Arts & Culture

Religion
5:50 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Gospelfest celebrates unity and diversity through music

If you like gospel music you might want to check out the 20th Annual Gospelfest in Ann Arbor.

The idea behind the event is to celebrate the diversity of music among different communities and faiths in southeast Michigan. Participants seek to bridge cultural, racial, and religious gaps between different churches, and develop friendships.

Jean Wilson is the co-founder of Gospelfest, and choir director at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline. She sat down with Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White to talk about the event’s 20-year history.

Wilson says the event offers a variety of music, from traditional black gospel to contemporary Christian, pop-rock, and more. And she says the event is about diversity and unity.

“Although we are so diverse in our different ways of worship, we are all headed in the same direction; we are all children of the same creator. Although we have so many differences, we do have that thing at the core of our very being that really says that we are all related and are one, and we get to celebrate it.”

On Saturday March 10, choirs from Ann Arbor and Detroit will come together for the 20th Annual Gospelfest at Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor.

The gospel choir of New Prospect Baptist Missionary Church in Detroit will also participate in this year's event. Here's a video of the choir during a Saturday morning practice.

*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network. Share your story here.

Arts/Culture
4:27 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Michigan Radio Wins Eleven Michigan AP Awards

Michigan Radio has won eleven awards from the Michigan Associated Press for news coverage. This includes the award for General Excellence in the Non-Commercial Radio category, which the station has won four out of the past five years. The station was also recognized with six First Place awards and four Honorable Mentions.

Michigan Radio received the following Michigan AP Awards:

Station awards

  • General Excellence – Michigan Radio

First Place

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Arts/Culture
3:44 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

TLC cancels 'All-American Muslim' after one season

Suehaila Amen (center) poses with her sisters
Photo from TLC's website

The groundbreaking reality show "All-American Muslim" has been canceled.

The show, which followed five Muslims families in Dearborn, will not be picked up for a second season, a TLC executive confirmed.

"I’m certainly sad to hear the show wasn’t being renewed," says Suehalia Amen, one of the women featured on the reality show.

She says "All-American Muslim" sought to humanize Muslims in a way mainstream media hadn’t done before…and it made viewers look at Muslims and Arab-Americans in a new light:

"It’s been an eye-opening experience," explains Amen. "To have people tell you 'I hated Muslims, and after your show I’m able to understand your community and have a new-found respect.'"

The show’s creator, Mike Mosallam, agrees. He says the show's ratings dropped throughout the season, but he says that doesn’t mean the show didn’t succeed on a cultural level in terms of "what it taught people and what it dispelled in terms of people’s perceptions. I mean those are things that no ratings will ever be able to show."

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Arts/Culture
10:02 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Artpod: Discotech = technology you can dance to

Mary Nelson, 71, wants to create a Facebook group page for her neighborhood block club
Brian Short Michigan Radio

Urban neighborhood libraries are on the decline.

Detroit, Flint, Dearborn and other cities have recently had to close some of their library branches in order to save money, which means access to free computers and computer training is becoming more limited.

On today's Artpod, we'll visit a group that's working to close the digital divide.

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Arts/Culture
7:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

"Discotech" uses technology to foster community

Mary Nelson, 71, wants to create a Facebook group for her neighborhood block club
Brian Short Michigan Radio

Urban neighborhood libraries are on the decline.

Detroit, Flint, Dearborn and other cities have recently had to close some of their library branches in order to save money, which means access to free computers and computer training is becoming more limited.

But in Detroit, there’s a group working to close the digital divide.

Discothèque vs. Discotech

This story takes place at a "discotech."

Not the kind of discotheque where you flaunt your best dance moves in platform shoes, but the kind of discotech where Google, Twitter and Facebook are center stage.

Here, discotech stands for DISCOvering TECHnology.

It's a traveling technology workshop that looks a lot like a pop-up science fair, with laptops, poster boards, wires and circuits all around the room.

Diana Nucera, one of the Discotech organizers, says the event is about "showing the possibility of technology to make our personal connections stronger."

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Arts/Culture
2:59 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Is a tradition still authentic if it changes?

Rosalyn Park stuffing mandu - Korean potstickers - with her family and friends
Rosalyn Park

When we asked what cultural traditions people have kept or lost, many wrote about the difficulty of fitting into American culture while staying connected to their own roots

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Arts/Culture
1:38 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

Museum records Arab American stories

Flickr user Ian Kath

The Arab American National Museum wants to become more than “a building filled with stuff.” That’s why it’s recording the stories of everyday people as part of an on-going project.

