The Green Room

Your weekly dose of arts and culture, airing every Friday morning on IPR News Radio & Classical IPR.  

Chase Hunt paints on a longboard in his garage in Traverse City.
Dan Wanschura

Chase Hunt loves skateboarding and longboarding. But even more than that, he loves graffiti art. He says the two go hand in hand.

“They’re kind of the same people,” he explains. “You meet a lot of graffiti artists that are skateboarders.”


Jessica Masse has been tuning and caring for pianos at Interlochen Center for the Arts for eight years.
Dan Wanschura

Interlochen Arts Camp just wrapped up for the season. During the summer, over 230 pianos are on campus for the students. That’s a lot of work for a piano tuner.

“The only thing I can compare it to is having an infant,” says Jessica Masse. “And always having to just be at their beck and call.”

Transom stories: Line dancing 'just lifts you up'

Aug 3, 2017
Jacquie Gwyn practices new choreography before she teaches her line dancing class in Interlochen.
Maddy Russell-Shapiro

Jacquie Gwyn is 73 years old, and she teaches line dancing in Interlochen. 

“It just lifts you up; that’s the best way to put it,” says Jacquie.


Leonard Maltin is a renowned film reviewer and critic. He's a featured guest at the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival.
Becky Sapp

Leonard Maltin is one of the most recognized film critics out there. Why do his reviews resonate with so many people?

“I love movies," he says. "And I love what I do. People tell me that comes through...it’s honest, it’s genuine.”

Dan Wanschura

More than 150 young people are gathered in northern Michigan this week. They sing, dance and some play instruments.

They come from all over the world – Russia, Vietnam, Germany and northern Michigan. They all join together for what’s called the Children of the World in Harmony International Choir and Dance Festival. 

Julie Buntin's debut novel 'Marlena' tells the story of friendship, loss and nostalgia.
Nina Subin

“Marlena” is a novel about two teenage girls and their short but intense friendship.

Cat, the main character in the book has just moved to northern Michigan. She quickly latches on to her neighbor, Marlena, and acquires her habits and friend group.

Ansel Adams takes a moment to adjust his camera in Yosemite National Park. An exhibit  featuring some of Adams' most iconic work is hanging at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey.
Alan Ross

Alan Ross worked with Ansel Adams for about 10 years. Like Ansel, he’s known for his striking black and white photography.

Alan says a lot of people know about Ansel – the photographer – but fewer know him as a person.


Al Anderson shows off one of his Betsie Bay Kayaks. Al has been building the boats for over 30 years.
Andrew Bauld

Al Anderson owns Betsie Bay Kayak. Since 1984, he’s been crafting boats made from wood and fiberglass.

“There’s just something about a kayak,” Al says. “It’s like a magic carpet in a way.”


Holly Wren Spauldling arranges the poems in her series called "Lost Lexicon." The poems get their names from nature words which have been removed from the "Oxford Junior Dictionary."
Dan Wanschura

The "Oxford Junior Dictionary" is aimed at kids seven and up. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive book – that’s why it has a limited space for word entries.

So, when the publishers added words like "analog," "broadband" and "chatroom" – other words like "ash," "beech" and "crocus" got the boot. 

Jody Burns (left) acts in Shane Bagwell (center) and Michael Mittelstaedt's recent Cinemasports film. Teams only have 10 hours to write, shoot and edit their films.
Dan Wanschura

Cinemasports is an intense film event. Filmmakers have 10 hours to write, shoot and edit their films. Then the films are screened the same day.

“The value for the 10-hour, three-minute film?” asks Bill Dungjen. “Pretty much my entire philosophy of entertainment, which is, ‘Go do something.’”

Rebecca Childs works on a painting in her '99 Paintings for Evelyn' series.
Dan Wanschura

Rebecca Childs’ grandmother-in-law painted and sketched right up until her death last year. Her name was Evelyn Henry, and she was 99 years old. And Evelyn changed the way Rebecca thought about her own art.

“You can’t have an excuse if a 99-year-old woman is sketching in her bed, you know, the last week of her life,” she says.

In her most recent book, author Mary Roach talks about the unique ways science and war interacts on a more personalized level.
Dan Wanschura

‘Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War,’ is the newest book by author Mary Roach. And in it's pages, she doesn’t talk about what you might think of when you hear the words “science” and “war.” 


Jeff Kimpton concludes his 14-year presidency at Interlochen Center for the Arts on June 1.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

Jeff Kimpton is wrapping up his 14-year presidency at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Next week, he will retire and move to Minneapolis with his wife Julie.


'Hollywood and Crime' is a podcast produced by Jim Carpenter and Rebecca Reynolds of Leland. The couple is currently working on producing the second season of the podcast, which is due later this year.
Wondery

Rebecca Reynolds and her husband, Jim Carpenter are filmmakers from Leland, Michigan.  About two years ago, Rebecca had a conversation with a friend in Los Angeles. Together, they came up with the concept for a true crime and Hollywood show.


