Happened to sit in a seat at the Michigan Theater with an “Ann Arbor News Critic’s Seat” plaque on the armrest. Did not know about this designation. Looks like there are at least three. Best seats in the house? [photo]
Russ Collins, executive director of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, has been named to Indiewire’s 2013 inaugural list of “influencers” in the independent film industry. Collins has led Art House Convergence, an annual conference of art house owners, for six years. From an Indiewire interview with Collins: “Coming together for movies in a social context happens because we’re social creatures. It’s a profound psychological experience, and just like there’s a different impact listening to a musician in real life, so it is with film.” [Source]
Bonnie Bona insists that the best way to make pesto is with a mortar and pestle. While she admits the method is more labor-intensive than using a food processor, Bona cites it as yet another tip to become more eco-friendly.
As a project manager for the Ypsilanti-based Clean Energy Coalition, Bona specializes in this art of saving energy. She is quick to add, however, that “my goal isn’t to make people sacrifice and suffer. It’s to make them see opportunities where life can be better and, oh, by the way, it uses a lot less energy.”
But it’s not just about using less energy. Bona and others in the Ann Arbor area are involved with projects that focus on generating alternative energy, too – in particular, solar power. Prompted in part by the lure of tax credits and available state and federal funding, an increasing number of efforts are underway to install solar panels on individual residences, businesses, nonprofits and schools – including, as one recent example, the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor.
And in mid-August, the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission unanimously approved two solar installation projects in historic districts, one for a private home on South Seventh Street, and another at the Michigan Theater. With some citing concern over aesthetics, commissioners acknowledged that they’ll likely see more of these requests in the future, and discussed the need to develop guidelines for solar installations within the city’s historic districts.
Giddy doesn’t begin to describe the first time I saw my byline in a newspaper – slobberingly gaga comes closer – and I’m anticipating a similar can’t-help-grinning-stupidly jolt when The Chronicle’s name goes up on the Michigan Theater marquee on Sunday.
As our publication grows, we’re looking for ways to let people know what we do. And we’re looking to do that in ways that make sense for us. For example, you probably won’t see us putting flyers on car windshields in the Walmart parking lot – unless, perhaps, we’re doing it as performance art. What’s more our speed? An ad in the program for Burns Park Players’ “Annie Get Your Gun” in February. I was pretty gaga over that, too.
But when I met with the Michigan Theater’s Lee Berry a few weeks ago over breakfast at the Broken Egg and he told me about the possibility of sponsoring the 1939 classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” – well, the fit seemed just about perfect.
Since 1995, Brian Woolridge has been dancing in downtown Ann Arbor. But soon, he might pack up his boom box and bags of Michael Jackson CDs and leave the town and the state after 14 years of regularly performing his King-of-Pop moves here.
Ann Arbor residents might know Woolridge as “the Michael Jackson guy.” He’s the one moonwalking in the alley on Liberty Street near the Michigan Theater on weekends. People strolling by wave to him as he spins and slides, Jackson’s vocals echoing against the alley’s graffiti-splashed walls and out onto the street.
But his life isn’t all dance. Woolridge lost his job in September, and he says he hasn’t had much luck looking for work. He’s not sure about his plans for the future, but they may involve leaving Michigan.
Marty Stano, director of the film “Taffy, Cigarettes,” called The Chronicle a couple of weeks ago – he wanted to know if we’d be interested seeing a screener DVD of the 12.5-minute effort in advance of its premiere on Sunday, April 5 at the Michigan Theater.
The name “Stano” sounded familiar. I’d seen it somewhere. Ah yes, I’d edited a piece for The Chronicle on the 2009 Millers Creek Film Festival – Stano won an award for his “Runoff Lemonade.”
So, sure, I’ll look at a screener DVD from an award-winning director.
It’s not an image you see on the big screen every day: Close-up shots of dogs pooping, and then of their turds being plopped into an otherwise clear glass of water.
Funny, memorable and making a point – this is what happens (albeit less graphically) when you don’t pick up your dog’s excrement and it finds its way into the Huron River watershed. And by making the point this way, Nani Wolf, a fifth grader at Emerson School, won an award at the 2009 Millers Creek Film Festival.
About 350 people gathered on Friday afternoon, March 13, to see the festival entries at the Michigan Theater. (If you missed it, the winners will eventually be posted on YouTube. Here’s a link to last year’s winners.)
The event, now in its fourth year, is a way for the nonprofit Huron River Watershed Council to promote the importance of stewardship to the river and its tributaries, including Millers Creek. The festival’s three categories are short films (less than five minutes) from adult filmmakers, short films from school-age filmmakers, and 30-second public service announcements.
The alley next to Michigan Theater transformed pretty quickly over the summer from a colorful, artistically-coherent mural to a colorful collage of random graffiti – prompting Mr. Limpet to ask, “Where’s the Art?”
In early July, someone painted a swath of white over part of the mural called “Infinite Possibilities,” which had been created there in 1999. The Ann Arbor News ran an article about the incident, interviewing the artist, Katherine Tombeau Cost, who now lives in New Orleans. She said it had taken her five months to complete, but she wasn’t ticked off by the graffiti: “The thing about public art it is an exercise in letting go. You put it out there and you know it is not forever. I have to remind myself this isn’t my family room. That is the element of public art. It will be great and it will be gone.”
And now it’s really gone.