WUOMFM

Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Peter Kudlacz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you wandered past any landmarks or took a stroll through a public park this summer, you may have noticed a lot more foot traffic than usual. But instead of walking and talking together, these large groups of new guests basically just sit around and stare at their smartphones. 

Yes, "Pokémon GO" players are everywhere.

For many, the game has become a core part of day-to-day life. 

Alexander Weinstein's new book of short stories takes the idea to the extreme, exploring a future full of dangerously immersive virtual reality games. 

Jan Worth-Nelson told us that high-quality writing and photography have always been staples of "East Village Magazine."
Courtesy of East Village Magazine

This year marks the 40th anniversary of East Village Magazine.

The nonprofit magazine has been bringing community news to people in Flint since 1976, a labor of love for its founder, the late Gary Custer.

East Village Magazine has hung in there to become one of the nation's oldest community media outlets. 

Courtesy of Lester Monts

Michigan boasts an exceptionally rich mix of folk, ethnic and immigrant music, and it goes back centuries.

Music professor Lester Monts wanted to capture that rich tapestry, so he spearheaded the Michigan Musical Heritage Project.

This posthumous portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was painted by Barbara Krafft in 1819.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The Magic Flute is one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most famous works.

There’s a good chance you know the piece, but what you might not know is that Mozart finished and premiered the opera in the very final months of his life.

Mozart died 225 years ago today. He was only 35.

The cause of Mozart’s death is a medical question that has endured as long as his music.

According to McClelland, nasality is the hallmark of Midwestern speech.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One of the core elements of  your identity is your accent. 

But we here in the Midwest have a tendency to believe we don't have an accent. 

Writer Edward McClelland proves otherwise in his new book How to Speak Midwestern

McClelland sat down with us today to talk about what makes the Midwestern accent so distinct.

Despite the diligent tutelage of our Speak and Spells, there are plenty of spellings that continue to elude us.

However, while we sometimes complain about the vagaries of English spelling, would we actually change the spelling of any of the words?

University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan recently put the question to her students, who decided they would change up “supersede.”

Obviously, since it’s already typed out here on the page, we can’t really ask you how you think “supersede” is spelled.

Be honest though, when you saw it, did it look strange to you?


Courtesy of Amer Zahr

 

The election of Donald Trump worries a lot of people.

Some women, immigrants, and Muslims are wondering if Trump’s presidency will be anything like his campaign rallies, and what that might mean for their lives.

Benjaman James

After college graduation, Traverse City native and musician Benjaman James had a big decision to make: get a job that pays the bills, or pursue a career in music.  

Benjaman got a degree from Michigan State University’s college of engineering. After graduation he started the band “Old Mission Collective.”

As the group continued to gain traction, members came and went, but he says he became the only common member in the band. So he decided to go solo.

Now, Benjaman James is out with a new EP titled “Growing Pains" out December 3. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

December 5 is Repeal Day.

“Repeal Day is sort of an invented holiday,” explained Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings. In recent years, bars, brew houses, and the drinking public have embraced the repeal of the 18th Amendment, which brought in the era of Prohibition.

On December 5, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the 21st Amendment, doing away with Prohibition. He famously said, “What America needs now is a drink.”

Davies said the characters in his book all "struggle with the burden of representation. How do these individual Chinese and Chinese-Americans somehow represent or speak for a group, and it’s an impossible burden.”
flickr user futureatlas.com / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

It’s been nearly ten years since Peter Ho Davies came out with his first novel, The Welsh Girl. It was long-listed for the 2007 Man Booker Prize.

Now, Davies is out with his second novel: The Fortunes.

He offers four linked stories that explore what it means to be Chinese in America over the past century and a half. Three of the stories are built around people and events that actually happened.

 

We take a look at what to expect from the lame-duck session, which begins today in the Michigan legislature, and we hear from Michigan's own Tony-award winning playwright and co-founder of theater group Five Lesbian Brothers.

John Hanson

 

It’s holiday music for people who maybe aren’t really feeling the holiday spirit.

May Erlewine is getting ready to drop her new EP The Little Things with a tour of winter dance parties all around the state.

The EP’s full of holiday music that works for everyone, but is especially good for anyone who’s having a hard time grooving with the “tidings of comfort and joy” of traditional holiday tunes.

"Fun Home" was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won five.
Sarah_Ackerman / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Tony-award winning musical Fun Home opens tonight at Detroit's Fisher Theatre for a two-week run. Fun Home was adapted from Alison Bechdel's graphic novel, telling the story of her relationship with her gay dad and coming to terms with her own identity as a lesbian.

The musical got a very warm welcome when it finally got to Broadway. It was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and the show won five of them.

A few of those Tonys went to Michigan native Lisa Kron. She grew up in Lansing and is a playwright, actor and co-founder of the theater group Five Lesbian Brothers.

Joshua Johnson
Stephen Voss / NPR

 

After a 37-year run, Diane Rehm is retiring.

She’d served notice to her legions of loyal listeners that she would see out the election and then step away from The Diane Rehm Show.

Much as Garrison Keillor hand-picked his successor Chris Theil for A Prairie Home Companion, Rehm personally selected her own: radio journalist Joshua Johnson.

Johnson sat down with us today to talk about how he plans to follow in Rehm’s shoes and what he plans to do with his new show, 1A.

When to use “who” and when to use “whom” is one of those grammar conundrums that just won't die.

Once you learn the rule, it’s not too hard to distinguish between the two.

“Who” is the subject that does an action, while “whom”is the object that receives an action. For example, “who” speaks to “whom.”

Pretty simple, right?

Unfortunately, learning the rule doesn’t mean you’ll escape tricky cases.


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

On July 8, 1850, with a crimson robe and a paper crown, James Jesse Strang was crowned King of Beaver Island.

