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Ann Arbor Film Festival gets a critical analysis

There isn't another film festival in the U.S. - heck, North America - that's like the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Though its experiemental programming may not make it a popular event destination for mainstream filmgoers there is little doubt that it features some of the most interesting, challenging and offbeat films screened anywhere. Not surprisingly, the 52nd fest's offerings get a critical review that is, unequivocally, positive.

Excerpt:

"But just what is experimental cinema? These days, based on the selections of Ann Arbor and other festivals of its kind (such as Images, Crossroads, Migrating Forms, and Views from the Avant-Garde), it’s a combination of work that resembles “classic” avant-garde film, as in hand-processed, abstract, or structuralist 8 or 16mm film; irony-toned video art; works of editing from archive; or non-narrative nonfiction. Sometimes these types overlap, but they also don’t necessarily hang together in a cohesive way, either. What they do more or less all share is a general lack of commodifiability—and the artistry and dedication that attends this status—which is precisely why it’s crucial that those festivals, microcinemas, and local scenes continue to intervene. "

Read the rest here.
 

India-based scooter maker comes to Ann Arbor

Why did a Mumbia-based scooter company lay down roots in metro Detroit? It's that word economic development folks like to endlessly toss around: "ecosystem." As in, Michigan has the right one for their product.

Excerpt:

"The Mahindra Group — based in Mumbai, India — inaugurated its North American Technical Center in Troy on Friday. The center will develop fully engineered vehicles for Mahindra Global Automotive and will employ more than 100 engineers.

A separate manufacturing facility, Mahindra GenZe, will be located in Ann Arbor."

Read the rest here.
Here's what SPARK had to say about the company.
 

Ypsilanti band takes on infamous park defiler

In answer to the unfortunate and sordid story that made national news (seriously, there aren't more important issues for news outlets to draw our attention to?), Black Jake and The Carnies have decided to take lemons and make, er, lemonade/ Or, at least, music.

Watch and listen below.

 

Smaller cities seeing a rise in cyclists

Wouldn't it be nifty if Ann Arbor made it onto this list? Maybe we could do something about that...

Excerpt::

"The increase in bicycling so far has been mainly among men between the ages of 20 and 64, while rates of cycling by women and seniors lag far behind (cycling by children has actually declined, due to parental fears of traffic danger and stranger danger). More could be done to increase cycling among these underrepresented groups. One key measure is the installation of traffic-protected cycle tracks, which have been shown to increase cycling especially among children, seniors, and women. Cycle tracks offer direct, on-street routes while protecting cyclists from being hit by cars. "

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor student is finalist for Google Doodle scholarship

Artsy and green-minded. It's so Ann Arbor. A grade-schooler at Logan Elementary is a finalist for the Google Doodle contest and may end up on the search engine's main launch page.

Excerpt:

Hannah Hu of Logan Elementary school is one of 50 finalists in the contest to design the company's logo for a day. This year's theme is "If i could invent one thing to make the world a better place."

Read the rest here.
 

If you were an Ann Arbor bar, which would you be?

I got aut Bar. How about you?

Try the test here.
 

Why cities should pay attention to what millennials want

And what do they want? Walkability, good schools and parks, and the availability of multiple transportation options. Seems sane to us.

Excerpt:

"The first survey was released by The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America, the arm of Smart Growth America that focuses on transportation as the key element of land use.

They found that 54 percent of Millennials surveyed would consider moving to another city if it had more or better options for getting around, and 66 percent said access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weigh when deciding where to live. Nearly half of those who owned a car said they would consider giving it up if they could count on public transportation options. Up to 86 percent said it was important for their city to offer opportunities to live and work without relying on a car."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor start-up to market wearable body sensors

Imagine military uniforms that can assess the environment they're in. Or even the condition of the soldier wearing them? An Ann Arbor start-up isn't just imagining such a thing, they're developing it.

Excerpt:

"A pair of professors, one at the University of Michigan, has completed the first round of funding for PsiKick, a two-year-old start-up aiming to sell ultra-low-power chips that can be embedded in a T-shirt or other clothing, do not need a battery or wires and can run on heat, vibrations and sunlight."

