Thursday, October 31, 2013

Damn Arbor's Halloween Spooktacular: Haunted cemeteries of Canton Michigan

Youtube user, PlymouthAfterHours1, is an avid local ghost hunter.

Check out this vid:

Offensive Frat Party

Thanks Michigan Daily
Students got an email from Royster Harper about a frat that had chosen an offensive party theme. I was surprised to find the email in my inbox, because even after the nekky frat incident, I don't remember such an email. Michigan Daily has a nice article about the fraternity involved, Theta Xi, and the ramifications of  throwing a party that glorifies cultural appropriation. Here is an excerpt from the email:
We were deeply disappointed to learn that members of a university fraternity had planned an offensive themed party for November. The language of the invitation and theme of the party denigrated all women and African American/black identified people through racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation.

This behavior is offensive, disrespectful and unacceptable at the University of Michigan. It is unhealthy and harms everyone in the community. It is in direct contradiction to the values, policies and expectations of the University and will not be tolerated.
She goes on to say:
Disturbingly, negative stereotypes and misogynistic behavior are woven into popular culture today. We believe this reinforces the ongoing need to continually pay attention to diversity and engage in thoughtful, challenging conversations about social identities.
It's nice to know the University's response was so prompt and thoughtful.

What do you call the night before Halloween?

A friend posted this great Joshua Katz map showing what people in the US call Devil's Night. Two thoughts:

1) Seems like a lot of folks in Southeast Michigan "have no word for this night." I wonder if this reflects people identifying where they live as "not Detroit." eg We're so not Detroit, we don't even have a word for Devil's Night here.
2) Common New Jersey, "Mischief Night?" Get serious.
H/T: Nick Richie

Halloween Dance Party at Aboveground Studio tonight

Aboveground Studio is having one final blowout before they close. Is there any better way to go than a Halloween dance party? I have no idea when it starts, or what cover is, but Charles Trees and Jeremy Wheeler, DJ will be there.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Calling all City Council Candidates

Hi City Council Candidates.

You may or may not know, but we here at Damn Arbor are trying to help get out the vote for Tuesday's election. I'm wondering if you might be interested in doing a short interview with us over email. If you are, drop us a line:


Help name Ann Arbor's bike share program

Ann Arbor's new shared bikes need a name. Do you have any ideas? The winnings submission get's a free year membership.

Campaign Signs for Twenty Pound Carp spotted in Ward 4

Will Ann Arbor end up like that town in Alaska with a cat as a mayor? Will the Twenty Pound Carp vote take away from the Admiral Ackbar vote?

H/T: Ed Vielmetti

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wrosemarie Writes Wreviews: The People Who Hide My Pumpkins

Dearest Ann Arbor. I have been in mourning since the personal loss of I am struggling to mlive my life to the fullest. Anyways, I have to write my review before the next rerun of Lawrence Welk. 

The People Who Hide My Pumpkins
1/5 Stars
I am known among my gal friends as being dedicated to my art! My closest home girls know that for almost two decades I raised a Chia Pet like my own daughter. In its later years it started to chew through the power cords of my television. I cried when I had to shave away the green hair of my Chia Pet and use it as a paper weight. 

Anywho, back to the pumpkins. Every year I make a series of pumpkins that explore my postmenopausal years. Hot flashes were the first theme, in fact, they were the theme during my menopause. Each child that I babysit makes a pumpkin with a symptom (chills, sweats, rapid heartbeat). They were truly beautiful things, we couldn't have crafted them better if I was menstruating! However, as soon the orange goddesses were placed on my doorstep, they disappeared in a (hot) flash!

The first year the pumpkin thief hid the pumpkins behind my car wheels! It was truly a genius plan, because I became responsible for their demise, poor me. I remember clutching the remains of pumpkin seeds while screaming to the sky. The second year (the theme was migranes) there was no indication of my pumpkins for days. Finally, a serious of packages showed back up at my door. Inside were the remains of my pumpkins, blended down and put into a pie pan along with a series of photos of the cast of Party Of Five. 

