Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Courtesy of Toko Shiiki

This week marks the four year anniversary of the magnitude nine earthquake that hit the coast of Japan and triggered a tsunami, leaving well over 15,000 people dead. The tsunami also caused the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.


Studying archeology gives us a chance to open windows into the lives and beliefs of civilizations that have come before us.

We seem to have an endless fascination with Ancient Egypt. So it’s worth noting that we've got a chance to see Egyptian artifacts discovered in the 1920s and 1930s – objects the public has never had the chance to see before.

The University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archeology is putting on an exhibition, called Death Dogs: The Jackal Gods of Ancient Egypt.


“We all had white bellies and brown arms. We never took off our shirts because we never went to the beach anywhere, despite being residents of the Great Lakes state.”

That’s an excerpt from writer Jim Ray Daniels' collection of short stores set in Warren, Eight Mile High. The collection is on the Library of Michigan’s 2015 Notable Books List and is Daniels’ fifth collection of short stories, though he has also won many prizes and fellowships for his poetry.

Have you ever actually had a bee in your bonnet? Yes?

Now we want to know why you were wearing a bonnet in the first place, but we’ll let that go.

We know you spent hours carefully selecting that bonnet, making sure it complemented your calico dress and brought out the blue in your apron, only to have the whole thing ruined by one nasty little bee.

Flickr user/Mikko Luntiala

ISHPEMING, Mich. (AP) - A popular Upper Peninsula TV show celebrating Finnish culture is reaching its own finish after five decades. WLUC-TV reports Friday that "Finland Calling" will air its final episode on the Marquette station on March 29 - four days after its 53rd anniversary. The show, also known as "Suomi Kutsuu," has had one host: Carl Pellonpaa. He says he thought it would last just a few years until the area's "old Finns die." 

Florida Atlantic university Libraries

This article was updated at 4:18 pm on 3/7/2015

An exhibit opening this weekend at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn touches on themes of freedom of expression. 

Detroit to Baghdad: Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here commemorates the 2007 bombing of the center of Baghdad’s bookseller district. Dozens of people died. It took nearly a year for shops to reopen. 

Michigan Opera Theatre

The Michigan Opera Theatre is performing the opera “Frida” by American composer Robert Xavier Rodriguez. It's about the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Here’s why that’s a smart idea for an arts organization:

1. Tapping into Frida Kahlo’s broad appeal

Lots of people love Frida Kahlo. Latinos love her. Women love her.  Artists love her. Gay people love her.

Punya Mishra

A Michigan State University professor is using ambigrams to explore creative ways of thinking and playing. "Ambigram is a way of writing words so they can be read in many ways." 

Punya Mishra is a Professor of Educational Psychology and Educational Technology. His designs are being displayed at the MSU Museum. The exhibition is called “Deep-Play: Creativity in Math and Art through Visual Wordplay.”

LaughFest image.

Gilda’s LaughFest 2015 kicks off in Grand Rapids this Thursday (March 5).

The 10-day comedic festival will feature stand-up, comedy films, improv, comedy showcases and more all over West Michigan.

The festival was started by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a survivor support group named after the late comic Gilda Radner.

You can see a full list of the events and venues here.

Battle Creek Police patch.
C. Holmes / Flickr

The city of Battle Creek was in the CBS spotlight last night.

The network premiered its new police "dramedy" from Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.

"Battle Creek" focuses on a pair of very  mismatched law enforcement officers: FBI agent Milt Chamberlain, played by Josh Duhamel, and Battle Creek detective Russ Agnew, played by Dean Winters.

Bill Haney has spent many years in communications and book publishing in Michigan. 

His new memoir What They Were Thinking: Reflections of Michigan Difference-Makers tells the stories of the many special Michiganders he's come to know throughout the years.

The book includes profiles of 18 Michigan men and women, including the legendary sportscaster for the Detroit Tigers Ernie Harwell.

That’s What They Say listener Helga has noticed a disturbing trend.

She’s concerned about how often she’s been hearing “off of.” For example, turning “off of” Division St. onto Huron St.

Helga thinks this is redundant, and she’s not alone. “Off of” has received plenty of criticism online and in style guides.  

There are some people though, who just like to watch the world burn.

The University of Michigan fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu and the U of M sorority Sigma Delta Tau took responsibility for trashing hallways and hotel rooms at the Treetops Ski Resort near Gaylord, Michigan.

Their actions resulted in more than $100,000 in damages.

This tweet shows some of the damage:

Flickr user farlane /

Anyone who enjoys Michigan wines should raise a glass in tribute to Len Olson.

Without Olson, Michigan might well not have its 107 fully operating wineries and its 15,000 acres of grapes.

This pioneer of Michigan's wine industry died late last year.


Matt Green said that Grindr, perhaps the best-known location-based gay dating app, is not only about looking for love or hookups. It can also be a platform for finding spiritual, or even religious connections.

Hailing from Ann Arbor, Green is a second-year rabbinical student at New York City’s Hebrew Union College. He’s known as “The Grindr Rabbi” and uses Grindr to reach out to gay Jews in New York City.

