Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

How to create a symphony of Detroit

Jul 27, 2015
Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Tod Machover is a composer and professor from MIT.  It’s his job to create a Symphony for Detroit and he’s asking Detroiters for help. Right now he’s working with people living in Detroit and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to compose what he’s calling “Symphony in D.”


We have alot to talk about today!

Wait...is it alot or a lot? My auto correct is saying a lot, but my heart is saying alot. What is going on here?!  

A lot, as one word instead of two, has a bit of a history to it, going back to Old English, says University of Michigan English Professor Ann Curzan.

It goes back to the Old English word hlot – a word you really got to gather a lot of air to say. 

“That combination hl was possible in Old English; a loaf of bread was a hlaf,” says Curzan. 

Ara Howrani

Jill Jack has been making albums for more than two decades. This year she was named "Americana Songwriter of the Year" at the Detroit Music Awards.

She will be performing at the Ark in Ann Arbor as part of the venue's 50th anniversary Made in Michigan showcase happening on Saturday, July 25.  

Jack talks with Stateside's Mercedes Mejia about her first gig at The Ark, about her latest music and how giving up playing at bars actually helped her career.

Historical Association of South Haven

The Titanic and the Lusitania. Those ships are known around the world because of the horrific loss of life when they sank in the Atlantic.

But do we know the name Eastland?

It was 100 years ago this week when the steamer Eastland capsized at its dock in the Chicago River. 844 passengers died in that disaster and the majority of the dead were under the age of 25.

Wikimedia Commons

Detroit turns 314 years old this week, and the Detroit Drunken Historical Society is throwing a birthday party to celebrate the folklore of Detroit's French past.

The birthday celebration takes place this Saturday at the Jam Handy Building from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Michael Hacala

The music industry has changed a lot over the past half-century, but a music venue in Ann Arbor that focuses on folk music has been able to survive through all those changes.

As The Ark celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, its leadership is now looking to the next generation of folk musicians to keep the venue around for the next 50 years.


A scene from Roger Corman's 1961 comedy horror "Creature from the Haunted Sea"
flickr user poppet with a camera / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

This year’s Traverse City Film Festival will include a very special moment.

Legendary producer, director, actor, and screenwriter Roger Corman will receive the Michigan Filmmaker Award.

Shelly Sulser

What makes someone want to live on an island?

Loreen Niewenhuis pondered this question in her book, A 1,000 Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure, which recounts her journey traveling to many of the islands in each of the Great Lakes. This is the third in her Great Lakes Adventure series and the last time she spoke with us she had just completed hiking the shorelines of all five Great Lakes.

Flickr user farlane / http://michrad.io/1lxrdjm

Could low-alcohol wines that still pack full, rich flavor be on the horizon for Michigan?

HOUR Detroit Magazine's chief wine and restaurant critic Chris Cook says Michigan's flavor patterns do better with less alcohol, but balancing the two can be difficult.

Hazen Schumacher. / Michigan Radio

Sad news for jazz lovers this weekend. 

Radio legend Hazen Schumacher died yesterday at the age of 88.

The Michigan broadcaster was known nationally as host of the "Jazz Revisited" program.

Today we  will be discussing pooh and all its forms. Not Winnie the Pooh or the other type of pooh you are thinking. No, no. We are talking all about exclamations of today and yesteryear.

Although many of us do not shout out “pooh” when faced with something shocking or aggravating, University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan does.

Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley perform "Lost Voices" at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational
screenshot


Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley’s performance poem “Lost Voices” took third place at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

Speaking in each other’s voices, the two Eastern Michigan University students tear into reproductive rights, racism, white privilege, and more.

Street artist Shepard Fairey arraigned in Detroit

Jul 14, 2015

Famed street artist Shepard Fairey was arraigned in a Detroit court today for illegally tagging Detroit buildings.

Fairey came to the city in May after his street art was commissioned for multiple downtown locations. Highlighting his work was an 18-story mural on the side of Bedrock Real Estate Services, a Campus Martius building that belongs to Cleveland Cavaliers owner and businessman Dan Gilbert.

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Detroit is listening to Peezy, Ann Arbor to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, and Grand Rapids is sticking to Top 40 country. 

Bridge photo by Bill McGraw

This story was written by Bill McGraw and first appeared in Bridge Magazine as part of our Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

No matter how well-preserved certain neighborhoods remained through the decades of Detroit’s decline, residents could always gauge the city’s overall troubles by the condition of their local park.

Courtesy of the author

The power of friendship. It cuts through time and distance. The kind of friendship where, even if you haven't seen each other for a long stretch of time, you pick right up as if no time had passed. The kind of friendship that rides through life's ups and downs.

Numbers, unlike silly language, make sense. They have rigid rules and you can always understand the carefully constructed patterns. Eighteen is related to eight, fourteen is related to four. Umpteenth is related to...wait. What's an umpty?

“Umpty is an indefinite number,” says University of Michigan English Professor Ann Curzan. “Usually a large number, goes back to 1904. It represents, apparently, the dash in Morse Code.”

