Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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DETROIT – Director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams will join the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for a special benefit concert on June 14.

Williams will conduct the DSO as it performs selections from some of his most popular scores, including "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," "Jaws," "E.T.," "Indiana Jones," "Schindler's List" and more.

Spielberg will join Williams to host the second half of the evening. He'll present selections from his decades-long artistic collaboration with Williams, including selected film clips projected on an oversized screen above the orchestra.

Tickets will be available starting April 14 for the concert, which will benefit the Detroit Symphony. Both Spielberg and Williams are donating their services for the event.

Williams last conducted the DSO in 2008.

The culture and ideas that surround issues of kids and well-being are just as important to the public discussion as the daily realities. Head over to State of Opportunity for a review of Short Term 12, a feature film about at-risk kids in a care home and the adults that try to teach them how to cope. It's just out on DVD, at your public library, Netflix, etc.

Archeologists studying a wooden beam pulled from northern Lake Michigan this summer can't say whether it is a piece of the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes or a post from an old fishing net. The group managing the project is close to issuing a report to the state archeologist, but it won’t reach any firm conclusion.

Read on to discover the evidence that points to each conclusion.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

What do Olympic ice dancers who train in Michigan have to do with Michael Lee?

He's a professional mime and physical acting coach. Lee has worked with 10 of the 24 figure skating ice dance teams at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. That includes Michigan natives Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who won a gold medal this year. Lee also works with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, who won silver. 

“These are professional skaters," said Lee. "They move beautifully, but at the beginning they don’t move as if they are performing, and that’s what I’m about."

Lee helps the skaters become performers by teaching them how to animate their bodies. He himself learned miming from the late Marcel Marceau, an acclaimed French mime. 

To learn more about Lee click here.

Watch as Lee explains the physical acting techniques he shows the ice dancers.

Incentive OK'd for filming in southwest Michigan

Feb 23, 2014
Middle Distance/FB

NEW BUFFALO – A movie filming in southwestern Michigan has been approved for a state incentive.

The Michigan Film Office says "The Middle Distance" is being awarded $39,000 on $145,000 of projected in-state expenditures.

The movie is set to film this month in New Buffalo, Three Oaks and Grand Beach. It's to feature local diners and landscapes.

"The Middle Distance" director Patrick Underwood says the community support for the film "has been overwhelming."


It seems like it should be straightforward to figure out if the subject of your sentence is singular or plural, but sometimes it’s just not.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan joins Weekend Edition Host Rina Miller to discuss subject-verb agreement issues.

If the subject of a sentence is you or someone you know, the corresponding verb is sometimes singular and sometimes plural. Which is correct?

The appropriate verb may depend on the sentence’s meaning. If the subject implies either you or someone you know, but not both, the verb should be singular. If the subject may refer to both you and someone you know, a plural verb is acceptable.

“It gets a little more complicated if one of those nouns is singular and one of them is plural,” Curzan warns. “Then you employ the proximity rule.”

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As the world watches the U.S. Olympic hockey teams in Sochi, they’re getting a good look at some real, made-in-Michigan artistry.

The masks worn by goaltenders Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard, and Bianne McLaughlin were all painted by artist Ray Bishop at his shop in Grand Blanc.  

“I started painting masks mostly for young players,” said Bishop. “My first professional mask was for the Detroit Vipers.”

He worked his way up from there. This is not the first time Bishop's handiwork has been featured in the Olympics. He painted goalie masks in 2002, 2006, and 2010.

For this year's games, Miller’s mask features Uncle Sam holding the Sochi torch. Howard's has a stars-and-stripes pattern. Brianne’s mask sports the shield from the U.S. jerseys. 

“It really just gives you goose bumps ... to think how many people actually can see a piece of artwork that you’ve done," Bishop said. "I can say I’m pretty fortunate to have the opportunity to do it.”

You can listen to our conversation with Bishop below.


Mike Perini / Michigan Radio

Vinyl records. The sight and sound of an LP can unleash torrents of sentiment and memories for those who grew up dropping that needle onto a shiny record.

And if you've grown up only downloading your music digitally, you need to know that there’s nothing finer than wandering through the aisles of a record store – a record store like Dodds Records in Grand Rapids, which has served music lovers for some 30 years.

With a new owner who is committed to keeping the love of records alive, the future for the venerable Grand Rapids business is looking bright.

Listen to the full interview above.

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National leaders are recognizing Detroit’s food movement. Last week it was announced that the federal government is providing $150,000 to support local food cultivation in the Detroit area. The money will mostly go to farmers in the city to help fund infrastructure for growing crops.

