Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: see A2CT’s ‘The Wedding Singer,’ Sonic Lunch, Cinetopia, Taste of Ann Arbor and more


Chip Mezo stars in Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s production of “The Wedding Singer.” (Photo by Lisa Gavan)

Friday’s Judy Collins show at the Ark may be sold out, but if you look at both sides now (see what I did there?), you’ll see there are lots of other great choices for leisure activities this week. Check out some of your options below.

Aoife O’Donovan at The Ark. The former vocalist of a Boston neo-bluegrass outfit called Crooked Still, O’Donovan is a honey-voiced pop-folk singer-songwriter who’s regularly featured on “A Prairie Home Companion.” Her new CD, “In the Magic Hour,” is a collection of introspective explorations of memory and mortality written in the wake of her grandfather’s death. Tuesday at 8 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15 (members, free), available in advance at,, or by phone at 734-763-TKTS.

The Leastaways’ “West of Elsewhere.” This traveling theater troupe, founded by Ann Arborites, performs its multidisciplinary show that follows the intersecting lives of illegal train-hoppers during the panic of 1893, when a depression drove hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes in search of a better life. Interwoven with music, the story concerns American idealism, hardship, living in uncertainty, and the pursuit of belonging. Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Pointless Brewery & Theatre, 3014 Packard in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $10 at the door.

Sonic Lunch kicks off Thursday. One of the best things about being around downtown Ann Arbor in the summer is walking to Liberty Plaza on Thursdays at noon to see a free Sonic Lunch show. (In case of rain, the shows are held in the Ark on Main Street.) Performers in Sonic Lunch’s lineup range from local and regional favorites to nationally known acts, and this year’s series kicks off Thursday with Wild Belle. Enjoy seductive, musically sophisticated retro-pop with a reggae groove by this critically acclaimed band, led by the sibling singer-songwriter duo of vocalist Natalie Bergman and saxophonist/keyboardist Eliot Bergman, who founded the popular Afrobeat band Nomo when he was a U-M student. Thursday from noon-1:30 p.m. at Liberty Plaza, located on E. Liberty St. at S. Division. Free.

A2 Jazz Fest Preview at the Ann Arbor District Library. Local jazz bassist Dave Sharp hosts a program showcasing 2 acts scheduled to appear at the debut A2 Jazz Fest in West Park in September. The Ingrid Racine Quartet performs former Nomo trumpeter Racine’s original compositions that reflect her R&B, hip-hop, rock, and modern jazz influences. With guitarist Chuck Newsome, bassist Ben Rolston, and drummer Rob Avsharian. Blueprints is an ensemble of Sharp’s Ann Arbor Music Center jazz students, featuring pianist Daniel Kennedy, guitarist Nick Schnorberger, bassist Stanton Greenstone, and drummer Henry Case. Thursday from 7-8 p.m. at AADL’s multipurpose room (lower level), 343 S. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Free.

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s “The Wedding Singer.” Ron Baumanis directs local actors in Tim Herlihy, Matthew Sklar, and Chad Beguelin’s musical comedy, based on a popular film, set in the 80s, about a depressed wedding singer who falls for a waitress who’s engaged to someone else. Stars Chip Mezo, Kimberly Elliott, Becca Nowak, Daniel Hazlett, Chris Joseph, Michael Cicirelli, Karen Underwood, Salina Burke, and Patti Ringe. Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m., at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 North University in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $25 (seniors age 60 & over, $22; Thurs., $19; students, $13 on any day), available in advance at and 734-971-2228.

Redbud Productions’ “Luna Gale.” Tim Grimes directs local actors in the Michigan premiere of Rebecca Gilman’s critically acclaimed drama about a veteran social worker who believes she has a typical case on her hands when she meets 2 young addicts accused of neglecting their baby. When she places the infant in the care of a grandparent, she sparks a powerful conflict that exposes a shadowy past and forces her to make a risky decision. Cast: Loretta Grimes, Matt Clark, Krystle Dellihue, Brian Hayes, Celine Lopez, Liam Weeks, and Deb Wood. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. at Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $20 (front row café seating, $25; students, $15). Reservations recommended; visit, or call 734-769-2999.

24th Annual Tractor and Engine Show. See exhibits and demonstrations of “old iron,” including working steam and gas engines and antique tractors. Tractor pulls include junior, ladies, and show-sponsor pulls (Friday eve), dead weight pull (Saturday, 10 .m.), and a transfer sled fun pull (Sunday). Kids activities include a pedal tractor pull (Saturday, noon). Also, tractor games (Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m.) and a ladies skillet toss (Saturday, 5 p.m.), plus concessions. Friday from noon-10 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Hudson Mills Metropark, 8801 North Territorial (between Dexter-Pinckney Rd. & Huron River Dr.) in Dexter. Free admission. $7 vehicle entrance fee. 

EMU Theatre Department’s “The Last Five Years.” EMU drama professor Pam Cardell directs EMU drama students in Jason Robert Brown’s 2002 Off-Broadway musical, a 2-person song cycle chronicling a 5-year marriage. The husband tells the story from beginning to end, and the wife starts with the divorce and proceeds backward to their initial meeting. The actors interact directly only at the wedding. The eclectic score, which won a Drama Desk Award, draws on pop, rock, jazz, classical, klezmer, and folk idioms. For audiences age 13 & up. Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. (through June 12), at EMU Sponberg Theatre in Ypsilanti. Tickets cost $15 (seniors age 60 & older, $12; youth age 12 & under, $7), available in advance at and 734-487-1221.

