Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Thomas Video opened in 1974, and was the first store in the country to sell films. 

On Stateside, we spoke with Jim Olenski, the owner of Thomas Video about his business and why it's closing. 

According to Olenski, the store has been losing money for a long time, partly because of the rise in online movie streaming options, like Netflix. 

To hear Cynthia Canty's interview with Olenski, click the link above.   

Ryan Basilio / Creative Commons

Leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo are warning parishioners not to take part in an ordination ceremony this weekend, because the person being ordained is a woman.

In a weekly newsletter, Bishop Paul Bradley reminded parishioners who take part that they will be kicked out of the church. Those who witness what he called the “simulation” ceremony must confess before receiving sacraments of the church. The Diocese did not return requests for comment on this story.

Screenshot from YouTube / YouTube

Katie Caralis works in Grand Rapids at the Creative Youth Center. She told her story about her experience in Teach for America at Failure Lab in Grand Rapids in May 2013. 

After Caralis graduated from the University of Michigan, she moved out West to work as a teacher in the TFA program. You can watch her share her experience in the video below. (And you can listen to her story above.)

Image made by Mark Brush

Bad roads, the Rust Belt, the largest city in bankruptcy: These are some of the negative visions that people have of Michigan. 

A recent Gallup Poll showed that only 28% of Michiganders said Michigan was the best or one of the best possible states to live in. 

But you're still here.

Why?

That's the question Michigan Radio is asking as part of our Why I Stay project. 

Mark Brush of Michigan Radio is running it, and he joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

"The Jit" in action.
Detroit OG's / YouTube

It's called The Detroit Jit. It’s a dance style that started as a street dance in Detroit in the 1970s by three brothers who were known as The Jitterbugs.

And now the Jit and The Jitterbugs are the subject of a documentary that will be screened Friday at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Haleem Rasul is the founder of the dance group HardCore Detroit, and the producer of the film "The Jitterbugs: Pioneers of The Jit.”

Here's the trailer:

We welcomed Haleem Rasul to the program today, and one of the founders of The Jitterbugs, Tracy McGhee.

*Listen to the interview above.

Who's up for the next beer run?
Matt Lehrer / Flickr

What happens when a house party is going full tilt and the beer runs out?

Chances are someone goes on a beer run. And chances are that "someone" has had a few drinks.

A new business that's opened in Ann Arbor aims to keep the party going without that "someone" having to get behind the wheel of a car.

DrinkDrivers is a new website and mobile app launched by a group of University of Central Florida grads who decided to make Ann Arbor its second launch location.

DrinkDrivers CEO Jeff Nadel joined us to explain how it works.

*Listen to the interview above.

DJ Psycho / Facebook

Electronic music fans from around the world are getting ready for the Movement Electronic Music Festival that hits downtown Detroit on Memorial Day weekend.

This year's Movement Festival brings more than 100 artists on five outdoor stages at Hart Plaza.

Dezi Magby – aka DJ Psycho of Flint – has played a big part in making Michigan a major player in the world's electronic music scene. He got hooked on electronic music as a fifth-grader, and he's been making music and DJing since 1984.

Another name to watch for at this year's festival is DJ and producer Asher Perkins, who'll be making his first appearance at the Movement Festival.

Perkins and Magby talked to us about what sets Detroit electronic music apart.

Listen to the full interview above.

John H. Riggle / Kristina Riggle

It seems just about every week you can find a news report about a high school teacher being arrested and charged with having sex with a student.

You look at that teacher's mug shot and think to yourself — how does this happen?

Writer Kristina Riggle of Grand Rapids has tackled this very thorny scenario in her newest novel – her fifth. It's called "A Whole Golden World."

Listen to the full interview above.

Casey Clark was a disk jockey at WJR radio Detroit during the mid-1950s.
1966 edition of Music City News / Facebook

When you think of music that's made in Detroit, you certainly think of Motown. There's R&B, gospel, jazz, rock, rap – and there is country.

The Motor City has a rich history of country & western and bluegrass musicians, along with clubs, showrooms, and radio stations that got that music out to an eager public.

Craig Maki tells their story in his new book, "Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies,” and he joined us today.

This segment was edited by Crissy Zamarron with Mercedes Mejia. 

*Listen to our interview above.

Morel mushrooms spring from the ground in Michigan.
State of Michigan

Listen to Chef Hermann Suhs cooking up morels in his kitchen at Hermann's European Café in Cadillac, Michigan.

This audio postcard was produced by Tom Carr.