Detroit has become a hub for urban farming, but the city is also home to a host of hidden and amazing restaurants. Let’s take a tour of those restaurants with writer Bill Loomis. He wrote the book, "Detroit Food: Coney Dogs to Farmers Markets." He joined us today to give us some recommendations.

Melanie Kruvelis / Michigan Radio

By now you've hopefully recovered from your Valentine's weekend.

Maybe you spent it with a hot date, or just curled up in pajamas binge-watching "House of Cards."

In Detroit, you could have checked out an art show about love and heartbreak. It's made up entirely of people's breakup emails, sext messages, tween diary entries, and love letters.

And if that sounds cringe-worthy, you're right.

Anonymous submissions, from prison letters to breakup emails 

Angelo Henderson/Facebook

DETROIT (AP) - A medical examiner's spokesman says Angelo Henderson, Pulitzer prize-winning Detroit journalist, radio host and co-founder of a prominent community patrol group, has died.

Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office spokesman Bill Mullan said Henderson died Saturday in Pontiac of natural causes but no other details were available. He was 51.

The expression for all intents and purposes has become, for some folks, an expression about purposes that are intensive.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan and Host Rina Miller discuss eggcorns, or new expressions developed when the original sayings are misheard or misinterpreted.

Linguists at the Language Log coined the term eggcorn to describe these modified phrases in 2003.

“The term eggcorn comes from the reshaping of the word acorn,” Curzan explains. “When people hear acorn, some people reinterpret it as eggcorn because it’s kind of shaped like an egg and it has a seed.”

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

What discussions and conversations should we be having around Michigan that we are veering away from?

What's the price we're paying for not opening up and talking about hot-button issues like racism, poverty, food justice, LGBT rights, and so much more?

That's what our next guest asked herself, and that led her to co-found Deep Dive Detroit. Its mission is to "create a safe place for uncomfortable conversations between disparate groups."

Co-founder Lauren Hood joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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A new face recently joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and made plenty of headlines when she did.

Comic Sasheer Zamata became the first black female cast member of SNL in five years, since the departure of Maya Rudolph. She was discovered through a talent search that focused strictly on black female comedians.

What does this extra attention mean for other black women who want to make us laugh?

One of those women is Detroiter Satori Shakoor, actor, writer, comedian and creator of "The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers." She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

What does your winter look like?

Bonfires, snowsuits, and a ton of really spicy food to keep warm? Maybe it's something less picturesque, like wearing long underwear and four pairs of socks. 

We are asking listeners across the country (and around the world) to show us what winter looks like.

Michigan Radio is joining Southern California Public Radio (@KPCC on Instagram) and NPR (@NPR) as a contributing member station to the Public Square project. Check out previous themes for the project here

The acronym YOLO has gotten a new lease on life with the "YOLO flip."

This week on That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan reveal words to know for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.   

YOLO, an acronym that means “you only live once,” was popularized in 2011. Now the acronym has taken on a new meaning with the YOLO flip, a snowboarding term for the “cab double cork 1440.”

Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov, also known as I-Pod, named the move after landing it at the 2013 X-Games.

Detroit Institute of Arts / Detroit Institute of Arts

A 17th century painting recently discovered in suburban Detroit is now on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

DIA Executive Director of Collection Strategies and Information Salvador Salort-Pons spotted “The Infant Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness,” a painting by Spanish artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo last year while lecturing at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester.

The painting, which experts date to 1670, was purchased by Alfred and Matilda Wilson – the original owners of Meadow Brook Hall – in 1926. Matilda, the widow of Dodge co-founder John Francis Dodge, was a big art collector. She also co-founded the Oakland campus of Michigan State University, which is now Oakland University.

As part of a deal with OU, DIA conservators allowed art students at the university to get a rare glimpse of the entire conservation process. Though the museum often brings in high-school and college students, it's not often a group gets to watch a treatment from start to finish.

"Students were able to follow a full treatment and do this in more depth," Alfred Ackerman said, head of conservation at the museum. 

Andrew Kopietz

If we could transport ourselves back to Detroit at its prime, we might barely recognize the city: The streets bustled with a population of nearly two million, lights shone in the storefronts, and the neighborhoods were full.

Here how Detroit looked in the 1920s:

Today, the story is well known.

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Can art and history change the tone of the conversation in the pro-choice movement?

Artist and activist Heather Ault believes they can.

