After a very busy morning, we stopped at the Metro Cafe at the corner of Detroit and Catherine. As we tucked into our lunches (a very tasty black bean burger for me), Christen McArdle, the Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival gave us a great presentation on that annual event.
I had heard of the Festival, of course. It's kind of hard for even the most hermit-like computer programmer to miss any mention of the annual week-long event. What I didn't realize, though, is that the Ann Arbor festival is the second oldest experimental film festival in North America! They just celebrated their 45th anniversary this year and they are already planning for number 46 (set for March 25-30, 2008).
Unfortunately, not all is joyful in the world of experimental film. Apparently, state politicians, playing to their conservative constituencies have cut funding to the Festival, including $20,000 which had already been allocated for this year. Apparently they relied on a vaguely-worded statute which allowed them to label some of the films as "pornographic" and therefore deny the funding. Now, I guess that they have a right to do that (though the Festival organization is fighting the statute), what I find alarming is that the legislators in question didn't even see the films.
So, this state of affairs has left the Festival in a hard place. They are now having to dedicate much more of their time to raising funding from other sources. Still, they are pressing onward, determined that they will make it to their 50th anniversary and beyond.
After lunch we headed over to the athletic campus where we learned about the various developments with the University sporting events. In Ann Arbor, you might say that there are one or two people who are interested in Wolverine football or basketball. Michigan has a veritable plethora of other teams, though, which many people don't pay as much attention to.
Maybe they should.
According to our host, Michigan softball now ranks 3rd and Michigan baseball is number one in the Big 10. In fact, I would be surprised if anyone guessed that the winningest coach in Michigan history is the softball coach, Carol Hutchins (though she maintains that it's just because she's played a lot of games).
The next time you are in the mood for watching some live sporting action, you might want to check out some of the "other" teams around Ann Arbor. Have fun!
Tomorrow: Music and creativity.
So, have you seen any of the "other" sporting events available through the University?