Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Flickr user Lotus Carroll / Flickr

The South by Southwest conference taking place in Austin, Texas right now showcases some of the most creative, leading-edge thinkers, musicians, writers and artists.

Joe Voss with Creative Many Michigan, previously known as ArtServe Michigan, wants to make sure Michigan's creativity is on display there. The organization's mission is to develop creative people, places and an economy that will boost the state.


 In the spirit of the Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day, let’s peek back through their history in Detroit, where the Corktown neighborhood wears its Irish heritage proudly.

In an article for the Detroit News entitled, Irish helped form Detroit for centuries, Bill Loomis sifts through the several “waves” of Irish immigrants to Detroit, the first of which came in the early 1800s.

We're humans, and we don't always get along, but there are degrees of disagreement – and some colorful words to describe them, like "brouhaha."

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the word comes from French.

Flickr user Marion Doss / Flickr

One of the oldest structures in Detroit is being moved. The house, built in 1837, is the former home of Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant's residency in Detroit began when he was a young army officer when he was fresh out of West Point and transferred to the Detroit Barracks, according to Dan Austin of the Detroit Free Press and

Chuck Anderson / Courtesy of The Oblivion Project

The Oblivion Project is dedicated to performing the music of Astor Piazzolla, the late Argentine composer who is regarded as a "godfather" of Tango Nuevo.

The group is appearing throughout the Midwest, including a performance at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor on March 14, this coming Saturday night.

Cellist, band leader and Ann Arbor native Derek Snyder describes Tango Nuevo, saying, "It expands and goes in a lot more directions than traditional dance tango."


As much as we seem to love checking our Facebook feeds, the result may not be what you’d expect.

Ethan Kross from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan recently published some of his findings involving Facebook in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Institute of Arts is debuting a new exhibition about the year Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo spent in Detroit in 1932. It opens Sunday, March 15, but Michigan Radio got a sneak peek at a media preview.

The exhibition is the brainchild of DIA director Graham Beal and curator Mark Rosenthal. This will be the last major exhibition for Beal before he retires this summer. 

Mercedes Mejia

While best known for her self-portraits portraying death and dark subjects, Frida Kahlo also had a love for life, and she loved to cook.

The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit exhibit will open at The Detroit Institute of the Arts this month. In the same spirit, three Detroit-area chefs are paying tribute to the renowned Mexican artists. They’re guided by a book written by Guadalupe Rivera, Diego Rivera’s daughter, called Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo.

Flickr user ashleystreet / Flickr

This month, the Detroit Institute of Arts will unveil a major exhibition focusing on two of the most fascinating and influential artists of the 20th century.

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.