Things to do around Ann Arbor this week: A2 Book Festival, comic John Heffron and more


Brazilian vocalist Bebel Gilberto has an Ann Arbor Summer Festival main stage show at the Power Center on Saturday.

Theater production runs of Shakespeare in the Arb’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and Encore Theatre’s “Assassins” continue this week, as does the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park at U-M’s Ingalls Mall, with tons of free live music in the evenings on Tuesdays-Sundays, and outdoor movies at dusk on Sundays and Tuesdays-Thursdays.

But this week’s list begins with a community gathering to mourn those murdered in Orlando this past weekend.

Requiem for Orlando. On Tuesday evening, there will be a community performance of Mozart’s Requiem to honor the victims of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The concert is free; no tickets are required. Through a social media and email campaign launched on Sunday, graduate student Austin Stewart and Kevin Fitzgerald, both alums of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, were able to bring together 50 instrumentalists and more than 135 singers to participate in the concert. Fitzgerald will conduct the performers, which include SMTD students, faculty and alumni, as well as representatives of many local orchestras, such as the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Rochester Hills symphonies, and the Michigan Philharmonic. “In the aftermath of the tragedy in Orlando, there has been a lot of discussion among friends about building sanctuaries,” Stewart said. “We are striving to do that by creating a safe space with music, by creating a tapestry of voices representing every race, creed, sexuality and background. This is a timeless piece that expresses the full range of emotions that come with grief and healing. Our hope is for the concert to build solidarity and strength through music and communal reflection.” Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave. in Ann Arbor.

A2SF Main Stage shows. On Wednesday, Gregory Alan Isakov and The Ghost Orchestra take the stage at Ann Arbor’s Power Center. Plaintive and poetic, Isakov crafts stunning, sepia-toned compositions that tell a story of miles and landscapes, captivating and haunting his listeners. With nods to Leonard Cohen and Andrew Bird, his lush arrangements lend themselves to a fuller sound, and he will be accompanied by his band, as well as a mini-symphonic ensemble. In a tour that includes headlining Red Rocks and The Kennedy Center, this is a rare opportunity to see a unique performance with one of indie folk’s most admired new singer/songwriters. Poet Andrea Gibson opens the show, with a set that may include mature themes. Wednesday at 8 pm at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher in Ann Arbor, and tickets cost $27-$40.

On Saturday night, A2SF presents Bebel Gilberto at the Power Center. This popular Brazilian singer, daughter of the legendary Brazilian singer-songwriter and guitarist Joo Gilberto, weaves sultry pop and soft electronica into her sophisticated bossa nova and samba repertoire. Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher Rd. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $30-$35, available in advance at or 734-764-2538.

Frontier Ruckus plays Sonic Lunch. Popular experimental bluegrass-based folk-rock ensemble from Lake Orion plays a free show on Thursday at noon at Liberty Plaza, near the intersection of Liberty and Division in Ann Arbor. 

3 Ann Arbor Book Festival book crawls. First up is the Northside Ann Arbor Book Crawl on Thursday night, starting at 6 p.m. at Cardamom restaurant (1739 Plymouth Rd. in A2), with a readings by Dawn Richberg, Georgia Kreiger, and Monica Rico. At 7 p.m. at Bookbound (1729 Plymouth Rd. in A2), check out readings by local writers Shutta Crum and Scott Beal. 

Next up is Friday’s Ypsilanti Book Crawl, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave.), with storytelling by LaRon Williams, a talk on ethnic and gender diversity in superheroes by comic ebook creator Jazmin Truesdale (4 p.m.), kids activities, a bookmobile, and more. At 5 p.m., at Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center (214 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsi), there will be a reading by local novelist Tiya Miles. At 6 p.m. at Beezy’s Café (20 N. Washington in Ypsilanti), you can hear Ypsi notables talk about their favorite books. At 7 p.m., Chin-Azzaro Gallery (9 S. Washington in Ypsi) will host readings by Tennessee- and Michigan-based memoirist Deedra Climer and local novelist Heather Neff. And at 8 p.m. at Ypsi Alehouse (124 Pearl St.), there will be readings by local memoirist R.J. Fox and Virginia-based mystery writer Tj O’Connor. Free admission to all readings.

Finally, the Downtown Book Crawl happens in Ann Arbor on Saturday, starting at Aunt Agatha’s (2 p.m., 213 S. 4th Ave.) with a reading by veteran mystery writer Michael Harvey. Also, Vault of Midnight (219 S. Main St.) hosts Jim Ottaviani at 3 p.m., followed by a Michigan Notable Authors Panel at 4 p.m. at Conor O’Neill’s (318 S. Main in A2), and readings by novelist Emlyn Chand and Chicago poet H. Melt at 5 p.m. at Shinola (201. S. Main); local sports history writer Ken Magee and Virginia-based mystery writer Tj O’Connor appear at 6 p.m. at the Arena (203 E. Washington), and Benjamin Landry reads at Literati (124 E. Washington St.) at 7 p.m., and Petoskey- and Ann Arbor-based novelist Robin Gaines and New York writer David Pratt will take the stage at 8 p.m. at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore (114 S. Main); local poets Joy Gaines-Friedler and Jeff Kass read at 9 p.m. at Aventura (216 E. Washington). All readings/talks are free.





