Taking Advantage of Ann Arbor’s Music Scene

Like many other students on the U of M campus, I sometimes struggle with boredom. To be bored is a privilege of course, but the feeling is there, and it is palpable nonetheless. By the time the weekend comes and I’m ready to let myself forget about the stress of the past week, I’m always itching to do something fun, go somewhere cool, and eat something good. Usually I can’t do all three of those things, but I compromise with at least one. A lot of times I just go out to parties with my friends, but it’s honestly never actually fun. I have no idea why I still go out every weekend when I’m truly quite introverted and an early sleeper. For some reason I always think, “This time will be different!” even though it never is. I know I’m not the only person who holds this sentiment. 

Recently I realized that I really underappreciate Ann Arbor’s music scene. This town is a top tour destination for a lot of famous artists. Also, the local musicians here are incredible. Have you ever visited the Detroit Street Filling Station when they have live music? I highly recommend it. We are so lucky to have such a rich culture of music on our campus, and the fact that it’s so easily accessible for students makes it even better.


You can never go wrong with a University Musical Society concert, especially when student tickets start at just $12. (Seriously, UMS is an invaluable resource on this campus. Never again in your life will you be able to see world-class performances for such an incredible price!) Another opportunity for entertainment on campus is seeing theatre by various student production companies, like MUSKET, whose production of Cabaret will be opening soon. But recently I discovered a new venue on campus that is super cool and very underrated: The Ark.


The Ark is located on Main Street near Conor O’Neill’s and Pretzel Bell. It’s currently under construction, but you can find it by the line of people going out the door every night. The acts are usually Americana/roots music artists, but the genres are loosely defined so there’s a lot of variation in what you can hear. Last Friday I heard former U-M music student Jeremy Kittel perform with his band Kittel & Co., and I was pleasantly surprised by the casual yet intimate atmosphere. Tickets can be anywhere from $11-$50, but I did some extra research online and it seems rare that any acts exceed the price of $20. That’s what I like to see, very student friendly!


Inside The Ark, there’s a cafe/bar where you can buy popcorn, candies, and drinks to accompany the concert. There is ample seating on three sides of the stage, but the middle of the seating area is reserved for members. You can also sit in tables closer to the stage if you’re into that dinner-theatre vibe. I just think it’s a great place to go that’s low-stakes and unintimidating if you want to enjoy some music. This week they’re actually starting Pre-Sale student tickets for their 42nd Annual Folk Festival on January 25th and 26th, 2019. You can grab those tickets in person at the Michigan Union Ticket Office until November 10th.

Photo courtesy of CBS Detroit.

Winter 2018 Olympics: Bobsledding

The Winter Olympics are getting closer and people are beginning to pay more attention to the sports that will be featured in them.  Most of these winter sports are only highly publicized every four years during the Olympics.  An example of this is the sport of bobsledding.  Bobsledding is a sport that most people have heard of and know the general concept of what it is without knowing many details about the athletes or logistics and scoring of the sport.  The sport gets minimal media attention, even throughout the Olympics because it is overshadowed by figure skating and snowboarding.

There has only been one movie made about bobsledding, “Cool Runnings”.  It is about the first Jamaican bobsled team and how they were formed, practiced, and eventually made it to the Olympics.  The movie shows the basics equipment, requirements, and skills needed to compete in the sport.  It also states the basic rules and possible qualifying times to make it into the Olympics around 1993.  It is more of a fun team building and friendship movie than an informative bobsled movie but it did help to expose more people to the sport.

In all bobsleigh events there is one driver and at least one other person in the sled to help with the momentum of the sled as it travels through the course.  The driver has to turn the corners and lean the sled at the perfect angle for the sled to not lose momentum during the race, and the other members in the sled have to lean along with it to make the sled steady.  The driver of the team has to memorize each course and the angles of every turn to be prepared before he/she even gets to the event.

There are three different bobsleigh events: four man, two man, and two women.  The four men race can be man and/or women.  The four man bobsleigh event has been a part of the Winter Olympics since the first one took place in 1924.  The two man bobsleigh was added in 1932 at the third Winter Olympics, and the two women bobsleigh was added in 2002 at the nineteenth Winter Olympic Games.

For the 2018 Games the center that the race takes place is also the venue of the luge and skeleton races.  All three sports use the same track with the course length being adjusted per sport.  All of the bobsleigh events use a course length of 1,376.38m, or 0.86 miles.  The average slope of the track is 9.48%.

Bobsledding is only one of the many sports that are only in the spotlight during the Winter Olympics.  Even during the Olympics they are still overlooked and out shined by other sports like snowboarding.  But throughout the years the viewership has risen thanks to the movie “Cool Runnings”, and with time it will hopefully become more popular.

