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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

James Poniewozik portrait
Courtesy of Penguin Random House

 

How did Donald Trump vault from the faux-boardroom of The Apprentice into the Oval Office?

A new book called Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America offers some answers. 

illustration of four people hugging and saying you are precious beyond belief
Roza Nozari for Michigan Radio

When was the first time you decided to flip the script on all the negative stuff you were programmed to believe about yourself?

Take Virgie Tovar, for example. She is a body image activist and the author of the forthcoming book, "The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color." She also wrote the book, “You Have The Right To Remain Fat." 

Consider the banana. Actually, consider the top banana, because that's the phrase that someone recently brought to our attention.

Professor Anne Curzan says a friend told her she loves the phrase "top banana" because of its theater etymology. 

"I wanted to nod wisely at that moment, like I knew that piece of information, but in fact, I did not," Curzan says.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When you think of a daiquiri, you might think of summer. Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings thinks the daiquiri has a place in fall too.

“We're in that transitional season. We're still getting hot days but cool nights and so I went with an Autumn Daiquiri today,” she said.

illustration of a man and woman talking with chat bubbles around them
Stephanie Rodriguez for Michigan Radio

How do you decide when it’s the right time to say something or stay silent?

You're lying in bed on one of the hottest nights of the year. Fortunately, you've got a nice, quiet fan on top of your dresser to keep you cool while you sleep.

Suddenly, that fan starts making a noise akin to an angry Rottweiler. You try turning it off and on. You try shaking it. You even try pleading with it, but nothing you do will quiet that fan.

It can't be denied. That fan is on the fritz.


Today it's politicians who sometimes get criticized for being wishy-washy, rather than the soup getting criticized as wishy-washy.

Let's back up a bit.

A listener named Sheryl Knox posed an interesting grammar question recently, but what really caught our eye was this line at the end the email: "Why are people so wishy-washy?"

While we can't answer that particular question, we can certainly take a closer look at "wishy-washy."


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It’s fall and there’s a hint of it in the air.

“It’s definitely getting into the season where I like to think about fall flavors in my cocktails,” said Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings.

Among the bottles in front of her was one of moonshine.

headshot of Becca and David
StoryCorps

David Feingold has bipolar disorder. He discussed how the disease has shaped his work as an artist and how it contributed to his divorce from his ex-wife. He spoke with his current significant other Becca Buchalter at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Flint.

A picture of Charisse Woods smiling
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This Saturday, a ninth-grader from Detroit's Cass Tech High School will board a jet for Mumbai, India. Fourteen-year-old Charisse Woods will represent Detroit at the World Youth Chess Championships. We talked to Woods about how she got her start in chess, and her aspirations to become a National Master, a title very few chess players ever earn.

A beer sits on a wooden bartop
Unsplash

 


If you've purchased beer lately, you've probably noticed the local craft beer section has grown in your grocery store. There's been a rapid expansion of the craft brewing industry in Michigan over the past decade. 

Michigan is the fourth-largest beer state in the nation. Currently, there are more than 350 breweries making a huge variety of beers. But some small brewers say that number may not be as big as it could be, and they say state law makes it hard for them to grow their business.

If you totally don't drink alcohol, you could call yourself a teetotaler.

A listener recently asked us about the spelling of "teetotaler." They wanted to know why the beginning is spelled "tee" and not "tea," like the drink?


headshot of mother and daughter
StoryCorps

Dorothy Maxine Keely McClanahan is 95 years old. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Flint, she and her daughter, JoAnn McClanahan, talked about her memories of growing up in a large family in the city during the Great Depression.

Sometimes people send us questions that we avoid trying to answer. We don't do this to be mean.

The problem is, some questions we get have answers that are too long and complicated to explain within the confines of this segment.

This week though, we're throwing caution to the wind. We're finally going to tackle "between you and I."


headshot of mother and daughter
StoryCorps

After being born to a teenage mother, Sharon Simeon was adopted as an infant. She spent 23 years trying to find her birth mother, Johnnie Mallett Caruthers. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Flint, Simeon and Mallett Caruthers talked about the roads that led them apart, and eventually, back together.

Ora Labora residents in a black and white group photo
Bentley Historical Library / University of Michigan

Agriculture has a long history in Michigan and continues to be one of the state’s top industries. And for one 19th century utopian community in the Thumb, it was half of the equation to living a godly life.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Cheers! episodes have been airing on Stateside on Michigan Radio for more than three-and-a-half years. Many of those cocktail recipes and the history behind them were gathered and accompanied by a history of drinking in Michigan. It’s all in a new book by Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham titled Cheers to Michigan.

“I was looking back through the book and it inspired me to make a cocktail based on the very first cocktail we ever made on Cheers and the very first cocktail that's printed in the book,” Tammy said.

headshot of Leon and Eleanor
StoryCorps

In 2003, Flint resident Leon El-Alamin was arrested for dealing drugs and gun possession. He was 19 years old. El-Alamin spent seven years in prison. He’s 38 now. He spoke to Eleanor Vassili about that experience and the M.A.D.E. Institute, the organization he founded to help people as they get out of prison. Their conversation is part of a series of StoryCorps interviews recorded in Flint.

motown museum in Detroit
Ted Eytan / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. is donating $4 million toward a project to expand Detroit's Motown Museum, according to an announcement Wednesday by museum officials. They say Gordy's gift is the single largest individual gift to the $50 million expansion project.

Vinyl on a record player.
Unsplash

Looking for new music to ease the transition from summer into fall. Local Spins editor and publisher John Sinkevics has you covered. He joined Stateside with an update on three West Michigan artists that he recommends checking out.

Have you ever heard someone describe the United States and another English-speaking country as “two countries separated by a common language?”

A listener named Randy Miller wrote to us recently about some of the language differences he encountered while living in England.

There were words like “lorry” and “lift” that many of us already know, but Miller also found there were “embarrassingly different meanings of some words, like suspenders and pants.”

One difference that Miller found particularly striking has to do with the verb “to table.”

Few things can shut down an outdoor swimming pool faster than a good old-fashioned summer thunderstorm.

English professor Anne Curzan is a longtime swimmer who swims in a master’s program. Recently, one of her coaches emailed another swimmer about holding practice at an outdoor pool, as long as it wasn’t “thunderstorming.”


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.


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