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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Something that’s out of your hands is different from something that’s out of hand, which is usually different from something that’s offhand. So which phrase goes where? 

When our listener Bruce Sagan heard one of these phrases on Morning Edition recently, he wondered whether it was used correctly.

  

a little girl roller skating on a road with sunlight streaming behind her
Vahe / Adobe Stock

In the introduction to his latest collection of writing, titled "Bone Rosary," poet Thomas Lynch writes:

“Never in my life did the sky seem to be falling from all four corners as it seems to now—pandemic, racial injustice, economic collapse, climate change—nor has the body politic, the culture at large, ever seemed so in cahoots as a co-morbidity.”

Zoom meetings. Virtual happy hours. Facetime dates. We've been living in a pandemic world for over a year now, and for better or worse, many of us are used to our new social routines.

But as vaccinations ramp up and restrictions begin to loosen across the country, the new question is: Are we ready? After so much time apart, do we even know how to socialize in person anymore?

Thang Lian

April is National Poetry Month. Thang Lian is a poet and a senior at East Kentwood High School near Grand Rapids. He recently won the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers’ Gold Key Regional Award for poetry. Beyond his writing, Lian is an active member of his community in raising awareness and funds for refugees and immigrants. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan distillers are expanding their offerings in many different ways, but recently Ann Arbor Distilling Company took a different direction than most.

Distillers’ tasting rooms cannot use any kind of alcohol not made by the distillery. That’s meant some have come up with some of their own products to imitate the ingredients in classic cocktails. Ann Arbor Distilling took that idea and is now selling it to the public. It’s called Water Hill Apertivo.

Courtesy of Jordan Hamilton

Kalamazoo-based cellist and songwriter Jordan Hamilton had just released an award-winning album. He was planning to make music videos for his latest songs. He’d scheduled shows for the next several months, with performances booked at home in the Midwest and abroad, in Canada and France. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit Michigan.

This week we're getting back to our roots. Our Latin roots, that is.

A listener named Seth Epstein asked us how to pronounce the Latin phrase "in situ." He says, "I've heard it as in-sigh-too, or in-see-too, but I learned it as in-sit-choo."

This is just one of the Latin phrases that have become part of English with variable pronunciation.


Courtesy Photo

It’s been over a year since COVID-19 hit Michigan and there’s been so much news to keep up with. From burned-out health care workers and grieving families, to street protests against police brutality, to violence in our state and national capitals. It's been a lot.

So we want to switch gears a little with a new series called Getting Through. These are stories and sounds of how we’re staying grounded during this chaos.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In Ireland, a popular drink is whiskey mixed with red lemonade. What is red lemonade? Well, it’s sort of like Sprite or 7Up, but it’s red.

Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings did not use Irish whiskey or red lemonade in this drink. Instead, she used a blend of Michigan whiskeys and her own riff on red lemonade.

There are pundits who really don't like it if people call them "pundents." As a listener pointed out to us, this mispronunciation isn't uncommon.

Susan Serafin Jess says, "The otherwise fastidious Jim Lehrer said ['pundent' for 'pundit'] throughout his tenure on the PBS News Hour. I have heard other journalists misuse this, including on WUOM."


This week we looked at two words that have nothing to do with each other, aside from the fact that they both begin with “p.” At least they’ve got one thing in common.

Our first “p” word is “pound.” Our listener Jay Winegarden often hears people use the phrase “pounding beers” or something similar when relaying a drinking story.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There was a Cheers! episode back in 2018 which featured a new Michigan version of an ancient Scandinavian spirit called aquavit. (See the story here.) Since then, Norden Aquavit has received a lot of attention and a lot of significant awards. A lot of retailers in Michigan and beyond carry the clear spirit.

We keep track of things, we lose track of things, we run track, and listen to tracks. Sometimes though, we confuse “track” with “tract.”

Recently, a graduate student who works closely with Professor Anne Curzan pointed out a job posting for a “tenure tract” position.

Atlanta photographers Regis and Kahran Bethencourt think of themselves as "dream makers."

That's because the couple makes kids' wildest dreams come true in portrait shoots. The results are conceptual, highly stylized photos of children dressed as visions plucked straight from their imaginations.

The Bethencourts hope the portraits transcend the typical images of beauty.

"We get so many amazing ideas," Kahran told NPR's Morning Edition.

Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

Angeline Boulley’s debut young adult novel opens with a heart-pounding scene: a girl stands frozen in the woods, staring down the barrel of a gun.

