Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Can't get enough of zombies, or wish they'd die - again - already?

  Just in time for Halloween, a discussion planned near Detroit's Wayne State University will inform those on either side of undead debate.

  Wayne State Assistant English Professor Chera Kee brings her zombie wisdom Tuesday to the Knowledge on Tap speaker series. She'll present The History, Lore and Growth of Zombie Culture at The Whitney's Ghost Bar.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

You may have heard of ArtPrize. It’s an art competition in Grand Rapids where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock every fall to vote for their favorite art.

ArtPrize’s founder wanted to start a public conversation about art. History Prize founder Mara MacKay wants to start a conversation about history.

“History is a social common denominator for all of us,” MacKay said. “Our endeavor is really to help with an artistic expression and provide the opportunities to remember and articulate the past.”

Bonham

The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn has acquired one of the world’s foremost digital artifacts: an Apple-1 computer.

As the first pre-assembled personal computer ever sold, the Apple-1 marked a key moment at the start of the digital age.

The Henry Ford got one of 50 hand-built in 1976 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak--in fellow co-founder Steve Jobs’s family garage.

Executive Vice President Christian Overland said the Henry Ford’s collection is all about new ideas and innovations--and the Apple-1 fits in perfectly.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Flickr

The DIA was left with egg on its face when news broke of double digit pay increases and $50,000 bonuses doled out to each of its top two executives in 2012, just as the DIA got voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties to say "yes" to a special millage to keep its doors open.

Two years ago, Graham Beal, whose compensation is over half a million dollars a year, got a 13% raise. Annmarie Erickson, the DIA's Chief Operating Officer, got a 36% raise.

Now it seems the firestorm of protest has pushed the DIA to re-think this whole "raise and bonus thing."

Heidelberg Project

A new report lists public art in Detroit and Toledo among the most endangered in the United States.

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit and the works of Greek-American artist Athena Tacha in Toledo are on the list compiled by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. The group works to preserve and protect notable U.S. landscapes.

NPR Presents: Water ±

November 19, 2014, 8 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit

Click here for tickets

 On November 19th at 8 p.m., Michigan Radio will welcome NPR Presents: Water± to the Fillmore Theatre in Detroit. This live, journalism-based theatrical event explores the world’s delicate and volatile relationship with water.

Directed by Tony Award Winner Kenny Leon, NPR Presents: Water± combines the excitement of live performance with the substance of NPR journalism — compelling stories from NPR coverage interwoven with imagery, information, music and dramatic storytelling by an award-winning cast.

"NPR Presents Water± brings together NPR's journalistic rigor with the artistic and poetic nature of theatrical storytelling, amplifying local stories about water issues that are significant to each region and have a global resonance," said Indira Etwaroo, executive producer and director of NPR Presents.

The show will start an eight-city tour on October 25 in New Orleans. The tour will also visit New York, Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco, Cleveland and other cities before coming to Detroit on November 19.

When some people are “jury-rigging,” others are “jerry-rigging.”

So who’s right?  Historically, “jury-rigging” is correct, according to University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

"It comes from a jury mast, which was a mast on the ship that was makeshift – constructed quickly," Curzan says.

"Exactly where the jury comes from, we're not sure. Some people say maybe it's a shortening of 'injury.' But 'jury-rigged' shows up in the 19th century."

Animals pop up all over the English language – and at times when we're really not talking about animals. Here's one: "The elephant in the room."  

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the phrase appears to go back to the 1930s, but didn't mean what it means today. 

"It referred to something that is obvious, but not necessarily relevant to what we're talking about," Curzan says. 

People will be watching their old home movies, all over the world, on "Home Movie Day." The big event happens Saturday, October 18th. Organizers call it "an annual, worldwide celebration of amateur films."

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Grand Rapids has just wrapped up another successful ArtPrize and Detroit pulled off Dlectricity.

Those examples and more have people involved in the arts in Ann Arbor looking around the state and then asking questions about the state of creativity in Ann Arbor.

Omari Rush is curator of public programs for the Ann Arbor Art Center. He's served as an adviser for many arts organizations, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Emily Leong / Flickr

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle gave a sneak preview to a new arts venue in Lansing.

