iSPY Magazine 2 YEAR

Retyi Set Go!

June 24, 2012

Ann Arbor Summer Survival Guide

More articles by »
Written by: Richard Retyi
Tags: , , , ,
Ann Arbor Summer Festival

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

One of the largest summer events in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival runs until July 8. The highlight and your greatest challenge is Top of the Park, the festival of outdoor music, movies and outdoor spectacle (not my term). Let’s start with the most terrifying aspect of this year’s Top of the Park first — the dinosaur petting zoo. Did you see Jurassic Park? Jurassic Park 2? Dinosaurs do not truck with being petted. Stay away from this. I’d stick to safe entertainment options like the evening showing of The Big Lebowski (June 28) and the soothing sounds of Nervous But Excited (July 7). With all this outdoor activity, apply plenty of sunscreen. You’ll also need to stay fed and hydrated. Did you know the human body can only sustain life for 48 hours without ice cream or beer? There’s plenty of both at the summer festival. If you’re on a budget, bring your vittles downtown and have a nice picnic. Or dumpster dive (not judging).

Art Fair

From July 18 – 21, four Ann Arbor fairs combine into one giant, buzzing, art-on-a-stick Go-Bot of paintings, ceramics and intricate beadwork. Shutting down the center of town and spreading its tentacles down South University, the Art Fair and its groupies will make life a terrifying mess.        Be wise and be prepared. First, understand that from Washington to William, bracketed by Ashley and Fletcher, the city will be a teeming mass of sunburned human flesh and hippie sweat. Want to get a nice bite to eat at Tomukun Noodle Bar? Good luck fighting off that couple from Toledo and their 30 clones. Want to do some light shopping at Urban Outfitters? Be ready to wrestle over that last novelty flask (Milk!) with nine other budding boozehounds. As with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, stay hydrated and fed. The one good thing about Art Fair is that it somehow draws packs of carnies to town who set up shop near the Michigan Union with towering edifices to elephant ears, funnel cakes and corn dogs. There is some decent art among the booths. There’s the guy with the ultra-lifelike mannequins and the other person who paints portraits of celebrities like John Travolta. You can also spice up the Art Fair experience by printing one of many Art Fair Bingo cards and playing with friends. Just Google it and you’ll find a few. “Goths in sunlight! BINGO!”

Ann Arbor Fourth of July Parade

Skip this. What are you, five?

Sonic Lunch and Summer Series

Every Thursday at noon through August 30, Sonic Lunch occupies Liberty Square with music, food and drink, featuring, among others, Mayer Hawthorne, Black Jake & the Carnies, Sidetrack Bar & Grill and Sava’s. Kitty corner at the public offices, every Friday at noon through September 7, the Summer Concert Series features musical performances from Alejandra O’Leary, The Potter’s Field and a pack of hooligans (Neutral Zone Day). These are midday public events, so the first order of business is making sure your boss is okay with you taking a slightly longer lunch. Frontier Ruckus doesn’t want your Friday termination on their consciences. Bring lunch — probably something light like super nachos or spaghetti — and enjoy a lunch hour of music, sunshine and clusters of unemployed 20-somethings with Master’s degrees. No flash photography please.

Michigan Theater Summer Classic Film Series

If you’re sick of getting sunburned and rubbing elbows with hipsters, little kids with ice cream all over their hands and people from Jackson (gross), try the Michigan Theater Summer Classic Film Series sponsored by Bell’s Brewery. Every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday at 7 p.m., enjoy air conditioning, your very own seat and BEER while you watch classic films like The Jerk, Jaws and sing-a-long Mary Poppins. Be sure to go to the bathroom before the film, because there’s nothing worse than someone who stands up to pee in the middle of a film.

About the Author

Richard Retyi

iSPY Magazine Stage

Frontier Ruckus by John Hanson

7.5.12 Sonic Lunch // Frontier Ruckus with Chris Bathgate

Two of our favorites, and former iSPY Magazine covers are coming to Sonic Lunch today!  Bank of Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch opens with Chris Bathgate, the Iowa-born and Michigan local singer/songwriter, who has received both d...
by Jenn Sibert

Misty Lyn photo by Doug Coombe

Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful

If you were to fish the internet for tunes by Misty Lyn and the Big Beautiful, you’d find plenty from their debut album, “For The Dead.” And, chances are, you’d love it for the moving lyrics and folk-y, Americana sound....
by Treasure Groh

Art by Carolyn Garay

Carolyn Garay

The Ann Arbor Art Fair has been the showcase for Michigan artists for decades, and Carolyn Garay is a relative newcomer to the party. Her Washtenaw County cred is impeccable with diplomas from both Pioneer High and Eastern Mich...
by Jasmine Zweifler


Victor Wooten

Talking Shop with Victor Wooten

To say that Victor Wooten is a phenomenal musician would be a gross understatement. Not only is Wooten the bassist for the critically acclaimed (and five-time Grammy winning) jazz fusion / post-bop / progressive / bluegrass gro...
by Amanda Slater

Summer Beer Fest

6.21.12 Sonic Lunch // Mitch Ryder

Take three…and…SONIC! On the menu: pub-style dishes from Conor O’Neill’s complemented with RoosRoast beverages and a live performance by Mitch Ryder. The legendary artist has lunch with Ann Arbor in Liberty Pl...
by Jenn Sibert


Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick bring nerd rock to the Ark

Jonathan Coulton (pictured above)                                 Photo by Lauren Atkinson   by Jesse Atkinson Normally if you told me that you’d been to a concert that involved a crowd sing-a...
by Amanda Slater

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli @ the Blind Pig [Review]

Not since Mac Miller performed back in December of 2010 have I seen the Blind Pig so full of life. It helped that it was a sold out show – when you get Talib Kweli at a venue the size of the Pig, holding capacity becomes moot...
by Paul Kitti

iSPY Magazine Stage

Laith - Photo by Kristin Slater from Taste of Tree Town Sound

6.7.12 Sonic Lunch // Laith Al-Saadi

Laith Al-Saadi It is finally that time of year again. June 7th, local blues guitarist Laith Al-Saadi leads off Bank of Ann Arbor’s free summer concert series Sonic Lunch by performing at Liberty Plaza in downtown Ann Arbor. A...
by Jenn Sibert


Festival Hopping? Shop Local, YpsiArboroo

Chris Anderson’s turning 29 and wants to exit his 20’s like a boss. Or like Marvel super-spy Nick Fury – as he’s assembled what’s essentially the Arbor/Ypsi music scene equivalent to a valiantly unwieldy blockbuster a...
by Jeff Milo

Pacific Rim

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

Have you been to Pacific Rim, Grange and Café Felix all in one week, but only for Happy Hour drinks?  Do you sometimes walk by Mani Osteria and smell a delicious aroma wafting from foods you feel certain you can’t afford? ...
by Mary Simkins


iSPY Magazine Stage