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Arts and culture

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - Demolition has begun on one of downtown Saginaw's oldest buildings.

Crews started work this week to bring down the 145-year-old former Yak's Deli to make way for a new work force services center.

It's one of the last remaining structures on the approximately 2-acre plot that's scheduled to be used for a one-story, 20,000-square-foot Michigan Works center.

Logan Chadde

Every summer, the Ann Arbor Art Fair draws more than half a million people to town.

Tourists come to shop, eat, and see work by artists from around the country.

Meanwhile, gear up for the crowds, the traffic, and the craziest time of the summer.

For four days, downtown becomes a tent city: more than a thousand artists and what seems like just as many vendors.

It can get a little nuts for residents like Lisa Larson. 

 Bob Babbitt with Joan Baez
Bob Babbitt / bobbabbitt.com

DETROIT (AP) - Prominent Motown studio musician and Funk Brothers member Bob Babbitt has died. He was 74.

Motown Museum chief curator Lina Stephens says the bassist died Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

Babbitt's son Joe Kreinar tells The Detroit News his father had been in a hospice and had brain cancer.

Babbitt was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh. He and the Funk Brothers provided a rhythmically and melodically rich background for many Motown hits.

Babbitt laid down bass lines on Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion," "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr's "War."

Well-known for decades among musicians, Babbitt gained wider public recognition through the 2002 film about the Funk Brothers, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."

English is evolving, and to keep up with the times, some nouns are becoming verbs.  One such noun-verb is "impact."

"Linguists call this 'functional shift,' when a word moves from one part of speech to another," said Anne Curzan, a professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan.

Although this isn't a new phenomenon, technology seems to be having an influence on the switch.  With search engines came the phrase "to Google something," and now we can "friend" or "un-friend" others. 

State of Opportunity / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's new State of Opportunity project just capped off its busy launch week, and we want your feedback.

We are relying on you for insights, questions and story ideas to help us tell complicated and important stories about childhood poverty in Michigan. Maybe you have a question, comment or a story idea for the project? We'd like to hear it. 

You can always comment on our Facebook page, but you can also connect with us in a deeper way by sharing your insight here. We promise to read all your comments and follow up as needed.

Visit the State of Opportunity website to see what some readers and listeners are already saying.

Matisse - Circus, 1943
Pamela Marcil / Detroit Institute of Arts

 

The Detroit Institute of Arts opened a new exhibition today comprised of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

"Picasso and Matisse: The DIA's Prints and Drawings" will run through January. Showcasing the institute's collection, the exhibit explores the artists' stylistic progression, with 110 prints and drawings across a broad range of media.

Ann Arbor Art Fair
Ann Arbor Art Fair / Facebook.com

Beginning on Wednesday, July 18, the Ann Arbor Art Fair will fill the streets of the city for the 53rd consecutive year.

Vendors selling everything from underwater photographs to jewelry made from computer microcircuits will crowd 27 city blocks as part of the four individual street fairs that comprise the event.

'Must' is getting musty; so is 'shall'

Jul 8, 2012

This week on That’s What They Say, we find out why so many of us are not using the words must and shall anymore.

“Linguists have been tracking these modals, these helping verbs or auxiliary verbs, and must has been on the decline for most of the 20th century into the 21st. And it’s not alone. Other modals like might and shall are also in decline,” said Anne Curzan, a professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan.

Jada Hahlbrock / Ann Arbor DDA

The Downtown Development Authority is getting ready to open the new Library Lane parking structure on Ann Arbor's South Fifth Ave. In the process, the group hopes to preserve a snapshot of the city's zeitgeist sealed beneath the structure's Division St. staircase.

DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay estimates that the time capsule will be reopened 100 to 200 years from now. She sees the project as a way in which all Ann Arborites can participate in the parking project.

"It's a chance to say 'hello' to people in the future," she said.

Night Sky
User: seriousfun / MorgueFile.com

Written by Shadi Ahmadmehrabi

Nothing beats the Michigan sky. On every camping trip and night spent around a campfire, I step out of the commotion of whatever's going on to lie down and stare at the stars. As my spine sets against the cold ground, every vertebra curving around the Mitten's surface, I gaze at the countless twinkling spots in the clear dark navy  Michigan sky. The blue from Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior spills onto the canvas above and creates the perfect setting for a blanket of stars. On a clear night, there's no need to track constellations and point out whatever sized Dipper. The clear Michigan sky is second to none. 

This story was submitted to Michigan Radio's One Minute Michigan Story Writing Contest. Erik Wright-Olsen read the story.

Odd bicycle draws stares in Ann Arbor

Jul 4, 2012
Julia Smith-Eppsteiner / Michigan Radio

A big, red circular bicycle has been drawing stares on the streets of Ann Arbor. It's a seven-seat "conference bike" driven by Tom Bartlett.

Artist Eric Staller created this mobile piece of art in Amsterdam and sold it to Bartlett four years ago.

Michigan Radio intern Julia Smith-Eppsteiner went for a ride on the bike and produced this audio postcard.

