Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

The 25-foot statue inspired by the photograph "V-J Day in Times Square" is on display in New York City. The statue will be on display in Royal Oak until the end of the year.
Carl Deal /

On Monday, Aug. 15, Americans across the country will celebrate the 71st anniversary of V-J Day, victory over Japan.

August 15, 1945 was a massive celebration, and one of the most famous photographs from that day -- or of any day in our country's history -- is "V-J Day in Times Square," which was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt. The photo shows a sailor and a nurse sharing a celebratory kiss in Times Square. 

A 25-foot statue commemorating the kiss is currently on display at Memorial Park in Royal Oak until the end of the year. The massive bronze statue is the centerpiece of the event "Kissing the War Goodbye," when the public is encouraged to show up, dressed as sailors and nurses, to recreate the kiss.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We live in a throw-away society. Things are made cheaply and when we’re finished with them, we toss them out. That goes for furniture too. People put couches out on the curb. In college towns such as Ann Arbor, at the end of the academic year, there are lots of couches at the curb. 

We used to re-upholster furniture. In fact, some people still do. And in this installment in our series, “Artisans of Michigan” we visit an upholsterer.

Pam Rossi's new book collects her conversations with musicians on her radio show Over Easy.
Flickr user Ministerio TIC Colombia / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0


Pam Rossi has produced and hosted Over Easy on Detroit classic rock station WCSX for the last 12 years. The show brings local, national and international musicians into the studio to talk and perform.

Now, she’s sharing those great conversations with great musicians in her book, Conversations with Pam Rossi.

Marilyn Monroe


The headlines were huge and screaming on April 21 this year: Prince, found dead in an elevator in his home.

Cause of death? An opioid overdose.


And before that, there was June 25, 2009. More screaming headlines: Michael Jackson died from an overdose of propofol, which helped him sleep, and anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines.


The headlines from 54 years ago told the same sad tale: film star Marilyn Monroe found dead in her Hollywood home.

The cause? An overdose of prescription drugs.

There sits the dictionary.  

A forgotten volume, alone on its rickety pedestal with nothing but a shabby jacket to protect it from dust and shelf ware.

All the dictionary ever wanted was to serve you.

Think about that time you were cramming for the vocabulary portion of your SAT and just couldn’t make sense of “legerdemain.” Who was there to offer not only a sentence for context but also a language of origin?

This wreckage of a World War II plane was pulled from the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Courtesy of John Davies

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, America was pulled into World War II. But, the military needed -- among other things -- pilots. In particular, the U.S. needed pilots who could land and take off from aircraft carriers. But the carriers the U.S. had at the time were desperately needed in the theater of war.

So, how to train the pilots?

That’s the subject of a new documentary Heroes On Deck: World War II on Lake Michigan.

Allan Barnes
Courtesy of Tate McBroom

Allan Barnes, Detroit jazz multi-instrumentalist and founding member of The Blackbyrds, has died. He was 66.

Detroit drummer and Gorilla Funk Mob co-founder Tate McBroom played with Barnes for almost 10 years. 

Listen above, as McBroom shares insights and perspectives on Barnes' musically diverse career.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There was outrage over reports that a farmer near Traverse City was required to dump tart cherries. You can read about the reasons here and listen to a Stateside interview with Bridge Magazine reporter Ron French about dumping cherries when it happened in 2014 here.

 Howard Hertz told us Detroit should lean into its musical legacy the way cities like Nashville and Austin do.
flickr user tomovox /

The Next Idea

Take a moment to think of all the music that's been born and bred in Detroit.

From Motown to techno, rock to hip hop and jazz, and all parts in-between, Detroit artists have made an impression around the world.

Yet, the city's done next to nothing to capitalize on its city's musical heritage. 

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea is leading an effort to change that, by getting Detroit to brand itself as a "music city" and build a downtown museum celebrating Southeast Michigan's rich musical heritage.

A Coney Island hot dog from one of the many American Coney Island restaurants.
Flickr user Eugene Kim /


A recent MLive poll asked readers: What’s Michigan’s state food? Climbing above competitors such as the pasty, the Boston cooler and Superman ice cream, the Coney Island hot dog emerged on top.