Read the rest here.
 

AV Club visits Ann Arbor, pays tribute to The Stooges

The A.V. Club brings the band Protomartyr to Ann Arbor, visits where The Stooges once lived and stages a live concert at the Michigan Union Ballroom.
 
Watch the video below.
 
 

It's Veg Week in Ann Arbor


Put down that steak knife and embrace seven days of meat-free living! April 21-27 has been proclaimed as Veg Week. Paleo devotees, it's gonna be a looong week.

Excerpt:

"Over 20 local restaurants are offering special Veg Week menu items and/or discounts, offering vegetarian and vegan alternatives to support people taking the pledge or just wanting to reduce the amount of animal foods they consume."

Read the rest here.
 

Portland food and travel writer sings praises to The Ravens Club

Writer Jennifer Heigl came home to Ann Arbor too attend to family medical issues. It was a tough time. Taking a break she and her mom dropped into The Ravens Club. It was such a fabulous experience she just had to write about it.

Excerpt:

"In between hospital visits, I booked a table at The Ravens Club, a local restaurant I had kept an eye on for the last year or so. Their offerings, it seemed, rivaled those you would find in Portland or San Francisco, including a robust cocktail selection and whiskey pairing dinners. Amid the anguish, I wanted to be comforted in the ways that have become so familiar over the last few years – with food and drink and celebration of life and laughter.

It was good to be home, to wander the streets of Ann Arbor as I had for so many years during my teen years. My Mom and I made our way to The Ravens Club on South Main for dinner, settling into a back booth offering a full view of the restaurant – ‘the Godfather booth’, as nicknamed by managing partner Jeff Paquin. I ordered a variety of things off the menu, to get a full taste of the plates presented."

Read the rest here.
 

Ypsilanti's untold Native American past

Local blogger Mark Maynard has a fascinating interview with local historian Matthew Siegfried about Ypsilanti's indigenous past and the burial site found on the city's Water Street property. 

Excerpt:

"It’s important to emphasize that these groups had, and made, their own history. We know, for instance, that smallpox decimated the local Potawatomie villages 1752. And, in 1787, the disease struck the Wyandot villages. And another epidemic in 1813 further weakened an already hard hit population.

And the groups around Ypsilanti would have been active in the defining events of that era. They debated how to use the rivalries between the French, English, and later Americans, to protect and further their own interests. The Wyandot were particularly divided over these questions."

Read the rest here. It's pretty amazing stuff.
 

Ann Arbor has one of the best Jewish delis in the U.S.

Read the headline. Can you guess who they're talking about? Yup, Zingerman's gets yet more love.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In Ann Arbor, Mich., crowds have been flocking to Zingerman's Deli, opened by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in a historic building near the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market in 1982. The deli's widespread sandwich menu might seem overwhelming to new visitors, but also encourages guests to sample the products before purchasing - it even allows a sampling of its $200 olive oil. All of its bread is homemade in its bakery, creating a freshness for its sandwiches that is hard to beat."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ypsilanti Library gets graphic novel grant

You know grpahic novels (aka comic books) are finally being accepted as valid works of art when libraries get grants to start offering them.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Ypsilanti District Library announced Thursday that it was one of two libraries in the nation to receive a $7,000 grant to increase its selection of graphic novels on the shelves.
 
The district was awarded the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Award from Eisner’s family foundation."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

State earmarks $6.6M to seed tech startups

The state plans to invest a whole lot of simoleans in up and coming tech firms, seeding Michigan's entrepreneurial ground with promising startups.
 
Excerpt:
 
"As with the state’s first Pre-Seed Fund, which is fully invested and managed by Ann Arbor SPARK, the money for the fund announced today has been allocated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Paula Sorrell, the MEDC’s vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, will take a seat on Invest Michigan’s board along with Martin Dober, a former MEDC exec and current vice president of business development at Invest Detroit; Mark Bennett, an attorney and serial entrepreneur; Marianne Fey, an advertising executive, entrepreneur, and angel investor; and David Gregorka, a partner with Baird Capital in Ann Arbor and advisor on technology transfer to state universities."
 
Read the rest here.
 
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