Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: see Laith Al-Saadi, Shakespeare in the Arb, Top of the Park and more

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Fans can see Ann Arbor native Laith Al-Saadi perform at Sonic Lunch this week, fresh off his successful fun on NBC’s “The Voice”!

Cinetopia International Film Festival continues in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Dearborn this week, as do theater production runs at EMU (“The Last Five Years”) and Theatre Nova (“Katherine”). But all kinds of things are kicking off this week, including the Ann Arbor Summer Festival and Shakespeare in the Arb. See all the details below.

Book/author event highlights. New Yorker contributor and arts editor Michael Schulman will discuss his new book, “Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep.” Monday from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Ann Arbor downtown library’s multipurpose room (lower level), at 343 S. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor. Free.

New Baltimore, Michigan writer Tom Stanton will discuss his new book, “Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit,” about the Black Legion, a secret terrorist organization that flourished in Detroit in the mid-1930s, when the Tigers won a World Series, the Lions won an NFL title, and the Red Wings won a Stanley Cup. Signing. Monday at 7 p.m. at Nicola’s Books, at 2513 Jackson, in the Westgate shopping center in Ann Arbor. Free.

Finally, on Tuesday, Ann Arbor’s Julie Lawson Timmer will read from “Untethered,” her new novel about a college professor and stepmom whose parental rights are challenged when her husband dies in a car accident. Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Literati, 124 E. Washington in Ann Arbor. Free. 

John Doe Rock ‘n’ Roll Band at The Ark. Ensemble led by veteran singer-songwriter Doe, the frontman of the legendary L.A. punk band X. Opening for Doe is Jesse Dayton, a veteran, Austin, country-inflected Americana singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso whose credits include the starring role in Ted Swindley’s stage production, “Becoming Kinky: The World According To Kinky Friedman.” Tuesday at 8 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $15, available in advance at, and 734-763-TKTS.

Laith Al-Saadi plays Sonic Lunch. On the heels of his successful run on NBC’s “The Voice,” where he competed as one of four finalists, Ann Arbor’s Al-Saadi will bring his eclectic mix of roots Americana, classic rock, and blues back to his hometown by way of Sonic Lunch! Expect a big crowd will come out to show their love and support. Thursday, between noon and 1:30 p.m. at Liberty Plaza, near E. Liberty at S. Division in Ann Arbor.

Shakespeare in the Arb’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” This year, U-M Residential College drama lecturer Kate Mendeloff directs students and local actors in an alfresco production of one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known comedies – a sophisticated, delightfully impish, and somewhat dark treatment of the battle of the sexes. The king of Navarre and 3 of his lords vow to deny themselves worldly pleasures, including women, and devote themselves to academic study. But when the princess of France and her 3 ladies arrive at the king’s court, these solemn oaths become vague memories, and each of the young lords begins secretly to woo one of the young ladies, indulging in revels, masques, and outrageous sonnets. The lords meet with surprising resistance, however, eventually discovering that they must do penance before the women consider them worthy to offer their love. The action is enlivened by a subplot that features striking satiric portraits of a schoolmaster, a curate, a constable, and a “fantastical Spaniard.” Bring a blanket or portable chair to sit on; dress for the weather; bring bug spray and sunscreen; and be prepared to move, since this is a moving production. Note: Space is limited, so come early. Shows happen Thursday through Sunday, through June 26. (Tickets go on sale at 5:30 p.m., but the line for tickets often starts forming at 4:30 p.m.) Performances begin at 6:30 p.m.; meet at the Peony Garden entrance at 1610 Washington Heights in Ann Arbor. Admission costs $20 (students with ID & youth age 17 & under, $10; seniors age 62 & older, $17; Friends of Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, $15; kids age 5 & under, free), available at the gate only. Limited number of golf carts available; first come, first served.

“Assassins” at Dexter’s Encore Musical Theatre Company. Local actors perform Stephen Sondheim’s musical about several presidential assassins, from John Wilkes Booth to Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who meet and inspire each other to harrowing acts in the name of the American dream. (My personal favorite Sondheim show!) Show dates are Thursday through Sunday through July 23rd. Showtimes are 7 p.m. (Thursday), 8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), and 3 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday) at the Encore Theatre, 3126 Broad St. in Dexter. Tickets cost $26 (seniors, $24; youth & groups of 10 or more, $22) on Thursday; $32 (seniors, $30; youth & groups of 10 or more, $28) on Friday and Saturday evening; $28 (seniors, $26; youth & groups of 10 or more, $24) for all matinees. Tickets available in advance at and 734-268-6200. $15 student rush tickets (if available) an hour before each showtime.

