Thank you for your interest!

Add free and premium widgets by Addwater Agency to your Tumblelog!

To hide the widget button after installing the theme:

  1. Visit your Tumblr blog's customization page (typically found at
  2. Click on Appearance.
  3. Click Hide Widget Button.
  4. Click on Save+Close.

For more information visit our How-To's page.

Questions? Visit us at

[close this window]

All Around Ann Arbor: Week of April 2

"All Around Ann Arbor" is the Independent staff’s weekly round-up of interesting or progressive events happening near the University of Michigan. This week, editor Nina Bhattacharya brings you her picks. Enjoy!

MONDAY - 4/2:

The Blind Pig Presents: Gotye with Kimbra
7pm, Pease Auditorium - EMU, $30 day of

While the Gotye/Kimbra video has gone viral, Kimbra has an admirable set of pipes as well. One of my favorite artists.

TUESDAY - 4/3:

Grown In Detroit: Film and Panel
5pm, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library - Gallery, Room 100
"In the once thriving city of Detroit, residents now struggle to find fresh produce. The Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women in Detroit is one of only three schools in the U.S. that educates pregnant teens and young mothers about the importance of nutrition and helps them develop skills making them independent and able to support their families. Though students initially dislike the agricultural work included in the charter school’s curriculum, their attitudes change when crops begin to bear fruit, and they see their hard work has transform into profitable food sales. Mascha and Manfred Poppenk, the creators of the award-winning documentary, “Grown in Detroit,” and a panel of U-M faculty will discuss, and show clips from, their award winning film – “Grown in Detroit ” about the amazing work done at the Catherine Ferguson Academy."


22nd Annual Golden Apple Award - Bruce Conforth,  “Heeding the Call”
7pm, Rackham Auditorium
Professor Conforth is well-known for his popular American Culture classes on music. His “last lecture” — entitled “Heeding the Call” — will be an exciting opportunity for students across campus to get a taste of the professor’s work. Some popular past recipients include Matt Lassiter, Ralph Williams, and Brenda Gunderson.

Self-Defense/Personal Safety Workshop
6pm, 3275 CCRB - free but must register
While it will not include martial arts, “this workshop includes risk assessment, common perpetrator tactics, and an introduction to simple and effective physical, verbal and emotional self-defense and risk reduction techniques. Come find out how self-defense skills and strategies can help in the most common dangerous situations for students on college campuses.” Really useful for students of all ages and genders.


Take Back the Night - Ann Arbor
7:30pm, Diag
Join fellow community members for a rally and march to stand against sexual violence.

HRTE Presents: Human Rights Watch Film Festival
6pm, Michigan Room - League, suggested $2 donation
Human Rights Through Education (HRTE) is lucky to bring the acclaimed Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival to Ann Arbor. “The Human Rights Watch Film Festival bears witness to human rights violations and creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference.” Topics covered include the Guatemalan civil war, sex trafficking, and the War on Terror.

FRIDAY - 4/6:

Silsila: Celebrating a Decade of Dance
7pm, Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, $10 at the door
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Maya Dance Team. Maya is a South Asian fusion dance team with a strong emphasis on Indian classical dance. Founded in 2001, the dance team has generated enthusiasm for ancient and modern Indian culture both on campus and outside of Michigan through various performances and competitions. Using a multitude of styles, the team members pride themselves on choreographing pieces that are innovative and original. This one is a shameless plug, as I’m also a member. Hope to see some of you there! — ed.


Newspaper Blackout Poetry
2pm, Ypsilanti District Library - Superior Township
Celebrate National Poetry Month and express yourself by turning ordinary newspaper articles into a work of poetry with only a black marker. Ages 10 and up.

Cloud Nine
8pm, Arthur Miller Theatre, $26 ($10 with student id)
From the University of Michigan’s Department of Theatre and Drama comes “Cloud 9,” a drama by Caryl Churchill. The drama explores xexual identity and politics through the lens of two centuries and one family. Recommended for mature audiences due to sexual content.

