Arts & Culture

10:15 am
Thu October 31, 2013

The history of Halloween in Michigan

Flickr user Terry.Tyson Flickr

 You drive around most neighborhoods these days and there is absolutely no doubt we love Halloween.

Once upon a time, you carved a pumpkin, popped in a candle and put it on your porch to greet trick or treaters.

Now, homes are decked out with giant webs and big spiders, ghouls and witches, and don't forget the lights. Halloween is now second only to Christmas for consumer spending.

Just when and where did this all begin? And how far back does Halloween go here in Michigan?

We turn to historian and contributor to the Detroit News Bill Loomis for the answers. 

Listen to the full interview above.

4:06 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Michigan author publishes new collection of short stories

Donald Lystra

Short stories are in the spotlight in the literary world after Canadian writer Alice Munro recently won the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature. She's widely considered to be the "master of the short story."

The Michigan writer Donald Lystra is just out with his collection of short stories called "Something That Feels Like Truth."

Donald Lystra is an engineer who turned to writing later in life. His debut novel "Season of Water and Ice" won the Midwest Book Award and the Michigan Notable Book Award.

Donald Lystra joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:01 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Father-daughter duo embark on new adventure — starting a band

Emily and San Slomovits
Arbor Web Arbor Web

An interview with San and Emily Slomovits.

Traditional wisdom has it that kids aren’t especially into their parents’ music.

But that’s not the case for Sandor and Emily Slomovits of Ann Arbor. Just this year Emily released an album with her father San, “Innocent When You Dream.”

The daughter-dad duo has been making the rounds, sharing the stage at venues like The Ark in Ann Arbor.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:00 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

The surprising history of the restaurant menu

A table at a restaurant.
user Biodun

The surprising history of the restaurant menu

We've started noticing something when we've been going out to eat.

These days, instead of handing out a menu in the traditional plastic-coated paper, some restaurants are handing us iPads.

Chili's Grill and Bar has been testing tablets that allow diners to order their drinks, desserts and pay the bill without having to flag down a waiter. It's been so successful in the 180 or so test restaurants that the company plans to install tablet menus at most of its 1,266 restaurants in the United States.

In Ann Arbor, the Real Seafood Company recently began using tablet menus.

And that got us wondering about menus and going out to eat. What does the way a society eats at restaurants say about us?

Listen to full interview above.

5:10 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Midtown Detroit woman is turning graffiti into jewelry

These pendants were made from Detroit graffiti.

"Defiant jewelry with a purpose!"

That's the slogan for a unique jewelry business that launched in the Midtown area of Detroit.

It's called Rebel Nell.

The goal? To turn actual pieces of graffiti found on the ground into jewelry. The company is hiring disadvantaged women, hoping to give them a hand-up from poverty and dependence.

Amy Peterson is a co-founder of Rebel Nell. She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:26 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Efforts to save the histotric Willow Run bomber plant continue

The Wilow Run Factory was built in 5 months, and at the height of production during WWII, it was producing one B-24 bomber every hour.
U.S. Army Signal Corps

The Yankee Air Museum has been given more time as it tries to save part of an historic factory.

The former Willow Run Bomber plant in Ypsilanti is where Rosie the Riveter built B-24s during World War Two.

Dennis Norton is Chairman of the Yankee Air Museum, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

That's What They Say
8:05 am
Sun October 27, 2013

The changing meanings of 'nice' and 'silly'

Sometimes saying something or someone is nice is not a compliment.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss the words nice and silly, and how their meanings have changed over time.

Although the word nice tends to be a compliment today, this wasn’t true during the 14th century. Originally, nice was borrowed from French, meaning silly or foolish. Years later, nice meant dissolute or extravagant in dress. From there, the word went on to mean finely dressed or precise about looks. And then, precise about looks changed to precise about reputation.

As time goes on, nice meant something like  to have a refined taste. From here, the positive connotations continued with the idea of being cultured, respectable and agreeable. Finally, after this confusing history, nice remains a term of approval today.  

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Arts & Culture
5:15 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

ArtPod talks fashion, fat, and freaky art

One of the burlesque dancers at Theatre Bizarre.
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

At ArtPod, we love a good party. 

If that party also happens to be a jaw-dropping, massive immersive art experience (and did we mention semi-naked people?) with more than 2,000 attendees, some 350 performers, and crazy burlesque, then we really love it.

So grab a cocktail and let us take you inside Theatre Bizarre, the annual masquerade in Detroit's Masonic Temple that draws thousands of people and global attention each year.  

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3:58 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

The Gay Christian Network's founder spreads his message to Michigan

Justin Lee

"Let's agree to disagree, and then find ways to be witnesses for Christ together."

That is the message of the Gay Christian Network, which calls itself the nation's "largest interdenominational LGBT Christian organization."

The founder of the Gay Christian Network is Justin Lee. He's in West Michigan this week, one of the most "religiously conservative" areas of the state. Last night he spoke at Calvin College and this Friday he will speak at the "Room For All" National Conference at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.

Justin Lee joined us on Wednesday today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
3:59 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

What's the 'fat bias,' and do we see it in Michigan?

Melissa McCarthy on the cover of Elle.
Elle Magazine. Elle

An interview with Amanda Levitt.

There was a bit of a stir recently when Elle Magazine came out with its annual "Women in Hollywood” issue.

Four covers were shot with four different stars: Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Penelope Cruz and Melissa McCarthy.

Witherspoon wore a fitted black dress, Woodley wore a swimsuit and Cruz recently gave birth to her second baby, so hers was a close-up face shot. Curvy, full-figured McCarthy was swathed and bundled up in a big coat.

That led to criticism that McCarthy was covered up because she's full-figured — though it should be noted that Melissa McCarthy herself said she was glad to be a part of the cover.

