Offbeat | Michigan Radio
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Offbeat

Offbeat

Al McWilliams and Gordie Garwood
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Dungeons & Dragons is having a cultural revival, and not just in Hawkins. In Ann Arbor, the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game is being played regularly by all kinds of people — including those nerdy kids-now-adults that played it in the 1970s and 80s.

Kids like Al McWilliams. When he heard a friend was playing D&D, McWilliams recalls, he instantly wanted in.

people cheering glasses of red wine
Unsplash

It's that time of year when people are stocking up on wine for festive dinners and holiday parties. Despite a sizable winemaking industry in the state, Michigan wine often is stereotyped as being overly sweet, and not on par with products from other areas of the country.

But winemakers and sommeliers around the state want to break that stereotype, and maybe even convince you to pick up a Michigan-made wine for your holiday table. 

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the past year, to reconnect with family and friends, and to express gratitude for the all that is good in our lives.

But more importantly, Thanksgiving is a time to eat.

man in a wolf costume
Pixabay

He was seven feet tall with glistening eyes of blue or yellow and a terrifying, humanoid howl. He looked like a man, but also had the qualities of a canine-like creature. He was the Michigan Dogman. 

a moving image of someone pulling a slice of pizza
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Halloween night is one of the busiest pizza delivery nights of the year. If you're having people over after trick-or-treating, there's a good chance you'll have a rectangular deep dish delivered to your home. 

That style of pizza—with the cheese pushed to the edges, forming a caramelized crust—that's Detroit style pizza. The Michigan invention is now becoming more popular in culinary scenes across the country.

moon among trees
Unsplash

With a chill in the air, seasonal gourds decorating doorsteps, and candy lining store shelves — all signs are pointing to the fact that it's nearly Halloween. And what better way to celebrate than listening to chilling tales — both real and mythical — about our beloved state?

alligator in a pond
Steven / Adobe Stock

An alligator rescued from a southeastern Michigan school pond is doing well in its new digs at a zoo.

Staff from the Indian Creek Zoo in Lambertville on Friday captured the American alligator - originally believed to be a caiman - from a pond on the Bedford junior high/high school campus in Temperance. It was discovered the day before in the pond used for academic study.

Looking underneath a bridge at sunrise, a group of boats in the water surround several swimmers attached to orange buoys.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

More than 300 people braved the Straits of Mackinac Sunday for the 13th annual Mighty Mac Swim.

Michigan Radio’s Kaye LaFond rode along on a security boat and got a first-hand look at what goes into herding swimmers across four miles of the straits.


Hash Bash
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The 1970s were an era marked by bohemian wardrobes, protest marches, and groovy disco music. Leaning into this flair, Ann Arbor held its first annual pro-cannabis rally known as Hash Bash in 1972.

This Saturday will be the 48th anniversary of that first event. And it will be the first Hash Bash since Michigan voters legalized recreational marijuana at the polls in November. 

The Ghoul
theghoul.com

Ron Sweed, also known by his late-night television host character "The Ghoul," has passed away according to reports from friends and his ex-wife Barbara J. King.

Even though Spring is here, the ice on is still 12 inches thick on some inland lakes. Because of this, you can see ice boats cruising along the ice on West Grand Traverse Bay or Lake Leelanau on a clear, windy day. 

Clock
Chuttersnap / Unsplash

As Michiganders get ready to "spring forward" their clocks this Sunday, state Representative Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) has introduced a bill (HB 4303) to eliminate daylight saving time as a way to stay on Eastern Standard Time all year.

However, this isn't the first time legislation like this has been introduced in Michigan. It was last debated in 2017. And before that in 2015. And chances are you hear grumblings against (and perhaps praise for) the move each fall and spring when clocks make the switch.

paczki
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Throughout Michigan today, thousands of people will be indulging in a rich, delicate fried pastry. It might be filled with jam or custard, covered in powdered sugar, or granulated sugar, or a glaze. It’s like a donut, but it’s lighter and the dough is less sweet.

From steamy Motown soul to sweet modern acoustic, Michigan has a long history of love songs. So we decided to compile some of our favorites to celebrate the romantic side of our state. 

The House of David's Shiloh Mansion in Benton Harbor
Zak Rosen / Mismatch Podcast

Things do not always fit together easily or neatly. But truthfully, life would be pretty boring if they did.

That’s the idea behind the podcast Mismatch, which is now launching its second season. Mismatch is hosted by veteran Detroit reporter Roger Weber and produced by Zak Rosen.

Rosen joined Stateside to talk about the third episode of the podcast's new season, titled “The House that Beards Built."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

2018 is almost in the books.

If you’re having trouble “wrapping your mind around” 2018 coming to an end, take some comfort. That phrase (as well as “in the books”) is on a list of words and phrases people want to ban.