SUNDAY - 4/8:

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen
Michigan Theater, Time TBA
"From the director of Chocolat and the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire comes the inspirational comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. When Britain’s leading fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) is approached by a consultant (Emily Blunt) to help realize a sheikh’s (Amr Waked) vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert, he immediately thinks the project is both absurd and unachievable. But when the Prime Minister’s overzealous press secretary latches on to it as a “good will” story, this unlikely team will put it all on the line and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible.”

Profile: Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE)

by Raya Saksouk

Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) show support for Syrian protestors last November. (via SAFE)

On the night of November 16, an assembly of students gathered for a silent vigil on the Diag. Signs were raised, candles burned, and the group avowed its support for protestors thousands of miles away in Syria. 

The event was one of several this past year organized by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), a group at the University of Michigan dedicated to the advancement of self-determination in Palestine. While founded primarily on issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, events like the candlelight vigil testify to their recent expansion as they aim to address the struggles of people across the Middle East and North Africa region.

To name another example, nearly a hundred students gathered on the Diag in February 2011 as part of an event entitled “Shot Down: Dying for Democracy.” During the event, demonstrators spread themselves out on the ground and played dead to call attention to the deaths of Libyan protestors. The group has also organized a rally for Egypt, a documentary screening on the situation in Bahrain, and a panel on the status of Syrian unrest.

This broadening of focus is not the only change SAFE has experienced since its founding near the start of the millennium. The past couple of years have seen an interesting shift as the group leans toward more activist-oriented activities.

“I wouldn’t say it’s so much like the activism you saw here in the ‘60s and ‘70s, which was a lot more lively, but it’s a step closer,” said co-chair Ahmad Hasan, reflecting on the activism that decades ago took Ann Arbor by storm. “The level of activism has really declined over the years, in my opinion, and we’re just trying to revive that.”

Read More

All Around Ann Arbor: Week of March 26

"All Around Ann Arbor" is the Independent staff’s weekly round-up of interesting or progressive events happening near the University of Michigan. Enjoy!

MONDAY - 3/26:

Standing in Solidarity with Trayvon Martin and Shaima Al Alawadi
8pm and 8:30pm, Diag
Trayvon Martin was just 17 years old when he was brutally shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Trayvon wasn’t doing anything besides walking home with a bag of Skittles and some iced tea in his hands. Shaima Alawadi was a 32-year old Iraqi woman who was found severely beaten by a tire iron in her living room by her 17-year old daughter with a Islamophobic note that stated, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Shaima was taken off life support three days after the attack. Participants will be wearing hoodies in solidarity with Trayvon at 8pm and the vigil for Shaina will begin at 8:30pm.

TUESDAY - 3/27:

Book Reading, Yusef Shakur
8pm - 9:30pm, Michigan Union (Wolverine Room)
Students Organizing Against Prisons (SOAP) will be hosting a book reading with Detroit activist, Yusef Shakur. He was previously an influential member of the Zone 8 street gang in his neighborhood of Zone 8 in Detroit. His previous lifestyle lead to a nine year sentence of incarceration. He has since turned his life around and is an influential community activist, business owner, and author. 

American Inequality: A University of Michigan conversation on the growing income and education gaps in America
7pm - 8:30pm, Michigan League, Vandenberg Room
Panel featuring distinguished Professors Paul Courant, Sheldon Danziger, Susan Dynarski, and Joel Slemrod.


Sierra Maestra
8PM, The Ark
"In the mid-1970s, nine engineering students at the University of Havana came together to form a new musical group, naming it Sierra Maestra after a mountain range in their native eastern Cuba. At the suggestion of the father of two of the brothers in the group, they began to play in the son style, the ancestor of salsa and lots of other dance music of the Caribbean. By 1980 they were a success all over Cuba, and ever since then, they’ve been a living link to the Golden Age of Cuban music. They’ve always mixed classic pieces with newly written material, and it’s often been their new songs that have become their most popular." General admission is $20.

