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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2017

It’s no wonder Jack Driscoll has been singled out as one of America’s greatest writers. The ten stories in his new book are elegantly written.

They’re suffused with beauty and mystery and a deep compassion for the rough, yet good-hearted people who live in northern Michigan. 

Stateside 3.30.2017

Mar 31, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear how raising beef could be good for the environment, if done the right way. And, we discuss the backlog of immigration cases facing Detroit.

Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait, painted in 1887.
Wikipedia / Art Institute of Chicago

Happy 164th birthday to the man who is the personification of the "tortured artist."

Vincent Van Gogh was born on this day in 1853.

University of Michigan medical historian and PBS contributor Dr. Howard Markel joined Stateside to talk about some of the mysteries that still remain about this iconic artist. He started with the famous story of Van Gogh cutting off his own ear. 

Cass Adair

 


As Timothy Douglas gave his cast some advice before a recent rehearsal, giggles broke out when he mimicked one of the characters. Douglas laughed along with the University of Michigan student actors, who were taking notes from their seats in the campus’s Arthur Miller Theatre.

Michigan History Center

The story of how Lansing became our state capital starts when Michigan is in its infancy – back in the early 1800s.

When Michigan became a territory in 1805, Detroit was named territorial capital – and for good reason.

“It was the largest city, certainly, and it was also accessible by water, which was very important in an era when roads are, at best, terrible in most places,” said Valerie Marvin, Michigan state Capitol historian.

Courtesy Photo

This week, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers are releasing their newest album, Pluto.

 The six-member band is rooted in Lansing, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. They're known for their eccentric style of mixing elements of funk, dance, pop and R&B.

Frontman Joe Hertler stopped by Stateside to preview the new album and the inspiration that brought it together.

In December 2015 the Washington Post announced it was finally dropping the hyphen from "e-mail," two years after the New York Times and four years after the Associated Press Stylebook

While it's surprising that the Post waited so long to let go of a hyphen as obsolete as America Online's free trial CDs, the decision itself wasn't unprecedented.


nico7martin / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

I was sad to hear about Chuck Berry’s death last weekend.

When I worked in St. Louis two decades ago, getting an interview with Berry was a challenge for every reporter in town. He hadn’t given an interview in more than two years when I decided to give it a shot. The owner of a venue where Berry played every couple of months suggested I come to the 40th anniversary of Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode. The idea was the club owner would help me get an interview before the show.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Since it’s National Cocktail Day, Cheers! is mixing up a cocktail.

“I don’t know who comes up with these days, but I’m kind of glad to have an occasion to celebrate,” Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings said.

The Cheers! staff is up for a celebratory cocktail just about any day, but it would seem to be necessary today since it's a national holiday.

Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP)

A new exhibition opening this week at the University of Michigan aims to demonstrate the creative and intellectual ability of many of Michigan's incarcerated individuals. 

The 22nd Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners features 550 works of art by 450 artists, making it one of the largest exhibits of inmate artwork in the nation. Curators selected work from incarcerated artists in 28 prisons in the Michigan Department of Correction system. Visitors may purchase most of the art on display, with all proceeds going to the artist.

Courtesy of Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet

To many, it seems like these are angry, unhappy times in America, and in our world.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World offers an antidote. It brings us wisdom from two of the world’s leading spiritual leaders – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.  

It chronicles a conversation between the two leaders – sharing their stories and best teachings for creating long-lasting joy and happiness. The book pairs their thoughts with scientific research into happiness.

Laurel Premo and Anna Gustavsson
Courtesy of Premo & Gustavsson

 

Take fiddle and banjo tunes of the United States and mix them with the music and dance tunes of Sweden, and there you have Premo & Gustavsson.

Our Songs from Studio East series explores music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the world. Premo & Gustavsson fit that bill perfectly.

How many dashes is too many? For some of you — especially those who are writers — that may be a rhetorical question. 

Flickr user ifmuth / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

August Snow is a crime novel about a former Detroit police officer fired after investigating the mayor’s office. Snow, the main character, sues the city and receives a large settlement.

After touring Europe and the Mediterranean (taking a world beer tour of sorts), Snow returns to Detroit and settles in Mexicantown, the neighborhood he grew up in. He then begins rehabbing houses on his block.

Alex Porbe / Incite Design

There are people in Michigan who are quietly making pieces of art with a purpose beyond art. 

One of them works in Detroit at a nondescript shop on Mack Avenue. Alex Porbe is with Incite Design, a  fabrication and custom design firm.

Porbe works with architects and project managers, working up designs to complement existing architecture or making a design statement.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

 

They’re known as the Mother Earth Water Walkers: Two Anishinaabe grandmothers and a group of Anishinaabe women and men, walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes, hoping to raise awareness of the environmental and manmade threats against the lakes.

