The Alternative Press: Then & Now

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November 18, 2015 at Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

AADL hosts a fun and wide-ranging conversation with several local alternative press leaders about their experiences running an alternative press. Discover what motivated them to start and how their missions may have changed over the course of their runs; the technological and financial challenges; how the Internet and social media have altered the landscape; and their views on the role of the alternative press in our communities then versus now.

Panelists include:

Harvey Ovshinsky (Moderator): Harvey started The Fifth Estate when he was 17 years old. It has become the longest running alternative newspaper in the country, and is about to celebrate its 50th birthday.

Ted Sylvester and Laurie Wechter: Ted and Laurie founded Agenda in the 1980s and ran it through the 1990s. Agenda was an independent, non-aligned newspaper that served Ann Arbor and nearby towns as a forum for the area’s many liberal/leftist activist groups and nonprofit human service organizations.

Barbara Barefield: Barbara worked on alternative newspaper The Ann Arbor Sun in the 1970s. The newspaper was the mouthpiece for the White Panther Party and the succeeding Rainbow People’s Party before being an independent publication devoted to local issues, left-wing politics, music, and arts.

Dave Askins: Dave, with Mary Morgan, ran The Ann Arbor Chronicle from 2008-2014. The Ann Arbor Chronicle was an online newspaper focusing on civic affairs and local government coverage.

If you want more information about these publications, The Ann Arbor District Library hosts the online archives of Agenda, The Ann Arbor Sun, and The Ann Arbor Chronicle and you can view past issues of Agenda and The Ann Arbor Sun at Old News and past articles from the Ann Arbor Chronicle at the Ann Arbor Chronicle Archive.

Length: 1:15:56
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
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The Alternative Press: Then & Now


 

AADL Talks to: Barbara Barefield

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November 18, 2015 at 4th Floor Meeting Room

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aadl_talks_to_barbara_barefield.mp3

Barbara worked on the alternative newspaper The Ann Arbor Sun in the 1970s. The newspaper was the mouthpiece for the White Panther Party and the succeeding Rainbow People’s Party before being an independent publication devoted to local issues, left-wing politics, music, and arts. In this interview, Barbara talks about her days working on The Sun, how a newspaper actually came together in the days before computers, and the relationship between art and social justice.

Length: 00:29:42
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


 

An Interview with John Sinclair and Leni Sinclair

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April 1, 2011 at Chrysler Arena and the Bentley Historical Library

On April 1, 2011, in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, AADL staff had the opportunity to interview John Sinclair and Leni Sinclair at both Chrysler Arena and the Bentley Historical Library. For more information, interviews, historical audio, photographs, and essays, visit Freeingjohnsinclair.org.

Length: 01:39:59
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library


AADL Talks to Kathy Kelley

Kathy Kelly moved into the Hill Street houses when she was very young, but she recalls her life there as a member of the White Panther Party as a positive, life-changing personal experience and social experiment. Kathy talks about daily life in the commune with her friends and colleagues, some of the events she participated in, including the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, as well as her apprenticeship as a graphic artist under legendary rock poster artist, Gary Grimshaw. Kathy's experience with the White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party led to a successful career in art direction for publishing with magazines such as Chicago, Outside, CREEM, and most especially in educational publishing with Weekly Reader Corporation and Scholastic.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Kathy_Kelley.mp3 26.3 MB

AADL Talks to Doug Harvey

In this episode, former Washtenaw County Sheriff Doug Harvey shares his memories of the turbulent 1960s in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. He recalls some of the personal, political, and law enforcement challenges he encountered during his years as sheriff - from the 1966 UFO sightings and the South University Riots, to the Coed murders and the John Norman Collins case. He also responds to some of the controversy surrounding his reputation and he speaks candidly about the community leaders and colleagues he admired during these years - and those he did not.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Doug_Harvey.mp3 48.78 MB

AADL Talks To Commander Cody

George Frayne, aka Commander Cody, formed Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in 1967 while attending the University of Michigan. We had the opportunity to chat with George backstage at the Ark before the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally (Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen performed at the original Rally in 1971). George spoke about the formation of the band, his memories of some of Ann Arbor's musical hot spots, as well as his introduction to boogie-woogie piano, to pot, and to John Sinclair and the White Panther Party.

For more information on Commander Cody, visit commandercody.com and oldnews.aadl.org.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Commander_Cody.mp3 22.86 MB

AADL Talks To David Fenton

While he was in town during the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, we had the chance to sit down with David Fenton, CEO and founder of fenton.com, about his time in Ann Arbor during the late 1960s and early 1970s. During these years David lived at the Hill Street Commune, worked on the Ann Arbor Sun, and helped with the campaign to free John Sinclair. David discusses Sinclair's influence on his personal and professional life; reflects on the excesses - both good and bad - of the countercultural movement as he experienced it, and its legacy 40 years later in its modern counterparts, including moveon.org and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

David also participated in our panel discussion, Culture Jamming: A Long View Back.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-David_Fenton.mp3 24.8 MB

AADL Talks To Wayne Kramer

While he was in town for the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, Wayne Kramer, lead guitarist and co-founder of the seminal Detroit/Ann Arbor band, MC5, sat down to talk with us. Wayne discusses the early years of the band and the influence of jazz, Sinclair, and Detroit culture on their music. He also talks about his troubles in the years following the band's dissolution; his current work with Jail Guitar Doors and fondly recalls the concerts in West Park.

Read more about Wayne Kramer and the MC5 at oldnews.aadl.org and freeingjohnsinclair.org.

Photo by Robert Matheu

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-Wayne_Kramer.mp3 24.8 MB

Culture Jamming: A Long View Back - A Panel Discussion With John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker

On December 10, 2011, the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, AADL invited former White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party members John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker to the Michigan Union for a panel discussion moderated by Professor Bruce Conforth of the University of Michigan Program in American Culture. These five panelists, central to the actions and ideals surrounding Ann Arbor's late-1960s counter-culture, reflect on what they called their "total assault on culture" during the late 1960s and early 1970s - what worked, what didn't, and what it means today.
View the video here or in other formats.

Photograph courtesy of Barbara Weinberg Barefield.
(Click image for a larger view.)

AADL Talks To: John Sinclair (May 3, 2011)

In this interview from May 3, 2011, John Sinclair elaborates on the importance of black culture and, in particular, the Black Panther Party, in the formation of both the White Panther and Rainbow People's Parties in Ann Arbor; as well as the more humorous and theatrical elements of their antics during those years. He also reflects on his brother David Sinclair, his ex-wife Leni Sinclair, White Panther co-founder, Pun Plamondon, and artist Gary Grimshaw.

Attachment Size
AADL_Talks_To-John_Sinclair2.mp3 29.65 MB
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