THURSDAY - 3/29:

Poetic Injustice: Short Justice from the Arab World
7pm, Michigan Theatre
What does it mean to speak one’s history and the dreams and nightmares that inevitably accompany it?  How is history told, and perhaps more importantly, how is it felt? These six short films from the Arab world take very different approaches. This event is a part of the 50th Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Catwalk Extravaganza!
8pm - 10pm, Michigan League Vandenberg Room
This queer and ally community event will showcase “the diversity, uniqueness and inner fabulosity” at the University of Michigan. Part runway, part drag, and part variety show - Catwalk Extravaganza is all about self-expression. One performer will receive the title of Michigan’s Catwalk Diva Extraordinaire.” Sponsored by the Spectrum Center.

FRIDAY - 3/30:

Dusk to midnight, Washington and Ashley Streets
From “This sublime moonlight event features enormous processions of community, hand-made illuminated sculptures carried by dancing teams of merrymakers as they thread their way downtown to Washington and Ashley Streets in the heart of Ann Arbor. Pageant participants and revelers alike will enjoy delicious candlelit treats and craft brewed spirits; roving, shimmering, shadow puppet performances, building sized experimental film, and many more luminary surprises.”


Dunder Mirchi: Singing Company
7pm, Lorch Hall Auditorium
Maize Mirchi, the premier South Asian a cappella group at the University of Michigan, is proud to present its spring concert and the debut of their first music album. Blending a variety of South Asian and Western styles, Maize Mirchi is definitely one group you should see. Pre-sale tickets are $6 for any students and $10 for non-students.

SUNDAY - 4/1:

Jazz Showcase
7:30pm, Stamps Auditorium, Walgreen Drama Center
"The Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation highlights the Latin Jazz Ensemble, Creative Arts Orchestra, Jazz Trombone Ensemble, and Jazz Ensemble, as well as performances by Geri Allen, Robert Hurst, Dennis Wilson, Andrew Bishop in an evening of great jazz featuring compositions and arrangements by UM students, faculty, and many others." $16, General Admission.

Playlist: Women’s History Month

by Paige Lester and Raya Saksouk

Guess what? March is Women’s History Month. To celebrate, we have compiled some of our favorite songs from our favorite ladies for your listening pleasure. Think we’ve missed something? Add your picks in the comments or tweet @MichIndependent!

A Playlist for Women’s History Month by The Michigan Independent on Grooveshark

Highlights //

Fast Car, Tracy Chapman: A lyrically beautiful and thought-provoking song about difficult themes like poverty and alcoholism.

Modern Girl, Sleater-Kinney: Carrie Brownstein has been making headlines lately for her role on Portlandia and is currently on tour with her latest band “Wild Flag”, but her previous work as lead singer of Sleater-Kinney cannot be overlooked.

All I Want, Joni Mitchell: No playlist celebrating female singers would be complete without something by Joni Mitchell. Really.

I Can’t Hear You, The Dead Weather: You might never be as cool as Alison Mosshart, but no one said you couldn’t try.

Night After Night, Laura Marling: For your daily dose of brooding folk, no one does it quite like Laura Marling.

Dance, Dance, Dance, Lykke Li: All the way from Sweden, this indie-pop icon clues you in on what she really means by all those dance moves.

Pedestal, Portishead: Lose yourself in ‘90s trip-hop. Beth Gibbons leads the way.

by Lauren Coffman, Managing Editor
Trying to figure out what to wear on St. Patrick’s Day? We’ve got you covered for the entire day.

by Lauren Coffman, Managing Editor

Trying to figure out what to wear on St. Patrick’s Day? We’ve got you covered for the entire day.

The Getting Political Project: Amanda Caldwell, College Democrats

by Emma Maniere

The Getting Political Project is an effort to explore the stories of other students at the University of Michigan and to start the process of political understanding on a local scale. The Michigan Independent spoke with eight politically active students across the political spectrum to learn about their history. Today we highlight Amanda Caldwell, the 2011-12 chair of College Democrats.

