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. 

National Writers Series: An evening with Paula McLain

Nov 14, 2019

Paula McLain is best known as the author of “The Paris Wife,” which is a work of historical fiction telling the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage. Her latest book, “Love and Ruin,” is about Hemingway’s third marriage, to war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Paula visited Traverse City in 2015 and talked with fellow author Benjamin Busch on the stage of the City Opera House. At that time, Paula’s book “Circling the Sun,” about aviator Beryl Markham, had recently come out. Before becoming a novelist, Paula published two collections of poetry.

National Writers Series: An evening with Blaine Harden

Nov 13, 2019

Blaine Harden is an author and journalist, writing for the Washington Post, The New York Times, Frontline on PBS, and others. He’s written five books, three of them about the Korean peninsula. Blaine’s book “Escape from Camp 14” tells the story of Shin Don-hyuk, the only known person born in a North Korean labor camp who has escaped. His most recent book is “King of Spies,” about a rogue American spy in Korea. Blaine visited Traverse City in 2013 and talked with former U.S. State Department official Jack Segal on the stage of the City Opera House.

National Writers Series: An evening with Peter Matthiessen

Nov 13, 2019

Author Peter Matthiessen died in 2014. During his lifetime, he wrote over thirty books. He’s well-known for his nonfiction like “The Snow Leopard,” which traces his journey to the Tibetan plateau in the Himalayas. He also wrote fiction, with novels like “At Play in the Fields of the Lord,” the Watson trilogy, and “Far Tortuga.” Peter’s final book was the 2014 novel “In Paradise.” His official biography, called “True Nature,” is currently being written and is scheduled to be published by Knoph/Pantheon in 2022.

Bryce Hoffman is an author, speaker, and consultant. He wrote about the Ford Motor Company and the auto industry bailout in his book, “American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save the Ford Motor Company.” A.J. Baime is a journalist who wrote "Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War." Bryce and A.J. visited Traverse City in 2014 and talked with auto industry writer Jean Jennings on the stage of the City Opera House. Jean asked A.J. to start off the evening talking about his book.

John L. Russell

Nelson DeMille has written twenty-one novels, including “Plum Island,” “The Charm School,” and “The Cuban Affair.” His book “The General’s Daughter” was made into a movie starring John Travolta. Nelson’s latest book, “The Deserter,” is a collaboration with his son Alex, who is a screenwriter and film editor. Nelson and Alex talk this hour with WTCM NewsTalk 580 radio host Ron Jolly. Ron asked Nelson to talk about a time in his life before he became a writer, serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam.

Traverse City West High School is opening a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" on November 15. Director and choreographer Minda Nyquist and cast member Jack Rusinowski (Tevye) shared music and stories from the classic musical. For tickets to see "Fiddler" please click here.

Hear the full interview and music below.

Pieces included:

Traverse City Central High School is opening a production of "West Side Story" on Friday, November 8. Director Erin Peck and cast member Teddy Huff (A-Rab, Tony understudy) shared music from the iconic musical and talked about its relevance to teenagers today. For tickets, click here.

Hear the full interview with music below!

Music heard on today's program:  

National Writers Series: An evening with Roy Blount Jr.

Oct 30, 2019

Humorist, journalist and author Roy Blount Jr. has written over two dozen books, as well as many articles for various periodicals. He’s also a frequent panelist on National Public Radio’s “Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me” program. Roy’s most recent book is “Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations.” Roy visited Traverse City in 2011 and talked with Doug Stanton on the stage of the City Opera House. At that time, Roy’s book “Alphabetter Juice” had recently been released.

National Writers Series: An evening with Susan Orlean

Oct 29, 2019
Tom Haxby

Susan Orlean is the author of ten books and numerous magazine articles. She’s best known for her book “The Orchid Thief,” which was the inspiration for the movie “Adaptation,” starring Meryl Streep as Susan. Her latest book, about the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, and libraries in general, is called “The Library Book.” Susan talks this hour with Anne Strainchamps, host and co-creator of the public radio program To the Best of Our Knowledge. Anne asked Susan to start off by reading from “The Library Book.”

National Writers Series: An evening with Randall Sullivan

Oct 29, 2019
Tom Haxby

"The Curse of Oak Island" is a TV show on the History Channel, currently in its seventh season. It’s also now a book by journalist Randall Sullivan. Randall first wrote about the island for Rolling Stone in 2004. In the book, he goes deeper into the long history of treasure hunting on the island, and delves into the many theories about what’s buried there. One of the creators and stars of the TV show is engineer and entrepreneur Marty Lagina. Randall and Marty talk this hour with Patrick Livingston, News Director for TV stations WPBN and WGTU in Traverse City.

National Writers Series: An evening with Lee Child

Oct 29, 2019

Lee Child is best known for his Jack Reacher thriller series. The series has been adapted into two films starring Tom Cruise as the title character. Lee’s 24th book in the series, Blue Moon, came out in 2019. Lee visited Traverse City in 2012 and talked with Doug Stanton on the stage of the City Opera House. Doug asked Lee to take him through a typical day of writing.

