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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Courtesy of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

No matter where you are, when you say the words "Detroit" and "music," someone's going to exclaim "Motown!"

But Detroit's music history is much deeper and wider than Motown. There are some locations around the city that have been forgotten and are important in the telling of Detroit's black history, and the history of music.

Stateside 2.14.2017

Feb 14, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear the attorney for alleged victims argue for a third-party investigation of MSU's handling of Dr. Larry Nassar. And, we learn why Valentines Day is not just for "gauzy romantic love that exists only on a Hallmark card."

Leelanau raclette puts Michigan "on the world cheese map"

Feb 14, 2017
DAN WANSCHURA / Interlochen Public Radio

Anne and John Hoyt own Leelanau Cheese Company in Suttons Bay. Leelanau Cheese is famous for it’s raclette.

“When people ask what it tastes like, I often say it’s between a gouda and a gruyere,” says Anne.

Shelby Kroske, MSU Libraries

 

Michigan State University historian Liam Brockey has spent years studying the history of Catholicism. Now, that scholarship is generating something unexpected: Oscar buzz.

Brockey served as a consultant on legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s latest work “Silence,” the story of two Portuguese Jesuit priests who travel to Japan in the 1640's to find their lost mentor.

Courtesy of Monroe County Library System

 

Each February, the libraries in Monroe undergo a transformation. The Black History Month Blues Festival turns these sedate study spaces into concert spaces full of “laughing, singing, clapping,” and “stomping,” said Bill Reiser, the library manager at Ellis Library in Monroe.

Mike Ilitch (center) with Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander (right) and Alex Avila (left) in 2011.
Dave Hogg / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

DETROIT - Mike Ilitch will lie in repose for a public visitation Wednesday at Fox Theatre in Detroit.

Ilitch, the billionaire businessman who founded the Little Caesars pizza empire and bought the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, died Friday. He was 87.

Ilitch Holdings Inc. announced information Sunday night on how the public could pay respects. Events this week include the visitation from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, and a public memorial display at Comerica Park beginning at 1 p.m. on Monday.

It's almost Valentine's Day, and we here at That's What They Say encourage you to think about the ones you love. Ideally with a Lionel Richie album playing in the background.

As you prepare to indulge your significant other or maybe your best friend with cards, candy and flowers, think back to when you first met.

If you hit it off right away, some might say the two of you were "like a house on fire."


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Capitol's aging infrastructure is starting to wear down.

  Out of sight behind the walls and beneath the floors, significant repairs and upgrades are needed to much of the Capitol's plumbing, electrical, mechanical and fire suppression systems.

Courtesy of Lawrence Technological University

Detroit and Ann Arbor are dotted with buildings designed by Albert Kahn, one of the region’s celebrated architects.

He’s responsible for the Fisher Building in Detroit, Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and the Highland Park Ford plant, to name only a few.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In honor of Black History Month, we visited with Amas Muhammad at Selden Standard in Detroit. He has a drink recipe for us below, but we wanted to know more about the role of people of color in developing the craft cocktail industry.

Muhammad says for a craft that’s obsessed with the history of drinks and the bartenders who invented them, his colleagues miss a huge swath of contributors.

“People of color have been instrumental since the beginning of spirits in America,” Muhammad said.

arethafranklin.net

NEW YORK (AP) - At 74, the Queen of Soul has decided to take it a little easier.

Aretha Franklin is planning to retire this year, she told Detroit TV station WDIV Local 4, the city's NBC affiliate.  The singer says she has one more album planned, with several tracks produced by Stevie Wonder, and will otherwise limit herself to "some select things" as she devotes more time to her grandchildren. 

©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The Lion King opened on Broadway in November 1997. Nearly 20 years later it’s still going strong. The musical returns to the Detroit Opera House this month and for one of the show’s actors, it’s a bit of a homecoming.

Oak Park native John Sloan III attended University of Michigan and performs this month as a member of Lion King’s ensemble. He spoke to Stateside about his journey to the performing arts and why he believes the arts are critical to any education.

Stateside 2.7.2017

Feb 7, 2017

By 2020, 90% of Michigan's dams will meet or exceed their design life. Today, we hear what that means for the 2,600 dams in our state. And, we speak with the woman behind Saugatuck's rise from sleepy beach town to international destination.

The state of Michigan hasn't had a poet laureate since 1959 when Edgar Guest (pictured in 1935) passed away.
Wikipedia / NBC Radio

Pop quiz: Who is the poet laureate of Michigan?
 

Sorry, but that's a trick question. The state hasn't had a state poet laureate since Edgar Guest died in 1959.

So, we're getting piecemeal poets laureates around the state – in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit and Grand Rapids, for instance. Now, add Lansing to that list.

For the first time, the poetry community in our Capitol city is searching for Lansing's own poet laureate.

A listener named Toby recently wrote to us with the story of a first date that almost didn't happen.

He tells us that a mutual friend put him in touch with a woman named Phyllis. Toby gave Phyllis a call on a Thursday and the two made plans to go out for dinner "next Sunday."

"In my mind, 'next Sunday' meant a week from the following Sunday, since the earlier Sunday would've been 'this' Sunday," Toby said. 

A few days later, Toby got a call from Phyllis, who wanted to know why he hadn't come by to pick her up.


Lester Graham

In Detroit, jobs are scarce. Money is short.

That has led to an underground economy that one Detroit reporter calls a “gift economy.”

