Cuba: An Opening Door

December 2, 2015 through January 14, 2016 -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room Exhibit

This exhibit includes 51 photos taken during Sandy Schopbach’s recent trip to Cuba.

Some are landscapes: the harbor and streets of Havana, the bay of Cienfuegos, the church and cobbled streets of Trinidad (the Cuban city, not the country), and the countryside in between. Others are snapshots of daily life: the vendors in the covered market of Cienfuegos, people watching the streets below from their balconies, students in uniform enjoying the end of the school day. Still others are portraits: the young singer in a restaurant, or the proud veteran with his many medals, or the woman-with-cigar posing for photos to earn extra money.

Cuba reminds Sandy of the America of the fifties. It’s a country perched on the precipice of the great changes that will come, now that relations have been re-established. A few young people are already walking around with their ears glued to a cell phone. And until mid-summer the U.S. Embassy in Havana flew no flag and was only a “U.S. Interests Office." Things are changing and perhaps they will change fast.

Still, she hopes that much will remain of the Cuba she saw during this magic visit to an island that has remained a Never-Never-Land for so many years.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Bestselling Author David Maraniss Discusses His New Book "Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story "

Monday October 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

In Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story, David Maraniss, who was born in Detroit, captures this great American city at its pinnacle. Detroit in 1963 reflected the spirit of the entire country at the time, and its complicated past and future decline could be traced to this era.

It’s 1963 and Detroit is on top of the world. The city’s leaders are among the most visionary in America. It was the American auto makers’ best year; the revolution in music and politics was underway. Reuther’s UAW had helped lift the middle class. The time was full of promise. The auto industry was selling more cars than ever before and inventing the Mustang. Motown was capturing the world with its amazing artists. The progressive labor movement was rooted in Detroit with the UAW. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech there two months before he made it famous in the Washington march.

Once in a Great City shows that the shadows of the city's collapse were evident even then. Detroit at its peak was threatened by its own design. It was being abandoned by the new world. Yet so much of what Detroit gave America lasts.

Born in Detroit, David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post. Maraniss is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and bestselling author of Barack Obama: The Story and others, including When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi which was hailed by Sports Illustrated as “maybe the best sports biography ever published.”

For this special evening, David Maraniss will discuss this fascinating new work as well as answer audience questions. The event will include a book signing and books will be for sale courtesy of Bookbound Bookstore.

Author Jan Jarboe Russell and Holocaust Survivor Irene Butter Discuss The New Book "The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II"

Friday October 2, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Author Jan Jarboe Russell and local Holocaust Survivor Irene Butter pay a special visit to AADL to discuss Ms. Russell’s new book, which features a chapter about Irene Butter.

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II is the dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret FDR approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II, where thousands of families, many of whom were US citizens, were incarcerated.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history that has long been kept quiet, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR's tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war.

Author Jan Jarboe Russell is a former Nieman Fellow, a contributing editor for Texas Monthly, and has written for the New York Times, the San Antonio Express-News, Slate, and other publications. She is the author of Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson and has also compiled and edited They Lived to Tell the Tale. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Dr. Lewis F. Russell, Jr.

Irene Butter, born in Berlin, Germany grew up as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Europe. A survivor of 2 concentration camps she came to the US in 1945. After graduating from Queens College in New York City she obtained a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. She and her husband were on the faculty of the University of Michigan for more than 35 years. Since the late 1980’s she has been teaching students about the Holocaust and the lessons she learned during those traumatic years. She is a co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg lecture series at the University of Michigan and is also one of the founders of ZEITOUNA, an Arab/Jewish Women’s Dialogue group in Ann Arbor.

The event includes a booksigning and books will be for sale.

Always Lost: A Meditation on War

December 11, 2015 through February 26, 2016 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

In 2008, Western Nevada College (WNC) sociology Professor Don Carlson was stopped in his tracks by The New York Times’ Roster of the Dead. “Four thousand faces of American military who had perished in Iraq stared at me,” he said, “and I realized that this war has been perhaps one of the most impersonal wars the U.S. has ever fought.” Carlson and English Professor Marilee Swirczek envisioned a literary and visual arts exhibition to personalize Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Kevin Burns, Major, USMC (Ret.) titled the exhibition Always Lost: A Meditation on War from an observation by American writer Gertrude Stein: “War is never fatal but always lost. Always lost.”

