Arts & Culture

Arts
7:00 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Immigrant memoir project

Student Ridha Al-Wishah, professor Ron Stockton, and student Maryann Rafka
Kyle Norris

Seven years ago, political science professor Ron Stockton was mentoring a student from Poland who was struggling with a writing assignment. So Stockton told her to imagine she was writing a letter to her great-grandchildren describing her life here as an immigrant. The student loved the idea, got super excited, and spread the word about Stockton’s technique.  

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Arts/Culture
4:50 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

$500,000 grant to support Michigan authors

The Meijer Foundation is giving $500,000 to support the Made in Michigan writers’ series. Wayne State University Press started the series in 2006.

Senior Acquisitions Editor Annie Martin says it’s the biggest grant the organization has ever gotten. She says it's not every day a donor with deep pockets wants to invest in a small-scale university press.

“You can imagine we were dancing in our office,” Martin chuckled.

The annual budget for the Made in Michigan series is $75,000. Martin says the grant will help offset the costs of producing the books. They could publish more books each year, or do more marketing, “I have a million ideas,” she said.

The University Press will get the grant over five years. Martin says the bulk will go into an endowment fund so that it lasts for years.

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Seeking Change
12:28 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Therapist says hypnosis can help people overcome fears and anxieties

Meme! Flickr

Dr. Alicia Tisdale, a licensed psychologist and regression therapist says hypnosis is a way for people to overcome fears, anxieties, and depression.

She spoke with me this morning about why she thinks this type of therapy is becoming more common.

You can listen to my interview with her above.

Arts/Culture
3:39 pm
Sat April 28, 2012

Detroit students' work on exhibit at art institute

(courtesy of the DIA)

DETROIT (AP) — Paintings, prints, drawings, photography, ceramics and other pieces of art created by Detroit Public Schools students are on display in an exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The 75th annual exhibition began Saturday. It runs through June 3. Viewing is free with regular museum admission.

The artists and their parents attended an opening reception Saturday afternoon.

Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Roy Roberts said at the reception it was "incredible" to "see these young people express themselves and find their voices."

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Arts
5:00 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Empty Detroit police station? How about an art gallery?

An architectural rendering of the updated precinct
555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios

A non-profit arts organization is setting up shop inside a vacant police precinct in southwest Detroit.

The old 3rd Precinct is now owned by the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios. The organization is run by volunteers and, according to it's website, provides "affordable studios and workspace, gallery space, exhibition programs, arts education programs, and an artist in residency program."

From the AP:

The 7,000-square-foot ex-precinct has been stripped to raw concrete. Its 21 jail cells remain intact.

555 wants to put in a gallery space, build seven private studio spaces and an Education and Programming Studio.

As for the jail cells, 555 says they're "ready to be used for creativity."

555 plans to hold a fundraiser in their new space this evening featuring "food and drink, live aerial performance and music."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Arts/Culture
8:00 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Detroit's Roaming Table mixes civic engagement and urban planning

The Roaming Table is part of Detroit Works' civic engagement efforts

Changing Gears reporter Kate Davidson last week debunked the conventional wisdom that Detroit has 40 square miles of vacant land. In her report she found that in all likelihood the number is probably closer to half that.

Which, if you think about it, is still a lot of empty land. 

Which is where the Detroit Works Project comes in -- that's the name of Mayor Dave Bing's revitalization plan for the city. The Detroit Works team has to figure out what to do with all that empty land. To help them find some answers, they're turning to Detroit's residents for help.

They're also enlisting the help of ... a table.

A table, you say?

Yes. But this is no ordinary table, dear reader. The purpose of this particular table is to "disrupt people’s everyday lives," according to Theresa Skora, who helped design it.

"It’s meant to fold up and be put into a car and be taken around," says Skora. Which is why they call it the Roaming Table.  And believe it or not this table – with its nifty green logo and stacks of glossy pamphlets – is key to the city's revitalization plan aka Detroit Works.

