The University of Michigan is a large campus composed of many buildings with diverse purposes.  While the majority of the buildings on campus are used for lectures and discussions, some are there for everyone-even non university students- to use.  A good example of these is the many museums that the University has on campus.

This most popular museum on campus is the University of Michigan Museum of Art, or better known as UMMA.  Art museums are common throughout the world.  Some art museums are specific to a type or subsection of art, for example photography or sculptures. Major cities often have multiple art museums of different sizes.  Chicago has dozens of art museums, the two most popular being the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Apart from that, most of the Universities have their own art museums as well.  College art museums tend to be smaller than the others that are found in big cities.

Another popular museum at the University of Michigan is the Museum of Natural History.  The museum has exhibits that show dinosaur bones and the process of evolution. Just like art museums, there are natural history museums in most of the big cities throughout the world.  Unlike art museums, there is generally one big natural history museum per city, this could be because natural history is not up to interpretation like art is. Most of the natural history museums have the same general information with different bones and animal exhibits to show the history of that area or others in the world.  These different bones and exhibits are what make each natural history museum unique.

The University of Michigan has an archeology museum that showcases artifacts from places in history like bowls and other artifacts that people of the past used to use.  Archeology museums are more uncommon than art and natural history museums. Some very large natural history museums have an archeology section in the museum that will give guests a small taste of how people of the past used to live.  Full archaeology museums are just larger versions of the small sections in natural history museums.

The University of Michigan has a Museum of Dentistry.  This is somewhat unique, most cities do not have a dentistry museum.  Museums of trades and specific events and places are common all over the world.  These types of museums have a niche audience for people who are very interested in the topic that the museum spotlights.  For example: the Museum of Dentistry at the University of Michigan is at the School of Dentistry at the University. So this museum has its audience of people that would enjoy the museum right on campus.

Museums are wonderful places to find to new interests and to learn about a variety of topics.  There are so many different categories of museums to learn about, and small museums are great to harvest that curiosity.  College museums are great to investigate topics on a small level and form curiosities that one can apply and go to larger museums to continue looking at and discovering their interests.  The museums at the University of Michigan are no different. People should utilize them and further their interest in a variety of things from dinosaurs to paintings.

Personalize Your Holiday Gift Giving

When people hear the word “art” they think of paintings, photographs, sculptures, music, or maybe movies.  But not paper.  People commonly think of paper as a mode to transport art, or a medium that art is displayed through, but they don’t think of the paper itself as art.  Cards a common form of a present to loved ones, whether they are store bought or handmade.  This holiday season make cards extra special by creating the whole thing by hand,  even the paper.

The kerrytown bookfest in Ann Arbor teaches people that paper itself is creative and can be a form of art.  There were stands that were dedicated to making paper.  The paper that these stands were selling looked vintage, like the paper you would see a medieval letter written on.  Each piece was different and they all varied in colors, size, and even texture.  The texture, thickness, and color of the paper depends on what it is made out of.  Paper can be made out of different materials; the easiest material to make paper out of is other paper.  But it can also be made out of leaves, grass, flowers, or even a wasps nest.  Keep this in mind while making a card, and use the materials and colors that the recipient will love.  This uniqueness will translate well into a nice holiday card for a loved one, because they will see all of the effort and love put into it and appreciate it even more.

The people who worked at the Kerrytown bookfest were so passionate about there craft of making paper, they wanted to show and teach every person that worked by how to do what they did so that they could share in their happiness with this overlooked artform.  These people were more enthusiastic about their craft than most other professionals are about there job, and that is because they make paper because they loved it, and it is something they are truly passionate about.  It is no longer a necessity to make paper from scratch, it is much easier and less time consuming to go to the store and buy whatever size and color paper you want than to make it yourself.  But the paper we all buy at the store lacks the uniqueness of the paper that the people at the kerrytown bookfest put into their paper.  This passion and compassion will come through a handmade Christmas card, the loved one it’s made for will love the gift made with love.

Link to learn how to make paper:

Springing Forward: My Spring Bucket List

Happy first day of Spring! March 20 marks the Spring Equinox and if the warmth of the sun rays today showed us anything, it was that the calendar and the earth have finally connected via speed dial and coordinated their outfits.

Image via

Spring is, of course, a time associated with fresh starts, rebirth, blossoms, and joy. But this so often is spring “in theory,” “in the ideal greeting card world,” “in warm-weather latitudes.” When the rains come, all too often with exams and papers in accompaniment, it is easy to get a little down. In order to motivate myself (GRADUATION IS ALMOST HERE!), I’ve made a list of tasks and skills I want to accomplish or at least take a stab at to remind me that spring has sprung and that there’s no better time to discover, learn, and live.

