Ann Arbor Community Events and Entertainment for January

January has arrived and there is something for everyone here in Ann Arbor. Take a look at a few of the events happening around town this month!


November 24, 2012 – January 06, 2013

Feast! at Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Take a seat at our table as we celebrate food around the world this season at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. In an homage to global foodways, Feast! takes a look at world food traditions and the many ways plants play an indispensable role in cooking, celebrations, holidays, and festivals. Feast! takes its inspiration from the food plants that grow in the conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and reveals some fascinating history and facts you might not have known about such plants as vanilla, black pepper, cinnamon, and chocolate. Throughout the exhibit you’ll also find seasonal flower displays, decorated holiday trees, a fairy and troll village, activities for kids, and more.

Exhibit highlights:

  • Holiday flower display
  • Seasonal items in the Garden Store
  • Kids’ activities
  • Free conservatory admission
  • Fairy and troll village
  • Open New Year’s Day

Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd. Ann Arbor, MI
Visit website
Full event info

When: Monday & Tuesday: 10 am-4:30 pm, Wednesday: 10 am-8 pm, Thursday – Sunday: 10 am-4:30 pm
Cost: This is a free event.


January 07, 2013

Big Band Night: The Paul Keller Orchestra Celebrates The World Premiere of ‘Brill’

In the Multi-Purpose Room: The Performance Network Theatre joins with the Ann Arbor District Library for a night of Big Band music featuring The Paul Keller Orchestra, one of Michigan’s finest, oldest, most-respected and well-traveled jazz big bands.

This do-not-miss event is also a celebration of the world premiere of Brill – David Wells’ comedy (with music) of a washed-up big band songwriter and the introduction of rock and roll that begins performances at the Performance Network on January 10 and runs through February 10. Cast members and Performance Network staff will provide an introduction to this delightful new play at the library concert.

Since its inception in 1989 by string bassist, composer and arranger Paul Keller, the Paul Keller Orchestra has garnered great popular and critical acclaim accepting, among other awards, the 2003 and 2007 Detroit Music Awards for Best Big Band. The Orchestra has recorded seven CDs, enjoyed two European tours, and performed at nearly every Michigan music festival. Their voluminous library of over 1,000 arrangements includes classic, obscure and original big band material from the entire history of jazz.

Brill is a world premiere comedy with music and takes place in the 1959 in Manhattan’s famous Brill Building where a washed up Big Band songwriter faces the inevitability of rock and roll when a young woman shows up at his office with her guitar, her aspirations, and more than a few secrets. Can this odd couple make beautiful music together – or will their culture clash land one of them out on the streets?

Enjoy an evening of music from the big band era performed by on of Michigan’s finest orchestras and learn more about this world premiere play of a big band songwriter!

Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown (main) Branch
Full event info

When: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Cost: This is a free event.


January 09, 2013

The University of Michigan Hosts Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit: IndiVisible: African Na

An important part of the American story has long been invisible–the story of people who share African American and Native American ancestry. For 500 years or more, African American and Native people have come together, creating shared histories, communities, and ways of life. Often divided by prejudice, laws, or twists of history, African-Native Americans are united by a double heritage that is truly indivisible. Their historic journey will be explored in an upcoming exhibit at the University of Michigan.

IndiVisible: African Native American Lives in the Americas is a Smithsonian traveling exhibition that explores this history. The exhibit will be on display from January 9 to 31, 2013 at the Duderstadt Center Gallery on the University of Michigan’s North Campus, 2281 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. The Gallery is open from 12-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12-5 p.m. on Sundays. The gallery will be open from 12-6 p.m. on Martin Luther King Day.