Caldwell with Broderick Johnson of the Obama Campaign and actor Kal Penn. (via)

The Michigan Independent: Why are you a Democrat?

I first got politically involved and started to understand the differences between democrats and republicans and align myself with democrats when I was in middle school, and the Iraq War was starting.  My uncle was being deployed, he was one of the first troops to go in – he’s a Marine – and his wife was pregnant at the time and he had two other children who were young. I started paying attention to the news a lot and I really didn’t understand why we were doing that; I didn’t think it was our place to go in. I saw what it was doing to my family to be sending our troops in on this mission that I couldn’t get behind and I didn’t understand why we were doing it.  My parents are very liberal too and I went with them to anti-war marches in sixth grade.  I started watching the news a lot more and learned more about a lot of other issues that I fell in line with the Democrats on -– choice, global warming. 

How would you describe your parents’/family’s/community influence?

My mom’s family is from South Dakota, which isn’t a super liberal place, but she moved to Ann Arbor when she was in middle school. I think growing up, my grandma was always pro-choice, she was always interested in social justice, equality for everyone.  She lives in Ohio now, and they had a ballot initiative for the city that she lives in, in Bowling Green, to include sexual orientation as something that you can’t be discriminated against. She was out there, making phone calls for them, out there on Election Day.  My mom’s side of the family, when my uncle was deployed, and my second uncle in the air force was deployed too, they were supportive of the troops, but also they wanted their sons home safe. They also didn’t think what they were fighting for was something that needed to be fought.  My dad’s side of the family – my grandma is very, very liberal, and so I guess it sort of runs in the family.  Neither of parents are very politically active, they’re both Democrats, they’ll put up the yard signs, but that’s sort of it.  It’s interesting because I used to get my information from them and now they get their information from me. 

Read More

All Around Ann Arbor: Week of March 12

"All Around Ann Arbor" is the Independent staff’s weekly round-up of interesting or progressive events happening near the University of Michigan. Enjoy!

MONDAY - 3/12:

Catalog Confessions - MLibrary’s PostSecret
Share your secret! Submissions will be gathered via selected library bookdrops until March 16. On Central Campus, cards and envelopes will be available Hatcher and Shapiro.

Spring Pride Rally
12pm - 1pm, Diag
Celebrate the LGBTQ (and ally) community’s accomplishments and learn how you can be a part of the movement to promote equality for all. Sponsored by the CSG LGBTQ Commission.

TUESDAY - 3/13:

Chico & Rita
4:15pm, 7:00pm, 9:15pm - Michigan Theater
An Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature Film, Chico and Ritaopens at the Michigan Theater. The story of two passionate Cuban artists who struggle to unite in music and love, the film also pays tribute to the legacy of jazz music.

Growing Up Activist: U-M Faculty from Activist Families
7:30pm, Annenberg Auditorium, Weill Hall

Part of the University lecture series, “Equity, Justice and Social Change: The Michigan Tradition of Activism and Educational Opportunity.”


Locked Up: (Over)Incarceration of LGBTQ Youth of Color
7pm - 8:30pm, Annenberg Auditorium, Weill Hall
A moderated panel discussion of how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth of color are disproportionately impacted by the U.S. criminal justice system.

Uncovered: Sexual Identity in South Asia
7pm, East Hall Psych Auditorium
Join the sisters of Delta Theta Psi for a discussion of sexual identity in South Asia, where sexuality is still a taboo subject. Full Indian meal provided. Tickets are $5 with benefits going to charity.

THURSDAY - 3/15:

The Lean Years: Infrastructure, Dwelling and Sustenance: Laura Wolf-Powers
6pm, Art + Architecture Aud, Rm. 2104
Lecture on future challenges and interesting constraints facing those who shape the built environment

FRIDAY - 3/16:

The Harmonettes Present: HARMONETTEFLIX
8pm, East Hall
The Original All Female A Cappella Group, The Harmonettes, present a night of musical soundtracks, ranging from songs from Footloose to The Parent Trap. Tickets are $5 for Students, $8 for Adults, and $3 for A Cappella.


