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AADL Talks To: Jim Forrester, Former Activist and Founder, Partners Press, Inc.

Jim Forrester
Jim Forrester, October 2019 (Photo by Ginia Forrester)

In this episode, AADL Talks To Jim Forrester. Jim came to the University of Michigan as a student in 1966 and he has lived in Ann Arbor ever since, retiring after running a successful printing business for 30 years. As a student, Jim wrote for the Michigan Daily, participated in anti-war protests, and was involved with both the Students for a Democratic Society and Ann Arbor's Human Rights Party. Jim reflects on this period in Ann Arbor history and discusses some of the changes he's witnessed at the city and county level over the past five decades.

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A Historic Tour of Hertler Brothers and Downtown Home & Garden

Mark Hodesh takes us on a tour of the historic downtown Ann Arbor building he owns, which was originally built in 1896 as Hertler Brothers, and renamed as Downtown Home & Garden in 1997. The building located at 210 S. Ashley St. has provided services and supplies to the wider Ann Arbor community for over a century. While in some ways it remains unchanged—continuing to sell bulk seed, grain, and hay—it's also adapted to changing times and evolving customer needs. Current owner of the Downtown Home & Garden store, Kelly Vore, also adds her perspective on this legacy. —Donald Harrison

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Branching Narratives: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of the Tappan Oak

In this short documentary, filmmaker Jen Proctor tells the story of the Tappan Oak, a tree that predated white settlement in Ann Arbor and the campus that grew up around it, and the human actions that marked its last decades of life.

From Filmmaker Jen Proctor:

This film represents both singular and collective stories. A lone undergraduate student communes with a tree to help him feel connected to a college campus from which he felt alienated. A professor collaborates with students to create a sense of belonging to Michigan’s natural environment. A society of students fosters belonging by performing a ritual around the tree to induct members into their community. In creating belonging for a select few, however, the society excludes and demeans others who similarly seek to belong. An activist collective responds by effecting change over decades to create spaces for belonging for all people on the campus.

All of these stories bear a relationship to the great oak, an unwitting but central figure in their narratives.

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AADL Talks To: Maren and Jeff Jackson, Owners of Seva

Maren and Jeff Jackson, February 2024In this episode, AADL Talks To Maren and Jeff Jackson, the owners of Seva. In 2023, the vegetarian restaurant celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was first opened in 1973 at 314 East Liberty Street by Steve Bellock, and purchased by Maren and Jeff Jackson in 1997. Maren and Jeff talk about Seva’s early history, from its beginning as a vegetarian restaurant amidst other countercultural businesses and organizations, through its menu changes and other transitions over the years. 

 

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AADL Talks To: Ken Burns, Documentary Filmmaker

Ken Burns, 1967 and 1995
Ken Burns. Left, September 1967, photo by Eck Stanger, Ann Arbor News. Right, March 1995, photo by Doug Elliard.

In this episode, AADL Talks To Ken Burns. Ken is a documentary filmmaker known for his critically acclaimed films exploring all facets of American culture. Ken reflects on growing up and coming of age in Ann Arbor during the 1960s, and how this period of intense political and cultural activity mixed with family tragedy charted his journey. He takes us down the streets we remember -- past restaurants and theaters that have come and gone -- and through a back alleyway during the 1969 South University Street Riot. Along the way, he highlights the people, places, and vibrant musical and cinema culture that left its mark on his work.

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Keith & Martin/Martin & Keith: Elegy for the \aut\BAR

“From 1995 to 2020, Ann Arbor’s Aut/Bar was the mecca for the LGBTQ+ community. Its founders, Martin Contreras and Keith Orr, created a cultural and political hub that bridged the AIDS era with assimilation of the queer community and urban gentrification. This film is both tribute and elegy to a moment of significant hope when Ann Arbor lived up to its reputation for harboring a tolerant and liberal-minded population. It is dedicated to the two men who were at its heart and whose proud determination to make it happen was both fierce and tender.” - Peter Sparling

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AADL Talks To: Robin and Jamie Agnew

In this episode, AADL Talks To Robin and Jamie Agnew, owners of Aunt Agatha’s, their specialty mystery bookstore. The business began in Ann Arbor in 1992, and operated as a brick and mortar for 26 years before moving online in August 2018. Robin and Jamie talk about their experiences working in the store, their favorite memories here in town, and discuss some of the changes in the mystery book genre and bookselling business over the years.

Find more about Aunt Agatha's in our archival collections.

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AADL Talks To: Earl Jackson

Earl Jackson, 1997In this episode, AADL Talks To Earl Jackson. Earl talks about his time growing up in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, from his early years to his work at Borders Books and Music where he worked as a framer to the evolution of his career in the visual arts. He also discusses some of the organizations and people who inspired and mentored him, and reflects on the changes in themes and style in his work.

Historical photos and articles about Earl Jackson

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AADL Talks To: Peter Yates

Peter Yates
Peter Yates

Peter is a professional photographer who started as a street photographer in New York and went on to work for national magazines and newspapers shortly after moving to Ann Arbor in 1969.

Peter reminisces about some of his memorable photography assignments; the restaurants and music venues he misses; the friends and colleagues who helped him; and his time working in Ann Arbor -- at Mark's Coffeehouse, the Blind Pig, and the Ann Arbor Observer.

Browse our Peter Yates Collection

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AADL Talks To: Grace Shackman

Grace sits surrounded by books about, maps, and bird's eye views of Ann Arbor.
Grace Shackman, August 2000

 

Grace Shackman is an author, educator, and former Washtenaw County Commissioner. But she's probably best known as a local historian and a long-time contributor to the Ann Arbor Observer, where she has dug into many fascinating topics of local and regional history. Grace tells us about how she became involved in politics, her research process, and how her interests spurred her beyond her shy nature. 

Find more by and about Grace Shackman in our archival collections.