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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

two people standing at a microphone
Courtesy of Relato:Detroit / Facebook

The Metro Detroit area is incredibly culturally diverse. The region is home to more than 30 languages, and in more than 600-thousand homes, a language other than English is spoken at the dinner table.

The group Relato:Detroit wants to bring those immigrant or bilingual speakers into the storytelling fold.

a piano
Adrian Lim / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

It's time for our monthly check-in on the music scene on the west side of the state.

John Sinkevics is the editor and publisher of LocalSpins.com, where he highlights up-and-coming artists and music happenings in the area. This time, we’re putting the spotlight on three West Michigan bands.

Kathleen Davis / Michigan Radio

In a place that gets as cold as Michigan, lots of people try to soak up as much of the summer sun as they can. But at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, people are already thinking ahead to colder, snowier months. 

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland is a year-round destination in Michigan. It's one of the central attractions of Frankenmuth, the cozy tourist town known sometimes as "Little Bavaria." 

Courtesty of K. Foster-Goodrich

Marcel Price is on a mission: use poetry and the spoken word to encourage young people to open up about mental health and wellness.

As "Fable the Poet," this young Michigander has been visiting high schools around Michigan and across the country, helping kids understand their shared struggles.

And now he's taking it national with something he's calling "The Unpacking Tour."

If someone asks you a question, and you find yourself struggling to answer, did you flounder? Or did you founder?

The answer is "flounder." But these two verbs sound so much alike and have such similar meanings, don't feel bad if you were wrong.

In fact, a listener recently asked us if we could clear up the confusion between "founder" and "flounder."

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Stateside's most recent stop in its "Artisans of Michigan" series brought us not too far from Kalamazoo, where we visited Paul Rutgers of Rutgers Wooden Spoon and Utensil Company.

Rutgers did not start out with a passion for carving spoons and ladles. He worked in construction, laying tile. Then the Great Recession hit and work dried up. Money was tight and he thought instead of buying gifts for family, he’d make some wooden spoons for them. They were a hit. His friends liked them and wanted Rutgers to them some spoons, too. 

Stateside 7.28.2017

Jul 28, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear why the James & Grace Lee Boggs School doesn't shy away from teaching kids about the 1967 rebellion in Detroit. And, we learn why one scientist says academics shouldn't be afraid to "get political." 

Cynthia Canty / Michigan Radio

Director Kathryn Bigelow's new film Detroit depicts one of the most horrific events of the 1967 rebellion: a night of terror at the Algiers Motel, a night that left three young black men dead at the hands of white police officers.

Detroit had its world premiere this week at the Fox Theatre, just blocks away from where buildings burned, bullets flew, and 43 people died.

Stateside 7.25.2017

Jul 26, 2017

Today, we speak with a Great Lakes lawmaker who's tired of waiting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' overdue study on Asian carp. And, we learn about "After/Life," a play that brings forth women's voices from Detroit's 1967 rebellion.

MyEyeSees / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Time to check in on professional theater productions around the state with another round of Theater Talk.

David Kiley from Encore Michigan joined Stateside to highlight the world premiere of a one-act play at Tipping Point Theatre in Northville called Young Americans, a play at the Great Escape theater in Marshall called The Miracle Worker, and a one-man show at Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck called Fully Committed.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

One powerful way to bear witness to history is through theater.

AFTER/LIFE is a living history play based on oral histories of women and girls who lived through the Detroit ’67 rebellion.

The play was conceived by Dr. Lisa Biggs, an assistant professor in Theater and Performance Studies at Michigan State University. It features oral histories from women left out of news accounts, and teaches students about one of Detroit's pivotal moments.

Biggs, along with actor and poet Deborah Chenault Green, joined Stateside to talk about the performance, and Green’s personal account living through the ’67 rebellion.

Few things are more telling of Upper Peninsula lineage than the distinct style of speaking known as "Yooper talk."

In her new book Yooper Talk: Dialect as Identity in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Grand Valley State University Professor Kathryn Remlinger explores the history and features of of this unique dialect.

Remlinger is careful to point out that there isn't just one U.P. dialect, that there are actually many ways of speaking. But there is a way of speaking that sounds undeniably Yooper.

Or at least, we want to believe there is.


Herb Boyd, author of "Black Detroit: A People's History of Self-Determination." Boyd came to Detroit with his mother in the 1940s. He now teachers at The City College of New York and lives in Harlem, NY
Lester Graham

There are many histories of Detroit. The latest is a comprehensive look at the contributions, accomplishments and long-suffering of the African Americans who have called Detroit home.

The book is Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination by Herb Boyd, son of Detroit and an instructor at The City College of New York currently teaching African American history. Boyd now lives in Harlem.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Cheers! team visited the Grove restaurant in Grand Rapids to learn about an old cocktail the restaurant is taking one step farther..

David Parry/PA / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The seventh season of HBO’s Game of Thrones premiered this week. The show is a ground-breaker in many ways, including becoming TV’s first global blockbuster.

University of Michigan professor of media studies Amanda Lotz joined Stateside to explain why and how Game of Thrones gained such success without the use of the internet like many TV show success stories these days.

