Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

BLISSFIELD, Mich. (AP) - A former canning company site in southeastern Michigan has been selected as the future home of an agricultural history museum.

  The Daily Telegram of Adrian reports that the Blissfield Village Council approved leasing land to the Agricultural Awareness & Preservation Museum board of directors.

Third Coast Kings

The Third Coast Kings is a seven member funk and soul band from Ann Arbor.

Sean Ike is the front man of the band. When he’s on stage, he commands your attention. You will almost always see him jumping and dancing around his microphone, dressed in a brightly colored suit, shooting deep stares to the audience and occasionally wiping the sweat that drips off his shaved head with a hand towel he keeps nearby.  

“If you give us five or six songs, if you are at least not tapping your foot, they should check your pulse or we’re doing it wrong,” Ike says.

Not only do the Third Coast Kings draw people to the dance floor across Michigan, they also have a large following in Japan.

 

Curfews have always been about keeping us safe. What has changed is what we’re being kept safe from.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the word "curfew" has a long history that goes back to fire.

"The word first comes into English in the 14th century from Anglo-Norman, and the root of it is the word 'cover' and the word 'fire,'" Curzan says. "And for people who know French, 'couvrir' and 'feu' –  and that gives us curfew."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Before dawn this morning, five Satanists erected what they call a "snaketivity" on the east lawn of the state Capitol.

A fake snake coils its body around the display, which features the phrase “The Greatest Gift is Knowledge.”

Jex Blackmore is with the Satanic Temple of Detroit. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This holiday season, two very different religious beliefs will be on display at the state Capitol in Lansing.

A small crowd sang Christmas carols outside the state Capitol today. They were there to see a small nativity scene erected. The figures of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph will stand in stark contrast to a display featuring a snake that Michigan Satanists plan to put up on Sunday. 

Billy Strings and Don Julin

If you haven't heard of Don Julin and Billy Strings, then you probably haven't been hanging around Traverse City. 

Priscilla and Larry Massie

If you're dashing around trying to take care of your holiday to-do list, it might be time to think back and remember a time in Michigan when a bowl of oyster stew was your Christmas dinner and a $1.75 pair of gloves took care of your Christmas gift for the wife!

Ali Lapetina / Michigan Radio Detroit Journalism Cooperative

One thing that strikes us about Detroit – as the city teetered on the brink of insolvency, then entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, and finally, last week, officially emerged from bankruptcy – is that life in the Motor City goes on.

We asked photographer Ali Lapetina to take her camera all over the city in a single day, and shoot pictures from before sunrise until after sunset. What she captured is exactly that: the life that keeps beating in Michigan's oldest and biggest and most complicated city.

Here are some of the people who remain in Detroit after the bankruptcy is over, and will be part of its future.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A plan to shrink the size of the Carriage Town historic district in Flint is running into opposition from people who live in the neighborhood.

Carriage Town is located just across the Flint River from the city’s downtown core. It’s a mix of neatly restored, large single-family homes and blighted buildings.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The nearly $10 million renovation of the Cascades Falls in Jackson begins Monday.

The colorful fountains were built during the height of the Great Depression. The Falls was the brainchild of William Sparks, who made a fortune from car horns and radios. The Falls is modeled on a fountain in Barcelona, Spain. 

Those little questions we ask at the end of sentences to confirm what we already know are called "tag" questions – because they tag onto the end of a sentence to turn it into a little question at the end.

It could be something like, "You can speak Chinese, can't you," where you get that little confirmation question at the end.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says we also get invariant tags, like "You can speak Chinese, right?"

Curzan says the tag "right" shows up in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1939.

Sander Rabinowitz

Bill Bonds, an iconic Detroit broadcaster who also worked for ABC stations in New York and Los Angeles, has died.

His longtime employer, WXYZ-TV, reported that the former reporter and anchor died Saturday after suffering a heart attack.

Bonds had worked for the ABC affiliate from 1963 to 1968, then returned in 1971. The station terminated Bonds' multi-year contract in 1995 following a drunken driving arrest.

Born in 1933, Bonds was inducted in 2010 into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Last year, the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented him with an award in recognition of his long WXYZ career.

Bradley S. Pines/www.bonniejocampbell.com

Bonnie Jo Campbell is a big-deal writer who has won some fancy awards, including a Pushcart Prize, and she was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in fiction. Poor and working-class rural women are at the heart of many of her stories. Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris recently got a chance to ask her why she writes about these women.

Campbell is putting the finishing touches on her next book of stories. It will be called "Mothers, Tell Your Daughters," and will be published next fall.

