celebrity

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. 

I had lunch yesterday in a fairly ordinary restaurant in midtown Detroit. Whenever there is a big news event, I’m curious as to what normal people are saying about it.

Yesterday, for example, I thought people might be talking about Detroit’s bankruptcy trial. After all, a couple of miles from where I was eating, one of the city’s creditors was telling the judge he wanted the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collections sold so he could get his money.

But nobody was talking about that. Instead, the few snatches of conversation I heard were all about the hacking – stealing, really – of pictures of naked celebrities, which were then uploaded where we could all see them, if we cared to. One of them was Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander, who may be the best-paid worker in the city.

Ross voxphoto / Flickr

Why do we care so much about famous people? What they wear, what they eat, how they live?

Well, there is an old house in Ann Arbor where renowned playwright Arthur Miller lived while he was a student at University of Michigan and there are those who are intensely interested in preserving that house.

The house is right next to the U of M's Institute for Social Research. The university's expanding the Institute and wants that old house out of the way. And if they can't get someone to buy it, it will probably be demolished.

This story got us thinking about just why we tend to care so much about celebrity homes and just what is behind our seemingly bottomless fascination with celebrities.

We're joined today by Daniel Kruger. He's a professor and a researcher at the University of Michigan and he's done research into that fascination we have for famous people.

Barry Manilow
The Barry Manilow Music Project / Facebook

On June 18, the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education approved next year’s budget for their district.  MLive reports that although the 2012-2013 budget includes $9 million in cuts due to decreased enrollment, board members voted to allocate $990,000 to hire 11 more teachers to support increased arts education.

These additional teachers will facilitate full-year—as opposed to semester-long—art and music instruction for the district’s elementary school students.

In addition to the financial boost, students in Grand Rapids schools have also received attention from celebrities this month.

On June 14, students from City and Creston high schools in Grand Rapids accompanied the British-American rock band Foreigner on stage at the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park Amphitheater singing their hit, “I Wanna Know What Love Is.” 

Aretha Franklin
flickr user ktkatrina

The Detroit Free Press reports that a prayer vigil was held for Aretha Franklin in downtown Detroit last night.

Franklin canceled all her concerts through May and is undergoing a "medical procedure."

From the Freep:

Franklin said in a statement that "all prayers are good." Spokeswoman Tracey Jordan said she had no comment on the singer's condition or any possible medical procedures.