Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Courtesty: Andrew Herscher

Detroit is getting some love in Venice.

The Venice Architecture Biennale is a really big deal in the architecture world, and the designs presented by this year's American exhibitors are all about the Motor City. 

Adult coloring books are everywhere and they're filled with images of just about anything. There are adult coloring books that feature owls, butterflies, secret gardens, dream doodles, lighthouses, mandalas, kaleidoscopes and fantastic cities.

Adult coloring clubs are also popping up throughout the state. They’re often affiliated with a local library. The basic idea is that for an hour or two adults can drop in and spend some time coloring, using coloring books and markers and pencils that the library provides.

FLICKR USER JASON MRACHINA / https://flic.kr/p/bUmnTg

David Maraniss’ earliest memories are in Detroit. He's the associate editor of the Washington Post. Maraniss lived in Detroit until he was six years old and remembers the strong taste of Vernor's. He remembers the Boblo boat.

His book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story tells us what Detroit gave America. It also details the first signs of the city's troubles. Maraniss joined us on Stateside to talk about his strong feelings for the state and about the country’s view of Detroit.  

Flickr user Andrew McFarlane/Flickr

Steven Ford joined us today to discuss his father, the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford.

On Friday, the film A Test of Character airs on National Geographic at 9 p.m. Eastern. It tells the story of President Ford and the challenging time in history during which he took office.

5th-grade teacher to open for Eddie Money

May 25, 2016
Courtesy of Crashing Cairo

Rock stars like Gene Simmons and Sting used to be teachers, not long before having sold-out concerts across the world. For Crashing Cairo, this serves as a good omen as they prepare to open for Eddie Money at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Friday.

The Michigan pop-rock group's lead singer, Robert Wax, is a fifth-grade teacher at Norwood Elementary in Royal Oak. Drummer David West is a software engineer who also advises future engineers.

John Thomas

In the summer of 2013, we spoke with law professor and music journalist John Thomas about the Kalamazoo Gals on Stateside.

Thomas had uncovered the story of women who built some 9,000 guitars at the Gibson Guitar headquarters in Kalamazoo during World War II.

This discovery clashed with Gibson’s official assertion that they built no instruments during the war.

He tells the story in his book, Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson’s “Banner” Guitars of WWII.

In the three years since we last spoke, the story has taken some interesting turns. Today Thomas and Kalamazoo Gal Irene Stearns joined us again on Stateside to talk about it.

The Henry Ford

The Beatles have come to The Henry Ford Museum.

The Magical History Tour, a 10,000-square-foot exhibit that explores the full history of the iconic rock band is coming to Dearborn. The exhibit takes fans through the band's early days in Liverpool through its break-up in the 1970s and the solo careers that followed. 

While there are millions of fans of the band in the Great Lakes State, the number of significant connections to Michigan is relatively minimal (Paul McCartney has a Detroit Red Wings sticker on his guitar!). So why was Michigan chosen as the first stop on this tour? 

From Russia with rockin' love for Detroit

May 24, 2016
Courtesy of Vladislav Yermachenko

In recent years, Detroit hasn't just inspired local artists. It's also inspired artists across the world. Russian rocker Vladislav Yermachenko, drummer for a Kazakhstan-based Russian rock band Polygon, has been inspired by the city since childhood when his father gave him a book on the world’s automotive industry. After seeing pictures of Motor City-made cars, he fell in love with Detroit. He's now a journalist for automotive magazines.

But cars aren’t the only thing that has inspired Yermachenko. Detroit’s resilience in the face of struggle inspired him to write Polygon’s song, “Winners in This Life.” His love for cars and resilient nature show in his lyrics. 

Flickr user Mike Fritcher / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Throughout its 314-year history, Detroit has been one of the nation’s most historically significant cities.

 

There's enough history that Detroit author Bill Loomis found a significant event for each day of the calendar year throughout the city’s history in his new book, On This Day in Detroit History.

 

From sports heroes, to the Beatles, to Harry Houdini -- the book covers everything Detroit.

Listen to the interview below to learn about some of the strange and spectacular events from Detroit’s history.

 

 


sherlock holmes character in silhouette
dynamosquito / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Many around the world will be celebrating the birthday of Sherlock Holmes creator Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle on Sunday, May 22. However, as we learned from University of Michigan medical historian and PBS Newshour contributor Dr. Howard Markel, there's another reason to celebrate.