National Writers Series: An evening with Aarti Shahani

Oct 28, 2019
Kristen Stewart

Aarti Shahani is a technology reporter for National Public Radio based in Silicon Valley. Her family immigrated to the United States from India in the 1980s. Aarti thrived in her new country and earned a scholarship to an elite private school. But her father was arrested for mistakenly selling watches to a drug cartel, which led to years of entanglement in the legal system. These experiences inspired Aarti to write her memoir, “Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares.” Aarti talks this hour with WDET News Director Jerome Vaughn.

New public art in Traverse City's Clinch Park Tunnel honors Anishinaabe heritage. The murals were painted by artist Bobby Magee Lopez from Denver, Colorado.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

New public art is now on display in Traverse City at the Clinch Park Tunnel, and it once again features art murals honoring the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Waves crash over the Frankfort Pier as Ella Skrocki heads out into a raucous Lake Michigan.
Beth Price / Beth Price Photography

Gale force winds fueled huge waves on the northern Great Lakes Tuesday with some on Lake Michigan topping out at 13 feet. For some residents in Michigan, the fall storm season is the time to hunker down — but for others it’s the perfect time to jump in the lake.


The Northland Players will put on a production of "Once Upon a Mattress" this weekend at the Cheboygan Opera House. The classic 1959 musical, at its time a star-maker for Carol Burnett, is based on the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea" with music by Mary Rodgers and Marshall Barer.

Cast member Jim Sturgill, who plays The Jester in the show, stopped by Classical IPR to share some music from the show and talk about communities coming together as a volunteer artistic force.

Hear the interview and music by clicking below!

Music chosen for this hour includes:

National Writers Series: An evening with Tom Brokaw

Oct 7, 2019

Journalist and author Tom Brokaw anchored the NBC Nightly News for 22 years. He’s been working in the news for over 50 years, and he’s also published ten books. Tom’s best-known book is his first one from 1998, “The Greatest Generation,” about those who fought in World War II and helped out on the home front. His most recent book, which came out in 2019, is “The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate.” Tom visited Traverse City in 2010 and talked with Doug Stanton on the stage of the City Opera House.

Macmillan Publishers

Jeffrey Eugenides’s first novel, “The Virgin Suicides,” was made into a movie directed by Sofia Coppola. “Middlesex,” his next novel, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His most recent book is a collection of short stories called “Fresh Complaint.” Jeffrey visited Traverse City in 2011 and talked with fellow author Jeremy Chamberlin. At that time Jeffrey’s book “The Marriage Plot” had just been released. Jeremy asked Jeff to talk about growing up in Detroit in the 1960s and 70s.

National Writers Series: An evening with Temple Grandin

Oct 6, 2019

Temple Grandin is an advocate for people with autism, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and a prolific author of books and research publications. Her most recent book is “Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like An Inventor.” Temple was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. In 2010, a movie based on her life, starring Claire Danes as Temple, was released by HBO films. Temple visited Traverse City in 2013 and talked with editor and media consultant Laura Hohnhold on the stage of the City Opera House.

National Writers Series: An evening with Thomas Lynch

Oct 5, 2019

Thomas Lynch has been a funeral director in Milford, Michigan since 1974. But he’s better known for his poetry and essays, which are often inspired by his profession. His book “The Undertaking” was the basis of an episode of Frontline on PBS and a BBC documentary. Thomas’s most recent book is “Whence and Whither: On Lives and Living.” And a new book, “The Depositions,” is coming out in November 2019. Thomas visited Traverse City in 2010 and talked with author Jerry Dennis on the stage of the City Opera House.

National Writers Series: An evening with David Maraniss

Oct 2, 2019
Tom Haxby

David Maraniss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and biographer. He’s written books about Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Vince Lombardi, and others. David last visited Traverse City in 2016, when he came to talk about his book “Once In A Great City: A Detroit Story.” His latest book delves into the personal history of his family. “A Good American Family” tells the story of David’s father, Elliott Maraniss, who was accused of being a communist informant during the McCarthy red scare era of the 1950s. David talks this hour with author and commentator John Bacon.

Craig Hadley is the new executive director of the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan.
Cindy O'Dell

When Eugene Jenneman announced his retirement from the Dennos Museum Center last year, the art museum in Traverse City began a national search for his replacement. Jenneman had been the first and only executive director of the museum since it opened nearly 30 years ago.

After narrowing the search, their top choice was 35 year-old Craig Hadley, who spent the last eight years as curator of the art museum at DePauw University in Indiana.


Taylor Wizner

This week on Points North, a private prison in Baldwin will hold immigrants convicted of crimes. Some nearby residents argue it will bring jobs to the area, while others want nothing to do with it.

Plus hear about a legal scholar turned writer whose stories brought her back to northern Michigan.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island was built in 1887. It was sold this week to an investment firm based out of Denver.
Grand Hotel

The historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island has been sold. The hotel made the announcement Tuesday.

 

National Writers Series: An evening with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Sep 5, 2019

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an activist, scholar, former politician, and author. She’s known for her vocal criticism of Islam. Ayaan’s most recent book is “Heretic: Why Islam Needs A Reformation Now.” Her book “Prey” is coming out in 2020. Ayaan visited Traverse City in 2012 and talked with lecturer, columnist, and former diplomat Jack Segal on the stage of the City Opera House. Jack asked Ayaan to talk about her journey from Somalia to the United States.

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