Arts & Culture

3:38 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

The history of the American postcard can be traced back to Detroit

Boston Public Library Flickr

An interview with photojournalist and filmmaker John Collier.

Sadly, posting a photo or video from your smartphone onto Facebook or Twitter seems to have supplanted the good old postcard.

But there is a rich history to the American Picture Postcard and it centers on Detroit.

The "City That Put the World on Wheels" is also the city that turned out millions and millions of American postcards.

John Collier spent three decades as a photojournalist for the Detroit Free Press.

He is also a filmmaker who has turned his love of postcards into a documentary that’s called “My Postcard Collection: The Detroit Publishing Story: A History of the American Picture Postcard.”

John Collier joined us today in the studio.

For more information, go to

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
2:55 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Crime novelist Elmore Leonard suffers stroke

Elmore Leonard in 2009.
MDCarchives wikimedia commons

DETROIT (AP) - Acclaimed crime novelist Elmore Leonard is recovering at a hospital following a stroke last week.

Leonard's longtime researcher, Gregg Sutter, said Tuesday that family members are guardedly optimistic about the 87-year-old author's condition.

Leonard lives in suburban Detroit. He has written 45 Westerns, crime novels and mysteries.

Sutter says Leonard has been at work on No. 46.

Many of his books - notably "Out of Sight," "Get Shorty" and "Be Cool" - have become films. "Life of Crime," which is based on Leonard's "The Switch," is to be screened at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

Leonard was given an honorary National Book Award last year.

That's What They Say
8:13 am
Sun August 4, 2013

That's what they say, you know?

  Everybody does it. When a conversation begins to lack, we fill the silence with a simple “You know,” or “I mean.”

These phrases are often viewed as meaningless, but on this week’s edition of “That’s What They Say,” Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan explains how these harmless phrases are actually doing more in speech than you may think.

Although at times overused the words “you know” actually has a significant purpose, as Anne Curzan explains:

“So these little words or phrases that sit at the margins of discourse, and help to organize it, are something that linguists call discourse markers. ‘You know’ and ‘I mean’ are two very common ones. They can help to signal to a listener what’s about to happen in the conversation.”

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5:36 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Artist Lounge creator wants to use art to improve Pontiac community

Wendelin Wilson and Wendy Fournier, founders of The Artist Lounge.

An interview with Wendy Fournier, co-founder of The Artist Lounge.

Bringing new life back into downtown Pontiac one brushstroke at a time.

That’s the mission of a new business called “The Artist Lounge,” which strives to use the power of art to touch lives and boost an Oakland County city that has had its share of struggles.

Wendy Fournier is the co-founder of The Artist Lounge on Saginaw Street in downtown Pontiac. She joined us today to talk about what The Artist Lounge offers to people in the Pontiac area.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
1:17 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

The tough road for a small biz in vacationland

Read this before you quit that day job.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Hear the full story above.

On every great vacation, there’s that moment when you think: hey, we should move here! No really, I’m serious this time!

We’ve all been there.   

Heck, northern Michigan is littered with B&Bs, cafes and art galleries run by vacationers who never left.

New ones open every summer. And every summer, some of them go bust.

So we hunted down some of the folks who are actually courageous (or crazy) enough to make the leap.

Read more
Newsmaker Interview
9:33 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Director of the DIA says 'too soon to panic'

Graham Beal is Director, President and CEO of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Interview aired on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013.

Detroit’s bankruptcy filing has triggered waves of speculation about what the future holds for the city. In recent months questions have circled around the Detroit Institute of Arts. The debate is whether the institution's art collection could be used to help Detroit balance its budget. But a recent opinion piece in the New York Times written by Director of the DIA, Graham Beal, cautioned against speculation about the museum’s future. 

Here's a quote from the article:

I call upon  journalists to resist the temptation to jump to disaster scenarios or to make the D.I.A.’s singular and highly complicated situation part of a broader story about the structural challenges faced by museums in general.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:05 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Michigan authors are making stops on the fourth annual Upper Peninsula book tour

Flickr/Sarah Sosiak

An interview with Michigan authors Bonnie Jo Campbell and Ron Riekki.

A group of Michigan writers is headed to the Upper Peninsula where they are going to spend a couple of weeks making stops to talk about books, writing, and presumably talking a little bit about Michigan.

On the tour is Bonnie Jo Campbell, a Michigan author. Her works include the bestselling novel Once Upon a River and American Salvage, a collection of short stories. Ron Riekki, is also a Michigan author and the project director of the book tour.

