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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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NEW YORK (AP) - At 74, the Queen of Soul has decided to take it a little easier.

Aretha Franklin is planning to retire this year, she told Detroit TV station WDIV Local 4, the city's NBC affiliate.  The singer says she has one more album planned, with several tracks produced by Stevie Wonder, and will otherwise limit herself to "some select things" as she devotes more time to her grandchildren. 

©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The Lion King opened on Broadway in November 1997. Nearly 20 years later it’s still going strong. The musical returns to the Detroit Opera House this month and for one of the show’s actors, it’s a bit of a homecoming.

Oak Park native John Sloan III attended University of Michigan and performs this month as a member of Lion King’s ensemble. He spoke to Stateside about his journey to the performing arts and why he believes the arts are critical to any education.

Stateside 2.7.2017

Feb 7, 2017

By 2020, 90% of Michigan's dams will meet or exceed their design life. Today, we hear what that means for the 2,600 dams in our state. And, we speak with the woman behind Saugatuck's rise from sleepy beach town to international destination.

The state of Michigan hasn't had a poet laureate since 1959 when Edgar Guest (pictured in 1935) passed away.
Wikipedia / NBC Radio

Pop quiz: Who is the poet laureate of Michigan?
 

Sorry, but that's a trick question. The state hasn't had a state poet laureate since Edgar Guest died in 1959.

So, we're getting piecemeal poets laureates around the state – in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit and Grand Rapids, for instance. Now, add Lansing to that list.

For the first time, the poetry community in our Capitol city is searching for Lansing's own poet laureate.

A listener named Toby recently wrote to us with the story of a first date that almost didn't happen.

He tells us that a mutual friend put him in touch with a woman named Phyllis. Toby gave Phyllis a call on a Thursday and the two made plans to go out for dinner "next Sunday."

"In my mind, 'next Sunday' meant a week from the following Sunday, since the earlier Sunday would've been 'this' Sunday," Toby said. 

A few days later, Toby got a call from Phyllis, who wanted to know why he hadn't come by to pick her up.


Lester Graham

In Detroit, jobs are scarce. Money is short.

That has led to an underground economy that one Detroit reporter calls a “gift economy.”

Valerie Vande Panne’s piece is titled “Life Without Money in Detroit’s Survival Economy.” 

drawing of a bird
Tom Pohrt, "The Bird-while" reprinted with permission of Wayne State University Press

He teaches young writers at the University of Michigan, and he practices what he teaches.

Throughout the years, Keith Taylor has published short stories, co-edited volumes of essays and fiction, and written powerful collections of poetry.

Taylor joined Stateside to talk about his newest book of poetry, The Bird-while

Courtesy: Seth Bernard (left), Sean Carter (right)

Independent musicians in Michigan are up against a fast changing music landscape.

Despite the challenges that come with producing, recording, releasing and touring, one music label is cultivating a community of artists who help each other succeed.

"All of us are using music as a way to build community, to empower youth and to uplift good work already happening here," said Seth Bernard. He's is the founder of Earthwork Music, a collective of artists with similar interests, but ranging in musical styles.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Cheers! crew hit the road, heading to Ferndale, where one of the very first Michigan craft cocktail bars is tucked away on 9 Mile in downtown.

The Oakland bar’s Chas Williams shared a recipe from the cocktail menu. This one includes not one, but two Michigan-made spirits. The “Minnie and Roman” is named after two characters in the movie Rosemary’s Baby. Why? Because the cocktail includes a sprig of rosemary.

Nothing goes better with a Sunday morning than a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Fortunately, in Michigan, we've got a pretty long list of papers to choose from.

In Battle Creek, we've got the Enquirer. In Lansing, it's the State Journal. Muskegon has the Chronicle, and Detroit has both the Free Press and the News. 

With so many different mastheads out there, we couldn't help but wonder where some of these papers get their names.


For the first time in 16 years, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will embark on an international tour. This will mark the first time that the DSO will perform in China.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra

2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).

With the orchestra back on solid financial footing, the DSO is embarking on its first international tour in 16 years. This July, Maestro Leonard Slatkin will take the orchestra overseas for the first time since he took over as music director in 2008. The conductor and his 87 musicians will make stops in Japan and, for the first time, China.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Walk into Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills and you’re immersed in a cacophony of beeps, airplane motors and singing flamingos. 

Every nook, cranny and space on the wall is filled with arcade games, coin-operated machines and peculiar figurines with questionable purposes. Think of the Zoltar machine that turns a boy into Tom Hanks in the movie “Big” and then multiply it tenfold. 

Marvin Yagoda, the museum’s founder, is responsible for the fantastic mess. He started the collection in 1960 and the jam-packed space shows how it’s grown to become one of the World Almanac’s 100 most unusual museums in the U.S.

But last week, Yagoda died at 78 years old. 

When we talk about our relatives, there are plenty of gender-neutral terms to cover the bases.

We use "grandparents" to talk about both our grandmothers and grandfathers; "parents" takes care of mothers and fathers; "siblings" refers to both brothers and sisters; and a "cousin" can be either male or female.

But what about nieces and nephews? 

There's good news for aunts and uncles who crave a word to speak collectively about the kids they love to spoil.

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For the first time in 15 years, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a staff of three in its contemporary art department.
Detroit Institute of Arts

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

There are some new faces in the management of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ (DIA) contemporary collection. According to BLAC Detroit Magazine, for the first time in 15 years, there is a staff of three in the contemporary department.

