Last weekend John and I traveled to Ann Arbor for this year's Music Theory Midwest. Unlike the previous two years (2010 post here) that I've attended, I was actually giving a paper. Luckily my anxiety about presenting in front of people whose opinions really matter to me didn't take away from the fun of the conference.
John and I shared a room at the Holiday Inn with Djillian and Bryn, and their two delighful pugs. I didn't get any pictures of the pugs during the trip, but you can see them sitting on John during their visit to our house earlier this year. The brown one in front is Vernon, and the little lady sitting behind him is Prudence.
I always say that MTMW 2009 in Bowling Green was the conference where I learned to open a beer bottle in a door jam - I won't say who taught me, but his/her name rhymes with Jim Vest. This year the hotel had an actual bottle opener installed just outside the shower (not exactly sure why). Someone must have tipped them off.
Ann Arbor's restaurants and breweries really blew me away. I was expecting something similar to Bloomington, which is, of course, amazing. But Ann Arbor is bigger, and closer to a major metropolitan area. I would say it was slightly more upscale than Bloomington, and I mean that as a neutral statement, since upscale isn't always better.
I loved every thing I ate for the three days we were there. On Thursday, John, Djillian and I hit the town while Bryn went to a pre-conference workshop on schema theory. First stop: The Jolly Pumpkin, a brew pub that specializes in sour beer. We ordered a flight, and I thought most of it was so-so (note: you can find out detailed info on all the beers I tried by clicking here). I took some notes on our coaster about each one.
Left to right: Noire ("ok, or meh"), Blanca ("ok"), Oro ("really interesting! tastes oddly like white wine, and is delicious and unusual"), Wheat Grass IPA ("John liked, Abby didn't, tasted like...grass"), Cider ("ok, refreshing").
Next we headed to the Arbor Brewing Co, where we ate dinner twice. The first night, we had a waiter named Don that all three of us instantly wanted to befriend. He accomodated all our weird behavior, even when I asked,
"Can I order the mac n' cheese without bacon?"
"Ok, great, but I was just curious. I don't really want to order it."
My dining companions looked at me like I was nuts. Don was completely nice about it. Over the course of the evening, we learned that the following day was his 28th birthday, and so we vowed to return and ask for his section. But when we arrived, it was already full. Apparently Don is nice to other people, too.
Djillian, photobombing the fight from Arbor Brewing Co.
John and I both liked this flight a lot more than the one from Jolly Pumpkin. My favorite was the Heffeweizen, though they also had a great Double Bock and several others we liked.
My other comment about that place is that every thing on the menu made me drool. I had vegetarian jambalaya the first night, with faux-sausage, and the mac n' cheese the second night. Djillian had some great looking nachos, and John swore that the beer battered tempeh was outstanding - it came to him in his dreams the night he ate it, and not in a bad way. I would go back there now if John handed me the car keys.
We wandered around Ann Arbor pretty much every night we were there, mostly having dessert and drinks, though John did climb into a display window at one point. No one was irritated or harmed.
On Friday night I had a fantastic vegan chocolate-peanut butter cupcake from the Cupcake Station, while John bought a few pieces of candy at Kilwin's. Someone from my past can correct me on this, but I think Kilwin's is the same ice cream/sweet shop where we used to go in Traverse City, MI when I was at Interlochen.
Saturday night was Bryn and Djillian's fifth wedding anniversary, and after a great veg-friendly dinner at Seva, we walked to La Dolce Vita for dessert and after-dinner drinks. I combined the two and had a chocolate-butterscotch martini, but others had desserts that I coveted, including a couple bites of John's tiramisu. We noticed that a couple seated nearby was also celebrating a wedding anniversary, and that the waitress brought them a special treat. After we informed our extremely enthusiastic waitress about Bryn and Djill, she did the same thing: a chocolate raspberry plate scrawled, with two oreo-crumb truffles. La Dolce Vita was a bit fancier than the other places we went, and even had a cigar bar/lounge downstairs that reminded both me and Djillian of our grandfathers.
John made the rounds to a couple of stores with great beer selection, so we had a few drinks in the room, too. I took home a Harpoon UFO (their orange-infused Heffe), which I've had before and loved. We're planning a little beer tasting for next week.*
I don't usually discuss the actual theory of any theory conference when I post here. But I'll close this with a couple fun anecdotes from the weekend that I wrote on my program.
"And here we get a wonderfully continental whiff of Karl Marx." -- Bill Guerin, winner of the 2012 Komar Student Paper Award!! I was so happy to see him win. His paper was excellent.
Abby: Everyone's laughing is irritating me.
John: Your anger brings me great joy.
Bryn: [University of Miami, FL, my new employer] is building a new music building.
Our new friend, Greg: Will they have a pool in the center courtyard, with manatees swimming around?
Side note: getting to meet and hang out with Greg was a highlight of the trip, for sure. He's funny and awesome.
Also, I included a joke in my short bio that Andrew Mead, the session chair, read to introduce me. It said:
Abigail ________ received a bachelor's degree in composition and a master's degree in music theory from Indiana University. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario. Her dissertation applies Foucault's theories of power to the writings of Rameau. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about lighter topics, like George Crumb and death.
Andrew Mead said it was the best bio he'd ever heard, and it got a lot of laughs from the larger-than-I-expected group in the room. Afterward, John said, "Wow, if that bio got such a big laugh, then you guys need more jokes."
*Because that's when OMG Dave and Carla are coming OMG!