Tue, 05/21/2019 - 1:30pm by christopherporter
Ann Arbor Art Center’s latest juried exhibition centers on the art of collage. Aptly named Odds & Ends, the show brings together an array of works that represent contemporary artists’ engagement with the tradition. From mixed media to digital collage, Odds & Ends offers a diverse collection of accomplished works.
Mon, 05/20/2019 - 12:30pm by christopherporter
Wed, 05/15/2019 - 11:30am by christopherporter
The day after I saw the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s current exhibit The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene, I saw this headline on the front page of The New York Times: "Report Details Global Shrink in Biodiversity." It was accompanied by images of bleached coral and strangled sea turtles. On the same page, I saw a picture of Lady Gaga in black lingerie on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vamping for the cameras on the occasion of the annual Met Gala.
Mon, 05/13/2019 - 11:00am by christopherporter
Ypsilanti's Neighborhood Theatre Group closes their 2018-2019 season with original sketch comedy show Trending Now, highlighting the humor found in "fads, fashion, and fandom."
NTG has always had its hand on the pulse of popular culture. In previous seasons, their annual sketch show has asked, "What is love?" (Sketchual Healing, 2017) and "Can I Help You?" (focused on customer service, 2018). There is catharsis in poking fun at ourselves (and each other) and having a good laugh.
Jazz Is: Guitarist Elden Kelly and The Outrospectives play “Dancing Light: Music of Gregg Hill” at Blue LLama
Fri, 05/10/2019 - 3:45pm by christopherporter
In college, I had a professor who used to enjoy asking the students in jazz history class to define jazz. He would say, “What is jazz?” and then sit back and listen to us try to answer this seemingly basic question. We know it when we hear it, but since we can’t quite put our fingers on what makes something “jazz,” we use other words like bebop, post-bop, modern, avant-garde, free, and fusion to help us out. Usually, I deplore circular reasoning, but when it comes to impossible questions, sometimes the answer is in the question itself. Jazz is what jazz musicians do. What’s a jazz musician? A person who plays jazz is a jazz musician. What’s jazz again?
On May 9 I attended the CD release show for The Outrospectives' new record, Dancing Light: Music of Gregg Hill, at Ann Arbor’s Blue LLama Jazz Club. Guitarist Elden Kelly assembled this band to play compositions by Gregg Hill. Elden arranged the music for a specific quintet of gifted musicians, and he worked with Hill to transcribe the music over the course of the past six years. What made this concert exciting were the ways in which this group and the music it played were both firmly rooted in jazz traditions, while simultaneously breaking new ground and bringing in non-jazz elements (or at least elements that are not traditionally associated with jazz).
Thu, 05/09/2019 - 4:30pm by christopherporter
Some things are designed for specific uses only, while other items could serve a variety of functions. Examples might be socks versus a blanket, or a planner versus blank paper. In the realm of food, a butter dish serves a singular purpose among other tableware. This quality makes butter dishes less common, said Margaret Carney, director of the International Museum of Dinnerware Design in Ann Arbor.
The question then becomes, “What would you want to have your butter in?” according to Carney.
Where Many Rivers Meet: Debashish Bhattacharya explored Indian classical music on Hawaiian lap-steel guitar at the jazz club Blue LLama
Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:00am by christopherporter
Indian classical music is not jazz, but both traditions have some commonalities, particularly improvisation, which is a critical and highly developed skill in both genres. Those commonalities -- and tons of skill -- were on display May 2 during Debashish Bhattacharya's performance at the new Blue LLama jazz club in Ann Arbor.
Indian classical music and jazz traditions are often transmitted orally. Musicians are held to a high standard of excellence. There is a tension between tradition and innovation that helps to ground the music without causing it to sound stale and boring. And in the case of Bhattacharya, who has brought the Hawaiian lap steel into the world of Indian classical music, there is a willingness to explore music beyond the traditional boundaries of style or genre.
Bloodstained Economics: "Wang Qingsong / Detroit / Beijing" at UMMA explores class conflict in China and the U.S.
Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:00pm by christopherporter
Wang Qingsong is interested in the effects of “rapid change in contemporary Chinese society.” He also sees a parallel in U.S. society, especially when it comes to the discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots, which is made clear in Wang Qingsong/Detroit/Beijing, his new exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art,
Across the Campus-verse: U-M's "Bookmarks: Speculating the Futures of the Book and Library" exhibit takes viewers on a trip
Thu, 05/02/2019 - 1:00pm by christopherporter
Mon, 04/29/2019 - 1:15pm by christopherporter
I went to the Martha Graham Dance Company's April 26 performance at the Power Center and was blown away. (The troupe also performed April 27.)