Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
4:25 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

When it comes to DIA rumors, here's what's really true

Let's tackle three rumors about what could happen to the DIA.

Hear the full story above. It has more sound effects than the web-only version!

Editor's Note: Corrected Abigail Esman's name from "Eisman" to the proper spelling, Esman. The proper pronunciation rhymes with "says man", not "ice man."

Right now, appraisers from New York Auction House Christie’s are sifting through some 3,500 pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

As part of the city’s bankruptcy case, the Emergency Manager is paying them to put a price on part of the collection.

Of course, that’s fueling even more fast-flying rumors about losing great works to private collectors, or getting massive loans for the city using Monets as collateral.

So here’s a quick field guide to what’s true, and what’s just talk.

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Arts & Culture
9:46 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

MSU alumnus plans to show off his private art collection to the public for free

Eli Broad (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For years Eli Broad has said he wants to make his vast, collection of contemporary art accessible to the largest number of people possible.

What better way to do that, the billionaire philanthropist said Tuesday, than to make admission free to the $140 million museum he's building in downtown Los Angeles.

When it opens next year, Broad said during a hard-hat tour of the half-completed building, people will be able to walk in and view works by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and scores of others without paying a cent.

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4:45 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Small southwest Michigan town is the 'Magic Capitol of the World'

The welcome sign into the town of Colon.
Flickr user jimmywayne Flickr

It's been an extra-magical summer in the small southwest Michigan town of Colon.

This summer brought the 77th Annual Abbott's Magic Get-Together put on by the Abbott Magic Company, which has been helping magicians work their wonders since 1934.

Cyndy Canty, host of Stateside, sat down with Greg Bordner, his father co-founded the Abbott Magic Company in January 1934, and asked just how a small Michigan town became, as it likes to say, "The Magic Capitol of the World?"

Listen to the full interview above.

4:36 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

An interview with the new executive director of ArtPrize

Christian Gaines, the new executive director of ArtPrize.

Today was the opening day for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. And this year, ArtPrize has a new executive director, Christian Gaines. He was formerly with the American Film Institute and

Christian Gaines joined us today from Grand Rapids to talk about this new position and what the event means for the city.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:34 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

ArtPrize opens today in Grand Rapids

A dragon sculpture from this year's ArtPrize.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Alright, Michigan art lovers, it is time.

ArtPrize opened today, and for the next 19 days downtown Grand Rapids will be crammed with art from all over the world, and we the public get to decide which artist is going to win the $200,000 top prize.

This is an art show that Time magazine called one of 5 festive events you won’t want to miss in 2013, and as you might expect, Grand Rapids is buzzing.

Michigan Radio’s West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith joined us today from Grand Rapids to talk about the show. 

Listen to the full interview above.

4:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

The state of Michigan's museums in the digital age


For every time Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr declares there are no plans to sell off DIA treasures to satisfy creditors, he also says, "all options are on the table."

Detroit Institute of Arts officials are leaving no stone unturned as they work to protect its collection from the storm of Detroit's bankruptcy.

We wondered, with the art world's attention focused on the DIA, how are other art museums in Michigan faring? And just how are they drawing in visitors in this digital age when most of us can look at priceless art images with just a few clicks of a mouse?

Joining us for this discussion is Bridge Magazine contributing writer Nancy Derringer, whose recent piece in Bridge has the hopeful headline: "Far from Bankrupt: Michigan art museums thrive despite economic woes."

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
4:14 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Detroit Design Festival opens up this week

Mobel Link Modern Furniture will be featured at the Detroit Design Festival.

Detroit and its unique role in the world of design.

That's what organizers are focusing on this week with the Detroit Design Festival.

The five-day festival rolls out on Wednesday with 70 separate events representing nearly 400 artists and designers.

Matt Clayson joined us today.

Listen to the interview above.

3:54 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Couple from Lansing is telling Michigan stories through their music

Brandon and Bethany Foote

They call themselves "Gifts or Creatures."