Over the years, gosh darnit, I have come to expect that my pumpkins will be taken, but do you think I give up? NO! I have found my pumpkins in the toilet bowl at work, hidden in the background of several popular Bollywood films, and I suspect that they are being used at Festifools due to the fact that they often resemble prominent Ann Arborites having menopausal joint pain. 

This year the pumpkins stolen illustrated the all too real 'urinary urgency.' They were very therapeutic to make and I would like them back in hopefully one or two pieces. If you are the people who hide my pumpkins, please think about returning them to a nice older neighbor, with only some minor misdemeanors. Do not return pumpkins that have been soaked in alcohol, they are a fire hazard. 

Please tune in next week for my article on that cobblestone street in Kerrytown.

Damn Arbor's Halloween Spooktacular: H.P. Lovecraft's The Hound

Gentle Reader, we have a real spooky treat for you. We have found a painstakingly restored copy of the CTN classic adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's The Hound. Shot in the greater Ypsi-Arbor area in 1997 this shot-by-shot HD restoration was made from the original SVHS tapes. Check out what critics have to say about the Hound:
"Claustrophobic and intense"
~ Charles P. Mitchell / The Complete H.P. Lovecraft Filmography

"The combination of music, deeply shadowed visuals, and slow, tense pace make this little production far more effective than any single big-budget adaptation of Lovecraft's work."
~ Stephen Mark Rainey / Author

"A beautiful psychological mood piece that one quickly ends up comparing with the work of Val Lewton"
~ Richard Sheib / Horror Online

In terms of cinematic adaptions of H.P. Lovecraft's cannon, The Hound ranks somewhere between Stuart Gordon's Dagon (2001) and Dan Gildark's Cthulhu (2007). Without further ado, we proudly present, The Hound:

H.P. Lovecraft's The Hound (1997) from Anthony Penta on Vimeo.

Devil's Night at the Warehouse

If you're looking to get your pre-Halloween party on tomorrow night, consider checking out the Devil's Night party at the Warehouse (840 Plaza Dr., Ann Arbor, MI). From the faceblock event page:

☿ join us for a night of mayhem and madness with:





9pm doors||10pm bands

☛ suggested donation

Will we see a "Stand Your Ground" defense in the Rush St. Shooting?

In an article regarding alleged Rush St. shooter, Zachary Finneren's, arraignment yesterday, several Mlive commentors have brought up Michigan's "Stand Your Ground" law. Take, for example, InFastAndOutSlow:
"An altercation followed and Finneren took out his pistol and fired two shots", police said. An investigation may reveal that Finneren was merely standing his ground.

780.972 Use of deadly force by individual not engaged in commission of crime; conditions. Sec. 2. (1) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses deadly force may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if either of the following applies:
(a) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual. (b) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.
(2) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses force other than deadly force may use force other than deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if he or she honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.
History: 2006, Act 309, Eff. Oct. 1, 2006.

The story of the night's events goes something like this:
Police said Monday Finneren was confronted by the Illinois man and other men after Finneren was making aggressive advances toward a woman in their group. An altercation followed and Finneren took out his pistol and fired two shots, police said.
The "Stand Your Ground" argument seems to turn on whether Finneren was in commission of a crime at the time of the shooting. In Michigan it is illegal to cary your firearm into an establishment that primarily serves alcohol.

Thanks to two off duty paramedics, who were celebrating a birthday at Rush St. and the quick response of local first responders, the victim is in critical but stable condition. It is also fortunate that nobody at Rush St. was more seriously injured in the events on the morning of October 27th. Hopefully, this will fly under the radar of the national media and we can get on living our lives and avoiding Rush St.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Election 2013 Survey

Gentle Readers, as you know I am fairly interested in Ann Arbor City Politics. I am curious though, about you. Do you plan on voting in the upcoming election? What local issues are important to you? Also, I'm wondering what questions you would ask our current City Council candidates. Though it's late in the election cycle, I'm planning on trying to set up some last minute (online) interviews with any interested candidates. I'm interested in knowing what you would want to ask them.