Dylan Rogers is the director and front man of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle. It's a 15-piece band made up of 11 musicians including banjo and accordion players, as well as actors, shadow puppeteers, dancers and chorus girls in flapper dresses .

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle held their CD release show this weekend in what will eventually be the Robin Theater in REO Town.

ArtPrize

A single artist captivated both the public and art experts at this year’s ArtPrize competition. 

For the first time, a single artist has won both the juried and public grand prizes at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

Born in Pakistan, Anila Quayyum Agha teaches art at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University, in Indianapolis.   Her work “intersections” consists of a six-foot cube, illuminated from within, projecting complex designs of light and shadow around a room. The effect envelops the room and all the people in it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

We made it to ArtPrize. Did you?

Did you see anything that made you rethink the meaning of "art?"

Which artwork made you think, "Hmph. I could do that. Maybe I'll enter next year"?

In case you missed it, here's some of our coverage from the annual public art event held in Grand Rapids. 

Steve Carmody's been covering ArtPrize from beginning to end.

You may have seen a flash mob on YouTube, or even experienced the phenomenon in real life: A group of people converge on a public space, seemingly out of the blue, for a recreation of, say Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Or Verdi’s Requiem – it could be anything. Now in Detroit, a group of Catholics has created a variation on that. The Mass Mob is a crowd sourced effort to revive urban churches … which have a lot of empty pews these days.

Abir Ali

When you invite the public to carve messages into a giant table you've spent four months crafting by hand, the result is that a LOT of people take you up on it, and the end product looks something like this:

Professional and personal partners Abir Ali and Andre Sandifer are furniture makers based in Detroit. They built a 30-foot table, made from walnut trees from the Midwest. They took inspiration from the biblical story of the Last Supper, and they were especially moved by the story's themes of trust and forgiveness.

Trish P. / Flickr

All through the Detroit bankruptcy trial, the spotlight has been fixed on the Detroit Institute of Arts.

It has become one of the most contentious and confusing issues in the bankruptcy, as the appraisals of the DIA’s treasures have been wildly different. The city’s appraisal by Christie’s came in at just over $800 million, while an appraisal done by noted expert Victor Wiener pegs the value at more than $8 billion.

Beverly Jacoby is a noted art valuation expert who recently had an op-ed piece in the Detroit Free Press. She's the founder and president of BSJ Fine Art in New York.

Jacoby says there are several reasons for the wildly different values. Jacoby says an appraisal can vary depending on the party that commissions it. “A key issue with any appraisal is the appraiser is hired by a party and that party is the intended user," she says.  

Gary Syrba

It's going to be crazy in Grand Rapids this Friday night.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of people will flood downtown for the big announcement: This year’s ArtPrize winners.  

As Michigan Radio's Kate Wells reports, ArtPrize has been going on long enough now that it's having some more subtle effects, from how Grand Rapids museums think about their audiences to even inspiring an ArtPrize marriage proposal. 

Among the thousands of visitors to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize, many are children. This will be the first West Michigan generation of kids to grow up being exposed to thousands of pieces of art.

=Paul / Flickr

This week we're exploring stories from writers in the Upper Peninsula. Today we have a poem from Marquette resident Russell Thornburn, the first Upper Peninsula poet laureate.

This poem is from a series called "Burden of Place," about surviving the cold UP winters.

This poem is called, "When One Tugs at a Single Thing in Nature, He Finds It Attached to the Rest of the World." It's about a man who is stuck in the cold after his car breaks down.  

Time-Based: "Peralux" by NewD Media
ArtPrize

After 11 days of public voting, 20 finalists out of 1,536 entries have been selected for the ArtPrize grand prize of $200,000.

So far, over 37,000 people have cast votes in four categories: two dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based and installation artwork.

According to Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director, this public involvement is important to giving ArtPrize its societal relevance. 

ArtPrize

The annual ArtPrize competition is moving into its final phase in Grand Rapids. 

Organizers have announced the top 20 finalists in the public voting for the $200,000 grand prize. 

Dominic Pangborn of Grosse Pointe is one of the finalists. He says he’s enjoyed meeting with the people visiting ArtPrize this year.

If you’re anxious to hear about this year’s usage ballot of the American Heritage Dictionary, you’re in luck.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan is on the panel that gives thumbs-up – or down – to the way we use certain words.

