REVIEW: Disfluency

Michigan theater welcomed back alums who once worked on assignments for film classes in Ann Arbor but came back with beautiful and successful production. The Auditorium of Michigan theater was quite full of locals and friends of the production team. The audience enjoyed the live music from the film, the screening of ‘Disfluency’, and the Q&A that followed. Before we jump into the review about the movie itself, I just wanted to say that I appreciate the event because it felt as though I was glimpsing a page in the growth of people working in the production industry, how they made friends, who turned into colleagues and created something beautiful together.

Disfluency was a young, beautiful film. Its beauty was not a helpless sort – it ran with vitality through the lake of early summer, shimmering like the lake frequently shown on the screen. I had to mention ‘beautiful’ as the first word that came to my mind about the film because of the mise en scene. The way that the scenery and the characters were filmed had affection to it and the locations on camera were perfect depictions of a calm lake town and a summer that was not annoyingly humid. In the movie, Jane’s hometown had to be a place where Jane ran away from college, where she could, although she had doubts, reunite with her friends and family, digest what had happened to her, and find the courage to decide on what to do with it. The movie persuaded the audience that Jane’s hometown was a place where those things could happen with the visuals. Also, marking the scene where Jane was going through PTSD with bright fairy lights was not only visually satisfying but also clearly communicated what was going on; flashback to the past every time Jane is experiencing PTSD would have been consumed too much time and made things off focus, but short insert of lights did not hurt the flow of the story while focusing on Jane’s emotional state.

Although this movie was beautiful, its beauty was not something fragile that was there for the sake of examination. It had the horror of reality in it, but it did not let the sorrow eat up the whole story and character. Instead, it showed how a person may, even though they were not okay and stumble, manage to face the incident. I think this was possible because of the storyline. Although the storyline was emotionally sensitive, it was not too dramatic. The monologue where Jane breaks down crying in the bathroom of a police office and tells her sister about what happened, the doubts she had on what had actually happened, and on herself whether she was acting too dramatic was a great example. This was a sudden burst of emotion and information, but it was not excessive because people cope with too much stress like that in real life. We don’t build up and give out hints like in delicately structured operas. We break down at one point. Jane in the movie did, too. I also liked how the start and end of the story used the same narration and the same space but the position of Jane, first in the audience seats but later on the platform, would change in the end, symbolizing how her emotional state had changed.

For regrets, there were some scenes, especially near the start where the camera was shaking a bit, although I could not easily understand the purpose if they were done intentionally. But in all, it was a movie that I certainly don’t regret investing a weekday evening.

PREVIEW Dance Mix 2017 The Galaxy Edition

Sometimes you need to take a break from exam studying and paper deadlines. That’s where Dance Mix 2017 comes in!

Where: The Power Center (121 Fletcher St)

When: Tuesday, April 18th @ 7 PM

Cost: FREE with Passport to the Arts

Tickets are also on sale at the Mason Wall posting wall April 14th & 17th, 10-4pm

A quick list of all the groups performing:

  • EnCore
  • FunKtion
  • Impact Dance
  • RhythM Tap Ensemble
  • Cadence Modern Dance Company
  • Dance2XS University of Michigan
  • The Ballroom Dance Team at the University of Michigan
  • Michigan Izzat
  • Michigan Manzil
  • Outrage Dance Group
  • Salto Dance Company at the University of Michigan
  • Photonix
  • Revolution Chinese Yo-Yo

Here’s a link to the Facebook Event so you can put that you’re attending

Review – True Blue: A Tribute to Michigan!

If you have ever felt the pride of being a Michigan Wolverine, being at this event magnified that feeling by 100%.  True Blue!  A Tribute to Michigan brought together those who share the love and passion of two colors: maize and blue.  Some of the biggest celebrities were on the stage of Hill Auditorium, telling their stories of their time at the University of Michigan, and everything that they have accomplished after graduating with a U of M diploma.

Tribute to Ann Arbor squirrels (Photo Credit: Matt Weigand)

There were so many amazing performances that I will do an overview.  Many videos were played throughout the night including ones of the history of U of M, the Diag, the Ann Arbor squirrels (my personal favorite), U of M couples, Bo Schembechler’s “The Team” speech, U of M professors, and the alumni.

“The Victors” performed by the Department of Musical Theatre Majors (Photo Credit: Scott C. Soderberg)

The Jazz Ensemble played a nice medley of “Michigan Through the Ages”.  The Department of Musical Theatre Majors did a stunning rendition of “The Victors” that definitely made me tear up a little as I felt the pride of being a Michigan wolverine.  The Department of Theatre & Drama Acting Majors performed multiple pieces such as “Catholepistemiad Rap” about the history of U of M, “Clarence Darrow and the Ossian Sweet Trial” alongside Emeritus Professor of Voice George Shirley, and “Tribute to Activism”.  The Michigan Men’s Glee Club sang a chilling “Glory” from the movie Selma and “I Remember, My Michigan”.  The Contemporary Directions Ensemble played multiple pieces such as “The Little Victors”, “Concerto for Two Violins”, “Back to Michigan”, and the cellists played a “Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg”.

The Friars and Theatre & Drama Acting Majors in the tribute to the Engineering Arch (Photo Credit: Matt Weigand)

The Friars made an appearance to sing “In the Still of the Night” as a hilarious tribute to the Engineering Arch, in which Theatre & Drama Acting majors acted out couples walking through the “arch”.  The Department of Dance Troupe performed “The Little Victors”.  The RFD Boys, alumni of U of M, played a “Michigan Medley”.  Multiple professors spoke such as Ralph Williams, Kathleen Sienko, and also the chair of the Department of Neurosurgery Dr. Karin Muraszko.  “The University” was sung by the University Chamber Choir.  Shortly after, the Michigan Marching Band flooded the stage performing all of the classics: “Victors Valiant”, “The Yellow and Blue”, and “Michigan Fanfare and The Victors”.

