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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Threshold Choir sings to people on their deathbed

Jul 25, 2016
Savor the sounds of a song bath
Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

Here’s how the Threshold Choir works. Typically, Hospice or a family member call ups the choir when someone is sick or dying. A small group of singers arrive at the person’s bedside and sing very simple songs with lyrics like “You are not alone, I am here beside you.” Choir members say it’s not a performance but rather a way to be present with someone who’s dying. Their friends tease them that singing to people on their deathbed must be depressing. But the singers say it’s energizing and life...

Some things are inevitable when you’re a radio host. It’s almost time to go on the air, and you're ready. Your headlines are juicy and your weather forecast is spot on. You’ve even got a great line to get people to listen to that segment on the mating rituals of the brown marmorated stink bug. Your finger is poised over the microphone button, and then you think, “Maybe I should check the traffic map one last time, just in case.” Why not? You've got 30 whole seconds to spare. That's when you...

The 12th Street Riot began in the early hours of July 23, 1967 following a police raid on an unlicensed after-hours bar on the corner of 12th and Clairmount.
Public Domain

In the summer of 1967, the streets of Detroit shook with violence. Civil unrest over lack of housing for blacks and open animosity with the mostly white police department boiled over in the early morning hours of July 23. What began with a police raid on an unlicensed after-hours club grew into rioting and looting that devastated parts of the city and lasted for days. Then-governor George Romney called in the National Guard, and President Lyndon Johnson sent in paratroopers to help quell the...

Downtown Flint.
flickr user Tony Faiola / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Flint is in the news a lot these days. Lead contamination of the water; people getting sick, some dying from Legionnaires' disease; one of the most violent cities in the country. But Flint is home to nearly 100,000 people. A new book tells the story of some of those who've made Flint their home. It's called Happy Anyway: A Flint Anthology . The collection of stories was edited by Scott Atkinson .

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

French 75 1-1/2 oz gin (Detroit City Distillery Railroad gin) 1/2 oz lemon juice 3/4 oz simple syrup 2 oz champagne/sparkling wine Garnish: lemon twist Shake first three ingredients with ice, strain into champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish. The debate about raising the speed limit on Michigan freeways to 75 miles per hour made Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings think of the cocktail called the French 75.

Stateside 7.21.2016

Jul 21, 2016

Today, we hear how the West Nile virus spreads more easily during dry, hot summers like this one. And, we talk to an artist taking cities "from blight to bright" with street art.

A design concept for the video game "Tuebor."
SiN Studios, Project Tuebor

A Lansing-based video game company is putting the final touches on a video game that got a big helping hand from a Michigan State University computer science expert. The game is called Tuebor , which means "I will defend" in Latin. Scott Reschke has been laboring over this game for years, so it's a big moment to see this work come to fruition. (Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes , Google Play , or with this RSS link...

Michigan Bookmark is a series that features Michigan authors reviewing Michigan books. Seasonal Roads is the title of L.E. Kimball’s impressive new book of stories. The title refers to roads that are unplowed and therefore unpassable in winter. Kimball guides you down some of these roads in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – into cabins, forests, and rivers, and into the lives of three women. Author Lisa Lenzo has this review.

Mural by artist Otto Schade
Jason Ostro

The Next Idea Take an abandoned, unloved alley. Clear away the trash and debris, and then turn artists loose with their paint and brushes to transform those alleys and, in turn, the neighborhood. Jason Ostro did just that. The Michigan-born artist cleaned up the area around his Los Angeles art gallery, the Gabba Gallery . The Gabba Alley Project L4 is four decaying alleys transformed into works of art. Now he's launched the Gabba Alley Project Detroit, recently painting his first mural in an alley in Detroit's Midtown.

The Coney dog was the winner of MLive’s poll to choose a “state food.”
Flickr user Steven Depolo/Flickr

Michigan has a state fossil, and even a state soil, but not a state food. MLive writer Emily Bingham discovered that other states have a designated food, and soon set out to find a dish Michiganders can call their own. In a poll for MLive, Bingham offered a list of suggestions to take the title – a few of which surprised readers.

This train wreck was big news at the time
Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio

People from the Adrian area and local historians know the story of the “wreck on the Wabash.” But outside of those circles, the train crash that took place in 1901 isn’t especially well-known. There are many tragic elements to this story and for a thorough sense of what took place, you can read historian Laurie Perkins’ book, “Wreck on the Wabash” (written under the name Laurie C. Dickens). In short, two trains collided. One was carrying 100 Italian immigrants, packed into two wooden cars...

Laith Al-Saadi performing on The Voice.
screen grab / YouTube

In March, Laith Al-Saadi rocked American audiences on NBC’s The Voice with his audition. And it didn’t stop there. As a member of Team Adam, the Michigan native continued to a fourth place finish.

John Auchter / AUCHTOON.COM

At one time there were plenty of political cartoonists. Just about every newspaper had one, but with the decline of the newspaper industry, it seems the cartoonist was one of the first positions to get the ax when times got hard. In the heyday of newspapers, cartoonists would use their art to get to the heart of a political or social issue in a frame or two. Some would say a frame or two told more than a lengthy op-ed. Now, cartooning has largely been chased from the newspaper to the internet and is more rare.

Stateside 7.15.2016

Jul 15, 2016

Today, we continue our Artisans of Michigan series with a visit to Thompson Art Glass in Brighton. And, we hear how progressive white people are realizing some of their own unconscious bias. To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Thompson family has been constructing stained glass and leaded glass windows in Michigan since 1929. “You know, we’re not interested in making sun catchers or little things that we sell at craft fairs. That’s just not our business. Our business is stuff that’s much longer lasting than that,” explained Dirk Thompson. The family's stained glass windows have been installed in churches, colleges, businesses, and high-end homes. Thompson Art Glass also does a lot of restoration work. They day...

Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archieves

The history of Copper Country in the Upper Peninsula tends to focus on mining and the mostly European immigrants who worked those mines. That traditional history is missing something: the presence of African-Americans.

Prisoners of war held in Michigan’s camps were mostly German, but there were also soldiers of other nationalities, like these Italians captured by the Germans in Greece in 1943.
Wikimedia user Bild Bundesarchiv / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There aren't many books that serve up history, suspense, crime and a love story, all beautifully tied together. Wolf's Mouth manages to offer all that and more.

Photo courtesy of John Sims

Multi-media artist John Sims is on a mission to re-work and re-frame Confederate symbols, like the Confederate flag and the song " Dixie . " Sims has recolored Confederate flags and used them in public performances and installations. Now he is re-imagining "Dixie" in an array of musical styles . The project is called The AfroDixie Remixes. Sims is bringing AfroDixie back home to his native Detroit for a Listening Session at the Detroit Institute of Arts on July 16. He joined us on Stateside...

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A $32 million campaign to renovate an historic building in downtown Flint is getting a big boost. The 90-year-old Capitol Theatre has been a vaudeville house, movie palace, and for many years a vacant, decaying building in downtown Flint. But the theater has been undergoing extensive renovations. Today, The Hagerman Foundation donated $4 million to the project. Philanthropist Phil Hagerman remembers as a 14-year-old going to the Capitol to see The Sound of Music with his family. “It...

David Bowie
Adam Bielawski / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's been a rough year in the music world. Prince, Glenn Frey and Merle Haggard all passed away this year, and that's just to name a few. On Sunday evening, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will honor another artist many fans feel left the world too soon: rock legend David Bowie. Bowie died of liver cancer in January, two days after his final album was released. His musical style was characterized by "chameleon-like" genre-jumping and his various stage personalities, including Ziggy Stardust...

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Bourbon Fruit Smash 1-2 slices ginger (optional)
Fruit (8-10 blueberries, 2-3 strawberries, 4 peach slices, etc)
3-5 leaves mint or other fresh herb
2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 oz simple syrup, or to taste Muddle ginger well (if using), then add fruit and herbs and muddle again. Combine remaining ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake, strain into ice filled old-fashioned glass. "It's berry season in...

The "button wall" at the University of Chicago's 2008 Humanities Day
flickr user Quinn Dombrowski / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Early last year we announced on Stateside the Michigan Humanities Council 's pick for the 2015-2016 Great Michigan Read: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel . Mandel sat down with us in February 2015 to talk about her fantastic futuristic novel set in post-apocalyptic Michigan. Shelly Kasprzycki is the executive director of the Michigan Humanities Council. Of books chosen for the Great Michigan Read so far, she told us Station Eleven is "probably the all-time hit."

Shannon Gibney says thanks to adoptee activism, awareness of the challenges of transracial adoptions has changed since she was adopted as a child.
Elizabeth Dahl

Writer Shannon Gibney tackles some very sensitive and emotional subjects in her new young adult novel See No Color . First, she speaks to us with the voice of a teenage girl, and that alone can present a merry-go-round of turbulent emotions. Next, that teen, named Alexandra Kirtridge, is an adoptee. And layered over all of that is the fact that Alex is biracial, adopted by white parents as a very young child. It's a...

Stateside 7.1.2016

Jul 1, 2016

Today, we kick off our Artisans of Michigan series and head to Cobbler's Corner in Northville for an inside look at what it takes to repair a shoe. And, the state fire marshal warns to be cautious of fireworks this Fourth of July. It's dry out there. To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This is the first in a series on Stateside we're calling Artisans of Michigan. Our first stop in this trip around Michigan is in downtown Northville at the Cobbler’s Corner . “Shoe repairing is a lot more than what you think,” Tony Piccoli assures us as soon as we meet. He says Cobbler’s Corner is the oldest shoe repair shop in Michigan. It originally began as the Northville Shoe Service owned by the Revitzer family, starting in 1928. When you step inside, the...

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Institute of Arts is planning a “fiery” expansion. FIA officials are announcing plans to expand the museum’s gallery space, and add a glass making studio. Executive Director John Henry says museum-goers will be able to watch as glass artists work with fire to create art. “It’s always been the intention of the Flint Institute of Arts to bring the gallery concept together with the art making practice,” says Henry. “One is a great influence on the other. Learning how to make things...

A new documentary tracks how CREEM Magazine became one of the world's biggest music magazines.
Flickr user A.Currell / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

CREEM Magazine began in 1969, sold from the trunk of Barry Kramer’s car. Kramer was the creator and publisher of the magazine, and from that small beginning, it blossomed into one of the top music publications in the world. It was bold in its irreverence, and it launched the careers of some of music’s biggest names — both artists and writers. Now, it’s the subject of a documentary, Boy Howdy! The Story of CREEM: America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine . Here's a sneak peek:...

Pablo Mahave

Grand Valley State University’s award-winning New Music Ensemble will be on tour this summer commemorating the National Park Service centennial . The group will be premiering new compositions inspired by the four parks they’ll be performing at: Bad Lands, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks.

Michigan Bookmark is a series that features Michigan authors reviewing Michigan books.

There's a heated debate over whether the Hantz Farms project is an environmental boon or just a land grab.
Sean O'Grady

John Hantz heads a business financial services conglomerate . He wants to plant 15,000 trees on 140 acres of Detroit land he bought in 2012. It would be the world's largest urban farm. The plan has strong backers and equally strong critics. It's a story that Sean O'Grady tells in his new documentary film Land Grab .

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