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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

While harps make beautiful music, most of us would agree there’s nothing beautiful about someone harping on something.

Our listener Kalen Oswald recently asked, “If the harp is historically famous for its soothing music, going all the way back to the Old Testament, then why do we say someone is ‘harping’ on us when we are being nagged or irritated?”


five musicians standing
Michigan-I-O

 

Eighty-one summers ago, folklorist Alan Lomax visited Michigan as part of a 10-year project collecting American folk music for The Library of Congress. The recordings feature the songs of lumberjacks, iron miners, and Great Lakes sailors, among others.

After three months, Lomax left the state in his 1935 Plymouth, which was filled to the brim with a collection of 250 instantaneous discs and eight reels of film documenting life in Michigan. 

We love it when people send us grammar jokes. One that is passed around quite a bit has to do with the construction "where's it at."


Grant house draped in mourning bunting
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

 

Civil War history continues to fascinate people almost 160 years later. And while Michigan played a major role in deciding the outcome of the conflict, you typically have to travel outside of Michigan to connect with a tangible aspect of its history. 

But General Ulysses S. Grant, who would later become the nation's 18th president, and his wife Julia actually lived in Detroit prior to the war. The house they called home is still within the city limits.

Album covers for Full Cord and James Reeser & The Backseat Drivers
Photos courtesy of Marcus Giddings and Full Cord

Hoping to attend a local concert or two before the summer ends? 

John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of Local Spins, has you covered. He joined Stateside with an update on three noteworthy West Michigan bands that will be performing across the state this month. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Sometimes summer nights demand a drink that’s not so sweet and not so high in alcohol content. You just want something light and refreshing.

A new line of soft drinks from Casamara Club in Detroit imitates amaros, but doesn’t have the intense sweetness or the alcohol.

Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

 

For a while now, conversation has been buzzing about the possible closing and removal of the long-standing Heidelberg Project, an "outdoor art environment" within a Detroit-based community. Jenenne Whitfield, president and CEO of the Heidelberg Project, wants people to know that the project isn't actually going anywhere - it's evolving.

Your challenge this week is to try and avoid using the construction "try and."

Why, you ask? Because we get a lot of questions from listeners about this particular construction and whether it's wrong. 

We can try not to use it, but "try and" is very idiomatic. Also, there isn't really a good reason to avoid it.


aretha franklin
Ben Alman / Flickr

A former Detroit superstar will now have a portion of the freeway named in her honor. The Aretha Franklin Memorial Highway will run along a section of the M-10 freeway, between Livernois and I-94 in Detroit.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the law Monday. Franklin died last August at age 76. The bill signing happened on a pink Cadillac in downtown Detroit. Whitmer called Franklin an “American icon” and said her musical contributions helped shape the state.

Sometimes a not-so-great experience can be made just a bit better if you have an excellent slang phrase to describe it.

We think "take the L" falls right into that category.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When we do a test taste of Tammy Coxen’s (of Tammy’s Tastings) concoctions, I’m often surprised by the ingredients on the counter. This time there was a Mason jar full of preserved peaches.

Apparently, "in and of itself” is the source of some concern about redundancy. This phrase wasn’t actually on our radar until a listener brought it up at our most recent Grammar Night event.

The listener wanted to know whether the phrase is redundant. Why would you need to say “in and of itself” when you could just say “in itself”?


Johan Larsson / Creative Commons

Stateside for Friday, June 28, 2019

 

Today on Stateside, we're featuring an episode from our friends at the Mismatch podcast, as well as a few of our favorite segments from the past year.

When someone asks you to “take a listen,” it’s usually meant as a friendly invitation. But not everyone wants to take a listen.

Several listeners have asked us about this phrase, including one who wanted to know whether it’s grammatically correct.


Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers are out with their latest album "Paper Castle.”

Stateside’s Mercedes Mejia says the band is a staple of live music in Michigan. In fact the band will be performing a circuit She spoke with vocalist Joe Herlter about how the band quit their day jobs to make music full-time, plus his obsession with rainbows.

