Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

"Human trafficking has gone underground," Stephanie Sandberg said. "It's gone on to places where you can no longer see it, and so you have to find ways to recognize it in a new way."
Courtesy of Stephanie Sandberg

ArtPrize opens today in Grand Rapids. Among the 1,453 artist entries for this year's competition is a play being performed each evening by ADAPT. Theatre Company of Grand Rapids. The play is Stories in Blue: A Pilgrimage to Heal Human Trafficking . It's theater, it's an art piece, and it's a social justice campaign.

Stateside 9.20.2016

Sep 20, 2016

Today, we hear how men can work to undo rape culture and combat sexual violence. And, we explore a possible future for our roads: ultra-high performance concrete.

Michele McDonald

Eileen Pollack 's new novel, A Perfect Life , took a while to find a publisher. The book features a postdoctoral research scientist on a quest to uncover a genetic test for the disease that cut short her mother's life. This medical mystery also features a love story between the protagonist, Jane Weiss, and a man who may also carry the disease, adding human drama to the scientific exploration. Still, the complexities of this plot were sometimes lost on publishers. One even told Pollack that "m en don’t read fiction written by women, and women’s book groups don’t want to read something with science in it!"

Cara AnnMarie and Jacléne Wilk in a scene from the film "Liberty's Secret"
Tripp Greene Press

Take a presidential campaign. Mix in a large serving of old-fashioned musicals, and top it off with two women realizing they are in love, and you've got the new film Liberty's Secret . Andy Kirshner is the writer, composer, director, producer and he has a role in the film, which is having its premiere this Thursday at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor. Kirshner is also an associate professor of both music and art & design at the University of Michigan.

The film, which the website describes as "the all-American lesbian movie-musical," tells the story of a struggling presidential campaign fronted by moderate Republican Kenny Weston , who recruits the charismatic Liberty Smith to be his running mate. This singing and dancing preacher's daughter is just what the campaign needs to get back into the race to the White House. That is, until she falls in love with one of the campaign's political consultants, who is a woman.

Christopher Hebert's Angels of Detroit has a rich cast of feckless and out of their time hippies who make their way to Detroit for no good purpose. Hebert is a generous and perceptive writer who gives his characters a long hard look, but his anarchists have a difficult time explaining why blowing up Detroit will lead to something better.

Courtesy of Lynne Golodner

The Next Idea I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and went to school where most of the kids looked like me. During the Jewish holidays, teachers didn't assign work because so many of us were absent. There might have been five or six African-American kids in my high school, and no one wore a hijab in public. I’ve always been curious about the way other people live. My journey as a journalist and author and writing professor has taken me to find common ground in people different from me. I visited a mosque, attended a candlelight service in a Catholic church in Ireland, and spent a plane ride to Israel having a deep, powerful conversation with a Palestinian man going to see his family. As I developed my writing craft, I continued to seek out stories that showed the similarities in people, the beliefs we share, and the customs we have in common.

Some acronyms have become so common as words, that it’s tough to remember what they stood for in the first place. We’re talking about words where each letter actually stands for its own word. Instead of saying each word individually, we mash the first letters together and say that instead. Take scuba, for instance. We don’t call it “scuba” diving because some guy named Steve Scuba invented a cool way to stay under water for a long time. “Scuba” actually stands for Self-Contained Underwater...

Giant burger in California
Sam Howzit / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We asked and you answered. In preparation for National Cheeseburger Day on Sunday, September 18th, we asked you about the strangest burger toppings you'd ever had — like olives or a fried egg. It's almost #NationalCheeseburgerDay , so tell us: What's the weirdest topping you've ever put on your burger? https://t.co/4z60I2BICi — Michigan Radio (@MichiganRadio) September 15, 2016 You responded with some interesting toppings that made us ask a lot of questions, like, "What is, and what isn't...

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

One of the constants in our series on cocktails is having a Michigan theme. A Detroit bar is offering a new menu of drinks that features Michigan ingredients. Sugar House in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit is offering a Fall Harvest menu which uses Michigan produce and Michigan spirits. Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings arranged a Stateside visit with owner Dave Kwiatkowski and asked him to mix us a drink. “Today, I’m going to make my personal favorite (on the menu) which is the...

wikimedia user Adbar / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When you hear about the Gates Foundation, the Mott Foundation, or any of the myriad other philanthropic organizations, how do you describe what they do? Do they give money? Solve problems? Improve conditions? Is there a downside to throwing money at problems or wielding influence with cash?

