Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
11:49 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Remembering Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard died yesterday from complications from a stoke.
Linda Solomon HarperCollins Publishers

Detroit lost one of its greats yesterday.

Elmore Leonard, 87, will be remembered as the writer who rehabbed the Western, wrote great bad guys, and saw his stories made into movies like "3:10 to Yuma" and "Get Shorty."

So in honor of one of America’s most prolific crime writer, we're going to take a tip from the man himself: show, don’t tell.

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11:35 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Michigan-raised furniture designer Charles Pollock dies in NY fire

Pollock executive chair.
Ruthie Hansen Flickr

NEW YORK (AP) - The Michigan-raised designer of the famous Pollock Executive Chair that became ubiquitous in offices in the mid-20th century has died in a fire at his New York City home. Charles Pollock was 83.

Police say Pollock was declared dead in his Queens home Tuesday morning.

Pollock was raised in the Detroit area and graduated from Detroit Cass Technical High School. He came to New York to attend the Pratt Institute.

He introduced his chair in 1963. Set on rolling wheels, the chair was visually distinctive with tufted upholstery and an aluminum band around its edges. In following decades, Pollock moved away from furniture design.

He returned to it recently. After being sought out by Jerry Helling of Bernhardt Design, Pollock created a lounge chair that debuted last year.

5:22 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

A closer look at Amish communities in America

Is this what you picture when you think of the Amish?
Beechwood Photography Flickr

An interview with Gertrude Enders Huntington and Steve Nolt.

When you think of "The Amish," what comes to mind?

Horses? Buggies? Long dresses and bonnets? Long beards? No electricity?

Well, yes, there is all of that. But there is so much more to the Amish in America, and here in Michigan, where the Amish population numbers around 11,000.

We wanted to find out more about the Amish, especially what the rest of us might learn from them. Consider this: how does a one-room Amish schoolhouse going only to eighth grade, with only a battery-powered clock in the way of "technology," how do these schools turn out highly successful entrepreneurs whose firms gross annual sales in the million-dollar range?

Gertrude Enders Huntington is a retired professor from the University of Michigan. She is the co-author of "Amish Children: Education in the Family, School, and Community."

Steve Nolt is a professor of history at Goshen College in Indiana and co-author of "The Amish," the companion book to the American Experience documentary on PBS.

They both joined us today to take a closer look at the Amish community.

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Arts & Culture
10:17 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Detroit resident and Hollywood writer Elmore Leonard dead at 87

Elmore Leornard

The news was announced this morning on Leonard's Facebook page:

The post I dreaded to write, and you dreaded to read. Elmore passed away at 7:15 this morning from complications from his stroke. He was at home surrounded by his loving family. More to follow.

Leonard suffered a stroke three weeks ago.

He had a long career writing westerns and crime novels that were made into Hollywood films.

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5:31 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

'Canoeing Michigan Rivers' gets an update

The case involved a potential discharge into the AuSable River. The Michigan Supreme Court has limited the ability to sue the state over environmental permits.
wikimedia commons

An interview with author Jerry Dennis.

When you talk about the outdoor offerings of Pure Michigan, you just cannot overlook her rivers.

For every person who can’t wait to get to the lake, put in the boat and go sailing or water skiing, there’s someone else who can’t wait to get to the river and put that paddle into the water. Some of Cynthia Canty’s best memories of Michigan summers were the days she spent canoeing along the Manistee River, thanks to the little cottage her family had right along the river’s banks, not too far from Kalkaska.

The “bible” for Michigan paddlers is, without a doubt, the book “Canoeing Michigan Rivers” by Jerry Dennis and Craig Date. It was first published in 1986. 

Now they’ve released the updated edition of “Canoeing Michigan Rivers.”

Jerry Dennis joined us today from Traverse City.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:20 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Nearly century-old community agency in Kalamazoo fights to stay open

A community agency that serves thousands of low-income residents in Kalamazoo is in danger of closing.

The Douglass Community Association formed almost a hundred years ago to serve African American soldiers returning from World War I.

Interim Director Sherry Thomas-Cloud says now they provide literacy programs, a recovery center, free summer meals for kids and much more. She worries what would happen if people no longer have a central location for so many services.

“At best the services would be piecemealed and at worse you’re looking at an underserved population that would go from being underserved to not having any services at all,” Thomas-Cloud said.

“Plus, the pride, the sustainability of this agency for 90-some years… it’s just been an icon in the community and it would leave a gap that I think would be felt for many years,” Thomas-Cloud said.

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That's What They Say
8:08 am
Sun August 18, 2013

A recombobulation of the English language

You can play your opponent in a tennis match, but can you verse them? Surprisingly, use of the term verse in reference to challenging another person only became commonplace in the past three decades. 

Host Rina Miller and Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Anne Curzan, discuss this process of reinterpreting words into new forms with altered meanings, called back-forming, on this week’s edition of “That’s What They Say.”

“Back-forming is when we take a word that’s in the language, we reinterpret it, often as having a suffix or a prefix, and then we create a new word,” Anne Curzan explains.

