Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

House fire in Detroit.
Dave Hogg / Flickr

"Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus."

 "We Hope for Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes."

Fr. Gabriel Richard wrote that after a tremendous fire in 1805 that destroyed most of Detroit.

Those words from the French-Canadian priest became the motto of city - a city whose history is filled with many different kinds of fires.

Michael Jackman spells out this history in his story for The Metro Times.

Listen to our conversation with Jackman below.


Today on Stateside:

  • More economists are telling us that the gap between the haves and the have nots is growing in America. Michigan State University economics professor Charlie Ballard joined us to talk about this.

  • The holiday shopping crush is about to begin. We talk with two marketing professors about the psychology behind Black Friday.

  • Michael Jackman spells out the history of fire in Detroit for his story in The Metro Times.

  • How is it that Michigan has the largest Muslim population in the United States? Sally Howell, an assistant professor of history and Arab American studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn explains.

Bazzy Family Collection / University of Michigan

    

It's widely accepted that Michigan has the largest Muslim population in the United States. Sally Howell explores the religion's history in Michigan in her book Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past.

Islam has a long history in America that is often overlooked. Howell says many Muslims came as slaves from West Africa to pre-civil war America with no freedom to practice their religion, and many of their traditions were lost.

illustrations by Patrick McEvoy and graphic design by Carl Winans / http://www.folktellerstories.com/

The Nain Rouge. Detroit's little red hobgoblin. The harbinger of doom and disaster.

The legend of the Nain Rouge goes back to the very earliest days of Detroit's history as a French settlement.

Now, the story of the Nain Rouge is being told through a series of fiction books, a graphic novel and a planned short film. Josef Bastian is the writer and creator of the Nain Rouge Trilogy and the Nain Rouge Graphic Novel. Bastian is a partner in Folkteller Publishing with Carl Winans, who is a producer and digital story-teller.

The "Taxi House" in the Heidelberg Project.
Heather Phillips / Flickr

Another fire has been reported at the Heidelberg Project in Detroit.

The "Taxi House" was burned inside and in the rear, according to the Detroit News. The paper reports it's the 12th fire in 18 months at the Heidelberg Project.

Security cameras and security patrols were put in place in the last year after a string of arsons struck the project.

Lauren Abdel-Razzaq of the Detroit News reported that Tyree Guyton, the artist behind the decades-old installation, was sweeping up outside the burned house on Sunday afternoon.

More from the News:

Although the art installation's brainchild wasn't saying much about the fire, he was sending a message by standing out front of the house cleaning up what he could: He's standing strong and not going anywhere.

"Mother Teresa said, 'what you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build it anyway,' " Guyton said. "That's all I want to say."

He declined to say whether any suspects have been spotted on the organizations security cameras. 

After the string of arsons, the Cultural Landscape Foundation has listed the Heidelberg Project as "among the most endangered in the United States."

MSU's Broad Art Museum.
user ranti.junus / Flickr

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University is teaming up with an Istanbul-based art organization on an exhibit that explores student debt in higher education.

The exhibition entitled "Day After Debt: A Call for Student Loan Relief" will be installed in spaces throughout the East Lansing museum from Sunday through April 12. The Broad is working with Protocinema on the project initiated by Kurdish artist Ahmet Ogut.

Museum officials say the exhibition responds "to the debt culture that has grown around the demand for higher education" as well as "the pressures that it places upon graduates."

Organizers say the works include a collection box composed of shredded U.S. currency and a transparent plastic bag accompanied by a humorous hierarchy of donation levels.

Eggcorns are not food for squirrels.

They're reinterpretations of words or phrases that sound like the originals – as in "Would you care for some holiday (hollandaise)  sauce on that turkey? And be sure to try the cold (cole) slaw."

Another eggcorn stirred an Internet hissy fit recently: "firstable," meaning "first of all."

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/yes-firstable

The post asks "What has the Internet done to our brains?"

Can blame the Web for this?


user memories_by_mike / Flickr

 Welcome back to ArtPod, the arts-obsessed home for Michigan’s movie, music and book lovers.

Here’s what we're talking about right now:

1)      Matt Jones. The Ypsilanti indie-rocker with a cult following, a great new album (arguably his best yet) and a serious Civil War obsession. We’ll talk with him about alcoholism, getting through a self-destructive phase, depression and making great music with people you love.