The heart of Always Lost is the Wall of the Dead: individual photographs with names of the more than 6,500 U.S. military war casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. The Always Lost project team is committed to keeping the Wall of the Dead current in honor of those who gave their lives and those who made it home.

Included in the exhibition, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News, is the 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of Iraq War combat photographs (Breaking News Photography) by photojournalists David Leeson and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, embedded with Marine units in Iraq in 2003. Accompanying each combat photograph is original literary work by WNC creative writers, veterans and their family members, and others from the Nevada writing community. Observations about the nature of war, from ancient philosophers to modern-day generals, offer thought-provoking meditations about the effects of war on each of us and our obligations to those who serve in harm’s way on our behalf. Interviews of WNC student veterans, representing service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, remind us of the hidden wounds of war. Army SPC Noah C. Pierce, who took his life after two combat tours in Iraq, represents the tragedy of military suicides through his personal story and original poetry.

The exhibition has evolved into a powerful meditation on the effect of war on each of us. It has become a sacred space in which to contemplate the personal costs and collective sacrifice of these particular conflicts, and consequently, of all wars. Always Lost: A Meditation on War is dedicated to those who gave their lives and those who made it home.

Always Lost is made possible through the generosity of The National Endowment of the Arts, The Dallas Morning News, Pfizer VIP: Veterans In Pfizer, Western Nevada College, Art Works and many more.

Image Credit: Photo (left): Courtesy of The Dallas Morning News/David Leeson

Smell & Tell: Norell: The First American Designer Perfume

Wednesday October 28, 2015: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

Norman Norell delivered couture-standard ready-to-wear and put the United States on the fashion map. He was also the first American designer to issue a branded fragrance and did so with a tall glass bottle sealed with a squared stopper that he designed himself. It was launched in 1968 and is as legendary as the designer himself.

Norell worked closely with Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, and IFF perfumer Josephine Catapano (the nose who created Youth Dew for Estee Lauder, Fidji for Guy Laroche, and Zen for Shiseido) to create Norell perfume. The green character of Norell’s rich floral fragrance made it stand out as a luxury item. The twist was an interesting natural ingredient called galbanum.

In 2015, the owner of the Norell license worked with IFF perfumer Celine Barel to create a modern version of the perfume, which is called Norell New York. It draws inspiration from the original formula and adds a modern twist. How does the original Norell compare to Norell New York? What makes the two perfumes similar, yet different? How does a perfumer re-orchestrate a classic perfume and honor the fashion designer and original perfumer; both of whom are no longer with us?

Answers to these and other questions related to fragrance development and history will be explored by Michelle Krell Kydd, editor of Glass Petal Smoke. This event is part of the Smell and Tell series featured at the Ann Arbor District Library. International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) will be supplying aromatic materials that will be smelled at the event.

Film and Discussion: Souls Without Borders: The Untold Story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Wednesday September 23, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Professor and historian Anthony Geist makes a special appearance to lead a post-film discussion following the screening of his 2006 film Souls Without Borders: The Untold Story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. This inspiring 52-minute documentary tells the story of a group of 2800 young Americans who helped fight against fascism in the bloody Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The film explores the spirit of commitment that led this group of volunteers — known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade — to offer their lives for an ideal.

Drawing on in-depth interviews and previously unknown archival footage, Souls Without Borders follows the commitment of 12 Lincoln Brigade veterans from their origins in the Great Depression through Spain and World War II, McCarthyism and the Cold War, to their involvement with struggles for social justice today. This documentary includes extraordinary footage of the war and the seventy‐year history of the Lincoln Brigade, as well as interviews with some of the fifty survivors still living today.