Exhibit-opening celebration: In U-M’s Arthur Theatre, 1226 Murfin Avenue on the North Campus. On January 10, 4:00-6:00 p.m, Identities in Black, Red and White: A Roundtable Discussion will celebrate the exhibit’s opening. This public program will address mixed-race identities from autobiographical and storytelling perspectives and within the context of social and cultural analysis. The roundtable panelists express a mixed native identity of some kind — whether that connection is via family ties and/or cultural ties:
-Dr. Tiya Miles, U-M professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and Native American Studies-Moderator
-Dr. Adesola Akinleye, dance scholar and founder of Dancing Strong
-Elizabeth Atkins, U-M alumna and Detroit-based best-selling novelist and journalist
-Dr. Robert Keith Collins, assistant professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University.
-Dr. Philip J. Deloria, U-M professor of History, American Culture, and Native American Studies

A reception and exhibit viewing will follow the discussion.

The Identities in Black, Red and White: A Roundtable Discussion and IndiVisible exhibit viewing will also celebrate the beginning of the Understanding Race Theme Semester, a campus-wide program that will explore issues of race through courses, events, performances, and exhibits from January through April. Many of these events are open to the public. The theme semester is organized by the U-M’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

The Ann Arbor display of IndiVisible is coordinated by the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. Support for the IndiVisible exhibit and opening event was provided by the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Museum of Natural History; Department of Afroamerican and African Studies; Native American Studies Program; Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach; and Department of English. The Smithsonian Community Grant program, funded by MetLife Foundation, is a proud sponsor of these public programs. Smithsonian and MetLife Foundation logos are attached.

IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas was developed, produced, and circulated by the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Arthur Miller Theatre, U-M Walgreen Drama Center
Full event info

When: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

January 11, 2013

JAZZ MASTER SERIES: Featuring guitarist Johnny Lawrence

Johnny Lawrence: John E. Lawrence, a life long resident of Ypsilanti is one of Michigan’s most talented and respected guitarists. John is now gaining national recognition with the recent contract with Mel Bay Publications, Inc., one of the country’s largest publishers of instructional materials. Among Mr. Lawrence’s many accomplishments is a performance at Carnegie Hall. In addition to touring throughout the United States and performing at Jazz Festivals such as: Boston Globe, New Orleans, and Montreaux Detroit, he has performed in Haiti, Surinam, Germany, and the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

John has made television appearances on three nationally syndicated programs: Kelly & Company, PM Magazine and Good Morning America. He has also performed with Atlantic Records recording artists, Straight Ahead, a Detroit-based female jazz group.

Tad Weed: Tad Weed is a powerhouse of a pianist who recently relocated from Los Angeles to the Midwest. Tad’s discography includes over a dozen CD’s, and he has performed with some of the greatest names in jazz including John Patitucci, Mundell Lowe, Carmen McCrae, Charles Lloyd and Woody Herman. His artistically rich and diverse background allows him to command a wide range of styles, from Be Bop to the Blues, and from Funk to the Avant Garde. He has played concerts, clubs, television and radio around the world, in such exotic places as Brazil and China, as well as Holland, England, France, Germany and Finland. Some of his more noteworthy appearances include The Concord Jazz Festival, The Boston Globe Jazz Festival at Symphony Hall, The Kool Jazz Festival and The Berlin Radio Festival.

Kurt Krahnke: Acoustic Bassist Kurt Krahnke is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, but also studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. He toured the east coast with Ron Levy for two years and then returned to Detroit, where he taught with the Summer Music Program under the direction of Wendell Harrison. Since his return to Michigan, Krahnke has played with Phil Lasley, Jimmy Giuffre, Joe Henderson, Sonny Fortune, Pinetop Perkins, Russell Green, and toured and recorded with Leon Thomas. In 1989, Kurt performed as a finalist in the Hennessey Jazz Search in Hollywood, CA, with the Steve Wood/Brad Felt Quintet. Krahnke played and toured with the acclaimed JC Heard Orchestra from 1986-89 and received the Best Jazz Bassist award from the Metro-Times. Kurt has recorded and played with Paul VornHagen for eight years and continues to serve as a mentor for young bassists in the region.