2)      But first, let’s go back to a story that was just cool and different and got some press in the papers but nothing that really did it justice.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

ArtPrize, the big art competition in Grand Rapids, announced Thursday it’ll debut in Dallas in 2016.

But the real news isn’t Dallas so much. It’s that there’s talk of even more competitions in cities across the country. And it means that ArtPrize in Grand Rapids will make money from licensing the brand to those cities.

In ArtPrize, the public votes for the winner. Juried prizes are awarded too. Those juried prizes have been getting bigger each year. Winners get cash. More than $500,000 was awarded to the winners this fall.

Shervin Lainez

 

Tony Lucca has had long and fruitful show business career, from becoming a finalist on the second season of NBC’s “The Voice,” to his early start as a Mouseketeer in the 1990 season of The Mickey Mouse Club.

The Waterford native talked to us about how his Michigan roots have influenced his music and what he has planned for his show Saturday at the Magic Stick in Detroit.

Listen to our conversation with Lucca below. 


http://www.letsmove.gov/

As Stateside goes tableside, let’s talk about how we talk about food! Why do the words "foodie," "delish," and "yummo" drive some people crazy? Margot Finn is a lecturer at the University of Michigan, specializing in food and popular culture.

Finn says she finds it interesting that people would take offense to certain food words such as "nom" or "yummo." Finn thinks it could be a result of trendy or edgy people rejecting a word when it becomes more widely used in pop culture.

Finn says there's a long history of food as status symbol. The snobbery and elitism foodies are accused of may have roots in the use of food to confer status.  Listen to our interview with Finn below.


Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Matt Jones is a singer/songwriter from Ypsilanti. He’s also a big Civil War nerd. The Civil War inspired many of the songs on his latest album, called "The Deep Enders."

Today on Stateside, Matt Jones on how the history of the Civil War influences his work.

Tune in at 3 p.m. to hear Jones on the show.

One big influence, he notes, is the relationship between Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. When General Jackson died in 1863, General Lee was forced to think about how he was going to fill that hole in his life. Jones’ song, "Bountymen," explores this theme of losing someone or something and not knowing how you’re going to replace it.

"The Darkest Things," another song from "The Deep Enders," was the first song Jones wrote for the album.

Jones says this song stems as much from his own personal struggles as well as the Civil War.

Flickr user hildgrim

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, a holiday based around food and our American roots, we decided to take a look back at how American food and eating has changed throughout the 20th century. 

Chris Cook, chief restaurant and wine critic at Hour Detroit Magazine, joined us to talk about how Americans have gone from the simplistic food of the 1930s to the sophisticated restaurant scene of today.

During the 1930s and throughout World War II, Cook says the United States relied on uncomplicated foods like sandwiches and canned vegetables to make it through shortages and rations.

Heather Merritt / etsy

Lots of people daydream about ditching their jobs and doing something they truly love.

Heather Merritt is someone who did just that.

Merritt’s workday used to happen inside of a jail. She worked as a substance abuse therapist helping inmates with their addictions. These days her “work” happens at thrift stores, at artisans markets and inside her art studio.

But the leap from therapist to artist happened accidentally. Kind of. Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris has this profile:


Meg / Flickr

Think about the days when you had no Internet. No Food Network. No Epicurious. None of those websites where you can find any recipe in an instant.

In those pre-Internet days, food-lovers and cooks would find themselves turning to Gourmet.

The magazine was launched in 1941 and it folded in 2009.

The University of Michigan has a new exhibit on the magazine and, among other things, it features one issue from each of Gourmet's 69 years of publication.

Janice Longone joined us today. She's the adjunct curator of culinary history at the University of Michigan and the donor of an enormous collection of cookbooks, magazines, menus and more.

Listen to our conversation with Longone below:

In Shakespeare's day, if you fell out of favor with someone, you could say that you "fell out of that person's books."

University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan says the expression goes back to the 16th century. Shakespeare used it in "Romeo and Juliet."

"It's when Romeo kisses Juliet, and Juliet says, 'You kiss by the book.' It's possible to read that in a couple different ways," Curzan says. "One is that she's totally smitten, and he kisses in the best way possible, as what you would read about in a book.

