Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
4:20 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Stateside: Historic Christmas feasts, festivities

These hungry youngsters are partaking in a historic tradition
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

A conversation with Bill Loomis about Christmas feasts of yore.

(Editor's note: The piece originally aired on December 20, 2012) 

Holiday feasts have increased in both complexity and decadence since their 19th century beginnings.

Bill Loomis of the Detroit News spoke with Cyndy about some historic festive spreads.

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5:09 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Remembering one of the biggest tragedies in Michigan 100 years later

The town of Calumet.

An interview with historian Steve Lehto.

This month marks the 100 year anniversary of one of the saddest chapters in Michigan history. It’s called The Italian Hall Disaster, a terrible tragedy that happened on Christmas Eve, 1913, in the Upper Peninsula town of Calumet. Someone yelled "Fire!" in a packed hall and the resulting stampede killed 73--60 of them children.

It happened during the Copper Country Strike, one of the most painful chapters in Michigan's labor history.

The Copper Country Strike of 1913 and the Italian Hall Disaster is the subject of new documentary called “Red Metal,” soon to air on PBS. It is drawn from a book about the disaster called Death’s Door, written by Steve Lehto. He’s a historian with ties to the Copper Country that go back to that bitter time.

Steve Lehto joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Mon December 16, 2013

South African children's choir brings big voices to Michigan

The Key of Hope children's choir takes the stage in Michigan this month. That girl in the center? You've got to hear her sing.
Rebecca Guerriero Michigan Radio

Hear from the kids themselves - and get more of their music - by listening to the full story.

This next story seems right for this time of year.

A children's choir is in Michigan this month ... from South Africa.

They're from the outskirts of Durban, a beautiful port city that also has one of the worst AIDS epidemics in the world.

Many of the kids in the choir are orphans. Several have HIV themselves.

It's their first time in the U.S., and they're traveling around the state all this month to raise money for friends and family back home.

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That's What They Say
8:51 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Auto-antonyms: Words that mean their opposite

It seems hard to believe that we as speakers can tolerate a word meaning two opposite things at the same time.

Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan reveal some auto-antonyms, or words that mean their opposites, on this week’s edition of That’s What They Say.

Curzan begins with an example that Jesse Sheidlower, the North American Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, shared with her.

In the sentence, “Mary and her partner had just moved in upstairs, and their boxes lay on the kitchen floor still unpacked,” unpacked is an auto-antonym. It should mean there’s nothing in the boxes, but it actually means the boxes are full.  

“For many of us, in that sentence unpacked means un-unpacked,” Curzan explains.  

The list of auto-antonyms continues. The verb dust can mean “to put dust or sugar on” or “to take dust off.” Similarly, the verb sanction can mean “to permit or to allow with legal authority” or “to impose a penalty on,” which suggests not permitting.

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Arts & Culture
1:46 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Ford set to digitize material for online museum

The Henry Ford

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Ford and the Henry Ford museum are taking their collection of historical documents, photos, video and other items and digitizing them so they can be shared online with the public.

The Detroit Free Press reports that among the 14 million items accumulated in the Ford archives in Dearborn is the resignation letter Henry Ford sent to his board of directors in 1945, in which he said he needed time to pursue personal interests. They also have sketches, ad campaign materials and video.

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Arts & Culture
12:00 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Combating 'festival fatigue' in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Traverse City commissioners are considering a proposal to deal with so-called "festival fatigue."

Some residents say there are too many summer festivals in a downtown park called the "Open Space" that runs along Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay. They complain about noise, crowds and trash.

Others say the festivals are good for the tourist economy and fun for locals as well.

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Arts & Culture
4:17 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A final resting place for the remains of dozens of Native Americans

The beginning of a procession carrying the remains of dozens of Native Americans to a cemetery in Mt. Pleasant
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The remains of dozens of Native Americans were buried during a special ceremony near Mt. Pleasant today.    

The remains had until recently been held by the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

Several women shook small rattles as a long line of men and women carried small cardboard boxes containing the remains of 129 Native Americans to a small snow-covered cemetery.    The cemetery has become the final resting place for many Native Americans whose remains were used in research. 

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Arts & Culture
11:04 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Michigan veterans honored with wreaths this Saturday

8,468 wreaths will be laid on the graves of servicemen and women at the Great Lakes National Cemetery on Saturday, as part of Wreaths Across America
Credit Wreaths Across America / Great Lakes Chapter

Remember, honor, and teach. Those are the goals of the Wreaths Across America program, through which wreaths will be placed on the graves of veterans at Arlington National Cemetery and at 28 cemeteries across Michigan this Saturday.

David Watts coordinates the event for the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, where this year nearly 9,000 wreaths will be placed, thanks to community donations and sponsorships.

