austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

And I loved you from that moment on

While the museum had closed it was still early in the evening and we had nothing particular to do in Ann Arbor. A Sunday evening, mind, so most stuff was closed or closing, including record shops. While walking to the Dawn Treader we passed the newly-renovated-and-reopened State Theater, and the less-newly-renovated Michigan Theater, both your classic sidewalk movie palaces and a thing sorely missing from the Lansing area. Outside the Michigan a woman talking with the person changing the marquee letters asked us to name some Woody Allen movies. bunny_hugger offered, I think, Manhattan Murder Mystery while I showed my baser impulses and said Take The Money And Run. Somehow we got the idea she wanted more, and we named the obvious candidates --- Sleeper, Annie Hall, Broadway Danny Hall --- before I finally thought of the really obvious one, The Purple Rose of Cairo. Jeff Daniels is from Ann Arbor suburb Chelsea, Michigan, and runs a theater by that name there, so it's the local favorite and we were both surprised it took us that long to get there. I'm still not perfectly sure what the woman was hoping to prove; possibly that middle-aged white people still know of Woody Allen's work from before it was generally known that eeeeergh.

The Dawn Treader was not closed, although it was getting there. In the shop I discovered way more Gil Thorp comic strip collections than I imagined were printed. Also the 1991 Science Fiction Fan Directory, a telephone book-like listing of everything science fiction fans might need, including a list of used or SF bookstores across North America, so yes, I looked up the Dawn Treader and learned that in 1991 there were two Dawn Treaders in Ann Arbor.

After closing out the Dawn Treader we walked back to ... the State Theater, which wasn't showing anything we wanted to see. But we did go into the Urban Outfitters that once, decades ago, had been the theater's first floor and main entrance and all that. It'd been years since bunny_hugger was in it, and this was my first trip in. And inside ... well, it was mostly an Urban Outfitters. But in the back you could see where the stage had been; the proscenium was even still there, albeit painted a uniform and unintrusive color. The location of the former balcony --- now the whole theaters of the State --- was also obvious, and we realized that some of the tile up front sure looked like the ghost of the theater's old lobby.

For dinner we went to the China Gate restaurant. It's, in appearance, one of your classic styles of Chinese restaurant, the sort with a bright dining room and a counter for your take-out orders and the grid of dusty, faded pictures that all kind of look like the same dish. What stands out about it: all the posters in the window about their chef winning major international cooking competitions. Also that their award-winning chef used to be bunny_hugger's neighbor, years ago. That particular chef is, we hear through the rumor vine, not often at that restaurant anymore. But ... well, the food is great. The restaurant may have gone a decade without winning a major international cooking award but who could hold that against a spot? I'm not sure when we last had tofu that good and so if you need Chinese food in Ann Arbor this is our vote.

From there to Pinball Pete's Ann Arbor (it's almost across the street), where we found some of the old Lansing Pinball League posters that first made us aware competitive pinball had come to the place a few blocks from our house. Many of the pinball machines had been moved or swapped out. To our mixed delight there were two late solid state games moved in, both classics: Whirlwind on which bunny_hugger put up her best game ever and Earthshaker on which we both put up our best games ever.

We also discovered a flock of people converging on the alcove these games were in, with a computer assigning pairs and people choosing who'd go first and the like. It turned out there was an informal little pinball league that meets there. A group that's chosen consciously not to be part of the International Flipper Pinball Association's world. We had no idea there were such things (obviously), but it's wonderful to see. We haven't joined it, not for fear of wasting our pinball energies on stuff that can't affect rankings; more just that we've been so busy the last couple months we haven't even been able to consider it.

Trivia: The 34 medals that the United States won in the 2002 Salt Lake City games were 21 more than the United States had ever won before at a Winter Olympics. Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.

Currently Reading: Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection, Catherine Price.

PS: Back to the Zoo!


Another look at the Pinball At The Zoo trophies, plus Vector and Boomerang, the daily tournament games, in the background. The water bottle is just a water bottle.


Daily trophy, made with an ancient pop bumper on top.


A bunch of people playing their qualifying games. Note the wide-stanced, weirdly-leaning BIL playing Genesis, knowledge of which would lead me to my second-place finish at Pinburgh three months later.

Tags: ann arbor, pinball at the zoo

Posts from This Journal “ann arbor” Tag

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