Paige Pfleger

In a city like Detroit, urban art and outdoor art installments have become a way to beautify neglected spaces. The alleyway between the Z Garage, called The Belt is one of the most recent spots in Detroit to get a facelift — it has been turned into an outdoor gallery where international, national, and local urban artists have contributed murals and graffiti pieces.

Ron, East Side Riders
Corine Vermeulen / Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts

A new Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit features stories of Detroit residents through portraits taken around the city.

The DIA commissioned Dutch-born Corine Vermeulen to photograph people in diverse communities for the exhibit that opens today and runs through May 17, 2015.

Vermeulen took photos of hundreds of Detroit residents in temporary portrait studios and asked them questions about their current and future vision of Detroit. 

The DIA says the exhibit includes more than 80 photographs from the sessions, including portraits of students, protesters and even custom-bike enthusiasts.

One such custom-bike enthusiast is "Ron," a member of the East Side Riders. Along with having his portrait taken (pictured above), Ron shed some light in an interview with Vermeulen on the reactions he and his fellow East Side Riders have received:

“I mean it was different reactions, some people laughed. A lot of people laugh when they hear the radios on the bike. They go, ‘I can’t believe that’s no radio on there.’ When they get up close, they be like, ‘that’s real nice. That’s real nice.’ But they were just laughing at us. But we still have fun. We just keep it moving. East Side. Keep moving.”

For more portraits and interviews, check out the Detroit Institute of Arts website.

- Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Between 40,000 and 50,000 classroom kids watched a live high-definition web stream of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra today, according to the DSO.

The symphony says it’s the first concert of its kind, reaching kids across Detroit and Michigan.

Paul Hogle is the DSO’s executive vice president.

"I think there's an opportunity for us to do this for hundreds of thousands of students,” he says, "because the Detroit Symphony Orchestra could become America's orchestra for educational concert programming."

Bonnie Westbrook / Flickr

The Urban Relocation Project after World War II created one of the largest movements of Indians in American history. The idea was to lure Native Americans to big cities, where jobs were supposedly plentiful.  

A new project will collect the stories of the urban Native American experience in West Michigan. It's called Gi-gikinomaage-min, which translates to "We Are All Teachers." 

Belinda Bardwell is with the Grand Valley State University Native American Advisory Board and a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Levi Rickert is also a member of the GVSU Native American Advisory Board. They joined us on Stateside today.

Bardwell and Rickert say project has some urgency because Native American communities are quickly losing elders, and it's important to preserve their stories and knowledge so younger generations can learn from their past.

Rickert says his grandparents moved to Grand Rapids for better opportunities, and in his family’s case, the move was positive. His sister graduated from the University of Michigan and became the first Native American dentist in the country. This is in contrast to his grandfather, who Rickert says had a fourth-grade education.

Bardwell says her mother experienced racism while growing up in Petoskey, and moved to Detroit before finally moving to Grand Rapids, where Bardwell was raised.

The public is invited to attend a campus dialogue on Wed., Nov. 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at GVSU's Allendale Campus. You can get details on the events calendar here

*Hear the full interview above.

The Queen of Soul at President Obama's inauguration.
Cecilio Ricardo / U.S. Air Force

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Christopher John Farley, the Queen of Soul spoke about the success of her recent album, her thoughts on current and past “divas,” and negotiations over her upcoming biopic.

Farley had a broad list of questions, which brought us to some awkward places when Franklin made it clear she didn’t want to discuss some things.

The use of “auto-tune” by some singers was something to which Franklin hadn’t given much thought. Farley wanted to know what Franklin thought of younger artists using the device.

AF: “What is auto-tune? I don’t even know what auto-tune is.

WSJ: “It’s a kind of way of electronically adjusting your voice ..."

 AF: “Oh, please.”

WSJ: “…so it doesn’t sound pitchy - it doesn’t sound wrong…”

 AF: “Oh that’s ridiculous.”

Other interview highlights:

  • Farley asked about Franklin considering the ballet as a career choice – “I love the ballet.”
  • About her thoughts on Nicki Minaj – “Hmmm. I’m going to pass on that one.”
  • Her thoughts about President Obama’s performance in office – “It’s really not for me to say.”
  • About her upcoming biopic – Franklin can see Jennifer Hudson or Audra McDonald playing the role.

