Focus on the Arts



Art lovers, aesthetes and audiophiles, there’s still plenty to take in and observe throughout the remainder of  2013. We’ve assembled the brightest and most engaging events in Washtenaw county that you need to see this winter. Focus on the arts until the end of 2013.



Valerie Mann: The Real Cinderella Dress and Other Recent work

Friday 11/1-12/1
7-10pm, Free. WSG Gallery.
306 S. Main St.
734.761.2287 •

The Saline artist will display three installation pieces made of nearly all recycled materials, including Depression era feedbags used to make the Cinderella dress and wire sculptures inspired by birds. Reception Friday, November 1.






Blind Summit: The Table

Friday 11/1 – 11/3
Friday & Saturday 8pm, Sunday, 2pm
$40 Performance Network Theater. 120 East Huron St.
734.764.2538 •

Epic puppetry inspired by Beckett, the Bible, and Ikea, this hilarious, beautiful, and occasionally profound work features a cantankerous puppet with a cardboard head having an existential crisis on a table.







Ballet Preljocaj

Friday 11/1 & 11/2
Power Center. 21 Fletcher St.
734.764.2538 •

A hot ticket on their last visit to Ann Arbor in 2012, this wildly creative dance company will present And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace, which will be seen only in Ann Arbor, Brooklyn, and Minneapolis, and which takes inspiration from the vision of apocalypse conjured by St. John in the biblical Book of Revelation.






Steve Lehman Octet

Saturday 11/9
9pm. $25
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. 911 N. University 734.763.3333 •

This is the new, sound of jazz to come – unhinged artistry and caution to the wind creation are the mothers of genre reinvention, and few demonstrate that better than the scholarly jazz virtuoso, Steve Lehman, and his adept, agile octet of players. The University Musical Society (with support from Maxine and Stuart Frankel and the Renegade Ventures Fund) present a night of instrumental acrobatics in a jazz context.






James Blake

Monday 11/11
7:30pm. $20-$44
Michigan Theatre. 603 E. Liberty St.
734.994.4801 •

James Blake’s voice could be described as “soulful” if it didn’t sound so ghostly—he skews on R&B rhythms with static synthesizer and robotic drum machines, creating high-minded technopop.






Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Tuesday 11/12
7:30pm. $24-$54
Michigan Theatre. 603 E. Liberty St.
734.994.4801 •

Let’s get this straight, a British Ukulele Orchestra that rocks a mean cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”? Awesome. Wait until you hear some touchstone jams of your musical upbringing re-imagined (and rocked-out) by this adept ensemble.






Indira Freitas Johnson: Ten Thousand Ripples

Tuesday 12
7pm. Free. Stamps Auditorium. 1226 Murfin Ave.

The Chicago-based sculptor, cultural worker, peace activist and educator takes inspiration from transitory, ritualistic Indian folk art practices which she uses to address issues of domestic violence, leprosy health education, labor, the environment, gender, peace, nonviolence and literacy.





Non Text

Wednesday 11/13 – 12/11
Reception 4-7pm, 11/13
Mondays & Thursdays, 10am-5pm,
Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 10am-7pm,
Fridays & Saturdays, 10am-2pm.
Free. University Gallery, EMU Student Center, Ypsilanti.
734.487.1268 •

This exhibit questions the Western cultural assumption that textual content is necessarily the primary and most efficient communication medium. The featured works employ text, typography, or writing to create aesthetic forms that express visual meaning rather than allowing words to function as invisible verbal transmitters.





Stepdad with Silent Lions

Friday 11/15
9:30pm. $10.The Blind Pig. 208 N. First St.
734.936.8555 •

This  Grand Rapids/Chicago area quintet might actually be the Stepsons of comparably zany synth experimenterslike Dan Deacon or they could be the step-siblings of newer 80’s electrotoying outfits like Chvrches. This is fine synth-pop.







Jerry’s Girls

Friday 11/15 – 1/5/14
Performance Network Theater. 120 E. Huron St.
734.663.0681 •

Fabulous, flamboyant and fun for the whole family, this larger than life musical revue focuses on the music of Jerry Herman. Complete with large scale production numbers, tap dancing, and a little bit of drag.




John Prine

Friday 11/15
7:30pm. $45-$69.50
Michigan Theatre. 603 E. Liberty St.
734.994.4801 •

Despite his acoustic guitar and rich, raspy voice, John Prine, but doesn’t quite fit into any category. This troubadour’s gregarious charms soften his image as an avant-garde outsider (not like a zany Tom Waits or anything,) but his  genre defiance comes with a wink and a slight elbow in your ribs.