Following the screening, Dr. Anthony Geist, the director of the film and Vice Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives will lead a discussion, including information on volunteers from this area who fought in Spain as well as activism related to the Spanish Civil War at U-M and in the Detroit area. This event is cosponsored by the U-M Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Still Missing: Michigan's Mysterious Disappearances and Shipwrecks

Monday November 16, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

What do a mild mannered grocery store manager from Northern Michigan and the infamous skyjacker D.B. Cooper have in common? How can a married couple and the aircraft they were traveling in just disappear over a populated area? What really happened to the freighter that sailed out of Grand Haven, over the horizon and into oblivion?

Join author and shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson in exploring the baffling disappearances of a person, a plane and a ship, and other mysterious unsolved disappearances in the Michigan Region.

Author and shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson was the National Writer Series Author Next Door for October 2014, and the Grand Traverse Scene Magazine named his book “Still Missing” to their Notable Michigan Books list. He has spent the last decade and a half researching Great Lakes maritime history and searching for the Michigan Region’s missing aircraft and ships. He has been involved with over a dozen shipwreck discoveries, including recent discoveries in Northern Lake Michigan.
Previously, Richardson penned the book The Search for the Westmoreland, Lake Michigan's Treasure Shipwreck. He operates a popular website,, which is dedicated to missing persons, missing aircraft and missing ships.

Veteran's Day Event: Author Teresa K. Irish Discusses "A Thousand Letters Home"

Tuesday November 10, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

After the 2006 death of her father, Aarol W. “Bud” Irish, Teresa opened his old army trunk and found the 1,000 letters that he wrote home while he was serving in WWII from 1942-45. The fragile, yellowed letters that were written to his parents and to his sweetheart, who would later become his wife, became the basis for A Thousand Letters Home.

From lonesome, moonlit nights listening to the Hit Parade, to the foxholes and front lines in Germany where Bud would receive the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, to correspondence from the heartbroken mothers whose sons died by his side, A Thousand Letters Home is a moving and historic story of life and loss, hope and perseverance, unwavering faith and true love.

This firsthand account through the eyes, heart and words of one soldier mirrors the journeys of many who served in WWII. From training camps across the U.S.A. to Ports of Embarkation where they boarded ships and crossed the ocean to fight on foreign soil, millions of young Americans were abruptly pulled from civilian life and thrust into the unfamiliar world of a military at war.

At every opportunity, Bud poured out his thoughts and feelings in these letters, all amidst reassuring words to loved ones a world away.

Join us as Teresa discusses these letters, her book and her father. This event includes a book signing and books will be for sale

Vintage Base Ball Game

Wednesday September 16, 2015: 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm -- Cobblestone Farm at 2781 Packard Road

Striker to the line! Join us for a game of base ball by the rules of 1860, when sportsmanship ruled, spitting was not allowed, and baseball gloves hadn't been invented yet! These bare-handed base ballists strike with wooden bats, hurl a handmade vintage ball, and leg it around the bases to score tallies. Come on out to this family-friendly event to see a mixed squad of players from the Monitor Base Ball Club and the Merries Vintage Ladies Base Ball Club, both located in Chelsea, MI play a rousing match. Afterward, the teams will invite curious cranks (fans) to try their hand at hurling and striking. Huzzah!

Around the World in 30 Instruments with Four Shillings Short - NEW LOCATION

Monday November 9, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 1st Floor Lobby

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

The Celtic, Folk, and World music duo Four Shillings Short present a world music concert for all ages called "Around the World in 30 Instruments" featuring Traditional & Original music from the Celtic Lands, Medieval & Renaissance Europe, India, and the Americas on a fantastic array of instruments including Hammered & Mountain Dulcimer, Mandolin, Mandola, Bouzouki, Tinwhistles, Recorders, Medieval and Renaissance Woodwinds, North Indian Sitar, Andean Charango, Medieval Psaltery, Banjo, Bodhran, Guitar, Percussion, and even a Krumhorn.

Celebrating their 20th year together, the husband and wife duo of Aodh Og O'Tuama from Ireland and Christy Martin from California, tour in the US and Ireland, are independent folk-artists with 12 recordings, perform 150 concerts a year, and are modern day troubadours traveling from town to town performing at music festivals, theatres and performing arts centers, folk societies, libraries, house concerts, and schools.

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