Rusted Root plays fundraiser in Chelsea. This popular jam-oriented sextet from Pittsburgh is known for its artful, often playful blend of Grateful Dead-style folk-rock, with elements of African, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean music, and this Rumpus Room Summer Concert Series show in Chelsea aims to raise money for a Haiti Orphanage (Project 418). Opening act is The Ragbirds, an inventive local country-rock band, fronted by singer-songwriter Erin Zindle, whose music mixes in elements of world music, groove rock, and edgy pop. The Ragbirds begin playing on Thursday at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.), while Rusted Root takes the stage at 9:15 p.m.,  at the Jet’s Pizza parking lot, 506 N. Main in Chelsea. Tickets cost $20 (kids 12 & under, $10), available in advance at

Ann Arbor Dance Works’ 31st Annual Spring Season. The U-M dance department’s internationally acclaimed resident professional company presents a program of dances by Tokyo-based Italian choreographer Alessia Silvestrin and NYC-based alumni Sarah Konner & Austin Selden, along with U-M dance faculty Missy Beck, Bill DeYoung, and Sean Hoskins. Silvestrin’s “Five Miniatures,” set to a live performance of his own piano score, is a trio for 3 women featuring intricate and interwoven movements that parallel the intertwining melodies of the music, and Konner & Selden’s “Etude” is an investigation of the compositional elements in a duet. DeYoung premieres a solo for dancer Abby Worth that’s set to a live performance by U-M music grad student Garret Ray Jones of Stravinsky’s 1918 work, “Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo.” The movement in Beck’s untitled quartet emulates the murky, constantly shifting landscape of a river at dusk, and in his solo Hoskins attempts to embody the immediate present in its direct relationship to what has just occurred. Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at the U-M Dance Bldg., Betty Pease studio, 1310 North University Ct. (off Observatory) in Ann Arbor. Admission costs $10 (students & seniors, $7), available in advance at and 734-763-TKTS.

10th Annual Ya’ssoo Greek Festival. This popular lively festival features lots of Greek food – from pastitsio to souvlaki and pastries, including loukoumathes (honey-dipped doughnut puffs), karithopita (walnut cakes), and other delicacies. Live Greek music by Detroit band Enigma, and performances by the St. Nicholas Dancers. Also, popular church tours, raffles (with a grand prize trip to Greece), and a sale of Greek souvenirs, jewelry, ceramics, books, and more. Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., at 3109 Scio Church Rd. in Ann Arbor. (Park at nearby Knox Presbyterian Church on Wagner to get a shuttle to the festival.) Admission costs $3 (Sunday, $2; free for kids age 12 & under, for anyone arriving before 4 p.m. on Friday and before 1 p.m. on Saturday).

Ann Arbor Summer Festival/Top of the Park returns. Every Tuesday-Sunday, June 10-July 3. A beloved summer tradition continues this year with live music, followed at 10 p.m. (Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday) by free movies. Also, a KidZone activity tent, yoga and other fitness activities (5 p.m. on the Power Center lawn), food concessions from area restaurants, beer tastings (Tuesdays at 5 p.m.), wine tastings (Wednesdays at 5 p.m.), and more. Friday’s A2SF opening night lineup includes: the veteran local 9-piece collective Hullabaloo (8:30 p.m.), whose upbeat, energetic music draws on ska, jazz, funk, punk and Latin influences; and area pop-rock band The Outer Vibe (10:30 p.m.). Also, Plymouth pop-folk singer-songwriter Kylee Phillips (5 p.m.), local folk singer-songwriter Chris Buhalis (6 p.m.), and Detroit funk-rock jam band Liquid Monk (7 p.m.). The Summer Festival also includes a series of ticketed MainStage shows at the Power Center, Hill Auditorium, and Burns Park. Visit for a complete, detailed schedule. Opening night happens on Friday, 5 p.m.-midnight, at Ingalls Mall at Washington St. in Ann Arbor. Free, but donations are accepted.

16th Annual Green Fair. See displays of alternative-fuel vehicles, renewable energy, green building materials, solar energy installations, and other energy conservation products and practices. A Green Commute expo includes information and displays about alternative transportation options. Also, chalk art on environmental themes and a variety of other hands-on kids activities, birds of prey from Leslie Science & Nature Center, a storm drain chalk art competition, and information booths with local environmental nonprofits and companies that participate in the county’s “Waste Knot” waste reduction and recycling program. Live music by Kevin & the Glen Levens, a local quartet whose eclectic repertoire ranges from traditional Irish music to rockabilly, bluegrass, novelty songs, and roots-rock originals. Ann Arbor Brewing Company “zero waste” beer garden (6-11:30 p.m.) with music by a DJ. Organic food available. Friday from 6-9 p.m. in downtown Ann Arbor. Free. Valet bike parking (of course!).

New play readings at Carriage House Theatre. On Friday night, local actors will read Catherine Zudak’s new play, “Locksley v. Nottingham,” a takeoff on the Robin Hood legend in which the beleaguered Sheriff of Nottingham juggles a demanding new boss, a wayward wife, and a wily Saxon outlaw who all conspire to thwart his ambitions. With intermission and pre- and post-show performances by Bob Skon, a local singer-songwriter known for his wry songs about love and los. Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Carriage House Theatre, 541 Third St. in Ann Arbor. $10 suggested donation.