His coronation completed his youthful ambition to enter into royalty, but it would also result in his assassination.

In Don Faber’s well-researched book, James Jesse Strang: The Rise and Fall of Michigan’s Mormon King, the author declared that he wanted to present “the historical Strang, stripped of myth, demonization, and popular fancy.”

Screengrab of "Failure:Lab | David V. Wenzel" video

We all fail sometimes. No exceptions. 

It's often hard to admit, but failure is an essential part of the human experience. 

That's what Failure:Lab is all about.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A team of eight community partners, including Grand Rapids Public Schools, health providers, and artistic groups are working together on a big project in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

The group of organizations, along with help from the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, are taking five acres of blighted properties and transforming them into new mixed-income homes and apartments, a public high school, and a community center.

"Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be"
Courtesy of Valerie Graves

 

You may not know her name, but it’s a good bet you know her work.

Valerie Graves has worked in the creative departments at the nation’s leading advertising firms. She’s been creative director for top Fortune 500 accounts like General Motors, Ford, Burger King, AT&T, Pepsi and more. She’s been a top executive for Motown Records, and she was creative consultant to President Bill Clinton.

Advertising Age named her one of the “100 Best and Brightest” in the industry.

Courtesy of Elizabeth LaPensée

There's an app for just about everything. Proof of that is Honour Water.

It's a new app that teaches you Anishinaabe songs about water. Anishinaabe is the name used by native tribes including the Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi and Alquonquin peoples.

If your job involves a cubicle, a computer and any sort of decor that's best described as motivational graphic art, there's a good chance you've had some experience with business jargon.

Maybe you've been asked to circle back around after a conference call or close the loop on an email discussion. Perhaps you've bypassed low-hanging fruit to focus on mission-critical action items.

Or, just maybe, you've implemented corporate best practices to leverage your company's core competencies in order to achieve synergy. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

“Many people seem to be worried about what to serve their guests on Thanksgiving,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings.

She says she’s got a real crowd-pleaser called McClary’s Mule.

“This is just a riff on the classic Moscow Mule,” Coxen explained. The classic drink uses vodka, ginger beer, and lime.

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

"Bob Seger's House and Other Stories" is a masterful anthology of short fiction by some of Michigan’s best living writers. The settings of the stories include the frozen landscape of the Upper Peninsula, a drug house in Detroit, a suburban office cubicle, and the top of a Ferris wheel at a rural county fair. The characters range in age, from an unborn child, to a 90-year-old war veteran, to a ghost well over a century old.

The stories in this diverse anthology, edited by Michael Delp and M.L. Liebler, are presented in many forms. There is an allegory, a fable, historical fiction, and even a Western-style tall tale. Magical realism transports us to the heavens and plain, old-fashioned realism grounds us to the Earth.  One hilarious story includes lines of script-like dialogue that the main character, a frustrated playwright, creates only in her head. A short, short story, less than a page long, packs more punch, word for word, than any story I’ve ever read.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

 

They’re known as the Mother Earth Water Walkers: Two Anishinaabe grandmothers and a group of Anishinaabe women and men, walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes, hoping to raise awareness of the environmental and manmade threats against the lakes.

They began walking in 2003, and over the next six years walked all of the 11,525 miles around the Great Lakes.

Now the story of the Water Walkers is told in a children’s book by Michigan author Carol Trembath, with illustrations by David W. Craig.

Courtesy of Marcel Price

It's a real challenge to talk about mental health issues and challenges — even more so when you're young, when you feel like an "other."

Marcel Price is tackling that challenge through poetry and spoken word. As "Fable The Poet,” this young Michigander writes about mental wellness. And in his work with Mental Health America, he's traveling to high schools around Michigan and across the country, helping kids understand their shared struggles.

Laurel Premo and Anna Gustavsson
Courtesy of Premo & Gustavsson

 

Take fiddle and banjo tunes of the United States and mix them with the music and dance tunes of Sweden, and there you have Premo & Gustavsson.

Our Songs from Studio East series explores music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the world. Premo & Gustavsson fit that bill perfectly.

Cheyna Roth

The Capitol Commission has been working to restore these so-called “missing governors” for just over a year. Now Governor Kinsley Bingham, who served as governor from 1854 to 1859, will take his place on the walls of the Capitol.

Valerie Marvin is the Capitol historian. She says Bingham was an untraditional politician.

Sunday evening is a great time to relax, binge-watch something on Netflix and come to terms with the fact that Monday is coming and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

It’s also a great time to revisit the list of errands you promised yourself you’d run this weekend but couldn’t quite get to due to a particularly riveting season of "Scandal."

But now the dry-cleaning still needs to be picked up, there’s a stack of packages still waiting to go to the post office and the car is still in desperate need of an oil change. Pretty mundane stuff, right? No wonder you opted for Kerry Washington. 

A listener recently asked why it is that we “run” errands. We think that’s a good question, and it got us wondering about the word “errand” in general.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

World War II vintage planes are big attractions at air shows across the nation, but keeping them in the air means repairs and new parts.

That’s where Dave Groh comes in. He operates Yesteryear Aviation Incorporated near Mason, Michigan.

He rebuilds and makes parts for planes that were used to train pilots. He’s got one himself. Their mostly wood and canvas bi-planes.

Why rebuild WWII trainers?

“Because we love aviation,” he chuckled, adding, “and we like World War II aircraft in particular.”

Ben Foote

As part of Michigan Radio’s Songs from Studio East series we are exploring music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the world.

The West Michigan band “Cabildo" blends rock, folk, cumbia and ska. 

Julio Cano is from the Patagonia region of Chile. He's the lead singer of the eight member collective and he a guitarist. Cano draws inspiration from Latin American roots music like the ubiquitous cumbia style dance rhythm.

Pages