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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

A Vernor's delivery man in 1909.
Courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society

Vernors, the ginger ale that has become one of Michigan’s oldest and most celebrated brands since a pharmacy on Woodward Avenue began offering it in 1866, is a century and a half old this week.

The Detroit Historical Society is celebrating with a full slate of events centered around the Mitten State’s favorite soft drink, including a June 11 party at the Detroit Historical Museum.

That event will feature appearances by James Vernor V and James Vernor VI, the great-great- and great-great-great grandsons of James Vernor, who invented the drink, as legend has it, by accident.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A pre-school art project in Flint is being praised by a world-renowned artist.

As an art project, the class at the U of M-Flint Early Childhood Center created a chandelier from thin strips from painted plastic water bottles.

The Center has plenty of water bottled because of Flint’s lead tainted drinking water crisis.

The two-year olds in the class are among those most at risk by Flint’s tainted drinking water.

Ivan Moshchuk will perform at Orchestra Hall on June 9, in the first solo piano concert presented by ProMusic in over 10 years.
Marco Borggreve

Ivan Moshchuk has been playing piano publicly since he was a young teenager. 

Born in Russia and raised in Grosse Pointe, Moshchuk became the first Michigan artist to win the Gilmore Young Artists award in 2010. 

He's since gone on to perform in concert halls around the world.

Watch Moshchuk perform Prelude in B minor by J.S. Bach, arranged by Alexander Siloti:

Michigan Radio has a new Morning Edition host!

Thousands of Michiganders will now wake up to hear Doug Tribou manning the microphone.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

  

Love Interruption by Liz Cosby, beverage director, Rock City Eatery

2-3 sprigs thyme

1/2 oz simple syrup

1-1/2 oz White Blossom Vodka (this is an infused vodka; other vodkas will change the taste)

1/2 oz Cointreau

2 oz grapefruit juice

Muddle two sprigs of thyme with simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake, strain into ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with remaining thyme.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Symphony has made one of the most important decisions an orchestra makes: selecting a new music director. The search for a new director has taken the better part of four years.

Brazil native Marcelo Lehninger says he felt a “great chemistry” with Grand Rapids' musicians when he guest-conducted in 2015 and earlier this year.

“Every single concert that orchestra plays, you know we need to convey that passion, because that, it’s really what gets to people’s hearts,” Lehninger said.

Richard T. James

The Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education was awarded to Detroit teacher Marilyn McCormick. She was picked out of 1,100 candidates who were nominated by people across the country. McCormick will be recognized during the live Tony Award broadcast on June 12. In addition, the Cass Technical performing arts program will receive a $10,000 grant.

 

What happened to Midwestern history?

Jun 1, 2016
A map of Michigan and Wisconsin
FLICKER USER NORMAN B. LEVENTHAL MAP CENTER/FLICKR / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

What happened to Midwestern history?

 

In places like the West, New England and the South, universities and professors are dedicated to studying regional histories. But in the Midwest, not so much.

 

Jon Lauck, a history professor and author of “The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History,” says the field of Midwestern history used to be robust. Yet, after World War II, the field declined to the point where there was no academic journal or association dedicated to it.

Lauck is also president of the Midwestern History Association. The organization is holding its second annual Midwestern History Association conference June, 1 at the Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University.

The Accidentals are Katie Larson, Michael Dause and Savannah Buist
Tony Demin

The Accidentals have been busy since last we spoke in 2013.

All told, the young musicians performed a whopping 230 shows across the country after graduating high school last year.
 

The dynamic Traverse City trio was named one of Billboard Magazine's top seven breakout acts of South by Southwest in 2015.

And now, they've just released their newest EP, Parking Lot.

Stateside 5.31.2016

May 31, 2016

Today, the Stateside test kitchen tried its hand at morel mushrooms. And, we learned about a plan to fix metro Detroit's public transit system.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Warm weather is here across Michigan, and with it brings fresh food out of our gardens. One of those delicious, fresh dishes you can make is morel mushroom conserva. The Stateside Test Kitchen was lucky enough to have Chef James Rigato come into the studio to share his recipe.

