PREVIEW: Word of Mouth StorySLAM: in(Justice)

Word of Mouth StorySLAM: in(Justice)


(in)justice: stories of social change and personal trials

Thursday January 31, 2013

Work Gallery, 306 State Street

Doors at 6:00 pm

Word of Mouth is back for our first event of 2013. Never been to our slams before? Audience members tell five-minute stories from their lives related to a theme. The friendly competition includes appetizers and live music.

This month’s feature band will be The Good Plenty. Check them out here!

In honor of the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Race Themed Semester, this month’s theme focuses on social (in)justice. If you have stories of self-discovery, identity, justice, punishment, or bearing witness, please come share your voice. With the generous support of Hillel, this month’s event is bound to be exciting and meaningful.

With the great success of our experiment at December’s slam HONESTLY, we have decided to eliminate the judges panel from the slams, so come without fear and share your story openly.

Can’t wait to see you there!

In the meantime, check us out online:




To get emails about more upcoming events and workshops or to join our planning crew, shoot us an email.

PREVIEW: The Good Plenty at The Blind Pig

The Good Plenty at The Blind Pig

On Wednesday January 30th, The Good Plenty takes the stage at the Blind Pig. The four-man musical act is comprised of  U of M students: John Dickinson on base, Josh Ben on vocals, Jackson McCauley on drums, and Will Schutt on Guitar. With influences from the East and West Coasts as well as from around the globe, the group began producing music last year. Their five song EP is about to debut and a full length album can be expected later this year.

Last time the group performed at the Blind Pig in November, they were openers. Now, they are head liners. $5 at the door, or $8 for under 21. Doors at 9:30. Openers include Nightlife and Seven Birds One Stone. The following evening, the group perform at Word of Mouth’s storySLAM (in)Justice at Work Gallery on State St. Doors at 6 pm, free admission!

Check out info about the show at the Blind Pig as well as the Facebook event. Get a listen to a Good Plenty preview before you see them live.

See you there!

REVIEW: From Cass Corridor to the World: A Tribute to Detroit’s Musical Golden Age



It wouldn’t be MLK Day without a sonic tribute to the soul of the social justice movement. In honor of the rich musical history of the city of Detroit, Hill Auditorium hosted a collaboration of some of the world’s best jazz musicians.  The D-3 Trio, comprised of Gerri Allen, Robert Hurst, and Karriem Riggins (shown above in that order) filled the auditorium with the sweet sounds of Motown’s finest tunes.

The evening was curated by Geri Allen, who is an esteemed professor of Jazz in the Music school as well as a world renowned musician. On campus, she is known for her Sunday Salons which she hosts in the Sterns Building every so often  in honor of Mary Lou William’s jazz tradition. Geri Allen is a native of Detroit who was guided by legendary  trumpet player Marcus Belgrave. He is a father figure to many early  Detroit jazz instrumentalists, including Bob Hurst.  On Monday, Belgrave performed at Hill  with his former students who are now world class musicians.

The evening was designed to pay respect to the legacy of Detroit music. The program began with the spiritual “Lift Every Voice,” followed by a Martin Luther King Jr. speech which was originally recited at the Berlin Jazz Festival. The speech was sung/read by George Shirley, who is also a pioneering legacy in the black musical tradition: he was one of the first black  operatic  singers to perform at the Met. In the speech, MLK described jazz and blues as an oracle for the black experience; no other medium can synthesize the story as purely. It is an  intangible and abstract experience, but also direct and connected to a deep lineage.

The performances  featured notes of  trial and tribulation as well as complex jazz gospel. The celebrated  vocalists  represented  a tradition of older  female singers; a woodwind feature showcased  four clarinets, including the legendary James Carter; tributes were paid to names like Aretha Franklin, Elvin Jones, and Roy Brooks;  then, an improvised poem  recited by Shahita Nurulla. The only young voice of the evening was a featured student named Stephen Grady who took a a solo on a gospel jazz arrangement. The rest  of the voice spoke  the older days of Detroit musical origins.

The second half of the evening remembered Detroit’s pop sensation: Motown. The Original Vandellas and The Contours inspired the crowd to dance. And in honor of Detroits most recent musical movement, a female MC and rapper called Invincible paid hommage to hip-hop sensation J Dilla.