Heather is the founder of 4000 Years for Choice. She's created an art series that presents abortion and contraception as a part of human history, a history of women seeking to control their reproduction.

Her posters are currently on exhibit at the Lane Hall Gallery on the University of Michigan campus.

Heather Ault joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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In 1985 Jerry Sprague quit his job and decided to follow his passion. That passion is music.

But, Sprague isn’t the only person in his family with that passion.

He’s is in a band with his grandsons.

*Listen to the interview above.

Maybe polar vortex has not been a welcome addition to all of our vocabularies, but there are some other great weather words out there.

In this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss regional words to describe the weather.

Depending on where we live, we use different names for a "light snow." According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, some speakers call this a skiff or a skift. However, in the Midwest and on the East Coast, people are more likely to use the terms dusting or flurry.

user: Eamonn / Flickr

The Ark started the Ann Arbor Folk Festival  in 1977. In nearly all of the past lineups, you'll find big names and local artists.

The festival is happening this weekend at Hill Auditorium. Both the Friday and Saturday shows are sold out. 

So, if you didn't get tickets in time, or you can't afford them, or the roads are too bad, or you had no idea that this existed, or you are lazy, you can listen to all the artists here. 

(I've constructed this list based on the list the Ark released, which they say is subject to change.)

Here's what you can hear on Friday:

Pearl and the Beard

The 37th Ann Arbor Folk Festival kicks off this Friday. This year’s celebrated national acts include artists like Iron and Wine, and Neko Case. But the festival also features local bands. 

One band is The Appleseed Collective, based in Ann Arbor.

As part of Michigan Radio's Songs from Studio East, Stateside’s Mercedes Mejia sat down with the group to talk about their new album "Young Love" and hear a live studio performance.

Failure-Lab / YouTube

Jessica Care Moore is an internationally renowned poet, publisher, activist, playwright, and frankly a flat-out rock star.

She is a five-time "Showtime at the Apollo" winner and has been featured on the album "Nastradamus" as well as Def Poetry Jam.

This is the story that Jessica shared at Failure:Lab Detroit on Nov. 21, 2013, at the Detroit Opera House.

Navy Hale Keiki School / flickr.com

Last year, Lansing public school officials laid off all their elementary art and music teachers.

The move got national attention from outraged educators and arts groups.

Now, almost a year after the layoffs were announced, Lansing students and teachers are getting used to the new normal.

The pronoun who is for people and the pronoun that is for things, except when it’s the other way around.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss the confusing usage of who, that, and which.

Students are often taught that is for inanimate objects while who is for people. However, standard grammar books allow some variation on this rule.

In fact, the word that has referred to people for hundreds of years.

“You can go back to early translations of the Lord’s Prayer” Cruzan describes. “You will get ‘Our father, thou that art in heaven.” In this example, that refers to a person.

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It's commonly accepted that the American Civil War began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12, 1861.

But some make a case for the start of the Civil War being the October 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry by abolitionist John Brown. It was his failed attempt to spark an armed slave revolt and it ended with John Brown being hanged for treason in December 1859.

The story of John Brown, the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Detroit is the subject of a new documentary called "Madman or Martyr."

The documentary will premiere on Jan. 31 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

Filmmaker and actor Luke Jaden produced "Madman or Martyr." Jaden is from Clarkston in Oakland County and he is 17 years old.

Carol Mull is a founding member of the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission, an author and scholar of Underground Railroad history in Michigan.

They both joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

SpecialKRB / flickr

Think, for just a moment, of the many ways we capture moments of our lives and share them with everyone.

Snap a photo on your smartphone and in seconds, it's up on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram for friends, family and followers to see.

But what is going to happen to those moments and memories someday in the future when Instagram or Tumblr or Facebook or Flickr no longer exist?

Bentley Historical Library

The University of Michigan celebrates the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by holding annual symposiums on campus.

But it seems no one knew of King’s visit to campus in 1962 until an enterprising person at the Bentley Historical Library combed through their collection.

The Michigan Daily picks up the story from here (Haley Goldberg wrote about the discovery in 2012):

If the whole comprises the parts, it seems like the parts should not be able to comprise the whole.

This week on That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan take on the verb comprise used to mean compose.

In the 15th century, comprise meant “to seize” or “to comprehend.” From there, comprise took on the definition “to include.” With this meaning, a big part comprises smaller parts.

However, by the 18th century, comprise also meant compose, allowing small things to comprise a larger thing. Ever since this change, the two words have often been used interchangeably.

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