Without further ado, here's the survey. Please share it with your friends:

Ann Arbor City Council race campaign finance rundown

The Chronicle has a good rundown of campaign donations for the city council race. Well, technically it only covers campaign contributions through Oct. 20 th. So if you want to make some shady campaign contributions, now's the time. Here's a summary of the contributions:
Ward 1:
Sabra Briere - Democrat, Incumbent: $11,800
Jeff Hayner - Independent: $2,680

Ward 2:
Jane Lumm - Independent, Incumbent: $20,875
Kirk Westphal - Democrat: $10,103
Conrad Brown - Mixed Use Party: Less than $1,000

Ward 3:
Stephen Kunselman - Democrat, Incumbent: $6,015
Sam DeVarti -Mixed Use Party: $945

Ward 4:
Jack Eaton - Democrat: $9,200 William Lockwood - Mystery Write-In Candidate: ?

Ward 5:
Mike Anglin - Democrat, Incumbent: $4,299
Chip Smith - Democrat, Write-in Challenger: less than $1,000 Thomas Partridge - Write-in Challenger: ?

If you want to see maps of where folks contributions have come from, make sure you check out the Chronicle's article.

Assorted musings:

All in all, donations total more than $50,000. Based on donations, it seems as though the Ward 2 race is the most highly contested with more than $30,000. What do you spend that on for a race in Ann Arbor? It's not like we have a local TV market. It would be interesting to see local campaign commercials though.

Do donations mirror public support? Will they predict the outcome of the election?

In the Ward 2 race, will Conrad Brown pull votes from CM Lumm, or from Kirk Westphal? Will he be able to pull a significant amount of votes?

Gentle readers, do you plan to vote in the election next Tuesday? What are the important issues for you?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Instagraming the post-shooting aftermath on Main St.

Local musician, Keri Lynn Roche, was outside of Rush St. last night and managed to capture an Instagram of the alleged shooter being taken in by the AAPD. You can read more from the dot News. I've never been to Rush St. but I imagine that this isn't normal for the place?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Colorized picture of Tom Harmon, 1936

Checkout this picture of Wolverine, Tom Harmon from 1936. It was posted to r/colorization and r/uofm. Pretty cool. Go Blue!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Twenty pound carp running as write-in candidate in all wards

Ann Arbor's very own twenty pound carp has announced via Twitter that it is running as a write-in city council candidate for all the wards. For those of you unfamiliar, the carp rose to prominence in the political scene last November after being pulled from the pond in West Park. Here are some of TPC's recent policy tweets:

Election 2013 is starting to heat up.

Lantern lit cemetery tours in Ypsi this weekend

Tonight and tomorrow local historian, James Mann will be giving lantern lit tours of Ypsilanti's Highland Cemetery. The tours start at 7pm and cost $5. On the tour you will learn about the history of the cemetery and it's residents. Sounds spooky.

Photo via @briancors

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Halloween Bang!!

This Saturday, the Blind Pig is hosting the ever spooky Bang! Wear your best costume or find something in the dumpster out back. Whatever you do, don't appropriate other cultures this Halloween.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater--my views on the crosswalk ordinance

Gentle readers, as you know, I support Ann Arbor's current pedestrian safety ordinance. It requires that drivers yield to pedestrians waiting to cross at marked crosswalks. This is not to say improvements in the execution are not needed. Personally, I would like to see better ways to communicate the law to commuters, out of towners and new residents. Specifically, I think we need large, clear and concise signage at the main arteries into Ann Arbor, and before and at busy crosswalks. 

Also, I think we need something more in the style of HAWK Walks rather than RRFBs for crosswalks that cross 4 lane roads. The RRFBs seem good for crosswalks on busy 2 lane roads. 

