Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

People who feel drawn to a comeback story are moving to Detroit bring their narrative and point of view to what the city is all about.

But sometimes these narratives and views of Detroit come from outsiders. 

Writer and critic Aaron Foley decided it was time to give the visitors and the newcomers a dose of Detroit realism.

His new book pretty much says it all: How To Live In Detroit Without Being a Jackass.

You’ve probably heard of the word eavesdropping, but what about the word easedropping?

“Eavesdropping can be easy, which is why some folks now refer to the act of listening in on other peoples’ conversations as easedropping,” says University of English Michigan Professor Anne Curzan.

Is this an act of lexical wrongdoing? Or is it, perhaps, a stroke of creative genius?

Post office in Kingsford, MI
Lucy Blair

Even in these days of email, Skype and FaceTime, we all know the purpose of a Post Office: to sort and deliver “snail mail.”

But Lucy Blair wanted to dig deeper. She and her wife Lina wanted to know what story the post office building tells about the community, and the people who depend on it.

We all admit to being a rabble-rouser once in a while, but no one wants to be a part of the rabble.

It’s even built into the language.

After all, how often do you see the word rabble without the word rouser attached to it?

“Not very often at all,” says University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

Much like some people, there are words that just don’t like to hang out on their lonesome.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

When composer Todd Machover asked Detroiters to send in sounds of their city to help create a "sonic portrait" of Detroit, he wasn't expecting 15,000 submissions.

But that's what he got.
flickr user Gunner's Pixs /

The Venice Biennale is considered the world’s top tier architecture show, and the city of Detroit will be in the spotlight when it opens next May.

That’s because the focus of the U.S. exhibition will be Detroit. The exhibit’s co-curators are Monica Ponce de Leon and Cynthia Davidson.

University of Michigan

Have you noticed that there are two pronunciations for the articles “a” (“uh and “ay”) and “the” (thuh and thee)?

Do you pronounce the word “often” with or without the “t”?

In this Stateside interview we explore pronunciation issues with Anne Curzan, University of Michigan English professor and co-host of That's What They Say along with Rina Miller here on Michigan Radio.

If you attended a symposium in the 18th century, you likely did so with an "adult beverage" in hand.

Now, the word symposium strikes a different image: a group of academics talking research, nary an "adult beverage" in sight. Why the change of heart, academia?

Our own resident academic, University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan, is at hand to provide some needed insight into the language of academia.

The Art Gallery of Knoxville/flickr /

Emerging artists in Michigan may wonder: "How do I get the attention of an art critic? How do I get someone to write about my work if I haven't gotten to the point where I can mount a show?"

Lori Waxman, art critic for The Chicago Tribune, understands the challenges for artists trying to get honest feedback of their work.

In a rare event, Waxman will review any artist's work, no matter the skill level.

9-11 veterans: Jamaine Atkins, Sherman Powell, Russ Dotson (top, L-R), Cassie Michael, Curtis Gibson, Andrew Hunter (middle), Eric Fretz, Cody Barnhart, Brendan Lejeune (bottom).
Mark Brush, Paula Friedrich, Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The United States military is currently involved in the longest period of sustained, armed conflict in our nation’s history.

Yet only around 0.5% of the U.S. population is on active military duty.

Contrast that with 9% of the U.S. population who served during WWII, and you can understand how there’s been a growing gap between those who haven't served in the military and those who have.

Listen to how these post 9/11 vets from Michigan describe some of the more awkward interactions they’ve had with people:

Neal Steeno

When soldiers are sent into war, they often leave a chunk of their hearts and souls on the battlefield.

They may make it home, but part of them remains tied to that far-off battleground.

Tim Keenan of Traverse City lived with that hole in his heart and soul for more than 40 years. He was a 20-year-old infantryman in the fall of 1967 when he was dropped into the frontline fighting in Vietnam at Dak To.

Bennett / Ashlee Kristin Photography


The Grand Rapids based band Bennett is releasing their second EP Friday called A Moment’s Time.



When it launched in 1958, the 729-foot SS Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest ship sailing the Great Lakes.
user Greenmars / Wikimedia Commons

Of the thousands of shipwrecks that fill the Great Lakes, most people can name only one: the Edmund Fitzgerald.

It’s the last and the largest ship ever lost on the lakes.

This week marks 40 years since the Fitzgerald and its 29 crew members went down in Lake Superior.

But even this many years later, the story still captivates the public’s imagination.

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald in May of 1975.
Bob Campbell / NOAA

I had a friend I never met in person.

His name was Mike Simonson and he was a reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio based in Superior.

Mike and I spoke often by phone when he filed stories for the Great Lakes Radio Consortium – the predecessor of The Environment Report.

Mike had done a lot of interviews and research on the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He spoke with many people who are still personally connected to the ship. He was our “go-to-guy” whenever we looked back on the sinking.

MSU's Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum viewed from Grand River Ave
Wikimedia user Dj1997 /

Michigan State University’s Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum is hard to miss.

The steel structure looks like some kind of strange spaceship among the traditional ivory-covered brick buildings around it.

November 10 marks the museum’s third birthday.

In his story for Lansing City Pulse, Larry Cosentino spells out the reasons the Broad is at a crucial time in its young history.

food, leftovers
Kathleen Franklin/flickr /

The Great Depression really marked the golden age of leftovers.

