Arts & Culture

Stateside
12:28 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

A Detroit-born filmmaker travels the world to uncover roots of the city's techno music

Main stage of Hart Plaza, Detroit
Credit User: The #technoMeccaMixtape / screengrab detroitsoundproject.com

The power of music to build bridges.

In this case, electronic and techno music is building bridges between Detroit and South Africa.

That's the focus of a documentary film called Electric Roots: The Detroit Sound Project. The short film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Filmmaker Kristian Hill is based in Los Angeles, but he is from Detroit. Hill says in exploring the underground electronic and techno music scenes in Detroit and places like Tokyo, Russia, and South Africa, he got to meet people from all over the world.

Hill says he found music lovers who have a real interest in Detroit music -- beyond just Motown.

“We’ve met people who tell us that you know, Muslims go to Mecca, but techno lovers go to Detroit,” says Hill.

* Listen to our conversation with Kristian Hill above.

Watch a trailer of the documentary:

There will be a screening of the film on September 27, 2014 at Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit. You can get more information on the screening and the progress of Hill's film on his website.

Arts & Culture
7:35 pm
Sat September 13, 2014

ArtPrize installation meant to provoke thought

Part of an ArtPrize installation entitled "Something is Happening Here"
Credit Michigan State University College of Arts and Sciences

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Figures that appear to be holding guns and binoculars stand sentry on a downtown Grand Rapids rooftop.

They are a statement of art, not a call to arms.

The Grand Rapids Press reports  Saturday that crews have been installing "...there's something happening here..." on the roof and terrace of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts. The work is Henry Brimmer's fourth entry in Michigan's annual ArtPrize competition, which opens Sept. 24.

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Culture
1:07 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

University of Michigan band will help mark 'Star-Spangled Banner' bicentennial

The flag flying at Fort McHenry today. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" on September 14, 1814. He was inspired by a battle he witnessed there.
user Bohemian Baltimore Wikimedia Commons

A tune that reverberates through ballparks, auditoriums and community gatherings is getting an amped-up workout during its 200th anniversary.

One of the biggest and flashiest salutes to "The Star-Spangled Banner" comes Saturday at the University of Michigan. The Ann Arbor school's marching band, a 500-voice choir and dance team combine during a football halftime show.

The university also plans a sing-along Friday, the same day it opens an exhibit on the national anthem's cultural history.

More from AP:

Major festivities also are happening in Baltimore, including a flag-raising ceremony Sunday at Fort McHenry National Monument. That's where Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics on Sept. 14, 1814, during a pivotal War of 1812 battle.

Many events nationwide are encouraged by the Star Spangled Music Foundation. It's founded by Michigan musicology professor Mark Clague.

9/11
11:39 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Here's how Michigan taxpayers came to own the designs for the original World Trade Center

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 2000.
Joshua Schwimmer Flickr

The state of Michigan owns public parks, roads, buildings, and even some historic artifacts. Among those artifacts are the original architectural drawings of the World Trade Center.

This is a story of how the state of Michigan – its taxpayers – came to own the works.

Thousands of people visit the 9-11 Memorial in New York every day.

Children play by the fountain that surrounds the footprint of what once were the world’s tallest buildings. Some people take the time to read at least some of the names of the people who died here on 9-11.

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Stateside
10:37 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Michigan music's big impact on the UK

Iggy and The Stooges performing in a concert in London, England
Credit User: Aurelien Guichard / Flickr

​It's no secret that Michigan has turned out some powerful figures in the world of pop music. Musicians and artists whose influence rocketed out of Michigan and spread around the world.

A great example of this is in the United Kingdom. Many artists there were influenced by the R&B and Motown music: The Beatles, the Stones, the Who, and so many more.

Chris Hawkins is a music journalist and host on BBC6 music. He says Michigan artists and their music have had big impact in the UK.

"There's something joyous about the sound of Motown. The lyrics often a little more complicated ... It was like nothing we've ever experienced here before ... It made artists huge starts, and we adopted those stars here in many ways," says Hawkins.

Moving through the decades from the Motown glory days, Hawkins says artists and songs from Michigan have sparked unique responses in the UK and drew enthusiastic fans.

"Madonna's Vogue ... I remember the little bar I used to go to in the small town where I grew up, everyone was voguing," says Hawkins.

* Listen to our conversation with Chris Hawkins above.

Arts & Culture
5:27 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Grand Rapids philanthropist leaves $1M for city ballet

The Grand Rapids Ballet is the state's only professional ballet company.
Credit Michigan.org

Yes, there is a professional ballet company in Grand Rapids.

In fact, they're the only one in the state. 

And they are really fed up with people not knowing that.

“We used to have letterhead that said ‘Michigan’s best kept secret’ or something, and I was like, let’s get rid of that,” laughs the company’s executive director, Glenn Del Vecchio.

