2009 March

Ague in Ann Arbor

Don’t go to Michigan, land of ills;The name means ague, fever, and chills.-Popular nineteenth-century sayingIn September 1824 a twenty-year-old Irish immigrant, Walter Oakman, bought 123 acres of land near Ypsilanti....

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Special Delivery

Every neighborhood in America has a mail carrier, and Ann Arbor’s are no exception. Six days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, carriers fan out from the city’s three post offices to walk or drive its 137 delivery...

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Sandy Rupp’s Challenge

“My heart just went to my toes,” says Sandy Rupp. The date was January 22, 2007, and she’d gotten word that Pfizer was closing its Ann Arbor labs. The year before, the pharmaceutical giant and its 2,100...

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Farewell to Kitchen Port

The late activist attorney Art Carpenter came up with the idea of Kitchen Port forty years ago, when he and a bunch of his friends got tired of going to New York and Chicago to buy high-end cookware. It worked well for a long...

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Tech toys, gold, and red hots

In January Ben Falk opened Beagle Brain in the spot Ana Banana recently vacated in Nickels Arcade. Falk, one of those lithe, T-shirted, deceptively youthful-looking (he’s thirty-seven) technogeeks, thinks of it as...

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Circuit City closes

Circuit City closed its Arborland store in March. The company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November but announced in January that it was unable to work things out with its creditors and would be closing all stores.Chris...

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Hoffmann returns

Matthew Hoffmann presses one of his designs into the hands of a customer with such intensity that if you didn’t know he was a jeweler showing his wares, you might mistake him for the kind of nineteenth-century seducer who...

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Buzz Saw

“Attention please: the Ann Arbor News is closing.” Sales rep Vikki Enos, first with the buzz as usual, announced the news over the Observer intercom at 9:55 Monday morning. I discarded the email message I’d...

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The Art of Obsession

What if you woke up one morning and realized that you couldn’t stop noticing red pants? You notice them everywhere–that bag lady’s sweats, that kid’s corduroys, that girl’s tight jeans–red...

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Cappuccino attack

The new McDonald’s that opened on Washtenaw—replacing Boston Market—is not your mama’s McDonald’s, or your toddler’s either. Outside, it’s the familiar golden arches—but inside, the booths are...

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Bottoms Up?

The Washtenaw County Home Builders Association has lost about 10 percent of its membership since the real estate bubble burst. “Some felt it was a good time for retirement,” says CEOMaureen Sloan. “Some left...

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Paul Thorn

One of former Ark program director Dave Siglin’s great legacies is the group of strong, often outrageous roots music personalities he brought to the club—a group seldom seen at most other folk and acoustic music venues...

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International Neighbors at 50

“What has surprised you most about life in Ann Arbor?” I ask the women gathered in a small, drab classroom on North Campus.”The man next door mowed his lawn without his shirt!” exclaims a young Japanese...

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The Life of Galileo

Bertolt Brecht wrote The Life of Galileo between 1937 and 1939 as a response to Nazi censorship and manipulation of the work of scientists and artists. Among numerous other examples, the Nazis dismissed Einstein’s...

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Herman Bock, Decorator

Last summer, Deb Adamic was cleaning the ceiling of the U-M Law Library’s reading room when she spotted a cubby­hole where the ceiling beams meet the wall. Reaching in, Adamic felt something loose and pulled out a grimy...

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Quick Bites: Maru

The late adolescent male is a marvel of nature, with a hypercharged appetite and the metabolism to go with it. One Saturday afternoon at Maru, the new Korean place on East William, we watched in awe as a quartet of athletic...

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No offense, Fritz

Thirty years ago this fall, the U-M celebrated the 100th anniversary of its football program. In February an eBay auction offered an original ticket to the kickoff of the centennial festivities, held September 8, 1979, in...

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Pets Welcome

A lost dog found shelter at Motte & Bailey, Booksellers.”We had the door open on a warm day, and a dog without a leash wandered into the store,” recalls co-owner Gene Alloway. “He ended up curled up under...

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The Return of the Pastel Poet

OMG, he’s back! Poet/musician Rod McKuen, heartthrob of my vanished sixteen-year-old self, will be performing at First United Methodist Church on April 3 as part of its Green Wood Coffee House Series. And though he’s...

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Instant Success

On a Friday night in January, the young crowd at Blue Tractor stood three deep at the bar, their puffy down coats bulking up an already beefy mob and presenting something of an obstacle to the newcomer. But on closer...

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