Valerie Vande Panne’s piece is titled “Life Without Money in Detroit’s Survival Economy.” 

drawing of a bird
Tom Pohrt, "The Bird-while" reprinted with permission of Wayne State University Press

He teaches young writers at the University of Michigan, and he practices what he teaches.

Throughout the years, Keith Taylor has published short stories, co-edited volumes of essays and fiction, and written powerful collections of poetry.

Taylor joined Stateside to talk about his newest book of poetry, The Bird-while

Courtesy: Seth Bernard (left), Sean Carter (right)

Independent musicians in Michigan are up against a fast changing music landscape.

Despite the challenges that come with producing, recording, releasing and touring, one music label is cultivating a community of artists who help each other succeed.

"All of us are using music as a way to build community, to empower youth and to uplift good work already happening here," said Seth Bernard. He's is the founder of Earthwork Music, a collective of artists with similar interests, but ranging in musical styles.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Cheers! crew hit the road, heading to Ferndale, where one of the very first Michigan craft cocktail bars is tucked away on 9 Mile in downtown.

The Oakland bar’s Chas Williams shared a recipe from the cocktail menu. This one includes not one, but two Michigan-made spirits. The “Minnie and Roman” is named after two characters in the movie Rosemary’s Baby. Why? Because the cocktail includes a sprig of rosemary.

Nothing goes better with a Sunday morning than a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Fortunately, in Michigan, we've got a pretty long list of papers to choose from.

In Battle Creek, we've got the Enquirer. In Lansing, it's the State Journal. Muskegon has the Chronicle, and Detroit has both the Free Press and the News. 

With so many different mastheads out there, we couldn't help but wonder where some of these papers get their names.


For the first time in 16 years, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will embark on an international tour. This will mark the first time that the DSO will perform in China.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra

2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).

With the orchestra back on solid financial footing, the DSO is embarking on its first international tour in 16 years. This July, Maestro Leonard Slatkin will take the orchestra overseas for the first time since he took over as music director in 2008. The conductor and his 87 musicians will make stops in Japan and, for the first time, China.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Walk into Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills and you’re immersed in a cacophony of beeps, airplane motors and singing flamingos. 

Every nook, cranny and space on the wall is filled with arcade games, coin-operated machines and peculiar figurines with questionable purposes. Think of the Zoltar machine that turns a boy into Tom Hanks in the movie “Big” and then multiply it tenfold. 

Marvin Yagoda, the museum’s founder, is responsible for the fantastic mess. He started the collection in 1960 and the jam-packed space shows how it’s grown to become one of the World Almanac’s 100 most unusual museums in the U.S.

But last week, Yagoda died at 78 years old. 

When we talk about our relatives, there are plenty of gender-neutral terms to cover the bases.

We use "grandparents" to talk about both our grandmothers and grandfathers; "parents" takes care of mothers and fathers; "siblings" refers to both brothers and sisters; and a "cousin" can be either male or female.

But what about nieces and nephews? 

There's good news for aunts and uncles who crave a word to speak collectively about the kids they love to spoil.

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For the first time in 15 years, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a staff of three in its contemporary art department.
Detroit Institute of Arts

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

There are some new faces in the management of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ (DIA) contemporary collection. According to BLAC Detroit Magazine, for the first time in 15 years, there is a staff of three in the contemporary department.

Laurie Ann Farrell, the new curator, is now joined by two assistant curators, Taylor Renee Aldridge and Lucy Mensah, who joined Stateside to talk about the museum and their roles.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Automakers are celebrating new models at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It seems to us at Cheers! that calls for a drink.

“Since the auto show opened this week, I wanted to find a cocktail that had an automotive connection and I went all the way back to the Packard Twin Six automobile,” explained Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings.

If you have fished, or wanted to fish, or thought about fishing, or just stepped out of doors with some expectancy, Body of Water is the book for you.

Though Montana is his home now, Michigan poets know Chris Dombrowski from his elegant poetry collection, Earth Again, published by Wayne State University Press. Michigan anglers know Dombrowski as a stellar fly fishing guide. 

On this week's edition of That's What They Say, English professor Anne Curzan joined us from Austin, Texas, where she was attending the American Dialect Society's annual meeting.  

Each year, the ADS gathers to choose a word that best represents "the public discourse and preoccupations of the past year."

This year's candidates included "woke", "post-truth" and "normalize." But the ADS decided it couldn't pick just one word to represent 2016, so the winner ended up being a compound.

A burning, smelly compound.

The mosaic workshop at the Washtenaw County Youth Center
Juan Javier Pesdacor

There are more than 1,600 juveniles now living in state facilities in Michigan.

Most young people in residential treatment or detention centers are people of color. Many often become defined by their experience, both legally and socially.

A new documentary film Determined 2 Make It tells their stories and shows how art, music, photography and more can be powerful forms of self-expression for incarcerated youth.

University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan has been feeling a little self-conscious lately.

Curzan was recently talking with some of her students about how much research had been done on a particular topic, when one student raised her hand and asked about her pronunciation of a particular word.

Keep in mind, this was a linguistics class, and Curzan tends to instill in her students a super-sensitivity to the various quirks of our language.  

The student said she'd noticed that Curzan pronounces "research" with the emphasis on the second syllable. She said she only hears that pronunciation in academic settings. 


Today, we visit the Michigan company overseeing a construction project at Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway's Cuban home. And, we hear from a program empowering girls to be the future of the STEM industry.

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