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. 

When you think of a mermaid story, maybe an ocean comes to mind.

But couldn’t a mermaid live in the Great Lakes? Lake Michigan maybe?

Writers Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen posed that question to each other ten years ago. Their new book is called The Lake Michigan Mermaid: A Tale in Poems.

This Friday marks the 172nd anniversary of a uniquely Michigan milestone. On May 18, 1846, Michigan became the first English-speaking government in the world to vote and pass a measure to abolish the death penalty.

Mark Harvey, State Archivist with the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to talk about Michigan’s progressive past. Judge Avern Cohn, the Senior United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, also joined the conversation.

Michigan born-and-raised actors may wind up working in New York or Hollywood, but they make sure the world knows they’re from the mitten.

Toni Trucks has been in a host of movies and TV shows, including her current roles as Lisa Davis in “SEAL Team” on CBS. Trucks began her performing career here in Manistee, and now she’s giving back to her hometown by loaning it her voice.

It’s time for another edition of Theater TalkDavid Kiley, editor-in-chief of Encore Michigan, joined Stateside to preview and review plays, with a special focus on West Michigan.

 

Today is the 20th anniversary of Frank Sinatra's death, but he lives on in Bob Anderson​. Anderson has been a fixture in Vegas and on stages all around the country with his show, "Frank. The Man. The Music."

 

 

The Detroit Public Theatre is wrapping up its third season with a new play that it commissioned: "Birthday Candles." It's written by Noah Haidle, a Grand Rapids native. 

Spencer McQueen paints in his studio in downtown Traverse City.
Dan Wanschura

Spencer McQueen says looking at his art isn’t enough. He wants you to feel his paintings.

“It’s just this little extra ability that you can give someone to connect with you and the things that you created,” he says.


Newly hired Joe Beyer resigned as executive director of the Traverse City Film Festival this week.
Dan Wanschura

After less than a month on the job, the new executive director of the Traverse City Film Festival is stepping down.

Artist Diane Hawkey created "Peaceable Kingdom: A Global History of Man" for Michigan Artists Gallery in Traverse City. The piece is based off Edward Hick's paintings and is displayed at Michigan Artists Gallery.
Dan Wanschura

In the early 1800’s, American painter Edward Hicks began painting “Peaceable Kingdom," a series of 62 paintings inspired by a verse in the book of Isaiah.

The verse says, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” 

In Traverse City, two different art galleries are bringing that concept to the art world.

 


   

Last week, the Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot petition that might end the prohibition of recreational marijuana in Michigan

 

Meanwhile, this week marked the 100th anniversary of another important social experiment: Prohibition. 

 

 

Some 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust, and those who survived have lived so long, they're now watching the world forget. 

 

A recent poll shows 66 percent of American millennials don't know what Auschwitz is. Another 22 percent had not heard of the Holocaust or weren't sure if they had. 

 

It’s easy to picture “comfort food,” but what about “discomfort food?”

That’s what Tunde Wey will be serving up in the pop-restaurant Saartj, running from May 2 to May 5 inside the community space Bank Suey in Hamtramck.

Karen Anderson has been writing weekly essays for IPR for 10 years. Her new book, "Gradual Clearing" is a collection of 120 of those essays.
Windborne Studios

For the last 10 years, Karen Anderson has been writing weekly essays heard on Interlochen Public Radio.

The essays are vivid, personal, and relatable. Karen takes time to notice the little details and experiences of everyday life.


Joe Beyer (right) and Michael Moore in the Traverse City Film Festival offices in downtown Traverse City.
Dan Wanschura

Michael Moore has hired Joe Beyer as the new executive director for his Traverse City Film Festival. Joe replaces Deb Lake, who resigned last December.

“It’s like we found our long-lost soul brother here for Traverse City in the being of Joe Beyer,” says Michael.

Joe Beyer returns home to Michigan after working for the Sundance Institute for over 14 years.

Chris Andrews walked across the country pushing this cart in an effort to spark face to face conversations.
Chris Andrews

A couple years ago, Chris Andrews, a senior at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, realized he was addicted to his smartphone.

“It was something I was using as a crutch,” he explains. “Something that I was using in moments of boredom, moments of anxiety, or a moment of silence in a group of friends – we’d all reach for our phones.”


On the first day that Michael Gustafson and his wife Hilary opened Literati Bookstore in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, something possessed him to place a typewriter on a table for anyone to use.

That was in the spring of 2013. Since then, Gustafson’s “public typewriter experiment” has yielded a treasure trove of notes: some droll, some heartbreaking, some witty, some poignant.

Matt Shepler prepares to blend some Ambrosia Sipping Chocolate in his kitchen in Traverse City.
Dan Wanschura

Ambrosia Sipping Chocolate is a brand new, gourmet hot chocolate that’s made in Traverse City. It hits the market on April 15th.

“It’s literally like you’re drinking chocolate bars because that’s exactly what it is,” says co-owner Matt Shepler.


Let’s talk about Celtic music. Nessa, a Southeast Michigan band, re-imagines the ballads and dance tunes of the old Celtic world, bringing in a wide range of musical styles.

The ensemble is led by Kelly McDermott, who plays the flute and sings. She joined Stateside to talk about her musical influences, Celtic fusion, and the release of her new EP, Travel Walk to Celtica, produced by Brian Bill.

Hope College is a small, private liberal arts college near Holland, in West Michigan.

It was founded in 1862 in partnership with the Reformed Church in America, so its Christian identity is central.

Safia Hattab, a freshman at Hope studying English and computer science, brings a different perspective to the school of over 3,300 students: she’s Muslim. Hattab turned her experience of being Muslim in West Michigan into an award-winning essay titled “Through the Dome.”

 

This winter driving season has created many white-knuckled moments throughout our state.  

If you find yourself thinking, “There’s got to be a better way to get around in the snow,” then you wouldn’t be the first. 

Manistee’s Vogue Theatre celebrates milestone

Mar 30, 2018
The Vogue Theatre

The Vogue Theatre in Manistee is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year.

The theater reopened to the public in 2013 after a fundraising effort to refurbish the historic building.

Theaters like the Vogue are being restored across the state and country in an effort to capture the nostalgia people hold for neighborhood theaters. 

David Mix, the vice president of the nonprofit that restored the theater, spoke with Caroline MacGregor about the anniversary. 


 

As controversy swirled around Bob Dylan's 2017 Nobel prize for literature, some argued that Dylan wasn't even the first songwriter to win the prize. That honor may belong to Indian songwriter, poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore.  

Jason Dake, the education curator at the Dennos Museum points out some art during a recent walk-through of the museum.
Dan Wanschura

The Dennos Museum in Traverse City has almost three-thousand works of art in its collection.

At any given time, around 280 of those works are on display, including Inuit sculptures, contemporary paintings and modern photographs.

But on April 14th, the museum wants visitors to ignore most of these works and just focus on a handful of them.  


Ever since the arrival of Europeans to Michigan, farming has been a key economic component for our state. However, without the life’s work of a Michigander from South Haven, farms in Michigan and across the nation might evolved quite differently.

Mark Harvey, State Archivist at the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to discuss the life of pioneering botanist and horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey, how his “agrarian ideology” of advanced technology was received at the time, and how he’s remembered today.

Turning shame into pride.

That’s the idea behind an exhibit of black velvet paintings. It’s called “Black Velvet: A Rasquache Aesthetic,” and it’s happening at the Latino Cultural Center in Detroit's Mexicantown.

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