I even look forward to conversations with those whose opinions differ from mine!

In my attempt to write fair, objective reviews of restaurants I have established three primary directives that I will my hold myself to until I deem this project complete:

That a formal rubric will be established at the beginning and that all restaurants will be scored based on that same rubric.
That I, and those who join me in reviewing restaurants, will be reflective about the pre-judgments and tastes we have and work best to shelter those elements from our decision making and judgement call. This will (hopefully) result in eliminating some of the gastronomical boundaries we all seem to have set for ourselves.
That I will use this project as a way to meet new talented practitioners, taste great food, and share a table with friends and family.

Check out A2 Dining's review map here.

The Dirty Wolverine

The Dirty Wolverine : A Michigan Thrift Initiative from ashdelajuice on Vimeo.

Looks like Ann Arbor is getting its own pop-up store. The Dirty Wolverine (does that sound like something else?) will be your source for vintage U of M apparel. Let's hope this is the start of more pop-ups in the city.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Slackline party

Saw this dude slacklining on this 35 m slackline on the Diag on Friday night. When I asked if I could take his picture, he asked me if I slacklined. "I've dabbled." I responded.

"Well we've got a group that meets here Monday nights," he said. "We have all levels."

Friends, if you want to go slacklining, there is a group meeting tonight on the Diag.


Check out this awesome Cecropia moth caterpillar that was found during a Natural Areas Preservation workday.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tally Hall in Austin

It was interesting to see an Ann Arbor band on the marquee at Emo's, a venue down the street from where we are staying in Austin. Too bad we just missed them. Also, I wonder if Bee vs Moth is any good?

I'm in the Austin, Texas for the week at the Ecological Society of America annual meeting. Gentle Readers, do y'all have any advice on things to check out in Austin? Are there regional beers I should be drinking? I'm going to see if I can steal some of their food cart technology while I'm here.

The owls are not what they seem

Saw this stencil by the Undergraduate Science Building.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Borders time lapse

Ann Arbor time lapse from Brendan Rutledge on Vimeo.

Ice cream sandwiches

By tomorrow, they mean today. Stop by the Lunch Room at Mark's Carts for the great ice cream sandwich taste test. Mmm democracy has never been so delicious.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Roots Jamboree

Roots Jamboree is at Riverside park in Ypsi this weekend. A ton of cool bands are playing: Black Jake and the Carnies, Frontier Ruckus, Ella Riot and Dragon Wagon, just to name a few. But you don't have to take my word for it. You can listen to songs from all the bands on the Roods Jamboree website.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Rest area" on Linda Vista

Found on Linda Vista around 6 this morning:

Where are you going with that guys? I mean, can you even fit that toilet into a Beetle?

[Thanks, Anne/my mom!]


Bendemonium, L^3 and I had lunch at Mark's Carts yesterday with some friends. This gave me the chance to try out the food from eat and talk to the proprietors, Helen and Blake. The food was absolutely delicious--Bendenmonium and I both went with the Korean BBQ beef sandwich. Which was tasty and wonderful and covered in this amazing kimchi. I want to say better things about this amazing sandwich, but my limited vocabulary fails me at the moment.

eat also does catering, and I got a chance to ask Helen and Blake the question that's been on everyone's mind: how accurate is Party Down in its portrayal of the catering world? Helen and Blake said they loved the show, and that Party Down is pretty accurate. The did specifically mention that they never take shrooms while they are working events.

Bottom line: eat serves up really tasty food, and Helen and Blake are pretty cool people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

AWOL being filmed on campus today

Damn Arbor reader Andy P. sent in this picture of AWOL being filmed on the south east corner of the Diag saying:
Hey, I thought you'd like this picture. This guy told me that I couldn't take pictures. So I took a picture of him.


Thanks Andy!

Hot new look for summer: busking with bagpipes

Did you hear the bagpipes on campus last night? It was Fonzie MacDonald. Not only does he have an awesome name, but this kid is pretty sharp. You know how I know? He was wearing ear plugs. Fonzie's no fool. He ain't gonna suffer hearing loss. Also, he isn't half bad at the pipes.


It's the moment you've been waiting for all summer: the City Council Primary! YAY! Time to vote. Here is a link to the city's polling place map. Good hunting!

Get ready to vote

Musicians burgled

Just got an email about a burglary from the Damn Arbor account. Damn Arbor reader Christianna writes:
Some musician friends of mine, both U of M PhD students, rent an apt near 4th and Packard and they were burglarized while at work today. Items missing include a red American Standard Fender Telecaster, a White American Standard Deluxe P-Bass, a Fender Rumble Bass Amp, an M-Audio Fast Track Pro, ipod, camcorder and digital camera. We’re talking over $4,000 in gear. We’re asking that people keep their eyes & ears open as they peruse craigslist & instrument shops & spread the word. Anything you could do to help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

If you have any leads, drop us a line and we can put you in contact with Christianna.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Get ready to vote

The primary election for Ann Arbor's City Council race is tomorrow. The Democratic party is the only party with multiple candidates running for seats. As such it is the only party in the primary tomorrow. In some cases, winners of tomorrow's election will face challengers in November, others will be unchallenged in the general election. In case you have waited until the last minute to make your decision, here are some articles that may help you decide:
The Chronicle's Mapping Money article is a pretty awesome geographic breakdown of where candidates money comes from
The Com has an article examining who some of the big donors backing the candidates are
The Chronicle has another good article about past voting patterns in primary elections
Here are our links to the League of Women Voter's Candidate Forum videos
Update: Local in Ann Arbor reminds us the Chronicle posted a useful election summary today

The Venue

The Venue Pilot Presentation from The Venue on Vimeo.

What happens when two friends buy the "Whistling Pig," Ann Arbor's top rock venue? Hilarity ensues. From their Vimeo page:
Two long-time friends realize their dream of owning & operating the Whistling Pig, Ann Arbor’s legendary concert venue. With the “help” of their inept staff, they find that running the Pig isn't as easy, or as fun, as they first imagined. Each episode features appearances and performances from actual well-known/up-and-coming bands. It's "Flight of the Conchords" meets "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia".

Looks like the Venue never made it passed the pilot stage. It also looks like most of the scenes were filmed in the old Windy Apple instead of Ann Arbor.