    

Today on Stateside:

  • The Michigan Supreme Court has decided some 52 cases this year and dealt with judicial misconduct, but we will soon see a change in the bench. Justice Bridget Mary McCormack joined us.
  • Kevyn Orr is expected to resign on Wednesday after signing the order sealing Detroit’s bankruptcy. Daniel Howes with the Detroit News wrote a column indicating Orr’s tenure as Detroit’s emergency manager could have been a lot more divisive.
  • Mean and hostile comments seem to be everywhere, and on every online story. Cliff Lampe is an associate professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He’s worked with little outfits such as Facebook and Wikipedia, studying community engagement. We talk with him about snarky comments in the digital age.
  • It has been two years since the Michigan Legislature passed the right-to-work law in the lame-duck session. What effect has the new law had on the state? We talk with Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group, and Charles Ballard, an economics professor at Michigan State University. 
  • On Dec. 14, 1799, the nation’s first president, George Washington, died at his home in Mount Vernon. It was not an easy death primarily because of the medical treatments he was given. Dr. Howard Markell is a physician and medical historian at the University of Michigan and he’s written an essay about Washington’s death.
  • To get high school students more excited about woodworking, an industrial arts teacher and a gym teacher got together and came up with a new kind of class. Kids can make their own longboard, skateboard, surfboard, snowboard, or skis. The class at Forest Hills Eastern High School in Grand Rapids is called Gone Boarding. We talk with shop teacher Bruce Macartney and gym teacher Bill Curtis.

*Listen to the full show above.


 

One of the books making many of the best books of 2014 lists was set largely in Michigan. But a book about life in Michigan after a pandemic might not be what you want to read when you are sick.

 

I found this book when I was Up North on a rainy weekend with only 100 pages left in the last book on my reading list.

 

Luckily, Petoskey has a real bookstore.

"Can I help you?" asked the guy working at McLean and Eakin.

"I don't know what to read next."

Well-known Brooklyn art space moving to Detroit

Dec 8, 2014
Galapagos Art Space

A pioneering performance space and cultural oasis is leaving Brooklyn after twenty years and is moving to Detroit.

Robert Elmes, founder and director of the Galapagos Art Space, said they are being driven out by New York's high rents.

Are we becoming too lazy to pronounce all of the syllables in a word?  

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says speech economy is nothing new.

For example, the shortening of "probably" to "prolly" is old enough and well-established enough that it already appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. 

From Failure Lab in Grand Rapids, Tom Nardone, Internet entrepreneur and creator of the Mower Gang in Detroit, describes unsuccessfully launching an online company to prevent head lice. He talks about what prevented his success, and shares advice of what to keep in mind when launching a business. 

Peggy Wolff

The smell of freshly baked bread can trigger memories of home, especially around the holiday season.

Peggy Wolff is the author of Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie: Midwestern Writers on Food. She’s part of a project called "Little Big Books.” 

David Hughey / Flickr

There is a rise in wines made and named after celebrities. There is Fergalicious named after singer Fergie, and there's rapper Lil John, who started Little Jonathan Winery. And there's Michigan's own Madonna, whose family owns the Ciccone Vineyard up north. 

Orbit logo
Rob St. Mary

  Orbit Magazine was a staple in the Southeast Michigan area for its coverage of local music and art. In honor of it’s 25th birthday, Orbit is the subject of a new coffee-table book, Re-Entry: The Orbit Magazine Anthology.

The author, Rob St. Mary, is a Macomb County native who now works as a radio reporter for Aspen Public Radio.

Curwood reviewing his film, The Flaming Forest
Mitchell Speers

  Author, filmmaker, and conservationalist James Oliver Curwood was a Michigan native in the late 1800s whose stories gained popularity all over the world. When he died in 1927, he was said to be the highest-paid per-word author in the world, with much of his passion for writing about nature coming from a close encounter with a grizzly bear.

We talked to filmmaker and historian Mitchell Speers, who explores Curwood's life and works in an upcoming documentary, God's Country: The James Oliver Curwood Story.

Allan / Flickr

Like ballet companies across the nation, the Grand Rapids Ballet is gearing up for that beloved holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. But this year's production it will have a new look, thanks largely to Chris Van Allsburg.

Van Allsburg is the renowned writer and illustrator of children's books. He's won two Caldecott Medals for his illustrations for The Polar Express and Jumanji. Both books were turned into successful films.

Sometimes we have words in our sentences that don't seem to mean anything, but they have to be there.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the word "do" is a good example.

"It does a lot of work in English, and it's almost invisible work, because it often doesn't mean anything," Curzan says, "but it has to be in the sentence to make it grammatical. 

"The verb 'do' goes all the way back to old English, but its use as an auxiliary verb, as a helping verb, goes back only to the Renaissance. This would be in a sentence like, 'I do not know.'"

Girl Scouts of Michigan

An Ann Arbor area Girl Scout troop  wants the makers of LEGOs to change how their toys portray women.

Lizzy Blackwell, a member of Troop 40466 and now a seventh grader,  said that some of the girls have enjoyed playing with LEGOs, but they noticed a lot of gender stereotyping in them.   

Blackwell said it's a problem that LEGO's action series  characters – like police, superheroes, pilots, and construction workers – are all male. "I'd like to see them portrayed in an equal way with women being shown as being just as capable as men to do these sorts of things," she said.

The Parade Company / via city of Detroit

Things might be a little tighter than usual at Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade this year.

The parade will take its usual route down Woodward Avenue. But there will be several “pinch points” due to ongoing construction for the M-1 rail project.

City spokesman John Roach says that means parade-watching will be restricted in some areas.

A potato salad says "Michigan" to the New York Times.
Megan Myers / Flickr

As you plan your Thanksgiving meal, what is the one dish that represents your family? Maybe it’s one that's been handed down through generations.

The New York Times recently ran a piece that highlighted a recipe collection called The United States of Thanksgiving. Each recipe, the authors wrote, evoked each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The recipe that evoked Michigan, according to the Times, was German potato salad.

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.

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