Every year, Lake Superior State University comes up with a tongue in cheek list of overused and tired expressions and words.  This is the 44th year for the list.  

Jimmy Izbinski, Santa at the Toledo Christmas Weed.
Joey Horan / Michigan Radio

Shades of A Charlie Brown Christmas are playing out on a busy intersection in West Toledo.

The Toledo Christmas Weed, a lonely sapling growing out of a crack in the sidewalk, is now adorned with tinsel and surrounded by gifts. It even has a dedicated crew of Santa and his elves, one of whom was passing out free lottery tickets on Wednesday. 

Lee Erck smokes his pipe in the basement of his home just outside Marquette.
Dan Wanschura

Just off U.S. Highway 41 outside of Marquette, there’s an old man who lives alone in a small, one-bedroom house. Most days he's upstairs sitting at his desk or downstairs in his workshop. There he makes some of the best tobacco pipes in the world.

Not just blowing smoke

“My name is Lee Erck. I am a tobacco-smoking pipe maker. I live here in Negaunee Township,” he says on a cloudy Friday afternoon.

Vintage photo of Faygo's headquarters in Detroit.
The Feigenson Family Archives

"Remember when you were a kid? Well, part of you still is. And that’s why we make Faygo," goes an old jingle for one of Detroit's most iconic companies.  

Faygo was born on Detroit’s Eastside more than 100 years ago, and it remains a well-known pop brand in the United States today.

Joe Grimm is a journalism professor at Michigan State University and author of The Faygo Book

MBME Media

As a long-suffering Lions fan, I've learned to appreciate the things they've taught. Things like the brief moment of hope before the season begins, or the benign satisfaction of a meaningless last second win after already being eliminated from the playoffs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The big winners in this weekend’s big lottery jackpot drawings may be Michigan retailers.

About one and a half billion dollars is up for grabs in the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries.

scan of The Michigan Essay newspaper
Archives of Michigan

For much of American history, newspapers were the main source of information for citizens of all backgrounds.

And although profits may have been a top priority, newspapers helped form and inform communities, and provided a check on government.

A letter urging the governor to suppress the film
Michigan History Center

Nowadays, watching sports highlights is as easy as looking at your phone. But a century ago, not so much. 

In fact, more than 100 years ago, groups were urging the Governor of Michigan to suppress the showing of a film that recorded one of the biggest sporting events of the age. 

Kyle and Bryce at a library
Michigan Radio

  

Taking that first step down a career path can be daunting. It's like stepping into a world completely unknown. On the flip side, if you’ve been walking that road a long time, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two. 

woodcut of le griffon
Wikimedia Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Today, we’re taking you way back to the summer of 1679. It was on this Friday, 339 years ago, that the French ship Le Griffon appeared on the Detroit River.

It was the first large scale, European style sailing ship to reach the shores of what would eventually become Michigan.

Cydni Elledge

  

Being a black woman in America is equivalent to feeling like a “double, triple, quadruple minority,” says Florence Noel. She argues that this is not only reflected in national statistics, but also in their everyday experiences.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Each year, Native American kids can enjoy a cultural summer camp experience at the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi's Rodgers Lake campus. Many of the camp activities are built around cultural teachings, and a big part of that is telling stories passed down through generations. 

Colin Wesaw is a tribal elder and leader in the Pokagon Band community. He often tells stories at Camp Kë Gbéshmen in Dowagiac. The 63-year-old started telling stories when he was just 18. 

He joined Stateside to talk about the importance of stories, and to share a tale about making choices. 

The LaSalle Hotel lobby, the site of the assassination of Detroit Radio personality Jerry Buckley
Courtesy of The Detroit News

Like something out of a gangster movie, radio personality Jerry Buckley was gunned down in the La Salle Hotel in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

Buckley’s killer was never found, and the mystery of his death involves mobsters, a city mired in violence, and a corrupt mayor who was recalled, in part, because Buckley protested his election on the radio.

Marijuana leaves
Unsplash

Michigan, like other states, is at a kind of crossroads when it comes to marijuana policy.

The drug is still illegal at the federal level. But public opinion is changing. More than 60 percent of Americans now favor legalizing weed.

And this November, Michiganders will vote on whether or not to allow recreational marijuana use.

So what does all this mean for the state's economy, health care, or criminal justice system?

Downtown Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the 1967 uprising in Detroit. What some call a rebellion, some a riot, left 43 people dead and thousands of buildings in the city destroyed.

Michigan Radio did a deep dive into the history and legacy of that event last year. This year, we’re focusing on a smaller uprising that started just two days later,  on July 25th, 1967, in Grand Rapids.

Matthew Daley, Associate Professor of History at Grand Valley State University, joined Stateside to talk about what happened. 

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