Despite the shortfalling in the execution of the ordinance, I think it is a good step in increasing walkability. Currently, forces are mustering to mount an effort to repeal the ordinance. If you feel as I do, I encourage you to sign this petition over on I don't always sign online petitions, but when I do, they are in support of walkability issues.

Another thing you can do is contact your city council person and let them know your thoughts on the pedestrian safety ordinance. Here's their contact information:

Arbco Records 5th annual Halloween Masquerade

The poster pretty much says it all.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New candidate enters race for the Fighting Fifth

Chip (can't find his last name) Smithhas just entered the Ann Arbor City Council race as a write-in candidate for the (fightin') Fifth Ward. It seems like Chip is mostly campaigning against incumbent, Mike Anglin. Via the campaign's facebook page:

One example why I'm waging this quixotic campaign is because Councilman Anglin continues to do things like vote against allocating $280,000 to replace the failing light poles on Main Street to go with $300k from the DDA. The vote is so alarming because Anglin was part of the group that directed the DDA to come up with $300,000 for the project during budget talks last spring. He, along with the other council folks who voted against this measure knew that because they directed the DDA to dedicate $300k to affordable housing that there would be a request for general fund dollars to pay for the balance of this project.

Unfortunately, I can't figure out Chip's last name. A risky move for sure for a write-in candidate. Apparently I can't read good. This should surprise none of you. Smith, Chip's last name is Smith. This election is quickly shaping up to be much more interesting than I would have anticipated just a few months ago. Anyone know the scuttlebutt on Chip?

H/T: @juliewbee

For all our librarian readers

@juliewbee, @mariahc, this one goes out to you and all of our other dedicated readers who are librarians. Spotted this plate yesterday in the Church St. Structure.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

U of M is Ron Swanson

Sherman Ave posted an article today relating the Big Ten to Parks and Rec characters. Now, those who follow the show know that two weeks ago we were introduced to Pawnee's Eagleton Doppelgängers. This list is not as good as that episode, but it is a relief because Parks is not returning till November. I am so proud that we were cast as Ron Swanson, however, Donna is not even on this list. This is most likely because no one can compare to the greatness of Donna.

So, do you think we were paired right? I am not sure if Ron would even like Ann Arbor. Sorry for all the links, but I think everyone should be exposed to this show constantly.

News in brief: Puppies on the Diag

Gentle readers, there are puppies on the Diag right now. If you're feeling down, you can go and pet them. But hurry, these highly trained therapy dogs are only on the Diag until 1 pm.

A new flag for Michigan

Ed Mitchell, a designer at Philadelphia-based Bresslergroup has come up with a complete set of new state flags that use a unified color pallet and symbology.

Not too long ago I heard a radio piece about a city flag. Curiosity led me down the path to our state flags. I was immediately bothered by how discordant they are as a group, and I wasn’t surprised to learn they break just about every rule of flag design. (More on the official rules of flag design later.) When you look at them all together, there’s no indication they come from the same nation.
Gone are the chaotic array of old state symbols and divisive symbols of the past. In their place we find stars, lots and lots of stars and a brightened up shades of red and blue. You can see Michigan's new (painfully bland) flag below.

The white is the peninsula and the rising sun. The shield represents defense, which comes up three times in the current flag. The three stars symbolize Michigan’s three mottos: “Out of Many, One”; “I Will Defend”; and “If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look Around You.”

This flag just doesn't do it for me. Without the description, it's impossible to know that it represents Michigan. It also lacks my favorite feature of the flag of Michigan: the sasquatch walking along the lake shore with a walking stick. You can check out an array of flags below and try to guess which represents each state.

Via: Boing Boing via Wired

UM Police always get their man

Saw this humorous pair of crime logs from last week:

I guess if you escape from the cops once in an evening, maybe it's best to call it a night, rather than continuing your crime drinking spree.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Reddit co-founder at U of M tonight

Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian will be at U of M tonight. He is on tour promoting his new book, Without Their Permission. There's a special event just for U of M students at North Quad at 8pm following the Rackham event. According to Alexis' facebook page, he is very excited about meeting Wolverine tonight. Here's a picture of his tour bus on Maynard:

C-Span is coming to Literati tomorrow

C-Span is coming to Ann Arbor's newest bookstore tomorrow. Pretty cool.

