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February 08, 2007 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-08

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6B - Thursday, February 8, 2007

(the b-side}

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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TASSI
From page 1B
told him he's an actor now.
Finally, every year there has to
be at least one film during this bleak
period that throws some solid-
action into the mix. Last year it was
"V for Vendetta" and before that
"Sin City." This year we have "300."
An adaptation of Frank Miller's
graphic novel about 300 Spartans
fighting a million-man army, the
film is being dismissed already by
some as a purely masochistic, chau-
vinistic male fantasy. And since I'm
definitely one, and probably both of
those things, you can bet I'm look-

ing forward to it.
Are you really going to walk to
that party on Prospect and South
Forest with the wind chill at minus
20? No way. Gosee a movie. Even
if most of them are awful, you can
at least walk out exclaiming, "Did
you see that guy get rocked by that
Nazi's chainsaw?" or "Who knew
werewolves could be so sexy?"
Sometimes a truly bad movie can
be just as much fun as a good one.
And if you believe that, we've got a
whole lot of fun ahead.
- Tassi doesn't really livej
that far from the Daily. E-mail
him at tassi@umich.edu.

Firefly Ann Arbor's
go-to jazz joint

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By ANDREW KAHN
Daily Arts Writer
Ann Arbor boasts a venue for
pretty much every scene you could
wish for. But few carry as much
weight as The Firefly Club, locat-
ed on 207 S. Ashley St. The club
has hosted legends such as Diana
Kroll, Wynton Marsalis and Harry
Connick, Jr. as well as a variety of
local acts. it was recently selected
as one of Downbeat Magazine's
100 Great Jazz Clubs, and the
Detroit Free Press called it "metro
Detroit's finest all-around jazz
club."
Astonishingly, one woman is
behind all of this: Susan Chastain.
Chastain is the owner and man-
ager of The Firefly Club, but on any
given night she might be making
phone calls to book acts, working

the door or even cooking in the
kitchen, often times some com-
bination of the three. Oh yeah -
she's on stage singing three nights
a week, too.
"I hustle all the time," the
affable owner said. "Sometimes I
take my apron off and go right on
stage."
This has prompted members
of the Paul Keller Ensemble, with
whom she sings, as well as regu-
lar attendants at the club to shout
out a five-minute warning so
Chastain can prepare to take the
stage. "She's a one-woman show.
I've never seen anyone work as
hard as she does," said University
Ombudsman Robert Holmes said.
Chastain wasn't a singer, or even
a huge fan of jazz, before she took
over the club (formerly The Bird of
Paradise) in 2000. But she quickly

The place to go for that red-hot devil jazz.
fell in love with the culture.
"Jazz was born here (in Ameri-
ca)" she said. "It is woven into the
fabric of our lives."
Her affinity for the music shows
at the Firefly.

JI
hz
O

"What separates us from other
jazz clubs is that we are a listening
room," Chastain said. "We don't
have any 22-year-olds scream-
ing at each other over their cell
phones. We respect our musicians
and we respect the art of jazz.
When we have a big national act in
there, you can hear a pin drop in
that room."
The Firefly, open seven nights
a week (which is rare), charges a
cover every night and therefore
attracts the more serious jazz lis-
teners. While the club does draw
younger couples with children and
college students for certain events
(like the popular Sunday night
hip-hop shows with DJ Graffiti),
A joint for nights
both barn-burning
and mellow.
much of the crowd is typically
in their 40s and up. Friday eve-
nings, which feature Dixieland
Jazz ("the happiest music in the
world," according to Chastain),
are especially well attended by the
seniors.
But The Firefly provides some-
thing for everyone. Paul Keller's
15-piece big bang plays on Mon-
days and his sextet hits the stage
on Wednesdays. Along with the
aforementioned hip hop and Dix-
ieland, on Thursdays people can
take a salsa dance lesson and then
stay for the performance by Latin
band Los Gatos - all for $5. In
fact, most of the weeknight events
are under $10.
"The price can not be beat,"
Holmes said. "It's the best value in
town." Well-known national tour-
ing acts that normally cost you $50
in New York City go for half that at
The Firefly.
Chastain has made The Fire-
fly Club a stopping point for the
biggest names in jazz and wants
to continue the trend. "I want to
focus on older players - from the
'40s, '50s, '60s - I'm trying to get
them in here so our jazz fans can
hear them before they die."
University students often sub
in the regular bands and there is
even the occasional jam session,
making The Firefly a great venue
for serious student musicians.
Chastain is in the process of
booking acts for May and June and
has some events planned for Wom-
en's History Month in March. So
be sure to check out The Firefly
because on any given night. Any-
where between $3 to $7 will score
you a great evening of jazz.

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