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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

We travel the state to talk to people who make beautiful and useful things. We call the series “Artisans of Michigan.”

We’re visiting with Ed Fedewa. He plays the bass in the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. He also plays in jazz ensembles and repairs bass instruments for players from all over. But that’s not why we’re at his house, we wanted to talk to him about the double bass he built.

One word or two? That's the question.

At least, that's the question a listener named Nancy posed to us this week. She wanted to know when "into" should be written as one word, and when it should be two. 

Nancy isn't the only one around here who's experienced grief over this everyday grammar quandary.

Suffice to say, we were happy to dig into this one. 

"Into" has a few meanings, but it basically indicates movement or direction. It can mean "toward the inside of" as in "she walked into the classroom." It can also mean "in the direction of" such as "I turned into the wind."

When you're trying to figure out whether "into" should be two words, the first question you should ask yourself is whether a phrasal verb is present. In other words, is the "in" part of the verb as opposed to being a preposition? 

Think about "turn in," as in what you would do with an essay:  "I turned my essay in to the teacher yesterday." 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of used, clear plastic water bottles collected in Flint will be worn by runway models in New York next spring.

Recycling water bottles has been an issue in Flint since the city’s lead tainted drinking water crisis.

Conceptual artist Mel Chin and a fashion designer, Detroit native Tracy Reese, are working with the Queens Museum in New York City to recycle water bottles from Flint into fabric for raincoats, swimwear and other clothes.

“The thing is, if you don’t....do something, we’re just talking,” says Chin. 

Melville House, 2017

There is a new book out from Detroit native and journalist Lynda Schuster, Dirty Wars and Polished Silver: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent Turned Ambassatrix. The book, by the former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent, details her days on the job, in war zones and in far-off corners.

Schuster joined us on Stateside to discuss growing up in Detroit and finding herself in her adventurous career.

A view across the devastated neighborhood of Richmond in Halifax, Nova Scotia after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. The steamship Imo, one of the ships in the collision that triggered the explosion, can be seen aground on the far side of the harbor.
wikimedia commons

The University of Michigan hockey team started its season last week. But the program started 94 years ago. It was a surprising byproduct of the worst man-made explosion to that point, and of a young man who changed his mind about Americans.

Courtesy of the filmmakers

A new documentary film from brothers Adam and Zack Khalil tells the stories of the Ojibway tribe in their hometown of Sault Ste. Marie. They use ancient prophecies of the Ojibway to explore modern Anishnaabe culture and its challenges.

Adam Khalil talks with Stateside about his documentary film INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place/it flies. falls./]. 

Affordable Care Act enrollment opens this week for the first time under President Trump. Today on Stateside, we learn what's changed. And, Michigan Radio's sports commentator discusses the need for higher medical standards in the Big Ten.

Frederico Cintra / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Some of us turn to social media to stay connected with friends and family. Others use social media as a megaphone to spread messages of hate.

Social media outlets wrestle with striking a balance. How do they allow free speech yet not let trolls and haters wreak their havoc? Just banning the troll doesn’t make much of a difference. It’s easy to change a screen name and jump right back out there lobbing hate-filled posts.

What if the focus shifted from cracking down on the trolls to taking away their online hangouts? A recent study by researchers at Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan explored that very question.

On their surface, adjectives don't seem very tricky. They tell you what color, how big, how old, what shape, what size -- pretty simple stuff.

Given that simplicity, it seems like all adjectives should keep their meaning regardless of whether they come before or after the noun they modify. 

A beautiful sunset is always a sunset that's beautiful. A red rose is always a rose that's red. A fluffy cat is always a cat that's fluffy, barring some sort of ill-advised shaving experiment. 

Don't get too comfortable though, because true hogwash is not true.

Courtesy of the American Museum of Magic

The word “magic” may conjure images of witches and wizards casting spells in a bygone era, long before the rise of science and modern civilization.

However, there is a spot in Michigan where magic still thrives.

actors on stage
Lisa Gavan

 


Each time a show opened at the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, Alexandra Berneis would send an email. As the theater's executive director, Berneis had a strong relationship with Jen McKee, the local critic at The Ann Arbor News. It was a symbiotic one: invitation, access, coverage, repeat.

Then one day in January 2016, she didn’t get an email back. The critic and other colleagues lost their jobs. Mainstream arts coverage in Ann Arbor was gone.

Michigan communities have been experiencing this with increasing frequency over several years. As the internet changed how people got their news, media entities shifted and consolidated, and arts communities across the state are feeling the loss.

actors in god of carnage on stage
Sean Carter Photography / Courtesy of the Purple Rose Theatre

Theater happenings around Michigan this week range from a sequel to the Phantom of the Opera to a show about systemic racism.

David Kiley of Encore Michigan joined Stateside to talk about those shows and more.

Courtesy of the Grand Valley State University special collections

One way to learn history is through textbooks and lectures. Another is through the words and handwriting of the people from our past. That’s right: letters, something today’s college students don’t see too much of.

Students at Grand Valley State University are getting a chance to experience the emotional and historical power of letters through a podcast called To the Letter.

English has a few great phrases for the people at the top of an organization.  

Depending on where you stand in the hierarchy, you probably have a few of your own -- maybe even some that aren't appropriate for a public forum. We'll let you keep those to yourself.

Instead we're going to look at a pair of terms that are fairly print and radio appropriate -- bigwig and muckety-muck.


a farm in lansing michigan
Michael Coyer / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In 1920, there were 5.5 million white farm operators. By 2007, that number was down to 2.1 million. That's not all that surprising given that many white farmers are able to own and farm more acres because of today’s machinery.

