Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Thompson family has been constructing stained glass and leaded glass windows in Michigan since 1929.

“You know, we’re not interested in making sun catchers or little things that we sell at craft fairs. That’s just not our business. Our business is stuff that’s much longer lasting than that,” explained Dirk Thompson.

The family's stained glass windows have been installed in churches, colleges, businesses, and high-end homes. Thompson Art Glass also does a lot of restoration work.

Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archieves

The history of Copper Country in the Upper Peninsula tends to focus on mining and the mostly European immigrants who worked those mines. 

That traditional history is missing something: the presence of African-Americans.

Prisoners of war held in Michigan’s camps were mostly German, but there were also soldiers of other nationalities, like these Italians captured by the Germans in Greece in 1943.
Wikimedia user Bild Bundesarchiv / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There aren't many books that serve up history, suspense, crime and a love story, all beautifully tied together.

Wolf's Mouth manages to offer all that and more.

Photo courtesy of John Sims

 

Multi-media artist John Sims is on a mission to re-work and re-frame Confederate symbols, like the Confederate flag and the song "Dixie."

Sims has recolored Confederate flags and used them in public performances and installations.

Now he is re-imagining "Dixie" in an array of musical styles.

 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A $32 million campaign to renovate an historic building in downtown Flint is getting a big boost.

The 90-year-old Capitol Theatre has been a vaudeville house, movie palace, and for many years a vacant, decaying building in downtown Flint.

But the theater has been undergoing extensive renovations. 

Today, The Hagerman Foundation donated $4 million to the project.

Philanthropist Phil Hagerman remembers as a 14-year-old going to the Capitol to see The Sound of Music with his family.

David Bowie
Adam Bielawski / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's been a rough year in the music world.

Prince, Glenn Frey and Merle Haggard all passed away this year, and that's just to name a few.

On Sunday evening, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will honor another artist many fans feel left the world too soon: rock legend David Bowie.

Bowie died of liver cancer in January, two days after his final album was released.

His musical style was characterized by "chameleon-like" genre-jumping and his various stage personalities, including Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Bourbon Fruit Smash

1-2 slices ginger (optional)
Fruit (8-10 blueberries, 2-3 strawberries, 4 peach slices, etc)
3-5 leaves mint or other fresh herb
2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 oz simple syrup, or to taste

Muddle ginger well (if using), then add fruit and herbs and muddle again. Combine remaining ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake, strain into ice filled old-fashioned glass.

The "button wall" at the University of Chicago's 2008 Humanities Day
flickr user Quinn Dombrowski / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Early last year we announced on Stateside the Michigan Humanities Council's pick for the 2015-2016 Great Michigan Read: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Mandel sat down with us in February 2015 to talk about her fantastic futuristic novel set in post-apocalyptic Michigan. 

Shelly Kasprzycki is the executive director of the Michigan Humanities Council. Of books chosen for the Great Michigan Read so far, she told us Station Eleven is "probably the all-time hit."

Shannon Gibney says thanks to adoptee activism, awareness of the challenges of transracial adoptions has changed since she was adopted as a child.
Elizabeth Dahl

Writer Shannon Gibney tackles some very sensitive and emotional subjects in her new young adult novel See No Color.

First, she speaks to us with the voice of a teenage girl, and that alone can present a merry-go-round of turbulent emotions.

Next, that teen, named Alexandra Kirtridge, is an adoptee. And layered over all of that is the fact that Alex is biracial, adopted by white parents as a very young child. 

Stateside 7.1.2016

Jul 1, 2016

 

Today, we kick off our Artisans of Michigan series and head to Cobbler's Corner in Northville for an inside look at what it takes to repair a shoe. And, the state fire marshal warns to be cautious of fireworks this Fourth of July. It's dry out there.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This is the first in a series on Stateside we're calling Artisans of Michigan.

Our first stop in this trip around Michigan is in downtown Northville at the Cobbler’s Corner.

