Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Shervin Lainez

 

Tony Lucca has had long and fruitful show business career, from becoming a finalist on the second season of NBC’s “The Voice,” to his early start as a Mouseketeer in the 1990 season of The Mickey Mouse Club.

The Waterford native talked to us about how his Michigan roots have influenced his music and what he has planned for his show Saturday at the Magic Stick in Detroit.

Listen to our conversation with Lucca below. 


http://www.letsmove.gov/

As Stateside goes tableside, let’s talk about how we talk about food! Why do the words "foodie," "delish," and "yummo" drive some people crazy? Margot Finn is a lecturer at the University of Michigan, specializing in food and popular culture.

Finn says she finds it interesting that people would take offense to certain food words such as "nom" or "yummo." Finn thinks it could be a result of trendy or edgy people rejecting a word when it becomes more widely used in pop culture.

Finn says there's a long history of food as status symbol. The snobbery and elitism foodies are accused of may have roots in the use of food to confer status.  Listen to our interview with Finn below.


Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Matt Jones is a singer/songwriter from Ypsilanti. He’s also a big Civil War nerd. The Civil War inspired many of the songs on his latest album, called "The Deep Enders."

Today on Stateside, Matt Jones on how the history of the Civil War influences his work.

Tune in at 3 p.m. to hear Jones on the show.

One big influence, he notes, is the relationship between Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. When General Jackson died in 1863, General Lee was forced to think about how he was going to fill that hole in his life. Jones’ song, "Bountymen," explores this theme of losing someone or something and not knowing how you’re going to replace it.

"The Darkest Things," another song from "The Deep Enders," was the first song Jones wrote for the album.

Jones says this song stems as much from his own personal struggles as well as the Civil War.

Flickr user hildgrim

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, a holiday based around food and our American roots, we decided to take a look back at how American food and eating has changed throughout the 20th century. 

Chris Cook, chief restaurant and wine critic at Hour Detroit Magazine, joined us to talk about how Americans have gone from the simplistic food of the 1930s to the sophisticated restaurant scene of today.

During the 1930s and throughout World War II, Cook says the United States relied on uncomplicated foods like sandwiches and canned vegetables to make it through shortages and rations.

Heather Merritt / etsy

Lots of people daydream about ditching their jobs and doing something they truly love.

Heather Merritt is someone who did just that.

Merritt’s workday used to happen inside of a jail. She worked as a substance abuse therapist helping inmates with their addictions. These days her “work” happens at thrift stores, at artisans markets and inside her art studio.

But the leap from therapist to artist happened accidentally. Kind of. Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris has this profile:


Meg / Flickr

Think about the days when you had no Internet. No Food Network. No Epicurious. None of those websites where you can find any recipe in an instant.

In those pre-Internet days, food-lovers and cooks would find themselves turning to Gourmet.

The magazine was launched in 1941 and it folded in 2009.

The University of Michigan has a new exhibit on the magazine and, among other things, it features one issue from each of Gourmet's 69 years of publication.

Janice Longone joined us today. She's the adjunct curator of culinary history at the University of Michigan and the donor of an enormous collection of cookbooks, magazines, menus and more.

Listen to our conversation with Longone below:

In Shakespeare's day, if you fell out of favor with someone, you could say that you "fell out of that person's books."

University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan says the expression goes back to the 16th century. Shakespeare used it in "Romeo and Juliet."

"It's when Romeo kisses Juliet, and Juliet says, 'You kiss by the book.' It's possible to read that in a couple different ways," Curzan says. "One is that she's totally smitten, and he kisses in the best way possible, as what you would read about in a book.

Paige Pfleger

In a city like Detroit, urban art and outdoor art installments have become a way to beautify neglected spaces. The alleyway between the Z Garage, called The Belt is one of the most recent spots in Detroit to get a facelift — it has been turned into an outdoor gallery where international, national, and local urban artists have contributed murals and graffiti pieces.

Ron, East Side Riders
Corine Vermeulen / Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts

A new Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit features stories of Detroit residents through portraits taken around the city.

The DIA commissioned Dutch-born Corine Vermeulen to photograph people in diverse communities for the exhibit that opens today and runs through May 17, 2015.

Vermeulen took photos of hundreds of Detroit residents in temporary portrait studios and asked them questions about their current and future vision of Detroit. 

The DIA says the exhibit includes more than 80 photographs from the sessions, including portraits of students, protesters and even custom-bike enthusiasts.

One such custom-bike enthusiast is "Ron," a member of the East Side Riders. Along with having his portrait taken (pictured above), Ron shed some light in an interview with Vermeulen on the reactions he and his fellow East Side Riders have received:

“I mean it was different reactions, some people laughed. A lot of people laugh when they hear the radios on the bike. They go, ‘I can’t believe that’s no radio on there.’ When they get up close, they be like, ‘that’s real nice. That’s real nice.’ But they were just laughing at us. But we still have fun. We just keep it moving. East Side. Keep moving.”

For more portraits and interviews, check out the Detroit Institute of Arts website.

- Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Between 40,000 and 50,000 classroom kids watched a live high-definition web stream of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra today, according to the DSO.

