Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
10:17 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

South Haven celebrates top crop at National Blueberry Festival this weekend

Contestants had 60 seconds to eat as much blueberry pie as possible, without using their hands.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan is the largest blueberry producing state in the country, and Van Buren County produces the most blueberries in Michigan.

“It’s natures perfect fruit, if you stop and think about it. There’s not any seeds that you have to deal with. You don’t have to peel it. You rinse it. You eat it. And not only do they taste good, they’re good for you,” Shelly Hartmann said.

Hartmann owns The Blueberry Store in downtown South Haven and a huge blueberry farm, True Blue Farms, in Grand Junction.

At The Blueberry Store you can get just about anything with blueberries in it. “Blueberries aren’t just for pancakes and muffins anymore,” Hartmann said.

I spot blueberry bath soaps, blueberry coffee, frozen and fresh blueberries, blueberries in brats and sausages, chocolate covered blueberries, blueberry candles, dog treats, mustard, popcorn, soda pop, butter, cookies, pancake mix, pie filling, jam, jelly and blueberry whoopee pies. Plus there’s dried blueberries, and even blueberry flavored beef jerky. The list goes on and on.

Hartman says this year’s crop has been affected by the dry conditions, but fared much better than other fruits grown in the region.

The National Blueberry Festival celebrating the region’s top fruit crop in South Haven is nearly 50 years old. Organizers typically expect around 40,000 people to come for the blueberry pancake breakfast, the live music, a blueberry parade and the very messy but very entertaining blueberry pie eating contest.

Here's a video the festival posted on youtube of one of the blueberry pie eating contests Friday afternoon.

Read more
Arts & Culture
4:56 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Ann Arbor may vote on a public art tax

"Untitled" is a water sculpture in front of Ann Arbor's city hall

A public art tax may be on the ballot in Ann Arbor this November. The millage would replace the city's current system of funding art installations.

Right now the city has something called the "Percent for Art" program. It sets aside one percent of the budget on capital projects for art installations.  But here's the thing: that art has to be directly linked to whatever project funded it. For example, a $750,000 water sculpture in front of city hall, paid for with storm water utilities.

Read more
Arts & Culture
4:11 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Watch Grand Rapids swing dance group smash world record

People swing dance in Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids Tuesday nights during the summer.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio


It’s not unusual to see a thousand people hanging around and swing dancing at Rosa Parks Circle on any given Tuesday night in the summer. The Grand Rapids Original Swing Society (GROSS) has built a reputation as a fun, safe place for people to dance the night away.

Read more
Arts & Culture
5:09 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Should taxpayers "save" the Detroit Institute of Arts?

Supporters at a rally for the DIA.
Kate Wells

The Detroit Institute of Arts is going broke. 

Museum staff say to save the DIA, they need some $200 million dollars in property taxes from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

Voters will decide the fate of the museum at the polls this Tuesday. That’s why DIA supporters held a “Save the DIA” rally in Detroit’s New Center Park this week.

Read more
Arts & Culture
1:08 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

New fair will be 'Michigan made'

Bob Vigiletti Michigan Radio Picture Project

This year, a group is hosting a new fair in Michigan they're calling the "resurgence" of the Michigan State Fair.

Dubbed the Great Lakes State Fair, the four day festival will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi over Labor Day weekend from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3.

The state of Michigan used to have two state fairs, one in each peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula State Fair continues to run in Escanaba, where it was established in 1927.

Read more
That's What They Say
8:03 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Grammar advice from a "female professor"

This week on That’s What They Say, we explore gender stereotypes in job titles for women and men. Michigan Radio's Rina Miller talks with Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan who specializes in linguistics.

Curzan says the stereotypes come from our understanding of who does certain jobs.

Read more
Arts & Culture
2:32 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Feds, state kick in $44M to finish Detroit riverfront project

Marc Pasco Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Efforts to complete a recreational development project along Detroit's east riverfront are getting a $44 million boost from the federal government and the state, reports the Associated Press.

The east riverfront spans 3.5 miles from Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park.

Read more
Arts & Culture
9:08 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Kalamazoo reporter wants American election stories...and some gas money

Chris Killian

Living in a swing state like Michigan means you're probably already tired of non-stop elections coverage, sound bites and negative ads.

Now, a Kalamazoo freelance reporter wants to offer an alternative...he just needs some help paying for it.

Chris Killian says he'll take a months-long road trip through 11 swing states, getting stories from average people about their politics and their hopes for the country's future.

Read more
Arts & Culture
9:14 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Going 'grammando'

This week on That’s What They Say, we find out whether it’s okay to go "grammando" during a casual conversation. Grammando is a new word used to describe people who correct other people’s grammar, and Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan who specializes in linguistics, kind of loves it.

Curzan, who first came across the word back in March, said that in the online age, fussy bloggers sometimes use grammar as a way to discredit one another.

Read more
Arts & Culture
7:29 pm
Sat July 21, 2012

Crews taking down landmark building in downtown Saginaw

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - Demolition has begun on one of downtown Saginaw's oldest buildings.

Crews started work this week to bring down the 145-year-old former Yak's Deli to make way for a new work force services center.

It's one of the last remaining structures on the approximately 2-acre plot that's scheduled to be used for a one-story, 20,000-square-foot Michigan Works center.

Read more
Arts & Culture
6:06 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Gourd muppets to swimming elephants: it's the Ann Arbor Art Fair

Logan Chadde

Every summer, the Ann Arbor Art Fair draws more than half a million people to town.

