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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

When it’s “all downhill from here,” there’s some ambiguity about whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

A friend of Professor Anne Curzan recently pointed out that the issue with this expression is that it’s almost an auto antonym. That is, a word or expression that can mean its opposite.


Sometimes we get a language question that leads to another question. That question leads to another question, and before we know it, we’ve fallen down a language rabbit hole.

A listener recently asked us if the phrase “apple of my eye” can be plural. The answer is yes. You could call your children “the apples of my eye.” You and your partner could also call your children “the apples of our eyes.”

This got us thinking about other phrases where there’s a question about which part to make plural. Specifically, we started thinking about phrases like “father-in-law” and “brother-in-law.”


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings had a couple of cocktail coupes on the table and some small whiskey tasting glasses and a bottle of Grand Traverse Distillery’s Small Batch Rye Whiskey. Obviously, this was going to be more than just mixing up a drink.

Currying favor has everything to do with flattery and horses, and nothing to do with food.

This expression, which means to seek or gain favor through flattery or to use flattery to gain a personal advantage, is an eggcorn that goes back 500 years.


HarperCollins Publishers

Sometimes fiction tells new truths about history. That’s what happens in author Alice Randall’s latest novel Black Bottom Saints, which draws from the experiences of Black Detroiters who lived in the city’s historic Black Bottom neighborhood. The book is structured like a book of saints in the Catholic tradition. Many of the saints are based on real people, and they give voice to a place that continues to influence Detroit, and the rest of the world, today.

Most people would agree that a lamb would make a terrible escape vehicle. All that bleating would instantly give away even the stealthiest of fugitives.

Fortunately, a spelling discrepancy clarifies that going "on the lam" doesn't mean riding away on a baby sheep. It does make us wonder though, what exactly is a “lam” anyway? 

 

We get a lot of questions about words that have two pronunciations. This week, we decided to look at two of those words: status and mischievous.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan movie theaters and other indoor entertainment venues will soon be allowed to re-open. 

Doors closed at cinemas and similar businesses in March during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan.

But while other businesses have slowly reopened in recent months, indoor movie screens have remained dark.  

Courtesy of the artist, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, and MOCAD.

Today on Stateside, a curator who left the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit returned to the institution and spoke with us about working at the overwhelmingly white spaces in the art world. Also, a conversation about the discrepancies in Michigan State University’s number of COVID-19 cases.

What do knockoffs, nicknames and the word "crummy" have in common?

The answer is not much, except that we've received listener questions about the origins of all three.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

With a few limes in a bag from the nearby supermarket, I walked into Tammy Coxen’s kitchen and found she had green tomatoes and basil on the counter. Whatever she planned, it sure seemed like it would probably be green. The name made it a certainty: Garden Gnome.

a picture of a brick building on Albion College's campus
Albion College

On Stateside, how can schools keep COVID-19 cases under control on campus, while also holding in-person classes? Albion College is hoping that their pandemic pod model might be the answer. Also, why the spectacular skies caused by Western wildfires are a reminder of the collective stakes of climate change. And finally, we hear from members of an artist collective that questions white people's fascination with—and sometimes fetishization of—Indigenous culture.

Credit Paul-David Rearick

  

The Michigan Opera Theatre has a new artistic director: renowned opera director and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Yuval Sharon. He’s bringing his experimental approach to Detroit right from the start: his first project at the helm of the organization will be a condensed, drive-in staging of Richard Wagner’s Twilight of the Gods, set in a parking structure. Stateside spoke with Sharon, who is succeeding the theatre’s late founder David DiChiera, about his work and his hopes for how opera can evolve in the years to come.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

With the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes we’ve all had to learn to make do with whatever we happen to have at home. That’s what Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings had to do to make a new cocktail recipe she found.

It all started with peaches being in season.

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 2000.
Joshua Schwimmer / Flickr

The state of Michigan owns public parks, roads, buildings, and even some historic artifacts. Among those artifacts are the original architectural drawings of the World Trade Center.

This is a story of how the state of Michigan – its taxpayers – came to own the works.

Thousands of people visit the 9-11 Memorial in New York every day.

