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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Courtesy of Sacha Schneider

Lord Huron’s latest record, "Long Lost," isn’t only an album. It’s a hazy, echo-filled history, populated with a cast of mysterious, hard-luck characters and layered with ghostly fragments of musical eras gone by. Guitarist and lead singer Ben Schneider, who grew up in Michigan, said the band aimed for the record, released last month, to feel like a nostalgic classic lost to time.

When artist Arthur Radebaugh put his pen to paper in the 1950s and 60s, the resulting vision of the future dazzled millions of people every week. Radebaugh was an illustrator, and a visual futurist whose work appeared in a syndicated Sunday Comics section called “Closer Than We Think”.

GUEST: Rachel Clark from the Michigan History Center

Courtesy of Tribune Media

Contemporary innovations like virtual school, wristwatches that are televisions, and genetically modified foods are pretty familiar concepts to us today. But back in the 1950s and ‘60s, Michigan artist Arthur Radebaugh dazzled millions of people every week with illustrations of inventions like these, as well as other outlandish visions of the future. His work appeared in a syndicated Sunday comic strip called Closer Than We Think, which debuted at a time when the expansive potential of technology captivated Americans’ attention. And while some of his art still looks like science fiction now, some of his creative, futuristic designs aren’t fantasy anymore — they’re reality.

Today we’ll dispose of not one but two listener questions. No, that doesn’t mean we’re going to throw their questions away. It means we’ll use the information we have at our disposal to answer them, so to speak.

Starting with a question about “disposal.”

Book cover of "Gut Botany"
Wayne State University Press

The strangeness and beauty of bodies and how we live in them is a theme that weaves itself throughout poet Petra Kuppers’ work. These are intensely personal interests for Kuppers. She’s a University of Michigan professor who lectures on writing, disability culture, and queer culture. Kuppers uses a wheelchair and lives with chronic pain. And she says the process of poetry— observing and distilling her experiences through writing— is a healing one. 

Artist Paul Rucker is fearless when it comes to taking on terrible moments in American history.

"The work that I do evolves mostly around the things I was never taught about," Rucker explains. Over Zoom, he's discussing his work in progress, Three Black Wall Streets, which evokes and honors the achievements of Black entrepreneurs and visionaries who created thriving spaces of possibility and sanctuary after the end of the Civil War.

Growing up in New Orleans, Atlantic writer Clint Smith was surrounded by reminders of the Confederacy. To get to school, he traveled down Robert E. Lee Boulevard. He took Jefferson Davis Highway when he went to the grocery store.

In elementary and middle school, Smith never learned about the legacy of slavery. Instead, his class took field trips to plantations — "places that were the sites of torture and intergenerational chattel bondage," he says, "but no one said the word 'slavery.'"

To know or to beknow? That is, well, not actually the question. However, there is some debate over whether something is “unbeknown” or “unbeknownst.”

Listener Randy Miller brought this up after coming across “unbeknown” in a piece in a major newspaper.


pork chops on a grill
bitslammer / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

With the long holiday weekend ahead, many of us are thinking about grilling and sharing a meal with loved one for the first time in more than a year. Today on Stateside, we start with food and drink. First, how one beloved Detroit barbecue joint has been surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. Then a contribution from the Cheers! team. Also, two writers discuss putting together a special fiction and poetry edition of the Detroit Metro Times. Plus, an award-winning poet reflects on exploring the nuances of love and pain for Black Americans.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

You know it's summer when you see Bell's Oberon hit your local grocer’s shelves. It’s one of the signs that summer is finally coming to Michigan. One of the very first Cheers! episodes that Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings and I did almost five years ago featured a drink called the Oberon Sour. It was a hit.

Logan Chadde

Earlier this month, the Ann Arbor Art Fair’s organizers made the choice to cancel the event for a second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But, after Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced outdoor capacity restrictions will be lifted June 1, the event’s directors decided the fair can now move forward.

If you have an older sister, you can also have an elder sister. However, if you have an older house, you don’t also have an elder house. We’ll talk about why in a bit.

As to why we’re even talking about “older” and “elder,” a listener recently asked us to settle a debate.


picture of Marvin Gaye smiling
Public Domain

Musician Marvin Gaye took a creative leap of faith 50 years ago when he released one of the most enduring works of the 20th century: his 1971 album What’s Going On. On the anniversary of the album’s release, a group of journalists, music aficionados, and educators join Stateside to reflect on the community that gave rise to Gaye’s masterpiece, and on the record’s enduring legacy today.

During the pandemic, many of us have spent much of our time at home cleaning out closets, basements and garages, getting rid of things we no longer use or need.

Sometimes editors of dictionaries have to do the same thing. When new words are added, obsolete words get scrapped to make room.