But the city’s ballet has long had support from one of West Michigan’s biggest philanthropists, Peter Wege.

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Arts & Culture
4:01 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Deadline looms for Lenawee County landmark

Last year, demolition crews removed the observation decks from the Irish Hills Towers. Now, the rest of the structure faces an uncertain future.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The fate of the 90-year-old Irish Hills Towers could be decided Wednesday.

Cambridge Township officials may decide the effort to save the iconic wooden towers has run its course, and it’s time to demolish them.

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Arts & Culture
11:53 am
Sun September 7, 2014

When you've got plenty of nothing, you've got bupkis

Bupkis. Zip, nada, zilch. 

Those are all words that mean nothing – as in you've got nothing.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says a game of cribbage with her mother led to a discussion about the word bupkis, and where it came from.

"It's such a great word. It's clearly Yiddish," Curzan says. "And then we started talking about other words for 'nothing.' There's zero, which is borrowed from French in the 17th century, but it goes back to Arabic. Nada, which is Spanish, goes back to the 19th century."

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Stateside
11:12 am
Thu September 4, 2014

When the Beatles came to Detroit 50 years ago, this man introduced them

The Beatles
User: Patrick Julian facebook/Beyond Olympia Stadium

On Sept. 6, 1964, the Beatles came to Michigan.

The familiar sounds of the Detroit Red Wings playing at Olympia Stadium gave way to something completely different: 30,000 teenagers screaming for John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

They played two shows at Olympia Stadium.

Bob Green was right there, seeing Beatlemania unfold in Detroit.

He was a disc jockey on WKNR, Keener 13, the legendary Detroit radio station. He wasn't just there as the Beatles played Olympia, he was onstage introducing them.

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Arts & Culture
5:30 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

Leading US Muslim group holding convention in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter has told a group of Muslim Americans in Detroit they should take a role in supporting peace and justice efforts.

Carter delivered the keynote at Saturday's Islamic Society of North America convention at Cobo Center.

The society is among America's leading Muslim groups. The Detroit area has one of the nation's largest Muslim populations.

The Detroit News reports that Carter said he hopes Muslim Americans "will use the principals of Allah to bring peace and justice to all."

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Stateside
4:55 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Dwayne Gill is a state trooper by day, and a stand-up comic by night

Dwayne Gill
Credit dwaynegill.com/comedy / dwaynegill.com/comedy

Michigan State Police Sgt. Dwayne Gill uses his day job as a reference pool for his stand-up sets.

Gill said that comedy came first for him, but open-mic nights did not bring in enough money, so he became a police officer.

“They knew that I was doing stand-up in the academy and I was called 'Recruit Joker,'” Gill said.

Gill started his comedic journey in 1989. He signed up for an Apollo Night contest in April 1995. After getting booed off the stage, he decided to quit comedy and focus on his police work.

Seven years later, he went to a retirement party for a trooper at the Ann Arbor Showcase, and said that gave him the itch to try comedy again.

He read books, took a class in New York, and learned more about comedy. September 11, 2002 he was back on stage, and started getting paid for his jokes in 2004.

Now he has opened up for celebrities like Tim Allen, and recently for Aretha Franklin.  

Gill has been working in law enforcement for 21 years. He is now the Michigan State Police liaison to the Legislature, and he still continues to do stand-up work.

*Listen to our full interview with Dwayne Gill above. 

Stateside
12:23 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Lovers of jazz see Detroit as the New Orleans of the north

A Detroit Jazz Festival float.
Credit Maia C / Flickr

The 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival is this Labor Day weekend. It is the largest free jazz festival in the world, and it will be held in downtown Detroit at Campus Martius and Hart Plaza.

Chris Collins, the artistic director, and Jim Gallert, jazz broadcaster, writer and researcher, joined Stateside today to talk about the history of this festival and of jazz in Detroit.

“The Detroit Jazz Festival celebrates not only the greater jazz landscape, but, in particular, this amazing legacy of the city of Detroit,” Collins said.

Detroit came into the jazz scene in the early 1920s. Gallert said Detroit was an important feeder city. A lot of Detroit bands set the style for bands in New York.

“Many of us think of Detroit as the New Orleans of the north,” Gallert said.

The Detroit Jazz Festival is a year round effort to spread the gospel of jazz and support jazz artists. They work with students in Detroit Public Schools in what is called the "Jazz Infusion" where professional jazz artists work with the students to teach jazz, form bands, and put on shows.

The Detroit Jazz Festival runs this Labor Day weekend in downtown Detroit. You can get schedules, artists and all the information at their website.

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Collins and Jim Gallert on Stateside at 3:00 pm. Audio for this story will be added by 4:30 pm. 

Culture
11:13 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Jimmy Carter to speak at Islamic Society of North America conference in Detroit

Jimmy Carter at a book signing in 2010.
Credit Geoff Holtzman / Talk Radio News Service/Flickr

The former president, who will turn 90 on October 1, will be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for the nation's largest Muslim group.

