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. 

Filmstrip festival a nod to a simpler time

37 minutes ago
Rosie Flickinger started the so-called filmstrip festival 10 years ago.
Tom Carr

Thousands will line up this week with their tickets in hand for the Traverse City Film Festival. But a few miles to the south, the Traverse City Filmstrip Festival at East Bay Branch Library will celebrate a less glamorous medium.

Before YouTube and before videotapes, school kids saw a lot of filmstrips, like the one Rosie Flickinger shows. It’s a story told and sung by the late Pete Seeger.

 She clicks the filmstrip ahead every time she hears the beep on the audio cassette.

Flickinger, a librarian, started the so-called filmstrip festival 10 years ago, when the Traverse City Film Festival was young. The event is really just a couple showings of filmstrips.


David Cassleman

Armed with an eight-track recorder and an eighty dollar microphone, Matt Jones travels around Michigan, recording local musicians.

So far, he’s recorded about 100 artists from all over the state. 

“Everybody I’ve recorded has been completely worth it," Jones says. "So how could I possibly stop?"

Lightning or shine, she just keeps paddling

Jul 23, 2015
Morgan Springer

The Au Sable Canoe Marathon is both grueling and addictive.  Canoe teams paddle 120 miles from Grayling to Oscoda on Lake Huron. That's close to halfway across Northern Michigan. They paddle 14 to 19 hours through the night and into the next day. The goal for many is simply to finish, and they attack that goal with a stubbornness that sometimes borders on dangerous. 

The marathon is this weekend beginning at 9pm on July 25th.


Today in 1928, the Cherry Festival moved to July

Jul 20, 2015
Traverse City Tourism AP

July 19, 1928 marks the date of the first Cherry Festival held in July. Before that, a festival known as “the Blessing of the Blossoms” was held in May.


The "JunkYard Music Box" was made out of a rusty water tank, old car parts, leftover granite, two I-beams, and an antique meat grinder.
Tom Kaufmann

What most of us would see as useless junk, Tom Kaufmann sees potential for making instruments. 

“I love junk,” Kaufmann says, laughing. 

From a giant 25-foot tall music box made out of a rusty water tank, to glockenspiels created out of hand tools, he has spent much of his life making music out of unexpected materials.

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