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Posted on Thu, Jun 30, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Chris Bathgate, the return of Strange Fruit, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off,' and more

By Staff

Tonight is Day 12 of Top of the Park, the popular, free (donations welcome) outdoor happening featuring music, movies, kicking back, running into friends, and a variety of other attractions.

Each day in cooperation with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival—which presents Top of the Park as well as main-stage ticketed events— is publishing a rundown of the night's happenings. Here's an overview of tonight's schedule, followed by a more detailed look at the events and attractions:


6:30-8 p.m. - KidZone - kids activity tent
6:30 p.m. - Nervous But Excited - indie folk
7:30 p.m. - Strange Fruit - aerial dancers
8 p.m. - Chris Bathgate - folk-pop
9:30 p.m. - Strange Fruit - aerial dancers
10 p.m. - Movie: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"


Nervous But Excited - 6:30 p.m.
Michigan-based, pleasantly aggressive folk duo Nervous But Excited are Kate Peterson and Sarah Cleaver, two talented young women who achieve powerful harmony and unique beauty singing genuinely crafted stories with three guitars, a mandolin, a banjo, a ukulele, a harmonica and a glockenspiel. Road warriors to the core, their endless passion for connecting with audiences and sharing their craft has landed them on stages with folks like Ani Difranco, Iron and Wine and Utah Phillips. Their live show will bounce you through a variety of emotions, always keeping you guessing which is next.
Read a 2010 feature story on Nervous But Excited
Performing since: 20055.
Home base: Ypsi.
Style of music: Pleasantly Aggressive Folk ( aka hardcore harmony).
Members: Sarah Cleaver: vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, glockenspiel, bass, harmonica; Kate Peterson: vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele, glockenspiel, mandolin; Susie Giang: bass, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, keys; Murray Stewart-Jones: drums, percussion, harmonica and vocals.
Back story behind the band's name: it was a happy accident that made our hearts go pitter patter in nervous excitement.
Day jobs: being mostly excitedd.
Favorite road food: homemade to-go goodie bags.
Favorite stage outfit: something bright and breathable.
Musical heros: Paul Simon and Patty Griffin.

Strange Fruit - 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Strange Fruit, the hard-to-describe Australian troupe that entertained crowds at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival in 2007, is back this year for a return appearance. Tonight features the first two of six performances of a work called "The Three Belles" from the troupe of aerial acrobats/dancers who work on giant swaying poles. Performances are also scheduled Friday and Saturday. For more information, see this article from or the Summer Festival website.

Chris Bathgate - 8 p.m.
Prolific singer/songwriter Chris Bathgate writes songs that reel you in with the honesty and intensity found in his voice, lyricism, and musical depth. Working in the same vein as Sufjan Stevens,Will Oldham and Damien Jurado, Bathgate's heartfelt compositions have earned him a strong local following. His new release is "Salt Year" (Quite Scientific, 2011).
Read a feature story on Chris Bathgate
Performing since: 2005.
Home base: Ann Arbor.
Style of music: indie folk.
Members: Samantha Cooper (fiddle/vocals/drums), Graham Parsons (guitar/drums/lap steel), Dan Haefs (drums), Keith Kinnear (bass), Ross Huff (trumpet), Jeremy Peters (trombone), Chris Bathgate (guitar/vocals).
Day jobs: Musicians/engineers/troubadours.
Favorite road food: Prunes.
Favorite stage outfit: Pearl snap shirts.
Musical hero: Matt Jones.

Movie: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" - 10 p.m.
1986, PG-13, 103 minutes: John Hughes directs this '80s classic starring Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, the clever and charming high school student who takes the day off school to prove "you can never go too far." After tricking his parents into believing he's sick, Ferris convinces his reluctant best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) to take his father's prized Ferrari convertible for a spin. They pick up Ferris' girlfriend, the lovely Sloane (Mia Sara), and take on downtown Chicago—all the while trying to outsmart and outrun the hilarious Dean Rooney. Featuring a prescient cameo by Charlie Sheen. Note: The Ann Arbor Film Festival will screen two shorts films from its archive before the main feature.


KidZone - 6:30-8 p.m.
As described by the festival, "An interactive area for our youngest concert-goers, the Kidzone tent provides a fun and safe area for children and their parents to discover and explore a wide variety of hands-on activities with different community partners. From getting temporary tattoos, creating homemade instruments, or jamming out rock band style, KidZone offers different nightly activities for families at Top of the Park. Open nightly ‘til 8:00 pm."

Special note — free wifi:
New this year, in partnership with 20/20 Communications is providing free public WiFi access utilizing WiMax services broadcast from the top of Tower Plaza at Top of the Park for the duration of the 2011 Summer Festival. Look for the Public WiFi SSID and get connected!

Top of the Park takes place in front of the Rackham Building on East Washington Street. In addition to the daily entertainment, a variety of local food vendors will also be on hand each night. For more information, see the Summer Festival website, and watch for complete coverage of festival events.

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