The symphony says it’s the first concert of its kind, reaching kids across Detroit and Michigan.

Paul Hogle is the DSO’s executive vice president.

"I think there's an opportunity for us to do this for hundreds of thousands of students,” he says, "because the Detroit Symphony Orchestra could become America's orchestra for educational concert programming."

Bonnie Westbrook / Flickr

The Urban Relocation Project after World War II created one of the largest movements of Indians in American history. The idea was to lure Native Americans to big cities, where jobs were supposedly plentiful.  

A new project will collect the stories of the urban Native American experience in West Michigan. It's called Gi-gikinomaage-min, which translates to "We Are All Teachers." 

Belinda Bardwell is with the Grand Valley State University Native American Advisory Board and a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Levi Rickert is also a member of the GVSU Native American Advisory Board. They joined us on Stateside today.

Bardwell and Rickert say project has some urgency because Native American communities are quickly losing elders, and it's important to preserve their stories and knowledge so younger generations can learn from their past.

Rickert says his grandparents moved to Grand Rapids for better opportunities, and in his family’s case, the move was positive. His sister graduated from the University of Michigan and became the first Native American dentist in the country. This is in contrast to his grandfather, who Rickert says had a fourth-grade education.

Bardwell says her mother experienced racism while growing up in Petoskey, and moved to Detroit before finally moving to Grand Rapids, where Bardwell was raised.

The public is invited to attend a campus dialogue on Wed., Nov. 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at GVSU's Allendale Campus. You can get details on the events calendar here

*Hear the full interview above.

The Queen of Soul at President Obama's inauguration.
Cecilio Ricardo / U.S. Air Force

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Christopher John Farley, the Queen of Soul spoke about the success of her recent album, her thoughts on current and past “divas,” and negotiations over her upcoming biopic.

Farley had a broad list of questions, which brought us to some awkward places when Franklin made it clear she didn’t want to discuss some things.

The use of “auto-tune” by some singers was something to which Franklin hadn’t given much thought. Farley wanted to know what Franklin thought of younger artists using the device.

AF: “What is auto-tune? I don’t even know what auto-tune is.

WSJ: “It’s a kind of way of electronically adjusting your voice ..."

 AF: “Oh, please.”

WSJ: “…so it doesn’t sound pitchy - it doesn’t sound wrong…”

 AF: “Oh that’s ridiculous.”

Other interview highlights:

  • Farley asked about Franklin considering the ballet as a career choice – “I love the ballet.”
  • About her thoughts on Nicki Minaj – “Hmmm. I’m going to pass on that one.”
  • Her thoughts about President Obama’s performance in office – “It’s really not for me to say.”
  • About her upcoming biopic – Franklin can see Jennifer Hudson or Audra McDonald playing the role.

You can watch the interview here:

pixabay.com/en/users/Jordy-106920/ / pixabay.com

When you think of catching some good improv comedy, your first thought might be Chicago's famed Second City where John Belushi and Bill Murray graced the stage.

But there's a thriving improv comedy scene in the Detroit area.

PJ Jacokes, co-founder of Go Comedy Improv Theatre of Ferndale, and Margaret Edwartowski, executive director of Arts at the Y and a board member of Planet Ant in Hamtramck, explain why Detroit is poised to be the next big thing in comedy.

You can listen to our conversation with PJ Jacokes and Margaret Edwartowski below:


Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas made their television debut on David Letterman last night.

The band, which hails from southwest Detroit, performed their song "Sorry I Stole Your Man" from their album "Secret Evil."

The group was well received, and at the end of the performance Letterman said, "Wow, that's tremendous! That's it, no more calls! We have a winner ladies and gentleman, right here! Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas!" 

You can watch their performance here: 

Frontier Ruckus Portrait
Sean Cook

Michigan's own Frontier Ruckus have made their mark in the re-emergent folk-rock world that has allowed them to tour nationally and internationally.

Today the band releases its newest album - Sitcom Afterlife.

Emily Fox talked to band members Zach Nichols and Matthew Milia about some of their favorite moments of their musical career. Recent highlights include playing festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, along with touring Europe six times. 

Frontier Ruckus' sound has changed over the years. Their earlier albums had an intimate, raw, acoustic sound. Their latest album sounds more produced and throws in some electronic instrumentation. Their roots still show though, often with lyrics and references that invoke nostalgic imagery of growing up in Michigan.

*Listen to our conversation with Frontier Ruckus above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan icons are among those being singled out for a special honor.

Longtime congressman John Dingell and music legend Stevie Wonder don’t have a lot in common.  But they are being recognized as national treasures.

The White House announced Monday Dingell and Wonder are among the latest recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

The White House press office says Dingell is being honored for his lifetime of public service:

A little over a hundred years ago, Americans created a few more ways to say "yes."

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says "yes" is an old English word that goes back about a thousand years. 

 "At the end of the 19th century, we start to see these new versions of 'yes' show up in the U.S.," Curzan says.  "'Yep' is first cited in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1896. In 1905, we have 'yeah' show up, and in 1906, 'yup,'" Curzan says. 

