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 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.

National Writers Series: An evening with Karl Marlantes

Sep 5, 2019
Tom Haxby

Karl Marlantes was one of the first ever guests of  National Writers Series in 2010, when he came to talk about his first book, “Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War.” That book draws on Karl’s experiences as a Marine in Vietnam. His latest novel, “Deep River,” is inspired by the history of his ancestors, who immigrated to Washington from Finland in the early 20th century. Karl talks this hour with fellow author and veteran, Benjamin Busch. Benjamin asked Karl to talk about the difficult process of getting his first book published.

Traverse City's Old Town Playhouse will soon open a production of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." The play features many delightfully oddball characters, including the staunch Victorian Lady Augusta Bracknell, portrayed in this production by Betsy Willis.

Willis came to IPR's Studio B in character as Lady Bracknell to share some of that great lady's favorite music, interspersed with some firm Victorian opinions about edifying music, a fondness for German respectability and a general suspicion of all things French.

Players from the Traverse City Pit Spitters celebrate winning the 2019 Northwoods League championship on August 16th, in Traverse City.
Traverse City Pit Spitters

It’s going to be hard to top the season that the Traverse City Pit Spitters had in 2019. Besides winning the Northwoods League title, the team set a new league record with an 18-game winning streak. Looking ahead, general manager Mickey Graham thinks 2020 will be even better.

 


Essay: White privilege

Aug 16, 2019

When I was growing up in Grand Rapids in the 1950s, my mother had a “cleaning lady” named Gladys, a soft-spoken colored woman who helped with housework.  I liked Gladys, especially when she made my lunch and cut the sandwiches diagonally.


People stand in the water, holding both ends of a large net.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, hear how citizens are becoming scientists on the Great Lakes.

Plus, a cheesy grits casserole recipe with a special ingredient: family history.

At the conclusion of the 2019 Traverse City Film Festival, filmmakers confront the question, "Can Cinema Save the World?"


 

Essay: Summer Fun

Aug 9, 2019

Walking outdoors on a summer morning, I uncoil the hose and turn on the faucet.  Then I bend to inhale the wet, metallic smell of water pouring out of the nozzle—grateful for things that do not change.


National Writers Series: An evening with Douglas Brinkley

Aug 3, 2019
Tom Haxby

Douglas Brinkley is an author, professor, commentator and historian. He’s written and co-authored dozens of books, on topics as diverse as Rosa Parks, Jimmy Carter, Walter Cronkite and Hunter S. Thompson. Doug’s latest book is “American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.” He talks this hour with author John Bacon. John asked Doug how growing up in Perrysburg, Ohio made him feel connected to the first moon landing.

National Writers Series: An evening with Daniel Pink

Aug 3, 2019

Daniel Pink specializes in books about business. He has one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time, “The Science of Motivation,” and he adapted it into a bestselling book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” Daniel’s latest book is “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” He talks his hour with Angie Morgan, founder of Lead Star, which is a consulting firm that helps professionals become better leaders. Before getting into business writing, Daniel was involved in politics. For two years, he was the chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore.

Some of the Traverse City Film Festival's visiting documentary filmmakers share their stories from out in the field.


Michael Moore and special guests discuss the future of film in the age of streaming.


Essay: Rest Areas

Aug 2, 2019

When I was a kid, our family vacations were often road trips to scenic destinations.  And since this was the 1950s, there were no clean, friendly “rest areas.” provided by the highway department.  Instead, when we needed a bathroom, we had to depend on random gas stations along our route.


Essay: Responses to Suffering

Jul 26, 2019

When my young daughter was diagnosed with cancer, we were all shocked and terrified.  Then, gradually, we found the strength to go forward—and it was a long journey, a hard journey.  Strangely enough, what sometimes made it harder was responses from friends and family and even from health care workers. 


Essay: Post Office Cure

Jul 19, 2019

A cloud is following me around today, casting a shadow on my life.  I feel lonely and discouraged—but when I try to figure out why, nothing comes to mind.  In an effort to get out of the house and out of my self, I take up my list of errands. 


The Traverse City Pit Spitters are trying all sorts of ways to get fans to the ballpark, including letting them bring their dogs on ‘Bark in the Park’ night.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, Traverse City’s new baseball team dominates on the field, but getting fans in the seats has been another matter. Plus, a review of Kathleen Stocking’s collection of essays “From the Place of the Gathering Light.”


Despite the Traverse City Pit Spitters' winning record and engagement efforts, fan attendance numbers have been low.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This spring, a lot of fanfare accompanied the announcement the Pit Spitters baseball team was coming to Traverse City. Billboards went up declaring, “New Team. New Fun.” Now free pocket schedules can be found at just about any gas station you stop at in northern Michigan. But for all these efforts and the team’s recent 18-game winning streak, fans have been slow to respond.

 


Essay: Meadow

Jul 12, 2019

I stay in the tent until my husband tells me the coffee is perking. It’s one of the few luxuries available out here in the woods. Slowly, I roll out of my sleeping bag and pull on cold blue jeans. Dick has built a small fire and I drag my canvas chair close to the warmth. 


Essay: Lost Scarf

Jul 5, 2019

It wasn’t a fancy scarf, just a strip of red and blue plaid that I wrapped around my neck in the winter.  On really cold days, I pulled the edge up over my nose, enjoying the smell and warmth of wool.


Essay: Holy Places

Jun 28, 2019

It’s almost too warm to jog but I lace up my shoes anyway. There’s no traffic this morning because it’s Sunday and the streets are quiet. The only cars are on their way to church or to the convenience store for coffee and a paper.


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