Daniel Wanschura

Arts & Culture Reporter/Producer

Ever since he was young, Dan has been fascinated with radio. From hearing the dulcet tones of John Gordon broadcast Minnesota Twins games, to staying up late listening to radio theater, he was captivated by the imaginative medium. 

In 2012, Dan graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a BA in Communications. In 2015, he moved from the Twin Cities to northern Michigan, to cover arts and culture at Interlochen Public Radio.

During his time at IPR, he’s produced a weekly arts and culture segment called, “The Green Room.” In 2016, Dan won a PRNDI award for his story, “Opera: relevant or outdated?” In 2017, his story about a polo club in northern Michigan earned him a Edward R. Murrow regional award. His work has also been heard on NPR, Minnesota Public Radio, Michigan Radio, and KFAI Radio.

Dan enjoys playing softball, driving on Michigan’s renown M-22 highway, and volunteering as a leader in Grand Traverse Young Life. He is also a lover of the Oxford comma— much to the chagrin of his editors.

He loves setting sound-rich scenes in his radio journalism, so naturally, a couple of his favorite stories include the time he accompanied photographers shooting a Lake Michigan storm, and when he visited award-winning cheesemakers. Another favorite was telling the story of how theater has helped a vet with PTSD.

Kinetic Affect members Kirk Latimer (left) and Gabriel Giron bring their spoken word poetry to audiences all over the country.
Kinetic Affect

Kirk Latimer was a high school English teacher when he heard a student get up and perform spoken word poetry for the first time. He was so moved by the experience that he encouraged all his students to tell their stories through spoken word poetry.

But then in the middle of class, one of his students called him out. He challenged Kirk to share his own story the way he wanted them to share theirs. And  he did. 

 

A grandmother in Senegal, Africa. Grandmothers all over the world are highlighted in author Paola Gianturco's new book, 'Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon.'
Paola Gianturco

Paola Gianturco travels all over the world, writing books about women and girls. About 10 years ago, she was in Kenya interviewing women for a book she was working on. For some small talk before each interview, she asked each woman how many children she had.

The first woman told Ginaturco she had three, and 10 adopted. The second told her she had 5, and 15 adopted. The next said she had four and 12 adopted. Gianturco says all the women she spoke with answered the same way.

“And I suddenly realized that what they were telling me was that they were raising their grandchildren,” she says. “They had adopted them when their own children had died of AIDS.”

Bill Church and Laura Mittelstaedt in a recent rehearsal of 'The Guys.' The play tells the story of an NYC fire captain struggling to write eulogies for the men he lost in the attacks of 9/11.
Dan Wanschura

Bill Church has used a scene from the play The Guys in his acting technique class at Interlochen Arts Academy for years.

The Guys is the story of a fire captain who lost hundreds of men in the attacks on the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

 


Two LARPers, or Live Action Role Players, during a recent get-together in Traverse City.
Lisa Fierstein

Fantasy books, games and movies can take you to another reality. Think about Dungeons and Dragons, or The Lord of the Rings. But what if you could enter those alternate, fantasy worlds in real life?

Some people try through LARPing— or Live Action Role Playing— and it blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.

There’s a LARP group in the Traverse City area. They fight evil, save the king and come out victorious, all within 48 hours. 


The National Park Service printed Moheb Soliman's poems using the official colors and iconography.
Moheb Soliman

It’s a hot Saturday afternoon in Leland, Michigan. The sun is out and a lot of people are visiting Fishtown. Sonja Vanderveen is up visiting from downstate. She’s standing in front of a National Park sign, with poetry on it.

“There were towns, and beaches spooning," she reads. "There was longing, and belonging. There was plenty of parking, and abandon lots. There was sunset. Three scoops of peach high and as wide smeared." 


Rare Bird Brewpub co-owners Nate Crane and Tina Schuett. Tina says when they were planning the brewpub, there were only about five other breweries in the Traverse City area. Now, there are more than 10.
Rudy Malmquist

It’s 6:30pm on a Wednesday evening at Rare Bird Brewpub. There are about 80 people inside drinking beer and eating dinner, and only one open table left.
 

"Everybody might think like, 'Oh you’re busy, you have a successful business, that means you’re rich,'” says restaurant co-owner Tina Schuett. "No. It means I’m several hundred thousands of dollars in debt for a long time out."
 

Tina Schuett and Nate Crane opened Rare Bird Brewpub two years ago in downtown Traverse City.


Paul Erhard performs on his double bass, in the back porch of his home in Pierport, Michigan.
Daniel Wanschura

Have you ever wondered about the difference between the music of India, and the music of the West? 

Professor Paul Erhard has, and combines elements of each to form a unique blend of music that includes some jazz.

Paul Erhard is the Professor of Double Bass at the University of Colorado College of Music. He became interested in Indian music shortly after getting married in 1985. He and his wife visited India because they had an interest in the spirituality of the people.