Perhaps some popcorn for the City Council meeting tonight

Tonight's city council meeting promises to be exciting, well at least as far as city council meetings go. All of the most controversial topics are coming up in one single meeting: a motion to reconsider the appointment of Al McWilliams to the DDA; a motion to approve the contract for an environmental assessment for the new Ann Arbor Train Station. And though it's not on the agenda, I imaging there will be some communication about the effort to repeal the Crosswalk Ordinance. For more information, check out previews from the Ann Arbor Chronicle and Ed Vielmetti. You can follow the meeting on CTN, the Chronicle's live text updates and the #a2council hashtag on the twitter. Also, the full agenda is on the city's website.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blue Bus Fail

The Michigan Daily posted this photo earlier of a bus failing to turn. Personally, it looks like some god threw the bus down in anger. 

Free wooden boxes

If you're looking for some large wooden boxes, there's a large collection of them between the Dana Building and Randall Lab. It looks like some lab equipment was shipped in the boxes and now they are being tossed out. From past experience, I can tell you these are great for making raised beads. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Perhaps a trip to Literati today?

I stopped by Literati yesterday and Hillary, the owner, let me in on a great secret: the place is dead during home football games. Apparently the same is true for ABC as well. On top of that, there is even on street parking available. Or so they say. So if you're not watching the game today, why not check out Literati and/or stop for a pint at ABC? Also, this football Saturday, there is a special event at Literati: Newbery Medal winning author of Shiloh, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, will be there at 4:00.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jeremy Wheeler cartoon in Esquire

Ann Arbor's very own Jeremy Wheeler has a cartoon in Esquire. It's great to see a local kid making it big on the national scene.

Rogue topiarist creates phallic bush in Windsor

Someone in Windsor has reshaped one of the city's riverside topiaries. How many puns can you find in the above news clip?

Via Gawker

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Minimalist Michigan city logos

Allendale based artist, Zac Freeland, has made a series of minimalist logos for several Michigan cities. You can get them on t-shirts over on his RedBubble page. I really like the logo for Sault St. Marie

Eat the Hub

Food carts are coming to South U. Mark's Carts veterans Alex Perlman and Noah Hoffman have signed a short term lease for the vacant lot that was left after Pinball Pete's Annex burnt down in 2009. According to the Com The .News, the details are still being hammered out. But as of yesterday, it looked like at least the Cheese Dream cart was parked there. Given the density of students in the area looking for late night eats, Eat the Hub seems like a brilliant idea.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sweet bike

Saw this sweet bike by Randall Lab yesterday. I really like the bag and the saddle. But what really caught my eye was the Sheldon Brown sticker.

Stay vigilant for coming attacks on the Crosswalk Ordinance

Gentle readers, it seems some folks in town are starting to mount another attack on Ann Arbor's crosswalk ordinance. They say it is too confusing to expect drivers to follow different traffic codes in different municipalities, that the ordinance gives pedestrians the false sense of security to cross without looking, and that it creates a situation where drivers yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks are likely to be rear-ended.

It is unfortunate that decades of urban planning have left us with places where walkability was an afterthought. Who would have thought that the thousands of students living on North Campus would ever want to leave their bucolic 800 acre enclave to cross Plymouth Road to buy groceries, or go out to eat? Nevertheless, we have created an environment where driving is a right and pedestrians are an afterthought. I think the Ann Arbor's ordinance helps rectify the situation. That said, I don't think the city has done a great job communicating the specifics of the ordinance to all drivers in the city, especially those who may be commuting or visiting from other municipalities. To remedy this, I would suggest getting some custom traffic signs like the one above (only 10.57 each for orders of at least 100 at!). These signs could be placed both at major entrances to the city and a few hundred feet in front of problematic crosswalks.