Over the course of the book, Michigan author Boulley revisits this dramatic scene, each time adding just a little more context and gradually unraveling the novel’s mystery. The result is an elegantly-paced, emotionally complex thriller called Firekeeper’s Daughter. It’s making a splash with teen and adult audiences alike — and it hasn’t even hit the shelves yet.

MSU Museums

Detroit writer and activist Adrienne Maree Brown pointed out that the experience of Black Americans, is by definition, a story of science fiction. Enslaved ancestors had to dream up a Black future that was unlike anything they experienced.

One of the most vital places for experimentation for science fiction and fantasy is in the comics. A new virtual exhibition at the Michigan State University Museum lays out a full panorama of Black Futures, as envisioned in panels. It’s called “Beyond the Black Panther: Visions of Afrofuturism in American Comics.”

Our listener Susan Lessian is a Boston transplant who says she still struggles with some "midwesternisms," despite having moved here years ago.

She says, "The one that disturbs me the most is the use of 'can't hardly' for 'can hardly.' Isn't this actually a double negative?"

Susan is right that many usage guides have classified "can't hardly" as a double negative. But the situation is more complicated than that.


Courtesy of Dominique Morisseau

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought live stage performances to a halt for almost a year now. And though the curtains are down, playwright, screenwriter, and storyteller Dominique Morisseau has been keeping busy. She spoke with Stateside about her new leadership role at the Detroit Public Theatre, the stories on her mind lately, and what’s next for the theatre industry — once audiences can finally return.

Mike Perini / Michigan Radio

Singer Mary Wilson has died. She was 76.

As a founding member of The Supremes, Wilson was a key part of the Motown sound. Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard made up the first successful configuration of The Supremes.

Many of us were taught that a sentence should never end with a preposition. However, some sentences just sound better when they do.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit artist Charles McGee has died at the age of 96. His art spans a period of more than 75 years. 

McGee’s artwork is scattered across Detroit. His work includes huge murals, sculptures, paintings, and mixed-media.

picture of an old ship
Public Domain


Courtesy of The Detroit News

One hundred years ago, in the aftermath of World War I — and, of course, a deadly pandemic — the United States was well into its experiment with national temperance. Michigan wasn’t a stranger to Prohibition — the state banned alcohol in 1918, about two years before Prohibition went into effect nationwide. Despite restrictions, thirsty Michiganders still found ways to get their hands on booze. And before long, alcohol smugglers in the Toledo-Detroit-Windsor region developed a thriving trade, due in part to an increasingly popular tool for transporting the sauce to the speakeasies: the automobile.

Chris DuPont

Last year may not have felt like a year to take a leap of faith, but for singer-songwriter Chris DuPont, a perfect storm of change converged leading him to leave behind a day job and pursue music full-time. 

“I decided to just take a leap of faith at possibly the stupidest possible time. But it seems to have worked okay,” DuPont said.

Generally, the word “either” is pronounced either with a long “I” sound or a short “I” sound. People on both sides have pledged loyalty to their particular pronunciation.

Either way, we think there’s a more interesting debate to be had over this word.


Jeff Daniels
Luc Daniels

Michigan’s favorite son is back, and is biding his time at home like the rest of us. Jeff Daniels, esteemed actor, playwright, and musician, released his new album late last year. It’s aptly titled “Alive and Well Enough,” which pretty much sums up how many of us are doing these days. He joined Stateside to talk about the album, politics, and his virtual concert at the Midland Center for the Arts on Friday, January 29.

Wikimedia Commons

Today on Stateside, a pro-business advocacy group says the insurrection and denial of election results will fundamentally change how they make political endorsements. Plus, we talk with acclaimed actor and musician Jeff Daniels about writing songs during COVID. And, a conversation with former Detroit Mayor and NBA legend Dave Bing.

The rule about when to use "between" and when to use "among" seems straightforward, until you look more closely. Then it's not straightforward at all.

Our listener Lowell Boileau wanted to know what we think about this rule:

"My understanding is that 'between' is for 'between two parties' and 'among' is for 'among three or more parties.'  Yet I hear and read 'between' frequently used in reference to three or more."

Many of us grew up with this exact same rule, but Lowell is right. Not everyone follows it.

Courtesy of the Library of Michigan

Every year, the Library of Michigan releases a list of Michigan Notable Books, which features books that are about or set in Michigan — or that were written by authors from the state. But in 2020, the selection committee faced a unique challenge: compiling a list of notable works published in a year like no other.

When we describe someone as “obtuse,” there are clear negative connotations. The scope of those connotations has been expanding, perhaps because of the word “abstruse.”

“Abstruse” came on our radar recently when Professor Anne Curzan received an email with this subject line: “I thought this word was a joke: abstruse.”


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