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Culture
10:14 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Bringing neighborhoods together to keep young people in Michigan

"Generation X and Y for Michigan" founder Johannah Jelks (right) brainstroms with others on ways to improve neighborhoods in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A community organizer in Grand Rapids is trying to improve neighborhoods to keep young people from moving out of the state.

“Neighborhoods are sellable. Young people have a hard time right now staying in Michigan because they feel that there’s not the same cultural aspects or the opportunities for growth like in bigger cities,” Johannah Jelks said.

24-year-old Jelks started the grassroots group “Generation X & Y for MI” a few years ago as her peers were moving out of Michigan. “But actually if you look on a micro-scale neighborhoods have been attracting young talent at a rapid rate,” Jelks said.

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Arts/Culture
5:00 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Roaming Table

Changing Gears Reporter Kate Davidson debunked the conventional wisdom that Detroit has 40 square miles of vacant land. In her report she found that in all likelihood the number is probably closer to half that:

DAVIDSON: That includes empty land - 19 square miles – and land with empty houses. No parks.

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Arts
6:23 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts facing financial problems

Art displayed at the repopening of the UICA back in July 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center has stepped down as part of a plan to stabilize the museum’s finances. The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids is also cutting its hours.

The UICA’s board of directors voted on the restructuring plan this week to try to stabilize what they call a “declining financial situation”. But the board will not discuss details of the budget or the restructuring plan publicly.

Board President Kathryn Chaplow says the board has reached out to a small group of “major donors” to help with some immediate funding.

“It’s very rare for people to go through something like this. But with the way people step up its just overwhelming and its humbling. The UICA isn’t going anywhere,” Chaplow said.

The UICA’s executive director Jeff Meeuwsen has agreed to step down as part of the plan. He will stay on as a temporary consultant for up to 90 days. 

Chaplow says she hopes the cut in hours will be temporary. And she says the board will be seeking a new director.

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Arts
4:08 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Michigan poets Roethke, Hayden featured on new U.S. stamp

Photo courtesy of U.S.P.S.

The U.S. Postal Service is paying homage to the world of poetry with ten new commemorative stamps.

Two Michigan poets will be featured on the new Forever stamps: Theodore Roethke, a Saginaw native and Pulitzer Prize winning poet; and Robert Hayden, a Detroit poet, and the first black poet laureate of the United States.

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Arts/Culture
4:50 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

A Hemingway-themed hotel in Michigan's northern woods?

user clarita morgueFile

Looking for a clean, well-lighted place to lay your head?

A company has plans to develop a slew of Ernest Hemingway-inspired hotels and resorts. The folks behind Hemingway Hotels & Resorts only have a website at this point, but their plan is to build a minimum of 30 hotels worldwide, all based in places that were in some way relevant to the life, times and adventures of Papa Hemingway.

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Arts/Culture
3:25 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Racist artifacts on display at Ferris State's Jim Crow Museum

An example of what museum curator David Pilgrim calls the Mammy stereotype
Photo courtesy of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University

What was once a private collection of racist memorabilia has now been expanded to a full-blown museum on the campus of Ferris State University.

When sociology professor David Pilgrim came to Ferris State, he brought with him his collection of racist artifacts and donated them to the university. For years the items sat in a small classroom on campus, but are now on display in the new Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia.

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Arts
6:00 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Calling all artists! ArtPrize registration begins today

Nathan Sawaya's Yellow! was one of my favorite unusual modern ArtPrize entries in 2011. It's made of yellow legos.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Artists can start registering today to compete in ArtPrize this fall.

The winner of the yearly art competition is decided by the voting public who visit the event in September in downtown Grand Rapids.

More than a half a million dollars in prize money is at stake. The entry fee is just fifty bucks.

For the first time this year there’ll be $200,000 in prizes for juried awards in addition to those awarded by the popular vote.

ArtPrize spokesman Brian Burch says juried awards are what professional artists are used to. 

