Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:05am by christopherporter
Six songs strong and 12 inches wide, Human Skull's vinyl debut, Take a Lifetime, is a brief but engaging record that documents the latest developments from an Ann Arbor punk rock band that, as its website suggests, is “probably less punk than you think.” Indeed, their velocity and ferocity get applied to songs with genuine Midwestern hearts beating beneath the leathers, expressing yearning rather than rage and avoiding easy classification.
For two albums -- a self-titled, digital-only debut and the cassette release The Penny and the Ball -- Human Skull has honed a unique style rather than wandering, and Take a Lifetime distills that sound into its most potent, clear-eyed state. Melodies are challenged in interesting ways, each traditional choice countered with a harsh chord or sudden, whiplashing tempo change. At times Human Skull’s riffs can recall early REM if they weren’t bashed out at rollercoaster speed with the band in lockstep around every tight corner.
Wed, 07/17/2019 - 2:15pm by christopherporter
Of Skin and Dirt: Ann Arbor Art Center's "Earthbody" explores the human frame's relationship to its habitat
Wed, 07/17/2019 - 11:00am by christopherporter
The Ann Arbor Art Center’s Earthbody features works from 11 artists whose works explore, in some aspect, the relationship between the body and the environment. The exhibit focuses on works of current and recent students at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.
Mon, 07/15/2019 - 10:45am by christopherporter
Playwright Reina Hardy has a lot on her mind: the Big Bang Theory, the course of true love, the waxing and waning of sexual passion, personality disruptions caused by social media, the difficulty of making contact at a party when you’re socially awkward, and so much more.
Fri, 07/12/2019 - 11:15am by christopherporter
Roustabout Theatre's Big Daddy Shakespeare looks at The Bard in a more personal and humanizing lens than is generally studied in school. A one-act play adapted from several of Shakespeare’s works by Anna Simmons and directed by Josie Lapczynski, shows him as a son, husband, and father who he left his young family to be a playwright in London. What was he thinking? Feeling? And how could his plays reflect his state of mind through separations -- and grief?
The Ypsi Experimental Space (YES) is decorated throughout with a specific theme. A popcorn machine greets you at the door, the warm scent of the freshly popped treat filling the air. Posters from past Roustabout Theatre shows are plastered on the walls like old circus playbills. The stage is draped in the unmistakable striped fabric of a circus tent.
Wed, 07/10/2019 - 1:45pm by christopherporter
In keeping with recent exhibition themes at the Penny W. Stamps Gallery, its most recent show asks audiences to imagine a better future through the works of innovative and iconic contemporary artists.
Tue, 07/09/2019 - 3:45pm by christopherporter
Nastassja E. Swift wants to know what's behind the mask.
The Virginia-based artist's exhibit at Lane Hall, the home of the LSA Women’s Studies program at the University of Michigan, is part of a larger performance piece, titled she was here, once. Swift, in her artist statement, expands upon the intent behind her work:
Painting the Everyday: Sarah Innes' "Around the Table" at Ann Arbor Art Center focuses on the small moments in life
Mon, 07/08/2019 - 11:00am by christopherporter
Ann Arbor artist Sarah Innes is a radical.
Tue, 07/02/2019 - 5:00pm by christopherporter
On June 22 at Riverside Arts Center, I had the pleasure of attending the first show presented by Fun Girl, a new Ypsilanti-based contemporary dance company created and run by Artistic Director Chloe Gray. The company offers paid rehearsals and performances to their dancers, as well as apprenticeships, and acts as a platform for technically based dancers to explore quirky movement while applying thoughtful activism.
What's Love Got to Do With It: The Purple Rose's comedy "Welcome to Paradise" offers a dreamlike romance -- or is it real at all?
Mon, 07/01/2019 - 5:30pm by christopherporter
In Julie Marino’s play Welcome to Paradise, a young man who has been backpacking through Europe helps an elderly woman who is having difficulty at the airport. Rory doesn’t just help Evelyn to her cab. He accompanies her to her beach house on the fictional Caribbean island of St. Sebastian, a beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere. Exhausted, he tries to find an inexpensive place to spend the night, but accommodations are costly in paradise. She invites him for the night.