The Bliss Polo Club plays in front of a large crowd on a recent Sunday afternoon.
Daniel Wanschura

Northern Michigan’s lakeshore climate is perfect for growing cherries, apples and other fruits. But Mason Lampton says it’s also perfect for his favorite pastime: playing polo. The Georgia resident realized the cooler summer temperatures were much more suitable for polo than the 100 degree heat down south.

One year, as he was summering in Harbor Springs with his family, he saw an old potato field in nearby Bliss Township. He bought the field but instead of planting potatoes, decided to play polo. It took over a year to get the field graded, irrigated and in playing condition.

Now, the Bliss Polo Club is enjoying their sixth year of polo and are in the middle of their final tournament of the year this weekend.


Sufjan Stevens wrote a whole music album about his home state, Michigan. It's included in The Awesome Mitten's updated list of top Michigan songs.
Sufjan Stevens

If someone were to ask you to name your top songs about Michigan, what would come to mind? Would you have trouble coming up with more than one or two? 

Jake Cagle writes for the website, The Awesome Mitten. When he was asked to come up with his top five songs that mentioned Michigan either in the title or lyrics, or were about the state– he had some difficulty at first.

"I could only think of maybe a handful," Jake explains. "I knew it would take me days and days to come with an actual list, and then to whittle it down to songs that wouldn't get me laughed off the internet."

Jake Cagle eventually came up with his list of the top five Michigan songs, but since four years have passed since that article was published, but he recently collaborated with IPR to update it.

Billy Strings gets ready for an interview in a Nashville recording studio.
Pam Holland

When Billy Strings decided to move from Northern Michigan last January, he wasn’t exactly sure where he wanted to go. He just knew he wanted to get away.

“I’m 23 years old and my feathers are fluffed, you know,” he explains. “Kind of just wanted to go see what was on the horizon.”


Community members gather to hear free music from the new street piano in Traverse City.
Cheyenne Herron

A brightly colored piano was unveiled in Traverse City on Thursday evening. 

It sits in the middle of a new gathering space near the intersection of Front and Park Streets downtown. About 50 people of all ages stopped by to enjoy the warm evening and some free music.  

The 13th Annual Traverse City Film Festival released it's lineup earlier today.
Dan Wanschura

The 12th Annual Traverse City Film Festival gets underway next Tuesday.

This year, the 32 officially selected films are all directed by women. Meg Weichman is the Creative Director for the film festival. She says it was founder Michael Moore who had the idea making all the official selections, films that were directed by women. 

"We did try to look for more films by female filmmakers this year, and we were shooting for maybe just having fifty percent," explains Weichman. She says what they found was staggering. "Michael loved so many great movies by women, he wanted to make all of our official selections in competition just directed by women."


Claire Lynch performs with her band, 'The Claire Lynch Band' in IPR's Studio A
Lisa Fierstein

Claire Lynch is considered by many to be one of the finest female voices in bluegrass. And also one of the first. When she started, there were few other female bluegrass artists.

"Some historians have said that if a woman performed on stage without a chaperon ... she was considered sort of a hussy," explains Lynch. She says the 'good ol' boy, protect your woman attitude' lasted longer in bluegrass than it did in a lot of other genres. 

After this year, Claire Lynch plans to step away from full-time touring with her band, The Claire Lynch Band. Her final tour includes a couple of stops in Northern Michigan. The group performed their concert A Midsummer Night’s Dream last night at The Garden Theater in Frankfort, and will play tonight at the InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City. 

Emma Berger sketches in Warehouse MRKT in Traverse City.
Daniel Wanschura

For many musicians and bands, summer is the time to get out and tour. And when they’re out on tour, posters are needed to help promote the different shows.

That’s good news for Emma Berger

She’s a graphic artist from Traverse City who designs everything from posters to t-shirts for bands across the country. Her work has brought her in contact with artists like Brandi Carlile, who performs tonight at Interlochen Center for the Arts


A replica of the USS Bunker Hill was created by Tom Moran for Onaway's Fourth of July parade in 2013. The replica now sits near Moran Iron Works just outside the city.
Dan Wanschura

Fewer than 900 people live in the city of Onaway, Michigan. But every year, thousands of people flock to the city's annual Fourth of July parade.

And many of the residents say Tom Moran is the reason why. 

Peggy McNew gets up close and personal with her watercolor painting. She has cone dystrophy, and uses her lower peripheral vision to see.
Dan Wanschura

Peggy McNew is a painter from Empire, Michigan. There’s nothing unusual about that— there are a lot of painters in Leelanau County. But Peggy is different. She’s legally blind. 

And a question that she’s wrestled with is whether or not that matters in relation to her art.

