Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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What city would get your vote as one of Michigan's literary hot spots? 

Writer Anna Clark would give her vote to Kalamazoo. Her recent story in the Detroit Free Press is titled Kalamazoo quietly emerging as a literary hot spot.

She joined us today to tell us why. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Gilmore Festival posters.
Gilmore Festival / Facebook

Even though life took him in a somewhat different direction, Irving S. Gilmore has turned Kalamazoo into a place that truly celebrates piano music.

The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival is in full swing and runs till May 10.

Dan Gustin, the director of the Gilmore, joined us today.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Government

It looks like Rosie the Riveter's famous "We Can Do It!" line is proving true once again. 

The campaign to save part of the historic Willow Run bomber plant, where Rosie and thousands of others worked during World War II, says it believes it's raised enough money to keep it from being torn down. 

For the last year or so, the Yankee Air Museum has been trying to raise around $8 million.

That, organizers said, would be enough to buy a corner of the plant and separate it from the rest of the building, which is set to be demolished.

The festival in past years.
The Arab American News.com

The festival has been canceled for the second year in a row due to higher liability insurance costs for festival organizers.

The three-day festival in Dearborn celebrated Arab culture and was one the largest gatherings of Arab Americans in the U.S., but it also attracted anti-Islamic protestors and Christian missionaries from around the country.

Niraj Warikoo reports for the Detroit Free Press:

Tensions at the festival broke out in 2010 when a group of Christian missionaries arrived with video cameras to record their attempts to debate Muslims. Some were arrested for disturbing the peace, though later acquitted of most charges. Their arrests drew outrage from conservatives across the U.S.

Another Christian group filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the missionaries were restricted in where they could distribute their literature. In 2012, a separate group of Christians brought a pig’s head mounted on a pole with anti-Islam signs, resulting in some youth hurling bottles at them.

Warikoo reports that Dearborn was forced to pay $300,000 to the Christian missionaries arrested in 2010.

The Arab-American Chamber of Commerce says they’re still looking for ways to move forward with the festival.

You've no doubt heard that saying "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Lennon used that line in his 1980 song "Beautiful Boy," although it was kicking around for a full two decades before that.

The life of our next guest could serve to illustrate the wisdom of that line. He indeed had "other plans."

As a romantic 20-year-old, he thought about dying young and becoming immortal like Buddy Holly or James Dean or Janis Joplin, with people leaving bouquets at his grave and mourning the loss of his "enormous complicated talent."

But life happened. He didn't die tragically young. And his talent was not lost to the world.

Instead, Garrison Keillor is 71 and about to mark the 40th anniversary of A Prairie Home Companion, a program that reaches some four million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations coast to coast, including, of course, Michigan Radio.

To celebrate this milestone, Garrison Keillor has a new book, The Keillor Reader, a collection of his stories, his essays, poems and so much more. All in one volume.

Garrison Keillor joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

GVSU play one of their "Music in Our Parks" selections.
GVSU / YouTube

After two years of planning, the New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University is launching a new project. It’s called “Music in Our Parks.”

The project shows us how nature and landscape affect the process of making music. Here's a video promoting their effort:

Bill Ryan is the director of Grand Valley State University’s New Music Ensemble. He was joined on our program by one of the members of the New Music Ensemble, percussionist and senior music performance major, Josh Dreyer.

*Listen to the interview above.

    

We have found many ways to say curse words without actually saying them.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss euphemisms for taboo words.

The presence of euphemisms shows how impactful words can be. Curzan describes, "Words are enormously powerful and they can do a lot of damage, which is why with some of them, we find ways to get around actually saying them."

One of the first English-language euphemisms for a taboo word was "criminy," which showed up in 1681. Speakers used this word to avoid saying "Christ."

The origins of "gee," as in "gee willikers" or "gee whiz," are less clear. Some linguists believe these euphemisms came from "gee willikens" as a substitute for "Jerusalem," which was a common exclamation of surprise in the 19th century.

Spendthrifts are more spendy than thrifty, so the word spendthrift doesn’t seem to make much sense.

This week on That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss the seemingly oxymoronic word spendthrift.

While thrifty refers to being economical with money, spendthrift means the exact opposite—someone who spends money irresponsibly. Curzan explores the etymology of thrifty to get to the bottom of spendthrift.

user VasenkaPhotography / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - Diego Rivera's murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts have been designated as one of four new national historic landmarks.

Federal officials announced the designation on Wednesday.

The Detroit Industry murals were conceived by Rivera as a tribute to the city's manufacturing base and labor force of the 1930s. The Mexican artist in 1932 and 1933 completed the murals on walls of a court in the museum and they're considered to be among his greatest works.

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The 1964 World's Fair opened its door to an eager public 50 years ago this day at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in New York City.

And it is no exaggeration to say that cars ruled that World's Fair. Detroit's Big Three worked very hard to grab the world's attention.

We talk about what those messages were and how the Detroit Three weren't just selling cars, they were pushing a lifestyle and a political system.

