You name ‘em, we’ve got them: Michigan photographers, amateur actresses, adventure authors ... the works.
What unites them? They all seek a change.
First up, two moms who found each other in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Sara Joy was about to lose her infant son. Monni Must was volunteering her talents as a family photographer, coming in to take a final family portrait for Sara and her son. What they didn’t know is how those photos would help them both heal.
From film festivals to folk-rock, this week's ArtPod has it all.
It’s baaaaaack. After a brief hiatus (we missed you, too!) ArtPod is bigger and better than ever, bringing you all the Michigan artists and thinkers we’re following now.
This week, we’re hashing out the best of the Arab American film festival in Dearborn. Every festival has its inside-baseball politics about which films get in and which don’t. But Sundance just might be a cakewalk compared with trying to tackle the Arab spring and the Syrian conflict in just one week of screenings.
We hear from the guy who’s got that job, and we get the rundown on his favorite picks of the year.
We’re also heading to a Detroit shelter for LGBT teens. Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris tells us how these young men (and a handful of women) are making their own kind of families, with a little help from Madonna: it’s called vogue dancing, and for gay youth in Detroit, it’s brave stuff. You’ve gotta hear this story, and then you need to check out this video:
Then, we cut the baby boomers some slack for a change: sure, they’re notoriously self-obsessed and nostalgic for those groovy gone-by years of their youth. But guess what? So are Millenials! (Hint: young adults born after 1981.)
On today's Artpod, we hear from the festival's director, Donald Harrison. We also catch up with two longtime fans of the festival - one: an audience member, the other: a filmmaker - to hear some of their favorite film fest memories.
Festival-goer: "Every year I find at least two or three films that are just amazing."
John Johnson has been going to the Ann Arbor Film Festival since the late 1960s, and considers himself a big fan of the event.
He's such a big fan that when a film he likes doesn't win an award at the festival, he sends the filmmaker a "a few dollars myself and tell them what a great film it was." He says he's probably done that about four times, three of which have resulted in a letter back from the filmmaker and a DVD copy of the film.
One of his favorite memories was when he saw Claude LeLouch's "Rendezvous" at the 1976 film festival. He says the film "totally blew my mind," left him with goose bumps.
Johnson says every year he finds "at least two or three films that are just amazing, from my point of view." He says it's worth sitting in the theatre for hours to get to the films "that are just amazing that you would have nowhere else to see."
Detroit, Flint, Dearborn and other cities have recently had to close some of their library branches in order to save money, which means access to free computers and computer training is becoming more limited.
On today's Artpod, we'll visit a group that's working to close the digital divide.
Today's Artpod features a story where science and art intersect.
At a lot of colleges and universities, the sciences are housed on one part of campus, the arts on another. But the two sides will have a chance to meet this week when the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) at the University of Michigan opens its first art gallery.
Sara Adlerstein is a research scientist at SNRE, artist, and curator for the new Art & Environment gallery. When it comes to environmental issues, she says scientists need to be able to communicate with people outside their field.
"If you’re not able to communicate to the general public, then your work is not all that relevant," explains Adlerstein. "So I’ve been exploring to do that through art; I think art speaks to the heart. With an image you can communicate directly to the heart and make people think about how to educate themselves if they’re interested in the issues."
She hopes the new gallery will show scientists and students that charts and pie graphs aren’t the only way to share their research.
We learn about Michigan's burgeoning garment industry, and we get an update on how one of the state's biggest movie studios is doing (hint: not too well.) Plus, we talk with the director of the new documentary, After the Factory.
Today's Artpod is all about work...or rather, re-imagining what work can be.
Many people view Michigan as ground zero when it comes to job loss and unemployment. Yet despite the tough economy, some people are quitting their jobs in an effort to pursue their creative passions, which are often unpaid.
We kick of the first Artpod of 2012 with an appearance by none other than the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
I interviewed Franklin last month about her search for the next great opera star. That's right, opera star. Franklin wants to get in on the singing contest circuit, and she's turning her searchlight on the world of classical music.
For all your late holiday shoppers out there, today's Artpod is filled with ideas for giving local.