But it does raise the issue of society's attitudes toward overweight or obese people.

35% of the population of Michigan is considered to be overweight, so it’s an issue that affects many in our state.

Is there a bias towards fat people that would not be tolerated elsewhere?

Joining us is Amanda Levitt, a graduate student at Wayne State University. Levitt writes the blog Fat Body Politics.

Listen to the full interview above.

11:58 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Part of Willow Run bomber plant will be open to the public Saturday

The Wilow Run Factory was built in 5 months, and at the height of production during WWII, it was producing one B-24 bomber every hour.
U.S. Army Signal Corps

A group organized by the Yankee Air Museum has been trying to save part of the historic bomber plant from demolition.

The group says it has raised $5.25 million and needs to $2.75 million more by November 1 to meet the goal.

As part of their "Save the Bomber Plant" campaign, Nathan Bomey of the Detroit Free Press reports that part of the bomber plant will be open to the public this Saturday.

It's a chance for the  public to see the plant one last time before demolition begins.

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4:02 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

The University of Michigan was selected for the 'Gershwin Initiative'

George Gershwin
Flickr user hto2008 Flickr

That's George Gershwin himself at the piano, playing his 1924 composition "Rhapsody in Blue."

As important as George Gershwin and his brother Ira are to the history of American music, there has never been a definitive edition of their joint body of work.

That is about to change.

The entire music world sat up and took great notice of the announcement that the Gershwin family and the University of Michigan have formed a partnership called "The Gershwin Initiative" that will ultimately bring Gershwin's music to students and audiences around the world.

Mark Clague is Associate Professor of Musicology at the U of M School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and he will be the editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
10:45 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Sex, art and carnies: Detroit's Theatre Bizarre

Walking into Theatre Bizarre, this guy is there to greet you.
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

Whips and punk rock and burlesque. It's better with sound.

This past weekend, more than 2,000 people in Detroit attended the annual, one-night-only masquerade called Theatre Bizarre.

The event transforms the city’s Masonic Temple into a dream world of S&M, punk rock, grandmothers in leather and carnival sideshows.

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That's What They Say
8:05 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Veni, vidi, vici: How Latin can help students conquer the SAT

The verbal section of the SAT focuses on English words, but studying Latin and Greek can help students prepare for the test.

On this edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan Professor of English Anne Curzan discuss the origins of academic language in English.

Before the Renaissance, English was considered a rude and unworthy language compared to Latin and French. However, when perceptions of English changed the language needed to adapt.

“People decided English could and should be used for registers like scientific writing, medical writing and high literature,” Curzan explains. To handle these academic registers, English borrowed words from Latin and Greek.  

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Arts & Culture
12:12 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

Detroit pastor reveals gay marriage, steps down

DETROIT (AP) — A Christian leader has resigned from a Detroit church after disclosing she married a woman.

The Detroit Free Press reports ( ) that Bishop Allyson Nelson Abrams stepped down Friday from Zion Progress Baptist Church. The church's first female pastor told congregants Oct. 6 that she married a pastor affiliated with a Washington, D.C., church.

They married in Iowa, where same-sex marriage is legal.

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5:17 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

The Upper Peninsula offers a lot of 'culinary glory'

Michael Stern

It’s time to talk food, and who better to turn to than Michael Stern of

He and his wife Jane drive around the country searching for good food and exploring popular culture, and sharing the news with the rest of us through their writing and conversations on public radio's The Splendid Table.

Michael Stern joined us today to tell us what is cooking in the Upper Peninsula along U.S. Highway 41, starting in Marquette and working up to Copper Harbor.

Michael's piece in  Saveur Magazine is called "Upper Crust: The Culinary Glovry of Michigan's Route 41."

Listen to the full interview above.

That's What They Say
8:05 am
Sun October 13, 2013

The original origin of repetitive redundancies

We’re being redundant to say we got home safe and sound, yet we say it all the time.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan discuss the origins of repetitive expressions.

Phrases like safe and sound are a result of the history of borrowing in the English language.

“Sometimes we get expressions where people want to make sure that other people understand a borrowing,” Curzan explains. In this case, safe was borrowed from French while sound is a native English term. The two words were originally used together for clarity, and the expression stuck to this day.

Part and parcel - is a similar expression. Both words mean an essential part of, but they have different origins—part comes from Latin and parcel comes from French. Since listeners may have only known one of the two words, they were paired together.

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Arts & Culture
2:53 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Artists find inspiration in the land

Dave Fischer's "Metal and Wood Border" sculpture
Dave Fischer

A new art show is the product of an interesting collaboration between artists and land owners. It will be at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor from October 12th until November 10th.

It's sponsored by The Legacy Land Conservancy and it's also a fundraiser for the non-profit. The organizers were hoping to find a way to help people learn more about the protected land that the organization helps secure.

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Arts & Culture
12:31 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

DIA running out of options to avoid partial liquidation

Got $500 million to spare? The DIA is looking.

Editor's note: we added a little more information about why the DIA is in this position in the first place. Basically, Detroit's bankrupt.  

There's a growing list of things the DIA has tried and failed to protect its collection from a partial liquidation, if Detroit decides to sell the art in order to help dig the bankrupt city out of debt. 

DIA leaders have called up big donors.

Pitched to local foundations and corporations.

They’ve even asked other museums as far away as the Middle East to rent some of the DIA’s collections.

So far, nothing's worked.

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Arts & Culture
12:18 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Artpod knows what you need to be reading right now

Good books for fall? We got 'em.

We've got crime novels, an-American-in-Sweden memoir, and a frosty Upper Peninsula novel to warm up chilly evenings.

Grab your pumpkin spice latte, your flannel PJs, and curl up under the covers.

We've got some great Michigan books to keep you company on these chilly fall nights.

Read more