Arts & Culture

Culture
4:02 am
Thu June 16, 2011

Gender identity, sexual orientation laws fail to move forward at Holland City Council

Rev. Bill Freeman reads from his copy of the U.S. Constitution during a packed out public hearing on the proposed changes. Freeman first requested city council to study the issue a little over a year ago.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. today, at least 50 people file out of Holland City Hall. I hear some say, “They don’t get it, but you tried.”

A few people wearing "Holland is Ready" buttons hug one another -- some are tearing up -- after city council voted 5 to 4 against the recommendation to adopt the proposed anti-discrimination laws. The recommendation included providing homosexual and transgender persons protection from employers and landlords who discriminate against them.

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People
11:35 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Friends, family pay tribute to Dr. Jack Kevorkian

Friends and family held a memorial service for Jack Kevorkian today.
UCLA

TROY, Mich. (AP) - Friends, family and supporters of the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian have paid tribute to the polarizing assisted-suicide advocate during a public memorial service in suburban Detroit.

A large photograph of Kevorkian resting his face in his right hand stood near his American flag-draped casket during the service in a chapel at White Chapel Memorial Cemetery in Troy.

Kevorkian will be laid to rest later Friday during a private grave-site service for those closest to him.

He died in a hospital last week at age 83.

Kevorkian was an advocate of allowing health care professionals help gravely-ill people die and he claimed he assisted in about 130 deaths. He spent eight years in prison for second-degree murder after "60 Minutes" broadcast video of him helping someone die in 1998.

Culture
9:55 am
Thu June 9, 2011

Holland considers adding sexual orientation, gender identity to anti-discrimination rules

Many said there is no problem with discrimination in Holland. But resident Bin Lim told council 'To say there’s no discrimination that’s just – I don’t know how to respond to that.'
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Gender identity and sexual orientation are a hot topic right now in the city of Holland. That’s because Holland city council is considering adding local laws that protect people against discrimination for being gay or transgender. The ordinance would give them protection from discrimination by employers and landlords. The issue is extremely divisive in the generally conservative city.

Reverend Ralph Houston reads passages from the bible to city council at an informal meeting last night. He says passing the ordinance would lead to moral chaos.

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Arts/Culture
4:59 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

Artpod: Homegrown talent

Bigger Brush Media is one of many music collectives popping up around the state.
user: taliesin morguefile

There's no shortage of musicians who got their start in Michigan: Madonna, Iggy Pop and The White Stripes come to mind. Problem is, they left the state to make it big. 

Emily Fox reports there's a movement to try to encourage musicians and bands to stay in Michigan. On today's Artpod, we look at how local "music collectives" are hoping to keep homegrown talent in the state.

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Arts/Culture
2:41 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

Books: Ann Patchett on Petoskey's best bookstore and her new novel

Ann Patchett's new novel State of Wonder

Ann Patchett, Petoskey bookstore enthusiast and award-winning author, has a new book.

Patchett is the author of five previous novels, including Bel Canto, which won the Pen/Faulkner and the Orange Prize.

The plot of her new book, State of Wonder, features a pharmaceutical researcher sucked into an international adventure with a potentially huge-profit-making drug at its heart.

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Arts/Culture
4:55 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Books: His Michigander unhappiness

My American Unhappiness, the second novel from Dean Bakapoulos, the author of Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon, is about an unhappy (surprise!) man working in the humanities in Wisconsin who makes a series of terrible decisions for the ostensible purpose of getting married and keeping his family together.

While the main action of the novel takes place in Madison, WI, the protagonist, Zeke Pappas, has a number of connections to Michigan. His time at the University of Michigan features many references to university and Ann Arbor town life including [mild spoiler alert!] Alice Lloyd Hall, the Fleetwood Diner, and beloved professor Ralph Williams’s popular Shakespeare class. 

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Arts/Culture
2:49 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Making a music video to support Flint

A music video in support of the city of Flint.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids pulled off a $40,000 LipDub video to show that Grand Rapids is not a dying city.

Now there's news of a music video to support the struggling city of Flint that has been several months in the making.

On Saturday, the Flint Journal reports that more than 50 community members were being filmed and chanting "We gone make it, the fight ain't yours alone!" in the downtown area.

The Flint Journal reports:

It was all a part of a scene being filmed as part of the Flint collaboration 25-plus musicians who’ve recently felt led to make an uplifting anthem for the city.

Two months in the making, this scene was among the final, yet most powerful, pieces to add to the original Flint-inspired song and music video.

“It was such a beautiful sight to see,” said Yusuf Bauswell, 38, of Flint.

Bauswell, along with Bernard Jackson -- another Flint musician -- spearheaded the project and sent out a calling for people wanting to support their cause.

The Journal reports that Yusuf Bauswell and Bernard Jackson started writing the song together several months ago. They invited other recording artists to help them out and together they created the song and are now working on making the accompanying music video.

June 20 is the scheduled release date for the video.

