Talking about the blues with Bruce Conforth, discovering found film with Frank Uhle, and allowing Jim Cherewick just be himself …on this weekend’s Saturday Six Pack


I don’t know how we do it, but, for a little AM radio show in Ypsilanti, we continue to book incredible shows. Saturday evening, starting at 6:00, we’ll be joined in the studio by musicologist Bruce Conforth. Perhaps best known as the founding curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Dr. Conforth, an accomplished musician in his own right, is both a noted blues historian and award-winning American Studies professor. Among other things, I imagine that we’ll discuss his recent book, African American Folksong and American Cultural Politics: The Lawrence Gellert Story and his ongoing research into the life and work of Robert Johnson. [Conforth currently sits on the Executive Board of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation, in addition to being the Director of the Blues Heritage Foundation.] I also suspect that, somewhere along the line, we’ll discuss his early years in the New York folk scene and the politics surrounding the launch of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Oh, and I’m told he’ll be bringing his guitar with him, so I imagine we might also hear a song or two, and perhaps a live demonstration of regional blues variants.

Then, after Conforth, we’ll be joined in the studio by Frank Uhle, the man behind Sunday’s Festival of Found Films from the Vault, which is scheduled to run from 2:00 to 5:00 PM at Bona Sera. Here, with more on the event, is a clip from a recent article that ran in the Ann Arbor District Library’s online arts and culture magazine Pulp.

In the summer of 2015, the University of Michigan sold more than 7,000 instructional films owned by the Askwith Media Library to the public. The films had been used in campus classrooms from the 1940s to the 1970s and represented a variety of forgotten media formats – including 16mm and VHS. The collection was unique in its subject matter and scale, but having digitized the titles, U-M sold the films to gain shelf space.

Local film lovers, collectors, and treasure-hunters flocked to the sale, seizing the opportunity to own these rare films. Some shoppers lamented the loss of such a sizable collection; the films would now be spread among many owners and would not be preserved as a group. But no one could deny the price tag, as film prices started at just $1. So, film cans and VHS tapes were carried home by the armful and the collection was dismantled.

And that was it – until now.

A local Ann Arborite, Frank Uhle, has coordinated an amazing opportunity to see the films from this collection reunited on screen. The Festival of Found Films from the Vault will be a celebration of 16mm films purchased at the U-M sale. Uhle is calling out to all those who shopped the sale, and asking them to bring their best purchases to be screened together…

And that’s what will be happening on Sunday at Bona Sera, where Frank will be projecting 16mm films like 1951’s Improve Your Personality [embedded below] and the completely bewildering My Snowman’s Burning Down to an all-ages crowd.

And, after our discussion of found films, we’ll be joined by our old friend Jim Cherewick. We haven’t been all that nice to Jim lately, and I intend to make it up to him by allowing him to do whatever he wants for a entire segment. [The last time Jim joined us was the night that The Patti Smith Group’s Ivan Kral was on, and I didn’t let him say a single word. And, the time before that, we forced him against his will to perform the Ted Nugent song Fred Bear.] I’m told that, among other things, Jim will be performing two brand new tracks, and attempting to sell me a piece of artwork for the lobby of 209 Pearl Street.


Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of

And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes.

One last thing… If you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about the program, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.

And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and leave them at one of your favorite highway rest areas.


And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please copy down this number and slide it into your sock – 734.217.8624 – and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show is nothing without you.

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  1. XXX
    Posted April 16, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Please tell me that Frank won’t be showing Pink Slip at Bona Sera.

  2. Kit
    Posted April 16, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    You didn’t mention it, but Bruce was also the director of Jewel Heart Center for
    Tibetan Culture and Buddhist Studies in Ann Arbor for a number of years.

  3. Eel
    Posted April 16, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Jim also suffered the indignity of having to perform a Monkey Power Trio song. Let’s not forget that.

  4. Brian Bruxvoort
    Posted April 16, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Would be interested to hear Bruce’s thoughts about Steve Miller’s recent induction speech.

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