The True Townie’s Take on the Ann Arbor Art Fair

. July 5, 2017.
Ann-Arbor-Art-Fair

The Ann Arbor District Library is a major force in the artistic life of this town. All things library, like everything else in downtown, heat up during the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.  This, the 48th annual Fair, runs Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23. That’s a great improvement from the old days when the Fair closed on Saturday night and debris blew around Sunday.  Never again on a Sunday.  In addition, this is the lucky thirteenth year of the pre-fair Townie Street Party.

A Give Back for Townies

The Townie Party is held on Monday, July 17 from 5-9:30 pm on the Ingalls Mall between Thayer and Fletcher next to the Burton Memorial Tower.  Now the whole week is relaxed, cool, and copacetic. The Townie Street Party is the Fair’s give-back to Ann Arbor for hosting this mind-blowing Art Fair happening.  The party features food and drink from the best local joints, and the best local music. This year the RFD Boys (who’ve been hot since I was in college here, fifty million years ago), and The Ben Daniels Band, a genuinely excellent young combo that is known to have Ben’s old man, Jeff, show up and jam with them, are hitting the stage. And the grooviest part of the Townie Party, the Youth Art Fair juried by the AADL, offers works on sale for cash only from the youthful, aspiring, professional artists manning the booths and handling the moola themselves.

AADL a great stop

The Art Fair is now juried online from within the Downtown Library itself, a reflection of how the fair’s curators know what they’re doing and how this event gets more artistically accomplished and impressive every year. The Alden B. Dow 1957 Downtown Library is more striking with each passing year. It’s worth a duck-in for its own sake— right off the main streets—and there are special exhibits happening throughout the Fair, a blessed, air-conditioned respite, if nothing else.

For example, on Thursday, July 20, 6:30-8:30 pm, you can learn about 3D printing and experience the Pintrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer. No prior experience necessary. No prior experience? I don’t even know what half those words mean. That means I’ll stop in and have the staff explain it to me and my three-year-old granddaughter: Fun! On Friday the 21st, 6:30-8 pm, there is a “Secret Lab” for grade 6 to adult that will explain CNC routers and how they can be used in fabrication and DIY projects. Naturally, a ShopBot Desktop router will be used to demonstrate it all. Naturally. Oy, vey. Finally, on Saturday the 22nd, 2-5:30 pm, is a special “One-String Electric Guitar Laboratory.” I can actually comprehend this Jack White concept, born of West Africa and the American South.  Make your own musical equipment right here at the Library! And enjoy the air conditioning!

Trending

Estar Cohen Lives Fully in All The Moments of Music

“can’t hold on // I can feel time as it bends…” Just some lyrics from a composition called “Endings” by award-winning jazz vocalist Estar Cohen; and this propulsive image aptly fits for her music career, as each year since her 2015 graduation from the University of Toledo has gotten busier, faster, more exciting. You can

Monticello Van Odom – ‘In My Mind’

An essential way to craft a resonant piece of music is to unpack the existential pondering, the fleeting but insistent anxieties, the hard truths and easy reminders, that are swimming around up inside the head of the songwriter. The sublimity of Saline-based folk/Americana artist Monticello Van Odom‘s album is in how its spilling out all

Heavy Color’s River Passage

Toledo’s future beat/psy-jazz/hybrid electro duo Heavy Color recently premiered a new music video that commemorates an inspiring musical odyssey charted by one of its songwriters back in 2015. The group formed several years ago around the collaborations of Ben Cohen and Sam Woldenberg. Their Toledo’s answer to cerebral ambient electronica acts like Four Tet, Caribou,

Green Book is Worth the Trip

An elite black pianist tours the segregated south with a white roughneck chauffeur. Green Book combines two crowd-pleasing formulas—the road movie and the true story—with two stellar lead actors, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Mortensen plays Tony Lip, a white, working class second-generation Italian-American from the Bronx who works as a nightclub bouncer. Ali plays