Column: Our Name In Lights

Want a free movie pass? Read on.
Coming soon to the Michigan Theater marquee

Coming soon to the Michigan Theater marquee: "The Ann Arbor Chronicle."

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.

Why is “Mr. Smith” a good fit? It’s a movie where the workings of government take center stage – regular Chronicle readers will recognize that watching government is one of our things. Then there’s the whole sleep-deprived angle. If you’ve never seen the film and have no idea what I’m talking about, now’s your chance. We’re thrilled to be sponsoring three showings of the Jimmy Stewart film, as part of Michigan Theater’s Summer Classic Film Series: On Sunday, June 28 at 1:30 p.m., and on Tuesday, June 30, at 4:30 and 7 p.m. The film’s 1939 premiere was sponsored by the National Press Club, and we don’t mind the parallel.

As part of the sponsorship, we’ll be giving away some free passes to each show. If you come to the ticket office and see us lurking outside, mention that you’re a Chronicle reader and we’ll give you a pass to the movie, until we run out. We hope to see you there.

We’ll have more giveaways later this summer at another event that we’re geeked about – the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair’s Townie Street Party. This is the fifth year the party has been held, on the Monday evening before the town is mobbed by art fair-goers. This year, it falls on July 13. The event is free, and runs from 5-9:30 p.m. on North University between Thayer and Fletcher. There’ll be live music, food vendors, fun stuff for kids – and the opportunity for you to ride a teeter totter.

The Chronicle’s table in the street party’s Townie Hall will include a raffle of gift baskets packed with swag that’s been generously donated by some of our Chronicle advertisers. (I just picked up some very cool camo caps from Fingerle Lumber yesterday.) Drop by to enter the free raffle, sign up for our weekly email list or just to say hi – we love meeting Chronicle readers in person.

Here’s a few more things we’ll be doing in the coming weeks:

Dave Askins, my partner at The Chronicle, will be speaking at the inaugural Ignite Ann Arbor event on June 30, where he’ll present an “origin story” for this publication. Two guys in Seattle started the first Ignite event in 2006, and it’s a concept that has spread (yeah, we get it – like fire). Each speaker gets five minutes and 20 slides, with each slide advancing automatically every 15 seconds. The idea is to keep things lively, and to pack each event with a broad range of speakers and topics – Tuesday’s Ignite definitely fits that description. I met the organizer, Ryan Burns, at a recent Friday Mornings @ Selma – Amy Milligan, development director for the Neutral Zone, introduced us, and it turns out NZ is hosting the event. It begins at 7 p.m. at 310 E. Washington St.

I’ll be part of a panel discussion with other journalists at the Michigan Leaders Breakfast on Thursday, July 9. Hosted by the Ann Arbor Business Review and the Washtenaw Economic Club, it’s being billed as a look at the “evolution of local media.” Evolution, devolution, revolution – I’ve heard what’s happening in the field of journalism described in all these ways, and generally not in a laudatory tone. Even though The Chronicle is in the thick of doing it – whatever it is – I waver between being intensely interested and just downright sick of navel-gazing. But if journalistic navels are to be gazed at, this is a good group to do it: Other panelists include John Hilton of the Ann Arbor Observer, Lucy Ann Lance of the Lucy Ann Lance Business Insider on WLBY-AM, Tony Dearing of and Paula Gardner of the Ann Arbor Business Review. The event runs from 7-9 a.m. at Kensington Court, 610 Hilton Blvd. and costs $30.

Also on July 9, I’ll be the speaker at the NetWorks! lunch series put on by the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce. The topic will also be local news – specifically, how The Chronicle fits into the media landscape. I’ll be describing how I think The Chronicle’s approach to local journalism makes us different from everyone else. The lunch is held at the Ann Arbor Country Club, 4699 East Loch Alpine Drive, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It costs $25 for chamber members, $35 for non-members.

About the writer: Mary Morgan is publisher of The Ann Arbor Chronicle.