Joseph Tirella, author of Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

The return of Artpod!

Apr 22, 2014
Dave Trumpie

It's been a long, stupidly cold and soul-killing winter. 

Few people know that Artpod cannot survive until we've had at least three days above 70 degrees.

So it's only now that Artpod can emerge from hibernation,  much the way men's feet are unfortunately baring themselves to the world in flip flops again.  

Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Government

A few weeks ago, 778 women of all ages donned coveralls, tied their hair up with bandanas, and headed to the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in southeast Michigan to try to break a world record.

And now it's official. That gathering has set the Guinness World Record: 778 “Rosie the Riveters” all in one place.

It was the Yankee Air Museum's second try at setting the Guinness World Record for the most women and girls dressed as Rosies, and their second try was a charm.

The original Rosies turned out B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers at the plant during World War II.

The event helps the museum with the serious business of raising enough money to save the historic Willow Run Bomber plant from demolition.

The Yankee Air Museum is trying to raise $8 million to buy the old plant from the RACER trust, which oversees liquidation of former GM properties.

The Museum has until May 1 to save the bomber plant from the wrecker's ball.

*Listen to our interview above.

Indian man's skull turned over to tribe

Apr 20, 2014

SUTTONS BAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A skull that was passed down through generations of a northern Michigan family has been turned over to an Indian group. 

Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich tells the Traverse City Record-Eagle that the family doesn't want its name known. He says the family gave the skull to his office in Sutton's Bay Township.

Holland, Michigan, windmill reopens after restoration

Apr 19, 2014
Windmill Island Gardens

HOLLAND  – A southwestern Michigan landmark has been revived – and now it's been rededicated. WZZM-TV reports the blades of Holland's 252-year-old DeZwaan windmill began turning again Saturday morning during a community celebration and open house.  The windmill underwent about $760,000 in restoration and repair work after a fundraising effort. The windmill is part of Windmill Island Gardens, a popular tourist destination that's also undergoing improvements. Project consultant Jodi Syens tells The Grand Rapids Press the windmill is open for daylong tours.

Rick Beerhorst tells the story of his failed New York City move.
Failure:Lab / YouTube

It was Bill Gates who declared,"It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure."

And it's good to realize that we all fail at times. It's just that most of us try to cover that up, or, at the very least, we don't broadcast our failures.

But that’s not how it works at Failure:Lab.

It’s a program designed to get us thinking about the meaning of failure – to realize that failure happens to everyone and to inspire us to take intelligent risks.

You can see our past Failure:Lab posts here.

Today, we hear about Rick Beerhorst’s failure: his attempt to move his family to New York City.

Wikipedia

Ever since a student at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School got his first 8mm camera for his 17th birthday, he has searched for good stories to tell.

And tell them he does. That Ann Arbor high school kid was Ken Burns. And since getting that first camera in 1970, Ken has turned his camera and his storyteller's eye to subjects like World War II, the Civil War, the Brooklyn Bridge, baseball, jazz, the West, the Brooklyn Five, and so much more.

Tonight on PBS, Ken Burns brings us his newest story. It's called "The Address."

The film follows the students at a tiny school in Vermont where students are challenged each year to learn and recite Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

As he follows these boys, Ken uncovers many powerful individual stories and, at the same time, brings us a much-needed reminder of the power of Abraham Lincoln's words.

Ken Burns joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Segues are unrelated to segments, although the two words sound similar and are both about parts.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan look into the etymology of segue.

Curzan first explored the origins of the word segment. In the late 16th century, segment comes into English from Latin, meaning “a piece that’s cut or broken off” or “a part of a circle.” Centuries later, segment also becomes a verb, meaning, “to divide into segments.”

The term segue, however, is completely unrelated to the term segment. Rather than Latin, segue finds its way into English through Italian as a musical term.

“Segue first shows up in English in 1740,” Curzan describes. “But for almost 200 years, it’s used primarily as an Italian term, to refer to proceeding from one movement to another in a musical piece without a break.”  

Dave Trumpie / trumpiephotography.com

Cellist Yo Yo Ma and a few other renowned artists were in Detroit this week, working with some very young musicians.

"Can we say 'Tchaikovsky'?"

"Tchaikovsky!" screamed a classroom of obedient fourth graders.  

Kendall College of Art and Design

The president of Kendall College of Art and Design, David Rosen, announced his resignation Thursday afternoon. It’s not clear why he resigned.

Students and staff rallied in support of Rosen in person and on social media.

Kendall is a college within Ferris State University. FSU spokesman Marc Sheehan says the reactions are “completely understandable.”

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How do we really get through to kids who are headed down the path to trouble?

There is a group of artists in the Flint area that believes the answer is spoken word and visual art.

The Share Art Project has been bringing artists together with young offenders. It's a collaborative effort among artists at the Buckham Gallery, students and the Genesee Valley Regional Center.

Shellie Spivack is a Buckham board member who chairs the program, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

*Support for Arts and culture coverage on Stateside comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Those of us who live in Michigan grow up with an ingrained awareness of the Great Lakes. We drink their water, sail and swim in them, build homes and cottages on their shorelines, and live with the weather they help produce.