Doyle was working on his first Sherlock Holmes book while practicing as a doctor and also writing for the London-based monthly journal, Review of Reviews. Doyle used his deductive reasoning to play a role in the discovery of a cure for tuberculosis.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Thinking about the upcoming Mackinac Island Policy Conference, Tammy Coxen with Tammy's Tastings offers a new riff on the cocktail called the Conference. The original Conference cocktail originated at Death and Co. in Manhattan's East Village. In turn, that drink is a spin off of the classic Old Fashioned.

The changes made to make the Michigan Conference include substituting Michigan maple syrup for the sugar in the drink, and using chocolate bitters as a playful nod to the fudge shops found on Mackinac Island. 

Richard T. James

Marilyn McCormick only expected to stay in Detroit for a year or two before moving to New York to live the “bohemian lifestyle.” Then she got a teaching job at her alma mater, Cass Technical High School. “I was totally enjoying what I was doing…[and] I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing,” McCormick said. Now forty years later, the performing arts teacher will be retiring.

Aladar Nesser

Ice arenas and fights are among the first images to come to mind when someone thinks about hockey. When author and playwright Mitch Albom thinks about hockey, he has one thing on his mind: musicals.

"Hockey - The Musical!" will be making its opening debut tonight for a month-long run at Detroit's City Theatre, and Albom hopes it will bring together theater geeks and sports fans alike.

Mercedes Mejia

The vast woods, rivers, and wildlife of Northern Michigan captured Hemingway’s heart and imagination early in life. 

“Michigan always represented a great source of freedom for Hemingway. Everything that he’s associated with – outdoorsmanship, hunting, fishing, that all came from his time in Northern Michigan,” says Chris Struble, president of the Michigan Hemingway Society.

Hemingway home
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Ernest Hemingway spent his boyhood summers in Michigan, and the last 20 years of his life in Cuba. 

Today, Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s Cuban home, is undergoing a major renovation, overseen by a Michigan construction company known for its historic renovation work.

2016 Motor City Comic Con
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Thousands of fans of all kinds traveled to Novi over the weekend for the 27th annual Motor City Comic Con. The Suburban Convention Showplace was full of fans who were dressed to impress. There was no shortage of variety when it came to the character costumes. Super heroes, super villains, movie, TV, and video game characters. If there's a character with a fanbase, chances are there was someone dressed up like them.

A string quartet
creative commons

Twenty-nine chamber music ensembles face off this week at the University of Michigan's first M-Prize competition.

Founder Aaron Dworkin says it's a major chamber music competition, both in terms of the number of groups competing and the size of the prize: $100,000.

Dworkin says he hopes to draw attention to how chamber music is evolving. He says it's not just a strings ensemble, or winds.

"You might have euphonium, harp, oboe and spoken word," says Dworkin, "and all acoustic, or are there any parts of that ensemble that engage electronics."

Pronunciation of the word divisive can be divisive.

Michigan Radio listener Connie of Grand Rapids wrote “I had always thought the middle syllable in this word was a long i, as in divided but I am hearing NPR hosts saying it with a short i, as in division.

Curzan and Miller admit they use both pronunciations.

“What we’re seeing here is a shift from what seems to be the standard pronunciation in a relatively short time frame – the last 15 years or so," Curzan says.

She checked with the American Heritage Dictionary usage panel, of which she’s a member, to see how they’re voting on this.

Stateside 5.13.2016

May 13, 2016

In our latest edition of Songs from Studio East, band members of the olllam discuss the origin of their music. It is infused with "liberated" Irish sounds.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan has its fair share of magnificent architects, one of whom is Minoru Yamasaki.

Author John Gallagher recently wrote a book about Yamasaki. He joined us today on Stateside.

Yamasaki lived during World War II, when life for many Japanese Americans was not easy. Some suffered in internment camps, and Yamasaki too faced discrimination.

“And yet he was so good at what he did and so brilliant that he got these sort of high-end commissions, you know, from early on designing a naval base for the military at the height of World War II,” Gallagher said.

After the war, Yamasaki moved to Detroit. Gallagher said he quickly became “the new modernist designer” in the city and its suburbs. He is known for buildings like the McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State and the One Woodward building.

Gallagher said Yamasaki's buildings feel connected to nature.

“Whenever you’re in one of them you begin to sense what he was trying to do, creating these oasis of tranquility for the people who would use his buildings,” he said.

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

Today we met Ann Arbor native Tyler Duncan and Irishman John McSherry. 

Despite being an ocean away, they play in a band together, called the olllam. The two have toured across the U.S. and in Europe producing a fusion of pop, rock and Irish music.