“Shoe repairing is a lot more than what you think,” Tony Piccoli assures us as soon as we meet.

He says Cobbler’s Corner is the oldest shoe repair shop in Michigan. It originally began as the Northville Shoe Service owned by the Revitzer family, starting in 1928.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Institute of Arts is planning a “fiery” expansion.

FIA officials are announcing plans to expand the museum’s gallery space, and add a glass making studio.

Executive Director John Henry says museum-goers will be able to watch as glass artists work with fire to create art.

A new documentary tracks how CREEM Magazine became one of the world's biggest music magazines.
Flickr user A.Currell / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

CREEM Magazine began in 1969, sold from the trunk of Barry Kramer’s car. Kramer was the creator and publisher of the magazine, and from that small beginning, it blossomed into one of the top music publications in the world. It was bold in its irreverence, and it launched the careers of some of music’s biggest names — both artists and writers.

Now, it’s the subject of a documentary, Boy Howdy! The Story of CREEM: America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine.

 

Here's a sneak peek: 

 

Pablo Mahave

Grand Valley State University’s award-winning New Music Ensemble will be on tour this summer commemorating the National Park Service centennial. The group will be premiering new compositions inspired by the four parks they’ll be performing at: Bad Lands, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks.

 

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

There's a heated debate over whether the Hantz Farms project is an environmental boon or just a land grab.
Sean O'Grady

John Hantz heads a business financial services conglomerate

He wants to plant 15,000 trees on 140 acres of Detroit land he bought in 2012. It would be the world's largest urban farm.

The plan has strong backers and equally strong critics. 

It's a story that Sean O'Grady tells in his new documentary film Land Grab.

The Detroit Zoo has a new polar bear named Tundra

Jun 28, 2016
Tundra, the Detroit Zoo's newest polar bear, arrived this weekend from Indianapolis.
Photo courtesy of the Detroit Zoo

On the polar opposite of an Arctic day, the Detroit Zoo officially introduced its newest guest on Monday: Tundra, a 29-year-old polar bear relocated over the weekend from the Indianapolis Zoo. 

"Tundra arrived over the weekend and is acclimating very well to her new environment, said Ron Kagan, executive director for the Detroit Zoological Society, in a statement. "She is sweet and curious and rather sprightly for an elderly bear." 

Muslims break their fast with an Iftar, or evening meal
Norris/Michigan Radio & Amila Tennakoon/Flickr

I’ve always been curious about what it’s like to fast all day long for Ramadan and then break the fast with an Iftar, or evening meal.

Luckily, I can explore my curiosity as part of my job as the arts and culture reporter for Michigan Radio and bring back the information and stories I’ve learned to our listeners.

Ramadan 101

Flint River and water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint water crisis is now an important piece of the city's story and history.

It will affect the city and its residents for decades to come.  

Michigan Radio and countless other local and national news outlets have reported various aspects of the crisis, from how it unfolded to how the crisis will affect the city's children as they grow into adults. And that reporting will continue into the foreseeable future, since Flint water is still not safe to drink, unfiltered.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

 

We hear about the many ways that Dan Gilbert and the Ilitch family are reshaping downtown Detroit. We hear about the new businesses, bistros, bars and restaurants in Corktown, Midtown. Yet, the question persists: What about the neighborhoods?

 

All around Detroit, there are homeowners who have made the choice to stay, to roll up their sleeves and do for their neighborhoods what the city has not been able to do.

 

Chuck Brooks is one of those homeowners. He joined us on Stateside.

The film focuses on tribes in the midwest
Screen grab of "Our Fires Still Burn"

Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience is a documentary film that follows the lives of Native Americans who are fighting to keep their culture and traditions alive for us here today and for future generations.

Levi Rickert is one of the film's producers. He joined us to talk about Our Fires Still Burn, the resurgence of Native American culture he's seen in his lifetime, and what he hopes people will take away from the film. 

