Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

The Rialto Theatre in Grayling is celebrating its 100th anniversary
Jordan Stancil

Small-town movie theaters are in a fight for their lives.

Hollywood studios are phasing out 35-millimeter film in favor of going digital. This means theaters are feeling the pressure to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their facilities, or be forced to close their doors.

One such theater is The Rialto, about to mark its 100th anniversary in Grayling. 

Jordan Stancil's great-grandfather founded the Rialto Theater in 1915.

The Rialto ran a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise money to upgrade its systems, and Stancil tells us they raised over $100,000 with the support of current and former residents of Grayling.

An artist, fabric sculptor and dancer, Nick Cave grew up in central Missouri. In 1989, he got a masters degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.
PD Rearick

 Nick Cave has come home to Cranbrook.

The artist, fabric sculptor, and dancer grew up in central Missouri.

In 1989, Cave got a master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Michigan has a long and well-known history of car manufacturing, mining, logging, and agriculture.

But there's something else this state produces: writers. 

Anna Clark's new book explores the lives of ten of Michigan's most notable writers. Michigan Literary Luminaries: from Elmore Leonard to Robert Hayden is a collection of essays that are not just biographies.

When deciding whether to say “thee” as opposed to “the” [pronounced thuh], it’s about more than just sounding fancy, says University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan. 

Not too long ago, Curzan received an email outing her for saying “the” [thuh] instead of “thee,” a pet peeve of the listener. But it’s more complicated than one is always right and the other is always wrong. In fact, both pronunciations are legitimate and have their time and place.


A unique art exhibition opens this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.   When the show closes in August, the main exhibit will have grown.

New York artist Rob Pruitt has been producing a new portrait of Barack Obama every day since the President was inaugurated in 2009. More than 2000 to date and growing by an additional 2 x 2 square foot portrait a day.

Quick fix /

It's a question that will attract more attention than it might have before Detroit's bankruptcy raised the spectre of selling off the Detroit Institute of Arts  collection to help pay down the city's crushing debt.

Fortunately, the DIA survived unscathed, thanks to $100 million raised by long-time donors.

Nicholas Williams

Next month marks the one year anniversary of the opening of the Ann Arbor Skatepark.

With spring weather, skateboarders from all over the city are busting kick flips and shredding the bowls. 

Nicholas Williams stepped on his skateboard and strapped on a microphone to bring us these sounds and stories from the park.

Joel Mabus is a maverick in the folk music world, with a career so eclectic and varied he defies any easy pigeonhole.
Jeff Mitchell

Joel Mabus grew up writing, singing, and playing the blues in Southern Illinois.

Though he grew up in the midst of Beatlemania, Mabus always felt drawn to the tunes of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs, among others.

He now lives in Portage, outside Kalamazoo, and has just released his new album, A Bird In This World.

Jinx! / Flickr

Our special series "Poetically Speaking" highlighting poets and poetry in Michigan continues. 

Julie Babcock grew up in the late 70's and early 80's when playgrounds were full of sharp, hot metal and asphalt. 

At the Gettysburg National Military Park.
user praline3001 /

Michigan poets and multimedia artists, Michelle Bonczek Evory and Robert Evory, will be the first artists-in-residence at the Gettysburg National Military Park. 

The program invites artists to immerse themselves in the park's historical landscape and expand their own creative pursuits to inspire and engage new audiences.

Flowers are a popular way to honor Mother's Day, so we decided to take a look at some expressions that seem to have floral origins.

First, there's "a bed of roses."

"This phrase has been around longer than I was expecting," says University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

Costa Sirdenis

When the City Meets the Sky is the latest album from the Marcus Elliot Quartet, dedicated to Detroit and to the leaders who helped shape the next generation of jazz musicians. 

Ten years ago, two women from west Michigan started something called the "Best Prom Ever." They were Sparta High School special education teacher Renne Wyman, and a mother of one of her students, Rhonda Carlisle.

Fifteen students came to their first event. In April, 900 people attended the Best Prom Ever.

The basic idea is to give young people with disabilities the chance to socialize and dance in an environment that is safe and fun.

Stephanie Baker (left photo)

Maureen Abood left her big-city job in Chicago to follow her heart to culinary school.

After training in San Francisco, Abood came back home to Michigan and has dedicated her life to cooking and writing about Lebanese food.

Courtesy of David Kiley

It was one of the most jubilant days in history.

VE Day: the end of the Second World War in Europe. 

David Kiley of Ann Arbor has a unique link to that historic day 70 years ago.

Broadside-Lotus Press

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Broadside Press. It was founded in 1965 by African-American poet and publisher Dudley Randall.

This groundbreaking company has published a long and distinguished list of African-American poets and writers.

