Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
1:53 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Detroit music landmark could be lost to I-94 expansion

The United Sound Systems building on Second Street in Detroit could be demolished in an I-94 expansion plan.
Credit DetroitWiki

The United Sound Systems building on Second Street in Detroit could be demolished in an I-94 expansion plan. The recording studio has a rich musical history dating back to the 1930s.

Artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis and George Clinton have recorded there.

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Arts & Culture
5:24 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

ArtPod heads up north

Where to go? What to read? ArtPod's got you covered.
Bug_girl_mi Flickr

There’s nothing ArtPod hates more than humidity. Don’t even mention the word “frizz” right now.

And since so much of southern Michigan swings between flash flooding to feeling like a sauna, ArtPod is doing what all true Michiganders do: heading up north.

Specifically, Petoskey. And not just for the pretty bay views or the $5 kiddie-size gelato.  

Petoskey has a humming arts community in its own right, one that draws artists and art buyers from across Michigan, even out of state.

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Arts & Culture
12:10 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Part of an Irish Hills landmark coming down

A demolition crew is removing the two observation decks on top of the Irish Hills Towers
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Part of the iconic Irish Hills Towers in Lenawee County is being demolished this week.

Members of a small wrecking crew are slowly dismantling the two observation decks that top the six story tall wooden towers.   The work is expected to take a few days, depending in part on the weather. 

The towers have been a landmark along U-S Route 12 in southern Michigan since the 1920’s and they're on the National Register of Historic Places.  

But age and neglect have taken a toll in recent years.

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Stateside
5:27 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

What books should you consider reading this summer?

Flickr/Sarah Sosiak

An interview with writer and poet Keith Taylor.

Now that summer has truly taken us into her embrace, we’ve been thinking of some of our favorite summer pleasures. And it was fairly unanimous: one of the sweetest times of summer is lounging around in the sun, maybe on a beach, maybe your favorite spot on your back porch or yard, and in your hands is a good book.

Keith Taylor coordinates the undergraduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan, he is a poet and a writer, and he is simply the best at uncovering hidden gems for us to read and enjoy.

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Arts & Culture
1:08 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Photos from the Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan

Julia Field

Michigan is home to a number of nationally renowned music festivals but one of the largest, and perhaps the most colorful, is the Electric Forest Festival.

This past weekend, thousands of music lovers from across the country converged at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan to see over a hundred bands and artists.

While most of the music was electronic dance music, a diversity of music genres were represented in the lineup. There were jam bands, rappers, world musicians, DJs, and even two marching bands.

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Arts & Culture
12:14 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Michiganders taking part in Gettysburg sesquicentennial

This painting depicts the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg. Composed partly of the Michigan 24th, it played a prominent role in the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, repulsing the first Confederate offensive.
Artist Don Troiani

A large number of civil war re-enactors from Michigan are in central Pennsylvania this week to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Michiganders heard the first shots fired at Gettysburg.   And they were there a few days later, as the Confederates launched the ill-fated Pickett’s Charge, which failed to break the Union lines.

Don Everette is among the Michigan civil war re-enactors in Gettysburg this week.

He says he’s been to previous re-enactments of Pickett’s Charge that were highly emotional.

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Arts & Culture
10:37 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Historical marker stolen on the Western Michigan University campus

The WMU/East Hall historical marker was stolen sometime last week
flickr /Michigan Historic Markers

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - A college prank?

Police at Western Michigan University are looking for a large historical marker stolen from outside the birthplace of the Kalamazoo school.

The marker was discovered missing Thursday at East Hall. Size would make it difficult to hide: Like other state markers, it's 54 inches tall and 42 inches wide.

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Arts & Culture
5:12 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Snap Judgment brings 'storytelling with a beat' to Ann Arbor

Glynn Washington is the creator, executive producer, and host of Snap Judgment, as well as a Michigan native.
Twitter

An interview with Glynn Washington of Snap Judgment.

Saturday night, Michigan Radio and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival welcome Snap Judgment to the Power Center. Snap Judgment is one of the newer additions to the public radio lineup and its creator calls it storytelling with a beat.

“I’m a big, big public radio head from a long time ago,” said Glynn Washington, the creator, executive producer, and host of the show. “But sometimes public radio can get a little bit boring. And I was trying to come up with an idea to get rid of the boring stuff and leave everything that I loved. What we try to do at Snap is get rid of the exposition, drop people right into the heart of the story, and the way that we do that is through soundscaping.”

Many of Washington’s personal stories and experiences have made it onto the show, sometimes even stories his family members have never heard. His mother often appears as a character in his stories.

"Sometimes Mommy doesn’t appreciate it too much," he confessed. 

Washington explained that while it has been difficult to maintain such a level of transparency on the air, it has also been very rewarding.

“It’s been interesting getting used to sort of bleeding into the microphone every week, but I do find it very, very cathartic in the end. I find that storytelling is kind of the way that I process my own issues. And, you know, stories have a beginning, middle, and end, but life doesn’t really have an end, and so putting these stops on things is helpful for me at least.”