Crime-fighting term is still going gangbusters

May 29, 2016

Things can now be "going gangbusters" because of a WWII-era radio crime-fighting drama with sirens and gunfire and other loud noises.

"Gangbusters is a great word which I had not thought very much about until one of our listeners wrote in and said ‘There’s an interesting word for you to talk about,'" says University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

"Then I started hearing the word everywhere, and realized it was on my radar. Gangbusters goes back to what it sounds like it might go back to, which is a gang buster, someone who busts gangs."

detroit symphony orchestra
ELAINE ROACH VIA MUSICIANS OF THE DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Symphony Orchestra says it has received a roughly $3 million donation for its music education programs.

The ensemble on Friday announced the $2.9 million gift from the estate of Dr. Clyde and Helen Wu. Orchestra officials say the bequest is the second largest in its 129-year history.

The DSO says the money will help sustain programs through its Wu Family Academy for Learning & Engagement.

The orchestra plans to honor the couple's legacy with a portrait-hanging and dedication Saturday evening before a concert at Orchestra Hall.

Courtesty: Andrew Herscher

Detroit is getting some love in Venice.

The Venice Architecture Biennale is a really big deal in the architecture world, and the designs presented by this year's American exhibitors are all about the Motor City. 

Adult coloring books are everywhere and they're filled with images of just about anything. There are adult coloring books that feature owls, butterflies, secret gardens, dream doodles, lighthouses, mandalas, kaleidoscopes and fantastic cities.

Adult coloring clubs are also popping up throughout the state. They’re often affiliated with a local library. The basic idea is that for an hour or two adults can drop in and spend some time coloring, using coloring books and markers and pencils that the library provides.

FLICKR USER JASON MRACHINA / https://flic.kr/p/bUmnTg

David Maraniss’ earliest memories are in Detroit. He's the associate editor of the Washington Post. Maraniss lived in Detroit until he was six years old and remembers the strong taste of Vernor's. He remembers the Boblo boat.

His book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story tells us what Detroit gave America. It also details the first signs of the city's troubles. Maraniss joined us on Stateside to talk about his strong feelings for the state and about the country’s view of Detroit.  

Flickr user Andrew McFarlane/Flickr

Steven Ford joined us today to discuss his father, the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford.

On Friday, the film A Test of Character airs on National Geographic at 9 p.m. Eastern. It tells the story of President Ford and the challenging time in history during which he took office.

5th-grade teacher to open for Eddie Money

May 25, 2016
Courtesy of Crashing Cairo

Rock stars like Gene Simmons and Sting used to be teachers, not long before having sold-out concerts across the world. For Crashing Cairo, this serves as a good omen as they prepare to open for Eddie Money at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Friday.

The Michigan pop-rock group's lead singer, Robert Wax, is a fifth-grade teacher at Norwood Elementary in Royal Oak. Drummer David West is a software engineer who also advises future engineers.

John Thomas

In the summer of 2013, we spoke with law professor and music journalist John Thomas about the Kalamazoo Gals on Stateside.

Thomas had uncovered the story of women who built some 9,000 guitars at the Gibson Guitar headquarters in Kalamazoo during World War II.

This discovery clashed with Gibson’s official assertion that they built no instruments during the war.

He tells the story in his book, Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson’s “Banner” Guitars of WWII.

In the three years since we last spoke, the story has taken some interesting turns. Today Thomas and Kalamazoo Gal Irene Stearns joined us again on Stateside to talk about it.

The Henry Ford

The Beatles have come to The Henry Ford Museum.

The Magical History Tour, a 10,000-square-foot exhibit that explores the full history of the iconic rock band is coming to Dearborn. The exhibit takes fans through the band's early days in Liverpool through its break-up in the 1970s and the solo careers that followed. 

While there are millions of fans of the band in the Great Lakes State, the number of significant connections to Michigan is relatively minimal (Paul McCartney has a Detroit Red Wings sticker on his guitar!). So why was Michigan chosen as the first stop on this tour? 