Don Shikoshi

In her latest memoir, writer Anne-Marie Oomen takes us back to growing up in the turbulent 1960’s on a her family’s Michigan farm. From school dances and sewing lessons to the Detroit riots and the Cuban missile crisis it’s all in her new book Love, Sex and 4-H. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For more than a century, Pulaski Hall has been a cornerstone of Bay City’s Polish community. But Thursday was the last dance.

The beer and the stories flowed at Pulaski Hall as the band played polka after polka.

“This was the place everybody stopped after work before they went home and after church,” Tom Reeter recalled.    

Copy editors around the country are mulling over what to do about the pronoun "they" used as a singular, because the issue just won't go away.

So we decided to revisit the topic, because increasingly "they" is what's used in everyday language.

"The issue is what to do with a noun where the gender is unknown or unspecified.

In this Let's Review session, your podcast co-hosts Kim and Jenn get at the heart of a listener question about the proliferation of black leads on TV.

Are we seeing a new era in black representation on TV? What's happening behind-the-scenes? Is there progress there?

Spoiler alert: nope.


But that doesn't stop us from having a great, informative conversation.



Christine Rhein is the author of Wild Flight (Texas Tech University Press), a winner of the Walt McDonald Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Michigan Quarterly Review, and have been featured at Poetry Daily and The Writer’s Almanac

"I wrote this poem in response to the heroic work accomplished at Gene Codes Corporation, in Ann Arbor, following 9/11," she says. "The poem, a weaving of programming language with poetic language, explores the event’s impact on the software developers and beyond."

Wayne State University Press

From a drive along Trumbull Avenue in 1981, to a despairing young mother in the depths of the Depression, to the backyard ice rink of a boyhood home.

These are just a few of the stories that poet Michael Lauchlan explores in his new collection, Trumbull Ave(Wayne State University Press).

Lauchlan brings a wide range of work and life experiences to his writing. He has lived in and around Detroit, he’s been a builder, he’s helped staff a non-profit, and he’s currently an English teacher at University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

Trumbull Avenue, the place,  Lauchlan said, was the “core” of his life in the 1980s. The Day House, a shelter for women in Detroit, is found on this avenue. The spirit of the Catholic worker, who helped inspire the opening of the shelter, is found on this avenue. It was on this avenue that Lauchlan and others did all of their community work, he said.

For these reasons, Trumbull Avenue permeates his poetry.

“I think my preoccupation is with the lives of a place and I think the job of a poet is to let a place speak,” he said. “And I think it’s been that way for thousands of years, so that’s my preoccupation.”

Film rolls.
Luca Nonato / Flickr

His name is Richard Wershe Junior.

Doesn’t ring a bell?

Try the name the media slapped on him when he got a life sentence at the age of 17, after police busted him with 17 pounds of cocaine: White Boy Rick. It stuck. That was in 1988.

Hilary Dotson / flickr

All through April, in honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve been exploring Michigan’s poets with our series "Poetically Speaking."

But now, we turn to those of you who hear poetry and shrug. Those of you who never think to open a book of poetry. Those of you who say, “I just don’t get it.”

A Minute with Mike: An Ode to Bad Poetry

Apr 28, 2015

Oh, Bad Poetry, 

Why are you written?

Why are you listened to? 

Perhaps the audience is held captive out of perceived rudeness at a coffee house or locked in 

a car barreling down the highway with the radio just out of reach. Wink wink nod nod.

Robert Turney

One of our favorite Stateside visitors is poet and writer Keith Taylor. He stops by each season to share his "reading picks" from Michigan writers.

But, it's time to turn the tables on Keith Taylor.

His new chapbook of poetry and prose is called Fidelities.

The Michigan meridian is clearly visible in the map of Native American land cessions in Michigan.
wikimedia commons

This month marks the 200th birthday of something that helped make Michigan the state we know today.

It's the bicentennial of the Michigan meridian.

That north-south line was the reference point for the Michigan Survey. Every single piece of property in Michigan is defined by that meridian and two east-west baselines.

Take two slices of bread, put something tasty on them, slap the slices together, and you've got a sandwich, right?

Well, you may call it a "sanwich" or "samwich," and you're certainly not alone.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan recently heard someone making fun of a person for saying "samwich," and thought that wasn't very kind.

The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival
Erin English / Creative Commons

This summer will be the final year for the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival in West Michigan.

Lisa Vogel, who founded the event when she was 19, made the announcement in a letter on the event's website.

"We have known in our hearts for some years that the life cycle of the festival was coming to a time of closure," she said. 

Vogel didn't give a specific reason for the decision. 

For 40 years, thousands of woman have traveled the globe to attend the week-long event near Hart Township.

Troye Fox / UWM Photography

Margaret Noodin has made it her life’s work to fight for the future of the ancient Native American language Anishnaabemowin.

This is the language of “the People of the Three Fires”—the Odawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwe. These people came to the Great Lakes thousands of years ago.