arts & entertainment
The Intergalactic Nemesis
Ann Arbor Summer Festival hosts theatrical experience
that mashes up sci-fi radio drama with comic books.
I Contributing Writer
her assistant tracking down a story that
leads them to the mountains of Eastern
Europe. They're talking to the reporter's
atching segments of The
source when the source is assassinated.
Intergalactic Nemesis is like
"A mysterious stranger grabs the assas-
looking at a giant-size comic
sin and yells at the two to run for their
book page by page while hearing the
lives because they've stumbled on the
dialogue spoken by actors and being
story of the century"
immersed in sound effects enhanced by
The idea for Intergalactic Nemesis
came out of a theater project planned by
Jason Neulander — producer, director
Salvage Vanguard Theater, an Austin-
and writer — thinks of these shows as
based company started by Neulander.
indulging his inner 12-year-old.
Launched as a radio play,
Anyone with an inner
the production was invited
12-year-old — or anyone
to a large theater, but it was
just curious about live-action
decided that the venue was too
graphic novels — can see the
big for the format. Neulander,
troupe's Michigan debut when
to accommodate the space,
The Intergalactic Nemesis Book
came up with the idea of pro-
One: Target Earth is performed
jecting comic-book artwork.
as part of the Ann Arbor
"I think that any theater
Summer Festival starting at 5
production is best when the
p.m. Sunday, June 30, at the
whole is greater than the sum
Power Center in Ann Arbor.
of its parts" says Neulander, a graduate of
It will be among the Mainstage events
Brown University in Rhode Island.
at the festival, in its 30th year and run-
"What's cool about this show is that
ning June 14-July 7. New and returning
each of the parts is quite simple, but
acts have been scheduled for the Top of
when they're put together, they become
the Park entertainment (see sidebar).
an experience that transcends any of the
"This is an adventure story set in the
elements, whether images, voices, sound
1930s and inspired by Raiders of the
effects or piano"
Lost Ark and Star Wars as well as what
Neulander, who grew up in New Jersey
inspired them" says Neulander, 43, in
with parents working from home as they
a phone conversation from his Austin,
developed houses, has built a private life
also working from his residence. He and
"We project the artwork from the
his wife, an apartment consultant, are
graphic novel version of the story that I
available for their two daughters.
wrote, panel by panel, without word bal-
"I got cast in a school play when I was
loons so there are 1,250 individual, full-
in second grade, and that kicked off my
color, high-resolution images projected
excitement about theater" Neulander
on a movie screen.
says. "When I was a kid, I thought I
"The plot setup has to do with a
would be an actor. I got the inclination
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and
to start directing when I was a senior in
"After graduation, I came up
with the idea of starting a the-
ater company that would be by,
for and about my peers at the
time. That would be educated
people in their 20s.
At Salvage Vanguard
Actors tell the story accompanied by sound effects and
Theater, which is a nonprofit
large comic-book projections.
still going, I developed and
produced more than 50 world
premieres, plays, musical and operas. I
was there about a decade and a half"
Although Neulander collaborates with
a writing partner, Chad Nichols, his
individualized writing responsibilities
have to be carried out where there will
he Ann Arbor Summer Festival has sched-
be no interruptions.
uled numerous acts June 14-July 7, with
Looking back on regularly attend-
its ticketed Mainstage series held at both the
ing temple services and moving on to
Power Center for the Performing Arts and Hill
Auditorium and free Top of the Park activities at
host seders, he feels part of the group of
Jewish writers known for creating diverse Ingalls Mall.
Mainstage acts are listed below by dates. The
Top of the Park, with concerts and films, also
"Chad and I write a radio script,
will feature Tangle, an interactive elastic-weaving
coming up with an outline together
event created live by children and their families,
and dividing up the scenes," Neulander
explains. "I adapt the script into the com- and Superhero, an interactive projection mapping
ic-book format and then the live-action
graphic novel format"
For a complete schedule, performance descrip-
The second segment of the series, Book tions and ticket information, call (734) 764-2538
or visit www.a2sf.org .
Two: Robot Planet Rising, is on the road,
and a third is in the works.
"I live a dream life Neulander says.
"I plan for fans of adventure stories and
unique forms of theater"
June 18: Django Django, an Edinborough
The Intergalactic Nemesis Book
One: Target Earth will be pre-
sented at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 30,
at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher,
in Ann Arbor. $10-$35. (734) 764-
2538; www.a2sf.org .
"I look forward to my first visit
to Israel. Music is a universal
language that is meant to unify
audiences in peace and love, and
that is the spirit of our show," said
popular African-American singer
Alicia Keys, in response to requests
from novelist Alice
Walker and oth-
ers that she join
a cultural boycott
of Israel. However,
Keys said that
she will keep her
make her first trip
June 13 • 2013
to Israel and play Tel Aviv's Nokia
Arena on July 4.
Michael Zegen, 30, will join the
cast of the HBO series Girls next
season. Zegen previously appeared
on Rescue Me and played gangster
Bugsy Siegel on HBO's Boardwalk
Empire. By the way, the New York
Times just reported that fashion
designer Zac Posen, 32, grew
up near Girls creator/star Lena
Dunham, 27, and went to the same
Brooklyn private school she attend-
ed. Her parents hired him to take
her to and from school and babysit
her until they came home. She
cites him as an important mentor.
"Mel-mania" continues. A couple
of weeks ago, PBS's American
Masters series broadcast the first
documentary about Mel Brooks
made with his cooperation. (It can
be viewed online now.) On June 6,
the American Film Institute hon-
ored Brooks, 86, with its Lifetime
Award. The cer-
is always fun
to watch, will
on TNT on
15, at 9 p.m.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, with
the New Orleans Bingo! Show
June 22 - 23: Les 7 doigts de la main
(Seven Fingers), a contemporary circus com-
pany, with its new show, Sequence 8
Pink Martini, a retro-pop ensemble
fusing Cuban, classical and Brazilian sounds
June 29 Snap Judgment, a live presenta-
tion of the NPR show and its musical brand of
The Intergalactic Nemesis Book
One: Target Earth (see accompanying story)
July 2: Amadou & Mariam, world music
superstars known as the "Blind Couple from
July 4: The Capitol Steps, comedy troupe
whose song parodies and sketches lampoon
both sides of the aisle
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte
Carlo, the all-male ballet company specializing
in hilarious twists on the classics
July 6: One Radio Host, Two Dancers: Ira
Glass, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, the
This American Life host and an evening of sto-
ries and dance
- Suzanne Chessler