Sean Dobbins: Sean Dobbins got his start as a sought-after Detroit area jazz sideman at a young age, when he would regularly play with Blue Note artist Louis Smith.

Though still young by jazz standards, Dobbins has amassed an impressive list of playing companions. He has performed/toured/recorded with Johnny Basset, Benny Golson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Frank Morgan, Joey DeFrancesco, George Cables, James “Blood” Ulmer, Paul Finkbeiner, Larry Willis, Rodney Whitaker, Johnny O’Neal, Paul Keller, Tad Weed, Kurt Krahnke, Kelly Broadway, David “Fathead” Newman, Donald Walden, Ramona Collins and Michael Gabriel. Sean’s sound can best be described as hard-driving, solid rhythm with refreshing melodic sensibility. Some of Sean’s influences include Art Blakey, Jeff Hamilton, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Ed Thigpen, Sonny Payne, and also Detroit area greats Gerald Cleaver and Pete Siers.

A product of the Ann Arbor Public Schools, Sean has stayed devoted to education throughout his life. Early mentor Louis Smith, an Ann Arbor Public Schools band teacher, impressed the importance of a good education upon Sean at an early age. Sean is known in his community as a band director, drum teacher and positive influence for many.

Kerrytown Concert House
Full event info

When: 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm

January 20, 2013 – January 25, 2013

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

Extraordinary three course dinner menus and prix fare lunch menus from Ann Arbor’s best restaurants. Experience cuisine that delights your palate and defines the art of dining in Ann Arbor. With nearly 50 restaurants to choose from, now is your chance to discover new restaurants and enjoy favorites at a discounted price. Make reservations early at participating restaurants. Tables fill fast during this great event.

Ann Arbor, MI
Full event info

When: Jan 20, 2013 @ 11:00 am to Jan 25, 2013 @ 8:00 pm


January 24, 2013

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre presents ‘Bedroom Farce’

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre presents the lively comedy, Bedroom Farce, directed by Paul Bianchi, January 24-27, 2013 at the University of Michigan’s Arthur Miller Theatre.

Bedroom Farce, by premier British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, is a wild romp set in the middle of the sexual revolution of the 70’s. Over the course of one Saturday evening, a troubled couple, Susannah and Trevor, inflict their misery on unsuspecting parents, friends, and exes. In three separate bedrooms, sexual tension, marital strife, and hijinx ensue.

“This play is a celebration of the eccentricities of ordinary life,” says director Paul Bianchi. “Even though it is set in London, the plot and humor are universal. The play is not your standard farce; in fact, the original title was Bedroom Farce – A Comedy. Critics were quick to point out that the play is not a farce. There is a lot of physical comedy, but it is the interaction of the characters that drives the plot and the humor.”

The talented cast of Bedroom Farce features Molly Logue as Susannah, Mario Merola as Trevor, Michelle Skrobot as Delia, Roger Kerson as Ernest, Morgan Brown as Malcolm, Emily Caffery as Kate, Jarrod Cassar as Nick, and Ashley Davis as Jan.

Arthur Miller Theatre, U-M Walgreen Drama Center
Full event info

When: 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm


January 25, 2013 – January 26, 2013

The Ark Presents: The 36th Ann Arbor Folk Festival

The 36th Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fund-raiser for The Ark, Ann Arbor’s non-profit home for folk, roots, and ethnic music is Presented by The Ark with the University of Michigan Center for Campus Involvement. The Festival takes place at Hill Auditorium on Friday, January 25 and Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. each night.



Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University, Ann Arbor
Full event info

When: Jan. 25, 2013 – Jan. 26, 2013: 6:30pm each night
Cost: One night: $35-$160, Series: $60-$290

Above was a sampling of the activities occurring in our community during the month of October. Please be sure to check out one of the many events being held during the month and have a good time!

Click here to view community events in Ann Arbor, MI for the month of December.


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