And today, especially on social media, we see lots of "yeps" and "yups." Do they mean the same thing?

DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts is $1.6 million closer to its $100 million goal for its share of the Grand Bargain.

And it's also closer to having a new gallery to display its extensive collection of Japanese art.

Nineteen Japanese auto suppliers that operate in Michigan, and three Japanese trading companies, are donating a total $2,167,000.

75% of that money will go towards the DIA's Grand Bargain contribution, and 25%  will help the DIA establish a new Japanese art gallery.

Sho Ueda is head of the Japan Business Society of Detroit. 

http://www.laclabellemusic.com/

Lac La Belle is an acoustic duo that's bringing music of Appalachia and early Americana to the Motor City.

Stateside’s Emily Fox sat down with the duo to talk about their latest album.

You can listen to their conversation here:


ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids
Rich Evenhouse / flickr user

The artists who display their works at ArtPrize each year all have a shot at winning the top public or jury vote---and prize.

But there's another possibility: the chance to sell your work to Ripley's Believe It or Not and have it wind up in one of their museums around the world.

Edward Meyer joined us. He's VP of exhibits and archives for the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museums. He's been buying art for Ripley's for three decades.

*Listen to our conversation with Meyer above.

Saying you have "a lot" of something is pretty boring.

But when you say you have "gobs" of fun, you're painting a more interesting word picture.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan did some snooping into the background of the word "gob," and found it's borrowed from old French. 

"It comes into English in the 14th century, referring to a mass or a lump," Curzan says. "You'll see that today as in a gob of spit or a gob of mud."

By the 16th century, gob in the plural was coming to refer to a lot of something, as in gobs of money or gobs of food.

Tracy Samilton/Michigan Radio

The former Yankee Air Museum is getting a new name, to go with its new home in part of the historic bomber plant at Willow Run.

The name, "The National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run," will likely be reduced to a nickname in common parlance over time, says consultant Mike Montgomery.

He says a lot of effort went into salvaging a part of the Willow Run plant before the rest was demolished.

The Jewish Museum / Flickr

Harry Houdini died in Room 401 at Grace Hospital in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

How did this world-famous magician and escape artist come to die in Michigan? John Cox, a Houdini historian, has the answer.

Matt Hallowell / Flickr

 

 

Nearly two decades ago, the Verve Pipe's big hit "The Freshman" swept radio stations across the country. Now the band is out with a new album and will soon play concerts in Michigan. Stateside’s Emily Fox sat down with The Verve Pipe’s lead singer, Brian Vander Ark, to talk about how the band has rebranded itself over the years.

Oli Haukur / Flickr

 

How far would you go to try to make some money?

If you're Annie Edson Taylor of Bay City, you decide to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel!

113 years ago this month, on her 63rd birthday, Annie Edson Taylor became the first recorded person to go over the Falls and live to tell the tale.

Sherman Zavitz is the official historian for the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

We need to talk about our apostrophe problem.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the pesky punctuation defies the rules.

That's mostly because the rules depend on which style guide you use.

"The biggest problem is when a noun ends in s and we want to make it a possessive, which immediately runs us into the question of whether we use apostrophe-s or just an apostrophe," Curzan says.

"For example: James has a house. So is it James' or James's house?"

Some people aesthetically don't like the look of s's, Curzan says. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Can't get enough of zombies, or wish they'd die - again - already?

  Just in time for Halloween, a discussion planned near Detroit's Wayne State University will inform those on either side of undead debate.

  Wayne State Assistant English Professor Chera Kee brings her zombie wisdom Tuesday to the Knowledge on Tap speaker series. She'll present The History, Lore and Growth of Zombie Culture at The Whitney's Ghost Bar.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

You may have heard of ArtPrize. It’s an art competition in Grand Rapids where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock every fall to vote for their favorite art.

ArtPrize’s founder wanted to start a public conversation about art. History Prize founder Mara MacKay wants to start a conversation about history.

“History is a social common denominator for all of us,” MacKay said. “Our endeavor is really to help with an artistic expression and provide the opportunities to remember and articulate the past.”

Bonham

The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn has acquired one of the world’s foremost digital artifacts: an Apple-1 computer.

As the first pre-assembled personal computer ever sold, the Apple-1 marked a key moment at the start of the digital age.

The Henry Ford got one of 50 hand-built in 1976 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak--in fellow co-founder Steve Jobs’s family garage.

Executive Vice President Christian Overland said the Henry Ford’s collection is all about new ideas and innovations--and the Apple-1 fits in perfectly.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Flickr

The DIA was left with egg on its face when news broke of double digit pay increases and $50,000 bonuses doled out to each of its top two executives in 2012, just as the DIA got voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties to say "yes" to a special millage to keep its doors open.

Two years ago, Graham Beal, whose compensation is over half a million dollars a year, got a 13% raise. Annmarie Erickson, the DIA's Chief Operating Officer, got a 36% raise.

Now it seems the firestorm of protest has pushed the DIA to re-think this whole "raise and bonus thing."

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