PREVIEW: Word of Mouth StorySLAM

Hey all! Nina here, a lucky new writer for [art]seen. Taking the opportunity to christen my writing profile with a preview about an event that is near and dear to my heart. Shameless plug: a student organization that I help to run is holding its last event of the semester this Friday night!

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Word of Mouth StorySLAM . STUFFED. Friday December 9. Work Gallery on State St.  6pm.

Still full from Thanksgiving? Come tell us about it! Join Word of Mouth Stories for its next StorySlam at 6 PM on Friday, December 9th, at the Work Gallery on State Street. This month’s theme is “Stuffed,” and the event should be full of tasty tales. Never been to our slams before? Audience members tell five-minute stories from their lives relative to a theme. Whether you come with stories or just to listen in, we hope to see you there. In the meantime, check out our blog!

Word of Mouth began as a student organization in Fall of 2010, inspired by NPR’s The Moth. The Moth holds StorySLAMS in major cities throughout the country, including Detroit and, recently, Ann Arbor (third Tuesdays of every month at Circus Bar on 1st St.). Originally the student group was called The MothUP, as offspring groups of the radio program go by. After growing in publicity and popularity on the internet, however, NPR contacted our student org and us we had to change the name if we wanted to avoid a lawsuit. Oops! But at least we made a splash in the literary world. Now we go by Word of Mouth. Events are just as fun, just as moving, just as creative as ever before.

Here is a clip from our last event on October 21st. In the spirit of Halloween, the theme of the evening was “Night.” The speaker is last month’s winner Maddie Sharton, a junior in the school of Music, Theater, and Dance.

Also, check out the muse of our org, The Moth. Here is a story from 2006 told by playwright Michaela Murphy. It is about her her Irish Catholic family who “lovingly spies on the Kennedy compound from afar.”

Take a listen, tell me what you think. Hope to see you on Friday!

REVIEW: Lizzie Hutton, poetry reading

First of all, let me be clear that I know nothing of poetry. Other than the presentation I gave on Lord Byron in my British literature class, junior year of high school, I really haven’t studied much on the subject. I saw that Lizzie Hutton was coming, read a biography on her, and decided it would be worth attending, if for no other reason than to expand my literary horizons. Lizzie Hutton is a renowned poet, UM alumni, and currently getting her PhD at the university as well.

Knowing that I know nothing of poetry, you can take my opinion as what you want, but I was blown away by Hutton’s words. Her poems were actually more like short stories to listen to, filled with brief expressions of conflicting emotions, family values, disappointments, and struggles over sexual intimacy and the exploration of femininity. One of her poems, entitled “Low City,” described how sex is broken, fragmented, and violent, with imagery so dramatic and vivid it is almost disturbing. Another poem called, “You knew it was so,” is about shyness I believe (I’d like to read it a second time to fully capture its meaning), and the descriptions of an indoor pool, reflecting on the ceiling, are absolutely beautiful. Her poem “Blue Stocking” has a leaping sort of motion, moving from person to object back to person and onto something else. Maybe that’s how most poetry flows, but it is so distinct that we end up somewhere out of seemingly nowhere. I really enjoyed “Milkweed” as well. It seems to capture the difficulties in the self-conscience nature of creation and when something as freeing as creativity is left “contained but uncomposed.” At the end of each poem, the audience sat entirely still, stunned; like at the end of a symphonic piece when you aren’t sure if it’s the end and whether it’s yet appropriate to clap.

I’ve been to quite a few fiction readings, so I know how they are sometimes acted out and read rather quickly to best get through a passage of text. This poetry reading was entirely different. She read slow, emphasizing each word with an effective, matter-of-fact tone that gave prominence and importance in nearly every word she spoke.

The woman who introduced Hutton said that Hutton’s poems made her want to write poetry, and I couldn’t relate more. I am a creative writing major and work primarily in narratives and fiction, but after listening, I too feel a serious desire to try my hand at poetry; if only to feel empowered by weaving words, such carefully selected words, to paint a single image.

If you have not been to one of the Zell Writers Series events, I highly encourage you to attend. It is such a great opportunity to meet and listen to such accomplished members of the literary world without having to leave UM! And besides, what better way to de-stress than to be creatively inspired by talented writers?

Here’s a link to the English dept. website for further information on upcoming events:

PREVIEW: Michigan’s Best Dance Crew

This Thursday night, December 8th, at the Union Ballroom, Michigan  dance crews will be competing for $450 and the title of Michigan’s Best Dance Crew! If you like MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, you should definitely make it out to this free event. Just like the TV show, audience votes will determine the winner, so a big, enthusiastic audience is a must!