It happens that “anxious” versus “eager” is on the ballot this year.

Curzan says “anxious” is often used to say we’re feeling worried.

“But when I’m anxious to do something, it could mean that I’m actually looking forward to it,” Curzan says.

So “anxious” is an acceptable substitute for “eager.”

Heidelberg Project

This morning's fire marks the 11th house in the Heidelberg Project to be damaged by suspected arson. The project is an outdoor art installation on Detroit's east side.

The house, called the Birthday Cake House, was a vacant home on Heidelberg Street that Tyree Guyton, Heidelberg's creator, had boarded up and beautified.

Katie Hearn is the marketing and communications director from the Heidelberg Project.

Zinn art found in Berkley, MI
David Zinn / Facebook

For over a decade, David Zinn has been creating impromptu, temporary street art across the Ann Arbor area. With nothing more than some chalk and charcoal, Zinn is able to transform ordinary objects - sidewalk cracks, street curbs, light fixtures - into whimsical, visually deceptive pieces of art.

Recently, Zinn completed a permanent mural on S. Fifth Ave., near Liberty St, which features Gene Kelly from his iconic scene in "Singin' in the Rain."

With a few tricky English words borrowed from the French, it doesn’t always help us to think about how the French would say it.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says a colleague asked her about the pronunciation of the word “forte.” Is it one syllable, read as “fort,”or two syllables, pronounced “for-tay?”

Curzan says the answer seems to be both.

Search for images of Detroit and you're likely to find pictures of abandoned buildings and crumbling walls filled with graffiti – urban blight captured by the camera's lens.

In recent years, however, communities have embraced some graffiti artists.

The increase in the amount of sanctioned graffiti art is the focus of our most recent "Michigan Radio Picture Project." The Picture Project is a forum for photographers who capture Michigan's people, places, events, and issues.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The streets of Grand Rapids are alive today as ArtPrize gets underway.

More than 1,500 works of art are in competition for more than a half-million dollars in prize money.

Christian Gaines is ArtPrize’s executive director. He says they’ve revamped the competition to let the public and art experts pick the top 20 pieces.

Erik Paul Howard

You want to build a stronger community. You have limited money. However, there's untapped potential in the people around you. How do you leverage that potential and take advantage of the unique qualities of your community to create positive change?

The Alley Project, or TAP, in Southwest Detroit found a way to do just that. I spoke with Erik Howard, one of the founders of TAP. Here's our conversation:

You can see images from The Alley Project by visiting their Facebook page.

Erik will be presenting at The Detroit Design Festival which kicks off today. You can find more information on the festival at detroitdesignfestival.com.

mconnors / morgueFile

Is there anyone who hasn't scanned the radio dial on a long road trip and endured noisy static,  angry talk shows, and music that disappoints  in a desperate search for a classic rock station?

But who knew the classic rock concept was born in Michigan almost 30 years ago?

Fred Jacobs, an Oakland County-based radio consultant, was part of that birth in 1985. He said WMMQ in Charlotte, Michigan, was the first classic rock station, and the format quickly spread across the country.

Jacobs said he was inspired by complaints from listeners who couldn't find the music they had grown up with and loved. 

Jacobs said classic rock is not the same as "golden oldies." It is about the golden age of rock – music people will still be listening to in 100 years. 

Jacobs said classic rock started with music from the 60s and 70s and musicians like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Eric Clapton. 

But he said it's all about the music of your youth that you never get tired of hearing.  And as generations move on, classic rock has added 80s and even more recent music to its roster.

Vulfpeck

We’ve heard it before. The music industry is changing.

But the band Vulfpeck is challenging the music industry with silence.

Vulfpeck is a funk band that got its start at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

They are in the middle of a cross-country tour.

They aren’t charging admission, they aren’t paying out of pocket.

Their tour is completely funded from an album they put up on the online music steaming service Spotify – an album that was completely silent.

Michigan Capitol Confidential

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore no longer will serve on the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council after Republican Gov. Rick Snyder named a suburban-Detroit businessman to replace him.

Moore joined the council as an appointee of then-Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Snyder announced Thursday that he was renominating a second film council member whose term was expiring along with Moore's.

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