REVIEW: The Kerrytown Bookfest

The Kerrytown Bookfest

You’ve seen it as a farmers market, an artisans market, a music stage, and a food cart hang out, but have you ever seen it as a bookstore? The Kerrytown Market hosted the 11th Annual Kerrytown Bookfest at the beginning of the month (when it was still hot outside!). From rare books, to handmade journals, to cookbooks, to comic books, to children’s stories, the stalls were packed with pages and pages. Though I did not see or participate, the event also included activities and lectures for book collectors and avid readers. I strolled through with a friend, rather overwhelmed by the many odd jackets and titles. It was a lovely townie event, but to be honest with you, I had misinterpreted the intention of the festival and was slightly disappointed: I imagined more hand bound crafted books, rather than simply used copies of ordinary titles. Despite my slight misconception however, I had an aching urge to buy something  so I bargained for a book called “Wicca in the Kitchen.” I thought it was going to be about witchcraft and magical recipes, but turns it is was a hokie commentary of vegetal properties. You win some you lose some. To stay up to date on Kerrytown market events, click here. See you next time!

REVIEW: The Olllam

The Olllam

Earlier this month, The Olllam performed at The Ark. What is The Olllam you ask? It’s funky, groovy, contemporary Irish music performed by Ann Arbor resident celebrities Tyler Duncan and Mike Shimmin, and a true Irishman himself John McSherry.  John McSherry is an internationally recognized traditional Irish piper and one of the most respected musicians of his trade. He teamed up with local musicians, some of who are alums of the School of Music, to put a fresh, up-to-date twist on sounds reminiscent of classic Irish folk tunes for their newest album.The instrumental album features eight tracks. Each is completely different, representing varying degrees of Irish-ness and electronic infusion. The group appeared in Ann Arbor as a segment of the trans-continental tour, including two weeks in Ireland, and two weeks in the mid-west at an Irish music festival (where they made a sweep of awards). It must have been a treat for the artists to perform in their home town, but really more of a treat for us! I have never heard such a unique and current sound. I am caught off guard by how much I like it- I never thought that Irish music would be my tune of choice when driving on the freeway!

I intended to post my article immediately after the show, but somehow the year started and things got busy…how did that happen? That being said, I have listened to the entire album every day since the show, so its as if a private performance has been perpetually playing in my ears. To get a listen yourself, check out their website. For a deeper insight into the creative process behind the music, watch this gorgeous short documentary on the history of The Olllam. Enjoy!

PREVIEW: HomeGrown Festival

HomeGrown Festival

Tonight, the Kerrytown Farmer’s Market welcomes students back into town and townies back into downtown with the sixth annual Home Grown Festival. From 6-10pm this evening, the usually bustling market place will be even more crowded and lively. With booths, vendors, food carts, live music, and a craft beer tent for those who are of age, this is a wonderful way to reintroduce yourself to Ann Arbor for the fall. The entire event is coordinated and run by volunteers who support regional foods, drink, and music. Many restaurants from downtown will be serving their cooking, and several farmers will be offering samples of their special crop, like heirloom tomatoes and exotic strains of garlic. Again, for those who are of age you can observe and even sample the home-brew competition. Don’t miss this cozy and celebratory townie event! For more information on performers, location, vendors, and more, click the image above. See you there!

PREVIEW: Julian Allen Senior Recital

Julian Allen Senior Recital

It’s recital season. This means that every venue in Ann Arbor is jam packed with parents, friends, and artistic talent on any given day of the month. On Saturday April 27th, The Yellow Barn hosts the Julian Allen Senior Recital. A musician in the School of Music, this performance will feature original music and lyrics by Julian Allen and multi-media collaboration with local artists. Both jazz and electronic, vocals and rap, this dynamic and varied recital will explore a number of themes, techniques, and messages. In conjunction with Dance BFA student Julia Smith-Eppsteiner, local hip-hop artists Tree City and Kadence, and a number of U-M School of Music students and alum, this performance will run the gamut of Ann Arbor talent. The show starts at 6 pm. The Yellow Barn is located on 416 W. Huron Street. See you there!

PREVIEW: Please Don’t Feed The Animals

Please Don’t Feed the Animals

This Saturday, April 20th there will be multiple gallery- both openings on campus and off- that exhibit the year long Integrative Projects of the senior students in the Penny Stamps School of Art & Design. This particular show, “Please Don’t Feed the Animals,” features the work of Erica Neumann, Anna Schulte, and Claire Jones. Each artist practices a different medium: typography, photography, and sculpture respectively. Two of these three artists are in my Book Arts class so I have already previewed their work. It is stunning- so professional, clean, intriguing, and unprecedented. Erica Neumann has fashioned animal figures out of various fonts and tells the narrative of evolution, both of typography and animal species. Anna Schulte’s photographs are a meditation of happiness. Claire Jones has created her own version of “taxidermy.”

This creative and labor intensive process will finally be on display at the Ann Arbor Art Center from April 20th to May 4th (117 W. Liberty St). An opening reception to celebrate the artwork will take place beginning at 5 pm on Saturday. Don’t miss the special  opportunity to see the talented designs of these up and coming artists. See you there!


GUTS Senior IP Show

Every year, the senior cohort of the Penny Stamps School of Art & Design works on a year long project called “IP” (Integrative Project).  At the end of a 10 month journey, the students gather in clusters to present their work. Either in galleries on campus or off, groups of artists host an opening event followed by a two week period where the art is on display. This particular exhibit, GUTS, presents the independent work of Liz Luidens, Justin Hein, Taylor Bultema, Alex Kaufman, and Ronan Lyman.  Using the mediums of print, drawing, and illustration, the works are both varied and dynamic but also cohesive. About arriving at the title “Guts,” artist Alex Kaufman said:

“We all got together once we had our venue set so we could start brainstorming.  we each pinned up a couple pieces to get a feel for what all of our work looks like together, and started throwing out ideas. Our concepts are really self-reflective, and a lot about our internal thoughts, feelings and personal experience.  So, in a way our work is our guts on paper.  And its a vague reference to our aesthetic, which is fairly direct and in-your-face.  So yeah, once we put all that together it made perfect sense, and that is the story of how Guts happened.”

The opening reception will be held on Saturday April 20th from 7-10 pm with a closing reception on May 5 at 6 pm. The off-site exhibit is in The Yellow Barn on 416 W. Huron with regular hours Tuesday-Saturday 5-9 pm. For an inside look, check out Alex Kaufman’s blog. See you there!