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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Chuk Nowak / Courtesy of Detroit Public Theatre

After lots of praise from critics in New York, a play set in Detroit, written by someone from Detroit is coming to Detroit. The play is “Skeleton Crew,” and it’s beginning a four-week run at the Detroit Public Theatre this weekend.

The play “is a peek into the world of the auto industry,” said Dominique Morisseau, the playwright who is originally from Detroit. “This is about a small fictional stamping plant,” one of the last in the city. The play focuses on a group of workers who are threatened by plant closure.

Michael Bolden / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Some people are enthused about what’s happening in the central business districts in Detroit. New pedestrian areas in downtown, old buildings being rehabbed, new art installations, new restaurants, boutiques, and other retail opening up and down Woodward and Cass.

And some people are hopeful that eventually, someday, some of that development will spill over into the neighborhoods. But some leading design people say now is the time to look at these neighborhoods.

Stateside 9.26.2017

Sep 26, 2017

Today on Stateside we discuss what white people can do about racism in America and we hear how a new package of bills could mean big cuts to Michigan's high auto insurance premiums.

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

In Michigan, it’s not just students who mark the start of a new year in September.

Encore Michigan Editor-in-Chief David Kiley said local theaters will roll out the upcoming season’s programming this fall. He joined Stateside today for Theater Talk.

Courtesy of the University Musical Society

Editor's note (Oct. 2): A quote from VanBiesen's interview has been expanded below in order to clarify a point the guest was making about the role of the arts in society. 

The University Musical Society recently welcomed its 7th president, and he’s already contributing to a season of what he calls socially conscious theater.

Matthew VanBesien, formerly the director of the New York Philharmonic, says he wants the UMS “to help spark dialogue and help move it forward around sometimes very difficult issues.”

Courtesy of Wayne State University

What can white people do about racism in America?

Art is supposed to have a message – at least that's what several folks attending the annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize festival are saying.

The ninth annual ArtPrize festival officially starts today in downtown Grand Rapids. There are exhibits in more than 170 venues throughout the downtown area.

Several of the exhibits have politically charged messages at this year's open art competition.

One such piece,"Immeasurable Numbness" by Rachel Nanzer, illustrates the polarizing messages of "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter."

image of sunken ship
Becky Kagan Schott

Standing on the shores of the Great Lakes on a sunny late-summer day, it’s virtually impossible to think of those sparkling waves as a death trap.

But divers have seen what those angry lakes can do to a ship.

Becky Kagan Schott, noted underwater photographer, joined Stateside to discuss what it’s like to document these untouched wrecks.

groupthing / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

This past Sunday, Detroit Free Press music critic Brian McCollum looked at three white rap artists. They all launched their careers in Southeast Michigan in the 1990s. Since then, they've built national and international fan bases.

They're also on deeply divided sides of the political spectrum. We're talking about Eminem, Kid Rock, and ICP – Insane Clown Posse.

Dzanc Books, 2017

"Poetry is good food."

That's the lesson award-winning writer Peter Markus has been teaching to kids in Detroit for years.

He taught creative writing in the Detroit Public Schools and he is the senior writer with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, which places writers in public schools to hold creative writing workshops.

Stateside 9.18.2017

Sep 18, 2017

Today on Stateside, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin says the White House is gutting funding for programs that help people sign up for health care. And Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon explains why the red zone was kryptonite for the Wolverine offense this weekend.

Four soldiers sit at a table in South Vietnam, 1972
Manhhai / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

The Vietnam War spanned more than a decade, from the arrival of U.S. support troops in 1961 to the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. It’s a conflict that remains one of the most painful chapters in United States history.

Now, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and his co-director Lynn Novick look back on this period in a ten-part documentary series The Vietnam War.

There’s a rule that makes a clear distinction between “I shall” and “I will.” However, we as speakers don’t seem to respect that line.

Do you know where that line is? Actually, here’s a better question: Did you know this rule existed?

We found out from a fourth grader.

 

 

 


two tiger shaped robot lamps
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Cre Fuller was already at work in the garage behind his Ypsilanti house when I arrived. I had seen photos of his work online, but I was not quite ready for the display set up in the garage. It’s great eye candy. 

"I make robot-inspired sculptures. You know, I try to make them look like vintage robots from the future," Fuller said, glancing around at probably 40 of his creations in the workspace. He says he usually has a few more than that on hand.

