In just two days, school lets out — and the 30th annual Ann Arbor Summer Festival kicks off!
I’ve been waiting for this upcoming Festival’s opening night for an ENTIRE YEAR. And it’s not just because I love the Festival. Last season had some amazing moments (of which I’ve got photographic proof), but something — er, someone — huge was missing. Max was at sleep-away camp and missed most of the Festival. I’m sure you can appreciate that this left me feeling somewhat dazed. And while Max loved every stinkin’ nanosecond of camp, he also missed the action on Ingalls Mall. Thankfully, his camp offers a 2nd session which starts after the Festival ends, and that’s what he (not coincidentally, I can assure you) chose to sign up for this summer. I suspect there’ll come a day too soon when everything won’t work out quite this tidily, so I’m going to savor watching my curious and excited 10-year-old relish all the amazing music, activities, and friends he’ll encounter this season.
In a few days, with the assistance of Paragon Display Group, I’ll be putting up my 6th annual exhibit of Festival photographs. (Special thanks as well to Dianne Widzinski for her support and assistance at the Power Center.) Rico came up with the super-sweet name: VI.VA (vi for sixth, and va for go; plus, you know, “Viva!”).
The VI.VA exhibit is viewable anytime the Power Center lobby is open for Mainstage performances, including:
- Tuesday, June 18 (7-10pm)
- Wednesday, June 19 (7-10pm)
- Saturday, June 22 (7-10pm)
- Sunday, June 23 (4-7pm)
- Tuesday, June 25 (7-10pm)
- Saturday, June 29 (7-10pm)
- Sunday, June 30 (4-7pm)
- Tuesday, July 2 (7-10pm)
- Thursday, July 4 (4-10pm)
- Friday, July 5 (7-10pm)
- Saturday, July 6 (7-10pm)
Turning my lens to the 2013 Festival program…
My batteries — the ones in me and the ones in my camera — are fully charged and ready for this milestone season. Festival executive director Robb Woulfe and Amy Nesbitt have truly outdone themselves this year. The lineup, which seems to be even meatier than usual, makes me feel like a kid in an exotic candy store. I’m looking forward to experiencing totally new (to me) artists, and getting reacquainted with longstanding favorites.
As an incoming 5th grader, Max feels he’s now too old for Body Masterpiece. His musical tastes are also maturing, and he’s excited to check out the smorgasboard of sounds the Festival serves up. But only until sundown. He’s still an early-to-bed kinda guy, and likes to hit the hay close to 9-9:30pm. So he’ll miss Superhero, the Third Coast Kings (one of his all-time favorite acts!), and the entire blockbuster movie line-up.
Even though he’s between little kid stuff and big kid stuff, we still managed to fill his regular dance card TWICE over. It could have easily included more than 20 items actually, and I’m braced for that happening next year.
A closer look at some of the Mainstage events we’ll be checking out:
- Django Django
- Tuesday, June 18 (8pm)
As someone who attended art school in the ’80s and was born in the ’60s, I figured that I really had to check out these “former art-school students [who] combine ’80s pop rhythms with ’60s Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies, a style that some have labeled folktronica.”
- Preservation Hall Jazz Band with The New Orleans Bingo! Show
- Wednesday, June 19 (8pm)
Great music and vaudevillian antics. We’re so there!
- Les 7 doigts de la main (7 Fingers)
- Sunday, June 23 (5pm)
As I said last year: “Max fancies himself an urban circus artist and never passes up the chance to watch his brothers-in-arms in action.”
- Snap Judgment
- Saturday, June 29 (8pm)
Max is really drawn to the NPR broadcasts of this show — maybe its Glynn Washington’s voice or cadence, or maybe it’s the backing beats. But whatever it is, the stories really stick in his mind. And he’ll ask about them weeks later, apropos of (apparently) nothing.
- The Intergalactic Nemesis
- Sunday, June 30 (5pm)
“The Intergalactic Nemesis is a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience that mashes up sci-fi radio drama with comic books.” Nuff said.
- Amadou & Mariam
- Tuesday, July 2 (8pm)
We’ll be soaking up the “magical fusion of Malian blues, rock, pop, and traditional West African music [which] has won them fans around the world.”