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Politics & Culture
4:33 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The state Legislature has been busy in its last week of session for the year - from increasing limits on campaign contributions, to issues regarding medical marijuana.

On today's show, we'll get an update from Lansing. Both the state House and Senate passed a voter-initiated law requiring consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage. What will this mean for you?

Later in the show, we’ll talk drones. Estimates show there could be some 175,000 unmanned aerial vehicles in U.S. airspace by 2025.

We'll speak to a Michigan entrepreneur who's trying to develop drones for commercial market, later in the hour.

But first, we check in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes. On his mind this week is a "re-tooling" of Michigan's auto industry.

3:07 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Ann Arbor filmmakers document a struggling high school basketball team

Assistant Coach Rudie Crain talks to the Medora team.

Cyndy Canty interviews filmmakers Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn.

It began with a New York Times feature story about a struggling boys' high school basketball team in a tiny town in southern Indiana.

The story of the 0-22 Medora Hornets so gripped a pair of Ann Arbor filmmakers that they picked up and moved to struggling, hardscrabble Medora, Indiana for a full year to follow the team as it fought for just one win.

In doing so, Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn discovered layers and layers of compelling stories, which they have packed into a powerful documentary.

"Medora," which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, is now being screened all around Michigan.

There will be a live screening tomorrow night in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theater. Additional screenings will be held in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo (see listings here).

Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn joined us today (listen to the interview above).

Watch a trailer for the film below, and here's a link to their website.

MEDORA OFFICIAL TRAILER from beachside on Vimeo.

Arts & Culture
2:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Detroit Institute of Arts praises initial work by federal bankruptcy mediators


Leaders at the Detroit Institute of Arts praised the efforts of federal mediators today saying they're working toward a solution that protect's the museum's collection while giving relief to the city of Detroit.

The collection has been seen as a potential source of revenue by some creditors who are poised to lose a lot of money in the Detroit bankruptcy.

More from the DIA's press release:

At a meeting with the mediators on Tuesday, the DIA expressed enthusiastic support for the work that has been done to date, and pledged to help refine and implement the plan in the weeks ahead. The plan engages national and local foundations among other funding sources to create a mechanism for providing cash for the City, while ensuring the present and future safety of the DIA collection. Details of the plan are still in process, as meetings with the foundation community and others continue. The DIA has begun to mobilize its considerable public support to help implement a fundraising strategy that will satisfy the City’s needs, while ensuring the well-being of the museum for the residents of Detroit, southeast Michigan and beyond.

Politics & Culture
5:17 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

We saw them rise, then fall, then rise again -- small, independent bookstores are making a come-back in Michigan. We'll explore the renaissance on today's show.

And, then, the state is close to wrapping its plans to make programs more accessible to people with disabilities - that's in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We'll talk to the state's compliance director later in the hour.

But we start with the first woman to be placed in the top spot of a major automaker. She began her career at General Motors as an engineering co-op student in 1980. 33 years later, Mary Barra has made history by being named the next CEO of GM.

GM made the ground-breaking announcement today that CEO Dan Akerson has moved up his retirement to January 15th after discovering his wife is battling advanced stage cancer.

Michigan Radio’s auto reporter, Tracy Samilton, tells us more about Mary Barra and what this appointment means to America's auto industry.

1:30 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Independent bookstores are enjoying a renaissance

Inside Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor
Photo courtesy of Nicola's Books

Remember "You've Got Mail," The Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic comedy?

Writer-director Norah Ephron says she wanted to make a point about little independent bookstores like Meg Ryan's "Shop Around the Corner" being crushed by the big-chain bookstores, Tom Hanks' "Fox Books."

That was 1998, and many small independent bookstores were indeed fighting for their lives in the face of the big-chain stores.

Now, in 2013, the book-selling landscape has changed. Borders books collapsed in 2011 and Barnes & Noble closed many of its stores.

There is Amazon with its talk of using drones to drop your order at your door in a few years. But guess what? Independent bookstores are enjoying something of a renaissance.

Deborah Leonard, director of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, and Peter Makin, owners of Brilliant Books in Traverse City, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:24 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

What if Shakespeare's 'King Lear' took place in Flint?

A group photo of the class.
Mary Jo Kietzman

One of Shakespeare's great tragedies is King Lear, the story of an ancient British king who devises a "love test" in hopes of dividing his kingdom equally among his three daughters.

An English professor at the University of Michigan Flint has taken King Lear and, working with her students, set the scene in Flint and turned it into a staged reading called "Lear Reassembled." They'll be performing it December 10th and December 12th.

Mary Jo Kietzman joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
3:24 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

After 42 years, the hero of Detroit's Opera steps aside

David DiChiera has made the Michigan Opera Theatre his life's work. Now, he'll be handing some of those reins off to a new CEO. Michigan Opera Theatre

The man who helped turn the Michigan Opera Theatre into one of Detroit's most prestigious arts centers, is stepping aside as general director after 42 years.

