Arts & Culture

Stateside
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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Stateside
5:09 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

What's worse than the idea of selling the DIA collection?

DIA

As we’ve seen, even the merest hint that portions of the DIA collection will be appraised by experts from Christie's has led to impassioned pleas from all around Michigan to keep the artwork out of the bankruptcy proceedings.

 Among the many voices raised in this state-wide conversation is that of long-time Detroit journalist Bill McGraw. His recent piece in Deadline Detroit says it all? "Six Things About Detroit That Are Worse Than The Idea of Selling Its Artwork." Bill McGraw joined us today.

Arts & Culture
11:01 am
Thu September 5, 2013

See how a dance party in Detroit can help change a community

Kids breakdance at the 'Doing it in the Park' event.
Doug Coombe Michigan Radio Picture Project

There's nothing like a dance party to bring people together.

That was the goal of an event put on by the Detroit artist collective known as "Complex Movements."

Photographer Doug Coombe was there when the group put on its "Doing it in the Park" event to celebrate Detroit's Capitol Park neighborhood. He posted photos of the event and of the group on our Michigan Radio Picture Project website (you can see some of the photos above).

From the Picture Project site:

It only made sense for Complex Movements to celebrate the great historic neighborhood of Detroit’s Capitol Park while shedding some light on the massive dislocations being brought on by the rapid gentrification of downtown Detroit. The...“Doing It In the Park” event was equal parts dance party, art installation and community empowerment event. Just like pretty much everything Complex Movements does.

Complex Movements blends multi-media art forms with hip hop and community activism. "Doing it in the Park" is one way the group does this.

Here's another way. Take a look at how their vision plays out at one of their shows at the Detroit Science Center during the Kresge Foundation's Art X Detroit festival in 2011. The rapper is female artist Invincible, one of the group's members:

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Arts & Culture
5:36 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Capuchin Soup Kitchen serving Detroit for 130 years

http://www.cskdetroit.org/programs

Brother Jerry Smith interview for 9/3/2013

In the ongoing effort to help struggling men, women and children in Michigan's cities, there is one group who's been reaching out to the needy for generations.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen has been in continuous operation on Detroit's East side since the Great Depression of 1929, and the Capuchin friars' ministry in Southeast Michigan goes back even further to 1883. That's 130 years of day-in, day-out work.

We wanted to find out whether the face of poverty and need in Southeast Michigan has changed over so many decades.  Brother Jerry Smith joined Cynthia Canty to speak about the Capuchins’ continuing mission to serve Detroit's disadvantaged people.  

Listen to the story above.

Arts & Culture
12:38 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

New play looks at cancer in college

Alex Kip was diagnosed with cancer his senior year in college.
AKip Productions http://akipprod.com/about.html

Love, pot brownies, and the full story here.

Nobody expects to get cancer in college.  

Alex Kip was just 23 when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

But the musical theater major at the University of Michigan was about to get even more bad news.

Young adults are the only cancer patients whose survival rates are not improving.

Now cancer-free, Kip is trying to help others, using what he knows best: theater.

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That's What They Say
8:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Opaque abbreviations, and often forgotten acronyms

It’s odd when you stop to think about it that everyone who graduates from college is a bachelor of something.

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 opaque abbreviations, and often forgotten acronyms.

“The B in BA stands for bachelor, and it’s the same word we use to refer to an unmarried man,” says Curzan.

“The word [bachelor] goes back to the 13th century in English. It used to refer to a knight, a young man, and could refer to a young man who had achieved the lowest rank of something. From there it’s come to mean someone who has achieved the lowest rank from university, the lowest degree.”

Of course back then those would have been all men, but now we have lots of women who are Bachelors of Arts, or Bachelors of Science.

Then there’s the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. that many people mix up. The latter, exempli gratia (e.g.) means “for example.” And, id est (i.e.) means “that is” as in "that is to say." Thanks to us you will never mix those two up again. 

Let’s turn now to acronyms once learned and quickly forgotten. LASER is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  And, RADAR stands for Radio Detection and Ranging.