Over flowing with emotion, the program was a soulful and evocative experience. What was striking about the music was that it was deeply  traditional, but  infused  with something very new. They were not playing  the gospel songs as they had always been played. Echoes of Afro-Diaspora sounds rung out loudly  but were met with modern, impressionistic overtones. The music avoided the pentatonics that are signature of African rhythms and infused  the sounds with modern notes and ideas. The blues remained, but the color pallet had been warped. With musicians of such high caliber, it is possible to do this without compromising  the tradition from which they came.

At the end of the night, Marcus Belgrave received an honored award. He had been  father to so many talented musicians in the Detroit family and that night,  they were all on stage with him. The program closed with the most spiritual and emotional performance of all,  “Oh Precious Lord,” leaving the audience and the musicians alike deeply moved by the tribute.

PREVIEW: CGIS Photography Showcase

Center for Global and Intercultural Study Photography Showcase

Students who travelled the globe in the 2011-2012 school year will exhibit photographs of their journeys on January 24th from 4-6pm in Room 2345 of North Quad. The competition’s winners will be revealed at the end of the showcase. Appetizers will be provided, so bring your friends and take a glimpse at the beauties of the planet! After returning from my CGIS travels in China and Japan last semester, I submitted several photographs to this competition. I can’t wait to see what my peer’s experiences look like on film!

PREVIEW: The Avett Brothers at Hill Auditorium

The Avett Brothers are looking to conquer a college town, where folk music thrives just as well as hip-hop, and avid music fans search actively for gorgeous storytelling via guitars, pianos, and graceful lyrics.

So, it’s fitting that Hill Auditorium will showcase the four-piece band on February 12.

With brothers Scott and Seth Avett fronting the band holding a banjo and guitar, the passion for genuine, heartfelt music lies very visibly in its band make-up. A band of siblings hasn’t seemed particularly cool since the Jackson 5 or the Kinks, and the Avett Brothers present themselves with a similar sincerity and grassroots wholesomeness. Their songs are particularly hopeful and earnest, typically casting a balladic piano at the forefront, and guitar, banjo, cello, and drums accompanying vocals.

Leaving an outstanding 2012 including a Grammy nomination and a top-10 album, the band is touring until July 2013, playing alongside bands like Matt and Kim, Old Crow Medicine Show, Portugal. The Man, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Their show at Hill Auditorium will beautifully highlight the band’s sound described by the San Francisco Chronicle as having the “heavy sadness of Townes Van Zandt, the light pop concision of Buddy Holly, the tuneful jangle of the Beatles, the raw energy of the Ramones.” This is the Avett Brother’s third time performing in Ann Arbor after headlining the Ann Arbor Folk Festival last year and playing at the Michigan Theater in 2010.

The Avett Brothers will play at 7:30pm at Hill Auditorium on February 12, 2013. Tickets start at $33.

PREVIEW: Cadence Dance Company

Cadence Dance Company

This Saturday, student dance company Cadence will present a creative and exciting evening length performance. A lyrical and modern group, the pieces will reflect those styles of dance. Co-presidents Annie Markey and Elyse Brogdon have been working for months to prepare for this evening. In collaboration with their 12 other teammates, the company has created ten pieces to perform this weekend. The dancers will be joined by opening student groups Rhythm Tap Ensemble, Salto, Dance2XS. With the last group, Cadence will be performing a joint piece. The  choreography is all original work by students and will showcase a range of styles including tap, ballet, lyrical, modern, and hip hop- all on one stage.

Cadence is an entirely student sponsored organization that has been on campus for almost eight years. The dancers come from all parts of the university, auditioning every fall and practicing all year to create one evening length performance. Co-prez Annie Markey said, “The great thing about Cadence is that its kind of like a coop. The group style changes each year depending on whose in the company. Technique level has increased so much in the past few years and we have a lot of beautiful dancers now. I’m excited for younger dancers to have more of a role and a voice next year after I graduate.”

Cadence performs at Saturday January 26th at  7 pm in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater of The League. Tickets are $7 at the door or $5 presale. Email Annie at for tickets. Or, even better, go for free if you pick up a Passport Voucher with you MCard at the LSA building. Can’t pass that up.