07. 15. 11. 10:13 am ♥ 4

Day 21: The End (Part 2)

        After returning from four days on the road with my dad, I can safely compare the Ann Arbor Summer Festival to a 21-day road trip.  On my road trip I visited different attractions, ate in new restaurants, sprung up conversation with interesting folks along the way and had to be flexible when the weather went sour.  Each and everyone one of these road trip characteristics I found to be part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival as well. Looking back:
1) Visiting different attractions: I got to experience Amococo, the awe-inspiring Luminarium, the rock wall in Ingalls Mall and the Tom Tom Crew circus performance to name a few.
2) Eating in new restaurants: Frita Batidos and Sweetwaters were new additions to my favorite Ann Arbor restaurants list.  Frita Batidos managed to get me hooked with their “Best Snack Ever,” which I would top off with Sweetwaters frozen lemonade.
3) Meeting people: To say I met interesting people along the way does not cut it.  One retreat instructor I met had waited on Joni Mitchell at the Ann Arbor favorite, The Gandy Dancer.  Furthermore, the Amococo experts had traveled all over the world with the exhibit, bringing with them unbelievable stories to share with Hermés and I (Listen to the Amococo recording with Jayne for more stories).
4) Weather flexibility was always key and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival knew just how to do it. When a massive storm came in a canceled the final performance of Strange Fruit, the festival created an impromptu concert tent, where Thornetta Davis rocked the summer festival.
            I hope all of you enjoyed our 21-day road trip as much as Hermés and I did and thank you for following our blog.  See you next summer!



07. 13. 11. 08:08 pm

Day 21: The End

          Well, here we are…finally at the end of the Festival. And what a fantastic season it’s been! I can’t even begin to explain what an amazing experience Maya and I had interning with the AASF (though I’m sure she’ll send a last goodbye post herself once she finishes her fabulous road trip!) and how sad we are to see it end. From our first day on the Rock Wall to our last night watching Footloose, I think I can safely say this will be a summer Maya and I will never forget. And what better way to sound off on the festival than an interview with our boss, the head of the festival himself? We caught up with Robb Wolfe on the very last night to give him our thank-you’s and hear just what he thought of this season’s run. Without him, the Festival would quite literally cease to be how it really is…an unbelievably amazing experience for everyone. So come one, come all again next year….and maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of Maya and I strolling around Top of the Park!

Wishing an absolutely wonderful rest of the summer to you all,


07. 10. 11. 07:10 pm

Q & A with Architects of Air expert James Stevenson

Q: I was wondering what’s the time frame from when you have the concept to when you have the finished product? A: We’d normally allow probably a six month period for the whole process from the design work through to the first exhibition. The actual building will take three months of quite intense work and that’s with a team of 6 to 7 people working a five day week. There will probably be another couple of months of refining certain parts and remaking certain bits that haven’t worked out. The design work, I’m not quite sure how Allen spends thinking about the designs before he puts them to paper, but he’ll probably start a month or two before we start the building process. Although the design is also progressive throughout the building. They sort of relate to each other. Q: I was wondering what you do with the sculptures after you use them A: The sculptures last about four years on average before the glue will either give way or the plastic has damage or they get too many wholes and its not worth patching up anymore. Occasionally, we replace whole sections of the plastic. There have been times when we’ve used the kind of plastic that hasn’t worked out very well and it’s cracked in the cold or the glue has failed in the heat and we’ll replace a lot of the plastic that’s failed. But once they’re finished they get chopped up and recycled. I think they get made into the wheelie bins that people put their trash in.
07. 10. 11. 07:07 pm ♥ 1

Day 19:

            It seems like ages ago that Amococo was up and running, wowing people with its winding tunnels and glowing colors. Luckily, Hermés and I are here to bubble up some nostalgic feelings for those of you who made it into the exhibit (or bubble up some anger for those of you who waited in line for hours only to be turned away).  We have here for you a recording of the talk given by James Stevenson, one of the exhibition experts, on the creation of Amococo.  So even if you were one of the unlucky ones to miss the exhibit itself, be sure not to miss another exciting Amococo related talk posted here. 


07. 10. 11. 03:15 pm

Day 18

           Tonight marked the first of two shows by the incredible, acrobatic hip-hop act called the “Tom Tom Crew” straight out of Australia. Maya and I, of course, were quick to get tickets once we heard about the amazing international circus act and their ability to amaze people of all ages.
            The show began with a very boisterous, exciting introduction by Ben, the crew’s “leader” so to speak and drummer extraordinaire. As he drummed on covered trashcans and all sorts of objects, the team’s group of five acrobats jumped and flipped and soared through the air over and across Ben, enticing the crowd with their infectious energy. At this point, I was absolutely sure there was nothing else the group could do to shock or wow me more than they already had—and then out walked Tom Thumb.
            A walking, one-man orchestra, Tom Thumb entered the stage beat boxing a hip-hop rhythm, until he switched it up by making scratching noises (which sounded more realistic than the actual turntable behind him) and other instrumental sounds and beats that could rival any of the world’s greatest hip-hop groups.
Shortly after Tom Thumb amazed the crowd, the acrobats took it to an entirely new level, first with the incredible contortionist abilities of one man, followed by the aerial stunts of two others, hanging from two ropes on the ceiling.
Even though Ben experienced some slight difficulties with his hilarious, bizarre 1980s “electric harp,” the show managed to keep its electrifying energy and pace by bringing Tom Thumb back out for an unbelievable rendition of Billie Jean (and some other Michael Jackson favorites) which he both beat boxed and sang—at the same time.
The show finally ended with some incredible acrobatic stunts including a hand-made seesaw that catapulted each man in the air for a different flip, twist, or move, sometimes even ending with a landing on top of someone else’s shoulders. The crowd roared and cheered as the show came to a close, each man bowing and taking a breath after one of the most unbelievable acts I’ve ever seen in my life.
           Maya and I hoped to catch them on their way out to tell them what we thought of the show and congratulate them on drawing the second largest crowd of the festival (next to Steve Martin’s sold out concert) but unfortunately we ended up missing them as they were rather exhausted (understandably) and decided to catch a breather and watch the movie on the lawn at TOP!
            Since flash photography and video were strictly prohibited so as not to distract any of the acrobats, we’ve posted the group’s promo for their traveling show this season for you all to enjoy!


