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Kit Homes of Ann Arbor: A Historical Tour

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 10:37am

Join kit house researchers Andrew and Wendy Mutch and learn about the fascinating history of catalog and kit homes, including Michigan's role in the kit house industry. The presentation explores the steps of buying and building a catalog house through the story of one Ann Arbor family's home. Attendees are taken on a photographic tour of some of the 200+ catalog and kit houses located in and around Ann Arbor. Andrew and Wendy Mutch are kit house enthusiasts, researchers and owners of a 1926 Sears Roebuck “Hamilton” kit house in Novi.

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#32 Ann Arbor Stories: Dam Arbor

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:30am

The Huron River travels 130 miles from White Lake Township in Oakland County all the way down to Lake Erie - meandering through Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Belleville, Flat Rock, and Rockwood. Since Ann Arbor's founding, the river has been used as a method of transportation and source of power, helping the city prosper and grow. Here's a dam fine history of Ann Arbor's dams, which includes death, floods, and the odds of a coming watery apocalypse.

Listener warning: This episode contains references to drowning, dead people, and liberal use of the word "dam."

Music by Chris Bathgate, from his new album Dizzy Seas

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The Beatles and "Abbey Road"

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 11:46am

Released in October 1969, Abbey Road was the last album the Beatles recorded together and it remains a fan favorite.

Learn about the making of this masterpiece from Walter Everett, a professor of Music Theory at the U-M School of Music and a world-renowned Beatles scholar whose works include The Beatles As Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology, which has been called "the most important work to appear on the Beatles thus far," and The Foundations of Rock: From Blue Suede Shoes to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

This event was cosponsored by the Michigan Theater.

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Nerd Nite #42 - Prostitutes, Politicians, and Pornography: The History of Ann Arbor’s Red Light District

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:02am

There was a time in Ann Arbor’s history when the Fourth Avenue area of downtown was known as the red light district. Lined with prostitutes, adult bookstores and massage parlors, Ann Arbor’s red light district was presided over by the Pied Piper of Porn, Terry Whitman Shoultes. Take a trip into the seedy underbelly of Ann Arbor’s dirty past.

Learn more about this topic in the AADL Old News Archives.

About Rich Retyi and Brian Peters: These gents produce Ann Arbor Stories, a podcast featuring stories from Ann Arbor’s distant and not so distant past. Rich runs digital and social media strategy for the University of Michigan hospitals and enjoys writing, playing with his kids, and Friday beers. Brian is the Operating Officer for Ghostly International, a multi-platform cultural curator and record label, as well as co-owner of local indie label, Quite Scientific; he enjoys fishing, camping, mustard, and surprise surprise – Friday beers.

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#31 Ann Arbor Stories: The Dictator Comes to Town

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 12:50pm

Ann Arbor loves hosting dignitaries, celebrities and heads of state like any other Midwestern city. In 1966, Ann Arbor had the pleasure of hosting newly-elected Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his lovely wife Imelda. He wasn't a dictator yet. Hadn't murdered 3,257 of his own people. Tortured 35,000 more. That would come six years later. In 1966, when the president and his wife enjoyed lunch in the Michigan League, they still looked at him like Southeast Asia's JFK, rather than one of the most brutal modern-day dictators.

Music by Ben Benjamin, courtesy of GhoLicense

Parental listener warning: Contains references to torture, murder, beauty pageants and hidden World War II treasure.

See photos from Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' trip to Ann Arbor in the AADL archives

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers: Martin interviews Martin Torgoff, author of "Bop Apocalypse: Jazz, Race, the Beats, and Drugs"

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 9:10am

From the author of the acclaimed Can't Find My Way Home comes the gripping story of the rise of early drug culture in America.

With an intricate storyline that unites engaging characters and themes and reads like a novel, Bop Apocalypse details the rise of early drug culture in America by weaving together the disparate elements that formed this new and revolutionary segment of the American social fabric.

Drawing upon his rich decades of writing experience, master storyteller Martin Torgoff connects the birth of jazz in New Orleans, the first drug laws, Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow, Harry Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, swing, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, the Savoy Ballroom, Reefer Madness, Charlie Parker, the birth of bebop, the rise of the Beat Generation, and the coming of heroin to Harlem. Aficionados of jazz, the Beats, counterculture, and drug history will all find much to enjoy here, with a cast of characters that includes vivid and memorable depictions of Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jackie McLean, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Herbert Huncke, Terry Southern, and countless others.

Bop Apocalypse is also a living history that teaches us much about the conflicts and questions surrounding drugs today, casting many contemporary issues in a new light by connecting them back to the events of this transformative era. At a time when marijuana legalization is rapidly becoming a reality, it takes us back to the advent of marijuana prohibition, when the templates of modern drug law, policy, and culture were first established, along with the concomitant racial stereotypes. As a new opioid epidemic sweeps through white working- and middle-class communities, it brings us back to when heroin first arrived on the streets of Harlem in the 1940s. And as we debate and grapple with the gross racial disparities of mass incarceration, it puts into sharp and provocative focus the racism at the very roots of our drug war.