The Islamic Society of North America's 51st annual conference will be held at the Cobo Center from August 29 through September 1. The theme of the conference will be on "elevating Muslim-American culture."

More from the Toledo Blade:

President Carter will talk on the subject of his latest book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, at a luncheon Aug. 30.

That night, at a session called “Generations Rise: Elevating Muslim-American Culture” -- the same title as the entire conference theme — the outgoing president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Magid, and four other Muslim speakers will offer ideas for Muslim-American advancement over the next five years. A “secret special guest” is also on the bill.

The Blade reports Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will speak at the opening of the conference, which will also feature "Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, the national leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim member of Congress."

Here's one of the Society's promotional videos for the conference:

Culture
8:43 am
Sat August 23, 2014

As a word nerd, I notice some things about the way you talk

Credit Pierre Metivier / Flickr

Language, language everywhere

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor asked me what the scoop is with the phrase all of a sudden.

“I was thinking about it the other day,” she said, “because I would never say ‘a sudden.’ And I thought, ‘I should ask Anne.’”

A few days later, I was chatting with one of my colleagues over lunch, and he told me he had just learned the slang term thirsty from his students and was wondering if I already knew it.

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Culture
3:18 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

This 20-year-old U of M student makes six figures breaking stories about Apple

Mark Gurman has a passion for all things Apple.
markgurman.com

Mark Gurman started his tech journalism career in high school. Now he's a junior at the University of Michigan and he's still making good money by breaking stories about Apple Inc.

Michigan Radio's Kate Wells reported on Gurman last year predicting "We will all be working for this kid someday."

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Culture
10:08 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Former Detroit Archbishop and Vatican City governor Szoka dies at age 86

SM Giovanni and SM Angela with Edmund Cardinal Szoka.
Credit Felician Sisters of North America / Flickr

DETROIT - Cardinal Edmund Szoka, the former governor of Vatican City and the head of the Detroit archdiocese, has died. He was 86.

The Archdiocese of Detroit says Szoka died of natural causes Wednesday night at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan.

Pope John Paul II made Szoka a cardinal in 1988. Not long after, he became the Vatican's point man for finance. By 1998, he was running the Vatican City, one of the world's smallest countries.

Since his retirement from active ministry in 2006, Szoka had been living in the Detroit suburb of Northville.

Arts & Culture
7:15 am
Thu August 21, 2014

3 things struggling historical groups can do to attract more people

Guests at a Romanian wedding reception in Detroit in 1936.
Credit Metro Detroit Ethnic Communities Collection/Walter P. Reuther Library

There’s a joke that historical organizations are stuck in the past when it comes to how they do things. You know, like they don’t have a grasp on using social media, and their museums and events are outdated and uninspiring.

And that joke might extend to the people who run historical organizations – many of whom are senior citizens and have often run their group in the same way for a long time.

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Stateside
4:45 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

New book explores Civil War re-enactments in Michigan

American Civil War re-enactment
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Michigan embraced the Union cause before the first shot at Fort Sumpter was ever fired. And Michigan soldiers and sailors were involved in virtually all of the campaigns and battles of the Civil War.

A new book looks at the ways Michiganders were a part of the Civil War through photographs of some of the 10,000 Civil War re-enactors in Michigan.

It's called "American Civil War Years: The Michigan Experience (The Reenactors' Telling)."

“We really wanted to pay tribute to these people who are out there in 100-degree weather in wool,” said iMichigan Productions’ Donna Ullrich, the editor of the book.

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Culture
3:53 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Renowned forensic psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Emanuel Tanay, dies at 86

Dr. Emanuel Tanay
John Lofy

Dr. Emanuel Tanay died of metastatic prostate cancer on August 5. A visitation is planned for Saturday, September 13 at 11:00 am at the Nie Family Funeral Home in Ann Arbor with a memorial service to follow at noon.

Tanay led an amazing life. Here's more about Tanay from a family press release: 

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Stateside
4:32 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Underrated attractions await those who drive I-75

The West Branch smiley face.
Troy B Thompson Flickr

If you live in Michigan, chances are pretty good you've found yourself driving I-75 at one time or another.

But how about this: drive I-75 from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie and stop at all the underrated sights your readers tell you about?

That's what Detroit Free Press Travel writer Ellen Creager did as "The Michigan Traveler."

Creager drove north on I-75 stopping at places readers suggested. Each attraction was within five miles of the freeway. The trip took four days.

The readers then voted on the most underrated sight on I-75.

The winner was the West Branch Smiley Face. It's a water tower in West Branch, beyond the Tanger Outlets, and it can be seen from the freeway.

The runner-ups on the list were the Straits State Park bridge overlook in St. Ignace, and the Castle Rock lookout point in St. Ignace.

View the full story in the Detroit Free Press here.

*Listen to the full story above. 

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