The Classic Mystery Storyline

I don’t know about you, but I love mysteries. Maybe it’s my inner boxcar kid or my desire to be Sherlock Holmes/Nancy Drew, but ever since I was a little kid, reading mystery stories, watching suspenseful films, and using my wild imagination, have always been my favorite pastimes to get that chilling thrill. For me, it started off with the cheesy Scooby-Doo-esque reads you’d pick up in elementary school, with plotlines of kidnappings and killings, leading us through a web of adventures to only find out that there was no kidnapping or killing at all. Then it moved up a notch into horror territory. Off-the-wall, dramatized stories of monsters looking to wreak havoc on the innocent. Now, I’m a faithful crime-tv watcher. It has the same elements found in the mysteries of my previous years, but a toned-down nature that is both heart-wrenching and relatable.

Anyway, as I delved into some great Lifetime movies this weekend, mystery and drama-filled of course, I got to thinking about the classic mystery storyline that has been recycled year in and year out since the beginning of time. There’s always these elements that make a mystery a mystery, and even though we know what will probably happen (granted, there are some plot twists), we can’t stop watching them because they’re so enticing!

What makes up the classic mystery storyline? What are its potions that make it the perfect recipe for suspense and awe? Well, let’s try and figure this out.

Step 1: Make Life Seem as Perfect as Can Be

Do you ever notice that in mystery plots, its almost always a cookie-cutter, all-is-well ambiance to start it off? The main characters are going about their day-to-day activities in blind contentment. Skipping, jogging, cooking, laughing..basically life is great, and they’re about to get a rude awakening and everybody knows it.

Step 2: The “Dun Dun Duuuuun” Moment

It happens. The murder, kidnapping, missing-person, monster, stalker, killer, whoever and whatever it is, occurs. It makes us gasp. It makes our wheels get to turning in our heads. It is the moment whether you decide to commit to this plotline and invest your emotions or drop it and go do something happy with your life.  If it’s a good “dun dun duuuun” moment, you will commit.

Step 3: The Mess and Stress Stage

All the action a.k.a the mess goes down. The adventure of figuring out who did what, why they did it, and what’s going to happen next, becomes the main objective. And, of course, there’s tons of stress amongst the characters, which in turn, stresses the reader/viewer out (me).

Step 4: The Gasp…”I would’ve Gotten Away With It If It Weren’t For You Darn Kids…” Stage

We finally come to put all of the pieces of the mystery together and find out who did it and for what reason. By far the best stage, but if it is not done right, things could go very wrong and all of that hard work could be worthless.

Every mystery follows this pattern. Some worse and some better than others. Although, I love a good mystery with this classic storyline, I can’t help but desire a little change and a real shock factor within the genre. The repetition of this storyline sometimes makes the exciting genre…yawn-worthy. I urge those mystery-lovers and creators out there to break out of the box that has been established for so long. Surprise us, shock us, make us scream!



Death of the Meme

On Thursday night at the Michigan Difference Leadership Event there was a portion of the show dedicated to “dying memes and other cultural phenomena.”

What does this even mean?

It was a montage of Honey Boo Boo–who I luckily avoided on my recent hiatus from tv/internet, the Harlem Shake–aka appropriative white people convulsing to a bastardized song, someone driving a car–sadly not Glozell, Taylor Swift–singing without goats (because that gem will never die), and others. Put to sad music we “mourned” this YouTube video while staring at a screen, in the union, in Ann Arbor: far away from anyone who is connected to these glimpses of “culture.” I felt like I was cheering for a cement wall so I decided to eat more cheese.

But these “cultural” phenomena won’t pass away. There will always be someone getting their own TV show for being “different,” white people will always be awkward and offensive, people will always drive (not me!), Taylor Swift will continue to age but sing for adolescent girls while she simultaneously shames their existence.

Even then, these “2012-2013” memes and videos will live on. Bon Qui Qui and Nyan Cat are still out there, Afrocircus? Still out there. As long as we have Internet we will always have our entertaining distractions.

That’s what fascinates me. Do things ever disappear from the Internet or get destroyed? Or do they stay on the web forever? Will we be able to access these things in years to come? Decades? Centuries?

New forms of art have a lifetime that is infinite and preservable. That awkward vlog you made will outlast you. That offensive tweet I tweeted will stay on twitter till it tweets its dying tweet. My rage toward the world on Facebook will be eternal rage. That’s badass.

So as I write my final papers, study for my last exams, drink pots of coffee, check the weather for NYC (and not Ann Arbor), dress inappropriately for the rain, accidentally leaves bits of clothing everywhere I visit, and eat carrots—that man’s abs I reblog that are “artsy” or that video I favorite will never leave the world. They may leave my vision, or my mind, but they are only a click away.