Finally, here’s an acronym you will want to talk about this week with friends, and that's SNAFU, which stands for Situation Normal All F’d Up.  

Thanks for joining us for another enlightening edition of “That’s What They Say.”

Arts & Culture
6:15 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

The Living Room: Baring it all on summer vacation

Shannon & Karen Czarnik.

As the summer winds down, storyteller Allison Downey of our Living Room series shared a story with us about baring it all during summer vacation on the Great Lakes.

Karen Czarnik is a storyteller and artist from Commerce Township. She produces the Red Thread Stories Slam.  Last year, she was awarded the first place prize at the National Storytelling Network’s Storytelling Slam.

The Living Room is produced by Western Michigan University Professor Allison Downey and Independent Producer Zak Rosen.

Listen to the story above.

Arts & Culture
5:57 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

UM theatre graduate turns battle with cancer into a play

Alex Kip.

Being handed a diagnosis of cancer is a life-shattering experience.

Every single patient has his or her story of coping with cancer, fighting cancer, and there is infinite wisdom in each of these stories.

Alex Kip has one of those stories. He was 22 when he was diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma.

The U of M musical theatre graduate has turned his cancer battle into a play, "My Other Voice" is now running at the Arthur Miller Theatre through this weekend.

Alex Kip joined us in the studio.

Listen to the audio above.

Arts & Culture
5:50 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Roots of Labor Day in Detroit reach back to before the Civil War

Labor Day Parade in 1960.
The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives

As we prepare to mark the end of summer with Monday's Labor Day holiday, we wanted to take a look back at this holiday because its roots -- at least in Detroit -- reach all the way back to before the Civil War.

Joining us is our favorite source for these moments when we look back in time - writer Bill Loomis.

Listen to the audio above.

Arts & Culture
10:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Superman-Batman movie coming to Michigan

Ben Affleck (left), and Henry Cavill (right).
JD Hancock Photos

The "Caped Crusader" and the "Man of Steel" are getting a handout from Michigan.

Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press reports Warner Brothers will get millions in tax incentives to shoot the movie in the state.

The upcoming Superman-Batman movie has been approved for the state’s film incentives, the Michigan Film Office announced today.

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Stateside
3:02 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Detroit's new festival focuses on sports, noise, idea and form

Kevin Krease, Founder & Director of Action Sports Detroit
LinkedIn

Sports, noise, idea and form. Those are the core components of a new festival that could be created in Detroit.

After Detroit lost its bid for the X-Games, the guys who led Detroit's X-Games campaign decided to come up with a new idea for the city. 

Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler of Action Sports Detroit are integrating food, art, music and sports into their project. The festival, called Assemble, would be one week long.

One of their biggest goals is to make Detroit home to the premier BMX and skate competition in the United States.

To hear the full interview, click the link above.

Arts & Culture
11:25 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Taking a moment to reflect on the 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech

King delivering the speech on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial.
National Archives

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred." - MLK

If you want a moment of reflection today, you could save this for 3 p.m. 

At that time 50 years ago today, Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream Speech" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His speech came during the centennial of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Bell-ringing events around Michigan are scheduled for 3 p.m. today. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is helping to coordinate these events. 

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Stateside
2:09 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Grand Rapids is the site of a culinary revolution

Clagett Farm CSA Week 10 thebittenworld.com

An interview with Lisa Rose Starner about her new book.

Let’s talk food. Delicious, fresh, healthy, local food.

That is the mission of Lisa Rose Starner, to get as many of us as possible to eat local. And there’s plenty of that happening in Grand Rapids, from community gardens to microbreweries to food entrepreneurs and artisans and so much more. Lisa was invited to tell the many stories of the Grand Rapids local food scene and the result is her book “Grand Rapids Food: A Culinary Revolution."

Lisa Rose Starner joined us today from the WGVU studios in Grand Rapids. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
1:25 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

New book explores how one Motown song embodied the spirit of revolution

Writer Mark Kurlansky.
Wikipedia

An interview with writer Mark Kurlansky.