The Coney Island hot dog is an key part of Michigan’s food scene, especially in Detroit. But how did it become so popular? And how did it get its name?

Joe Grimm looked to answer that question in a book he co-authored with fellow journalist Katherine Yung, Coney Detroit.

The Arab American National Museum aims to share the stories of its diverse population.
Courtesy of the Arab American National Museum


Arab-Americans receive more suspicion and misunderstanding than most social groups. These misconceptions give the Arab American National Museum an important job: sharing the stories of Arab Americans.

Located in Dearborn, the museum opened in 2005, and although it has only been around for little more than a decade, it has been chosen as an affiliate of the Smithsonian.


Today, we hear how Better Life Bags in Hamtramck breaks down job barriers for women. And, we discuss why it's important to know exactly what type of plants and animals live on your land.

Mutter, mumble and murmur may look similar, but don't be fooled.

Think of it this way. If someone you're dating tells you they  love you for the first time, which would you prefer?

1) "I love you," he murmured.

2) "I love you," she mumbled.

3) "I love you," he muttered.

Okay, none of these scenarios instill a lot of confidence when it comes to long-term relationship potential, but one certainly seems worse than the others.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio


Anvil, hammer, and tongs.

It's sooty. It's screams muscle and metal. But, the thing that strikes you is this: A blacksmith’s shop has a smell like no other. It’s the coal in the forge, the odor hot steel.

We visited Waterloo Metal Works to talk to John Rayer. But, shortly after I started poking around he stopped me.

“I did forget to give the safety warning. Everything in here is dirty, or sharp, or possibly very hot,” Rayer said.

1948 Tucker sedan
Courtesy of Steve Lehto

In the 1940s, Preston Tucker had a dream. The car salesman from Ypsilanti wanted to give a war-weary America a brand new car. A car for the future.

But that dream was torpedoed by the Securities and Exchanges Commission, which chased him down with accusations of fraud.

Tucker's is one of the most interesting and sad stories in American business history. 

Writer Steve Lehto explores the rise and fall of this fascinating entrepreneur in his newest book, Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow.

Screen grab of "Parts Per Billion," a documentary produced by Alex Douglas and Nicholas Ferguson

The red carpet is being rolled out this Thursday in Flint.

It's the Flint Youth Film Festival, a chance for you to see the work of mid-Michigan's young filmmakers.

We were joined today by Donna Ullrich​, director of the Flint Youth Film Festival, and filmmaker Alex Douglas, a Flint resident and recent Mott Community College graduate who submitted two films to the festival.

Courtesy of Cheryl Angelelli


Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities — people like Cheryl Angelelli. A former Paralympic swimmer, Angelelli holds four Paralympic medals and won seven world championships.


Now, Angelelli is taking her talents to the dance floor. This week, she’s competing in the Dancing World Championships in Las Vegas. She and her partner Tamerlan Gadirov won a medal last night at the championships.

A Minute with Mike: Yoopers vs Trolls

Jul 25, 2016
Vic Reyes


I was recently on the world wide webs and came across a fairly funny vanity license plate. It had a star spangle bannered Upper Peninsula and a caption that read “American by birth. Yooper by the grace of God.”


Funny enough for a 1977 Ford Granada but I won’t be screwing that onto my bumper any time soon.


But that plate got me thinking: Yooper is the universal unofficial term for our fellow Michiganeers in the Upper Peninsula but what about us in the Lower Peninsula?

Threshold Choir sings to people on their deathbed

Jul 25, 2016
Savor the sounds of a song bath
Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

Here’s how the Threshold Choir works. Typically, Hospice or a family member call ups the choir when someone is sick or dying. A small group of singers arrive at the person’s bedside and sing very simple songs with lyrics like “You are not alone, I am here beside you.”

Choir members say it’s not a performance but rather a way to be present with someone who’s dying.

Their friends tease them that singing to people on their deathbed must be depressing. But the singers say it’s energizing and life-affirming. They say it’s the opposite of depressing.

Some things are inevitable when you’re a radio host.