Here's a clip of the song along with the call for people to help with the music video:

Commentary
10:47 am
Mon June 6, 2011

Kevorkian Remembered

When Jack Kevorkian died Friday, I was on vacation in the Scottish highlands. For once in my life I was without a cell phone, but someone I was with got the news. I mentioned Kevorkian's death to an Israeli woman on our tour.

"I thought he died years ago," she said. She was not alone.

I've run into plenty of people who didn't know he was still around. And in a sense, Kevorkian the assisted suicide crusader had ceased to exist.

Since being released from prison four years ago, he had mostly faded into obscurity. He largely lived the life of a cranky recluse. He divided his days between the Royal Oak Public Library and a cheap apartment across the street. There was a time when I felt that I knew him better than any other journalist. I covered all his trials for the New York Times, did major pieces for Vanity Fair and Esquire, and saw him frequently for six years in the 1990's.

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People
5:10 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian dies at 83

Jack Kevorkian speaking at UCLA last January.
Greg Asatrian wikimedia commons

Update 5:10 p.m.

Here is a piece on Jack Kevorkian from Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett.

In Hulett's story, we hear the thoughts of Jack Lessenberry, who covered Kevorkian for the New York Times and Vanity Fair; the Oakland County prosecutor in 1999, David Gorcyca (who convicted Kevorkian); and Geoffrey Fieger, Kevorkian's lawyer.

Hulett reports that Kevorkian once said that Johann Sebastian Bach was his god - and that nurses caring for Kevorkian played Bach during Kevorkian's final hours.

Update 10:05 a.m.

Here's the 60 Minutes piece that led to Kevorkian's conviction in 1999. Kevorkian administers the lethal injection (previous patients reportedly administered the drugs themselves). He was daring authorities to convict him and adding more fuel to the assisted suicide debate in the country:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

 

Update 9:42 a.m.

The New York Times reports that Kevorkian's advocacy changed how hospitals approached end of life care:

From June 1990, when he assisted in the first suicide, until March 1999, when he was sentenced to serve 10 to 25 years in a maximum security prison, Dr. Kevorkian was a controversial figure. But his critics and supporters generally agree on this: As a result of his stubborn and often intemperate advocacy for the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die, hospice care has boomed in the United States, and physicians have become more sympathetic to their pain and more willing to prescribe medication to relieve it.

Kevorkian called end of life treatment in hospitals cruel.

In this 1996 60 Minutes interview with Andy Rooney, Kevorkian said many hospitals take food and water away from a dying patient - treatment the U.S. Supreme Court supported, according to Kevorkian.

"Our august Supreme Court has validated the Nazi method of execution in concentration camps - starving them to death!"

Here's the interview (Geoffrey Fieger, Kevorkian's lawyer is by his side):

8:40 a.m.

Assisted suicide advocate, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, is dead at the age of 83.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist who put assisted suicide on the world’s medical ethics stage, died this morning between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., said his lawyer Mayer Morganroth.

Kevorkian, 83, died at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where he had been hospitalized for about two weeks with kidney and heart problems.

Morganroth said it appears Kevorkian suffered a pulmonary thrombosis when a blood clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart.

With Kevorkian were his niece Ava Janus and Morganroth.

“It was peaceful. He didn’t feel a thing,” Morganroth said.

Morganroth said the hospital staff, doctors and nurses said Kevorkian's passing was “a tremendous loss and I agree with them. He did so much.”

Morganroth said there were no artificial attempts to keep Kevorkian alive.

*correction: my first post put Kevorkian's age at death at 84, he died at age 83

Arts/Culture
5:02 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Detroit Symphony extends CEO's contract

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will keep its executive director for the next few years.  The DSO announced this afternoon that its Board of Directors renewed CEO Ann Parsons’ contract through 2014. 

Parsons led the Detroit Symphony through the recent dispute with its unions that shutdown the DSO for much of the past year.  The six month strike came to an end after musicians agreed to a 25% cut in pay. 

In hopes of luring back its fans, the DSO is cutting ticket prices for the upcoming symphony season. 

Arts/Culture
5:12 pm
Thu June 2, 2011

Grand Rapids Art Museum hires new director

Michigan's art museums have been on a hiring spree lately.

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Arts/Culture
4:53 pm
Thu June 2, 2011

Artpod: The LipDub video heard 'round the world

Ryan Slusarzyk and Abbey Sloan sit in the back of a classic Chevy truck near Rosa Parks Circle. They have a line in the Grand Rapids lip dub "drove my chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry."
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

In case you've been living under a couch cushion for the past week or so and haven't heard about the Grand Rapids LipDub video getting rave reviews, let's bring you up to speed:

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Arts/Culture
10:43 am
Thu June 2, 2011

Music collectives keep talent in Michigan

Gun Lake records for Bigger Brush Media's "Quilted Attic Sessions."
Emily Fox Michigan Radio Newsroom

Madonna, Iggy Pop and The White Stripes got their start in Michigan, but they left the state to make it big in the music industry. Today, some musicians want to stop that migration and keep talent close to home. 