Children play by the fountain that surrounds the footprint of what once were the world’s tallest buildings. Some people take the time to read at least some of the names of the people who died here on 9-11.

Trice Clark

Today on Stateside, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says Michigan students need to take standardized tests this year. We check-in with an educator and an administrator who have thought a lot about the role of testing. Then, Detroit's creative pros talk about what design has to offer during a time of crisis. And, Michigan State takes stargazing to high heights.

Amanda Sewell

Before 1968, most Americans had never heard music played on a synthesizer, which was then still an emerging technology. Many would also have said at the time that they didn’t know anyone who was transgender. All that began to change, though, when composer Wendy Carlos released her debut album, Switched-On Bach.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There are few distilled spirits that have become so infamous that they were banned in countries across the globe. Absinthe is chief among them. In fact, absinthe was banned in the U.S. from 1912 to 2007.

When you learned how to spell "secretary," did anyone ever tell you this trick?

"A secretary is someone who keeps a secret."

Though "secretary" probably doesn't turn up much in your day-to-day correspondence, this is still a decent way to avoid spelling it incorrectly. It's also true. 


An excerpt from "Men to Avoid in Art and Life."
Courtesy of Chronicle Books

  

You never know what can happen on Twitter. Just ask Nicole Tersigni, a writer and comedian currently based in metro Detroit. What started as a single joke on her Twitter evolved into a viral tweet thread, which ultimately became a book that was published this month. The topic — and title — is Men to Avoid in Art and Life

Some grammarians say “only” is the most misplaced adverb in the English language.

We’re only telling you this because we love you. Or maybe we’re telling you this only because we love you. Maybe we’re telling you only this because we love you.

Actually, we just want you to think about the word “only.” Also, we love you.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A shaken daiquiri is really simple to make. Making a frozen daiquiri at home can be done, but there’s a trick to making it right as Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings shows us.

“If you just take the regular ingredients of a daiquiri: rum, lime juice, simple syrup and put them in a blender and add some ice...When you finish mixing that up, the results going to be kind of watery,” Tammy explained. 

The way to make your own slushy daiquiri at home takes just a little bit of advance prep as Tammy learned.

a photo of May Erlewine and the Woody Goss Band in front of a brick building
Courtesy of May Erlewine

  

Free, luscious, uplifting, joyful. These probably aren’t words many of us would use to describe how we feel right now, in the dog days of a uniquely stressful and solitary summer.

But that’s how Michigan singer-songwriter May Erlewine hopes you feel listening to her new album Anyway. The record is a collaboration with Woody Goss of Vulfpack, and it’s scheduled for release Friday, August 14.

Kids These Days students
Katie Raymond, Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

A lot has happened since the teens at Community High School started working this podcast nearly a year ago.

We’re eight months into the COVID outbreak. Three months since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd.

Black Lives Matter protests ignited a reckoning on race for seemingly every institution in this country.

Have you been droppin' your gs? Be honest. You probably do say "thinkin'" instead of "thinking" or "goin'" instead of "going" sometimes.

That's true for most speakers of English. In fact, both forms of words with "ng" endings have been around for hundreds of years.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lester: Hi Tammy!

Tammy: Hi Lester!

Lester: That's Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings. And you have a bottle there that I really like. We visited Eastern Kille in Grand Rapids a while back. I actually bought a bottle of their rye, which was really delicious. You've got the bourbon.

Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Teens who live in a college town like Ann Arbor can feel a lot of academic pressure to get all As or get into the best school. 

So how does this quest to be perfect affect the way teens think of themselves?

Cammi Tirico found out she got into her dream school back in December. But the story she wants to tell isn’t about that day.

A couple of things can clearly be two things. For many people though, a couple of things can include three or even four things. 

That's because the phrase "a couple of" has some elasticity to it.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The distilled spirit pisco has become popular once again in the U.S. because of the craft cocktail movement. Chile and Peru are the countries of origin for pisco, however each country has its own versions.

So, what does that have to do with Michigan?

tvol / www.flickr.com

The Board of Directors of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) announced Wednesday it had “terminated its relationship” with Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder, following staff allegations of mistreatment and racial bias. Borowry-Reeder had been put on leave earlier this month.   

 

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