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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

teens holding LGBTQ+ flags
Katie Raymond / Katie Raymond

Before we get started we want to let you know that we talk about sex in this episode. Just a heads up.

A kid sends a text to his parents. The text was only two words. It said: "I’m homosexual."

Their mom texted back to say “I love you, let’s talk about it later.” And the kid wrote back: 

“No. Let’s not talk about it later. This is a one time event. Sorry.”

Auto-antonyms are words that can hold two, generally opposite, meanings at the same time. Once you know what they are, you’ll start to see them everywhere.

“Dust” is a good example. You can remove dust, like dusting a shelf, or you can add dust, like dusting a cake with powdered sugar. 

It's possible for phrases to work this way too.


Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Books about race continue to dominate best seller lists. Weeks after outrage spilled into the streets over the killing of George Floyd, readers - mostly white readers, it seems - are trying to learn more about the work of anti-racism. Clearly, as many have pointed out, reading alone is not enough.

Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

A note: We talk briefly about depression and suicide in this episode. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues, we have a list of resources available to help here.

Kids these days are stressed. Really. They’re a lot more stressed than generations before them.

Millions of teens have an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Mira is one of those teens. She’s a sophomore at Community High School.

Listening to someone talk about the incidence of particular types of incidents could leave anyone feeling baffled. We've even had a listener ask us whether people have started using "incidence" as a hybrid of "incident" and "instance."

We don't think so. However, since we're talking about homophones here, it's likely people are just confused. 


As stories of police brutality and anti-police brutality protests continue to dominate the headlines, you may have noticed some people placing the blame on “a few bad apples.”

However, as a listener named Louis Finkelman recently wrote to us, this expression “has changed its meaning 180 degrees in the past few decades.”

Sydney James stands in front of a mural of Malice Green
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

When Detroit artist Sydney James set out to create a mural of Malice Green, a Detroit man killed by police in 1992, she wanted to represent him not as a man, but "as a monument."

In James' mural, titled "Way Too Many," a black-and-white Green is pictured holding a long makeshift scroll. On it are the names of other Black Americans who have died at the hands of police. The list, too long for one piece of paper, spans multiple sheets that wind around Green and the entire 3,500 square foot wall. Written in bold at the bottom of the final page is the phrase “& Countless Unnamed." 

Band members standing on stage
Mark Samano

Many clubs and bars opened last weekend since stay-at-home orders have gone into effect, and musicians are eager to return to work and play for an audience. One of the venues to open last weekend for the first time was The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.

The Blind Pig reduced its occupancy to 100 people, giving concert-goers more room in the small space. Masks are also required for entry.

On stage at the club last weekend was Sabbatical Bob, a local funk band.

Teacher standing in front of a classroom of children.
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer says schools should prepare for in-person instruction this fall. We’ll talk about what those plans could look like, even as the governor cautioned that things may change. We’ll also hear teenagers from Michigan Radio's newest podcast, Kids These Days, about how they are thinking and talking about race with their families. Plus, a Michigan musician and producer talks about a new song simmered in the same elements that have brought so many Americans to protest in the streets in recent weeks.

the album cover of Nadir Omowale's single "Run"
Original Artwork by Jabarr Harper

Like many artists and activists right now, artist and producer Nadir Omowale has been reflecting on and reacting to the protests against police brutality happening in Michigan and across the country. It inspired Omowale to finally release a song he's been working on for years. It’s dropping on Juneteenth, a day that celebrates the end of slavery in America. He’s been working on the song since 1998. It’s called “Run.”

students protesting in Ann Arbor
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Three weeks after police killed George Floyd, teens have been out on the streets to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

Some people may wonder: why? What is motivating teens to step out, to speak up, and to demand change?

To try and answer that, let’s move out of the streets and into the home for just a moment.

Were you aware that "unawares" is a thing people say? 

Maybe you've seen it recently it in relation to COVID-19 – things like "The governor's announcement caught some people unawares," and "We have no excuse to be caught unawares in an outbreak.

We wanted to know, where did that "s" come from?


Exterior of Bookie's Club 870
Joe Sposita / detroitpunkarchive.com

Detroit is well known for its pivotal role in shaping soul music during the 1950s and 1960s. What’s lesser known is that in the 1970s, the city’s slew of small bars also played a major role in forming the punk scene. Detroit writer and radio journalist Rob St. Mary just finished producing a new 2-LP album called The End of the Night (1967 to 1983). He pulled the music from the Detroit Punk Archive, a website that he created and maintains, as well as some previously unpublished recordings and stories. 

In the weeks and months that have turned our world upside down, we've been watching headlines for words and phrases that keep coming up.

One we've noticed in coverage of COVID-19 is "cut and dried." Now, there are plenty of things we can literally cut and dry, including flowers, meat, and wood.

You know what's not always cut and dried though? Issues and answers. Metaphorically speaking, of course.


