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September 12, 2013 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-12

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t w,.1 (1

4B - Thursday, September 12,;2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Each week we take shots at the biggest
developments in the entertainment world.
Here's what hit (and missed) this week.,
Van Gogh's sur
ontmajour (1888) acc
as an authentic after
than a century of dout
two years of p
Britney s new single,
"Work Bitch," leaked *
before the release of
snippets of her new :i
album, Work Bitch,
out Sept. 16.

4

Better watch Saul
AMC has a licensing
agreement for "Break-
ing Bad" spinoff, with
the working title
"Better Call Saul."

40

Design by Nick Cruz

GRAFFITI
From Page 1B
"It's not a shady area to me,"
Boening said. "Not from what I've
been around."
After Boening leaves to look for
a different shooting location on
State Street, a handful of Universi-
ty students meander through, Ins-
tagramming photos and sketching
in their notebooks. As the sun
shines and people pass happily on
the street, it certainly doesn't look
like the sinister space some make
it out to be.
But the night tells a slightly dif-
ferent story. With Necto Night-
club and Scorekeepers Bar and
Grill just across the street, a slew
of interesting characters can be
found smoking (possibly ciga-
rettes) just outside the clubs. A
man asks a group of bar-hoppers
for money, while a girl crosses to
the other side of the street to avoid
the scene.
There are groups of panhan-
dlers crowded on various cor-
ners on both sides of East Liberty
Street. At around 11 p.m., as the
party at Necto starts to populate
and people congregate around the
alley, it's easy to see why business
owners would be worried about
the effect the area would have on
their business.
But after the groups move into
Necto, the street is relatively quiet.

are out only pass through on their
way to or from Washington Street.
For Naser Ras, a manager at
Hommus Express, and Doreen
Sun, a manager at TK WU, the
alley poses no problems to their
businesses, which operate primar-
ily during the day.
Sun, who has been a manager at
TK WU for 10 years, said though
she personally has never had bad
experiences with panhandlers
or rowdy teenagers, the owner
of Rocky Mountain Chocolate
Factory, which closed at the end
of March and was located right
next to the alley, used to complain
about the effects of the alley on
her business.
"We have alot of homeless that
come to our store to buy food, but
I don't think it's a problem," Sun
said. "It doesn't bother us."
The space previously occupied
by Rocky Mountain Chocolate
Factory is currently unoccupied,
but will soon house Tamaki, a cus-
tom sushi restaurant.
Ann Arbor City Councilmem-
ber Sabra Briere (D-Ward 1) wrote
in an e-mail interview thatthe city
has worked closely with human
service organizations in the past
couple years to combat homeless-
ness in the area, as well as provide
support to those facing addiction
and mental health issues.
In a2011interviewwithAnnAr-
borcom, Briere said "there's a
certain lawless nature to the
ara" Now how~evehinshave

improved and Briere even receives
proposals to hold art exhibits in
the alley.
"A couple of years ago, I was
hearing that there were people in
need of help - and in denial that
they needed help - who demand-
ed money from those just walking
through," Briere wrote. "Have the
alleys changed? I think so."
A complex public space
Briere and others have taken
strides to ensure that all residents
and visitors of Ann Arbor feel
safe in the streets. But for some,
the very fact that the alley makes
people uncomfortable is reason to
celebrate it.
Over the years, Nick Tobier, an
associate professor in the School
of Art & Design, has watched the
State Street area transform from
a place that housed mostly local
businesses, to one overrun with
national chains and corpora-
tions. Tobier, whose work focuses
on public art, said Graffiti Alley
offers the city a refreshing break
from the corporatized America
that can be found in any town.
"I think that Graffiti Alley
helps contribute to the sense of
an eccentric place," Tobier said.
"It's really necessary in a complex
city to have places that are, I don't
mean deviant in a bad (way), but
I mean slightly apart from main-
stream consumer culture."

0

NICHOLASWILLIAMS/Daily

LSA junior Waseef Ahsan and LSA senior Saif Hassan take a rest from the heat.

panhandlers and teenagers who
make some local business owners
and residents uncomfortable are
a direct result of the State Street
changes. He said it's inevitable
that people will gravitate towards
"unbranded corporate-logo spac-
es" like the alley.
That's not to say Tobier endors-
es crime. On the contrary, he
and many other artists advocate
for the space as a way to make
sure everyone in the city has the
chance to say something or to

way.
"I'm all for safe streets; I don't
want people to feel vulnerable,"
he said. "But teenagers feel vul-
nerable. They need to feel like
there's a place where they can
leave their mark or they can do
their own thing without some-
one shouting at them."
With the rejection of the pro-
posed art millage on last Novem-
ber's ballot - which would have
provided funds for public art
installation projects such as

by the suspension of the Percent
for Art program, the future of
public art in the city remains
unclear.
In Tobier's eyes, Graffiti Alley
can help fill the void and pro-
vide Ann Arbor with a necessary
place for expression in a public
setting. He said Ann Arbor has a
ways to go in improving itspublic
art scene in all different scales.
"The reflection of a complex
society is a complex public space.
You need all types of things to be

"

LSA juniors Han Yu and Jose Gomez admire the alley on a late night stroll.

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