21st Annual African American Downtown Festival. A celebration of the contributions of African Americans to the development of Ann Arbor, held in what was once the center of the city’s African American business district. Features sales of food, art, beauty products, and collectibles by local African American businesses. Carnival Candyland (Detroit) kids activities include cake walks, interactive games, face painting, story time, bounce houses, coloring, and more. Health & wellness screenings. Also, the Apple Playschool and other children-oriented businesses are on hand. Entertainment includes gospel music in the morning, along with theatrical performances, dance troupes, and local jazz, rock, hip-hop, soul, and R&B ensembles. Fun and festivities for all ages. Full schedule available at Saturday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., on Fourth Ave. between Ann & Catherine in Ann Arbor. Free admission.  

43rd Annual Chelsea Painters Art Fair. Sale of watercolor, acrylic, pastel, monotype, oil, encaustic, colored pencil, and mixed-media works by 25-30 members of this group of area artists. Rain or shine. Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Silver Maples of Chelsea courtyard, 100 Silver Maples Dr. in Chelsea. Free admission.

8th Annual Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire. All invited for a day of demos and hands-on activities with high-tech makers of all types. Exhibitors include FIRST robotics teams from local high schools, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Maker Works, and others. Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at AADL’s 1st-floor lobby, 343 S. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor Free. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss at Saline District Library. Maraniss will discuss his latest book, “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story,” which is one of the Library of Michigan’s 2016 Michigan Notable Books. A Q&A and book signing will follow the discussion; books will be available for purchase. Saturday at 2 p.m. at Saline District Library, 555 N. Maple Road in Saline. Free. 

Cinetopia International Film Festival in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Dearborn. This 10 day festival – now celebrating its fifth year – begins Saturday, and will screen more than 50 features and documentaries, drawn from some of the world’s most prestigious festivals, and feature some special in-person guests (including movie critic Leonard Maltin) to talk about the films. Plus, Detroit Voices is a short film competition that gives local filmmakers a chance to shine; the Arab American Film Festival offers screenings as part of Cinetopia; and there are outdoor movies and more. The festival runs from June 3-12, with screenings at many venues, including The Michigan Theater, where the fest got its start. For a complete schedule of films and events, visit

The Neutral Zone’s Live on Washington. 4th annual outdoor teen music and arts festival, curated and planned by teens, with two stages, street art activities, food vendors, and more. Headliner is the nationally known local instrumental funk quartet Vulfpeck (9 p.m.). On the Main Stage: rock band Houston We Have a Problem (3:15 p.m.), dancer Dhiya (3:45 p.m.), indie rock band Earl Grey & the Teabaggers (4:45 p.m.), indie rock band Amateur Eyes (5:15 p.m.), the high school a cappella ensemble Soulfege (5:45 p.m.), R&B band Rosewood (6:15 p.m.), Detroit hip-hop collective Captwolf (6:45 p.m.), local hip-hop dance group Alvin Wang (7:15 p.m.), MC King Ogundipe (7:45 p.m.), the jazz-soul ensemble Pyramid Schemes (8:15 p.m.), and DJ Boost (8:45 p.m.). On the Acoustic Stage: Singer-songwriters Seth Dyer (3:30 p.m.), Mary Collins (4 p.m.), Jack Cassel & Fiona Lunch (4:30 p.m.), Jonah Eichner & Aris Chalin (5 p.m.), Dylan Stephens (5:30 p.m.), Arifa and Mustafa (6 p.m.), and Michael Rigney (6:30 p.m.). Updated schedule at Saturday from 3-10 p.m. on E. Washington, between 5th & Division in Ann Arbor. Free.

43rd Annual Dexter-Ann Arbor Run. Since 1974, the area’s biggest running event, this race typically draws thousands of runners from throughout southeast Michigan. Includes a half-marathon, 10-km run, and 5-km run and fitness walk. Awards to the overall winners and top finishers in each age group. All races conclude on Main Street between Miller and Ann. Post-race entertainment. Preceded on June 4 by a Kids Run (3-4 p.m., Skyline High School) for kids ages 12 & under that includes 70m and 100m dashes, 400m and 1-mile runs, and a long jump. Also, refreshments and entertainment. Sunday at 7:50 a.m. (10-km run & fitness walk) & 8 a.m. (5-km run & fitness walk), Kingsley at N. Main; 8:30 a.m. (half-marathon), Creekside Intermediate School, 2615 Baker Rd., Dexter; & 9 a.m. (5-km run & fitness walk), Forsythe Middle School, 1655 Newport Rd. Entry fees for individuals: $50 (5-km), $60 (10-km) & $65 (half-marathon) at by June 4.

31st Annual Taste of Ann Arbor. A chance to taste entrées and desserts from downtown restaurants and cafés. Also, on E. Liberty, U-M Natural History Museum activities, an Ann Arbor Civic Band “instrument petting zoo,” and a preview of the annual Ann Arbor District Library Summer Game, with kids activities, hula hooping, and sidewalk art. The live music schedule begins at 11:30 a.m. with the Detroit acoustic blues-inflected country-soul sextet Willa Rae & the Minor Arcana. Followed by young local R&B singer Madelyn Grant, local singer-songwriter Dan Henig, the local synthpop-rock band Girls Who Care, and the soulful Detroit pop-rock duo Barelyon. Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Main St. between William and Washington Sts. Free admission; food tickets available on-site or in advance at


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