They began walking in 2003, and over the next six years walked all of the 11,525 miles around the Great Lakes.

Now the story of the Water Walkers is told in a children’s book by Michigan author Carol Trembath, with illustrations by David W. Craig.

Rich Evenhouse / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

How do we talk about Detroit?

In the 80's and 90's, the focus was on crime and urban decay. Detroit was the "Murder City." Today, the narrative is one of possibility and resurgence.

But both of those depictions were largely imposed by outsiders, and were, at best, incomplete.

Photo by Andy Terzes, courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Remember the 2008 Olympics in China? The stadium, nicknamed the “bird's nest," was one of the most iconic visuals from the games. It was designed by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

Weiwei's work, titled "Natural State," is on exhibit at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It's nearly spring, and the sap is running. Maple syrup makes a good choice for a sweetener in our pick for a cocktail.

“This is just a little whiskey sour variation,” Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings explained.

“When I was a kid we would go every year as part of a school trip and I remember loving to see the maple syrup boiling down,” Coxen said, adding, “It’s a really great memory for me and I love maple syrup because of it.

Nick Tobier, the author of "Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue"
Courtesy of Nick Tobier

Think of it as an artistic “fan letter” to Detroit’s People Mover.

Artist Nick Tobier’s new book is Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue. It’s a collection of essays, photographs and poems inspired by the People Mover and the views it offers of Detroit’s geography and culture.

DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Last Friday evening, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra presented the world premiere of a new work titled, “Detroit '67 for Choir and Orchestra.”

The piece marks the 50th anniversary of those five days in July 1967 when 43 people died and nearly 1,200 were injured – the civil unrest that changed Detroit in ways that we are still facing today. 

Stateside 3.8.2017

Mar 8, 2017

Today, we learn why ready, able, diverse women are so often passed over for leadership roles. And, we hear why Lansing lobbyists just broke another spending record. We also look back in history, to when two runaway slaves crossed from Detroit to Canada, paving the way to freedom for thousands.

Courtesty of SEEKING MICHIGAN OF THE MICHIGAN HISTORY CENTER

All Thornton and his wife Lucie Blackburn wanted was freedom when they came to Detroit in 1831. The African-American couple came to what was then still Michigan territory to escape the inhumane, but legal institution of slavery in Kentucky.

Little did the couple know, but their escape to Detroit was just a prelude to a bigger story; a story that would impact tens of thousands in the future.

Ali Lapetina, Courtesy of Mana Heshmati

What better way to bring people together than through food? That's the idea behind the gastrodiplomacy movement.

Mana Heshmati is bringing gastrodiplomacy to Southeast Michigan with her low-profit start-up Peace Meal Kitchen.

COURTESY OF THE WILLIAMSTON THEATRE

The town of Williamston, in Ingham County, has a population just under four thousand people. Like many Michigan towns of its size, its downtown historic district boasts a variety of retail and dining establishments.

But nestled among the brick storefronts is a somewhat less-familiar sight: an 88-seat black box theater.

picture of book cover and Jack Cheng side by side
Courtesy of Jack Cheng

His name is Alex Petroski. He’s eleven years old. His best friend is the stray dog he adopted and named after his hero, astronomer Carl Sagan.

Together, they set out on a road trip to attend SHARF – that’s the (fictional) Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival. Along the way, Alex adds recordings to an iPod that he hopes will one day find the ears of extraterrestrials.

Alex is the central character in a newly-released young adult novel, See You in the Cosmos. Its author, Jack Cheng, immigrated to Michigan at age 5 and today lives in Detroit.

DOOR COUNTY MARITIME MUSEUM

 

Dan Seavey wasn’t the only jolly pirate who commandeered ships on the Great Lakes, but he may have been the “jolliest.”

 

OK, have you ever stopped to think about how many times in a single day you say "OK"?

If you're like millions of others around the world, that number is probably more than you can count on your fingers and toes.

The ubiquity of "OK" is undeniable. It's used as a noun, a verb, an adverb, an interjection and a signal of agreement, not to mention the basis for one of the most famous self-help books of all time.

Believe it or not, we're coming up on the 178th anniversary of "OK," so we thought we'd take a look at the origin of this globally-recognized word.


Stateside 3.3.2017

Mar 3, 2017

Talking about race isn't always easy. But today, we hear how a table, an "equalizer," can help black people and white people begin the conversation. And, Artisans of Michigan is back with a trip to the printing press.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Fritz Swanson is a writer. But he says even when he was little, writing alone just wasn’t the end of it. It had to be printed. It had to be a book.

“Writing the story and then making the way that it’s communicated seemed essential to me, seemed all to be part of the same game,” he explained.

When his dad took him along to help a friend fix a tractor, he found something that changed his life.

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