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. 

Metro Detroit native Saladin Ahmed has been writing for years. From poetry to short stories to novels, he has experimented in many genres. Ahmed’s most recent medium is graphic novels. He produced a comic book series called “Abbott.” It follows Elena Abbott, a hard-working African-American journalist in 1972 Detroit.

Stateside producer Mike Blank recently spoke with Saladin Ahmed at a book signing at the Vault of Midnight in Detroit.

 

When was the last time you heard about a politician who realized she or he needed to change to help the country – that former ways had to be put aside to foster bipartisan cooperation for the good of the country? 

 

A U.S. senator from Michigan, Arthur Vandenberg, was such a person. 

 


 

In the early days of making cars, many companies quickly appeared and then disappeared just as fast. 

 

In an article in Michigan History MagazineSteve Ostrander noted there were 34 automakers in the 1920s. One of them was named after a World War I flying ace — Eddie Rickenbacker. 

David Kiley of Encore Michigan brings us five new productions from professional theater companies around the state.

Luis Resto brings his Detroit-based band to northern Michigan this weekend.
Dan Wanschura

Songwriter and producer Luis Resto says other music scenes are more polished than Detroit, but that’s one reason why the Motor City is so special to him.  

“Detroit has this street grit, what we call ‘stank,’” he says. “Which is good.”


The name “America” was drawn from the first name of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who died in 1512. But the first inhabitants of what we now call “North America” call it "Turtle Island."

A new video game called Thunderbird Strike lets players protect Turtle Island, particularly from the oil industry.

 


 

He’s been widely praised for his paintings about natural history and ecological history.

 

Now, New York artist Alexis Rockman has turned to Michigan’s treasure — the Great Lakes.

 

His new show, "Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle," opens at the Grand Rapids Art Museum on Jan. 27.

It was an electrifying moment at last week's Golden Globes when Oprah Winfrey put the spotlight on a black woman from Alabama named Recy Taylor. In 1944, as she was coming home from church, Recy Taylor was kidnapped and raped by six white men. They left her blindfolded by the side of the road and threatened to kill her if she told anyone what had happened. She did anyway. Nevertheless, justice was never served.

President Trump and his supporters say they want to "make America great again," but just what that means and what part of America's past they refer to as "the greatest" is unclear.

Given our nation's turbulent history when it comes to the treatment of people of color and women, there are some who feel that slogan is not meant to include them.

For most of us, working in subzero temperatures doesn’t sound like the dream job. But the cold doesn't seem to bother World Championship ice carver Tajana Raukar.

Raukar is the owner of Ice Dreams Sculptures in Plymouth. It's cold in her studio, and she's wearing full on winter gear. 

Traverse City author Doug Stanton wrote 'Horse Soliders,' which is the basis for the new film '12 Strong.' The film opens in theaters nationwide January 19.
Dan Wanschura

Next week, the movie based on Doug Stanton’s book ‘Horse Soldiers’ will hit theaters nationwide. It’s about a small group of Special Forces who rode horses to fight the Taliban.

“It’s a Western with lasers,” says Doug.

Lance Werner, the executive director of the Kent District Library, originally thought he’d become an FBI agent. Instead, he’s just been named the Top Librarian in the Nation by Library Journal. Werner is the first Michigan librarian to receive the honor.

“I’m so proud to represent Michigan and to kind of bring us into the national spotlight,” Werner told Stateside. “In my opinion, Michigan’s libraries are among the best in the world, and I think it’s great that everybody’s kind of watching us now.” 

 

It's Wednesday, so it's time to talk Michigan History. This week, we observe the anniversary of the 1945 assassination of State Senator Warren G. Hooper.

 

Mark Harvey, state archivist, along with Scott Burnstein, Detroit mafia historian and author, and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio's Capitol bureau chief, joined Stateside to help tell the story.

 

Fans of singer-songwriter Jill Jack know she's been a mainstay of Detroit’s music scene for over two decades.

Back in October, she released her 12th full length album These Days, a nod to the Jackson Browne tune.

At the 2017 Detroit Music Awards, Jack was recognized for Outstanding Americana Artist/Group, Outstanding Americana Vocalist and Outstanding Jazz Recording for "Pure Imagination."

Cal Freeman’s newest collection of poems, Fight Songs, has nothing to do with ‘The Victors’ or ‘Victory for MSU.’ Instead, his poems are about unsung, little-noticed lives, about underdogs, about animals, plants, and nature.

Theater Talk is back for the New Year.

David Kiley of Encore Michigan joined Stateside today to bring the latest look at productions from professional theater companies around the state.

As the New Year begins, he also shares his thoughts on the state of professional theater in Michigan, including what he says is its biggest challenge: awareness.

Pines of Arcadia is a new artist residency near Manistee.
Dan Wanschura

Pines of Arcadia. That’s the name of a new artist residency and studio north of Manistee. The studio is built into a sand dune and surrounded by pine trees.

Judy Jashinsky is the owner and came with the idea to start the residency.

Thirty years ago this week, on January 5, 1988, the last train left Michigan Central Station. That moment marked the end of nearly 75 years of Michiganders catching trains at the once-proud station.

Dan Austin, who has written three books about Detroit history and founded HistoricDetroit.org, and Mark Harvey, state archivist from the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to discuss the station's legacy.

In this era of texting and tweeting, we’re at risk of losing some of the marvelous words that add texture and meaning to conversation and writing.

A good place to begin to up our collective language game is by checking out the newest list from the Wayne State University Word Warriors. The group dug around in the linguistic cellar to recover neglected words that deserve a place in 2018.

Yes, 2018 has arrived! Time to look back at some highlights from West Michigan’s music scene in 2017 as well as looking forward to some artists generating attention as the new year unfolds.

Top West Michigan musicians of 2017

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say this was a banner year musically for the west side of the state, which already had produced stars like BØRNS, a native of Grand Haven who continues to electrify the pop scene from his new home in Los Angeles.

Paul Britten designed the new player entry tunnel for the Denver Broncos.
Denver Broncos

It’s gameday in Denver.

Before the Broncos start playing football, players are announced as they sprint onto the field through a smoke-filled tunnel shaped like three wild, galloping horses.


“He errs who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart.”

So said the founder of the Charles W. Howard Santa School in Midland, Michigan.

Yes, you read that right. There is such a thing as Santa school, and the one in Michigan is the longest-running in the country. With students coming from as far as Australia and Denmark, it’s known as the “Harvard of Santa Schools.”

"Lost Lexicon" is a collection of poetry by Holly Wren Spaulding. The collection consists of 20 poems who's titles are taken from words deleted by 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.

There's no shortage of Christmas productions this season. And, as always, David Kiley of Encore Michigan tells about a few of the latest happening around the state. 

Listen above to hear his take on the following:

“Inspiration in the wake of desperation.” That’s the theme of a powerful documentary called For Flint.

In the film, director Brian Schulz shows the foundation for a rebuilt Flint can be found in the lives of its neighbors.

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