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Elvisfest

With the twenty-fifth anniversary of Elvis Presley's death fast approaching, opportunities to commemorate in style seem limitless. You could don a Priscilla-style black wig and light a gigantic bust-of-Elvis candle; get...

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Kim Richey

Kim Richey grew up in southwestern Ohio, right on the line dividing rock-speaking from country-speaking lands, and her musical career has turned on intriguing tensions between the two styles. In concert she's dispassionate,...

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Love Lies Dreaming

I've seen the local pop band Love Lies Dreaming only twice: once in a quiet, living-room-like setting in the basement of the Michigan League on a wintry Saturday night in front of a couple dozen friends, and once at Leopold...

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

In the depths of Depression-era Mississippi, three convicts escape from their work farm and begin a race against time to reach buried treasure. Hair-obsessed, quick-tongued Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), ill-tempered,...

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Life on a String

Once upon a time, an artist mom sewed three hand puppets representing her son and two daughters. When one daughter turned fourteen, she took a local rec department class in puppetry. She gleefully holds up her puppet in a grainy...

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Y’All

God, I love this country. The burgeoning popularity of the gay, old-timey duo Y'All gives hope to a weary world. Y'All is James Dean Jay Byrd (his real name) and Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer — partners in life, love, and...

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FUBAR

On a visit to Ireland's remote Dingle Peninsula years ago, my wife and I got wind of a music session at a local pub. In a back room, local musicians — mostly farmers — gathered with townsfolk, friends, and...

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Wet-N-Wild Wednesdays

There was a time, say about ten or eleven years ago, when any utterance of the word "pool" was met with riotous, schnauzerlike hysteria on the part of my male child. And it was with this in mind that I suggested to my...

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Jerry Douglas

The Dobro is the instrument that put the twang in country music, but it is much more besides. It was the 1928 creation (and contracted namesake) of the Czech American Dopyera brothers, who placed a steel disc over the sound hole...

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Summer chamber music

Isn’t it grand that somebody still performs hard-core classical music in Ann Arbor in the summer? Sure, there’s Marilyn Mason’s organ recital series during the Summer Festival, and this year there are a couple...

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Weddings of Yore

Since Victorian-era ladies could not in all decency approach men, they used their fans to broadcast coded messages. According to the Museum on Main Street's Weddings of Yore exhibit, frenzied fanning meant that one was...

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Scott Weidensaul

Scott Weidensaul is a nature writer, but beyond that, he defies categorization. His books are informed by a personal voice, yet they also offer explanations for lay audiences of scientific — particularly ornithological...

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The Fullerenes

They describe their style as "geek rock." And one look at the five members of the Fullerenes confirms their geek status. At a recent show in Eastpointe, three wore glasses, all wore ties, and everyone looked too smart...

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Neko Case

One morning Neko Case jumped out of my clock radio and woke me up with her song "Mood to Burn Bridges," hinting at the punk rocker she once was with angry tempo changes, channeling righteous rage at gossipy enemies...

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Shahida Nurullah

Jazz singers are normally not my beat. When it comes to singers, I prefer classical, blues, and folk warblers. I do have some favorites, however, and among them is Detroit's magnificent Shahida Nurullah. I first heard her...

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Pinmonkey

The buzz in Nashville is that Pinmonkey may be the first country act from the alternative side to break through to the mainstream. Of course, the reason may be that they're not really all that alternative, despite the name....

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Born Yesterday

Born Yesterday is one of the Purple Rose's rare forays into producing plays by dead guys. Though the program notes call it a "classic," unless you're a real buff you've probably never heard of it. It opened...

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Tamim Ansary

On September 12, 2001, Tamim Ansary, a freelance writer and editor from San Francisco, sent an e-mail message to the people in his electronic address book. An Afghan American, Ansary felt the need to separate his people from the...

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