It’s almost time to go on the air, and you're ready. Your headlines are juicy and your weather forecast is spot on.

You’ve even got a great line to get people to listen to that segment on the mating rituals of the brown marmorated stink bug. 

Your finger is poised over the microphone button, and then you think, “Maybe I should check the traffic map one last time, just in case.”

Why not? You've got 30 whole seconds to spare.

That's when you see it.

The 12th Street Riot began in the early hours of July 23, 1967 following a police raid on an unlicensed after-hours bar on the corner of 12th and Clairmount.
Public Domain

In the summer of 1967, the streets of Detroit shook with violence.

Civil unrest over lack of housing for blacks and open animosity with the mostly white police department boiled over in the early morning hours of July 23.

What began with a police raid on an unlicensed after-hours club grew into rioting and looting that devastated parts of the city and lasted for days.

Then-governor George Romney called in the National Guard, and President Lyndon Johnson sent in paratroopers to help quell the violence. 

Downtown Flint.
flickr user Tony Faiola /

Flint is in the news a lot these days. Lead contamination of the water; people getting sick, some dying from Legionnaires' disease; one of the most violent cities in the country. 

But Flint is home to nearly 100,000 people.

A new book tells the story of some of those who've made Flint their home. It's called Happy Anyway: A Flint Anthology. The collection of stories was edited by Scott Atkinson

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

French 75

1-1/2 oz gin (Detroit City Distillery Railroad gin)

1/2 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz simple syrup

2  oz champagne/sparkling wine

Garnish: lemon twist

Shake first three ingredients with ice, strain into champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish.

The debate about raising the speed limit on Michigan freeways to 75 miles per hour made Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings think of the cocktail called the French 75. 

Stateside 7.21.2016

Jul 21, 2016

Today, we hear how the West Nile virus spreads more easily during dry, hot summers like this one. And, we talk to an artist taking cities "from blight to bright" with street art.

A design concept for the video game "Tuebor."
SiN Studios, Project Tuebor

A Lansing-based video game company is putting the final touches on a video game that got a big helping hand from a Michigan State University computer science expert. 

The game is called Tuebor, which means "I will defend" in Latin.

Scott Reschke has been laboring over this game for years, so it's a big moment to see this work come to fruition.

Michigan Bookmark is a series that features Michigan authors reviewing Michigan books.

Seasonal Roads is the title of L.E. Kimball’s impressive new book of stories. The title refers to roads that are unplowed and therefore unpassable in winter. Kimball guides you down some of these roads in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – into cabins, forests, and rivers, and into the lives of three women. Author Lisa Lenzo has this review.

Mural by artist Otto Schade
Jason Ostro

The Next Idea

Take an abandoned, unloved alley. 

Clear away the trash and debris, and then turn artists loose with their paint and brushes to transform those alleys and, in turn, the neighborhood.

Jason Ostro did just that.

The Michigan-born artist cleaned up the area around his Los Angeles art gallery, the Gabba Gallery.

The Gabba Alley Project L4 is four decaying alleys transformed into works of art.

Now he's launched the Gabba Alley Project Detroit, recently painting his first mural in an alley in Detroit's Midtown.

The Coney dog was the winner of MLive’s poll to choose a “state food.”
Flickr user Steven Depolo/Flickr

Michigan has a state fossil, and even a state soil, but not a state food.

MLive writer Emily Bingham discovered that other states have a designated food, and soon set out to find a dish Michiganders can call their own. In a poll for MLive, Bingham offered a list of suggestions to take the title – a few of which surprised readers.

This train wreck was big news at the time
Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio

People from the Adrian area and local historians know the story of the “wreck on the Wabash.” But outside of those circles, the train crash that took place in 1901 isn’t especially well-known.

There are many tragic elements to this story and for a thorough sense of what took place, you can read historian Laurie Perkins’ book, “Wreck on the Wabash” (written under the name Laurie C. Dickens).

Laith Al-Saadi performing on The Voice.
screen grab / YouTube


In March, Laith Al-Saadi rocked American audiences on NBC’s The Voice with his audition.

And it didn’t stop there. As a member of Team Adam, the Michigan native continued to a fourth place finish.