Green said it all started when he came back from rabbinical school in Israel last year. He downloaded Grindr and posted to his profile that he was on his way to becoming a Rabbi.

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s summer resort towns like Traverse City, Mackinac and Petoskey live and die by the summer tourist season. Things slow way down in the winter. The streets are a lot quieter, the traffic is gone and many businesses close up shop. But for artists who live in the resort town of Harbor Spring year round, the boom and bust cycle of the seasons is a blessing in disguise.

Rosa Parks is widely known as a civil rights icon. Many of us can pull up that image of her sitting on a bus gazing out the window, her eyes fixed on something just beyond our sight.

A new book, Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons, shares stories that help us understand the woman beyond the historical figure. It was written by her niece, Sheila McCauley Keys, with Eddie B. Allen, Jr.


Writer Bill Loomis calls the stove “America’s first mass-marketed, had-to-have durable good.” According to Loomis, 19th century Detroit was known as “the Stove Capitol of the World.” His story appeared in The Detroit News.

Executive Chef James Rigato at work at The Root
David Lewinski

In a few short years, executive chef James Rigato of The Root in White Lake has made huge waves in the Michigan culinary scene. In 2012, during its very first year of business, The Root won the prestigious "Restaurant of the Year" award from the Detroit Free Press. Since then, Rigato has continued to earn recognition for his work, winning local accolades and competing on the Food Network's show Top Chef.

Croswell Opera House

A theater in Adrian is putting on a production geared for kids with autism.

"The Cat in the Hat" at the Croswell Opera House will try to minimize loud noises or bright lights.

We’d like to stress that That’s What They Say is a safe place for word enthusiasts to confide language pet peeves without fear of ridicule or judgment. 

When host Rina Miller worried her frustration with people who say “gantlet” instead of “gauntlet” made her a Miss Snooty Pants, we assured her, she’s not. 

In fact, when it comes to “gauntlet” vs. “gantlet,” Miller isn’t alone.


Submitted by Carla Milarch

A new professional theater is opening in Ann Arbor that will only put on new plays, with a special focus on building up Michigan playwrights.

Theatre Nova is renting performance space in an old renovated barn on a shoe string budget, says artistic director Carla Milarch.

“We did a little mini fund drive in like the last three weeks of December and were able to raise about $20,000."

close up of an academy award statue
Flickr user Davidlohr Bueso / Flickr

The 87th Academy Awards happens Sunday.

Many would consider an Oscar win to be the pinnacle of success for an actor.

But what of the "Oscar curse?" Does winning that little gold man bring bad luck?

Strategy professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan Michael Jensen says maybe.

Epic Fireworks / Flickr

Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. There are celebrations happening worldwide, and here in Michigan to welcome the lunar New Year and bid farewell to the old.

The Chinese New Year is based off the lunar calendar.

Today on Stateside:

  • Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher joins us to discuss the package of gun bills moving through the State House and Senate. Read more about the bills here.
  • The Penobscot building’s iconic red light is partially burned out, so Todd Farnum is scaling the building to replace some of the bulbs and he joins us today to talk about it.


Since it opened in 1928, the Penobscot Building has been one of the architectural crown jewels of Detroit’s downtown. It was the eighth-tallest building in the world and the tallest in Michigan until the Renaissance Center hotel tower was built in 1977.

Generations of Michiganders knew that the top of this Art Deco tower was marked by a red neon light. But big sections of that light have burned out.

Todd Farnum, owner of Green Light Detroit, plans to climb the 47 story building to fix those lights.

Monks playing dungchen / Dechen Phodrang monastic school, Thimphu

A new study will create a digital sound map of religion in Midwestern cities by collecting sounds of worship – sounds like Gregorian chant, Muslim calls to prayer, and Native American chants.

The Religious Soundmap Project of the Global Midwest is led by Amy DeRogatis, an associate professor of religious studies at Michigan State University, and Isaac Weiner, an assistant professor of comparative studies at Ohio State University.

Flickr user Matt Taylor / Flickr

Albums, polka-dots and teddy bears aren't typically what you see as exterior house decor, but they've become a staple on Heidelberg St. in Detroit as part of the Heidelberg Project. The project is an outdoor community art environment created by Tyree Guyton.

It began when Guyton was a student at the College for Creative Studies in the 1980s. 

After a professor asked him what he wanted to achieve with his work, he had a vision.

"I was able to see using art as a medicine," said Guyton, "to take what was there and to transform it into something very whimsical."

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers are releasing their latest album, Terra Incognita, today. The eccentric six-piece band from Lansing and Kalamazoo often perform wearing fur coats and Hawaiian shirts, and front man Joe Hertler likes to sport rainbow angel wings or the state flag as a cape.

shelf of wine bottles
Flickr user Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr

Can you refrigerate red wine? Or should you? Chief wine and restaurant critic for Hour Detroit Magazine Chris Cook says maybe.

According to Cook, both white and red should be ideally kept at a temperature between 40 and 55 degrees, or the typical temperature found in wine cellars.