“Dancing in the Street,” written by Mickey Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter and Marvin Gaye, and recorded in two takes, less than 10 minutes, by Martha Reeves. For many, that song is Motown.

Little did they know after slapping down Martha’s vocals in that studio in Hitsville on West Grand Boulevard, they had created a song that would come to represent a watershed moment in history--Motown’s history, Detroit’s history, and America’s history.

Writer Mark Kurlansky talks about the story of how this hit Motown song became the rallying point for these important moments in history in his newest book, “Ready For A Brand New Beat: How ‘Dancing in the Street’ Became the Anthem for a Changing America.”

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Arts & Culture
1:26 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

State's largest contemporary art center merges with Ferris State University

A visitor to the UICA checks out an exhibit at the new building in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids has faced significant financial problems, especially after investing roughly $13 million dollars to move into a new, bigger building in 2011. Operating costs went up and it hasn’t attracted the surge of new donors the UICA has hoped for.

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Stateside
7:06 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Should the Packard Plant be saved?

Albert Duce Wikimedia Commons

An interview with Anya Sirota and Robin Boyle.

Wayne County officials say they soon hope to close a deal with a developer to buy a former car plant: the Packard Plant, a crumbling 35-acre site on Detroit's east side. It's become an iconic image that, to many, represents industrial decay and the decline of a once-proud Detroit.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report the deal between the county and Evanston, Illinois based developer Bill Hults is tentatively set to close next week. Hults wants to convert the 110-year-old facility into a commercial, housing and entertainment complex.

Many hurdles remain for Hults, who hasn't disclosed his partners or completed a project of this size. 

Hults plans to buy the plant for its $1 million unpaid tax bill.

If the deal fails, the complex would be put in a public auction in September.

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Stateside
6:04 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

The DIA is facing trouble from Oakland County

user aMichiganMom Flickr

An interview with Daniel Howes.

It's Thursday, which means it's time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

And today he's got his eye fixed on the storm clouds that are gathering over the Detroit Institute of Arts. This particular growing cloud comes from the Oakland County.

Daniel Howes joined us today to talk about the troubles the DIA now faces.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:48 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

The best Gibson guitars were made by the 'Kalamazoo Gals'

The 1944 Gibson workforce.
Dr. John Thomas

An interview with Dr. John Thomas and Kalamazoo Gal Irene Stearns.

The “Banner” Gibson guitar is considered one of the finest acoustic guitars ever made.

Over 9,000 of these Banners were carefully built during World War II.

But Gibson company records show the company had shifted to producing goods for the war effort and not instruments, and most of the men who made those Gibsons at the headquarters in Kalamazoo were off fighting the war.

So who made these guitars that are still prized 70 years later?

That question and his love of guitars drove Connecticut law professor Dr. John Thomas to discover the remarkable answer, which he turned into a book called “Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women and Gibson’s Banner Guitars of World War Two.”

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Stateside
5:42 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

The Upper Peninsula has its own poet laureate

Russell Thorburn
http://outreach.ewu.edu

An interview with Russell Thorburn, the Upper Peninsula's poet laureate.

In the entire history of Michigan, there has been only one state poet laureate: Edgar Guest.

But, the Upper Peninsula can boast of having a poet laureate. Recent voting in a grassroots campaign gave that honor to Russell Thorburn.

Russell Thorburn joined us today to talk about what this honor means to him professionally and personally.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
5:23 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

ArtPod bids farewell to summer & to one of Michigan's great writers

Summer's almost over and we are not happy about that.
farmer64 Morgue File

This time on ArtPod, we say a sad goodbye to one of Michigan’s best writers, and wistfully wave to a summer packed with adventures, music, and general art goodness.  

In today’s lineup:

Elmore Leonard was the freaking man

Detroit lost one of its greats yesterday. We’ve got an appreciation and a look back at the fabulous, game-changing career of the “Dickens of Detroit.”

After that, we’re going to go binge on Justified on Netflix as tribute.   

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