A bowl carved from a tree that was downed by last year's August 2nd storm in Glen Arbor is one of the pieces waiting to be displayed in a new art exhibit at the Glen Arbor Art Association. The exhibit focuses on artists' interpretations of the storm.
Dan Wanschura

Beth Bricker is a painter from Glen Arbor. When she bought a home last summer, her property had a lot of trees on it. Then the infamous August 2nd storm, happened.

After waiting out the storm in her bathroom, she emerged to find a tree had landed in her bedroom and studio area.

In fact, she had five trees fall on her house, and seven more on her garage. Her property which used to be covered in trees, was suddenly wide open. She says she is going to miss all that shade.

“I’m a middle-aged woman," says Bricker. "I get too hot way too fast, and I’ve got ... high windows here which really didn’t used to have any sunlight coming in.”

But on the other hand she says she can now look up and see stars at night. Those types of new views are the inspiration behind a new exhibit at the Glen Arbor Art Association. 

New Views: A Storm of Art is a juried exhibition of art. The art association wanted to give artists an opportunity to express themselves and help the community heal.

The Accidentals released a new EP on June 1, titled Parking Lot. It’s been three years since the group released their last album, Bittersweet. Since then, the band has toured the country, been showcased at South by Southwest, and signed a new management deal.

The group's appearance at SXSW earlier this year, was the second straight year the group traveled to Austin, Texas. Katie Larson says the event is beneficial for indie bands like theirs because it's a chance to network.

"We did get to meet a lot of people this year, and that was a really good focus," she says. "And we made a lot of good connections that'll help us out for this next year or two."

Dave Miles, a curator at the Charlevoix Historical Society, stands by a new fishing industry display. It's part of a new exhibit focusing on the history of business and industry in Charlevoix.
Dan Wanschura

When Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon in 1969, a little bit of Charlevoix was with him. 

Charlevoix made it to the moon in the form of a very tiny, lightweight chrome and nickel thread. The thread was manufactured by a Charlevoix company named Hoskins, and was used in the Apollo Space Program space suits.

That's the kind of historical link that might not be well known, but something that a new exhibit at the Charlevoix Historical Society seeks to make known.

John Larson is the owner of one of Traverse City's newest restaurants, Mama Lu's.
Dan Wanschura

When chef John Larson and his family moved from Chicago to Traverse City last spring, he soon realized that getting a table at a downtown restaurant was a bit difficult at times.

"There weren't enough restaurants," says Larson. "I noticed every single place was on a two-hour wait during the summer months."

That was good news for the entrepreneur from Chicago. 

Just over a year later, Mama Lu's is now open for business just in time for the busy summer months in Traverse City.

A reproduction of William-Adolphe Bouguereau's 'The Nut Gatherers' will be on display in Traverse City through October. The replica is part of the DIA's Inside|Out public art program.
Detroit Institute of Arts

A dozen high-quality art reproductions will be placed throughout downtown Traverse City on Wednesday. 

Among them is “The Nut Gatherers” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and “Reeds and Cranes” by Suzuki Kiitsu.

Inside|Out is a program from the Detroit Institute of Arts that brings replicas from its collection to different locations around the state.

Poet Mike Delp addresses a men's gathering in Cedar, Michigan. He recently authored a new collection of poetry called, 'Lying in the River's Dark Bed.'
Dan Wanschura

On a recent Saturday evening in Cedar, Michigan, about 40 guys are gathered in the home of Jeff Smith, the editor of Traverse magazine. The night is centered around beer and poetry. The beverage of choice is from the recently opened Lake Ann Brewing Company. The poet is Mike Delp.

Mike Delp has a new book titled Lying in the River’s Dark Bed. It’s what he calls the confluence of the Deadman and the Mad Angler— characters he’s has been crafting for years.  

 

Mary Sue Wilkinson leads a sing-along session at Orchard Creek Supportive Care in Traverse City. Residents who suffer from dementia are still able to connect with the music from years before.
Dan Wanschura


Mary Sue Wilkinson remembers how sad she felt when she used to visit her father-in-law who was suffering from dementia. He was a former minister, but near the end of his life he couldn’t talk. 

Whether out of desperation or instinct, Mary Sue took her guitar and started to sing the old Gospel hymn, I’ll Fly Away. He made eye contact and began to sing along. 

"He sang every word in perfect harmony; perfect pitch," says Mary Sue. "He was so happy you could just see that he was experiencing the competence of that.” 

Vocalosity is coming to the City Opera House during the upcoming 2016-17 season.
Vocalosity

The City Opera House in downtown Traverse City is celebrating its 125th year on Front Street. Today, the opera house released the 2016-17 season, with 10 shows scheduled from August to April. Theater productions, music acts, and a One-Man Star Wars Trilogy show, highlight this year's lineup.

Jema Hewitt says if you see someone wearing a pair of goggles with a top hat, you've spotted a steampunk.
"It's kind of like a secret sign," says Hewitt. "If you spot someone, and they're wearing a pair goggles like you would an Alice band, you kind of go, 'Ahah, you're a steampunk!'"


Pages