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Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

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.”


Courtesy of Eddie Gillis and Third Man Pressing

When Frank Solis found the tapes, he almost threw them out.

He and his family — as well as the music world — had assumed that his father, Michigander and Tejano music pioneer Martin Huron Solis Jr., had never recorded the songs that made him a pioneer in Detroit’s music scene of the 1940s and ‘50s. Though Martin was inducted into the Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame in 2018, he was best known for his compelling live performances and hadn’t ever released an album with his fellow musicians, who made up Los Primos.

On this week's That's What They Say, English Professor Anne Curzan fills us in on the American Dialect Society's annual "Word of the Year" vote.

The fact that this year's selection was the first ever to be held virtually should give you a big clue about the winner. 


Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

This year, Michigan Radio and Community High School in Ann Arbor launched Kids These Days -- a podcast hosted by teens, about teens. The goal was to get an unfiltered look into teenage life and to find out what teens are thinking about, laughing about, and stressing about.

As we wrap up the year, let’s take a look back at the top five episodes:


Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a look at the year in music. We review the latest records from Michigan musicians—released despite all the live event cancellations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic—with music aficionado John Sinkevics, the editor and publisher of Local Spins. Plus, we revisit recent releases from Flint musician Tunde Olaniran and Albion-turned-Nashville duo The War and Treaty.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a look at the year in books. We check in with an independent bookstore in Detroit about what 2020 has meant for their business. Also, Detroit nightly news anchor and children’s book author Devin Scillian discusses how satisfying stories can effectively broach delicate topics with kids. Plus, our longtime literary contributor Keith Taylor talks us through some of his favorite Michigan releases in 2020.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Eggnog gets a bad rap because people have not had one made fresh for them.

“These days we think of eggnog as a nonalcoholic drink that you can add alcohol to. But traditionally eggnog was an alcoholic beverage. That's where it started. And it was basically a flip. It's a very, very old classic style of drink,” Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings explained.

If someone tells you to leave your keys on the dash, you probably know right where to leave them -- on top of the panel in your car that displays controls and information, i.e. the dashboard.

A listener recently pointed out to us that the "board" part of this compound sort of makes sense, but what's going on with "dash"?

It's tempting to assume it has something to do with speed, but that's not the case.


“I don’t know about you, but I am so ready to toast goodbye to 2020,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings.”

A lot of people would join in that toast.

Tammy had two different drinks for the toast, but they had one thing in common: sparkling wine.

Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, although the COVID vaccine has many excited for a brighter 2021, many people are still in desperate need of relief. We talked with two Congressional representatives about the COVID relief bill that so many are waiting on. Plus, a conversation with a radio news veteran about going the distance for broadcast.

cut evergreen trees propped up with red barn in background
Lauren Talley / Michigan Radio

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

COVID-19 has forced many people to set aside holiday traditions this year. But in the small community of Chelsea, near Ann Arbor, one popular Christmas ritual hasn’t slowed down at all.

This time of year, lots of cars pull off a dirt road here and head for a big red barn.

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “batten down the hatches,” especially if you’ve ever turned on the Weather Channel before a major storm. 

A colleague of Professor Anne Curzan recently asked us though, can “batten” pair with anything else? Good question.


The first day of winter arrives soon. The chilly fall days will give way to temperatures “so cold they make your face hurt,” as the well-worn meme goes.

So, Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings decided to make a fall drink.

“This is kind of a riff on an Old Fashioned,” she said.

Last week on That's What They Say, we talked about a peeve over "exasperate" getting used in place of  "exacerbate." This week, we looked at two more words that often get entangled, "trammel" and "trample."

Professor Anne Curzan ran across "trammel" while researching last week's show. While we're very familiar with things like "untrammeled access" or "untrammeled nature," "trammel" on its own raised a flag.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There were two bottles of gin on the table. Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings said we were going to have a little experiment. One of the bottles was Liberator Gin from Valentine Distilling. (You can listen or read about the Cheers! visit to Valentine Distilling here.) The other bottle had a simple white label that just said Gin Batch #4. It looked as though it was from an ink jet printer.

The words "exacerbate" and "exasperate" look and sound very similar. That could explain why people sometimes say "exasperate" when they mean "exacerbate," as our listner Judy Nikolai  has noticed.

"Once or twice I've even heard reporters or interviewees on NPR employ what I believe is this incorrect usage," she says.


Rep. Haley Stevens smiling in front of an American flag
U.S. House of Representatives

Today on Stateside, recently re-elected Democratic Representative Haley Stevens (MI-11) explains what’s next in the process of getting COVID-19 vaccines to Michiganders and talks about the presidential transition process. Plus, a conversation about the lasting influence of jazz legend Yusef Lateef. 

Jamaal Ewing and Terry Rostic
Black Calder Brewing

It’s no secret that Michigan has an incredible wealth of craft beer and breweries. But while the microbrew industry might be booming, it’s obvious that it is lacking in diversity— from brewmasters to brewery owners. While we do know some part owners and brewers who are Black, the state’s first fully-Black-owned brewery is set to release its debut beer next week.

Photo by David McClister

This has been a complicated year. It’s brought pain and grief, as well as lessons about love and hope. For musicians Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount Trotter, 2020 has been “eye-opening.” The duo, who until recently were living in Albion, now perform as The War and Treaty. 

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