This section of the Mitchell Map, circa 1755, shows the area that is now Michigan
flickr user FotoGuy / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Just what is the Lost Peninsula?

Don Faber tells us it’s a little strip of land in the very southeast corner of Michigan.

And here’s the kicker: The only way to access it is through Toledo.

Faber tells us that when Michigan and Ohio were still young states, they each performed a geographical survey to determine their boundaries.

Ohio’s survey placed Toledo in Ohio. Michigan’s placed it, well, in Michigan.

What followed was the Toledo War, a short conflict that ended in military stalemate.

Robert Sestok surveys the collection of his work he's installed on a vacant lot off of the Lodge.
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

A tall man in most circles, Cass Corridor artist Robert Sestok is dwarfed next to his own artwork. His hulking metal sculptures are welded from urban scrap and transformed into undulating towers of shapes. More than a dozen of Sestok's works rise over the Lodge Freeway, on a previously vacant lot on Alexandrine Street in Detroit.

She Writes Press

When describing the previous ten years of her life, writer Kelley Clink explains, “Being a sister to him made me who I was. Losing him has made me who I am.”

Her brother's suicide in 2004 sent her on a journey of guilt, of mourning, of realizing that her brother is gone. And the feeling that she may be to blame.

Clink turned this emotional journey into a new memoir, A Different Kind of Same.

Chris White

Mike Ellison says while he was born in Ethiopia, he was transformed in to an artist in Detroit. You can hear that fusion of cultures in his music. A lot of it combines traditional African music with modern hip hop. He uses his music and performances to raise awareness for causes both in Ethiopia and in Detroit.

Ellison spoke with Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox about how he uses his music as an education and community outreach tool. He gave his perspective on Africa and how it helped shape his identity, and also spoke about current racial issues in the U.S.


Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the F8 keynote in 2008
flickr user Brian Solis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It’s been almost a decade since Facebook was opened to the general public.

Many initially saw it as a ripoff of then-powerhouse social networking platform MySpace, but since then it’s grown to take the top spot as ruler of the social media kingdom.

Some will argue, for better or for worse, that Facebook is now a permanent piece of our cultural landscape.

The craft beer industry in the U.S. is on the rise. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales in the states grew 17.6% in 2014, and the number of craft breweries in Michigan has increased 51% since 2011.

With so many people jumping into the game, how’s a beer supposed to stand out?

Michigan Photography

In an era when newspapers are struggling, the Michigan Daily has been going strong since 1890. 

The student-run newspaper at the University of Michigan has produced eight Pulitzer Prize winners and many others have gone on to make their mark in journalism and writing.

9-11 veterans: Jamaine Atkins, Sherman Powell, Russ Dotson (top, L-R), Cassie Michael, Curtis Gibson, Andrew Hunter (middle), Eric Fretz, Cody Barnhart, Brendan Lejeune (bottom).
Mark Brush, Paula Friedrich, Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There used to be a time in our country's history when many people had a connection to someone serving in the Armed Forces - people had a brother, a cousin, an uncle or an aunt who served in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam.

Today, having that connection to the military is not as common. Volunteers fill the military's ranks, and civilians have grown farther apart from those who put their lives on the line.

All this week, we're bringing you stories about Michigan's post 9/11 veterans - stories about what life has been like since their return home.

Sometimes we wake up on the wrong side of bed, and most of us find the sunshine the next day. But an ancient fellow by the name of Richard Grant White seemed to always be a bit cranky, and he took his crankiness out on language.

There were many words and phrases that White griped about in his 18th century grammar book, Words and Their Uses Past and Present.

World War II ended 70 years ago in September. Here are three stories from veterans who live in Michigan.

We'll start with a love story.

Bill Berkley, U.S. Navy, Pacific

Bill Berkley was just a kid without a care in Paducah, Kentucky until December 7, 1941.

“I was 14 years old, but I can remember that day just like it was yesterday. We had been playing football and I got home and mom was crying,” Berkley says, recalling when he first learned of the attack and the death of so many sailors.

Morel mushrooms spring from the ground in Michigan.
State of Michigan

This next story is about a late-night call from a dealer and a sketchy interaction near the Leelanau Peninsula. 

Hour Detroit’s restaurant critic and wine writer Chris Cook tells us about an exhilarating experience he recently had that landed him with a stash of morels.

One night last month my wife and I ventured out from our rented Leelanau Peninsula cottage to a gathering spot where we heard the fried chicken reigns supreme.

Courtesy of Phil Stagg

You’ve heard of storm chasers and tornado chasers.

Phil Stagg is a waterfall chaser.

He runs a business in Cadillac, but his real passion lies in taking photographs of Michigan.

He’s especially interested in the hundreds of waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula.

Flickr user Joey Lax-Salinas / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

"Poets at the Grand Hotel" is a chance for Mackinac Island visitors to take time out from soaking up the sights, riding bikes, and eating fudge to explore poetry.

Every Wednesday morning in July and August, poet Jim Lenfestey presides over a weekly poetry gathering in the Audubon Room at The Grand Hotel.

This is the 10th year of the series and it's being marked by Lenfestey's latest book, Seeking The Cave.

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