Arts & Culture

Arts and culture


 

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.

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.

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