07. 08. 11. 12:13 pm

Interview with Barry Larou

07. 08. 11. 12:08 pm
It was already vibrant during the school year, and the summer- other than the Art Fair- was kind of dead, so we just thought it’d be nice to have something to bring people together in Ann Arbor, for, you know, like a three week period in the summer.
Barry Larou
07. 06. 11. 06:56 pm

Day 15 at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival 

07. 13. 11. 08:18 pm ♥ 5

Title: AASF Interview with Robb

Our final interview with the executive director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Robb Woulfe

07. 10. 11. 07:15 pm

Day 20:

            The retreat days are winding down (tear). The second to last retreat session was done by yogi, Jo Horn of A2 Yoga.  Yoga has by far been the most popular of the retreat sessions bringing in upwards of 50 retreaters each time.  Jo decided to be democratic and let the festival goers decide where they wanted to escape to during the retreat session, so we moved the session around a bit on Rackham lawn.  The session ended with Jo having everyone go into deep relaxation by moving their mats into the sun and lying on their backs, completely still.  It was clear many of the retreaters were practicing yogis as I was impressed to see many of the participants doing head stands. 
            After finishing my retreat duties, I returned to the festival much later (with my dad!) to watch the formerly known Ann Arbor-based band, My Dear Disco, now known as Ella Riot. While I’m sure many of you are wondering where the name Ella Riot came from, I am here to provide you with answers.  ‘Ella’ came from Ella Fitzgerald, the first lady of song, and riot describes the atmosphere of their performances.
             And riot it was.  The Ann Arbor crowd at the festival was one of the most vibrant yet, with a massive group of dancers standing in the section between the stage and the chairs jumping, bumping and grooving.  Brightly lit up on the stage, the members of Ella Riot created huge shadows on Rackham Auditorium, which were impressive to watch against the rainbow lights projected onto the building. 
           As Ella Riot advertised their newest CD, Love Child, in between songs, I watched as festival goers ran over to Top Shop to purchase some of their earlier discography.  To say the least, Ella Riot definitely brought (positive) riot and chaos to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. 


07. 10. 11. 07:08 pm
The nature of inflatable architecture is very geometric. It has to be geometric and everything has to be rounded because everything rounds out when you inflate it. There are a lot of natural forms used in there and obviously natural forms have their basis in geometry
–James Stevenson, Architects of Air
07. 10. 11. 03:16 pm ♥ 3

Tom Tom Crew’s Promo

07. 08. 11. 12:31 pm ♥ 1

Day 17: The Perfect Date Night

My theory for the perfect date night: An outdoor screening of An American in Paris
Where: The Ann Arbor Summer Festival on Ingalls Mall
When: 10 p.m
What to bring: Blankets, pillows, popcorn (oh no wait, it’s available at the Sugar Shack), and your date.  (For flair you can add a baguette, cheese and wine for an extra Parisian punch).

            Hermés and I decided to test out my theory and head to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival for one of the final film screenings of the summer.  Equipped with all the necessary items listed above (we swapped the bread and cheese for home popped kettle corn in honor of the American part of An American in Paris) and we set out to have the perfect un-romantic romantic date night.   
            In a flashback to the 1950s, An American in Paris captures the innocent romance so typical of the 1950s film industry.  While the Parisian accents and scenery may not have come off as authentic in the film, the city of Paris just knows a thing or two about romance that Americans can’t seem to grasp.  Sitting all around us were couples attached at the hip, silently enjoying each other’s company as they watched this classic film. While our short lived Parisian evening ended quickly, we came to the verdict that our original theory was in fact proven correctly, it was the perfect date night. 
            If you’ve never seen An American in Paris, watch it. If you’ve never been to an outdoor film screening, do it. If you have done both, here are other old films (some with Gene Kelley and some without) that I recommend:

1)  A Philadelphia Story (1940)
2) Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
3) Some Like It Hot (1959)


07. 08. 11. 12:11 pm

Day 16

     So today actually ended up being a nice day off for Maya and I, spent mostly recuperating from our relaxing cookout for the Fourth of July! However, our conversation from a few days prior with Barry Larou provided extremely interesting, especially considering his extensive background with both the Summer Festival and the Power Center since it began in the early Eighties. Referencing the forming of the Constitution, Barry discussed how the Festival began as very separate shows, from the Power Center to Top of the Park and more. However, once the leaders of these venues (Larou included) began to realize this, they discovered the experiences could be presented in a much more cohesive way—and thus, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival was born. Listen on for the rest of our interview as he describes more about the original mainstage shows of the Festival and how he came to work with the Festival over the last 20 years.


07. 06. 11. 07:31 pm ♥ 2

Belly dancing tutorial? Ann Arbor Summer Festival Retreat 2011