We're talking about print dictionaries, of course: actual books with pages. Books that will keep getting bigger and heavier if cuts aren't made.


crowds at Ann Arbor Art Fair
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There will be no Ann Arbor Art Fair for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

The directors of the three fairs that comprise the annual event held each July in Ann Arbor made the joint decision, saying they couldn’t find a way to make it happen under the State of Michigan’s pandemic restrictions.

Courtesy of Jackson Smith

Wishing you could just go to a concert, listen to your favorite local bands, and relax on a Saturday night? There’s a new weekly radio show, coming to you from the Beaver Island airwaves, that might just meet your Michigan music needs during this socially distanced time. Out in the middle of Lake Michigan, between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, a new low-watt radio program called Songs from the Trail is broadcasting on WVBI 100.1 FM. And it’s all about Michigan-centric music.

It can be helpful, as well as potentially confusing, to have vague expressions of time such as “by and by.”

The more we thought about this expression, the more trouble we had trying to think of how we even use “by and by.”

Sure, it shows up in poetry and music, but those contexts don’t exactly lend themselves to everyday use.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Using asparagus in a cocktail seems odd. I mean, if you throw it in with the messy mix of garnish in a garish, way over-the-top Bloody Mary complete with celery, olives, banana peppers, and bacon, okay, it might work. But, really, asparagus as a ‘real’ ingredient in a cocktail? Sounds weird.

Well, weirdly delicious.

Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings had a couple of bottles of spirits, some concoction in a plastic bottle and asparagus on the cutting board.

frida kahlo mural on street in Detroit's Mexicantown neighborhood
Lauren Talley / Michigan Radio

August Snow is a retired Marine sniper. He's also an ex-police detective who became a multimillionaire after he sued for wrongful termination. But above all, Snow is a Detroiter, and he's the main character in author Stephen Mack Jones' latest novel, Dead of Winter.

Jones joined Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou to talk about the third book in his August Snow series, and plans to make a television show based on the novels.

Zoe Villegas wearing a pink fuzzy coat and jeans standing in front of the Ford-Wyoming Drive in sign.
Rachel Ishikawa

It’s been a hard year and we want to switch gears a little. This is Getting Through, a series where we bring you the stories and sounds of how we’re staying grounded during this chaos.

Today we’re featuring Zoe Villegas. She’s a lifelong Detroiter and tarot card reader.

Nick Hagen / New York Times

Chef Kiki Louya’s had a hand in some of the brightest spots on Detroit’s food map. She co-founded Folk Cafe and Market and The Farmer's Hand, both in Corktown. In addition, she’s a writer, food activist, and restaurant consultant who’s been active in movements to eliminate tips in favor of living wages for servers and kitchen staff. She also just finished a stint on season 18 of the competitive reality cooking show, Top Chef. 

In honor of tax season, Merriam Webster recently tweeted the origins of “mortgage.” It’s derived from two Old French words meaning “death” and “pledge.”

Though "death pledge" probably sounds about right to some of you, others might be wondering how "mortgage" ended up  with such a dark origin story.


Violinist holds violin and looks at sheet music
Julio Rinaldo / Unsplash

Today, on Stateside, we break down the numbers from the U.S. Census and what they mean for redistricting in Michigan. Plus, a conversation with longtime radio journalist Vickie Thomas about living and working in Detroit for 30 years. 

We're not exactly sure what effect the internet and other changes in technology are having on English. It could be that changes in the language are speeding up.

What we do know is that English is spreading around the world in a way we've never seen before. In the process, it's coming into contact with languages all over the world.

As we've seen in the past, language contact is one of the things that can speed up language change.


It's clearly different to talk about a large country and the country at large, but these two meanings of "large" are historically related.

A listener named Edward Kudla recently wrote to us with a "large question." Edward wanted to know about the various ways we can use "large" including, "I wear a large shirt," and "the escaped convict is at large."

By and large, we were glad to look into “large.”


four horses eating and standing around a bin of hay
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This story is part of "Mornings in Michigan," our series about morning rituals from across our state.

The thing about being on a farm is it’s really hard to be in your own head. The sounds, sights, and smells of a farm are all consuming in the morning.

It’s impossible to worry about a global pandemic, or work, or anything, really, when the rooster is crowing, eggs need collecting, the horses need feeding, and the stalls need mucking.

picture of back with tattooed flowers
Courtesy of Carrie Metz-Caporusso


Courtesy of Four Way Books

Some poets construct images as immediate as a freshly snapped Polaroid. Others form lyrical landscapes like meticulously composed oil paintings. Detroit-born poet Tommye Blount’s writing lands a little like a powerful short film — its themes, characters, and worlds linger in your head long after you read it. Blount’s debut poetry collection, Fantasia for the Man in Blue, presents the head-on collisions of one queer Black American’s experiences with the mythos of white America. The collection, published by Four Way Books in March 2020, was a finalist for the National Book Award.

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.”

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