Jeannette / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


In the second installment of our series showcasing the Detroit music scene we welcome back to Stateside Paul Young, founder and publisher of Detroit Music Magazine and Khalid Bhatti, executive editor of Detroit Music Magazine, to introduce three more talented artists.

Highway surrounded by trees beneath a blue sky
Stratosphere / creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

If you've ever been driving through the countryside, unsure of exactly where you are, maybe you’ve told a friend: “I passed some podunk town in the middle of nowhere.”

Many Michiganders are familiar with the saying. But there’s really only one Podunk, Michigan.

Judy Wilson

The Next Idea

Budget cuts for school districts are increasingly a way of life. Often, the first things to go when money gets tight are music and art programs. 

But there is both anecdotal and scientific evidence that arts improve kids’ overall learning in a number of ways.

Director of the Art Experience in Pontiac Judy Wilson joined Stateside to tell us about the nonprofit that has taken on the mission of bringing back art for young people whose schools may or may not be able to afford it. Their latest project is the Community Art Lab, a storefront where anyone in the community can have access to art making experiences.

Sometimes when we're annoyed or exasperated, it feels pretty good to shout out, "Oh, for Pete's sake!" But if we're going to do things for Pete's sake, shouldn't we at least know who he is?

Before we get to Pete though, let's start with the basics. A few weeks ago Tyler, a colleague at Michigan Radio, asked where the word "sake" comes from.

"I was so glad Tyler asked, because while I knew a little bit about 'for Pete's sake,' I hadn't thought a lot about just the word 'sake.'" English Professor Anne Curzan said.


A November ceremony will celebrate the beatification of Father Solanus Casey -- a significant step toward canonization as a saint for the beloved Detroit priest.

The ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 18 at Ford Field, home of the NFL's Detroit Lions. The stadium will be configured to accommodate about 60,000 people.

Pope Francis in May announced the beatification of Casey, who died in 1957 at age 86.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Kate Lewis is adding to a big plastic bag of clay balls before she begins work at her pottery wheel.

John Kannenberg / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Summer is a time for crowd pleasers in the theater world.

David Kiley of Encore Michigan joined Stateside for another round of Theater Talk, highlighting the newest summer shows.

"The Scent of Jasmine: Coming of Age in Jerusalem and Damascus" by Anan Ameri
Courtesy of Anan Ameri

Anan Ameri has made her mark here in Michigan.  She is the founder of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, an inductee into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, and she is the founder of the Palestine Aid Society of America.

Now, Ameri is making a new mark as an author. Her new memoir is titled, The Scent of Jasmine: Coming of Age in Jerusalem and Damascus and she joined Stateside to talk about her upbringing. 

It doesn't seem like coming up with a response to "thank you" should be that complicated. When you think about it though, there are a lot of options, and our response depends on what's happening in the conversation.

A listener named Peggy recently wrote to us about a response to "thank you" that she's heard quite a bit while listening to the radio.

"Over the past months, I've been noticing that when a radio guest is thanked, rather than the customary 'you are welcome,' they instead respond with 'thank you,'" she writes.

As the hosts of a radio show, we're guilty as charged.


Musaed Al Hulis

The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn is opening the first-ever show of contemporary art from Saudi Arabia in the Midwest. The Epicenter X: Saudi Contemporary Art exhibit features installations in various mediums from approximately 40 Saudi artists.

Devon Akmon, director of the Arab American National Museum, hopes the show will break down some of the stereotypes Americans might have about Saudi Arabia.

a pair of headphones
CHRISJTAYLOR.CA / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Summer has been full of music festivals in Michigan, many of them showcasing regional and local Michigan artists.

Local Spins Editor and Publisher John Sinkevics told Stateside about groups in West Michigan. He explored an indie rock group’s new EP, a jazz organ trio’s Beatles cover songs, and Jim Shaneberger’s blues rock band.

Mackinac State Historic Parks

When you step off the dock onto Mackinac Island, you’re setting foot on a land with a long, and sometimes troubled, history for Michigan’s first people.

There are new efforts underway to get visitors to look past the fudge shops and the quaint homes, to appreciate the Native American history on this island they call “Great Turtle.”

smussyolay / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Grocery store shelves, restaurant menus and cookbooks are a lot different in 2017 than they were 30 or 40 years ago.

Americans tend to pay a lot more attention to the food we eat and how it's prepared. We know more about fine wines. Many of us seek out organic fruits and vegetables, and are willing to try exotic foods our parents and grandparents couldn't even imagine.

But, at the same time, we've seen the income inequality gap widen. How has "good food" become conflated with high status?

If a child looks a lot like one of their parents, people will sometimes say they're the "spitting image" of the parent. But others will say the child is the "spit and image" of their parent.

So which is right? That's exactly what a listener from Kansas named Ken wanted to know.

"Growing up, I had always heard, or misheard, and repeated the phrase, 'spitting image' -- as in, he's the spitting image of his father," Ken writes. 

Recently, Ken was reading a review for a camera when he saw the phrase "spit and image." Now he wants to know which interpretation is correct.

ira glass in front of microphone
ricky montalvo / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Fans of NPR’s  This American Life are on high alert here in southeast Michigan.

Host Ira Glass is coming to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival this Saturday night. He’ll be at the Power Center for a show called Seven Things I’ve Learnedand he joined Stateside today to talk about it.

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