Kevin Prichard is with Bigger Brush Media in Lansing. He thinks music collectives can help keep people in Michigan.

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Arts/Culture
10:20 am
Thu June 2, 2011

New Director at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

The Grand Rapids Art Museum announced they have a new director. From their press release:

The Board of Trustees of the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) announced today the appointment of Dana Friis-Hansen as Director and CEO.  The Art Museum selected Friis-Hansen, who most recently served as Executive Director of the Austin Museum of Art, as part of a national search effort. Friis-Hansen will begin work at the Grand Rapids Art Museum on July 13, 2011.

Arts/Culture
2:02 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

Grand Rapids LipDub video gaining traction

Georgia Taylor spray painted the words "Experience Grand Rapids" in giant letters on a green lawn for the LipDub video.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The "likes" are outweighing the "dislikes" on the Grand Rapids LibDub video on YouTube (17,752 likes to 361 dislikes... and counting).

More than 1.3 million have watched the video so far.

In a press release, Rob Bliss, the director and co-executive producer of the video, called its viral spread an 'epidemic' (somebody should alert the CDC!).

And co-executive producer Scott Erickson said the video resonates with people:

"People who watch the video are very impressed by the enthusiasm and the level of community support we were able to capture. But they’ve also been amazed by the fact that this was done in a single take.  At almost 10 minutes, it’s the longest LipDub on record.  I think that’s captured people’s attention and encouraged them to share it with friends."

Today, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith's story on the LibDub video will air nationally. It will be featured on National Public Radio All Things Considered.

Linda Holmes wrote about Smith's story and the Grand Rapids LipDub video on NPR's blog "Monkey See":

It's certainly a technical accomplishment, and it's great fun, and it's a project that did many, many things right, down to the choice of the lesser-known live version of "American Pie," which includes an almost ghostly audience singalong at the first chorus that's just right for the moment when it appears.

But as much as it's a pure treat to watch, it's also quite moving, and very effective as a response to a list of cities that are allegedly dying...

It's a little counterintuitive, but a massive crowd ballet that specifically identifies no one turns out to be a surprisingly powerful translation of a impersonal economic projection to a story about individual people.

Here's the record-breaking LipDub video in case you missed it:

Arts/Culture
3:05 pm
Mon May 30, 2011

Dearborn continues Memorial Day tradition

People line Michigan Avenue in Dearborn for the city's Memorial Day parade.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The city of Dearborn held its 87th annual Memorial Day parade Monday.

It’s the longest-running Memorial Day celebration in the state.

This year’s parade honored veterans of the Vietnam War. It’s been 50 years since the U.S. first became involved in that conflict.

The events included a funeral procession for several veterans, and a Remembrance Service.

Judy Carty watched the parade alongside her husband, a Korean War veteran.

Carty says as someone who protested the Vietnam War, she had “mixed feelings” about the proceedings.

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Arts/Culture
1:48 pm
Mon May 30, 2011

Some Michigan museums offer free admission to military families

The Detroit Historical Museum is one of 129 museums in Michigan participating in the Blue Star Museums program
Detroit Historical Museum

Active-duty military members and their families will get free admission to more than 1,000 museums in the United States this summer. It’s part of the National Endowment for the Arts Blue Star Museums program. 129 of those museums are in Michigan.

Bob Sadler is with the Detroit Historical Museum. He says this is the second year the museum has participated in the program and they hope to continue:

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Arts/Culture
4:18 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

The Grand Rapids lip dub video released

Arts/Culture
1:18 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

The making of the Grand Rapids lip dub (video)

Rob Bliss (in the green shirt) and crew set up for another take of the Grand Rapids lip dub on Sunday afternoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Rob Bliss is known around Grand Rapids for putting on some crazy events. World record Zombie Walks, giant community pillow fights, water balloon fights, the ‘world’s largest inflatable water slide’, electronic music festivals, sidewalk chalk floods…I’m sure I’m forgetting one or two.

The latest is a professional lip dup video featuring at least a thousand people from the Grand Rapids area.

Here's a video we put together on the making of the lip dub:

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What's Working
6:00 am
Mon May 23, 2011

Trying to turn indoor shrimp farming into a large-scale industry in Michigan

Russ Allen is trying to get indoor shrimp farming to be a large-scale commercial industry in Michigan
Rust Bucket Flickr

You know about agriculture, of course.  But what about aqua-culture, or seafood farming? Russ Allen worked in shrimp farming for twenty years in Latin America. When he returned to his home-state of Michigan, he decided he wanted to create a method of aqua-culture that could be used anywhere in the world. He’s working on his dream in Okemos, just outside of Lansing. He’s been farming shrimp there for several years using a special, environmentally friendly method.

Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Christina Shockley spoke with Allen for Michigan Radio's What's Working series.

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