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Arts/Culture
3:39 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Michigan Theater to host new, international film fest

Photo courtesy of Abby Rose Photo

The Ann Arbor Film Festival wrapped up less than a month ago…they’ve barely packed up their film reels.  And already the Michigan Theater is prepping for yet another festival to open next month called Cinetopia.

This new, international festival will feature more traditional narrative film and documentaries, rather than the experimental films that dominate the Ann Arbor Film Fest.

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Arts/Culture
1:59 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Michigan Opera Theatre needs $3 millon to pay debt

DETROIT (AP) - A spokesman for Michigan Opera Theatre says the organization needs to raise $3 million by May 31 to retire its debt.

Jeff Strayer said Monday the MOT actually needs to pay $11 million by that date, but already has raised $5 million and expects to rely on financing for another $3 million.

That means it's on the hook for $3 million, for which it currently is seeking donations.

Strayer says the situation is "not that dire," and he predicts the MOT will gather the money in time.

Arts/Culture
11:17 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Future uncertain for historic state fairgrounds properties

A sign designating the Michigan state fairgrounds as a historic site.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has officially opened the former state fairgrounds in Detroit for re-development, but it’s not clear what will happen to the historic structures on the site.

There are a handful of historically-designated properties on the Michigan state fairgrounds. The most prominent is the Grant House. That’s where former Civil War General and U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant once lived (the structure itself is located on the fairgrounds, where it was moved from its original location elsewhere in Detroit).

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Author Essay
5:39 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

The Wonder Years

francistoms / flickr

April is prevention of cruelty to animals month. Michigan based writer, Wade Rouse shares a story about why it’s a month of note for him.

Over the last year,  Rouse has been sharing stories about his life, the holidays and other days of significance on the calendar.

You can find his stories in his book titled, It’s All Relative – Two families, three dogs, 34 holidays, and 50 boxes of wine…a memoir.

 

religion
3:44 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Diocese of Grand Rapids reveals strategic plan affecting 11 counties

The Diocese of Grand Rapids includes nearly 100 churches spread over 11 counties in West Michigan.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids has released plans to merge and close some of its churches. The diocese includes 99 churches in 11 West Michigan counties.

“Every Parish is in one way or the other affected," said Bishop Walter Hurley. He approved the restructuring plan that's been three years in the making. It’s supposed to help the diocese face future challenges, like changing populations, a growing Hispanic community, and fewer clergy.

“Right now we’re not at a crisis point but what we do need to know as we look to the future, now what happens if we don’t have a pastor assigned to this Parrish or this Parrish," Hurley said. 

Hurley says a few churches in more rural areas up north have already closed. Another handful will close as priests retire. Others will merge together. Hurley says the plan is a living document and subject to change. The Diocese of Grand Rapids isn’t the only one grappling with fewer priests.

There's no set timeline for when many changes will take place, but they're expected over several years.

You can find the full approved "Our Faith, Our Future" plan here. 

Terrorism
11:43 am
Thu April 12, 2012

"Underwear bomber" Abdulmutallab moved to Supermax prison

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber" who was sentenced to life in prison for trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009, has been moved to a Supermax prison in Colorado.

More from the Detroit News:

The maximum-security prison in Florence, Colo., 90 miles south of Denver, has about 430 inmates.

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Arts/Culture
8:00 am
Thu April 12, 2012

UM professors lead a morel hunt inspired by the music of John Cage

user ladydragonflycc Flickr

What do experimental composer John Cage and Ann Arbor have in common, you ask? Morels. Story goes that John Cage was something of an amateur mushroom hunter, and he used to hunt for morels in the woods around Ann Arbor.

And since Spring means morel hunting season in Michigan, and many mushroom-enthusiasts are out foraging for the delicacy, a group in Ann Arbor is putting a musical twist on the annual spring hunt.

To celebrate what would be Cage’s 100th birthday this year, U of M music professor Michael Gurevich teamed up with U of M mycology professor Tim James for a new kind of morel hunt.

"I thought, as an homage to Cage, let’s create this performance where we tell stories, which Cage really liked to do, while hunting for edible mushrooms in the woods," explains Gurevich.

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