 

Support for arts and cultural reporting on Michigan Radio comes in part from a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This week on That’s What They Say, we explore why so many of us use snuck instead of sneaked.

“What’s happening here is that speakers are creating an irregular verb. Sneak used to be regular, made the past tense with –ed and suddenly we’ve decided to make it irregular,” said Anne Curzan, a professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan.

cityNnature / flickr

Written by Jack Nelson

baseball-fever.com

Written by Katie Caralis

It's been more than 13 years, but I can still hear the voice of the man who spent my childhood selling peanuts outside Tiger Stadium. “Threee dollas innsiiide, ooone dolla heeere!” My dad always bought the one-dollar peanuts knowing half the shells would be empty, just like the half-empty seats, the Tigers being a losing team for most of the '90s, and the half-empty city, Detroit on the decline. Beaming, Dad would take my excited hand and lead me across the long bridge, over the broken glass and potholes, passed the burned-out buildings, up the winding blue ramp and inside the park we knew was magic, inside the city we knew was beautiful.

Katie Caralis is one of the winners of Michigan Radio's One Minute Michigan Story Writing Contest. Allison Downey read the story.

The Reformed Church in America has been ordaining women for more than 30 years. But there have always been ways for people who conscientiously object to female ministers to remove themselves from the process. On Monday night, the church’s governing body voted 143 to 69 to strike those policies.

A survey of female ministers shows about one in four experiences setbacks because of inappropriate use of those rules.

Reverend Stacey Midge heads the RCA’s Commission for Women. She believes the changes could cause some upheaval in the short term.

"In the long run however, I believe that we have more integrity as a denomination if we just say ‘we ordain women.' And if you can’t live within a system that ordains women, then there are a lot of denominations, and perhaps this isn’t the one for you," Midge said. 

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Written by Timothy Kooy

Throw out the nostalgic native story about a mother protecting her cubs and Sleeping Bear Dunes is a fiery heat trap.  My family and I set off on a leisurely hike across the picturesque, gently rolling dunes.  The sun blared down on the sand dune inferno, and what had begun as leisure quickly morphed into hellish wandering.  We had our map and we had our destination, but the scorching sun never ceased.  Like a family of desert nomads we wandered up and down the zillion hills.  Finally, at the bottom of THIS dune we saw the perfect oasis, the cool blue gaze of Lake Michigan inviting us to quench our sweltering, sweat-dripping bodies.

Timothy Kooy was one of the winners of Michigan Radio's One Minute Michigan Story Writing Contest. Keith Taylor read the story.

The Reformed Church in America has been ordaining women for more than thirty years. On Monday the church’s governing body will consider dropping rules that outline ways people can conscientiously object during the process of ordaining women ministers.

The compromise, once struck to maintain unity within the church, may be causing more division now.

The Reformed Church in America has a large membership base in Michigan. The RCA has some administrative offices in Grand Rapids. Hope College in Holland is affiliated with the RCA, as is the Western Theological Seminary.

DSC/Facebook

Many genres of music have deep roots in the city of Detroit, including punk, rock-and-roll, blues, techno and soul music. A new organization wants to help connect people and groups that have been archiving Detroit’s musical history.  

Carleton Gholz is the president and founder of the Detroit Sound Conservancy. He’s been researching a book about the rise of DJ and hip-hop culture in Detroit. During that time, he’s come across small archiving groups, music journalists, and older musicians. Now Gholz wants to unite them.

Laugh out loud, or lots of love?

LOL might not actually mean what you think it does. Anne Curzan is a professor of English at the University of Michigan. She told Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller that students tell her they use LOL as a listening noise.

"A listening noise is what we do in face to face conversation when we show people we're paying attention, and we make little noises like, 'uh huh, uh huh, yeah,'" Curzan said.

African slender-snouted crocodiles
Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo has some new residents: four crocodiles.

The zoo located in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak says the four African slender-snouted crocodiles - two pairs of 21-year-old brothers - are from Zoo Miami.

They'll be on display for the Detroit Zoological Society's annual Sunset at the Zoo fundraiser tonight. Their new home is the Detroit Zoo's former hippo habitat.

The new crocodiles are about 5 feet long and weigh around 30 pounds. They can grow up to 13 feet and weigh as much as 500 pounds.

Wild in the Streets
ACLU of Michigan

In Detroit and four other cities around the world today, thousands have dropped everything, grabbed their skateboards, and taken to the streets.

This year, Detroit was selected as a site for the ninth annual skateboarding event called Wild in the Streets. The event is similar to Critical Mass, but on skateboards instead of bicycles, and it is being held today—international Go Skateboarding Day.

According to the event's website,

"The goal of Wild in the Streets is to build community and raise awareness of skateboarding and the needs of skateboarders, and to unite skateboarders through a central cause."

Participants were told by the organizing skateboard company, Emerica, to meet up today at noon in Hart Plaza to begin a 5-mile mass trip around the city. In a media release, the company wrote that participants could find the secret itinerary and directions for the ride once there.