Here's the recipe for "Fettuccine Morello a la Chef Hermann"

Ingredients:

Andrew Kopietz

Writer's residencies are common, but Write A House offers a residency that might only be possible in a city like Detroit. The group renovates vacant houses and gives them away, for free, and forever. 

The unique program has opened up its application process, and in a few months, a panel of judges will select one fiction, nonfiction, or poetry writer to live in the inaugural house. 

Write A House Vice President Sarah Cox told Michigan Radio reporter Kate Wells that they want to draw more literary talent to Detroit.

Many writers get tripped up about when the word “its” has an apostrophe and when it does not.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss the oftentimes confusing placement of the apostrophe.

The word “it’s” with an apostrophe is a contraction of “it is,” just as “can’t” is a contraction of “cannot.” If “its” is referring to the possession of something, no apostrophe is required. The same is true for the pronouns hers, ours and yours.

collage by Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Last Friday, we asked people to share a photo that represents why they stay in Michigan.

So far, people have shared thousands of photos and tweets using the hashtag #whyIstay.

Public radio stations all over the country are asking their communities the same question. Here's a collection showing all the responses.

A 1954 Spartan Royal Manor.
Tin Can Tourists / Pinterest

They call themselves the Tin Can Tourists. They're folks who celebrate the travel trailer – the vintage travel trailers – the kind that grandma and grandpa might have used.

This weekend the Tin Can Tourists are holding their 17th annual gathering at Camp Dearborn in Milford.

Forrest Bone is the head of the Tin Can Tourists. And he told us today that his group actually dates back to 1919.

*Listen to our interview with above.

UM's Ross School of Business.
UM

Words of encouragement, like “think positive,” can be flung around with little thought when we face challenging situations.

It's something we hear so often that it's easy to tune out.

But there is real power in those words: The power to make our workplaces better and more effective.

This week, The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is holding its first-ever Ross Positive Business Conference.

Chris White leads the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan, and he joined us today.

*Listen to our interview with above.

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

It's one of the most authentic urban experiences in the country: Detroit's Eastern Market.

These days, the Eastern Market is a six-block area just east of downtown Detroit, and it's been feeding people since 1891.

But there's a much longer history of public markets in Detroit. We spoke with food historian Bill Loomis, who wrote about this for Michigan History Magazine.

Kate Wells

Felicia McMillon and her husband are the kind of people who do not like hospitals. 

"My family, we really don’t do too well with hospitals,” she says, standing in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.

And that was before they gave birth to their first child, Elijah.

He was born a month early with an intestinal infection. He’s now in his fourth surgery.

What the GIF?

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss the pronunciation of the word “GIF” and the role of technology in producing new words.

Technology has given us the new word GIF and we have to figure out how to pronounce it. According to Curzan, there is a debate about that.

“A ‘GIF’ is a computer file format used for the compression and storage of digital video images. It’s an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format, which goes back to 1987,” Curzan says.

Upon further investigation by Curzan into the word GIF, she found that the original creator of the word elaborated on the proper pronunciation of GIF.

Image made by Mark Brush

A recent Gallup poll found that 37% of people in Michigan would rather live somewhere else. But only 11% of those polled were "extremely likely or somewhat likely" to move in the next 12 months.

So that sparked a question: Why do people stay in Michigan?

Why do you stay?

Is it Lake Michigan? (Maybe.) Your family? Your job that you love? The Lions? (doubtful...) 

Whatever your reason, share it with others.

What stories should we tell about the arts?

That's a question we sometimes ask on our Facebook page. Jason Towler suggested we profile Ypsilanti music teacher Crystal Harding and he had a good reason to suggest her.

Harding was Towler's music teacher back in 1988, when Towler was a first-grader at Erickson Elementary School.  Harding is all about having a good time through music, singing, and dancing. Here she is in action:

Harding made a big impression on the shy young man, and that's what this story is about.

Irene Butter speaks to 400 students in Germany about her life in Germany and the Netherlands when the Nazis where in power.
http://www.ggg-laupheim.de/

She was born in Germany, but as life for Jews in Germany became more dangerous through the 1930s, she and her family moved to the Netherlands – to Amsterdam, in the same neighborhood as a young girl named Anne Frank.

And like Anne Frank, she was captured by the Nazis and taken to the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

But unlike Anne, young Irene Butter survived the camp.

Today, Dr. Irene Butter is a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health.

Her life has been a remarkable journey, knit together by Irene's decision that she was going to live as a Holocaust survivor, not as a victim.

Irene Butter is the subject of the  film "Never a Bystander," by Ann Arbor filmmaker Evelyn Neuhaus.”