On Saturday night, local actors will read Eric Bloch’s new comic drama, “Stockton,” about 5 unemployed people who respond to a “money-making opportunity” on the Internet and end up in a strange and volatile situation. With intermission and pre- and post-show performances by Lansing singer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Vasas. Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Carriage House Theatre, 541 Third St. $10 suggested donation.

2016 Michigan Tour de Cure. Bicyclists choose a route of 10, 20, 40, 64, or 100 miles in this pledge outing to raise funds for diabetes research. Followed by live entertainment, kids activities, food, and more. Saturday beginning at 6 a.m. at WCC, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. in Ann Arbor. $25 entry fee, plus $200 minimum pledge donation. For more information, visit

8th Annual Car Show. Classic car owners are invited to show up in their rides and put them on display. Trophies for winners in various categories; dash plaques for first 200 cars on display. Prize drawings. All invited to cruise through the exhibit or view it on foot. Proceeds benefit U-M Mott Children’s Hospital. Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Varsity Ford, 3480 Jackson Rd. Free admission; donations accepted.

Jackson Road Cruise. Program includes a parade of classic cars (noon) along Jackson between Wagner and Baker Roads, followed by a classic car show with judging at 2:30 p.m. Also, for a $10 donation to Alpha House, all are invited to compete for prize drawings in a Prize Drive (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) by driving to several checkpoints along Jackson Road. Musical entertainment (under a tent in the Bel-Mark Lanes parking lot) by an ensemble of local School of Rock students (11 a.m.-noon), the Canton classic rock trio Snake Oil (12:30-3 p.m.), and the local classic rock band Love Junkies (4-6 p.m.). Also, kids’ activities, musical entertainment, and food concessions at a variety of Jackson Road businesses; detailed schedule available at Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Bel-Mark Lanes, 3530 Jackson Rd. Free.

26th Annual Ann Arbor Garden Walk. Here’s your chance to visit 7 private gardens that feature everything from waterfalls and dry stream beds, sun and shade gardens, hillside beds, native plants, rare specimens, and more. Proceeds benefit local organizations. Also, a Garden Walk Marketplace at several of the gardens, with sales of plants, garden art, and handcrafted works by local and regional artists. Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at various locations. Tickets & maps cost $15 in advance by June 10 at, as well as Downtown Home & Garden, Nicola’s Books, Dixboro General Store, and U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens; $20 (K-12 students, $3) on the day of the show. For more information, visit

Gordon Hall Days: A Celebration of 175 Years of Trains in Dexter. Check out this three day celebration of trains that features a broad array of events that include concerts, movies, exhibits, talks, kids’ activities and more. 6 p.m. (Friday) & 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday) at Gordon Hall, Dexter-Pinckney Rd. at Island Lake Rd. in Dexter. $5 per person, or $15 per car suggested donation; the June 10 program is free. Free onsite parking. For a complete schedule, visit

Dave Tuck Skate Jam III. See skateboarding by pro and amateur skaters from Michigan and around the country, including pro skater Mike Rogers. Also, street and pool contests for skaters of all skill levels (registration begins at noon). Silent auction, music spun by DJs, giveaways, spur-of-the-moment contests, and more. Prizes. Proceeds benefit Grind for Life and Strap In For Life, 2 nonprofits that provide support to skateboarders and snowboarders and their families who have been impacted by cancer. Saturday from noon-6 p.m. at Ann Arbor Skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park, 350 N. Maple in Ann Arbor. Free admission.

A2SF’s “Catch Me! (Attrape-Moi),” presented Flip FabriQue. This Quebec circus troupe performs an adrenaline-pumping family-friendly acrobatic show that features dramatic turns on a trampoline wall, inventive parkour, and a hula-hoop twirler who can spin 12 hoops at once. The show “offers acts that don’t seem humanly possible” and “an irrepressible spirit of fun,” according to a New York Times review. Part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s main stage lineup. Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $40-$45, available in advance at or 734-764-2538.

Red Fish Blue Fish Teach Kids to Fish. Kids of all ages (accompanied by a parent) invited to catch some fish. Poles and bait provided. Sunday from 9:30-11 a.m.; meet on the docks at the Gallup Park canoe livery, 3000 Fuller Rd. (west side of Huron Pkwy.). $5 per child. Preregistration required. Call 734-794-6240.

Griffin’ for Good Gatherers. This festive barbecue fundraiser features live music, food from more than 50 local restaurants, beer and wine, kids games, and a silent auction. Live music includes the local rockabilly, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and honky-tonk band George Bedard & the Kingpins, local singer-songwriter Chris Buhalis, and the Saginaw bayou folk band Barbarossa Brothers. Rain or shine. Sunday from 3-8 p.m. at Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. Tickets cost $75 in advance, $85 at the gate (children ages 3-13, $10; under age 3, free). For more information, visit


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