David DiChiera is an institution in Detroit: he started the Opera in 1971 and he's been running it ever since.

And it's thanks to his fundraising efforts that Detroit even still HAS an Opera, given how hard the recession hit the arts.

Now DiChiera is 78, has prostate cancer, and is bringing in a new president and  CEO to run the financial side.

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Arts & Culture
2:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Only 3 house installations remain after latest Heidelberg Project fire

The Clock House burned last night.
The Heidelberg Project via Facebook

What was built over several decades, is coming down in less than a year.

Last night, the fifth house in the world-renowned art installation on Detroit's east side was burned.

The Heidelberg Project's Clock House burned last night around 11 p.m., according to the Detroit News:

The suspicious fire tore through the Clock House, near Elba Place and Ellery, about 10:50 p.m. Sunday, according to Battalion Chief Edward Voss. Smoke rolled through the neighborhood, blanketing it like fog. Fire crews arrived within five to seven minutes, but it wasn’t enough time to save the art display, said Voss.

It's the fifth house to be destroyed by arson in the last two months.

Heidelberg supporters wonder if the remaining three houses will be standing at the end of the year.

The three remaining houses, according to the News, are the Dot House, the Numbers House, and the Teddy Bear House.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, and the agency is assisting the Detroit Fire Department in investigating the fires.

The News reports that police have not made specific plans to increase patrols in the Heidelberg area.

Heidelberg organizers have raised nearly $39,000 toward a goal of $50,000 to increase lighting and private patrols in the two-block area.

Michigan Radio's Emily Fox spoke with Guyton after the third house, the Penny House, was burned. Guyton told Fox the fires have inspired him to make more art:

“No matter what happens, the arson fires, the demolitions, that magic in here keeps telling me, do it, do it, don’t stop. Oh, it gives me energy, I’m saying turn it up. I’m like, that’s the best you got?,” Guyton says.

Guyton began the Heidelberg Project in 1986 to call attention to the extreme blight in Detroit's neighborhoods. Anyone who has information about the fires is asked to call the arson unit at the Detroit Fire Department (313-596-2940), or the ATF at 888-ATF-FIRE.

That's What They Say
8:50 am
Sun December 8, 2013

How to pronounce words ending in '-ed'

Most of the time the final -ed on words is not pronounced as its own syllable, but then every once in a while, it is.

This week on That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss tricky -ed endings and the history of this suffix’s pronunciation.

Historically, -ed was always pronounced as its own syllable. In the 18th century, Jonathan Swift voiced his desire to preserve the final -ed  in his book, A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue. Swift wrote, “By leaving our a vowel to save a syllable, we form so jarring a sound, and so difficult to utter, that I have often wondered how it could ever obtain.”

Nowadays, we rarely pronounce -ed  separately. But what about problematic words that can be pronounced either way, like beloved?

“Usually when it is an adjective, you would say it as two syllables,” Curzan explains regarding beloved. “But if it’s a noun, you would say belov-ed and pronounce it as its own syllable.”

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Arts & Culture
1:38 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Muskegon is home to America's tallest, singing Christmas tree

At Mona Shores High School, students make up the five-story christmas tree.
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio


A major holiday performance happens this weekend in West Michigan. Students, teachers and parents at Mona Shores High School have spent thousands of hours preparing for the event, where they create a living breathing, and singing Christmas Tree — that’s five-stories tall, and holds more than 200 student singers.

It’s getting lots of national attention. In 2011, TLC featured the tree on its aptly-titled holiday show, “Extreme Christmas Trees.” This year, it’ll be highlighted on the Travel Channel.

The show is now in its 29th year.

Almost 300 hundred students from Mona Shores High School have been practicing for this show — held at Muskegon’s Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts — since Labor Day.

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Arts & Culture
5:26 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Detroit music legend Derrick May says bankruptcy is just a new angle to an old story

May at the 'Free Your Mind' festival in 2009.
Rene Passet Flickr

There was another plot turn in the long story of Detroit's struggles yesterday.

A federal bankruptcy judge looked at all the evidence and declared, yep, the city of Detroit is indeed insolvent.

It's new, for sure, but for many who have lived and worked in Detroit, it's just more of the same.

Derrick May is one the founding fathers of techno music. Detroit was the birthplace of the genre, and May has achieved a lot of success traveling around the world playing shows. (Listen to his breakout hit here.)

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Arts & Culture
1:07 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

3 things to know about Christie's preliminary report on the DIA

user aMichiganMom Flickr

According to the Detroit News, Christie's Appraisals estimated the market value of the DIA's city bought works at somewhere between $452 and $866 million.

Christie's released the preliminary report today. The full report will be shown to Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr the week of December 16.

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