Courtesy Photo / Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

Raymond Harvey has become a familiar face in Kalamazoo. He’s been conducting the state’s third largest professional orchestra for 18 years. For the past two years, Harvey has taught music at an opera center at the University of Houston. In a letter to the orchestra board this week, Harvey said teaching has always been his calling. A search committee is being formed to find a replacement, according to a press release , and will be by invitation only.

Courtesy of 5iveit Entertainment

As part of our series "Minding Michigan," we explore mental health issues in our state. Today, we introduce you to Patrick Cleland, better known as Rick Chyme . He’s a rapper from West Michigan who's been collaborating with local artists from around the state and has several project in the works. This year, Chyme was featured with the indie folk band The Accidentals. Then, a dance film was made to his original track “Pull Me Back” off his new album Bald Since Birth . Despite his success,...

Whiting told us Parallel 45 likes to put on plays that most people have probably at least heard of, so there's a sense of familiarity, then "turn things on their heads and give a new perspective to some of these stories."
Parallel 45 Theatre and Melisa McKolay Photography / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Can the northwest lower peninsula of Michigan support a professional theater group that dares to really challenge its audience? Delivering theater "for the adventurous mind," not comfortable, touristy and familiar? Turns out, the answer is yes.

What's the weirdest burger topping you've ever had?

Sep 13, 2016
Burger with a fried egg on top.
user Jason Thien / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Have you ever ordered a burger with strange toppings? You know, n ot the typical stuff - like mustard, ketchup, tomatoes, onions, pickles or lettuce - but something like a fried egg. As we approach National Cheeseburger Day — September 18th — we're curious about the most unconventional topping you’ve had on a burger in Michigan. Did you like it? Or... no so much. Here are three places we found with some out-of-the-ordinary toppings. Brome Burgers & Shakes Located in Dearborn, Michigan,...

Language ambiguity can certainly create some confusing situations. Take this headline from a 1982 issue of The Guardian , for example: “British Left Waffles on Falklands.” At first, it sounds like the British forgot their breakfast on the Falkland Islands. While we love waffles and certainly agree that accidentally leaving them behind in the South Atlantic would be a bummer, that’s not exactly headline material. Go back and read the headline again. This time, treat “waffles” as a verb instead...

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We’ve been visiting craftsmen and women around Michigan for our series “Artisans of Michigan.” Today we visit Adrian, Michigan. “I’m making some Windsor Chairs. Right now, I’m fitting the legs into the seat,” Luke Barnett explained. He is the owner of Barnett Windsor Chairs . The spindles and legs are kiln dried before they’re inserted into holes in the seat. Small wedges are driven into the ends to make the fit tighter. The wood eventually swells with the humidity, making it an even more...

Courtesy of Huberty Massey / www.hubertmasseymurals.com

One of the world's most famous examples of frescoes is the Diego Rivera work at the Detroit Institute of Arts. They’re called the Detroit Industry murals. In that same tradition, artist Hubert Massey is preparing to paint a large mural, 30 feet by 30 feet, in the fresco style for Detroit's Cobo Center.

Photo of Koegel Meats.
user Erica Firment / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Why mess with success? That seems to be the philosophy of a venerable Flint company as it marks its 100 th anniversary this year. Koegel Meats still makes its products the same way it always has, with the same ingredients as it did on the first day. Koegel’s has also stuck with Flint, its original home base, through good times and bad.

Ron Fournier at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Research Symposium in 2006.
flickr user Josh Hallett / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's taken more than 30 years, but Ron Fournier has finally found his way home to Detroit. After a career that took him to Hot Springs, where he covered a young Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton; to Washington, where he built a national political reporting career at the Associated Press , the National Journal and The Atlantic ; Fournier is back in the Motor City. This is day one of his new job as associate publisher of Crain's Detroit Business .

Janice Fialka, left, with her husband Rich, son Micah and daughter Emma in Syracuse.
Courtesy of Janice Fialka

How do you express your feelings when a team of experts sits you down to tell you your child is developmentally disabled? When Janice Fialka ​ of Huntington Woods came home reeling from such a case conference about her five-year-old son Micah, she sat down and tried to put her feelings into words. The result was a poem she calls Advice to Professionals who must "conference cases ." "I want my son back," she writes. "I want him back now. Then I'll get on with my life." And that she did. Fialka and her family - husband Rich, daughter Emma and son Micah - launched themselves on a mission to prove that labels and IQ tests are not true measures of someone's ability to be valuable to the world, to contribute, to learn.