The show on Saturday will feature some of the world’s best storytellers, and they have all been asked to tell a tale that will move the audience. Accompanying the storytellers is a live band directed by Alex Mandel. Washington expects that everyone who attends will not be disappointed.

“It’s a duet between the storytellers and the musician that really creates a new art form, and I’m really excited for everyone to hear it. You’re going to be blown away.”

Recently, The Atlantic wrote an article about Washington hailing him as “NPR’s Great Black Hope.” Washington said that while he loved the article, he felt that it was an unfortunate headline.

“I see what they were doing. ‘Let’s get the most clicks we can for our headline, let’s put something provocative out there.’ And I understand because I do it myself all the time,” he said. “I think what they were trying to say was that what Snap Judgment is doing is reaching out to audiences that public radio has traditionally left behind. If I wanted to be provocative, I would have called it This New American Life, but Ira would really be upset if I did so.”

Glynn Washington and Snap Judgment will be here Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Power Center. Tickets are on sale now. 

-Michelle Nelson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:14 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Flint uses art to tackle important issues surrounding the city

Andrew Morton is one of the nine artists selected for Flint's master plan.

An interview with Andrew Morton, the artistic director of the Shop Floor Theatre Company in Flint.

The city of Flint is currently working on a master plan to help shape the city’s future in the next 20 years. Part of that plan involves the role of arts.

Recently the National Endowment for the Arts gave a grant to hire nine artists who live in each of the city’s wards to explore the role arts can have in the community and get residents involved in the master plan.

One of those artists, Andrew Morton, is the artistic director of the Shop Floor Theatre Company in Flint, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:12 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Pipe organ festival hits Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

A pipe organ.
Flickr

An interview with Brooks Grantier, secretary of the program committee for Great Lakes Swell Organs.

If you can’t get enough of the soaring sounds of pipe organs, you’re in for a treat.

Starting Sunday and lasting through July 3, organists from five states will be attending and playing in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek for the Great Lakes regional convention of the American guild of organists called the Great Lakes Swell Organs.

Brooks Grantier, secretary of the program committee for the group, joined us today to tell us all about the festival.

For more information, visit http://agokalamazoo.org/

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
4:09 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Wonder what it's like to be a woman in Detroit? Check out this video

A woman interviewed in "A Girl's Guide to Detroit."
4exit4 Vimeo

There’s been a lot of talk about changes in Detroit — who’s moving in, who’s moving out, who’s shaking things up.

But for all the clamor, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about one group in the city: women.

To get a look inside the lives of female Detroiters, check out "A Girl's Guide to Detroit," a mini-documentary by 4exit4 Productions.

From 4exit4’s Vimeo page:

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Arts & Culture
12:12 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Detroit celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Walk tomorrow

Cover art for the recorded album of the speech
Screen shot from youtube.com YouTube

This Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Freedom Walk led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Detroit.

A commemorative march down Woodward Avenue is planned for 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Fifty years ago, King’s address at the end of the march was the debut of his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, which he would deliver two months later at the March on Washington. Check out this post to listen to the moving speech.

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Culture
12:01 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Listen to this audio from what King called the 'greatest demonstration for freedom'

On June 23rd, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. marched down Woodward Ave. in Detroit to Cobo Hall.

Two months before his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Detroit to deliver a version of the speech.

The "Great March to Freedom" took place on June 23rd, 1963. It's being memorialized tomorrow in Detroit.

King called the event "the largest and greatest demonstration for freedom ever held in the United States."

Take a short moment to listen to a clip of the speech at Cobo Hall:

Part of MLK's speech in Detroit on June 23rd, 1963.

If you have 35 minutes, you can listen to, and read the whole speech here.

And what was it like for those who attended the march and speech?

Producer Zak Rosen put together this piece for our storytelling series called  The Living Room:


Stateside
5:38 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Michigan poet builds his own Stonehenge

A gathering at Terry Wooten's Stone Circle
Facebook

An interview with poet and educator Terry Wooten.

Across the world ancient cultures built impressive stone circles, think Stonehenge in England, the Dromberg Stone Circle in West Cork Ireland, or the stone circle at Beaver Island.

No one knows exactly their significance. But, whether they were used as burials, for community gatherings or connected to agricultural events, like the summer solstice, people will always wonder why they exist.

Today, stone circles have appeared across the U.S., mainly to pay homage to our ancient ancestors. And, one of those exists here in Michigan.

Poet and educator Terry Wooten built his own stone circle nearly 30 years ago, designed to capture the atmosphere of ancient cultures. It's located north of Traverse City.

Terry joined us today to tell us all about it.

For more information, visit Terry's website: http://terry-wooten.com/

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:37 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

New book helps answer questions about a mysterious Lake Michigan plane crash

Shipwreck explorer and author Valerie van Heest
michiganshipwrecks.org

An interview with shipwreck explorer and author Valerie van Heest.