Flickr user Arielle Fragassi/Flickr

Michigan has a rich history of wonderful writers. Among them are more than a few marquee names, but there are so many more whose works have been put on the shelf and are waiting to be rediscovered.

Jack Dempsey and his brother Dave Dempsey are doing their best to call attention to these unheralded Michigan writers with their latest book, Ink Trails II: Michigan's Famous and Forgotten Authors.

The book brings 16 writers' stories to the forefront to help readers rediscover them or discover them for the first time.

Make Music Detroit aims to celebrate music and promote music education.
Courtesy of Make Music Detroit

 

Make Music Days have appeared in 700 cities in 120 countries across the world. The events are inspired by France’s Fête de la Musique, a celebration inaugurated in 1982, and they occur on the summer solstice, June 21. Now, it’s coming to Detroit.

Make Music Detroit will feature more than 100 performers, professional and amateur, at 24 venues, and it will run this Tuesday from noon to midnight.

Mike Woo, the event producer for Make Music Detroit, joined us to discuss how Make Music came to Detroit and their goals for the event.

Courtesy of violashipman.com

Now that we've gotten ourselves past Memorial Day, nice lazy weeks of summer reading beckon. Packing supplies for a day at the beach has to include a book. Here's a great suggestion for a beach read: The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman. It's perfect because it is set in the fictional Michigan beach town of Scoops. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Whiskey Sour

2 oz. bourbon or rye

3/4 oz simple syrup

3/4 oz lemon juice

1 tsp egg white (or more as preferred)

Combine all ingredients in shaker without ice. Shake for several seconds, then add ice and shake again. Strain into any glass you like.

"Who wants the hand that rocks the cradle mixing whisky sours?"

That little gem was one of the arguments to make it illegal for women to tend bar. That's after they'd been slinging drinks throughout World War II. Many of the male bartenders were in the military.

Mendez currently works with Minute Men Staffing Services, a staffing agency located in Southwest Detroit. She says the work environment treated her well, but she felt that as a woman she didn’t have as many advantages as a man would.
DJC

“Let’s go take my daddy out of that place. I miss him why is he there?”

These were the words of a three-year-old Dana whose father had just been detained to be deported.

The mother, Mireya, says the little girl cried every night, saying she wanted her father home and was confused as to why he was in there in the first place, demanding that he is brought home to her. The mother says on one visit to the detention facility, the daughter asked her to break the glass, unbeknown to the child that she would probably never see her father free any time soon.

Courtesy of Robert Downes

 

Bicycle paths are expanding every year in Michigan. In the northern part of the Mitten, there are a bunch of great bike paths and there’s a book to help guide you.

 

Robert Downes’ "Biking Northern Michigan: The Best & Safest Routes in the Lower Peninsula"  describes 1,400 miles of bike paths and attractions along the way.

 

Courtesy of Jeff Smith

Faith is a very personal thing.

For some people, finding a faith that brings their lives meaning takes time and a whole lot of searching.

Bill Moser's family undertook such a journey, and eventually joined the Amish community in their search for a life that reflected their faith. Their story is told in a new book called Becoming Amish.

Beowulf Sheehan

 

What would’ve happened if Lee Harvey Oswald missed and John F Kennedy lived?

That’s the premise of David Means' first novel, “Hystopia.” Means is a fiction writer born and raised in Kalamazoo.

 

Set in and around Michigan, the novel re-imagines the state during the Vietnam War era. Traumatized veterans run amok throughout the state. The novel explores the nature of memory, trauma and history.

 

Means joined us to talk about his new book and his relationship to his home state.

Laith Al-Saadi performing Ed Sheeran's "Make It Rain" on "The Voice"
screengrab

One night early in March, the rest of America discovered what audiences here in Michigan have known for years:  Laith Al-Saadi​ is a musical powerhouse.

That blind audition on NBC's The Voice had stars Blake Shelton and Adam Levine raving about Al-Saadi's voice.

And, as a member of Team Adam, Al-Saadi went on to finish fourth.

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