San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Mahler Symphony No. 9 in d minor)

Saturday 11/16
8pm. $10. Hill Auditorium. 825 N. University 734.764.2538 •

Take in a night of enriching classical music brought to life by an authority on the late 19th Austrian master, Gustav Mahler. The esteemed San Francisco Symphony, its players and Music Director (Michael Tilson Thomas), have won numerous awards and acclaim for their performances.







Leon Russell with Nathan Blake Lynn

Tuesday 11/19
7:30pm. $35. The Ark. 316 S. Main St.
734.761.1451 •

A lifelong session man who has collaborated with just about any icon you can name (Jerry Lee Lewis, George Harrison, Bob Dylan)—come hear a master. Leon Russell can sing you some sensational country-western ballads scorched with his raspy warble and proclivities towards a rock-nrolling vigor.







Antony Gormley: Making Space, a Film

Thursday 11/21
5:10pm. Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St.

The artist’s sculptures, installations and public artworks investigate the relationship of the human body to space, and have been widely exhibited throughout the UK and internationally, including at the Venice Biennale and Documenta 8.




Winter Dreams

Saturday 11/25
8pm. $12-$60
Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St.
734.994.480 •

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky’s rare Winter Dreams symphony, preceded by selections of Pärt and Glazunov. The symphony will showcase Concertmaster and violinist Aaron Berofsky.







Spinal Tap

Monday 11/25
7pm. $10 (Adult) $8 (Student).
Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St.
734.994.4801 •

How much funnier could this movie be? And the answer would be: None. Or: This hilarity “goes to 11.” This
“mockumentary” directed by Karl Reiner, from 1984, following the hilariously pathetic swan song tour of chronically delusional has-been rock stars (Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls) relics of the 70’s arena rock band Valhalla, still rocking horseshoe mustaches, leather pants and entitled aloofness.







The WSG Holiday Show

Tuesday 12/3 – 12/31
Winter gallery hours: Tues-Wed, 12-6pm, Thurs, 12-9pm, Fri-Sat 12-10pm,
Sun. 12-5pm. Midnight Madness: Friday 6. 7pm. WSG Gallery. 306 S. Main St. 734.761.2287 •

See the gallery’s festive collection of small and large artwork by many local artists. In addition to the Holiday Show, discover artwork by WSG’s 16 artist/members and year round changing roster of visiting artists.







John Marshall: Yes. The Space-Time Continuum

Thursday 12/5,
5:10pm. Free. Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St.

This principal with Cezanne Charles in rootoftwo, LLC, will discuss how the hybrid design + art studio creates experimental objects and experiences that attempt to disrupt and expose existing systems through humor, play, interaction and participation to create a condition where we can perceive ourselves, the here and now, and the future differently.






Saline Moonlight Madness Craft Show

Friday 12/6
5-11pm $3. Saline Middle School, 7190 N. Maple Rd., Saline. 734.429.5922 •

Over 150 craft persons from throughout Michigan and surrounding states will exhibit work that includes decorative painting, stoneware, rugs, birdhouses, holiday decorating ideas, ceramics, calligraphy and clothing. All products are designed, made, and displayed by the individual crafters and available at affordable prices.


Chelsea’s Hometown Holiday

Friday 12/6 -12/8
Free. Downtown Chelsea.
734.475.1145 •

This fun-filled weekend celebration ushers in holiday festivities with a tree lighting ceremony and visits with Santa, plus lots of other holiday activities and entertainment at various locations in and around Chelsea. Check online for all events and times.


Flip Your Field: Photographs from the Collection

Saturday 12/7 – 12/16
Tuesday-Saturday, 11am–5pm; closed Mondays. Sunday 12–5 pm. Suggested donation $5.
The University of Michigan Museum of Art.
525 South State St.
734.764.0395 •

Artist and UM Professor Larry Cressman will present two contrasting arrangements of photographic imagery: the first, a salon style display of many pieces focused on trees, and the second, a collection of photographs that have been uniquely manipulated by the artist to create individual statements.




The Ragbirds present the Ebird and Friends Holiday Show

Friday 12/13
7:30pm. $20. The Ark, 316 S. Main St.
734.761.1451 •

Familiar, cozy, celebratory, and yet surprising and sensational – all facets of the rootsy, wanderlust-spurring Neo-Americana canon of Ann Arbor’s own Ragbirds. Rock hymns, gypsy jigs and heavy helpings of vocals and violins lead by Erin Zindle (“Ebird”) return to the Ark this holiday season to kick off this 6th annual musical celebration which is sure to be stacked with a showcase of local talent.