It was 63 years ago when Northwest Flight 2501 took off from La Guardia in New York on a non-stop flight to Minneapolis.

Flight 2501 never made it to its destination. The DC-4 prop liner vanished in a storm over Lake Michigan off the coast of South Haven. The 55 passengers and crew of three were lost.

That crash has become one of the great mysteries of the Great Lakes.

Shipwreck explorer and author Valerie van Heest has joined forces with popular author Clive Cussler, trying to figure out what happened to Flight 2501. Her new book "Fatal Crossing" is out from In-Depth Editions.

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Stateside
5:36 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

The Living Room: Beyond the dream, 50 years later

Twitter

The Living Room is our on-going storytelling series produced by Allison Downey and Zak Rosen. Today's show: Beyond the Dream, 50 years later.  

August 28th marks the 50th anniversary of what might be the most celebrated political gathering in our nation's history. Close to a quarter of a million people poured onto the Washington Mall to show their solidarity with the growing Civil Rights Movement. It was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The March might be best known as the venue where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now iconic I Have a Dream Speech.

But he didn't debut the speech in Washington D.C.

King gave an earlier version of his now famous speech in Detroit, on June 23rd of 1963. Some Detroiters contend that the events of that weekend are just as relevant, if not more so, than the March on Washington.

The Detroit Walk to Freedom was organized by the The Detroit Council for Human Rights. It was conceived as a way to commemorate the race riot that took place in the city 20 years earlier. But it was also an event to protest the current state of race and economic relations both in the urban north and the American south.

Living Room Producer Zak Rosen spoke with a handful of Detroiters who were at the gathering in June of '63.

For more information on the commemorative marches taking place in Detroit, visit the following websites:
http://moratorium-mi.org/50th-anniversary-march-in-commemoration-of-the-great-march-to-freedom-saturday-june-22-9-am/

http://www.freedomwalkdetroit.com/

To hear the full story, click the audio above.

Stateside
5:34 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Has summer become too organized for kids?

user micah.woods Flickr

An interview with John U. Bacon.

There's a new traffic jam each morning at the end of my street. It began the week after school let out. It starts around 8:30 each morning: the stream of mini-vans and SUV's waiting to turn into the parking lot of a church to drop the kids off at summer day camp.

It's a scene being repeated all over Michigan. Kids being taken to one organized activity or another, from computer camp to theater camp to summer club swim meets, you get the idea.

Michigan Radio Sports Commentator John U. Bacon has a question: what ever happened to good old fashioned playing?

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:28 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Pinpointing the first Michiganders

Bill Lovis is a professor and curator of anthropology at MSU.
http://anthropology.msu.edu/

An interview with Bill Lovis, a professor and curator of anthropology at Michigan State University.

We live in a complex world of technology, of instant communication with just about any spot in the world.

So it is all too easy for us to lose track of our roots, our history.

Who were the first people to call Michigan "home" and what can we learn from those first Michiganders?

Bill Lovis is a professor and curator of anthropology at Michigan State University.

“They came from the South,” Bill said of the first state inhabitants.

Around 12,000 years ago, Michigan was under ice, with several lobes of glaciers covering the state. As the ice receded and melted, people moved up into the state and the Great Lakes began to form.

It was still several thousands of years before Michigan’s terrain began to resemble what it is today. Glaciers left the land very cold, barren, and wet, and it took a long time for forestation to begin. The earliest inhabitants were families who moved across this landscape going from resource to resource.

While these early settlers maybe seem very distant to modern Michiganders, they still touch our lives today.

“Anyone who has a corncob with their braut in the summer is being impacted by Native American society,” said Bill. “The food crops are exceptionally important contributions to the world economy.”

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
7:17 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

New laws will protect DIA and Detroit Zoo millage funding

The Detroit Institute of Arts
DIA

The Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts will now get millions of dollars in tax revenues as promised from the metro region.

Several metro cities were capturing some of the revenue generated by multi-county millages voters approved to support the zoo and the museum.

The cities claimed they were allowed to by state law. A Wayne County Circuit Court decision supported that claim.

Annmarie Erickson is the Chief Operating Officer of the art museum. She credits the public’s outcry for the new legislation signed into law today. 

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Stateside
5:36 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Grand Rapids and DC musicians team up to release a new album

Phil Stancil and Matt Warn
Facebook

An interview with Phil Stancil and Matt Warn.

Midnight Faces is a music duo consisting of Phil Stancil - he's been playing around Grand Rapids since he was in grade school - and Matt Warn - a product of the Philadelphia music scene who now lives in Washington DC.

The pair has been able to work around that distance between Grand Rapids and D.C. to come up with their debut full-length album and gear up to play dates in the U.S. and possibly Japan.

Phil Stancil and Matt Warn joined us from Grand Rapids.

Their website is midnightfaces.com and their album "Fornication" will be released June 18th. 

Listen to the full interview above.

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