Gentle readers, what are your thoughts on the crosswalk ordinance? I'd welcome contrasting points of view on the subject.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Falling Fruit Again

Apples on Eisenhower

I was thinking about the Apple Orchard, and I was thinking about the Apples on Eisenhower. A while ago, I posted about Falling This site can be used to forage all around town and has been updated quite a bunch since spring.

Michigan is Little Caesar's territory

FlowingData has made a pretty cool map that shows nearest major pizza chain across the US. Michigan is pretty clearly the territory of Little Caesar's save for some Pizza Hut in the west and a few blips of Domino's.

When The Supreme Court Met Michigan

A lot of people use shitty stock images when talking Affirmative Action

I guess I could've called this article 'Dr. Strange Court Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the "Post Racial America."' Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether or not voters are able to institute a ban on Affirmative Action. This is the second time that a Michigan case regarding affirmative action has been seen by the Supreme Court. In 2003, the court, albeit divided, upheld affirmative action at the university level. However, in 2006, Michigan voters banned affirmative action in public education through an amendment to our state constitution.

The Court has already seen one case on this issue this year, throwing the case of Abigail Fisher back to  Texas to get more evidence or something. Unfortunately, most believe that the court will sustain the ban on affirmative action.

If you'd like to read more and are sick of search engines, then I have gathered some articles for you.

By the way, we are not a post racial America.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Pumpkin Patches

Oh readers, it has been a long time. I have been pretty busy, but on saturday, before I had to do real people things, I got to go apple and pumpkin picking. While Halloween is my favorite holiday, I have neglected some aspects of it during my stay in Ann Arbor-- like pumpkin carving. I went to Wiard's on Saturday to pick some pumpkins. I had been there before for Night Terrors, and it was scary (but I am a wimp). Anyways, I was disappointed by the exorbitant fees so I made a face like a malformed Jack-O-Lantern and left. 

Well, it turns out, I am resilient when it comes to menial tasks and ventured to Wasem's. It was like the golden age of U-Pick. They let you venture freely to pick, in contrast to Wiards, and thus I was in apple heaven. The pumpkins were beautiful and only one fell apart when I touched it. My personal recommendation, if anyone is venturing out for a day trip, is to make it over to Wasem's this fall season. 

Doctor Who fans chalk the Diag

Looks like some Doctor Who fans chalked the Dennison and CC Little buildings. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Morning Physics

I went to my first Saturday Morning Physics today. The presentation was on network theory and social networks. It was pretty good. Next week's lecture is on fracking and promises to be illuminating.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Acorn flower

It's autumn, and that means that it is time to start gathering acorns to make acorn flower. Hank Shaw has a great guide to making acorn flower over on his site,

Every year I learn more about working with acorns, but each year I come to more and more conclusions. The latest is that there is really only one good way to make quality acorn flour: Cold leaching.

Wha? Leaching, as is pulling something out. In this case, that something is tannin, which in almost all acorns is there in spades. Different acorns have different levels of tannins, but in general oaks of the red oak family have more, the white oak family less. One, the Emory oak of the Sonoran Desert, has almost none at all.

Before I go much further, let me answer the question in many of your minds: Why the hell would I bother making flour from acorns? First, flavor. It’s a lot like chestnut flour: Nutty, a little sweet and just generally interesting. Second, nutrition. Acorns vary in nutrition. Some are very starchy, some oily, a few high in protein. Third, it’s just kinda fun to make something useful and tasty out of something many of us mistakenly believe is poisonous.

For my two cents, I'll suggest using Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) acorns. They are large and in the white oak sect, so they have fewer tannins. Once you have your flower all ground and dried, why not try making some Acorn Maple Shortbread Cookies?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Interesting new housing option

Who wants to move to the Cube?

28 years

Kwame got 28 years.

From CBS's story:
I really, really, really messed up.
Check out this Free Press video for a quick-and-dirty on Mr. Kilpatrick's political scandals.