That's Brandon and Bethany Foote with the song "Relicts and Ghosts" off of their new album "Yesteryear Western Darkness," their second album out from Earthwork Music.

The Lansing-based couple joined us today in the studio.

To find out more, visit

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
8:48 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Artists scramble to put the finishing touches on their pieces for ArtPrize

im Toogood watches her crew assemble about 200 steel beams in the shape of a geodesic dome.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Art is popping up like mushrooms in downtown Grand Rapids. That’s because ArtPrize kicks off this week.

The big winner of the art competition is decided by the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the event and vote. But there are juried awards too. In all more than $500,000 in prize money is up for grabs.

Norman Wilder has been painting an 18-foot long, 10-foot high mural on the outside wall of a risk management company since last Wednesday.

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Arts & Culture
7:40 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Finding beauty & camaraderie in the woods, in the old-school ways

A sample of Jim Miller's bark baskets
Jim Miller

Jim Miller does not wish he was alive several hundred or even several thousand years ago. But he loves the old-school ways. And Miller teaches people, as he likes to say, "about the skills of our ancestors."

Miller teaches adults and children how to make fire by friction (which is not an easy thing to do); how to take the bark from a tree without killing it and create bark baskets. There's also the chance to learn primitive pottery, hide tanning, beaver trapping, and how to turn stone chips into arrows and spears.

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That's What They Say
8:13 am
Sun September 15, 2013

False origin of words

When an etymology sounds too clever to be true, it often isn’t true. On this edition of That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Anne Curzan reveal the truth behind the most colorful false etymologies.

The word posh has a particularly lavish false etymology. The story goes that the word originated from ships traveling between Britain and India. On the ships, posh referred to the cabins on the cooler and therefore the more comfortable side of the boat: Port Outward Starboard Home. On the ticket, they would simply write P.O.S.H. for abbreviation. However, this story is not true. Although Curzan is not positive of the exact etymology of the word, it is likely that it came from posh meaning money or posh meaning dandy at an earlier point in English.

One of the best known false etymologies in the English Language comes from a very taboo word. Let’s just call it the F-word. According to Curzan, people think this word comes from one of two acronyms. They are:  “Fornication under Consent of the King” and “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.” However, Cruzan can say with certainty that neither of acronyms form the origin of the F-word. The word probably originates from the Europe to a verb meaning to strike.

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Arts & Culture
7:40 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

A flame-breathing dragon says 'Save the art' in Detroit

Flaming protest art, through the mouth of the dragon
Credit Erica Stromberg / via Facebook

What’s a good way to draw attention to the Detroit Institute of Arts’ plight?

One way might be to drive a mobile, 20 feet-tall, 60-feet-long, fire-breathing dragon to the museum.

The dragon isn’t a real dragon, of course. It’s a co-production of Detroit artist Ryan Doyle, and Hong Kong-based artist Teddy Lo.

They made the monster, named Gon KiRin, out of sheet metal, tires and other discarded materials found around Detroit.

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6:30 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Michigan State prof. brings Creole jazz to East Lansing

Etienne Charles.
Michigan State University

When you think of East Lansing, you probably don’t think about the sounds of Creole Louisiana.

But Etienne Charles might be changing that. A trumpeter from Trinidad, Charles is now an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. His latest album, “Creole Soul,” has been described as both “easy to listen to” and “intellectually sound” by The New York Times, blending sounds from the Caribbean, New Orleans and Midwestern R&B.

Despite his rich repertoire of jazz, Charles got a late start to the genre.

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5:14 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Author Jim Tobin explores children's interest in words in his new book

The new children's book by Jim Tobin and Dave Coverly.

Anyone who's been lucky enough to be a parent has likely been unlucky enough to have had the excruciatingly embarrassing moment when your little darling lets loose with a word that he or she undoubtedly picked up at school or day care, never at home.

That universal family moment is the subject of a wonderful new children's book written and illustrated by our next guests.