The museum just released three interviews it did in conjunction with Storycorps, about profiling and stereotyping after 9-11. The interviews are posted on the website arabstereotypes.org. But the museum regularly posts other recordings and podcasts on i-tunes & YouTube

Matthew Stiffler is a researcher at the museum.  He says one way to counter Islamaphobia is when people who don’t know Arab Americans or Muslim Americans listen to these recordings. “Listening to stories and having these personal connections is the best way to overcome this sort of bias and bigotry that is rampant right now.”

This summer the museum plans to record Arab American kids talking about how the Arab Spring has affected their lives and their ideas about democracy.

Arts/Culture
3:00 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Lansing gallery lets patrons lease original artwork

Photo courtesy of Lansing Art Gallery

An art gallery in Lansing lets patrons lease original works of art, much like you would a car or a truck.

For nearly five decades, the Lansing Art Gallery has let folks lease select pieces of art from their gallery. Now with the gallery's new Lease/Purchase Exhibit people can lease any of the 43 original pieces of art on display for about ten percent of the sticker price:

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Arts/Culture
2:41 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

A scavenger hunt for free art in Detroit

Free Art Friday Detroit Facebook

If you’re in Detroit on a Friday keep your eye out for some free art. It might be hidden in a statue in front of the YMCA or tucked into a corner of the People Mover. 

The free art is actually part of a project called Free Art Friday Detroit. The idea is that Detroit artists hide their art around the city, and then leave clues on Facebook and Twitter. (The twitter hashtag is #FAFDET)

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Arts/Culture
2:50 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Grand Rapids Art Museum scores 3-year partnership with NY museum

Pamella DeVos and GRAM CEO Dana Friis-Hansen in front of part of the "Robert Rauschenburg: Synapsis Shuffle" exhibit on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It opens to the public Friday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This week the Grand Rapids Art Museum opens a new exhibit on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The “Robert Rauschenberg: Synapsis Shuffle” exhibit is part of a new 3-year partnership between the two museums. It opens to the public on Friday.

Pamella DeVos spends a lot of time in New York as a fashion designer. She is a board trustee at the Whitney Museum and helped make the partnership a reality.

“We’re not a huge city but we certainly have such an amazing art museum,” Devos said. DeVos is a GRAM Honorary Life Trustee. She says she’s had a passion for the GRAM since she was 25 years old. DeVos says she’s brought the director of the Whitney Museum to Grand Rapids many times.

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Arts/Culture
12:32 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Cake, shortbread, or pastry? Mazurek is all that, and more

As part of our Your Family Story series, we’re collecting recipes that have been passed down within families. Send in your mother’s, grandfather’s, or cousin’s famous recipe for goulash, pozole, dumplings or any dish that your family has enjoyed.

We’re collecting recipes until midnight tomorrow. We’ll publish all the recipes. The winner will be chosen by the Changing Gears team. They’ll collect a grab bag of public radio goodies. Share your traditional family recipes here, and tell us a little bit about the story behind the dish. 

Today, Changing Gears Senior Editor Micki Maynard shares this recipe for Mazurek:

My father’s family, which is of French descent, has been in the United States for many generations, settling primarily in Massachusetts. But my mother is a first generation American. Her family came to the United States around 1905. Her father hailed from what was known then as Byelorussia --- present day Belorus, sometimes also called White Russia.

My mom learned European dishes from her mother and New England recipes through my dad, so we enjoyed a varied menu at home. I’ve always heard my mother say what a good cook my grandmother was. But, I didn’t know until this year that my grandmother was co-owner of a bakery in Grand Rapids. The Northwestern Bakery stood on Leonard Street, although the building is no longer there.

Each Easter, my family gathers for brunch, and Mazurek (pronouncd mah-ZUR-eck) is always the last dish that is served. We sit over coffee and tea and enjoy this dense, rich pastry, very much like a soft shortbread. My mom was always the Mazurek baker, until she offered to teach me. She also shared the recipe with my brother, who baked the Mazurek that you see above.

Want to add Mazurek to your repertoire? Follow this recipe.

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Arts/Culture
4:22 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Kid Rock to headline benefit concert for Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Photo courtesy of KidRock.com

An unlikely musical guest will headline a one-night-only concert in May to benefit the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Michigan musician and rapper Kid Rock will headline the fundraising concert. The goal is to raise $1 million for the DSO; the orchestra faces a deficit of more than a $2 million this year.

Kid Rock will share the stage with his own Twisted Brown Trucker band and the DSO. They’ll play orchestral arrangements of some of Kid Rock’s hits, with DSO music director Leonard Slatkin conducting.