Televise or laze are prime examples of this process, as these words were created for convenient use from their parent words, television and lazy, respectively. Some of these back-forms are actually pretty old and not particularly liked, such as the back-form enthuse, derived from the root enthusiasm. One back-form whose likeness will probably go undisputed, however, is the word recombobulation, as Anne Curzan explains.

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5:02 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Dearborn puts limits on what a garage can be

Flickr user carywaynepeterson Flickr

An interview with Jeff Karoub of the Associated Press.

There's been a new development in the debate over garages in Dearborn.

You may recall some residents in Dearborn have been using their garages as gathering spaces, some equipped with sliding glass doors, couches, refrigerators, water pipes, and TVs. This has been especially popular with Dearborn's large Arab community.

This week, the Dearborn Planning Commission approved changes in rules governing the way Dearbornites may use their garages, and there are those in the Arab community who feel these rule changes are a direct slap at them.

Jeff Karoub has been covering this debate for the Associated Press and he joined us today from Detroit.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:28 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Ann Arbor band The Ragbirds is starting their fall tour with a baby on board

Lead vocalist Erin Zindle

An interview with lead vocalist and Celtic fiddler Erin Zindle.

They're called "The Ragbirds," a five-piece folk-rock-fusion band out of Ann Arbor.

The band has quite an avid following. Fans who are looking forward to seeing the Ragbirds hit the road. But when that happens this fall, the Ragbirds will be packing more than guitars and fiddles and percussion. They're going to be packing diapers and all the myriad supplies that you need to travel with a baby.

Lead vocalist and Celtic fiddler Erin Zindle is due just about any moment now. She joined us today in the studio to talk about the "Brave New Baby" tour.

Listen to the full interview above.

Newsmaker Interview
3:57 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Shakespeare in Detroit


Shakespeare in Detroit was founded by Detroit native, Samantha White. As its inaugural performance on Wednesday, August 14 at 7 p.m., the company will present Shakespeare's Othello at Grand Circus Park in Detroit. Samantha White spoke with Michigan Radio's Jennifer White about the company, the performance, and why the works of Shakespeare need a home in Detroit.

Arts & Culture
2:18 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

In this Traverse City gallery, strong drinks but "no watercolors of cherries"

Art in the InsideOut gallery
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

If you’re a local in Northern Michigan, especially in a tourist town, you need a few places that are all your own.

That dive bar visitors don’t know. The private beach that’s hidden away.

For Traverse City residents, one place like that is the InsideOut art gallery.

First thing you do there is get a drink at the cocktail bar.

Then, you head to the patio that has no view of the lake (which, hey, no tourists!)

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Arts & Culture
4:28 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Michigan Stadium bridges to receive artistic flair with 'Arbor Winds'

Artist Catherine Widgery created a mock-up of her proposed design for the Stadium bridges. Pictured here is the aluminum banners.

Walking along the bridges outside Michigan Stadium, visitors will soon pass under shimmery aluminum tiled banners of trees blowing with the wind. They also will notice shadows of branches on the sidewalks produced from nearby glass panels etched with pictures. Heading down under the overpass, the concrete walls will be lined with stone slabs with carved images of trees, lit by LEDs.

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That's What They Say
8:14 am
Sun August 11, 2013

Tricky plural words

The word data is plural in Latin. But that etymological fact may not make it plural in English at this point. 

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 talk about whether the word data should be plural or singular.

English borrowed the word data from Latin in which it is plural, the singular is datum. But, in scientific technical writing you will see data very often as plural.

"Many speakers have reinterpreted data as singular, as a mass noun much like information, so then you’ll see data is. The good news is for those of us who use it as a singular, and there are a lot of us, is that that is becoming more and more accepted, and in fact at this point if you look at the American Heritage Dictionary and the usage panel note on this, only 23% of the usage panel still rejects data as a singular," explains Curzan.

Listen to the full interview to hear more examples of making tricky words plural, including syllabus, focus, alumnus, and hippopotamus

Arts & Culture
12:05 pm
Sat August 10, 2013

East Lansing exhibit marks 1938 Michigan recording tour

Alan Lomax
Shirley Collins/American Folklife Center/Library of Congress

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing on Sunday will be the first stop of a traveling exhibit celebrating the 75th anniversary of a song collecting tour through the Upper Midwest.

The Lansing State Journal reports that it commemorates a trip that began in Detroit on Aug. 1, 1938, by 23-year-old Alan Lomax. He carried a recorder and movie camera to gather folk music. Lomax was in charge of the Library of Congress's Archive of American Folk-Song.

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5:32 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Michigan film director documents his year in Antarctica

Keith Reimink

An interview with director Keith Reimink.

From growing up in Zeeland on Michigan's West Side to cooking for scientists at the South Pole, Keith Reimink has led a life that is, to say the least, fascinating.

Keith's job as a cook led him to spend a year at an Antarctic research center. He turned that experience into a documentary called "No Horizon Anymore."

Keith Reimink joined us today to talk about the experience.

Listen to the full interview above.

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.

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