Saline Summer Music Series. Every Thursday from 7-9 p.m., from June 16 to Aug. 25, you can see free concerts by area bands, and check out kids’ activities by Two Twelve Arts Center. (Outdoor seating available at some restaurants.) This Thursday, there’s a beach party featuring live music by the Howell-based Jimmy Buffett tribute band the Leaky Tikis. Downtown Saline.

The Penny Seats Theatre Company presents “The Canterbury Tales.” Anne Levy directs this local company in Lindsay Price’s 2002 adaptation of Chaucer’s collection of tales, told by a group of travellers from different ranks of medieval English society while on pilgrimage to Canterbury. The actors portray both Chaucer’s vividly drawn travelers and the different roles in the stories they tell, which encompass a motley assortment of genres, styles, and moods. Thursdays-Saturdays (through July 2) at 7 p.m. at the West Park Band Shell, 215 Chapin St. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $10 (kids 12 & under, $7), available in advance at

Washtenaw Community Concert Band’s “Something for Everyone” concert. Chris Heidenreich conducts this popular 80-member ensemble in a program highlighted by Vittorio Monti’s Czardas, with young local trumpeter Forrest Flesher. Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at WCC Atrium, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. in Ann Arbor. Free.

“Morning’s at Seven”: Purple Rose Theatre Company. Michelle Mountain directs U-M grad Paul Osborn’s gentle comedy about family life in small-town 1930s America. Four sisters, 3 of them married, live out their lives next to each other in a small Midwestern town. Beneath this placid surface, tension surrounds family problems, including one sister’s husband’s “spells,” another’s husband’s rigid rules, the incipient visit of one sister’s son with his new fiancée, and a noisy live-in spinster sister who holds a household hostage with a decades-old secret. Wednesdays at 3 p.m.; Thursdays-Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. Purple Rose Theatre, 137 Park St. in Chelsea. Tickets cost $25-$43, available in advance at and 734-433-7673. Performances begin this Thursday, and the show plays through August 27.

John Heffron at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. A South Lyon native and EMU grad who now lives in L.A., Heffron won the 2nd season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” Preceded by 2 opening acts. Friday and Saturday at 8 & 10:30 p.m. at 212 S. Fourth Ave. Tickets cost $25 for reserved seating in advance and general admission at the door.


“Spin” premieres at Theatre Nova. Playworks Michigan (Detroit) program manager Kennikki Jones-Jones directs the world premiere of Detroit playwright and UMS artist-in-residence Emilio Rodriguez’s fast-paced, funny love story about 2 teens thrown together in a homeless shelter for LGBTQIA teens who struggle with the realities of making their way as homeless gay teens of color in contemporary America. Opening night is Friday at 8 p.m., but beyond that, showtimes are Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at The Yellow Barn, 416 W. Huron in Ann Arbor. Tickets (if available) are $20 or pay what you can afford, available in advance at or 734-635-8450. Plays through July 10.

Civic Improv Ensemble. Catch performances by each of the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s improvisation troupes, including the short-form troupe CSI: Ann Arbor, the long-form troupe Dearly Beloved, and the hybrid troupe Luxury Possum. Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. at Carriage House Theatre, 541 Third St. in Ann Arbor, through June 25. $10 suggested donation.

Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation’s Night Paddle. Paddle around Gallup Pond, guided by the moon, and watch for deer, muskrats, herons, and other wildlife. Bring a flashlight. Friday from 8:30-10:30 p.m.; meet at Gallup Park Canoe Livery, 3000 Fuller Rd. (west side of Huron Pkwy.). $14 per boat. For more information, call 734-769-6240.

Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission’s Summer Block Party. There’s a summer kick-off celebration at Rolling Hills County Park on Saturday from 11 am-2 pm. Expect yard games, t-shirt dying, sand volleyball, and food and drinks. Then, once you’re done, walk over to the water park to cool off – but water park admission is not included in the Summer Block Party price of $6 per person. At Rolling Hills County Park, 7660 Stony Creek Rd. in Ypsilanti. $6. 

Ann Arbor Book Festival Street Fair and Writer’s Workshop. On Saturday, check out this sale of a wide variety of books, plus readings and spoken word performances, a drum circle (12:30-2 p.m.), balloon artists (2:30-4:30 p.m.), and more. Food available. Saturday from noon-5 p.m. on Washington St., between 4th & 5th aves. Free admission.

The Writer’s Workshop is an afternoon series of author craft talks where attendees can learn new tricks of the trade in sessions led by a noted group of writers and instructors from Michigan and beyond. On Saturday, hear from Jim Ottaviani at 1 p.m.; Chris McCormick at 2 p.m.; and Airea “Dee” Matthews at 3 p.m. Tickets for each talk cost $10, or you can purchase all three for $25. Visit to order.


Delta Rae at The Ark. Check out this Durham (NC) folk-rock sextet, known for its blend of postpunk urgency and stunning 4-part vocal harmonies. Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $30, available in advance, or 734-763-TKTS.


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