Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: see Lesley Stahl, author Steve Hamilton, Picnic Pops and more

stahlThe Ark has numerous sold out shows this week – Sam Beam (a/k/a Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop on Tuesday; former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf on Thursday and Friday; and Martin Sexton on Saturday night – but even if you’re not lucky enough to have tickets to these shows, there’s still plenty to do around town.

Lesley Stahl talks about her book, ”Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.” Veteran “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl discusses her new book, a blend of memoir and investigative reporting. Signing. (I’ll be covering this event for Pulp, so watch for my write-up in the coming days.) Monday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. Free.

Bestselling author Steve Hamilton discusses “The Second Life of Nick Mason.” Presented by the Ann Arbor District Library and Aunt Agatha’s. Hopwood Award-winning U-M grad Steve Hamilton, a two-time Edgar Award-winning veteran mystery writer, will discuss his new book, a noir thriller set in Chicago about a man recently released from prison. Signing. (Check out my Detroit Free Press story on Hamilton here. The new book’s a true page-turner!) Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m. in the AADL multipurpose room, 343 S. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Free.

“RiffTrax Live: Time Chasers.” Rebroadcast of a “riffing” performance by former “Mystery Science Theater 3000” stars Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, who aim their comic heckling at a screening of David Giancola’s 1994 sci-fi cult classic about a man who turns his airplane into a time machine and woos the woman of his dreams. Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Rave, at 4100 Carpenter in Ypsilanti, and Quality 16, at 3686 Jackson in Ann Arbor. Tickets $14, available in advance at

The Moth Storyslam. Monthly open mike storytelling competition sponsored by The Moth, the NYC-based nonprofit storytelling organization that also produces a weekly public radio show. Each month, 10 storytellers are selected at random from among those who sign up to tell a 3-5 minute story on the monthly theme. The 3 judges are recruited from the audience. Monthly winners compete in a semiannual Grand Slam. Space is limited, so plan to arrive early. Tuesday’s theme is “Escape.” Tuesday from 7:30-9 p.m. (doors open and sign-up begins at 6 p.m.), The Circus, 210 S. First in Ann Arbor. $10.

Young People’s Theater’s production of “Disney’s Tarzan: The Musical.” Caroline Huntoon directs young local actors in Phil Collins and David Henry Hwang’s musical, based on the 1999 film, an animated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1914 novel about a man raised by gorillas who falls in love with a young English naturalist whose entourage plans to kill the gorillas. The popular score includes “You’ll Be in My Heart,” “Two Worlds,” “Strangers Like Me,” and others. Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 North University in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15 (seniors age 65 & over and youth age 18 & under, $10), available in advance at

Authors gather for “A Made in Michigan Discussion” at Literati Bookstore. Michigan writers Michael Byers, Peter Ho Davies, Michael Delp, Thomas Lynch, and Gloria Whelan read from their stories, collected in “Bob Seger’s House and Other Stories,” a new short fiction anthology in Wayne State’s Made in Michigan Writers Series. Signing. Friday at 7 p.m. at Literati, 124 E. Washington in Ann Arbor. Free.

“Katherine” opens at Theatre Nova. David Wolber directs the world premiere of Royal Oak-based veteran playwright Kim Carney’s one-woman show, a series of interconnected tragicomic monologues that follows 5 generations of mothers and daughters, from 1905 rural Georgia to 2017 suburban Detroit, as each faces her own personal crisis. Stars Melissa Beckwith, and Friday marks the show’s opening night. (I’ll be there to review the show for, so look for my review!) Performances for the rest of the run happen Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., through June 12, at The Yellow Barn, 416 W. Huron in Ann Arbor. Tickets (if available) are $20 or pay what you can afford, in advance at and at the door. Members ($75 annual donation) receive priority access to all shows. 

“From Ragtime to Rock ‘n’ Roll” at Kerrytown Concert House. Showcase of area pianists who are known for their chops in traditional jazz performance, ragtime, blues, boogie-woogie, stride, and 50s rock music. The program includes piano-driven American pop from the turn of the 20th century to the 1950s. Musicians include Dave Bennett, Jon Milan, Kerry Price, and Matthew Ball. Friday at 8 p.m. at KCH, 415 N. Fourth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15-$30 (students, $5), and reservations are recommended. Visit or call 734-769-2999.