The Great Lakes are an economic power-player. They contribute one trillion dollars to America's gross national product. And let's not overlook that $4 billion Great Lakes fishing industry.

A new documentary film brings us a unique look at the Great Lakes. PROJECT: ICE explores the crucial role that ice has played and continues to play in shaping and maintaining Michigan's most important resource.

The executive producer and director of PROJECT: ICE, Bill Kleinert, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

*Support for Arts and culture coverage on Stateside comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Don't make the mistake of thinking that fresh new music – rap, electronic and more – comes out of Detroit.

Listen to what's coming out of Flint.

Tunde Olaniran is a Flint artist: singer, songwriter, rapper, electropop, rock. Tunde is attracting lots of attention, including a glowing review in the New York Times for his new EP, Yung Archetype.

Tunde Olaniran joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Adam Bird / Issue Media Group

It is easy to feel like an outsider when facing a mental, emotional, or physical disability. Anything that sets you apart or makes you different can seem alienating or isolating. 

Delight Lester has harnessed that feeling and aims to make outsiders feel like insiders through the healing power of the arts. Her non-profit Arts in Motion Studio in Grand Rapids offers ballet, tap, and interpretative dance, as well as guitar, visual arts, and drama classes to people of all ages in an individualized and inclusive way. 

Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

St. Henry’s in Lincoln Park held its first Mass on June 3, 1923 and its last Mass on March 2, 2014.

At the end of the church’s final Mass, parish members took the most important objects and walked them out the door.

The holy oils were carried by five members of the Olive family. Jackie and Bill Balmes carried out the marriage registry (they’ve been married for 65 years). Four men, including Jim Bomia and his two grandsons, lifted the crucifix off the wall (it weighed several hundred pounds), and walked it down the aisle and out the door.

The etymology of "party pooper"

Apr 6, 2014

    

The word "party pooper" is clearly slangy, but maybe it's also a little bit taboo.

This week on That’s What They Say host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan look at the origins of the term party pooper.

Party pooper has been in our lexicon for decades. The expression first shows up in the late 1940s among college students. A few years later, an article in Newsweek acknowledged the popularity of the term, stating, “Party pooper has taken the place of wall flower or wet blanket.”

Despite the prevalence of the term, the origins are still unknown. Curzan explains three possible etymologies.

“One possibility is that the poop in party pooper comes from the verb ‘to poop,’ meaning ‘to tire’ or ‘to exhaust,’” Curzan cites. “This is where we get the expression ‘I’m pooped’ as in ‘I’m tired.’”

GRAND RAPIDS — The latest shouts of "bravo!" have nothing to do with the stage at a Grand Rapids performance hall.

The group that oversees DeVos Performance Hall will spend $69,000 to add five bathroom stalls for women. It's a response to complaints about long lines for women at intermission.

Broadway Grand Rapids complained that long waits were disrupting performances.

Virginia Gordan

A University of Michigan group is one of four finalists  – and the only team from the state – in the 2014 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). 

The 14-member group is called the G-Men, short for "gentlemen."

Apoorv Dhir is the group's president and a pre-med U of M junior. "The best thing about this group is how close we are, and how much we love each other," he said. "We're good at singing and we enjoy performing. But the best thing about this group is that we are best friends."

Arsenal of Democracy book cover.
http://wsupress.wayne.edu/

There is no question that Detroit and the automobile industry played a major role in the Allied victory over Germany and Japan in World War II. We’ve often heard southeast Michigan described as the “Arsenal of Democracy.”

But not so well known is the struggle it took to turn the auto industry toward war production, particularly as women and African-American workers stepped up to take their places on the assembly lines.

Charles Hyde, professor emeritus of history at Wayne State University, joined us today. His new book is Arsenal of Democracy: The American Automobile Industry in World War II.

Listen to the full interview above.

user WolfgangW / Wikimedia Commons

A collective sigh of relief was heard today in Ann Arbor when the organizers of the Water Hill Music Festival announced a ban on banjo playing during this year's fest.

From the Water Hill Music Fest:

Today Water Hill Music Fest organizers received a petition with over 500 signatures urging a ban on banjos at the festival.  

pixabay.com

We often talk about the U.S. as being the land of opportunity. This is the country where you can fulfill your dreams; that is certainly the view of America from many other countries. But is that view justified? 

Here in Michigan, one in four kids lives in poverty. And are girls in Michigan really seen as equals to boys?

We may say, of course they are. But does that belief holdup to close scrutiny?

The BBC's Ros Atkins wanted to find out if there is anyplace in the world that girls and women are treated the same as boys and men.

He has produced a special hour-long documentary tracing the lives of four girls in four countries. It's called "All That Stands in the Way". 

We get Atkins' perspective on this, and we bring in Dustin Dwyer from Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project to look at how we talk about the American dream as this big grand idea – which may not work out that way in reality.

Listen to the full interview above. 

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