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Changing Gears
11:36 am
Tue February 21, 2012

All about paczki: The Polish jelly donut that ate the Midwest

Zingerman's Bakery entered the paczki world for the first time last year.
Mike Perini Michigan Radio

The day before Ash Wednesday has many names — Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Shrove Tuesday.

But all over the Midwest, it’s become known as Paczki Day.

From Green Bay, Wis., to Lorain, Ohio, from Calumet City, Ind., to Hamtramck, Mich., people are snapping up the jelly donuts that have their roots in Polish cuisine.

One Chicago bakery alone expects to sell 80,000 paczkis, so we’re going to go out on a limb and predict there may be millions sold in the Midwest on Tuesday.

Changing Gears has been taking a look at immigrant traditions and culture across the Midwest, but the paczki seems to have transcended its beginnings and become a pre-Lenten staple.

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Arts/Culture
3:00 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Detroit Symphony to host summer camp for metro Detroit teens

DSO musicians rehearse on stage at Orchestra Hall
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians will share their expertise with metro Detroit teenagers at a new summer music camp.

The six-day camp is part of the DSO's new Avanti Summer MusicFest, and is open to musicians ages 14 - 18.

Shelley Heron is an oboist with the orchestra, and she’ll be one of the instructors. Heron has taught at similar camps in Canada for decades. She says "the biggest thrill is hearing them the first day and wondering, oh my gosh how are we ever going to get these kids to produce a concert at the end of the week? And then a little miracle happens."

In addition to master classes and workshops, the campers will perform side by side with DSO musicians on stage at Orchestra Hall.

There are no auditions for the camp; the first 140 students to apply will be accepted.  It costs $300 to attend the camp, but Heron says "we have raised financial aid funds in order to help those students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in an activity like this." Financial aid is available on a first come, first serve basis.

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Arts/Culture
2:16 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

New $1M 'Pure Michigan' ad to feature Ann Arbor as business destination

Michigan Radio

2012 is shaping up to be a busy year for the people who produce the Pure Michigan ads.

Harbor Springs, Gaylord, Charlevoix and Jackson are the latest cities to pony up $20,000 each to be part of the popular tourism campaign. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation matches the money, bringing the total to $40,000, which gets each city its own radio ad and a spot on the Pure Michigan website. 

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Commentary
11:08 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Parents Making a Difference

Just over a month ago, I talked about an interesting controversy in the Plymouth-Canton Community School district, a middle-to-upper-middle area of western Wayne County.

The superintendent suddenly banned a popular novel, Graham Swift’s "Waterland", from the Advanced Placement, or AP English curriculum. "Waterland", first published almost 30 years ago, is a highly acclaimed book which has to do with storytelling and history, and which shows how everything is influenced by what came before.

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Your Family Story
9:58 am
Fri February 17, 2012

The cannoli assembly line is efficient and delicious

Michelle Guevara

Most Americans have ethnic and cultural roots outside of the U.S. We're asking you to share cultural traditions that are still important to you.

Changing Gears is looking for stories, recipes, songs, and pictures. We'll be collecting these stories  on the Your Family Story page. They'll also appear at changinggears.info and we'll even put some on the air. You can share your story here.

My great-grandfather migrated from Sicily. He was one of the first Fanfalones to settle in the Detroit area. Like a lot of Italian migrants, he was poor but carved a name for himself and ended up having a large family.

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Arts/Culture
1:59 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Artpod: Songs from Seth & May

Photo courtesy of Seth Bernard and May Erlewine.

Today's Artpod features a live, in studio performance!

Michigan musicians Seth Bernard & May Erlewine dropped by Michigan Radio to talk about their new album inspired by their journey across Ethiopia.

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Audio Postcard
2:45 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

How to treat a lady

User: Mrs. Logic/flickr

Audio postcard by Cade Sperlich

Barbara Gotaris is 72 years old and lives in Chelsea, MI. Her husband passed away five years ago. His birthday was the day before Valentine’s Day and their daughter’s birthday is the day after Valentine’s Day. Barbara spends Valentine’s Day celebrating the birth of her daughter and the life of her husband, a man who made her feel special every day of the year.

"Whenever a new song came out that my husband particularly liked, that became our song."

Culture
12:30 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Niece of Michigan Congressman on Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) - The 19-year-old niece of a Congressman from southwestern Michigan is on the cover of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

Kate Upton was born in Michigan but raised in Florida. Her uncle is Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton of St. Joseph.

The magazine cover was unveiled Monday.

Asked Tuesday about her selection as cover model, Fred Upton's office says it doesn't comment on family.

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