Pat Donohue at Green Wood Coffee House Series. Acclaimed as a “major artist in contemporary acoustic music” by Frets magazine, Donahue is a fingerpicking guitar virtuoso known for the technical perfection and interpretive tact he brings to blues, country, jazz, and swing idioms. Donahue has a strong, sweet voice and is an engagingly unpretentious performer. A local favorite ever since he stole the show at the 1991 Ann Arbor Folk Festival, he’s also a member of the Guys All Star Shoe Band, the of the Prairie Home Companion house band. Friday at 8 p.m. at FUMC Green Wood Church, 1001 Green Rd. at Glazier Way in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15 (kids age 10 & under, 2 for 1), available in advance at

37th Annual Walk & Wag & Run. A Huron Valley Humane Society Benefit. About 300 local dogs usually attend this fundraising 1-mile walk and dog activity and game fest. Also, a 5-km run, a fun run, kids’ activities, a “Best Pet Trick” contest, raffle, giveaways, and more. Food available. Dogs must be good with other dogs and people, not in heat, and on a non-retractable leash. Saturday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at Rolling Hills County Park, 7660 Stony Creek Rd. between Merritt & Bemis rds., east of Carpenter, in Ypsilanti. $30 (walk) or $50 (run) registration fee. Registration required at

Picnic Pops at Pioneer High School. An all-day outdoor musical bonanza of performances by local middle and high school bands and orchestras. Cakewalk, carnival games, prizes. Hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, and ice cream available. Rain or shine. Limited seating provided; bring something to sit on if you wish. Saturday from 10 a.m.-5:45 p.m. at PHS, 601 W. Stadium at S. Main in Ann Arbor. Free admission.

Measure for Measure’s 28th Annual Spring Concert. Steve Lorenz conducts this lively 90-member local men’s chorus in 20th-century Americana works by Copeland, Hogan, Lauridsen, and Parker. Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15 (students & seniors, $12).

Pioneer High School Theater Guild’s student productions. Pioneer High School students perform several of their original short plays, written under the mentorship of local playwright Joseph Zettelmaier. Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Pioneer High School’s Little Theater, 601 W. Stadium at Main in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $7.

29th Annual Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival. Big display of around 400 of every sort of VW imaginable, from originals and race cars to dune buggies and trikes. Also, a large swap meet. Rain or shine. Nonperishable food donations accepted for SOS Community Services. (This event is preceded on Saturday, May 21 by a “Slow Speed Slalom” timed course for drivers at Willow Run Airport, and a concert in Riverside Park by the Waterford-based psychedelic rock tribute band Magic Bus at 4 p.m.) Sunday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. $5 admission. Car entry fee: $12 in advance; $15 at the gate.

38th Annual Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair. One of the country’s top regional antiquarian fairs. Up to 40 dealers (including many new this year) from 12 states offering manuscripts, vintage photos and prints, antique maps, and a wide array of old, rare, curious, and fine books, including first editions, lots of collectible children’s books, fine leather bindings, modern poetry, Michigan history, travel & exploration, illustrated books, photography, antique maps, cookbooks, and more. Also, representatives of one of Michigan’s finest bookbinders exhibits its handiwork and answer questions about book preservation and restoration. Admission charge benefits the U-M Clements Library. Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Michigan Union Ballroom, 530 S. State St. in Ann Arbor. $5 donation. For more info, visit

Washtenaw Community Concert Band’s “A Portrait of Sousa.” This popular 80-piece ensemble performs a Sousa-style concert, with guest conductor Marcus Neiman in character as “The March King.” The program also includes works by classical composers and popular 19th-century composers. Preceded at 1:15 p.m. by a lecture on the program by Neiman. Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. Free. Reservations available at


2 thoughts on “Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: see Lesley Stahl, author Steve Hamilton, Picnic Pops and more

  1. While I am delighted you covered Steve Hamilton’s appearance at the library, I wonder why Aunt Agatha’s was not mentioned as the sponsor of the event. If not for Aunt Agatha’s and our friendship with Hamilton, he would not be kicking off his book tour here in Ann Arbor. He has been loyal to us in every way possible and we are delighted to be hosting him again, as we have for every book he has published. Neal Rubin at the Detroit News was kind enough to call us and include us in his article


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