The cast of 'Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play' gathers for a rehearsal earlier this week. The show explores what a society might hold onto after an apocalyptic event.
Dan Wanschura

If there was an apocalypse, what would we hold onto? How about the TV show 'The Simpsons?'

That’s the case in ‘Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.’

The musical comedy portrays a group of survivors who make it through a global disaster, which has left the world without electricity. 

 


Students at Leland High School rehearse 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' earlier this week. The musical incorporates audience participation to determine the outcome of the show.
Kim Klein

When Charles Dickens died in 1870, his last novel, 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood,' was unfinished. All we know for certain is that the title character, Edwin Drood, mysteriously disappears.

A musical based on that story assumes Drood has been killed, and the students at Leland High School are performing it over the next two weekends.

BJ Leiderman composes themes for NPR shows like 'Morning Edition' and 'Science Friday.' This May, he's coming out with his debut album, 'BJ!'
Mark Edward Atkinson

Over the years, BJ Leiderman has composed the theme music for lots of NPR shows like Morning Edition, Marketplace, Science Friday, and more.

But in early May, he’ll release his first album. And it’s a lot different from his theme jingles. While listeners might recognize him from his theme music, Leiderman says his passion is performing in a band.

 


Tyehimba Jess was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for poetry with his collection, 'Olio.' In it, he tells the stories of early African American performers.
Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is an African American poet from Detroit. He recently won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for his collection of poetry called, Olio. The poems are inspired by blackface minstrel shows.

Minstrel shows were variety acts – skits, dances, music, comedy, and were popular in the 1800’s and well into the 1900’s. Performers would paint their faces black, and act out routines that often denigrated African Americans.

Northern Michigan has a lot of option in terms of summer music festivals and concerts. On July 9, you can listen to a concert while you sit on the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Glen Arbor Art Association

The 2017 Interlochen Arts Festival lineup was announced today, and it features the likes of ZZ Top, Michael McDonald, Trace Adkins, Diana Ross, OK Go, and more.

But in addition to Interlochen, northern Michigan is home to a wide variety of summer concerts and festivals.


Xavier Verna, the executive director of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, hopes to bring a vibrant arts and culture scene back to Manistee.
Dan Wanschura

If you lived in Manistee in the early 1900s, The Ramsdell Theatre was the place to be.

Women would put on elegant ballroom gowns, and men would get dressed up in fancy tuxedos for a night of arts and culture.

“That was like every weekend,” says Xavier Verna, the new executive director of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. “It was really fun and exciting to have a place that you just always had something to do.”

Robin Crocker has spent the last three months as the artist in residence at the Parsons Center in Lake Ann. She made a permanent exhibit celebrating the life of artist and educator Jean Parsons.
Tommy Valdez

Most people who knew Jean Parsons, will tell you— she was tough and expected a lot from her students.

Jean never married, and didn’t have any children. So, she spent her days pouring into her art and investing in her students. 

Now, one of her students has created remembrance of her in the Benzie County village of Lake Ann.


Kyle Novy recently completed a 52-song album project, called 'Mount Valor.' And he's released every song for free.
Kyle Novy

Kyle Novy has been a singer-songwriter for a long time. But it had been about 10 years since he released any music. He was still writing songs, but the timing to record them wasn't right.

“I almost think of it like the whole pregnancy process," he explains. "I mean there’s a good nine months of development before this child is ready to be birthed, and like out in the world.”

A young speller competes in the Grand Traverse County Spelling Bee, in Kingsley on February 22.
Dan Wanschura

A few weeks ago, parents and students filled about half the bleachers at the Kingsley Middle School gym. It wasn’t for a sporting event but for the 2017 Grand Traverse County Spelling Bee. Spellers who do well here, will have a shot to go to the national competition which airs on ESPN. 


  

Shanny Brooke opened up the Higher Art Gallery in Traverse City in November. She wants to bring more modern and contemporary art to the northern Michigan community and is coming up with unique ideas to do so.
Dan Wanschura

Shanny Brooke moved from Florida to Traverse City about nine years ago. Soon, she noticed that her type of art, was missing. She sees a lot of what she calls “loons and dunes,” but little modern or contemporary art. 

Shanny says that’s because businesses cater to tourists and visitors.

 

Charles Ross is the creator of the One Man Star Wars Trilogy. He's performed the show thousands of times all over the world. He'll be at the City Opera House in Traverse City, March 10.
onemanstarwars.com

For the past 16 years, actor Charles Ross has been performing his One Man Star Wars Trilogy.

“Every time I think that the show is going to dry up, Star Wars just keeps on putting new things out and making new generations of fans,” he says. 


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