They both joined us today to talk about the fourth annual Upper Peninsula book tour.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:04 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Discovering Michigan's history through letters

Flickr user uzvards

An interview with John Fierst of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

When it comes to connecting with those who have gone before us -- learning from them, discovering the differences and the similarities between us and great-great-grandma's generation -- you just can't beat a letter.

The words and thoughts that someone puts down on paper can speak clearly through the years and the centuries. And they're worth heeding.

That's the idea behind Michigan In Letters, an online collection. One of the contributors to Michigan In Letters is John Fierst with the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

Fierst joined us today to discuss the collection.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
10:29 am
Mon July 29, 2013

A Saginaw artist tries to make things better, and the town responds

Doug Coombe

An artist makes art and a city responds

The entire city of Saginaw is a canvas for 37-year-old artist Eric Schantz. But the reverse of that statement is also true. Schantz’s body is a canvas for this city that struggles with poverty, unemployment, and violence.

He’s got a giant tattoo with the words “Saginaw Proper” scrawled onto his muscular right forearm, in red lettering with blue embellishments.

“It reminds me every day to make something beautiful out of the pain this city has caused me. The red letters represent the blood that has been shed and reminds me of all the friends I have lost to this city’s violence. Or the suicides and overdoses that are a result of the depressed nature of our reality.”

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That's What They Say
11:23 am
Sun July 28, 2013

Rhetoric: postive, negative, or both?

Calling speech “rhetoric” nowadays is often viewed as an insult, rather than as a compliment. Especially in relation to politics, “rhetoric” is used almost exclusively as a negative term.

On this week’s edition of “That’s What They Say,” Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Anne Curzan, and host Rina Miller discuss the confusion with the word “rhetoric” in public discourse.

According to Curzan, the historical definition of rhetoric is “the art of using language effectively in order to persuade others.” Rhetoric is viewed today as positive in some circles. It’s an art form for those who can speak well, and persuade others with conviction. However, more and more this former art has been viewed in a more negative light.

“By the 17th century, we start to see some use where people are using ‘rhetoric’ to talk about sort of overblown speech, speech that is big words, but maybe not backed up...from there it gets more and more negative, and I think now you’ll hear people use it to talk about words that seem empty to them. It’s just rhetoric," explains Curzan.

So when did “rhetoric” become so closely, and negatively tied with politics? Anne Curzan says:

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Arts & Culture
3:01 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

New art project hopes to lift up Flint's housing image

Artist's conception of 'Mark's House' which was chosen by the Flint Public Art Project and the Flint Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Flint Public Art Project

Construction is scheduled to start Monday on a unique take on Flint’s housing crisis.

Many Flint homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. In response, artists are erecting a floating home in the middle of a downtown Flint parking lot. The faux single family home will rest on a pedestal, covered in reflective material, creating the illusion the home is floating.

Jerome Chou is with the Flint Public Art Project. He says the designers took inspiration from Flint’s legion of abandoned and foreclosed homes.

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Arts & Culture
8:23 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Big event for Camp Grayling's 100th birthday

Camp Grayling

GRAYLING, Mich. (AP) - Camp Grayling is 100 years old.

Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow are participating in events Saturday to celebrate the camp's centennial. There will be military ceremonies, music, food and fireworks. More than 4,000 active Michigan service members are expected to attend.

Camp Grayling covers 230 square miles, primarily in Crawford County in northern Michigan.

Arts & Culture
2:16 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Both art and science, Art Fair features images from under the microscope

Wearing His Heart On His Sleeve
Bioartography Project University of Michigan

Visitors to the Ann Arbor Art Fair saw some unusual art if they stopped by the University of Michigan Health System's booth this week. The Bioartography project features images of cells taken under a microscope.

Researcher Deborah Gumucio is director of the project. She says just about all of the images that doctors, post-docs and other researchers submit are incredibly beautiful, resembling abstract art. A panel of artists sorts through and selects the best.

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Arts & Culture
10:52 am
Thu July 18, 2013

The 40-Year-Old Photo That Gives Us A Reason To Smile

This 1973 photo of five children playing in a Detroit suburb has gone viral on the Internet. The children were Rhonda Shelly, 3 (from left), Kathy Macool, 7, Lisa Shelly, 5, Chris Macool, 9, and Robert Shelly, 6.
Joe Crachiola Courtesy of The Macomb Daily

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 2:57 pm

In late July 1973, Joseph Crachiola was wandering the streets of Mount Clemens, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, with his camera. As a staff photographer for the Macomb Daily, he was expected to keep an eye out for good feature images — "those little slices of life that can stand on their own."