UMMA Dialogues: Artist Haroon Mirza and Curator Elizabeth Thomas
7pm - 9pm, Helmut Stern Auditorium, UMMA
Noted visual artist Haroon Mirza seeks to reconnect the viewer to his relationship to incidental sound. This exhibition is Mr. Mirza’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States.

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra: Masterworks
8pm, Michigan Theater
Ticket information available at link.

SUNDAY - 3/18

Make Your Own Luminary For FoolMoon
10am - 5pm, Workantile Exchange, $10 suggested donation
Make your very own luminary to bring light to the streets of Ann Arbor during FoolMoon on March 30 from dusk to midnight. This occurs every Sunday up until FoolMoon. Refreshments from Sweetwater’s and Whole Foods.

The Getting Political Project: Introduction

by Emma Maniere

Thrust between two fiercely opposed sides of my family, one proudly liberal and the other staunchly conservative, I have always been intrigued in how individuals develop and follow their political beliefs.  For me, this was a long and complex process, often guided by what I felt in my gut was right or wrong, fair or unfair, intelligent or less intelligent. I still doubt myself at times.  I imagine, and have confirmed in my reporting, that I am by no means alone in struggling to navigate this difficult path that offers no easy answers.

Much like the two sides of my family, the divide between the aisles in Washington has mired the political progress. Despite its increasing rarity, attaining compromise or bipartisan support is not impossible. It not only requires understanding the diversity of beliefs within each party, but also means understanding why individual actors came to identify with that platform in the first place. Every story is different, but if Americans take the time to examine our core beliefs and how we got there, perhaps we can achieve greater sympathy and consequently a more efficient political process as a result.

The Getting Political Project is an effort to explore the stories of other students at the University of Michigan and to start this process of understanding on a local scale. The Michigan Independent spoke with eight politically active students across the political spectrum to learn why they lean in the direction that they do. Some students were driven by self-motivated economic and political study, some by family history, some by specific government actions.  Nonetheless, all firmly embraced their political views as their own.  

Starting this week, watch this space as we start this political conversation. If you’re on Twitter, we encourage you to continue this conversation with @MichIndependent using the hashtag, #getpolitical.

Emma Maniere is a freshman at the University of Michigan.

The Grind: Bad Brains, Sailin’ On

The Grind is your weekly dose of subversive alternative culture. Brought to you by Eileen Divringi.

Jose Antonio Vargas: “No human being is illegal.”

by Gia Tammone

Journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio discussing his story at Define American.

Every seat was taken, and the walls were lined with spectators. Hundreds of University of Michigan students packed the auditorium to see Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas to discuss what he called an “all hands on deck” moment for the issue of immigration. Vargas’ visit on February21 was a part of a larger campus effort campaigning for in-state tuition for undocumented students living in Michigan. The Coalition for Tuition Equality, a group of diverse student activists, has spearheaded the quickly growing campaign.

Vargas famously revealed his undocumented immigration status in an essay for the New York Times Magazine, but his goal was not just to tell his own story that evening. In connection to his latest project Define American, the activist hoped to inspire a new narrative on immigration and what it really means to be “American.”

The journalist recounted his own life experience to the packed auditorium, an act that “still feels like getting naked” eight months after his original essay. For the uninitiated, Vargas was sent from the Philippines at age twelve to live with his grandparents in the United States. It wasn’t until he went to the DMV to get his driver’s permit that he discovered that the immigration documents he had had for years were fake. It was this realization that eventually spurred him to pursue journalism, a career choice that he describes as “a way to earn my citizenship.”

Now, Varga is hoping to help others living in the “limbo” of being an undocumented immigrant. “The problem is to get progressive people to realize that [immigration] is an issue that affects them,” he said in a meeting with student journalists earlier in the day. To address this information gap, the journalist started a new project called Define American.

Read More

Delivering progressive news to the University of Michigan since 2005.