(Feel free to steal some of these bullet points for your own Spring 2016 bucket list! Or add to my list in the comments below!)

  • Visit the UMich Botanical Gardens
  • Sneak into an East Quad music practice room and learn how to play this on the piano.
  • Write a few of my favorite quotes on paper with a purple calligraphy pen, and have them framed.
  • Attend a Swing Ann Arbor event.
  • Participate in National Poetry Month (30 days of April, 30 poems!)
  • Contribute something to the chalk wall at Mash 
  • Explore Detroit (if you have any recommendations, let me know!)
  • Buy flowers at the Saturday morning Farmers Market 
  • Start sending more snail-mail letters to friends.
  • Ummm…find a job for next year!!!
  • Enjoy every day as it comes and make the most of it.

What will you do this spring?



Thanksgiving Poem

Every year on Thanksgiving, my great aunt would read a poem her father read to her called The Turkey Gobbler. In honor of that tradition, here is a poem of all of the things I am grateful for (and you should be grateful for!) at The University of Michigan.

Thanksgiving day comes but once a year
And always it is filled with cheer
Unless of course we do forget
To say our thanks to the people we’ve met
So tell your family and tell your friends
How happy you are that your love never ends
Then look to the west and HAIL the Big House
Pizza House feta bread could please a Michigan mouse
Say thanks to the profs and all the GSIs
Shake your advisor’s hand as you say your goodbyes
Make sure your colors always bleed maize and blue
And take a big sip of some Ann Arbor brew
Then head to the Diag and skip over the M
Say thanks to the squirrels as they scurry to the Den
Take a walk by the Huron
Meet your friends in the Ugli
Sneak some food out the dining halls
Quote JFK smugly
The law quad is perfect for some quality pictures
At Charley’s you’ll surely find some top notch mixtures
So gather your blue books and your number 2 pencils
The Union’s got you covered for fun UMix late night specials
Check the tea out at Wisdom
And down at Tea Haus
Try the coffee at Amer’s
And Espresso Royale
Be jolly at Pumpkin
For a nice stout or pale ale
Run around the Arb
And pet the dogs at finals
Paint the rock at night
Play your hipster rock vinyls
Do trivia at Brown Jug
Or maybe someplace else
Find some chalk at Mash
Hunt fairy doors
Look for elves
Work hard all day
Then play hard at night
Dance ’til the morning
Skeeps, Rick’s, and Necto dim the light
Have an egg on your Frita
Walk barefoot in the fountain
Find your painting at UMMA
Trek off to North like it’s a mountain
Grab a book at the Dude, or maybe at Dawn Treader
Literati has coffee
And typewriters with letters
Act chic in the Ross garden still sunny in winter
Toast mason jars at Dom’s when the sun is a squinter
Spend a dollar on Ground Cover and help someone out
But check out The Daily for news without doubt
Remember orientation as you don your cap and gown
Think of it gratefully and don’t you dare frown
Theres another thing you really must do
And if you don’t, this day you’ll rue
Take hold of your tassle and move it side to side
While you’re at it tell Schlissel he’s a really great guy
The last thing to do is maybe most important
Remember the block ][v][
And say hello victors
Do the right thing
Shout Harbaugh’s name
As we all come together to cheer for this thing we call
the game, the game, the game
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Beat OSU!

Out @ the A2 Film Festival

Under the beautiful umbrella of the Spectrum Center, I was able to attend the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s “Out Night,” which showcases short films that focus on LGBTQ identities. Donning my all-black apparel and tapestry-turned-scarf, I was sufficiently visually prepared to enter the space. After getting through the initial sausage-fest reaction (all the non-university Grindr men in Ann Arbor seemed to be in attendance) of entering the space, I was ready to watch some weird shit.

I love weird shit.

But, for better or for worse, there was no weird shit present besides myself.

The films were brilliant and took me to many different locations, many different emotional states, many different lives, many different bodies. What surprised me the most, besides the non-experimental nature of the films (which is a partly misleading generalization because all the films were experimental in their own right since the representation of queer bodies and, particularly, queer bodies of color are experimental in the visual register in-themselves) was the relatively un-in-your-face-queerness, which I did not expect.

Most of the films had some very poignant remarks about identity but it also seemed that all the LGBTQ folks were more or less real normal. A couple took a roadtrip to an amusement site, a rapper told his story, a musing on an author’s stay in Istanbul, a mother and son reminiscing, etc. While there were definitely parts of the films that spoke to LGBTQ identity in its visceral, raw form, there was nothing too out of the ordinary, at least not for an audience mainly comprised of LGBTQ folks.

What was shown, then, were beautiful meditations on LGBTQ life and what it means when identity isn’t just identity but bodies, experiences, and ways of living in the world. A topic that can particularly be unpacked in the short film.