Legfest tomorrow at Woodruff's

Beloved local musician, puppeteer and former Wikipedia page-haver, Patrick Elikns has some steep medical bills he's unable to pay. MarkMaynard and some of Patrick's other friends have banded together to throw Legfest, a fundraising concert for Mr. Elkins. It is tomorrow night at Woodruff's. It should be awesome.

Poster by VGKids

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Confederate Flag on Forest

Saw this prominently displayed Stars and Bars on Forest and Hill St. My question is: why? Seems like if you were going for a symbol of southern pride, you could just whip up a big ol' pitcher of sweet tea.

Salmon fishing in Michigan

Gentle reader, perhaps you've noticed I've been remiss on updating Damn Arbor. I apologize. I spent the weekend fishing the salmon run up on the Manistee River. Don't worry, a longer post on the subject is forthcoming. It's not quite Trout Fishing in Yemen, but it'll be pretty great.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

An Iliad, The Iliad...

John Manfredi as the Poet in "An Iliad" at the Performance Network Theatre, running through October 27

John Manfredi sweats through his shirt "singing" the classic Trojan War story in the Performance Network Theatre's production of "An Iliad" by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare. With excellence; that is the sweat of excellence.

Mr. Manfredi is exactly the man to play the role of the haggard, war-weary, long-suffering poet, warning yet another generation, another time, another place, another people, again and again, over and over and over since the beginning and until the end of time, of the pains of war. Craggy-faced and sweet-voiced--really, the kind of voice you want to hear read the news, the morning announcements, the phonebook, anything--Mr. Manfredi commands the stage and the narrative without pandering to the audience or leaving it behind. He is Achilles and he is Hector, he is Kings Priam and Agamemnon, he is Andromache and Helen and Paris and Patroclus. But he is most thrilling when he is the poet--part high school teacher, part social commenter--speaking softly and confidentially, or raging around the stage sticking invisible swords in invisible soldiers, or changing the record player, smiling to himself over the fresh delight he has in store for his audience. What he's doing is good old-fashioned story-telling, and you just can't go wrong entrusting your evening in Mr. Manfredi's very capable hands.

Perhaps it is heresy to say, but I did not find the material itself especially compelling. Ridiculous, I know: this is a retelling of one of the oldest, most persistent stories in the Western world. The tragically heroic Achilles, the deeply good Hector, the beautiful Helen (that whore, says the poet), the broken-hearted Andromache--these are the memes we've been aping for millennia. It is the very stuff of good story, as we understand it. For me, that was the problem. If you're going to re-imagine the Iliad, I want to see more imagining. This sometimes felt like a high production classic lit lesson that skips over some of the juiciest stuff in the source material. The novel contribution was the comparison of the Trojan War to every Western war that has happened since, culminating in an actual listing of all these conflicts. Don't get me wrong: you can't go wrong with the Iliad, and, worst case scenario, this an enjoyable reminder of a tale you once read in school. I just sometimes found myself wondering, Why? What is the purpose of this adaptation?

If the answer is, "To give Mr. Manfredi in Ann Arbor a vessel to disseminate his gifts as an actor," that would be reason enough for me.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Soothing sounds of fall

Sleepy Holler has been a Damn Arbor favorite for a while now--it's the perfect soundtrack to the crispening of the air and the donning of the sweaters. (Come on, air: crispen! Crispen!) Their debut album is now for sale on iTunes! "Distances" has been haunting my ear buds so far this year.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Haven Hill, a great place to see fall colors

If you're looking for a nice place to get away this weekend, or maybe interested in taking in the seasons colors, you should think about checking out Haven Hill in the Highland Recreation Area. It's about a 45 minute drive (north on 23, east on M 59), but it is one of the nicest hikes I know of in the area.

