Northern Michigan Arts & Culture

Northern Michigan is a place with incredible natural beauty and varied landscapes. It is also home to Interlochen Center for the Arts and several other longstanding cultural institutions. Little wonder the region has been so attractive to artists and musicians of all types. Here we bring you those stories. 

Kate Pillsbury (left), Emilee Petersmark (center) and Ben Zito (right) of The Crane Wives perform in IPR's Studio A.
Dan Wanschura

When The Crane Wives formed eight years ago, the band featured a straightforward acoustic sound and performed around the Grand Rapids area. Much has changed since 2010 though, as the band has evolved to a more amped-up, electric sound and has gained a national following.

Detroit's music scene will welcome the sixth annual Mo Pop Festival at the end of the month.

Our guide to Detroit music, as always, is Paul Young, the founder and publisher of Detroit Music Magazine. He joined Stateside to highlight three local acts that will take the stage at Mo Pop.

Sorry to Bother You is billed as a sci-fi comedy, and is playing in theaters nationwide after debuting at Sundance Film Festival.

It's about the story of a young black telemarketer from Oakland, California named Cassius Green, played by Lakeith Stanfield. An older co-worker, played by Danny Glover, offers advice that helps Cassius climb the ladder to telemarketing success by using his "white voice."

One of the very best ways to enjoy summer in Michigan is to park yourself under a tree or on a beach and get lost in a good book.

Poet Keith Taylor joined Stateside to talk about some of his suggestions for your summer reading list.

Recently retired as a creative writing teacher at the University of Michigan, Taylor just published another book called Ecstatic Destinations about his Ann Arbor neighborhood.

There's something about the a crackling campfire and the looming mystery of a nighttime forest that creates the perfect atmosphere for telling a special kind of story.

Some campfire stories aim to send a shiver down your spine. Others seek to remember a past moment in history or teach a good life lesson.

With that tradition in mind, Stateside will be bringing you a series of stories this summer perfect for your next bonfire. 

Lindsay Lou performs in IPR's Studio A. She grew up in Kingsford but now lives in Nashville.
Dan Wanschura

Ten years ago, Lindsay Lou made the decision to quit her day job as a biologist and tour the country – and the world – as a full-time musician.


 

You just never know when life has a great big surprise waiting just around the corner for you.

Just when you think it’s time to put your music dream on the shelf and go to dental school, you get a call from producers of NBC's The Voice, asking you to audition for the TV singing competition.

Brad Aspey

When Dan Nickels makes a mistake, he doesn’t throw it away. He keeps it. In fact, Dan puts his mistakes on display .


This week brings the 26th go-round for Detroit's annual Concert of Colors presented by the Arab American National Museum.

The event starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday. It celebrates cultural diversity through music and the spoken word.

This year, the Concert of Colors has inspired a sister festival in Jackson. It's called the Jackson Unity Festival.

It’s time for another edition of Theater Talk with David Kiley, editor-in-chief of Encore Michigan. Kiley joined Stateside to preview and review plays opening around Michigan this month.

Her stage name is Stephie James, but friends and family here in Michigan know her best as Stephanie Hamood.

The Nashville based singer-songwriter got her start playing gigs at a coffee shop her family opened near Detroit. 

Now, after years of touring with big name bands, James is getting ready to release her debut album later this year.

She brought us the stories of Great Girls in Michigan History. Now, writer Patricia Majher is focusing on the boys.

Her new book is Bold Boys in Michigan History.

In it, Majher tells the stories of Michigan boys who did remarkable things before they were 20. These bold young men include a filmmaker, musicians, inventors, athletes, a politician, and more.

Jillian Speece (right) and her husband Nathaniel Hoff (left) perform "Mayflies" in IPR's Studio A.
Dan Wanschura

The Bergamot is the husband and wife duo made up of Nathaniel Hoff and Jillian Speece. The Brooklyn-based couple first brought their indie pop sound to northern Michigan in 2012, when they performed at the Traverse City Film Festival.

The TCFF recently launched its Student U program, which gives free movie tickets to high school and college students.
Dan Wanschura

Students will be able to watch films for free at this year’s Traverse City Film Festival. The festival recently announced the launch of it’s TCFF Student U program, which offers 10 tickets to each accepted high school and college students.


No matter your age or your generation, the music you listened to in high school claims a special place in your heart.

Many kids use music to help overcome the trials and tribulations of adolescence. 

Michael Zadoorian’s new novel Beautiful Music centers around one of those kids. He talked to Stateside about how the music of 1970s Detroit inspired the book. 

It has been nearly 41 years since the passing of Elvis Presley, but "The King" can still draw a crowd.

Continuing Stateside's look at Michigan festivals, we headed to Ypsilanti for Michigan Elvisfest, taking place July 6 and 7 at Riverside Park. 

Aaron Selbig

There are polka bands across the country, particularly in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan.  Where there are Polish-American communities in Michigan, there is usually polka music and dance.

 

Judy and Her Suchey Brothers are a polka band from the Alpena area. They've been playing together for 45 years.

It is the 157th birthday of someone whose life is proof that you shouldn't let the negative opinions of your professor get in the way of your ambitions.

William Mayo, half of the dynamic duo who went on to found the famed Mayo Clinic, was born this week in 1861.

Dr. Howard Markel, University of Michigan medical historian and PBS contributor, joined Stateside to tell us about his extraordinary life. 

Hemingway sculpture missing from Beaver Island

Jun 28, 2018
Cynthia Hector-Johnson

A sculpture commemorating Ernest Hemingway is missing from outside the Beaver Island Public Library. 

 


The world knows her as the doctor who used science to force the state of Michigan to admit it had caused the Flint water crisis.

 

Drew Hale (center) says he adds northern Michigan flare to his country music.
The Drew Hale Band

A couple years ago, Traverse City singer Drew Hale burst onto the country music scene when he won the national Country Showdown competition in Nashville. He got a $100,000 prize and the title of Best New Act in Country Music.

Trenton Breithaupt (Chamomile and Honey) performs with his girlfriend Summer Green.
Dan Wanschura

Trenton Breithaupt is from Elk Rapids, and last month he graduated from the singer-songwriter program at Interlochen Arts Academy. That’s where he met his girlfriend Summer Green – and the two of them began performing under the name Chamomile and Honey.


“When I first go on stage I’m nervous, but as I go I feel exhilarated. I feel like I am the only one out there and that’s amazing.”

New and exciting artists are cropping up around West Michigan. There are even a few moving from abroad to join the lively music scene there.

Editor and publisher of Local Spins, John Sinkevics returned to Stateside to discuss the latest music trends being crafted and performed in West Michigan.

Listen above to hear more.

Do corporations have too much power and too little oversight? That question has dominated American society since the Civil War and it does not seem to be going away any time soon.

Over the decades, the political pendulum has swung back and forth between workers’ rights and corporate power.

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