Stateside 9.13.2017

Sep 13, 2017

What happens if a mysterious company becomes the Monsanto of marijuana? That answer comes today on Stateside. And, we hear former Governor James Blanchard explain why he supports Gretchen Whitmer for governor.

street performance
Courtesy of the National Theatre of Ghana

 

The magic of theater is coming to Michigan in a new, unique form. Starting today through Sunday, the University of Michigan Center for World Performance Studies hosts the National Theatre of Ghana

The centerpiece of this residency is a series of open-air performances of the Tennessee Williams one-act play 10 Blocks on the Camino Real. Written in 1948, it’s the story of an American sailor struggling to survive in a poor foreign town.

Stateside 9.12.2017

Sep 12, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear state House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, break down the House of Representatives' legislative priorities for this session. And, we learn why Howell is considered the KKK capital of Michigan.

Courtesy of Buddy Moorehouse

The scenes of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, including the Ku Klux Klan, led many to think about these groups in our state.

Michigan Radio listener Zachary Jones from Ypsilanti was ahead of the game. He submitted the following question to our MI Curious team back in June:

Why is Livingston County considered the KKK capital of Michigan?

Courtesy of Encore Michigan

Theater around Michigan this week ranges from a modern French farce to a show about an exotic dancer’s death in Detroit.

To talk about those shows and everything in between, David Kiley of Encore Michigan joined Stateside for today’s rendition of "Theater Talk."

Stateside 9.11.2017

Sep 11, 2017

Today on Stateside, we revisit the day Muhammad Ali went to Ground Zero. And, we learn why one researcher think's Amazon's second headquarters competition is a "red herring."

Drawing of the World Trade Center obtained from Yamasaki & Associates.
Archives of Michigan

Most of us remember where we were 16 years ago today when the twin towers came down in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The buildings, once a towering representation of New York's financial district, became a massive pile of concrete and twisted metal in less than two hours.

The time has come again for University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan to offer her opinion on another round of language disputes.

Every September the editors of the American Heritage Dictionary send a ballot to panel members, asking about usage issues.

Curzan and around 200 others are tasked with voting "yea" or "nay" on the way we've been using words like "cohort" and "hoi polloi."


Nic Morgan holding drink
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It’s hard to find. The address is 80 Ottawa Avenue NW in Grand Rapids.

But unless someone has told you about it, you probably would never realize that once you take those concrete steps down from the sidewalk, enter a door into an entryway, turn your back to the pizza place, and enter yet another door, you’ve arrived.

This is SideBar. It’s a tiny 18 seat bar where people who love craft cocktails gather.

Stateside 9.7.2017

Sep 7, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear about a bitter brotherly feud, and how Kellogg's Corn Flakes reimagined American breakfast. And, we learn about Detroit's "Femology," a collaborative space tailored to businesswomen.

Stateside 9.6.2017

Sep 6, 2017

As state lawmakers get back to work, we learn why auto insurance and pension reform top the Lansing agenda on today's Stateside. Also, an emphasis on STEM and skilled trades is all the rage these days--but what about the value of a liberal arts education?

Author Oummu Kabba and her father Brima Kabba
Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

It’s never too early to begin following your passion.

That’s true for ten-year-old Oummu Kabba of Kentwood, one of Michigan’s youngest published authors. Schuler Books of Grand Rapids has published four of her books already.

Seth Thompson/Revue​

 

Each month, Stateside checks in with John Sinkevics, the editor and publisher of Local Spins, a site that covers West Michigan’s music scene. Sinkevics discusses new artists, their backstories and what makes their music great.

Recently, two listeners, including one named Ruth, asked us what's going on with "ruthless." For starters, a ruthless action is one that's clearly without ruth, but can an action also be full of ruth?

The answer is  yes, something can be ruthful, but here's a better question -- have you ever actually used that word?

There's no need to be ruthful if your answer is no. In the Corpus of Contemporary American English, there are over 2,000 instances of "ruthless" and zero instances of "ruthful."

But ruthful wasn't always such a pariah.


picture of kelly church holding cradle board
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Soon, the entire park-like area we’re in will echo with the sound of pounding, metal against wood. It’s nearly a ringing or gong-like sound.

But first, Jeff Strand strips the bark from a black ash tree log. Then he takes out a knife and scores the end of it, a sort of pie wedge cut.

“So that the undergrowth rings have relief, so they’ll come up out of it as I’m crushing the growth rings. The ax is for crushing the fibers in between the growth rings and when you do that, they release,” Strand explains.

Stateside 8.31.2017

Aug 31, 2017

Today on Stateside, we learn Michigan has the highest ratio of robots to workers in the country, and what that could mean for the humans in our state. We also learn if the small town of Benzonia is ready for gluten-free buckwheat pancakes, and how rule changes and safer equipment could save football from itself.

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