From Russia with rockin' love for Detroit

May 24, 2016
Courtesy of Vladislav Yermachenko

In recent years, Detroit hasn't just inspired local artists. It's also inspired artists across the world. Russian rocker Vladislav Yermachenko, drummer for a Kazakhstan-based Russian rock band Polygon, has been inspired by the city since childhood when his father gave him a book on the world’s automotive industry. After seeing pictures of Motor City-made cars, he fell in love with Detroit. He's now a journalist for automotive magazines.

But cars aren’t the only thing that has inspired Yermachenko. Detroit’s resilience in the face of struggle inspired him to write Polygon’s song, “Winners in This Life.” His love for cars and resilient nature show in his lyrics. 

Flickr user Mike Fritcher / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Throughout its 314-year history, Detroit has been one of the nation’s most historically significant cities.

 

There's enough history that Detroit author Bill Loomis found a significant event for each day of the calendar year throughout the city’s history in his new book, On This Day in Detroit History.

 

From sports heroes, to the Beatles, to Harry Houdini -- the book covers everything Detroit.

Listen to the interview below to learn about some of the strange and spectacular events from Detroit’s history.

 

 


sherlock holmes character in silhouette
dynamosquito / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Many around the world will be celebrating the birthday of Sherlock Holmes creator Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle on Sunday, May 22. However, as we learned from University of Michigan medical historian and PBS Newshour contributor Dr. Howard Markel, there's another reason to celebrate.

Doyle was working on his first Sherlock Holmes book while practicing as a doctor and also writing for the London-based monthly journal, Review of Reviews. Doyle used his deductive reasoning to play a role in the discovery of a cure for tuberculosis.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Thinking about the upcoming Mackinac Island Policy Conference, Tammy Coxen with Tammy's Tastings offers a new riff on the cocktail called the Conference. The original Conference cocktail originated at Death and Co. in Manhattan's East Village. In turn, that drink is a spin off of the classic Old Fashioned.

The changes made to make the Michigan Conference include substituting Michigan maple syrup for the sugar in the drink, and using chocolate bitters as a playful nod to the fudge shops found on Mackinac Island. 

Richard T. James

Marilyn McCormick only expected to stay in Detroit for a year or two before moving to New York to live the “bohemian lifestyle.” Then she got a teaching job at her alma mater, Cass Technical High School. “I was totally enjoying what I was doing…[and] I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing,” McCormick said. Now forty years later, the performing arts teacher will be retiring.

Aladar Nesser

Ice arenas and fights are among the first images to come to mind when someone thinks about hockey. When author and playwright Mitch Albom thinks about hockey, he has one thing on his mind: musicals.

"Hockey - The Musical!" will be making its opening debut tonight for a month-long run at Detroit's City Theatre, and Albom hopes it will bring together theater geeks and sports fans alike.

Mercedes Mejia

The vast woods, rivers, and wildlife of Northern Michigan captured Hemingway’s heart and imagination early in life. 

“Michigan always represented a great source of freedom for Hemingway. Everything that he’s associated with – outdoorsmanship, hunting, fishing, that all came from his time in Northern Michigan,” says Chris Struble, president of the Michigan Hemingway Society.

Hemingway home
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Ernest Hemingway spent his boyhood summers in Michigan, and the last 20 years of his life in Cuba. 

Today, Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s Cuban home, is undergoing a major renovation, overseen by a Michigan construction company known for its historic renovation work.

2016 Motor City Comic Con
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Thousands of fans of all kinds traveled to Novi over the weekend for the 27th annual Motor City Comic Con. The Suburban Convention Showplace was full of fans who were dressed to impress. There was no shortage of variety when it came to the character costumes. Super heroes, super villains, movie, TV, and video game characters. If there's a character with a fanbase, chances are there was someone dressed up like them.

A string quartet
creative commons

Twenty-nine chamber music ensembles face off this week at the University of Michigan's first M-Prize competition.

Founder Aaron Dworkin says it's a major chamber music competition, both in terms of the number of groups competing and the size of the prize: $100,000.

Dworkin says he hopes to draw attention to how chamber music is evolving. He says it's not just a strings ensemble, or winds.

"You might have euphonium, harp, oboe and spoken word," says Dworkin, "and all acoustic, or are there any parts of that ensemble that engage electronics."

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