Laurie Ann Farrell, the new curator, is now joined by two assistant curators, Taylor Renee Aldridge and Lucy Mensah, who joined Stateside to talk about the museum and their roles.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Automakers are celebrating new models at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It seems to us at Cheers! that calls for a drink.

“Since the auto show opened this week, I wanted to find a cocktail that had an automotive connection and I went all the way back to the Packard Twin Six automobile,” explained Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings.

If you have fished, or wanted to fish, or thought about fishing, or just stepped out of doors with some expectancy, Body of Water is the book for you.

Though Montana is his home now, Michigan poets know Chris Dombrowski from his elegant poetry collection, Earth Again, published by Wayne State University Press. Michigan anglers know Dombrowski as a stellar fly fishing guide. 

On this week's edition of That's What They Say, English professor Anne Curzan joined us from Austin, Texas, where she was attending the American Dialect Society's annual meeting.  

Each year, the ADS gathers to choose a word that best represents "the public discourse and preoccupations of the past year."

This year's candidates included "woke", "post-truth" and "normalize." But the ADS decided it couldn't pick just one word to represent 2016, so the winner ended up being a compound.

A burning, smelly compound.

The mosaic workshop at the Washtenaw County Youth Center
Juan Javier Pesdacor

There are more than 1,600 juveniles now living in state facilities in Michigan.

Most young people in residential treatment or detention centers are people of color. Many often become defined by their experience, both legally and socially.

A new documentary film Determined 2 Make It tells their stories and shows how art, music, photography and more can be powerful forms of self-expression for incarcerated youth.

University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan has been feeling a little self-conscious lately.

Curzan was recently talking with some of her students about how much research had been done on a particular topic, when one student raised her hand and asked about her pronunciation of a particular word.

Keep in mind, this was a linguistics class, and Curzan tends to instill in her students a super-sensitivity to the various quirks of our language.  

The student said she'd noticed that Curzan pronounces "research" with the emphasis on the second syllable. She said she only hears that pronunciation in academic settings. 


Today, we visit the Michigan company overseeing a construction project at Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway's Cuban home. And, we hear from a program empowering girls to be the future of the STEM industry.

Today, we hear from a rapper using rhyme to challenge the stigma around mental illness, and we learn why some governments aim to use "Nudge Units" to answer the age-old question, "What's the harm?" when creating new public policies.

Trumbullplex Archives

The massive fire that killed 36 people at the Ghost Ship, an Oakland, California warehouse art space, has put similar venues under the microscope in cities nationwide.

That includes Detroit. The city has many informal, DIY spaces for creative people. And at least one of them, the Trumbullplex, was visited by a city fire marshal last week.

Today we discuss a challenge many parents face: how to talk to a child about racism and racially-charged news. And, we hear about the entrepreneurial spirit behind Motown's success.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A strategic planning and cultural engagement project is seeking to revitalize Historic Fort Wayne in southwest Detroit.

The National Park Foundation and the National Park Service Midwest Region is working with city officials to improve recreational and cultural opportunities at the site that features a former military fort.

The Kresge Foundation has awarded a $265,000 grant for the two-year project.

An advisory group of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders is expected to guide the planning process.

Stevie Wonder Avenue is made offical in Detroit

Dec 21, 2016
Stevie Wonder Avenue stretch of Milwaukee Street in Detroit.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit music legend Stevie Wonder has a street officially named after him.

Stevie Wonder Avenue is on a stretch of Milwaukee Street near Woodward Avenue in Detroit's New Center Area neighborhood. It's only about a mile from Hitsville U.S.A. where Motown Records once operated. 

Wonder said he's excited for the expansion of the Motown Museum.

Transcription of the book review: NOLA Gals by Barbara Rebbeck, published in 2015, honored the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and received five major awards in Young Adults categories. This year Rebbeck wrote a play for young people called Turbulence. It was based on her own novel.

Katia Strieck / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Is it possible to choose a single word that captures the tumultuous and often bizarre year that was 2016?

Probably not. But that isn’t going to stop major dictionaries like Oxford, Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com from trying.

They have all released their selections for 2016’s “Word of the Year” and the results are not exactly uplifting. 

The Oxford English Dictionary, which has been in the word business for well over 100 years, chose post-truth as their top word for 2016.

Oxford defines post-truth, an adjective, as follows: “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Keegan-Michael Key (fourth head from the left) and his comedy group, The 313
Courtesy of The 313

Never underestimate the power of the class clown.

The Southfield-born Keegan-Michael Key took his "class clown" talent (or "class theater nerd" as he put it) from Gesu Grade School and Royal Oak Shrine High School in Detroit to roles in television and film.

Key made his name when he was one-half of Comedy Central's show Key & Peele. The national success of that show led him to a gig working side-by-side next to President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

See below:

If you run with grammar sticklers, you know that saying "irregardless" under any circumstances not considered ironic is a great way to get yourself thrown into exile.

While it's true that grammar enthusiasts die a little each time someone utters this persistent double-negative, other words of a similar nature don't seem to draw quite as much ire as "irregardless." 

For example, what about "reiterate"?

Think about the last time you used that one. It was probably to let someone know that you were going to repeat something; e.g., "I like to reiterate that the final paper is due tomorrow."

Did anyone correct you when you said it? Did someone give you a slap on the hand with a ruler? Or even just a haughty look? Probably not.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

“It’s like Christmas in a glass,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings.

She’s talking about a cocktail invented by the principle bartender at The Last Word craft cocktail bar in Ann Arbor, Giancarlo Aversa.

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