Irene Butter and Evelyn Neuhaus joined us today on the show.

*Listen to our interview above.

user: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

It began as a series of annual workshops for K-12 students who were visually impaired to introduce them to art, and to help them experience the joy of creating. 

That was 15 years ago. Those workshops became engagement courses where University of Michigan Art and Design students worked closely with people who are visually impaired. 

Bringing the low vision and sighted communities together to discover the joy of creating art was the idea of internationally renowned ceramic artist, Sadashi Inuzuka. He is the Arthur Thurnau Professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, and he joined us to discuss the program. 

DIA Archives

The Detroit Institute of Arts is planning a unique exhibition that highlights the year Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo spent in the city.

Between April 1932 and March 1933, Rivera created the famed Detroit Industry murals on the walls of a courtyard at the Detroit museum.

Here’a video of the murals being made at the DIA:

Sherri Welch reports for Crain’s Detroit Business that other museums and private collectors will help the DIA with the exhibition:

"When Rivera was here, he was regarded as one of the most important artists in the world of western art at that time," [DIA Director Graham] Beal said.

Edsel Ford paid for the murals, which wound up costing just less than $21,000 at the time, according to the DIA.

Rivera, seen as one of the greatest muralists of his time, was a very important influence on the artists who became abstract expressionists, Beal said.

And Kahlo's development as an artist took place when she was here in Detroit. Renowned as not only a portrait artist but as a symbol of feminist strength, Kahlo's works range in style from folk art to surrealist.

In its press release, the DIA says most of the works Kahlo created in Detroit will be shown for the first time in the city.

The show is scheduled to run from March 15, 2015, to July 12, 2015.

In all, 80 artworks will be featured in the exhibition, including Rivera's preparatory drawings for the Detroit Industry murals.

Today on Artpod, we're talking with writers: how they stop being terrible and start being good.

How they start with their own weirdness and turn it into talent.

And how Midwest writers can take anything - learning how to make fudge or throwing tomatoes at their sister's butt - and turn it into a great story.  

First, we'll hear from Garrison Keillor, who's celebrating 40 years of "A Prairie Home Companion" and the release of his new book of essays, poetry and memoir.

If you learned to type on a typewriter, you probably learned to put two spaces after a period.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss the online debate raging about the number of spaces to place at the end of a sentence.

Gallup

I mean, it's not like we're living in Hawaii, after all.

Michigan is "above the national average" for the number of people who say they'd rather live somewhere else, according to the Gallup poll.

Here was the question they put to the 600 people they reached by phone in Michigan:

"Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?"

user: Kevin Martini / Flickr

What city would get your vote as one of Michigan's literary hot spots? 

Writer Anna Clark would give her vote to Kalamazoo. Her recent story in the Detroit Free Press is titled Kalamazoo quietly emerging as a literary hot spot.

She joined us today to tell us why. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Gilmore Festival posters.
Gilmore Festival / Facebook

Even though life took him in a somewhat different direction, Irving S. Gilmore has turned Kalamazoo into a place that truly celebrates piano music.

The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival is in full swing and runs till May 10.

Dan Gustin, the director of the Gilmore, joined us today.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Government

It looks like Rosie the Riveter's famous "We Can Do It!" line is proving true once again. 

The campaign to save part of the historic Willow Run bomber plant, where Rosie and thousands of others worked during World War II, says it believes it's raised enough money to keep it from being torn down. 

For the last year or so, the Yankee Air Museum has been trying to raise around $8 million.

That, organizers said, would be enough to buy a corner of the plant and separate it from the rest of the building, which is set to be demolished.

The festival in past years.
The Arab American News.com

The festival has been canceled for the second year in a row due to higher liability insurance costs for festival organizers.

The three-day festival in Dearborn celebrated Arab culture and was one the largest gatherings of Arab Americans in the U.S., but it also attracted anti-Islamic protestors and Christian missionaries from around the country.

Niraj Warikoo reports for the Detroit Free Press:

Tensions at the festival broke out in 2010 when a group of Christian missionaries arrived with video cameras to record their attempts to debate Muslims. Some were arrested for disturbing the peace, though later acquitted of most charges. Their arrests drew outrage from conservatives across the U.S.

Another Christian group filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the missionaries were restricted in where they could distribute their literature. In 2012, a separate group of Christians brought a pig’s head mounted on a pole with anti-Islam signs, resulting in some youth hurling bottles at them.

Warikoo reports that Dearborn was forced to pay $300,000 to the Christian missionaries arrested in 2010.

The Arab-American Chamber of Commerce says they’re still looking for ways to move forward with the festival.

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