Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan icons are among those being singled out for a special honor.

Longtime congressman John Dingell and music legend Stevie Wonder don’t have a lot in common.  But they are being recognized as national treasures.

The White House announced Monday Dingell and Wonder are among the latest recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

The White House press office says Dingell is being honored for his lifetime of public service:

A little over a hundred years ago, Americans created a few more ways to say "yes."

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says "yes" is an old English word that goes back about a thousand years. 

 "At the end of the 19th century, we start to see these new versions of 'yes' show up in the U.S.," Curzan says.  "'Yep' is first cited in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1896. In 1905, we have 'yeah' show up, and in 1906, 'yup,'" Curzan says. 

And today, especially on social media, we see lots of "yeps" and "yups." Do they mean the same thing?

DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts is $1.6 million closer to its $100 million goal for its share of the Grand Bargain.

And it's also closer to having a new gallery to display its extensive collection of Japanese art.

Nineteen Japanese auto suppliers that operate in Michigan, and three Japanese trading companies, are donating a total $2,167,000.

75% of that money will go towards the DIA's Grand Bargain contribution, and 25%  will help the DIA establish a new Japanese art gallery.

Sho Ueda is head of the Japan Business Society of Detroit. 

http://www.laclabellemusic.com/

Lac La Belle is an acoustic duo that's bringing music of Appalachia and early Americana to the Motor City.

Stateside’s Emily Fox sat down with the duo to talk about their latest album.

You can listen to their conversation here:


ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids
Rich Evenhouse / flickr user

The artists who display their works at ArtPrize each year all have a shot at winning the top public or jury vote---and prize.

But there's another possibility: the chance to sell your work to Ripley's Believe It or Not and have it wind up in one of their museums around the world.

Edward Meyer joined us. He's VP of exhibits and archives for the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museums. He's been buying art for Ripley's for three decades.

*Listen to our conversation with Meyer above.

Saying you have "a lot" of something is pretty boring.

But when you say you have "gobs" of fun, you're painting a more interesting word picture.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan did some snooping into the background of the word "gob," and found it's borrowed from old French. 

"It comes into English in the 14th century, referring to a mass or a lump," Curzan says. "You'll see that today as in a gob of spit or a gob of mud."

By the 16th century, gob in the plural was coming to refer to a lot of something, as in gobs of money or gobs of food.

Tracy Samilton/Michigan Radio

The former Yankee Air Museum is getting a new name, to go with its new home in part of the historic bomber plant at Willow Run.

The name, "The National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run," will likely be reduced to a nickname in common parlance over time, says consultant Mike Montgomery.

He says a lot of effort went into salvaging a part of the Willow Run plant before the rest was demolished.

The Jewish Museum / Flickr

Harry Houdini died in Room 401 at Grace Hospital in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

How did this world-famous magician and escape artist come to die in Michigan? John Cox, a Houdini historian, has the answer.

Matt Hallowell / Flickr

 

 

Nearly two decades ago, the Verve Pipe's big hit "The Freshman" swept radio stations across the country. Now the band is out with a new album and will soon play concerts in Michigan. Stateside’s Emily Fox sat down with The Verve Pipe’s lead singer, Brian Vander Ark, to talk about how the band has rebranded itself over the years.

Oli Haukur / Flickr

 

How far would you go to try to make some money?

If you're Annie Edson Taylor of Bay City, you decide to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel!

113 years ago this month, on her 63rd birthday, Annie Edson Taylor became the first recorded person to go over the Falls and live to tell the tale.

Sherman Zavitz is the official historian for the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

We need to talk about our apostrophe problem.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the pesky punctuation defies the rules.

That's mostly because the rules depend on which style guide you use.

"The biggest problem is when a noun ends in s and we want to make it a possessive, which immediately runs us into the question of whether we use apostrophe-s or just an apostrophe," Curzan says.

"For example: James has a house. So is it James' or James's house?"

Some people aesthetically don't like the look of s's, Curzan says. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Can't get enough of zombies, or wish they'd die - again - already?

  Just in time for Halloween, a discussion planned near Detroit's Wayne State University will inform those on either side of undead debate.

  Wayne State Assistant English Professor Chera Kee brings her zombie wisdom Tuesday to the Knowledge on Tap speaker series. She'll present The History, Lore and Growth of Zombie Culture at The Whitney's Ghost Bar.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

You may have heard of ArtPrize. It’s an art competition in Grand Rapids where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock every fall to vote for their favorite art.

ArtPrize’s founder wanted to start a public conversation about art. History Prize founder Mara MacKay wants to start a conversation about history.

“History is a social common denominator for all of us,” MacKay said. “Our endeavor is really to help with an artistic expression and provide the opportunities to remember and articulate the past.”

Bonham

The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn has acquired one of the world’s foremost digital artifacts: an Apple-1 computer.

As the first pre-assembled personal computer ever sold, the Apple-1 marked a key moment at the start of the digital age.

The Henry Ford got one of 50 hand-built in 1976 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak--in fellow co-founder Steve Jobs’s family garage.

Executive Vice President Christian Overland said the Henry Ford’s collection is all about new ideas and innovations--and the Apple-1 fits in perfectly.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Flickr

The DIA was left with egg on its face when news broke of double digit pay increases and $50,000 bonuses doled out to each of its top two executives in 2012, just as the DIA got voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties to say "yes" to a special millage to keep its doors open.

Two years ago, Graham Beal, whose compensation is over half a million dollars a year, got a 13% raise. Annmarie Erickson, the DIA's Chief Operating Officer, got a 36% raise.

Now it seems the firestorm of protest has pushed the DIA to re-think this whole "raise and bonus thing."

Heidelberg Project

A new report lists public art in Detroit and Toledo among the most endangered in the United States.

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit and the works of Greek-American artist Athena Tacha in Toledo are on the list compiled by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. The group works to preserve and protect notable U.S. landscapes.

NPR Presents: Water ±

November 19, 2014, 8 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit

Click here for tickets

 On November 19th at 8 p.m., Michigan Radio will welcome NPR Presents: Water± to the Fillmore Theatre in Detroit. This live, journalism-based theatrical event explores the world’s delicate and volatile relationship with water.

Directed by Tony Award Winner Kenny Leon, NPR Presents: Water± combines the excitement of live performance with the substance of NPR journalism — compelling stories from NPR coverage interwoven with imagery, information, music and dramatic storytelling by an award-winning cast.

"NPR Presents Water± brings together NPR's journalistic rigor with the artistic and poetic nature of theatrical storytelling, amplifying local stories about water issues that are significant to each region and have a global resonance," said Indira Etwaroo, executive producer and director of NPR Presents.

The show will start an eight-city tour on October 25 in New Orleans. The tour will also visit New York, Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco, Cleveland and other cities before coming to Detroit on November 19.

When some people are “jury-rigging,” others are “jerry-rigging.”

So who’s right?  Historically, “jury-rigging” is correct, according to University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

"It comes from a jury mast, which was a mast on the ship that was makeshift – constructed quickly," Curzan says.

"Exactly where the jury comes from, we're not sure. Some people say maybe it's a shortening of 'injury.' But 'jury-rigged' shows up in the 19th century."

Animals pop up all over the English language – and at times when we're really not talking about animals. Here's one: "The elephant in the room."  

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the phrase appears to go back to the 1930s, but didn't mean what it means today. 

"It referred to something that is obvious, but not necessarily relevant to what we're talking about," Curzan says. 

People will be watching their old home movies, all over the world, on "Home Movie Day." The big event happens Saturday, October 18th. Organizers call it "an annual, worldwide celebration of amateur films."

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