Emcee Darren Criss (Photo Credit: Robert Buechler)

The emcees included actors Darren Criss and Jacqueline Tobini, neurosurgeon and medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and NBC sportscaster Andrea Joyce, all of which are U of M alumni.  Other famous alumni speakers included: Civil Rights activist Cecilia Munoz, mayor of Ann Arbor Christopher Taylor, sports legends Desmond Howard and Jim Harbaugh, Broadway producer

Alumni and football legend Desmond Howard with other U-M sports legends onstage (Photo Credit: Scott C. Soderberg)

Jeffrey Seller, space explorers Afred Worder, Kiko Dontchev, Steve Walton, Mike Hess, and Hashmita Koka, Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Americans Committed to World Responsibility Judy Guskin, and of course U of M’s President Dr. Mark Schlissel.

This event was absolutely extraordinary and I couldn’t be more proud to be a wolverine!  Go Blue!!!

Football coach and alumni Jim Harbaugh (Photo Credit: Matt Weigand)

Upcoming Bicentennial events include:

June 26 & October 26: President’s Bicentennial Colloquia

June 26-27: UMich200 Summer Festival

August 26: U-M’s 200th Birthday

September 15: Detroit Festival

October 26-28: UMich200 Fall Festival

For more information:

PREVIEW: Artists of the Photo-Secession Gallery Tour at UMMA

When did photography become an art? At some point, people took cameras and tried to capture people and places and things not simply for the sake of capturing them, but for the beauty of it. This was the beginnings of pictorialism.

As the UMMA web site states about the early pictorialist photographers:

Their poetic compositions drawn from contemporary life, combined with the use of expensive and labor-intensive printing materials such as platinum and gum bichromate, established these photographs as complex and nuanced works of high artistic quality.

The exhibition is open now and will remain open until March 5th.

Their next FREE upcoming gallery talk/tour is:

Sunday, December 11th at 2pm

Check out their calendar here for more information on the other upcoming gallery talks:

January 15th at 2 pm

February 19th at 2 pm

REVIEW: TEDx U of M 2015

Whatever opinion you might have about TED (Technology Engineering Design) Conferences, it would be impossible to say that you don’t walk out of a conference feeling like you’ve absorbed a semester’s worth of information.

Each year TEDxUofM puts on an independent conference at the Power Center, and this year’s theme was Constructive Interference. The format is always the same: the doors open and people stream in to get their creative name tags, activities and coffee charge everyone for the day ahead, speakers ranging from activists to cartoonists.

I am always surprised by how big the event is. Weeks after ticket sales open, there are no spots left. This showed at the Power Center, where students, faculty, and outsiders filled every seat and streamed into the walkway outside. That’s the beauty of going to the conference rather than streaming it online–during the conference it was ridiculously easy to bump into someone and learn about their lives. Furthermore, TED attracts a certain type of curious personality that makes it easy to talk about issues other than the weather during lunch.

As for the speakers themselves, I was pleased that I didn’t see any bad speakers. Sometimes it happens. Not at U of M.

Some of the highlights were Herbert Winful, who talked abotu how hidden passions can connect people. As he states “It was love at first sight when I first laid eyes on Maxwell’s Equations.” This man studied electrical engineering at MIT, so he was not lying. Jill Halpern, another graduate of MIT, also spoke about tying together math and creativity.

Probably my favorite event of the day, however, was Raj Mehta’s talk called “Addiction 101.” It was simple, yet challenged the way in which we view addicts and stereotypes. Furthermore, he stated some unsettling facts about the apathy of our system. One example was that there are 40 institutions for juvenile detention in Michigan, but only 1 for rehabilitation. Even more astounding, this man was a former heroin addict, yet recovered and managed to graduate Michigan with a 4.0 GPA. That’s more than I’ll be able to pull off by the time I graduate.

2015-03-20 13.40.11The picture above is another one of the highlights of the conference. Two Michigan students, Marisa Diamond and Charley Leonard, showcased incredible acrobatic talent on stage. They flipped, flew, and astounded us. I felt guilty for not doing anything better with my life as a student.

While several of the speakers were famous and big-shots in their industries, TEDxUofM is wonderful because it also brings in alumni and faculty alike to speak to current students and faculty. Cliff Lampe, for instance, teaches at the School of Information, and what is incredible is that if you liked his talk today you could easily have him as a professor next semester!

If you get a chance, follow TED, TEDxUofM, and attend next year’s conference. It will be worth it.


PREVIEW: Band-O-Rama

Photo courtesy of MMBs facebook page
Photo courtesy of MMB's facebook page

Who: The University of Michigan Marching Band, Symphony Band and Concert Band

What: Band-O-Rama concert

Where: Hill Auditorium

When: October 26, 7:30 p.m.

Price: $5-$18 for adults, $5 for students or free with a Passport
The University of Michigan Marching Band, Symphony Band and Concert Band will take the stage at Hill Auditorium this Saturday for their annual Band-O-Rama concert featuring music from half-time shows and Michigan fan favorites. All the bands on one bill will be rallying behind Michigan spirit in support of the theme, “This is Michigan.” Come to the Hill to hail blue at Band-O-Rama this Saturday night.

For a free ticket, pick up a Passport to the Arts at your residence hall community center or the Office of New Student Programs on the first floor of the LSA building to redeem at the Michigan League Ticket Office.
Like the Michigan Marching Band on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, watch performances on their official YouTube channel, or visit their official website. Purchase tickets for the show here.