Three Ann Arbor podcasts worth your time

Podcast logos for "Behind the Marquee," "Shelf Talking" and "Ann Arbor Stories"; Welcome to Ann Arbor sign and Nickels Arcade (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – If you're anything like me, listening to music on the radio has become a thing of the past. While I still listen to music on my iPhone, most of my driving time is spent listening to podcasts, if I'm not already listening to NPR. I'm very particular about the podcasts to which I subscribe, mainly because if I'm listening every week, it means another commitment, much like selecting a new show to watch or picking up a book, or book series, to read. I'm happy to report that three local podcasts have made the cut among my ever-expanding list: "Behind the Marquee," "Shelf Talking" and "Ann Arbor Stories." Haven't heard of these? Now is the perfect time to subscribe. 

"Behind the Marquee" 

Hosted by Nick Alderink, the digital media specialist at the Michigan Theater, "Behind the Marquee" is the Michigan and State Theatre's new podcast that looks at the latest movie news, happenings at the Michigan and a general movie insider discussions among the Michigan Theater staff. While the guests rotate each week, Caitlin Drzewiecki, manager of the Cinetopia Film Festival, has appeared on every episode thus far to promote the films being shown at this year's festival. It's a fun podcast to say the least, as listeners get the perspective of professionals working at an independent theater, their take on how the films that come through are programed and, in a more general sense, each of their film tastes, ranging from independent, foreign and even silent films, to more mainstream movies like "Avengers: Infinity War." Each episode closes with Alderink asking everyone to share their "Movie Magic Moment of the Week," which is always fascinating to hear. It's a very easy podcast to binge and catch up on, as currently there only seven episodes (counting a special bonus segment) and most of them clock in at around the 30 to 45 minute mark. 

Favorite episode so far: "Diving Into The Art House Convergence And MoviePass" 

"Shelf Talking" 

Hosted by bookseller Sam Krowchenko, "Shelf Talking" is Literati Bookstore's official podcast that features recordings from recent in-store events alongside exclusive interviews and content. If you're a book lover, you need to listen to this podcast immediately. The author interviews are always an engaging listen, and the insight that Krowchenko brings to each episode is nothing short of pure delight. The debut episode of "Shelf Talking" featured, fittingly, debut (and soon to be debut) authors, across a variety of genres, including: interviews with novelist Brit Bennett and violinist Edward Dussinberre, and readings from novelist Derek Palacio and poet Jordan Zandi. The first episode also includes Krowchenko's conversation with fellow bookseller Lillian Li about her favorite fiction debuts, as well as recent customer dispatches from the store typewriter (a favorite of ours). By far my favorite segment thus far has been a tie between local author and librarian Annie Spence reading some of her love letters to books from her book, "Dear Fahrenheit 451," and Maile Meloy (author most recently of of "Do Not Become Alarmed") discussing one of my favorite movies of 2016, "Certain Women," which was adapted from three of Meloy's short stories. Her thoughts and insight on the differences and similarities from story to finished film are beyond wonderful to listen to. Both segments in appear in my favorite episode, listed below. 

Favorite episode so far: "Literati Goes to the Movies"

"Ann Arbor Stories" 

Hosted by Richard Retyi, "Ann Arbor Stories" is the one podcast of these three that we're fairly certain you've at least heard of. The podcast is a must for anyone who loves history and quite honestly just fun stories about Ann Arbor's past. Retyi researches the library archives and creates the stories from there. The podcast has become so popular that Retyi wrote a book of the same name, about which we interviewed him back in December. The podcast serves as a fun, at times twisted look into our beloved city, but is always entertaining thanks to Retyi's unique style and voice. Of the the three podcasts we're recommending, this one's been going the longest, with 47 episodes in the can to catch up on. While the stories themselves range from dark to hilarious, it's safe to say you never know what to expect next, which makes the excitement for a brand new episode build that much more. For instance, here's the description of one of my favorite episodes -- one of the earlier ones but still a fascinating listen: 

The two girls were peculiar, even for Ann Arbor in 1971. They looked college aged, maybe they were hippies. Nothing outwardly weird, but something definitely strange. They stood a few feet apart, face to face on the corner of State and Liberty. Some said they were looking at the moon. Others said they just stared at each other. Stared for hours and hours that cold November night. This is the story of those two peculiar girls. And one tragic night in November in 1971.

Favorite episode thus far: "It's Lovely to Die Together"

What are some of your favorite local podcasts? What did we leave out that you think we should have included? Let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you and add your recommendations to our listening list. 

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