It's called "The Very Inappropriate Word." It’s about a typical little boy named Michael who loves collecting words, all kinds of words.

Author Jim Tobin joined us today in the studio along with illustrator Dave Coverly, who draws the award-winning cartoon strip Speed Bump and who works out of his attic studio in Ann Arbor.

Jim and Dave will be signing copies of “The Very Inappropriate Word” and will give a short presentation, including live drawing, about the process of creating the book in November.

There will also be paper and pencils available for kids who want to draw along with Dave.

You can find more information about the event at

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
11:57 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Detroit after dark: a photographer, his dog, and a pickup truck

Bruce Giffin photography

Take a night ride through the city with photographer Bruce Giffin.

Most nights, photographer Bruce Giffin drives a pickup truck around Detroit, his dog Henry riding shotgun.

Giffin doesn't know what he's looking for: a couple kissing on their porch, maybe, or a late-night taco truck.

The results are photographs of Detroit's everyday people and places as many people never see them.

Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells tagged along on one of his night shoots, and brought back this report.

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Arts & Culture
2:54 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Detroit's hip hop scene moving on from the days of '8 Mile'

Flaco Shalom in Detroit's North End neighborhood.
Model D

Detroit's hip hop scene was made famous in Eminem's move "8 Mile."

You know the one -- where the white guy from the trailer park shows up the black rapper who went to Cranbrook High School?

It's a representation of the hip hop scene in Detroit in 1995.

Back then, The Shelter below St. Andrew's Hall was the spot where hip hop artists sought to make a name for themselves.

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5:24 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Detroit band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is releasing their second album

Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott started their band back in 2009.

An interview with musicians Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott.

Dale Earnhardt Junior Junior is Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott, both from Metro Detroit. And they’re about to release their sophomore album, "The Speed of Things," which drops October 8 on Warner Brothers Records.

Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

That's What They Say
8:54 am
Sun September 8, 2013

Negative words without a positive counterpart

It seems like if you, or your clothes, or your hair can be disheveled, it should be possible for them to be sheveled.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan discuss negative words without a positive counterpart.

Curzan explains, “The word gruntled, which was back-formed from the word disgruntled - people assumed if you could be disgruntled you could be gruntled -  goes back to 1938. The word wieldy has also been around for quite a long time. Consulate meaning something like comforted, existed in the 15th century through the 19th century it’s now obsolete. So, it’s not that some of the words have never existed, but they are certainly not common compared with their negative counterparts. And then a word like sheveled doesn’t seem to have ever existed.”

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Arts & Culture
5:52 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

ArtPod has musicals, murder, and Motown

This guy is amped for ArtPod. Or, this photo is just a ploy to get you to listen to ArtPod. But which one?!
Avanash Kunnath Flickr

Because you've got to eventually take a break from watching football, listening to football radio, and reading about football online sometime, right?

A little break? For arts?

Ok, then just for you NPR nerds who conform to stereoptype and aren't that into college ball, this one's for you.  

This episode, ArtPod's got a brand spanking new play, a Michigan murder mystery, and a crazy bit of history you didn't know about Motown.

If it helps, Ohio State's ArtPod will be nowhere near this good. If OSU, you know, had an ArtPod. 

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5:09 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Remembering the Lewis Brothers Circus based in Jackson, Michigan

Ella Sharp Museum

In 1929, Paul and Mae Lewis founded the Lewis Bros. Circus.

The traveling circus was based in Jackson, Michigan and traveled throughout the state. They even went to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, dazzling small towns with exotic creatures and acrobats.

I sat down with Grace Wolbrink. She’s a professional storyteller who collected memories from the family.

“The circus was a world that was different…they had animals that came from other countries that nobody could see. And so life was around the small towns, but the circus helped them cross into another world and dimension that way,” said Wolbrink.

Paul and Mae’s nieces, Barbara and Winona Stanton, toured with the circus during the summer as young girls. Barbara’s stories helped create a museum exhibit about the Lewis Bros. That exhibit is currently on display at the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, Michigan.

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