An Iliad opens tonight at Performance Network

Denis O’Hare & Lisa Peterson modern adaptation of Homer's classic opens tonight and runs through October 27. From PTN:

In this present-day retelling of Homer’s classic, a lone figure appears on an unadorned stage and shares the tragic narrative he is fated to tell for eternity. This epic narrative brings humor, pathos, and excitement to the ancient tale of the Trojan War, colliding it with the contemporary world and creating a wholly captivating theatrical experience. Starring John Manfredi.
Sounds pretty good. We have a review forthcoming. Stay tuned.

Shows are Thursday 7:30pm, Friday-Saturday 8pm, Saturday 3pm, Sunday 2pm. Tickets are $22 to $41 and active military personnel and veterans get a $20 discount.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Celebrate Violin Monster's birthday tonight at Corner Brewery

Tonight, come celebrate Violin Monster's 493rd birthday at Corner Brewery. There will be live music and a chance to try Violin Monster Autumn Ale. If you haven't had a chance to sample it, I highly recommend it. It's a rich dark wheat ale flavored with autumn spices. At 9.5% abv, it packs quite a wallop. It is hands down the best fall seasonal I've had.

Creatures of all kinds are welcome at the party, but humans are encouraged to wear costumes. Doors are at 6 and music starts at 7. A %5 donation to support the musicians is encouraged.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ann Arbor and Detroit

Dan Green, Detroit native and senior at U of M, has a very interesting column in the Michigan Daily that you should absolutely, absolutely read. He drops his bomb in the second paragraph:
I feel less safe in Ann Arbor than I do in Detroit.
It's not that I feel more physically threatened. There are some students who are even so nice as to walk on the opposite side of the street when they see me walking their way. I feel a more pernicious, more dangerous threat than that. I constantly feel that my identity as well as my city are in need of protection. 
I have often wondered about the disconnect that seems to exist between the University/Ann Arbor (a top-ranked public university in a thriving city) and Detroit (though struggling, still the largest city in the state and its cultural center, about 40 minutes to the east). Mr. Green explores the vast space between them through the lens of race; the space exists in almost anything you can measure, and I think both cities and the university would benefit from a more cooperative relationship. (I remember once seeing a poster advertising a semester "abroad" in Detroit. That is not what "abroad" means. Those cars weren't actually imported.) Mr. Green hits it right on the head:
It’s embarrassing that the University doesn't have a bigger presence in the city of Detroit.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Left Connection

David Lynch trolls Ann Arbor's missed connections? Is someone inspired by Welcome to Night Vale? That last line is poetry. "She is still one of my closest friends and I talk to her all the time even though she's only the left half of a human body."

Grave robbing for U of M's Medical School

Writing for the Chronicle, Laura Bien has a great article about the lengths the Medical School used to go to to procure cadavers for dissection. From the article:
The university’s ties to grave-robbers were known in the 19th century, and social censure weighed upon those in the anatomy department. In 1880, the “Demonstrator of Anatomy” in charge of procuring bodies was William Herdman. He complained at a June 28, 1880 UM regents meeting. Herdman spoke regarding the “recent and remote instances of grave-robbing which have come to your attention and to the notice of the public … which have justly excited indignation on the part of all law-abiding citizens and have been the cause of great annoyances to all friends of the University and especially to you, [the regents] … ”

Ann Arbor city council candidate forums on CTN

Ann Arbor Voters, the city council election is just a month away. Tonight and tomorrow, the League of Women Voters will be hosting candidate forums which will be broadcast live on CTN Chanel 19. Here's the schedule:
Tuesday, Oct. 1

7-7:40 p.m. — Ward 3: Stephen Kunselman (Democrat, Incumbent) and Sam DeVarti (Mixed Use Party)
8-8:40 p.m. — Ward 5: Mike Anglin (Democrat, Incumbent) and Tom Partridge (write-in)

Wednesday, Oct. 2

7-7:45 p.m. — Ward 1: Sabra Briere (Democrat, Incumbent) and Jeff Hayner (Independent)
8-8:45 p.m. — Ward 2: Jane Lumm (Independent, Incumbent), Kirk Westphal (Democrat), and Conrad Brown (Mixed Use Party)