It's difficult to escape the lure of the concession stand. They’re at the movies, beckoning to you with rainbow-colored boxes of candy and buckets of warm, buttery popcorn. You’ll find them at circuses and fairs, pulling you in with bags of fluffy, pastel-colored cotton candy and crispy funnel cakes, sweet with cinnamon and sugar. At baseball games, you don’t even have to get out of your seat to get peanuts or a box of Cracker Jack. The concession stand comes to you. It’s not a question of if...

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Tequila Old Fashioned 2 oz anejo or extra anejo tequila (we used Cabresto) 1/4-1/2 oz simple syrup 2 dashes angostura bitters Garnish: orange peel Half-fill old fashioned glass with ice. Add simple syrup and bitters, stir to mix. Add tequila and stir well, adding additional ice if desired. Cut a large orange peel over the drink, then twist to express the oils and place into the glass. Cheers! on Stateside always has a Michigan connection. Usually we mix cocktails with ingredients and stories...

Flickr user Dave Hogg/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There’s more than football happening at tonight’s NFL pre-season game in San Diego. It will be the first time 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernik will play since refusing to stand for the national anthem. Kaepernik said he’s taking this action to protest racism in a country he said oppresses black people and people of color. This protest is the newest chapter in the long-evolving history of our country’s national anthem. And it’s bringing fourth fresh criticism that the national anthem is, itself, racist. University of Michigan music history professor Mark Clague disagrees, though he’s grateful to critics like Kaepernik for calling attention to the issue.

Flickr user Terry Johnston/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Sharp-eyed viewers of the recently-concluded Summer Olympics might have noticed that American swimmers Matt Greves and Ryan Lochte both have tattoos of the Olympic rings on their biceps. They’re not the only athletes to do that, but is it legal? Can you decide to express your love for your Harley-Davidson by inking the company’s logo on your body?

Courtesy of Eugene Rogers

If you fancy yourself a lyricist, it's time to sharpen your pencil and start writing. The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club is on the hunt. They're seeking lyrics for an original new "Michigan song." The song will be premiered next April, marking U of M's bicentennial.

Jerry Coyne owns Q 100.3 in Grayling and hosts music in the afternoons.
Peter Payette

These days, most rock and roll radio stations play a limited number of songs. They play those over and over again. That's because audience research has become so high-tech that stations know exactly what songs attract the most listeners. The owners of a station in Grayling say classic rock is worn out. So they launched a counter-offensive and are breaking all the rules about how to run a radio station in the 21st century. Listen to what they're playing now here . And f ind the full story from...

We try to keep our language pretty clean here at That’s What They Say , but sometimes things just slip out. Like when we’re explaining the difference between “they’re”, “their,” and “there” for what feels like the millionth time. Or when we see "for all intensive purposes" in print, and the writer isn't trying to be ironic. Sometimes it happens when we stub a toe and it really, really hurts. In any case, for those of us guilty of occasionally uttering words that would make a sailor blush, the...

An illustration from the book "Learning, Recycling and Becoming Little Heroes" by Gale Glover.
Gale Glover

There are several people who have been called heroes in uncovering the Flint water crisis . You’ve heard those voices many times on this station. But a new book -- a children’s book -- makes the argument that kids are the heroes, because Flint kids have had to learn new ways to eat, drink, and live their lives. The title of Gale Glover’s book is Learning, Recycling, and Becoming Little Heroes .

According to Glover, when she was doing research, she asked a number of people about...

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We've been thinking about the kind of people you might like to meet. We talk with a lot of authors, musicians, politicians and policy wonks . But, what about artisans.? They're the people who use their hands and hearts to build things that we use. The next stop in our “Artisans of Michigan” series is Zimnicki Guitars in Allen Park, Michigan.

Flickr user roger4336/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This is an extra-good week to be a beer drinker in Michigan. Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner came back this week, and it’s made in Detroit. It will be on tap at 72 bars all over Michigan on Friday. (To find out where click here .) Frances Stroh of the Stroh beer family joined us to talk about the big return of the Pilsner beer that won a ribbon at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.