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Retyi Set Go!

August 27, 2012

Welcome Class of 2016

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Written by: Richard Retyi
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Class of 2016, welcome to Washtenaw County. Whether you’re an Eagle, a Wolverine, a Cougar, a Cardinal or whatever depressing degenerative mascot is affiliated with Washtenaw Community College, welcome! Quick background on this publication: iSPY Magazine survived the Washtenaw County newsies war. Thus, we’re obligated to provide new arrivals with a guide to the area – to help ease the transition, acclimate you to our way of life and do everything in our power to make sure you stay away from the abandoned psychiatric hospital.

If You Were a High School Jock God

We love us some athletics, but shockingly not everyone appreciates the ability to pick up the blitz or good fundamentals in the low post. To stay in playing shape, each school in the area offers exercise facilities of some kind (Washtenaw Community College is tops), and there are a smattering of gyms – chain and local – for you to choose from. You can also show your stuff at the sand volleyball courts at Elbel Field in Ann Arbor or play footie with the locals in Frog Island Park in Ypsilanti. You should be able to find all your usual supplements and shakes pretty much anywhere, but I suggest checking out the health section at Plum Market in Ann Arbor because they also have a Swirlberry. Jocks like Swirlberry, right?

If You’re Musically Inclined

Michigan’s music scene isn’t much of a secret anymore. You’ll regularly see great talent any day of the week, from jazz to rock, metal, hip hop and whatever Charlie Slick calls whatever it is that he does. Your best bet for venues are the Blind Pig and The Ark in Ann Arbor and Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti, though you’ll hear good music (original and DJs) at places like Elks Lodge, Necto, LIVE and Rush Street on Mondays and Tuesdays. Keep your eyes open for big events like Mittenfest (around Christmas), Sonic Lunch (each summer) and Totally Awesome Fest (spring).

If You Were Into the Theatre

Ah the theatre. Footlights, cast romances and always the chance that the ghost of John Wilkes Booth will appear. You little actors are in for a treat because Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are packed with theatres and performing spaces, and I’m not even including Deja Vu (ba dum dum). In Ann Arbor, there’s the Performance Network Theatre, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild or the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase for you aspiring monologists. In Ypsilanti there’s the Ypsilanti Youth Theatre, the Riverside Arts Center and the Dreamland Theatre, though that’s mostly puppets and hair from Patrick Elkins’ beard. Catch a play or audition for their next tour de force – the dad from Boy Meets World went to Michigan. Set those goals high, kids!

If You’re From a Region That Prizes Barbecue

First, why did you decide to come to Michigan rather than attend UT Austin and wear shorts and calf-length cowboy boots 10 months of the year? The Gerald Ford School of Public Policy isn’t THAT good! Since you’re here, let’s make sure we point you in the right direction for your BBQ fix so you don’t end up shaming yourself with a rack of ribs from TGI Fridays. Try Satchel’s and Red Rock Downtown Barbecue to start or try the tucked-away Biercamp in Ann Arbor for great pulled pork and brisket sandwiches or Blue Tractor for a range of amazing barbecue and beer. If your parents are in town or if you’re dating someone from a monied family, have them take you to Zingerman’s Roadhouse for some American classics. If you value quantity over quality, Damon’s in Ann Arbor has an all-you-can-eat ribs night that is actually quite good, except for the part where you fall into a meat-induced coma in the parking lot before you even get to your car.

If You’re Into Book Learnin’

College isn’t for fun and socializing and finding yourself and experimenting and falling in love and sleeping – it’s for straight hardcore book learnin’. Intellectual opportunities abound in the area, from the U of M Museum of Natural History (with planetarium!), the U of M Museum of Art and the Washtenaw Historical Society. For actual book book learnin’, things are a little trickier. With the fall of the house of Borders and the closing of Shaman Drum (now a Five Guys) and David’s Books (now a Japanese restaurant), you can shop at Barnes and Noble (blech) or one of two independent booksellers I recommend – Dawn Treader in Ann Arbor or the Cross Street Book Store in Ypsilanti. There are a number of smaller specialty stores in Ann Arbor as well like Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookstore and Nicola’s Books, all worth checking out. If you’re into comics and graphic novels, don’t miss Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor. They’re stocked with the latest releases as well as a whole shelf of locally produced publications and zines for cheap.





About the Author

Richard Retyi

Mike Vial at Woodruff's

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