The stories in Lisa Lenzo’s new collection are placed primarily, although not exclusively, in Detroit. It’s a Detroit just before the recent gentrifications, and a city with vibrant friendships among neighbors, of people who take walks at night to get some air, who are cautious but unafraid. And these are often stories about caregivers, both the official ones who provide care for a living, but more often about those among us who take care of our neighbors and our families because that is what people do. That is the demand of love. 

Courtesy: Pewabic

The famous pottery, Pewabic, has been doing much the same thing it has done since the very early part of the 20th century, and using some of the same equipment and molds for its tiles and pottery.

"Pewabic was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry (later named Mary Chase Perry Stratton) who was an artist and became really well known as a China painter. She would paint, overglaze enamels on French China and would teach about it and write about it," explained Steve McBride, Executive Director of Pewabic.

Consonant sounds like "sh" and "th" and "ch" have a reasonably secure place in our language. You’ll find them at the beginning, middle and end of many English words.

These consonants will likely never know the struggle that plagues the "zh” sound.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

With summer finally arriving, let’s look at a great new summer drink.

“This is a twist on a classic cocktail called the Bee’s Knees, but we’re going to put some beer into it and make it a Beer’s Knees,” Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings said.

Katie Raymond / / Michigan Radio

Sitting amongst a collection of thousands of beads that date back as far as the 1700s is Olayami Dabls. He's the owner of Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum, a space at the corner of Grand River and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit that he created "for his community to understand the immense power of their African heritage."  

Razi Jafri

What exactly is a "halal metropolis"?

According to Razi Jafri, it's "a region in which Muslims can live freely, practice their faith, contribute to society, with all of their creative and entrepreneurial and all kinds of skills that they have." And he says that Detroit, and Southeast Michigan more broadly, fall squarely into that category. 

Etienne Charles playing a trumpet
Courtesy of Etienne Charles

 

Carnival is a vibrant, musically-rich celebration that happens before the start of Lent. It’s celebrated across the globe, bringing out the most unique aspects of many cultures and traditions.

Jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles, who teaches at Michigan State University, celebrates the festival in a new album titled Carnival: The Sound of a People. Charles says this album gave him the opportunity to explore the history of Carnival in his native Trinidad.

Violinist Maureen Choi holding her bow and instrument
Courtesy of Maureen Choi

Violinist Maureen Choi is a Michigander making international waves. Her band the Maureen Choi Quartet fuses a blend of styles to create a sound that some describe as "Spanish chamber jazz."

But Choi doesn’t like putting her work into a box. She describes her compositions as a blend of Western classical music, jazz, music from the Spanish diaspora, and Western chamber music concepts.

Pronouns are on the front burner of language change at the moment. As such, we get a lot of questions about them.

For example, a listener recently asked if you should say, "They are going to the store," or "They is going to the store," when referring to one person.


A picture from jessica Care moore's choreo-poem "Salt City.
Abby O. Photography

 

jessica Care moore is an award-winning poet and activist who grew up in Detroit. This week, she returns to her hometown to debut a unique performance combining her own history, a Detroit techno soundtrack, and dance. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

April Wagner is a glass blower. She has a line of art under her name, but she also makes beautiful and useful things under the Epiphany Glass name. I asked her to describe her work for someone who has never seen it.

With the recent 75th anniversary of D-Day, we're thinking a lot about the military heroes of World War Two. Rachel Clark of the Michigan History Center joins us to share the story of G.I. Joe, a pigeon and highly-decorated war hero who got through World War II and lived out his retirement at the Detroit Zoo.

 

David Hornibrook grew up in the suburbs of Detroit where he worked for many years as a caregiver and nonprofit administrator. Now, he's added "published poet" to his resume with the recent release of his debut poetry collection, Night ManualStateside's book reviewer John Freeman tells us how Hornibrook brings empathy and imagination into his writing in this debut collection.

The word “pique” recently piqued the interest of one of our listeners.

Colin Williams wrote to us after seeing the phrase, "As the president's pique became increasingly evident..." in a New York Times article.

Williams says: “I’ve heard that something can 'pique your interest,' but the noun version is definitely new and different to me.”

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