Glimpses and moments were captured. Plots were developed or left out entirely. Emotions were given in their raw form before they could be turned into some metaphor for queer existence. Connections could be made and hinted at, but nothing clear came in conclusion. The short film, while transgressive to real life, has an interesting way at really holding moments that I have experienced and that I wish could be untainted by the continuity of life and my endless goal to make or unmake meaning.

In short, the film festival offers what most movie theatres, televisions, and computers cannot: a real film. Something that doesn’t fit into the pre-made notions of what movies can do, what they are, how they are, and why they are.

The Multi-Valenced Ann Arbor

I really had no other reason to be at this concert besides who I was sitting next to. He asked and I said yes. Luckily.

I glimpsed (more like studied; the room was silent and there was little else to do besides read since my voice tends to fill most spaces even at their largest) at the program and read, “Schumann: Dichterliebe.” Or I at least read Schumann and had a flashback to curly hair, beautiful professor, Deleuze event, and something about “the Refrain.” Lately, I’ve often forgot how amazing it is to be at the University of Michigan, not because it is amazing

(the Central Student Government silences and oppresses the very students it claims to represent)

but rather because there are a lot of opportunities for class and life and interests to have a real conversation. Namely, there are chances to take what I study and apply it to situations OR I can see what I study “in the real world,” which, as an English and Philosophy student, is sometimes difficult. Tucked behind/beside/near the Aut Bar (some could say a gay bar, family restaurant, or gay studies lab), the Kerrytown Concert Hall is one of the cutest venues I’ve been in and I absolutely love the cozy atmosphere. There is a facade of escape at such concerts, and for me the escape is heightened when the music performed isn’t from this century–it is my form of time travel.

(Since, as I’ve said, campus life is beyond unbearable, and this is coming from a person with almost all agent social identities, i.e., I identify as a white, cis-man, middle class, temporarily able-bodied person . . . . And to see not only the student government act atrociously but also other students stand behind such actions makes me (on the tame side of my emotions) want to never look at this campus again. And then when you pile on my queerness, I’m ready to evacuate immediately and call this campus, more or less, a war zone where a majority of my friends and my community remain unsafe on a daily basis. I would like to travel by any means necessary: time, space.)

As the Schumann started, I realized that I had analyzed (or been in the presence of an analysis of) this very piece’s first movement. For a Deleuze Interest Group event. How did a friend taking me to a concert send me spiralling into the philosophico-musical feels? I don’t know, but it happened.

The song melted away, much like when I oil pull in the morning–it starts of granular? or at least in some conglomeration of solid until it melts into a liquid and congeals in some sort of liquid mass of “detoxification and whitening”–and only solidified, perhaps, when I left the venue, walked away, into my night (a drag show). Chords unfinished continued to haunt me as a queen flashed the audience and I was left agasp not at perfectly sculpted breasts but at Schumann, lurking just behind me, never to be fully seen or taken in.

After a few more songs that helped to fill out the theme of “A Lovers’ Discourse” started, happened, and ended, the pianist/composer/friend-of-my-friend-on-the-left-of-me’s compositions began.

The first. Three Frank O’Hara poems. The second. One Sylvia Plath poem.

Now it is dangerous, as someone who “studies literature,” to attend such events. I have been trained to be a snob, although the training has been undertaken, more often than not, by myself. SO. I obviously have a lot of feels about these two songs.

I think what matters most to me, and to this blog, is not how I felt about the composition itself (which I loved by itself, however, I disliked the tenor singing the lyrics of the poetry since I felt there was a HUGE disconnect between form and content, which could be the point even though I doubt) but how I felt inside of someone’s interpretation of the poetry. Live music is not just something I listen to, but I become the music. It fills my nostrils, it enters my body, and fills, yes, “my soul.”

(My soul aches. I am aching because the Ann Arbor campus, a place I was taught and eventually learned to love in some real way, is parasitic to its most important inhabitants. It is a sad thing for an institution to remain passive when individual, one-off microaggressions happen. It is an unspeakable offense for an institution committed to “social justice and diversity” to enact the very crimes it condemns. The rampant racism, transphobia, ableism, homophobia, sexism is abhorrent. I can only hope the University and its various governing bodies take responses like this one to heart and take responsibility, acknowledge their accountability, and do things (not just say things) to rectify what they’ve done.)

And I hated the interpretation. Though it was refreshing to be in a conversation about poetry without using any words. It was like listening to the most beautiful one-sided debate, and I was the other team refusing to speak.

What is beautiful about this campus may be purely aesthetic. I can study, I can read, I can feel, and then I can go and see things enacted, performed, experimented with by those in or near my community.

Days like today I cling to the aesthetic, sit in my corner, and count the minutes I have left before I can take flight.