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AADL Talks To: Rick Ayers, Former U-M Student Activist and Member of the SDS and Weather Underground

Rick Ayers
Rick Ayers

In this episode, AADL Talks To Rick Ayers. Rick is faculty emeritus at the University of San Francisco where he was an associate professor of education focusing on English language arts and teacher education. In the late 1960s, Rick followed his older brothers to the University of Michigan and was soon radicalized by the civil rights and anti-war movements, participating in protests and demonstrations with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Weather Underground. Rick traces his fascinating journey as a draft dodger working with deserters in Canada through his decision to enlist in the U.S. Army where he would eventually go AWOL and live as a fugitive for seven years. Rick also shares his memories of the vibrant campus film culture and the people -- including girlfriend Gilda Radner -- who shaped his student experience at the university, and he reflects on the legacy of the 1960s protests in light of today’s political environment.

Ann Arbor 200
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AADL Talks To: Pat Oleszko, Performance Artist and Queen of the Ann Arbor Film Festival

Pat Olezsko
Pat Oleszko, circa 1971 and March 2024

In this episode AADL Talks to Pat Oleszko, visual and performance artist and Queen of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Pat came to the University to study art in the late 1960s just as the program was experiencing a countercultural renaissance. She talks with us about her journey as an artist, from the vibrant experimental and collaborative arts community that welcomed her, to the institutions and events like the ONCE Group, the city's film festivals, and the Ozone Parade that shaped her and that she helped shape in turn. Pat also recalls some favorite performances and clashes with both feminists and law enforcement as she charted her inimitable career.

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AADL Talks To: Fred LaBour, former writer for The Michigan Daily and member of the musical group Riders in the Sky

Fred LaBour
Fred "Too Slim" LaBour (Photo courtesy of Riders in the Sky)

In this episode, AADL Talks to "Too Slim" Fred LaBour. Fred is a member of Riders in the Sky, an American Country and Western music and comedy quartet that has performed together since 1977. From '67 to '71, Fred was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan where he covered sports and wrote music reviews for The Michigan Daily. Fred discusses the campus culture that shaped his career and he walks us through a day in the life of a too-slim "wise ass" English major whose satirical review of the Beatles’ "Abbey Road" album propelled the “Paul McCartney is Dead” urban legend that took the country by storm.

Read Fred's October 14, 1969 "Paul is Dead" article in The Michigan Daily.

Check out Riders in the Sky in the AADL catalog. The group is also featured on the following CDs: Toy Story Favorites, Toy Story 2, Disney Pixar All Time Favorites, and Woody's Roundup.

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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.

Film Societies: Films of the Week, undated

Film Societies: Films of the Week, undated image

Cinema Guild, Michael Curtiz Festival, undated

Cinema Guild, Michael Curtiz Festival, undated image

Cinema Guild Flyer: Frederick Wiseman in Ann Arbor, undated

Cinema Guild Flyer: Frederick Wiseman in Ann Arbor, undated image

Cinema Guild Flyer: Birth of a Nation, undated

Cinema Guild Flyer: Birth of a Nation, undated image

Cinema Guild Flyer: Dr. Chicago & Ride, Dr. Chicago, Ride, November 1970

Cinema Guild Flyer: Dr. Chicago & Ride, Dr. Chicago, Ride, November 1970 image
Month
November
Year
1970

Cinema Guild Flyer: Cry Dr. Chicago, June 1971

Cinema Guild Flyer: Cry Dr. Chicago, June 1971 image
Month
June
Year
1971