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. 

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.”


On the next edition of Michigan Writers on the Air, Julie Buntin will read from her stunning debut novel Marlena. Heather Shumaker will lead us through the saga of the saving of the Arcadia Dunes.  And Nancy Parshall will a read short story from her prize winning chapbook, Proud Flesh.


In 1969, the blues threw a party in Ann Arbor.

James Partridge, founder of the Ann Arbor Blues Society, calls that party “the first blues festival ever.”

Enough people came that it happened again, and again, and became the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, later re-christened the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival. Its last hurrah came in 2006.

But this year, musicians will breathe new life into that festival, as they work to reignite the energy that pulsed through the crowds so many years ago.

Looking for new music from the Detroit area that's perfect for the dog days of summer?

Khalid Bhatti​, executive editor of Detroit Music Magazine, has your back. So does Paul Young, the magazine's founder and publisher.

Katie Larson (left) and Sav Buist of The Accidentals stopped by IPR to chat about the band's new album.
Dan Wanschura

The Accidentals drop a new album this Friday.

“Odyssey” is the band’s first album since signing a record label deal with Sony Music Masterworks earlier this year. It features a mix of brand new songs and songs written years ago but never recorded.

He’s been writing and singing about Michigan for a good many years, and on Tuesday night, Michigan will say thank you to Jay Stielstra.

Michigan Senator Rebekah Warren will present Stielstra with a state of Michigan legislative tribute for his contributions in conserving Michigan’s natural resources. She’ll do this during a show called “A Michigan Tribute to Jay Stielstra” at The Ark in Ann Arbor, where an all-star group of Michigan singers, musicians and actors will perform in his honor.

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.”


Think back to grade school. Remember that one kid who was always disrupting the class? The one who talked out of turn, cracked jokes, and was always getting sent to the principal’s office. In other words, the class troublemaker.

Well, it's exactly those kind of kids who are the subjects of the new book Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School. Author Carla Shalaby, a research specialist at the University of Michigan School of Education, spoke with Stateside about the book.

"The Table of Knowledge" is a group of mostly old-timers who gather every morning at The Front Porch Cafe for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.
Dan Wanschura

It’s five o’clock in the morning on Main Street in Ellsworth, and it seems like most of the village is sleeping. It’s quiet and dark outside, but there is a light on outside The Front Porch Cafe.

Inside, Brenda Powers is getting ready for another day.


It's time again to explore what's on stages across Michigan on Stateside's monthly Theater Talk segment.

David Kiley from Encore Michigan joined the show today to break down what's up in lights around the state right now.

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.


Marcel Price is on a mission: use poetry and the spoken word to encourage young people to open up about mental health and wellness.

As "Fable the Poet," this young Michigander has been visiting high schools around Michigan and across the country, helping kids understand their shared struggles.

And now he's taking it national with something he's calling "The Unpacking Tour."

The comedy panel from the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival includes include Samm Levine, Sean Jordan, Bob Byington, Jack Robbins, and Zefrey Throwell. The panel is moderated by Doug Benson.

Please be advised this panel discussion does include profanity and other language listeners might find offensive.


Filmmakers talk about documentary film during the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival.
Linnaea Melcarek

The documentary panel from the 2017 Traverse City Film Festival features Anniken Hoel and Andrew Grant (director and producer of "Cause of Death: Unknown"), Neil Berkeley (director of "Gilbert"), Amir Bar-Lev (director of "Long Strange Trip"), Jonathan Olshefski (director of "Quest"), and Anna Chai and Nari Kye (directors of "Wasted! The Story of Food Waste"). Moderated by Thom Powers, documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Fest.

 


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.”

Filmmakers talk about the ways their films have changed them and their audiences. 

The panel is comprised of Pamela Yates, Paco de Onis, Pau Faus, and Zaradasht Ahmed.

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. 

If you've ever been driving through the countryside, unsure of exactly where you are, maybe you’ve told a friend: “I passed some podunk town in the middle of nowhere.”

Many Michiganders are familiar with the saying. But there’s really only one Podunk, Michigan.

The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on the planet. But their future is uncertain.

Every year, a Native American group called the Mother Earth Water Walkers treks hundreds of miles around the Great Lakes to raise awareness of water issues in the region.

This year, the group is making its 2,000 mile trip from Duluth, Minnesota to Matane, Quebec.

Stateside producer Mercedes Mejia caught up with the group near Leamington, Ontario, and learned that the walk is more than a call to action. For many, it's a spiritual journey that connects them to each other and to other indigenous communities.

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.

The Giving Tree Band has been called "The Greenest Band in the Land." They perform in Lake Leelanau on Sunday.
Taylor Castle

The Giving Tree Band has been called “The Greenest Band in the Land.” The band from Illinois has a vision statement that outlines an eco-friendly approach to their music and life.

 

Summer is a time for crowd pleasers in the theater world.

David Kiley of Encore Michigan joined Stateside for another round of Theater Talk, highlighting the newest summer shows.

The Gryphon Trio
John Beebe

The Gryphon Trio is performing a concert tonight in the Concert Hall of the former Holy Rosary School/Sala Koncertowa in Cedar as part of the Leelanau Summer Music Festival. Violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, cellist Roman Borys and pianist Jamie Parker talked with Kate Botello and performed works of Beethoven and Astor Piazzolla.

In this special hour of Morning Classical, Interlochen Center for the Arts President Trey Devey shares some of his favorite classical music with listeners.

Click through to see Trey's playlist.


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.


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