Tourists come to shop, eat, and see work by artists from around the country.

Meanwhile, gear up for the crowds, the traffic, and the craziest time of the summer.

For four days, downtown becomes a tent city: more than a thousand artists and what seems like just as many vendors.

It can get a little nuts for residents like Lisa Larson. 

Read more
Arts & Culture
5:21 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Funk Brothers bass player Bob Babbitt dead at 74

Bob Babbitt with Joan Baez
Bob Babbitt

DETROIT (AP) - Prominent Motown studio musician and Funk Brothers member Bob Babbitt has died. He was 74.

Motown Museum chief curator Lina Stephens says the bassist died Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

Babbitt's son Joe Kreinar tells The Detroit News his father had been in a hospice and had brain cancer.

Babbitt was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh. He and the Funk Brothers provided a rhythmically and melodically rich background for many Motown hits.

Babbitt laid down bass lines on Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion," "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr's "War."

Well-known for decades among musicians, Babbitt gained wider public recognition through the 2002 film about the Funk Brothers, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."

That's What They Say
9:12 am
Sun July 15, 2012

Sometimes, you just have to let your noun become a verb

English is evolving, and to keep up with the times, some nouns are becoming verbs.  One such noun-verb is "impact."

"Linguists call this 'functional shift,' when a word moves from one part of speech to another," said Anne Curzan, a professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan.

Although this isn't a new phenomenon, technology seems to be having an influence on the switch.  With search engines came the phrase "to Google something," and now we can "friend" or "un-friend" others. 

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:22 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Listeners and readers weigh in about what State of Opportunity should cover next

State of Opportunity Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's new State of Opportunity project just capped off its busy launch week, and we want your feedback.

We are relying on you for insights, questions and story ideas to help us tell complicated and important stories about childhood poverty in Michigan. Maybe you have a question, comment or a story idea for the project? We'd like to hear it. 

You can always comment on our Facebook page, but you can also connect with us in a deeper way by sharing your insight here. We promise to read all your comments and follow up as needed.

Visit the State of Opportunity website to see what some readers and listeners are already saying.

Arts & Culture
3:17 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

DIA displays more than 100 works by Picasso and Matisse in new exhibit

Matisse - Circus, 1943
Pamela Marcil Detroit Institute of Arts


The Detroit Institute of Arts opened a new exhibition today comprised of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

"Picasso and Matisse: The DIA's Prints and Drawings" will run through January. Showcasing the institute's collection, the exhibit explores the artists' stylistic progression, with 110 prints and drawings across a broad range of media.

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:27 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

More than 1,000 artists featured at 53rd Ann Arbor Art Fair

Ann Arbor Art Fair

Beginning on Wednesday, July 18, the Ann Arbor Art Fair will fill the streets of the city for the 53rd consecutive year.

Vendors selling everything from underwater photographs to jewelry made from computer microcircuits will crowd 27 city blocks as part of the four individual street fairs that comprise the event.

Read more
That's What They Say
9:13 am
Sun July 8, 2012

'Must' is getting musty; so is 'shall'

This week on That’s What They Say, we find out why so many of us are not using the words must and shall anymore.

“Linguists have been tracking these modals, these helping verbs or auxiliary verbs, and must has been on the decline for most of the 20th century into the 21st. And it’s not alone. Other modals like might and shall are also in decline,” said Anne Curzan, a professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan.

Read more
Arts & Culture
2:46 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Ann Arborites say 'hello to the future' in new time capsule

The Library Lane parking structure time capsule.
Jada Hahlbrock Ann Arbor DDA

The Downtown Development Authority is getting ready to open the new Library Lane parking structure on Ann Arbor's South Fifth Ave. In the process, the group hopes to preserve a snapshot of the city's zeitgeist sealed beneath the structure's Division St. staircase.

DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay estimates that the time capsule will be reopened 100 to 200 years from now. She sees the project as a way in which all Ann Arborites can participate in the parking project.

"It's a chance to say 'hello' to people in the future," she said.

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:46 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

One Minute Michigan Story: Nothing Beats the Michigan Sky

User: seriousfun

Written by Shadi Ahmadmehrabi

Nothing beats the Michigan sky. On every camping trip and night spent around a campfire, I step out of the commotion of whatever's going on to lie down and stare at the stars. As my spine sets against the cold ground, every vertebra curving around the Mitten's surface, I gaze at the countless twinkling spots in the clear dark navy  Michigan sky. The blue from Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior spills onto the canvas above and creates the perfect setting for a blanket of stars. On a clear night, there's no need to track constellations and point out whatever sized Dipper. The clear Michigan sky is second to none. 

This story was submitted to Michigan Radio's One Minute Michigan Story Writing Contest. Erik Wright-Olsen read the story.

Arts & Culture
12:41 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Odd bicycle draws stares in Ann Arbor

Tom Bartlett sits on his conference bike
Julia Smith-Eppsteiner Michigan Radio

A big, red circular bicycle has been drawing stares on the streets of Ann Arbor. It's a seven-seat "conference bike" driven by Tom Bartlett.

Artist Eric Staller created this mobile piece of art in Amsterdam and sold it to Bartlett four years ago.

Michigan Radio intern Julia Smith-Eppsteiner went for a ride on the bike and produced this audio postcard.


Support for arts and cultural reporting on Michigan Radio comes in part from a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.