REVIEW: RE:CLAIM

When I walked into the opening night of the RE:CLAIMED Immersion opening night, I did not know what to expect. I half read the eventbrite description of the event and understood that there would be poetry, dancers, music, and visual artwork. However, I could not imagine the form that it would take. I must admit I was nervous to attend and a bit lagging as I walked the streets of downtown Ann Arbor to the Washtenaw County Courthouse, which was a place I only ever passed and never had a single thought of going into. When I got to the courthouse, a metal detector awaited me. I almost turned around right then. Then I saw the smiling face of the guards who took my phone, keys, and loose pencils from my pockets to run through the machine and I began to understand the purpose of this event. It was a celebration. A celebration in honor of art and the work of the Youth Arts Alliance, Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper, Amplify Project, and Title Track, and the Washtenaw County Trial Court.

 

I found further comfort from the intimidating surroundings of the courthouse in the autumn tree that greeted me at the entrance way. Its presence seemed to say, “hey this building isn’t as scary as it seems. Check me out, I’m a tree and I’m doing just fine here.” From there I climbed the steps to the second floor. On the stairwell, there was a little room titled Proud Little Witch designed by the artist Rowan McClung-Compton. It welcomed me as it reminded me that this event was about art and art was meant to be viewed by people even if they did not fully grasp what the event was for. 

On the second floor of the building was where the bulk of the art was. Paintings lined the hallway and a stage had been set up in a corridor surrounded by anticipating adults for the upcoming dance routine. One of my favorite exhibitions of work came from the courtroom itself. I’d never been in a courtroom before so I got a bit of giddy excitement at being in a place that reminded me of being on a set of a movie or tv show. The pinhole photographs exhibited there added an interesting contrast of human presence to the room. It reminded me that this wasn’t a tv set but a place that impacted the lives of people.

Overall the event was a bit intimidating. However, it was great to see the power of artwork in action as it brought the community together and gave these young people a voice.

PREVIEW: Bodies Bodies Bodies

Bodies Bodies Bodies is playing at the State Theater this Sunday at 3:45!

The American black comedy horror film was released on August 5th, directed by Halina Reijn in her English-language debut. The synopsis from A24: “When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game goes awry in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong.” Some actors you might recognize are Amandla Stenerg and Pete Davidson. 

I’m looking forward to seeing a horror movie in theaters. It has been a while! I’m also a big fan of Amandla Stenberg; I first heard about the movie through her instagram. I’ve heard things on Twitter about the dialogue being a little too realistic, about how the movie contained conversations that sounded straight out of their own lives. The movie seems to have echoes of 1990s/2000s thrillers. Another plus is that the film features a new single by Charli XCX, one of my favorite artists. I look forward to experiencing the thrill! 

If you miss this showing, there are plenty more to come at the State Theater very soon!

featured image and synopsis credit: https://a24films.com/films/bodies-bodies-bodies

PREVIEW: Tales of the Maya Skies

 

Have you ever been to a planetarium? Did you think the dome theaters were only for looking at the stars? Have you ever wondered what is possible in this science museum theater?
To really push your imaginations on what can be done here, you might want to check out the latest show at the Museum of Natural History: Tales of Maya Skies. It is a show combining science, cosmology, and myth and how Mayan scholars developed a sophisticated understanding of astronomy, architecture, and mathematics.
If you love astronomy, ancient civilizations, planetariums, or unique media, this might be the show for you!
This show happens every weekend so you have plenty of time to enjoy this awesome exhibit.

 

This show is also available in Spanish on Saturdays!

PREVIEW: MOCHAS + MURALS: WALKING MURAL TOUR

There is nothing more Ann Arbor than sipping on a Zingerman’s mocha while staring at the city’s beautiful murals. Which is why I am excited to take part in the Mochas + Murals Walking Mural tour taking place this Friday (9/16) from 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm at the A2AC. If you want to sign up, spots are limited and may already be filled! However, there is another event offered on October 2nd. So if your interested check out the A2AC website at this link: https://www.annarborartcenter.org/beyond-the-pail/.

PREVIEW: RE:CLAIM : IMMERSION

 

Come visit the Washtenaw County Courthouse tonight (9/15) from 5:30 to 8:00 pm to experience the opening night of RE:CLAIM. RE:CLAIM is a project seeking to honor the complexity and diversity of the community impact of the criminal legal system as it affects youth, adults, and families.

Tonight will be filled with song, dance, poetry, and visual arts. It will surely be an experience to remember with over 30 dancers, poets, and musicians performing. The night will also include poems featuring artworks from the Embracing our Difference Exhibition that took over Gallup Park, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and River Side Park.

REVIEW: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett’s recent collection of essays, These Precious Days, is a tour de force that traverses a wide range of themes and the author’s life experiences. There is, however, a weighty thread running through the book, which reads more as a personal memoir than an essay collection – mortality, particularly in connection to the pandemic and the last several years.

In the book’s introduction, entitled “Essays Don’t Die,” Ms. Patchett, a prolific novelist, explains that when she is working on a novel, “were [she] to die, [she’d] be taking the entire world of [her] novel with [her]”, and “the thought of losing all the souls inside [her] was unbearable.” On the other hand, essays offer a way out: “death,” she notes, “has no interest in essays.” Hence, These Precious Days is a collection borne out of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting inability to avoid our own mortality. “Death always thinks of us eventually,” she writes, adding that “the trick is to find the joy in the interim, and make good use of the days we have.” Ms. Patchett’s essay collection is a tabulation of that joy.

The essays themselves are vivid without being florid, and poignant, but certainly not saccharine. They are humorous at times, and melancholy at others. They offer a small window into Ms. Patchett’s childhood, education, writing process, and personal life, touching on her family, relationships, bookstore, and even her knitting. One of my favorite essays, titled “Reading Kate DiCamillo” is a reflection on children’s literature from an adult reader’s perspective. (Ms. Patchett writes: “These books had given me the means to look backwards. I marveled at the resilience of children who were strong enough to read such sad and beautiful novels full of prisons and dungeons and hunger and sorrow and knives.”)

“These Precious Days,” the book’s title essay, is simultaneously the unlikely story of how Ms. Patchett and her husband spent quarantine with Sooki Raphael, who happened to be Tom Hank’s assistant, and a meditation on life, death, and the human experience. Though the essay could gleam with the star power of the celebrity names included in it, it instead ends up being a real and tender story of regular people. Ms. Patchett notes in the introduction that this “essay was so important to me that I wanted to build a solid shelter for it” (These Precious Days, the book, being the result). It is the longest essay in the book, pithy and raw in a way that stings, and I stayed up reading it into the early hours of the morning because I could not stop in the middle.

Though death is a current present throughout These Precious Days, “the river that ran underground, always,” the essay collection is ultimately about life, and the people and moments to be cherished. It is a beautifully-crafted literary reminder in trying times that, even when death and shadows lurk, there is still life, and there is still joy.