D.I.Ypsi Indie Art Fair

Saturday 12/14 & 12/5
Free. 11am-11pm Saturday, noon-7pm Sunday.
720 Norris St., Ypsilanti.

DIYpsi (dipsee) is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s Corner Brewery every December. Check out the best indie artists our region has to offer for a one of a kind holiday shopping experience that will take care of everyone on your list. Enjoy great food and craft beer while you shop.






Orpheum Bell with Jonas Friddle & The Majority

Sunday 12/15
Doors 7pm. $16.50. The Ark, 316 S. Main St. 734.761.1451 •

Banjos caper with Dixieland clarinets and trumpets under the harmonies of two distinctive male/female voices – Orpheum Bell’s spooky and sublime style is a sandpapery telegram, transcending folk, gypsy, and bluegrass.






Ben Daniels Band with Cold Tone Harvest,
Nick Shaheen & Associates

Friday 12/20
Doors 9:30pm. $7 (Student) $10 (Adult).
The Blind Pig. 208 N. First St.
734.936.8555 •

This ensemble creates a pleasing atmosphere rich with resplendent melodies and a range of instrumentation; cruising comfortably, but speeding ahead with the windows rolled down when the chorus calls for it.






Mittenfest VIII

Friday 12/27 – 1/1/14
5pm each night. $10 suggested donation. Woodruff’s Bar, 36 Cross St., Ypsilanti.
734.985.6804 •

This music festival raises funds for 826 Michigan (Ann Arbor-based nonprofit education advocacy organization specializing in creative writing tutorship), and its mightily packed with local talent – with 40 (or more) bands and performers circulating across the humble stage at Woodruffs in Depot Town. Eight different Michigan (or Great Lakes area) talents perform each night. for schedule updates.






Table of Contents

Monday 1/6/14 – 2/15/14
Monday-Thursday 12-8pm
Friday-Saturday 12-9pm, Sunday 12-5pm
Free. Clay Gallery, 335 South Main St.
734.662.7927 •

This juried competition features the work of ceramic artists from MI, IL, IN, and OH and their dinnerware creations.




Bullet Catch

Tuesday 7 – Sunday 12
Tuesday-Thursday 7:30pm
Friday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 2pm.
$50. Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin Ave.
734.764.2538 •

Writer and performer Rob Drummond explores the history of this infamous trick, as he leads the audience through a darkly humorous and engaging theatrical magic show featuring levitation, games of chance, and — for those who dare stay to the very end —the most notorious finale in show business.






John Schwartz/Chelsea River Gallery

Saturday 1/18/14 – 3/1/14
Opening Reception 1/18/14, 5-8pm.
Free. 120 S. Main St., Chelsea.
734.433.0826 •

The artist uses found metal objects to form sculptures that are a careful blend of art and mechanics, with much of the work being robotic and mechanical in nature—appropriate for the son of an engineer in the space program back in the late fifties through the early seventies.






Ann Arbor Symphony (Mozart Birthday Bash)

Saturday 1/25/14
8pm Michigan Theatre, 603 E. Liberty St.
734.966.8463 •

Così fan tutte, indeed! An all-star cast charms this semi-staged opera, narrated by Stephen West, with sopranos Sarah Hibbard and Lauren Skuce, mezzosoprano Jennifer Holloway, tenor Charles Reid, bassbaritone David Small and bass John Shuffle. The esteemed A2S0 even gets into the act, with a chorus prepared by Steven Lorenz. A charming and cheeky opera made richer by the talents of our symphony and our singers—a fine way to spend a midwinter’s eve.






Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art

Saturday 1/25/14 -5/4/14 Tuesday-Saturday 11am–5pm
Closed Mondays
Sunday 12–5 pm.
Suggested donation $5.
The University of Michigan
Museum of Art, 525 South State St. 734.764.0395 •

This exhibition is the first to present Duke’s five acre Honolulu estate and its collections to audiences throughout the continental United States, and illustrates her fascination with Islamic art, extensive travels in Muslim countries, and her work with a broad array of individuals, including scholars, dealers, and artisans.





The 37th Annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Friday 1/31/14 & 2/1/14
6:30pm each night. Ticket price TBA.
Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University.
734.764.2538 •

This fundraiser for The Ark, our nonprofit home of traditional folk, roots and ethnic music, is a musical way to thaw the winter blues (in fact, you’ll likely get a fine sampling of blues, as well as light bits of local indie rock). The lineup always impresses.

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Jeff covers music for Current, posting weekly show previews and highlighting new bands in the area.

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Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff covers music for Current, posting weekly show previews and highlighting new bands in the area.

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