You can watch the interview here:

pixabay.com/en/users/Jordy-106920/ / pixabay.com

When you think of catching some good improv comedy, your first thought might be Chicago's famed Second City where John Belushi and Bill Murray graced the stage.

But there's a thriving improv comedy scene in the Detroit area.

PJ Jacokes, co-founder of Go Comedy Improv Theatre of Ferndale, and Margaret Edwartowski, executive director of Arts at the Y and a board member of Planet Ant in Hamtramck, explain why Detroit is poised to be the next big thing in comedy.

You can listen to our conversation with PJ Jacokes and Margaret Edwartowski below:


Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas made their television debut on David Letterman last night.

The band, which hails from southwest Detroit, performed their song "Sorry I Stole Your Man" from their album "Secret Evil."

The group was well received, and at the end of the performance Letterman said, "Wow, that's tremendous! That's it, no more calls! We have a winner ladies and gentleman, right here! Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas!" 

You can watch their performance here: 

Frontier Ruckus Portrait
Sean Cook

Michigan's own Frontier Ruckus have made their mark in the re-emergent folk-rock world that has allowed them to tour nationally and internationally.

Today the band releases its newest album - Sitcom Afterlife.

Emily Fox talked to band members Zach Nichols and Matthew Milia about some of their favorite moments of their musical career. Recent highlights include playing festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, along with touring Europe six times. 

Frontier Ruckus' sound has changed over the years. Their earlier albums had an intimate, raw, acoustic sound. Their latest album sounds more produced and throws in some electronic instrumentation. Their roots still show though, often with lyrics and references that invoke nostalgic imagery of growing up in Michigan.

*Listen to our conversation with Frontier Ruckus above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan icons are among those being singled out for a special honor.

Longtime congressman John Dingell and music legend Stevie Wonder don’t have a lot in common.  But they are being recognized as national treasures.

The White House announced Monday Dingell and Wonder are among the latest recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

The White House press office says Dingell is being honored for his lifetime of public service:

A little over a hundred years ago, Americans created a few more ways to say "yes."

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says "yes" is an old English word that goes back about a thousand years. 

 "At the end of the 19th century, we start to see these new versions of 'yes' show up in the U.S.," Curzan says.  "'Yep' is first cited in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1896. In 1905, we have 'yeah' show up, and in 1906, 'yup,'" Curzan says. 

And today, especially on social media, we see lots of "yeps" and "yups." Do they mean the same thing?

DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts is $1.6 million closer to its $100 million goal for its share of the Grand Bargain.

And it's also closer to having a new gallery to display its extensive collection of Japanese art.

Nineteen Japanese auto suppliers that operate in Michigan, and three Japanese trading companies, are donating a total $2,167,000.

75% of that money will go towards the DIA's Grand Bargain contribution, and 25%  will help the DIA establish a new Japanese art gallery.

Sho Ueda is head of the Japan Business Society of Detroit. 

http://www.laclabellemusic.com/

Lac La Belle is an acoustic duo that's bringing music of Appalachia and early Americana to the Motor City.

Stateside’s Emily Fox sat down with the duo to talk about their latest album.

You can listen to their conversation here:


ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids
Rich Evenhouse / flickr user

The artists who display their works at ArtPrize each year all have a shot at winning the top public or jury vote---and prize.

But there's another possibility: the chance to sell your work to Ripley's Believe It or Not and have it wind up in one of their museums around the world.

Edward Meyer joined us. He's VP of exhibits and archives for the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museums. He's been buying art for Ripley's for three decades.

*Listen to our conversation with Meyer above.

Saying you have "a lot" of something is pretty boring.

But when you say you have "gobs" of fun, you're painting a more interesting word picture.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan did some snooping into the background of the word "gob," and found it's borrowed from old French. 

"It comes into English in the 14th century, referring to a mass or a lump," Curzan says. "You'll see that today as in a gob of spit or a gob of mud."

By the 16th century, gob in the plural was coming to refer to a lot of something, as in gobs of money or gobs of food.

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