Now, let's look at a different set of numbers. In 1920, there were 926,000 black farm operators. By 2007, the number was just over 30,000. That is a much steeper decrease, just one thirtieth of the original number.

may erlewine
John Hanson

May Erlewine is out with her newest album Mother Lion. And she’s introducing it first to Michigan audiences.

"I’ve been so lifted up and supported by the community here, so it seemed really fun and sort of tangible to actually be able to physically give the record and present the songs," Erlewine said. "I also haven’t played most of them live ever, so it’s sort of really presenting all of it as a piece for the first time."

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It’s fall. Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings has been thinking about apples – heirloom apples.

“We have tons of different kinds of apples in the store, right? But, there were hundreds and hundreds more than that that have been grown over the years," Coxen said. 

That's partly because today, apples are shipped far and wide, and not all heirlooms hold up.

Wikimedia Commons

A British invasion is coming to Detroit. 

This week a five-day music festival called Detroit a Go Go kicks off in the city.  Phil Dick organized that festival and he joined Stateside today to explain why the music appeals so much to British listeners.

Courtesy of Scott Page

The Next Idea

Let’s say your boss wants you to assemble a team to work on a complex problem at your company, or your agency, or your non-profit.

You think about your best and brightest people with some knowledge of the problem, you buy some bagels and coffee, and get together, right?

Turns out, you might not be approaching this kind of problem solving in the best way.

rock and roll hall of fame
Chris "Paco" Camino / Flickr- HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL

Could 2017 be MC5's year? 

Detroit Music Magazine Publisher Paul Young and Executive Editor Khalid Bhatti think so. 

After two unsuccessful nominations to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 and 2016, they say nostalgia around the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit uprising might help their case, along with the band's famous supporters like Iggy Pop and The Stooges. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Scary, mysterious radio dramas – there’s just something about hearing a creepy story with all the sound effects and the trembling voices, forcing your imagination to go places you might not want it to go.

The Roustabout Theatre Troupe seems to agree. On Saturday, Oct. 21 at Livonia’s Trinity House Theatre, the troupe’s Dark Ride Radio Hour will bring four original radio plays to life –  and death. I mean, this is Halloween, right?

Today on Stateside, we hear how Kent County is looking for cancer clusters near Wolverine tannery dump sites. And, Jeff Daniels talks about Flint, his upcoming play about race and poisoned water. The Grass Lake schools superintendent also explains why the district chose to let a transgender student use the boys' bathroom. 

purple rose sign
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr- HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL

Jeff Daniels says he was originally going to write a comedy when he sat down to work on his newest play Flint.

But then Trump happened. And Charlottesville. 

So Daniels started to think about the precursors that might explain what made those things possible.

A Broadway theater called the Eugene O'Neill
Rough Tough, Real Stuff / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One of America's greatest playwrights was born 129 years ago this day.

Eugene O'Neill was a prolific writer whose works earned him four Pulitzers and a Nobel Prize.

And it was his youthful battle with tuberculosis that inspired many of his greatest works.

Takashi Yamamiya / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

You've probably heard of One Thousand and One Nights. It's a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales in Arabic from what's known as an Islamic Golden Age collected over many centuries. 

The English-language version is The Arabian Nights.

Something else stemming from that bygone era is coming to the Michigan Science Center — an exhibition called 1001 Inventions: Untold Stories from a Golden Age of Innovation.

The word "singular" doesn't raise any eyebrows when we're talking about grammar. However, there's some concern about how the word is being used outside the grammar world.

A listener named Brian recently wrote to us about the use of singular as "a pretentious version" of single. He was under the impression that singular only means single in the context of grammar, and otherwise means unique.

"However, just in the past year, I've heard [singular] used more and more often to mean single, usually in a more formal context. I wonder if the horse is already out of the barn on this one," he says.

Brian, we can't even see the horse at this point. 


In 2009, Lake Superior State listed "iconic" on its annual list of words to banish.

The list's authors say it was one of the most-nominated words that year. People calling for its banishment said "iconic" was overused, especially among entertainers and entertainment news.

Bryan Murphy of Fairfield, Connecticut said, "Just because a writer recognizes something does not make it an icon or iconic. It just means that the writer has seen it before."

That may be, but eight years after it was banished, "iconic" is still alive and flourishing in an ever-wider range of contexts.


"A. Lincoln" by Richard Schlatter, one of the winning pieces in this year's Grand Rapids ArtPrize
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Downtown Grand Rapids will surely be less busy now that the ninth annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition is over.

Artists from all over the world come to West Michigan to share their art. But only two artists each year are grand prize winners.

Both Seitu Jones and Richard Schlatter will take home $200,000 for their pieces "The Heartside Community Meal" and "A. Lincoln," respectively. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor Distilling is releasing its second round of whiskeys, a bourbon and a rye under a new brand, Fox River. The small batches (700 bottles of rye, 1200 bottles of bourbon) are both high proof whiskeys. The rye is 105 proof. The bourbon comes in at 102.5 proof.

“We found that a little bit higher than that was too hot and a little bit lower was sort of flabby and the flavors didn’t come through quite as well,” explained Product Developer and Brand Ambassador Phil Attee.

black and white headshot of author
Courtesy Gasper Tringale

Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit in 1960, and later moved to Grosse Pointe. Since high school, Eugenides has lived in New York, Chicago, Berlin and many other places, but the influence of growing up in Michigan filters into many of his works. Detroit plays a major role in his novel Middlesex, which won the 2003 Pultizer Prize for fiction. Eugenides also set his debut novel The Virgin Suicides in metro Detroit.

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