For a town as old as Ann Arbor, it has surprisingly few ghost stories. But in the late 1950s, the congregation of the First Methodist Church in Ann Arbor was pretty convinced they had a spirit on their hands. Caretakers sometimes heard footsteps late at night, but never spotted anyone in the church. Until the early morning hours of August 30, 1959, when they made a chilling discovery.
It started on April 30, 1949, when Cupid Bar rebranded itself as The Flame Bar, turning a popular downtown student watering hole into a slightly more popular downtown student watering hole. Almost 50 years later, The Flame would close, shuttering an Ann Arbor institution. It wasn’t Ann Arbor’s first gay bar, and certainly not its last, but The Flame played a major role in the lives of many among Ann Arbor’s LGBT community - for good and ill.
Muskegon claims him because he was born there. Ypsi claims him because, for most of his childhood, he lived in a trailer park on the outskirts of town. But it’s Ann Arbor - along with cocaine, meth, acid, booze, pills, AND ambition - that deserve the credit for turning James Newell Osterberg into Iggy Pop.
On the night of March 20,1966, Frank Mannor’s six dogs started barking like they’d never done before. He went outside to shut them up and that’s when he saw what he saw. Something flying through the night sky. At first it looked like a shooting star, then it slowed. It changed color. And it landed in the woods a few hundred yards from his Dexter farmhouse.
Music by Diego & The Dissidents and The Dead Bodies.
Crime was never a big problem in Ann Arbor in 1935. There were occasional break-ins, robberies, stolen vehicles, assaults, a riot or protest or two, but Prohibition was over and the gangsters and bootleggers had moved on. An Ann Arbor police officer had never been killed in the line of duty, nor even died from a horse, car, or motorcycle accident while on duty. Not even a random heart attack. Until March 21, 1935.
Music by Ben Benjamin, and Aeroc made possible by Gholicense. Additional music by Chris Bathgate.
In 1824, John Allen of New York and Elisha Rumsey of Connecticut bought up 640 acres of prime Michigan land, paying $1.25 per acre. Those 640 acres, purchased in a tiny federal land office in Detroit, would become known as Ann Arbor. This is the story of the founding of Ann Arbor and how the town grew from its ragamuffin roots into what it has become today.
Peter Guralnick, author of the critically acclaimed Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis, brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records.
The music that Sam Phillips shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices passionately proclaiming the vitality of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical day. With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over a 25-year period with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, Guralnick gives us an ardent, unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, or Thomas Edison.
The interview with Peter Guralnick was originally recorded on December 10, 2015.