PREVIEW: Tiny Expo

This Saturday, December 10th, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. come check out Ann Arbor’s Tiny Expo at 327 Braun Court, across from the Kerrytown Market. Tiny Expo is an indie Christmas arts and crafts fair, featuring a variety of local artists. If you’re looking for some unique gifts to bring home to your family and friends, or if you’re simply looking for something fun to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon, you should come to Tiny Expo! The event is free, but bring some cash in case you want to buy something. For more information, check out the event website at

REVIEW: Handel’s Messiah

Saturday night I experienced Handel’s Messiah for the very first time. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I knew it was a Christmas tradition, so in the spirit of Christmas I got all dressed-up and went to the Hill, my first time there, to see Messiah. First I must say, the Hill Auditorium is absolutely breathtaking. We sat near the top (with quite a few other students who could only afford the $10 tickets!)–the bulb lights circling the ceiling, and arching down in rows framing the stage, created a beautiful optical illusion that was almost dizzying. It was so nice to have the opportunity to get dressed-up and go out to such a beautiful venue for a change of pace on a Saturday night.

I’m not a musician, so I can’t intelligibly describe how spot-on the performers were, except to say the performance sounded beautiful. The singers were incredibly talented, confidently hitting the highs and lows with precision and ease. The orchestra played perfectly well together, and when the chorale chimed in, belting out praises in unison, it sent chills down my spine.

What I loved most about this performance is that it was a simple, traditional expression of Christmas. From the bare, natural decor, consisting of beautiful poinsettia flowers and a gigantic wreath hanging from the organ pipes, to the simple but elegant dress of the performers, the performance felt historical and classy, with the focus left on the music and the message, with no distractions.  There are many events one can attend during the holiday season that celebrate Santa Claus and gift-giving, snow and decorations, and all of these are loads of fun, but it was refreshing that Messiah got to the heart of Christmas, celebrating the ultimate gift of God’s Son. It was an exquisite reminder of what I’m really celebrating at Christmas.

**Merry (early) Christmas everyone!!**

Take time to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season, amidst the craziness of final exams! 🙂

Review: Better Be at Bare

Fantastic! That’s what I have to say about Basement Arts’ production of “Bare: A Pop Opera.” I had no idea what to expect, but what I saw was great! The show is basically Rent except Catholic Highschool style. Studio 1 was kind of small, but we all managed to fit in and enjoy the show. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack online ever since, I liked it so much. I hope they do it again next year!

The show was off-broadway years ago, which I can understand because it is not the kind of show that can make it on the big stage. It is set in a high school, severely limiting the target audience to a much younger crowd. Though I’m sure many people would enjoy the show,

Driving in your car andautoverzekering vergelijken is something very common.

it does not have as mature of a feel as something like Rent or Spring Awakening. It does have important messages for young people going through situations of depression, addiction, eating disorder, sexual discovery, self-hate, teen pregnancy, and loneliness. These messages come through quite clearly in an exciting, but slightly predictable plot.

What I enjoyed most about the show was the music. The melodies alone prove to be unique and contemporary, with interesting twisting harmonies that are surprising and beautiful. The lyrics are clever and perfectly chosen. They convey a very adolescent language while tastefully delivering the deeper messages of the show. My favorite song of the show, “See Me,” is the main character coming out to his mother on the phone. Peter and his mother are dancing around one word and it really brought many of us to tears. Michael Hartung, Peter, has the most beautiful voice and plays this part splendidly. It was such a heartbreaking performance. I actually believe that Michael rocked this performance to its core. He was amazing and I wish he would sing just one song to me. Any song. At all. I’m actually sending the video to my mom. Seriously, this is how much I loved it….Anyway, didn’t mean to have an outburst. Most of the cast was amazing. I especially like Sister Chantelle. She is so sassy and wise at the same time!

The only complaint I have about this show? I’m sick of all musicals about Gay people ending in the gay guy DYING!!!!! All of them do that! I do not understand! I want to see one happy gay couple end the play together, because in all of them, the gay couple is perfect. Please, if you are a musical writer reading this, right me a happy gay ending!
On an ending note, I had a great time and this coming weekend I am somehow finding time to go see Little Women! I’m really excited, so if you like my posts, keep a lookout 🙂

Sending you love and light,

Danny Fob

(Coffee is on me if you can name the show that my sign off is from!)