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5:35 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Michigan's craft beer industry is growing, calling for stricter water control measures

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

An interview with Scott Graham and Jason Spaulding.

Michigan loves its beer.

That's just about the only conclusion you can make about the news that Michigan is number five in the nation in the number of breweries and eighth in craft beer output.

Scott Graham is the executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild, and he joined us today to talk about the industry’s growth.

And, we also spoke with a Michigan brewer who is calling for tougher clean water standards.

A dispute is bubbling and brewing between environmentalists and business groups over whether to expand wetlands and waterway protections, long-delayed updates of the federal Clean Water Act.

The environmentalists hope these updates will give the EPA more muscle with which to protect our waters.

Many Michigan business groups take the position that this would be costly and would not pack much benefit.

Joining the side of the environmentalists are 20 craft beer brewers, including seven from Michigan. They've written to President Obama to argue that pure clean water is essential to making good beer.

Among the Michigan brewers pushing for stricter water control measures is Jason Spaulding, owner of Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:28 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Photography exhibit shows connections between Detroit and the ancient city of Petra

Petra was established in 312 BC.
Chris Yunker Flickr

An interview with photographer Susan Webb.

To study archeology means to study the activity of humans in the past.

What can we learn from studying the buildings, the artifacts, the cultural landscapes of past civilizations? And how far back in the past do you go? Many centuries ago? Or just a few decades?

Based on a special exhibition that’s in its final few days at the Kelsey Museum of Archeology, perhaps the answer is both.

Photographer Susan Webb’s exhibit “Red Rock and Rust Belt” shows the connections between two cities that are separated by thousands of miles and many centuries: the ancient site of Petra established around 312 B.C. in what is now Jordan -- and Detroit, especially the Detroit of the industrial 20th century.

What can we learn by studying these two cities in side-by-side photographs?

Susan Webb, who has basically had a camera in her hand since her Dad gave her a Kodak Brownie when she was just eight, joined us today to talk about her exhibit.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
4:47 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Report: Metro Detroit immigrants don't follow typical patterns

Global Detroit published a map of foreign-born Metro Detroiters. Immigrants make up eight percent of the Southeastern Michigan area on average.
Credit Global Detroit

A report released today on metro Detroit's foreign-born population shows between five and 15% of people in Southeastern Michigan are immigrants. The study, conducted by Global Detroit and Data Driven Detroit, shows metro Detroit's immigrants don't follow traditional patterns of foreign-born populations in urban areas.

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3:14 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

It was built in Detroit for Civil War Union Army veterans, now some are working to save it

The Grand Army of the Republic Building.

If you've ever driven on Grand River on Detroit's West Side, chances are you've spotted it. The building that looks like a small castle right there on the corner of Grand River and Cass with those crenelated turrets looking like something out of medieval England or France.

The building was a used as a meeting space for a fraternal organization formed for Civil War Union Army veterans - the Grand Army of the Republic. When its last living members were dwindling, the organization left the building.

Fans of the Grand Army of the Republic building will be heartened to hear that it has some champions: three men who are doing their best to save it from the sad list of Detroit's architectural gems that have been allowed to decay or have fallen to the wrecker's ball.

And these three do not have deep-pockets.

Dan Austin is a writer for the Detroit Free Press, and he also runs the Detroit architectural resource

He joined us today to talk about the building.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
12:04 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Ann Arbor approves skatepark, shredding will commence before 'snow flies'

A conceptual drawing of the Ann Arbor skatepark. The park will be built in Veterans Memorial Park later this year.
Ann Arbor Skatepark Facebook

After a long campaign to get it built, the Ann Arbor city council voted to approve a $1 million contract to build a skatepark at last night's meeting.

From the Ann Arbor Skatepark Facebook Page:

Passed unanimously. As soon as contracts are signed, & other details finalized, construction will begin. We skate before the snow flies.

And here's more from the Ann Arbor Chronicle

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Arts & Culture
12:11 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

U of M Professor discovers 'radical' new language in Australia

Aerial view of Lajamanu, where the new language was discovered.
Australian Government

A new language has been discovered in a remote aboriginal community of Lajamanu in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Dr. Carmel O’Shannessy, a linguist at the University of Michigan, first discovered the new language while studying in Lajamanu. The language spoken there is Warlpiri – an aboriginal language unrelated to English.

Over the last decade O’Shannessy has documented the emergence of “Light Warlpiri” or Warlpiri rampaku in the region.

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