Top 5 venues of 2018

Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 10:20am

5. Rackham Auditorium

Rackham Auditorium is, to me, one of the most exciting event locations in Ann Arbor. While not frequently used for performance events, the hall features ornate ceiling designs and simple ’20s-esque art-deco columns. Rackham is a refreshing and underused reference to the early 20th century American concert hall — a throwback to the era of the big band, the flappers and other pinnacles of American culture.

Sammy Sussman, Daily Arts Writer

4. Hill Auditorium

It’s pretty rare to find a venue that has hosted acts of such varying genres like Hill Auditorium has. From superstar rappers like Logic, to the undisputedly jaw-dropping Czech Philharmonic and everything in between, Hill has been considered one of the most historic and acoustically-sound venues in the state of Michigan for over 100 years. Although Hill primarily hosts performances of large ensembles from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, all sorts of organizations take advantage of this venue, like the University Musical Society and big-ticket productions. From the moment you enter the venue, this massive, uniquely shaped hall takes your breath away even before the performance begins.

Ryan Cox, Daily Arts Writer

3. Literati

I wrote this blurb last year as well, but somehow a new year comes around and I have more to say about this special spot than I did the year before. Every time I step into Ann Arbor's most coveted bookstore, Literati, I discover new things about literature, the world and myself. Located on E. Washington St in the heart of Main Street, Literati is absolutely one of the best corners of Ann Arbor, holding the hearts of students and Ann Arbor residents alike. I simply cannot make a trip downtown without stopping in, picking up a new story or two and getting lost in the magical oasis between shelves.

On any given day, Literati is filled with browsers and students alike looking to study in their quaint and not-so-secret coffee shop. One can pass quite a bit of time in the bookstore’s interior, as the cozy shop is lined with books from wall to wall. The bookshop is one of a handful standing in Ann Arbor, a city which used to be donned a “bookstore heaven” with bookshops independent and commercial filling the town. Today, of the few shops that remain, Literati is the one with the most personality. Literati is unique in its trendy decorations, passionate owner and employees. One of the most special quirks is the now famous typewriter sitting in the basement available for the hands and minds of browsing patrons to run wild. The basement is dimly lit and comfortable, allowing browsers to really get lost in books.

Up the old staircase in the corner is my favorite part of Literati: The coffee shop which easily serves the best coffee in Ann Arbor. Sitting at a window side seat and gazing over the snowy streets below is a wintertime Michigan paradise.

In few words, Literati is one of Ann Arbor’s best kept not-so-secrets. Literati is a place we can all go to get lost in words, find new stories and take journeys we never knew we needed, riding high on the clicks of a creaky old typewriter and cappuccinos.

— Eli Rallo, Daily Arts Writer

2. Power Center

The Power Center is the University's most technically sophisticated performance space. It's home to almost all of the University's biggest and most elaborate productions: musicals and operas galore. Designed by John Dinkeloo and Kevin Roche, former assistants to famed architect Eero Saarinen, the space features a grand glass exterior and a simple, modest interior. (The lobby does feature a tapestry by Pablo Picasso.) The hall seats around 1,300 people, though no seat lies more than 80 feet from the stage. It is an intimate staging ground for the grandest performances the University offers and a proving grounds for the many incredible alumni that have passed through its halls.

Sammy Sussman, Daily Arts Writer

1. The UMMA

The University of Michigan Museum of Art (The UMMA) puts art on the map in an otherwise STEM-dominated research university. It lures both artists and thousands of students who would otherwise never find themselves in an art museum. The UMMA’s Frankel Family wing, finished in 2009, allowed it to triple the works it could display from its vast inventory, while also adding classrooms, a lecture hall and a gift shop. This year, the museum had the privilege of welcoming world famous Chinese artist Xu Bing to the University as part of the Penny Stamps Lecture Series, and it will surely welcome artists of equal acclaim in the future. The various exhibits UMMA displayed in 2018 — Patricia Piccinini’s The Comforter, Paul Rand’s The Designer’s Task and Tristin Lowe’s Under the Influence to name a few — caught our eyes, made us come in to check them out and left us more whole individuals for it.

— Ben Vassar, Daily Arts Writer