Duncan's musical career has included a variety of genres, like pop, rock and electronic. He has won international awards for playing traditional Irish instruments, like the uilleann pipes, a lighter version of Scotland's bagpipes, and whistles, a staple in Irish music. 

He discovered Irish music when he was 11, when his aunt gave him a VHS copy of Riverdance​. A pipe solo in the middle of the show grabbed his attention.

"As a kid I just was like, 'Woah, what is that? What is that instrument?'" he said. "And that got me really interested in the pipes."

Years later, as a 13-year-old Duncan moved to Ireland for a year with his family. His father took a sabbatical there.

He was given a tape he loved, which he later learned featured John McSherry, a rising star in the traditional Irish music scene. Then, when Duncan was in western Ireland, he had a chance to meet that musician.

He said it was a "serendipitous" meeting at a jam session in Milltown. Someone told Duncan that McSherry was at the bar. So Duncan started to stare. When McSherry's girlfriend noticed, the two introduced themselves.

That was the origin of the friendship that lead to the olllam.

The Carr Center's current home in Detroit's Harmonie Park.
Carr Center / via Facebook

A prominent Detroit arts organization is losing its home in a downtown neighborhood it helped revitalize.

The Carr Center has called a historic building in Detroit’s Harmonie Park area home since 2009.

The non-profit arts organization is focused on promoting and celebrating African and African-American arts and culture.

It’s been a vibrant spot, but struggled financially.

Jodi Westrick

One of the big treats of doing Stateside live from the Charles H. Wright Museum was the live music from the Marcus Elliot Quartet. 

Elliot talked with Cynthia Canty about getting hooked on jazz,  teaching jazz at Troy High School and influences from his travels around the world, plus much more.

Jodi Westrick

Today’s show was broadcast from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Dr. Charles H. Wright was a physician, a gynecologist and obstetrician. Through the years he delivered 7,000 babies in Detroit alone. He also founded the museum in his office by first collecting small items.

The 22,000-square-foot museum holds the largest exhibit dedicated to the history of African Americans.

Stateside's Cynthia Canty spoke with curator Patrina Chatman.

Lester Graham

Dearborn has become a flashpoint for many people in America. Anti-Islam protestors carrying weapons have rallied in the city. The Arab American National Museum has responded by inviting people to better understand the city through food. Lester Graham recently joined a group going on a food tour called “Yalla Eat!

Terrance Heath/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Are you unable to resist making judgments about the person who makes a grammar mistake?

Ah, wait till you hear about some interesting new research from the University of Michigan.

It gives us some insight into the personality of the critic.

Robin Queen is professor and chair of the Linguistics Department at the University of Michigan and co-author of the new study along with Julie E. Boland, professor of psychology and linguistics. 

flickr user volkspider / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Does a typo or grammatical error really bug you?

Are you unable to resist making judgments about the person who committed that linguistic faux pas?

Well, some interesting new research from the University of Michigan might just teach you a thing or two about yourself. 

Robin Queen is professor and chair of the Linguistics Department at U of M. Queen joined Cynthia Canty on Stateside to offer some insight into the personality of the critic. 

Former altar girl pens chapbook on clerical sexual abuse

May 10, 2016
Chapbook cover for "The Witness"
Kelly Fordon

Writer and poet Kelly Fordon grew up as a Catholic altar girl in the 1970s, and has published The Witness, a chapbook centered around sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Chapbooks are used by poets to focus on a single theme or topic. 

Fordon never expected to write against the Catholic Church, but believes that people shouldn't be so quick to defend priests accused of abuse. Fordon joined Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside to discuss The Witness.

Laura Swanson

It’s hard not to picture the movie Taken when someone says “human trafficking” – the women lured into a Frenchman’s car and Liam Neeson’s ensuing action scenes.

But filmmaker Laura Swanson said that narrow idea of what human trafficking encompasses is misleading.

“Certainly that does happen, but that’s not the majority of the cases,” Swanson said. “And I think people really need to start reframing the ways in which they see human trafficking so that we can amend our laws and legal system to accompany what we need to do to get resources and to provide the best support for victims and survivors.”

Swanson’s documentary film Break the Chain aims to do just that – to reframe how we understand human trafficking.

Laura Swanson

When Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III was charged with a wide range of prostitution-related crimes, it managed to refocus attention on sex crimes and human trafficking in Michigan.  Victims of these crimes include people forced to sell their bodies for sex and people used for cheap labor.  

Break the Chain, a new documentary on human trafficking in Michigan, premiers next month. 

Filmmaker Laura Swanson and human trafficking survivor Debbie joined Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside.

 

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