Having spent a lifetime at the nexus of drugs and music, Torgoff reveals material never before disclosed and offers new insights, crafting and contextualizing Bop Apocalypse into a truly novel contribution to our understanding of jazz, race, literature, drug culture, and American social and cultural history.

Martin’s interview with Martin Torgoff was originally recorded March 7, 2017.

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Culinary Historian Andrew Coe Discusses His Book: "A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression"

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 3:45pm

The giddy optimism of post-World War I America came crashing down during the Depression, which radically altered eating habits, as author Andrew Coe describes in his new cultural history A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression. This book, coauthored with Jane Ziegelman, was awarded the 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award for nonfiction.

Despite President Herbert Hoover’s 1931 claim that “nobody is actually starving,” Americans, in cities and rural areas alike, existed on subsistence diets and the effects of vitamin deficiencies were felt long into the war years.

A Square Meal is an in-depth exploration of the greatest food crisis the nation has ever faced-the Great Depression-and how it transformed America's culinary culture. Join us for a stimulating learning opportunity about this historic upheaval and the shifting role of governmental aid in response.

Andrew Coe is a writer and independent scholar specializing in culinary history. He and his wife, Jane Ziegelman, are co-authors of "A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression." His ground-breaking Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States was a finalist for a James Beard award and named one of the best food books of the year by the Financial Times. He has written books, articles, and blog posts on everything from the ancient history of foie gras to the secret criminal past of chocolate egg creams to where to buy the tastiest bread in New York City. He has appeared in documentaries such as the National Geographic Channel's "Eat: The Story of Food" and "The Search for General Tso." He and his wife live Brooklyn with their two children.

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#30 Ann Arbor Stories: The Embassy Hotel

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 5:30am

If you've seen the Embassy Hotel since 1951, you'll know it doesn't look like anything special. It's wrapped in dull grey siding and the signs on the side of the building are old, and its clientele probably wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms at too many other Ann Arbor hotels. But the Embassy is special. It's been a haven for people down on their luck since the Great Depression. It survived when so many other hotels in that area didn't. And it was once blessed by His Holiness, Baba Hardev Singh Ji. Take some time to get to know this historic diamond in the rough.

Music by Hollow & Akimbo

Parental Listener Warning: This episode contains brief references to prostitution, the Great Depression, and the problem of homelessness in America.

See photos of the Embassy Hotel building and learn more in the AADL Old News archives.

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#29 Ann Arbor Stories: Public Animal No. 1

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 5:30am

Dozens of cities tried - hundreds of lawmen failed. Ann Arbor was the only place in the world that could cage punk rock’s most anarchic, violent and revolting personality. Think Iggy Pop crossed with Charles Manson - the crossed with Charles Manson - the voice of Randy Macho Man Savage with enough of a connection with serial killer John Wayne Gacy to develop a father-son bond. Public animal number one. The man, the infamous legend: GG Allin.

Music by GG Allin.

Parental Listener Warning:This episode is definitely rated R and is not suitable for most people, let alone little ones. It contains swear words (even the big ones) and contains references to poo, throwing poo, eating poo, violence, torture, drug use, blood, suicide, and Peoria, Illinois.

Learn more about this story in the AADL Old News archives.

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers: Martin talks to Ed Ward about The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963.

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 11:31am

Ed Ward covers the first half of the history of rock & roll in this sweeping and definitive narrative: from the 1920s, when the music of rambling medicine shows mingled with the songs of vaudeville and minstrel acts to create the very early sounds of country and rhythm and blues, to the rise of the first independent record labels post-World War II, and concluding in December 1963, just as an immense change in the airwaves took hold and the Beatles prepared for their first American tour. The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1 shines a light on the far corners of the genre to reveal the stories behind the hugely influential artists who changed the musical landscape forever.

In this first volume of a two-part series, Ward shares his endless depth of knowledge and through engrossing storytelling hops seamlessly from Memphis to Chicago, Detroit, England, New York, and everywhere in between. He covers the trajectories of the big name acts like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Ray Charles, while also filling in gaps of knowledge and celebrating forgotten heroes such as the Burnette brothers, the “5” Royales, and Marion Keisker, Sam Phillips’s assistant, who played an integral part in launching Elvis’s career.

For all music lovers and rock & roll fans, Ward spins story after story of some of the most unforgettable and groundbreaking moments in rock history, introducing us along the way to the musicians, DJs, record executives, and producers who were at the forefront of the genre and had a hand in creating the music we all know and love today.

The interview was originally recorded on February 7, 2017.