I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook to hear your thoughts on Michigan-made gifts you'd like to give (or receive) this year. I also reached out to the owner of an independent bookstore in Grand Rapids, and the owner of an independent music store in Ann Arbor to get their suggestions, too.
So without further ado, here's what you had to say about giving local:
In today's podcast, we look at how an arts group is encouraging lower-income kids to go on to college, with measurable results. It's called Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, which one student describes as a place filled with "pops of rainbow colors."
On today's podcast, we hear about a group of Michigan cartoonists who think comics can be an educational and valuable tool for kids.
As Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris explains, cartoonist Jerzy Drozd has picked 21 rural and urban towns in Michigan where he knows people are having a tough time making ends meet. Drozd has been visiting those towns and offering comic-drawing workshops, free of charge, to the kids in those areas.
On today's podcast, we hear how an artist in Detroit wants to bring color to the city with his brush strokes.
Artists in Seattle and Philadelphia who have been painting large murals on abandoned buildings in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods. Philadelphia for example, has around two-thousand murals to help brighten the city.
The Cincinnati Art Museum recently discovered it had a long lost treasure trove of rare instruments in its possession. More than 800 antique instruments just sitting in storage…unused and pretty much forgotten.
This week's Artpod features an interview from the "Michigan on the Page." It's a web-only series from Michigan Radio, where authors from around the state are interviewed about their own books, about Michigan books in general, and about what it means to be a Michigan writer.
On today's podcast, we turn the mic over to Brian Short, the series' curator, and author Bonnie Jo Campbell.
We talk a lot about Detroit’s path to revival, but drive an hour northwest to Flint and you’ll find a city whose struggles are similar if not worse than Detroit's. Now a coalition of artists, city officials and residents is trying to re-write Flint's story through art.
On today's podcast, we talk with Michigan author Steve Amick about writing, humor, and the character of writers from the state. It's part of Michigan Radio's occasional literary series, Michigan on the Page. Amick is the author of The Lake, the River & the Other Lake, which takes place in a fictional town on the west side of the state.
There's no shortage of musicians who got their start in Michigan: Madonna, Iggy Pop and The White Stripes come to mind. Problem is, they left the state to make it big.
Emily Fox reports there's a movement to try to encourage musicians and bands to stay in Michigan. On today's Artpod, we look at how local "music collectives" are hoping to keep homegrown talent in the state.
On today's installment of Artpod, we hear how artists use their talents to raise money for a local nonprofit.
People don’t often think of “art” as a money-making endeavor, but a group in Saline, Michigan is proving otherwise. Their story is about taking little pieces of art and turning them into big money makers. And all that money is being used to help feed hungry people in Washtenaw County.
Today's Artpod is all about nostalgia...Michigan-focused nostalgia, of course.
Rock Around the Clock
Did you know that 50 years ago this week, "Runaway" by Del Shannon was the #1 song in the U.S.? Don't worry, neither did I. But Michigan Radio's Mike Perini did! He's the station's resident music head. Turns out Del Shannon was born in Grand Rapids, and he grew up in nearby Coopersville. "Runaway" was the first rock 'n' roll song by a West Michigan-born artist to hit the top.
Mike talks to me in the first half of the podcast about some other classic rock 'n' roll songs written by Michigan artists, including the always popular "Rock Around the Clock," by Bill Haley.
Let's play ball!
A new play pays tribute to long-time Tigers baseball announcer Ernie Harwell. The play is called "Ernie" and it was written by best-selling author Mitch Albom. The play looks back at Harwell's life and includes vintage footage of the Hall of Fame announcer.
On the podcast I talk to Will David Young, the veteran Michigan actor who plays Ernie:
Bridget Bodnar filed the report for Michigan Radio. The story generated a lot of buzz on the Michigan Radio comment page, and got picked up by AnnArbor.com as well.
Bodnar talked to about a dozen women who used Glittersniffer Cosmetics, including one woman who said the eye makeup "started to burn and itch and I just wanted to rub, and dig my eyeballs out of my face they hurt so badly.”
"It was a very difficult, gut-wrenching decision. Something we would have thought was un-thinkable a week ago today. They are trying to extend the hand of friendship in an effort to end the strike under the conditions management had previously imposed."
On today's Artpod, we'll look at what kind of role social media played during the five month labor dispute between the two sides.