Behind the Scenes of The Wretched film
Courtesy of Brett and Drew Pierce

Though some COVID-19 restrictions are loosening, Michigan’s movie theaters are still closed. One alternative? Catching a film at a drive-in, a pastime that might just be making a comeback—and providing artists with a new way to connect with audiences.

family members inside a van decorated with eid decor
Nisa Khan for Michigan Radio

On Sunday, Muslims across the world celebrated the end of Ramadan, a month-long time of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. 

With Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order in effect, Ramadan as a whole has looked a little different this year. In Dearborn, families displayed Ramadan lights as a way to brighten spirits during the coronavirus shutdown, since friends and extended family were unable to gather together to break fast during an evening meal known as the iftar. In Detroit, Mosques set up virtual connections across YouTube, Facebook, Zoom, and more to bring members together during Ramadan.

"A Strange Loop" actors on stage
Joan Marcus

Detroit native and Cass Technical High School alum Michael R. Jackson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this year for his off-Broadway musical A Strange Loop. Jackson's show is a kind of meta-musical whose central character is writing a musical himself. It’s an effervescent mix of traditional Broadway songs with gospel, R&B, and a heavy dose of Liz Phair. It is also the first musical to win the Pulitzer without making it to Broadway.

In a game of pool, if it's your turn and the cue ball is behind the eight ball, you're in trouble. But what does it mean to be "behind the eight ball" off the table?

This week's topic comes from a listener named Clem Hawes. He says, "This [phrase] does not mean that you're behind in a temporal sense, but now I hear formulations such as 'X was behind the eight ball in responding to the pandemic,' meaning slow or inactive."


Stevie wonder at the piano
Pete Souza / The White House

Happy birthday to you, Stevie Wonder! The Michigan soul legend was born 70 years ago Tuesday in Saginaw, and has been filling our lives with wonder ever since.

Stevie Wonder’s career began at an incredibly young age. He was just 11-years-old when he signed to Motown Records. WDET host Ann Delisi joined Stateside to talk about Wonder’s prodigious career and life.

Man holding bass in a national park
GVSU New Music Ensemble / Flickr

Have your daily walks around the block lost their luster? Do you long to be transported to somewhere with spacious skies and purple mountains majesty? A new record from Grand Valley State University’s New Music Ensemble called Dawn Chorus does just that by taking listeners on a sonic trip to some of  the country’s most beloved national parks.

people on a zoom chat with the words house calls at the top
University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities

Without gallery openings or open studios, artists are heading online to connect with their audience. A new YouTube series from the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan is giving them a platform to do just that. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued another extension to Michigan’s stay-at-home order this past week. This time, through the end of May.

That may or may not explain why people have been sending us questions about what it means to go "stir crazy" lately.


Tides rise and fall. Believe it or not, we can tie tides to the discussions of loans and toilet paper during this strange time, when so many of us are being asked to stay at home.

headshot of Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga
Congress.gov

Today on Stateside, tensions surrounding reopening Michigan's economy are deepening. Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga fills us in on his concerns and priorities. And, we take a look at how the cancelation of the annual Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan could impact the local economy. 

This past week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the stay-at-home order until May 15th. That means an extension of the cabin fever making the rounds.

Symptoms of cabin fever include irritability, restlessness, and anxiety. It's treatable with long walks or runs, jigsaw puzzles, Zoom meetups with friends, or anything else that keeps you from climbing the walls.


two people sit on a porch decorated with lights
Razi Jafri

Tonight is the first night of Ramadan, a month where Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Normally, people would gather with friends and extended family to break the fast at an evening meal known as the iftar.

The stay at home order means Muslims in Michigan are having to limit their festivities to immediate family. But that isn't stopping people in Dearborn from spreading a little light during the holy month. We talked to documentary filmmaker Razi Jafri about a contest to find the best Ramadan light displays in the city. 

a photograph of a brick building in Detroit with a mural on the side of it
Carlos Diaz / Courtesy of Six Feet of Distance

Despite being more digitally connected than ever before, the COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings have still left many of us feeling isolated. To counter the radical separation we’re all contending with right now, a group of artists and curators in Detroit created a web project called "Six Feet of Distance: Meditations and Resources on Art and Social Practice."

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised a lot of questions about testing for the novel coronavirus – including some that are grammar-related.

A listener named Alan Ardanowski asked: "If someone gets a positive test result for COVID-19, do they test 'positive' or test 'positively?'"


Two loaves of bread
Sara Molinaro

You’ve probably seen at least one or two homemade loaves of bread on your social media feeds as most of us are stuck at home in quarantine. Maybe you’ve even tried making a loaf of sourdough or challah yourself. So, why are so many people turning to bread baking in these uncertain times? We posed that question to expert baker Sara Molinaro. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan's stay-at-home order this past week. That has many of us wondering when we'll return to normalcy. 

However, others might be wondering when we'll return to normality.

The "normality" vs. "normalcy" debate is an old one. Given these strange times though, what's old is new again.


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