They were meant to be slipped into a pot pie, suspended in a jello ring, buried in a casserole or a meatloaf.

There's a lot to be learned from studying Americans' relationships with leftovers.


The new indie film Superior is set in the summer of 1969, as two lifelong friends grab their bicycles and set out on a 1,300-mile journey around Lake Superior.

The Grand Rapids Symphony is asking musicians to make more concessions in contract talks
flickr user Steven Depolo /

These are challenging times for one of Michigan’s symphony orchestras.

The Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians is still trying to come to a contract agreement with the Grand Rapids Symphony. Its  four-year contract expired at the end of August.

But the musicians continue to play as bargaining goes on. They’re trying to regain some of what they gave up to keep the symphony afloat during the Great Recession.

U.S. troops almost buried by parcels do their best to handle the holiday mail, ca. 1944
Public Domain

If ever there was a case of love at first sight, it happened on January 17, 1942 at a dance in Asheville, North Carolina.

On that night, 21-year-old Billee Gray met 28-year-old Private Charles Kiley, and after just a couple of weekend dates, they knew they were meant to be together.

It wasn’t long before Charles was shipped off to fight in World War II, but the two stayed in touch and forged their love through hundreds of letters.

Charles and Billee’s daughter, son, and son-in-law have brought these letters together in a book: Writing the War: Chronicles of a World War Two Correspondent.


Beginning this week, the massive art collection of billionaire Michigan businessman Alfred Taubman goes up for auction.

Alfred Taubman died in April. He was 91.

Taubman’s art collection, which spans centuries and styles, reflects the man who collected it over many decades.

“He was a renaissance man,” says Alexander Rotter, the head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s. “And he just collected what he thought was great … what he liked.”

Dorothy is a listener with a problem: The misusage of the words hung and hanged is killing her sanity.

For Dorothy, it seems like many people can’t tell the difference between the two words to save their lives. But, as it turns out, the distinction may be just that simple.

“The verb hang has two past tenses,” says University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan, “one of which is lethal.”

EAST TAWAS, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard is proposing to shut down a Lake Huron navigational aid in East Tawas.

  The light is mounted in the Tawas Point Lighthouse. The Coast Guard says it will replace the classical Fresnel lens with a modern optic light signal that will be placed on the Tawas Point tower, which also supports a fog signal.

  The lens will be removed.

Emmanuele Coltellacci / flickr


When Zach Saginaw plays electronic music, he goes by the name Shigeto. He was born and raised in Ann Arbor and has performed across the globe.


Armenians being deported from Turkey ca. 1915.
flickr user Narek /

Dan Yessian is one of the most prolific and respected composers of commercial music.

His Farmington Hills-based company has clients all over the world.

You’ve heard his tunes helping to sell everything from Little Caesars Pizza to Chevy, Cadillac, Chrysler, United Airlines, Lexus, Ikea, and so many more brands.

But it’s safe to say his latest musical undertaking is especially close to his heart.

"Fearless. Fresh. Made in Detroit.”

That's the motto of the Detroit Public Theatre, whose mission is to produce theater with top writers, directors, and actors in Midtown Detroit's growing cultural district.

The Detroit Public Theatre's inaugural season begins Friday at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Stateside's Cynthia Canty spoke with Courtney Burkett and Sarah Winkler, founding co-artistic directors. 

What comes to mind when you think of something being "full of teeth?" For many people, it’s probably a creepy image, like a shark’s mouth or a root canal. But as it turns out, the English word “toothsome” means the opposite.

“It’s a good thing,” says University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

To understand why, we may have to rethink our understanding of the word “tooth.”

More than 2,000 "Rosie the Riveters" helped recapture the Guinness World Record at the Willow Run Bomber Plant Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Renee Tellez.

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP – A group that's preserving a portion of a Detroit-area assembly plant where Rosie the Riveter once worked as a museum may have regained its "largest gathering of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter" record.

WDIV-TV reports that 2,097 "Rosies" were captured Saturday in an official photo at the Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti Township.

They dressed like the image used to recruit female industrial workers during World War II with blue coveralls as well as red bandannas with white polka dots.

Replica of the Epiphone Texan played by Paul McCartney. McCartney played a right-handed Texan modified for left-handed play.
Wikimedia user CasinoKat /

The Beatles’ Yesterday is widely considered one of the most iconic songs of all time.

On the track, you can hear Paul McCartney playing his famed Epiphone Texan.

For nearly four decades, the Epiphone has sported a Red Wings decal, all thanks to Mike Kudzia of Clinton Township.

Kudzia tells us he was just swinging by Olympia Stadium the night of the Wings concert in 1976 to pick up a paycheck when his coworkers invited him to stay for the rest of the show.

“It was a great show, I was really enjoying it,” he says. And then he was struck with an idea.

Courtesy of Flint Eastwood

Flint Eastwood has a new EP out this week. It’s called Small Victories.

The music was recorded at Assemble Sound, a repurposed church in Detroit.

Bandleader Jax Anderson says the studio played a huge factor in determining the sound of this new collection of songs.

On Assemble Sound

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Michigan TV stations may sign off the air next year, for a price.

Mobile phone companies need more space in the broadcast spectrum to meet the public’s growing demand.

To meet that demand, the Federal Communication Commission plans to auction off TV frequencies next year.