The event will culminate tonight in a benefit concert at Royal Oak’s Modern Skate Park to raise money for Power House Production's Ride It Sculpture Park. The sculpture park, being constructed at East Davison St. and Klinger, near the east end of Davison Highway in Detroit, will serve as a skate park in which the artworks form obstacles for riders.

Remember the iPod commercial that ends with the line, “The funnest iPod ever”? Well, that little sentence drove people crazy because, according to them, it wasn’t grammatically correct. Would they have written it,  “The most fun iPod ever,” they say it would have been correct.

Anne Curzan, professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan, has graciously agreed to join us each Sunday to talk about how our language is changing.  

The Library of Congress / Flickr Creative Commons

New posters in downtown Ann Arbor businesses will ask visitors to stop giving money to panhandlers.  The effort by the mayor's office and businesses asks people to give money to local resources for the homeless instead. 

Yesterday, we posted this question to the Michigan Radio Facebook community:

“What is your policy on giving to panhandlers?”

Readers jumped at the chance to share their stories and “personal policies.”

Charles–I used to run the old laundry mat on Broadway & Maiden Lane in Ann Arbor & used to have to deal with panhandlers, daily! After awhile you can figure out who really needs some help and those who were just mooching a free ride. $5 was the limit I would give to those who were not just gonna drink it away, but, you never know, do you!

Angie- We were dining in A2 a couple of years ago, and my daughter was being nice and felt sorry for a beggar. When we left the restaurant, she offered him some take-out in a container and he got all annoyed at her and said "I dont want that" >:(

Tom- If someone asks me politely, I'll give them whatever change I have in my pocket-- sometimes it's more than a dollar; sometimes it's 10 cents. But I won't open my wallet in front of a panhandler. My policy prevents me from having to make a decision each time I'm asked. I've never had anyone be anything but grateful.

Detroit recording company preserves local sound

Jun 15, 2012
Beehive Recording Company

If you ran into Stephen Nawara nine years ago, he was probably off touring as the bassist of the Detroit-based band, Electric Six. Some of their top 10 hits include songs like “Danger High Voltage,” and most recently, “Gay Bar.” But now he volunteers 40 hours of his time outside of his day job to work on his record label, The Beehive Recording Company.

Several weeks ago, The World did a story about dance clubs popping-up in Europe for one hour, during lunchtime. (Basically people can swing by an alcohol-free, make-shift dance club at noon. Organizers even provide free lunches!)

While we don’t quite have anything like this in Michigan, we do have events where people can enjoy free music and get their dance on—if they want to.

Part of the 2011 Grand Rapids LipDub.
youtube.com

Last year, Rob Bliss and his social media marketing group Status Creative organized a 5,000 participant video featuring residents of Grand Rapids “lip-dubbing” to a live version of Don McLean’s “Bye Bye, Miss American Pie.”

Not only did the YouTube video go viral with almost 5 million views, but the enormous ensemble also won the Guinness World Record for largest lip dub event.

Gerald Hodge / The Trompe l'Oeil Society of Artists

Gerald P. Hodge, a well-known medical and biological illustrator, died in his Ann Arbor home on Thursday at the age of 91. In addition to drawing for medical journals and founding the Master of Fine Arts program in medical and biological illustration at the University of Michigan, Hodge was one of the seven members of the Trompe l'Oeil Society of Artists.

Hodge drew and painted intricate still life images, often depicting nostalgic mementos like ticket stubs and seashells. To see more examples of Hodge's artwork, visit the Trompe l'Oeil Society of Artists website.

The art style trompe l'oeil , French for “deceive the eye,” is known for images and sculptures that appear to exhibit greater dimensions or photo-realism. Hodge taught workshops on mastering this art of optical illusion at the Scottsdale Artists' School in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In an artist’s statement on the society’s website, Gerard wrote that his experience teaching at the University of Michigan prepared him for producing trompe l'oeil artwork.

“My paintings are carefully designed," Hodge wrote, "and I try and go beyond photographic appearances by adding contrast, adding to or eliminating details, making shadows more important, and by slightly changing the shapes and colors of my subject matter in order to enhance the design and quality of my paintings.”

Follow the links for more modern examples of trompe l'oeil artwork and Hodge’s full obituary.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

A little more than a year ago, there were four people in the Reynolds family. Today, there are three—parents Angela and Ryan Reynolds—and their four-year-old son, Tanner.                                                                               

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - World-renowned medical illustrator Gerald Parker Hodge has died at his home in Michigan. He was 91.

His daughter Melinda Hodge says Hodge died Thursday in Ann Arbor after a fight with cancer.

Hodge was a longtime professor at the University of Michigan, where he founded the master's program in medical and biological illustration in 1964.

Beyond his work in the applied art field, he was prominent as a fine artists specializing in "fool the eye" paintings.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

People strolling along Lansing’s downtown river walk this summer will see some interesting sights.

Ten new sculptures were installed this past week along the river walk as part of the city’s Art by the River project.

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