Arts and Culture

Book reviewer Scott D. Southard considers the new book from Michigan author Jim Ray Daniels.


Taylor Taylor photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR

Our Live Music Friday guest today is Taylor Taylor, a recent graduate of Okemos High School who has a series of performances scheduled in the Lansing area this summer.

courtesy Blue Griffin Recording

A new CD by clarinetist Guy Yehuda and pianist Ralph Votapek includes sonatas by Brahms and Reger.


Scott Pohl with painting
J.F. Weese / Paint Nite

Paint Nite is merging art instruction with the social scene of local bars. Current State’s Scott Pohl went to Paint Nite last week to see what’s going on.


Joshua Davis Current State photo
Stacy Hoxsey / WKAR

Joshua Davis will perform in concert tonight at MSU's Wharton Center. He stopped by WKAR's Studio S as Current State's guest on a Live Music Friday.


Kevin Noe
MSU College of Music

Music legend Gunther Schuller died this week. MSU Director of Orchestras Kevin Noe studied under Schuller and offers this remembrance.


Purple Rose Theatre plan 2AZ
Sean Carter / Purple Rose Theatre

On Sunday, the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea will bring their 25th season preview tour to Lansing's Riverwalk Theatre. Current State talks with artistic director Guy Sanville about the season to come.


Brad Schwartz was 23 years when he co-wrote a PBS American Experience documentary on the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ radio sci-fi thriller, “The War of the Worlds.” He was the same age as Welles when the production aired in 1938. Now, Schwartz has published a book on the classic hoax. Current State’s Kevin Lavery talks with the Okemos native about his work.


We writers tend to take short stories for granted. They are practice. They are something students do in a class. They are throwaway ideas for a collection or a blogsite. Most recently, publishers have been asking authors to create short stories as a means for introducing a novel to an audience, sort of an awkward attempt at a prequel. Check out this free short story, now come back and buy the book!

Baldori at the piano
Scott Pohl / WKAR

There will be lots of great live music in the Lansing area this weekend. In Old Town Lansing, Festival of the Sun and Festival of the Moon are Friday and Saturday, with artists like The Outer Vibe and Sierra Denae. If jazz is more your style, the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in East Lansing includes Rodney Whitaker, Thornetta Davis and many others on Friday and Saturday. To whet your appetite, Summer Solstice is kicking things off tonight with the boogie-woogie piano duo Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza at 7 p.m. in the MSU Music Building’s Cook Recital Hall.

From "The Giving Tree" to "Falling Up," Shel Silverstein’s books have entertained generations of kids with their absurd humor and whimsical illustrations. But Silverstein didn’t just write children’s books. He also wrote short stories and plays geared toward a decidedly more adult audience.

Dave Matchett/Elderly Instruments

Elderly Instruments in Lansing has been selling stringed instruments in Lansing’s Old Town for decades. Most visitors to that part of town are familiar with the old brick building they occupy. 

That facade will soon be a little brighter thanks to a huge mural painted on the front of the building by California-based artist Jennifer Springman. The mural will be painted on the big building just north of the iconic Washington Avenue location. 

Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos.

John Hermann. A few of those names are more familiar than the last one, but John T. Hermann was indeed a member of the influential “lost generation” of writers.  And the author, who wrote a book that was banned in 1926, grew up in Lansing.

http://www.roscoeorman.com/

“Sesame Street” is one of television’s most enduring programs, having educated and entertained children for decades. WKAR-TV airs “Sesame Street” at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays and at 9 a.m. on weekends. Next week, one of the show’s stars will visit six libraries around Lansing.

http://brittanyherself.com/

Brittany Gibbons is a writer and performer who has made a name for herself in the arena of positive self image, specifically regarding women considered to be plus-sized. Tonight, she’ll appear at the Schuler book store in the Eastwood Towne Center to talk about her book, “Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It.”

Courtyard scene
Scott Pohl / WKAR-MSU

The annual outdoor theatre season at Michigan State University Summer Circle Theatre opens this week. It’s an exciting time for the MSU Theatre department because Summer Circle will be staged for the first time on the newly-constructed Summer Circle Courtyard stage next to Fairchild Theatre.

courtesy Tim Lane/Lansing Art Gallery

In May, we told you about Keys In the City, a project combining art and music around the Lansing area. Pianos decorated by local artists are beginning to crop up in public spaces, and you can enjoy them as art or even sit down and tickle the ivories yourself. Now, the Lansing Art Gallery is launching a public art project of its own.

Reviewers love to talk about the sophomore slump. Whether it’s a musician, a film director or an author, critics can’t get enough of speculating if an artist will be able to hit it out of the park twice in a row. And it isn’t just critics paying attention. The follow-up to a successful debut can often make or break a career. That second work is where artists prove to their audience whether they are a one-hit wonder or someone worth following for years to come.

Courtesy of Andromeda Theatre Company

 The Andromeda Community Theatre in Charlotte is about to launch an ambitious staging of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” It’s been adapted from the beloved Harper Lee novel by Christopher Sergel.

http://www.interlochen.org/

June in Michigan brings the sounds of ballgames, splashing waves, and summer music festivals. WKAR’s Jody Knol and Peter Whorf have a Current State preview of summer concerts around the Great Lakes State.

http://marcusbelgrave.net/

Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave died just over a week ago. Early in his career he backed many Motown musicians, and was in Ray Charles’ band. He later worked with many jazz greats including Max Roach and Charles Mingus. He also was a mentor to many of today’s best jazz musicians, including bassist Rodney Whitaker, who is the director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University.

http://joshuadavismusic.com/

Current State has enjoyed tracking the success of Joshua Davis on NBC’s “The Voice”, from his early auditions all the way to the finals last week. Scott Pohl spoke with the long-time leader of the Lansing band Steppin’ In It early in the season, and they had another conversation yesterday.

Photo: Flickr - Mary Harrsch Follow

May is Older Americans Month and we’ve been featuring the voices of some of Michigan’s senior citizens. Today, we get a perspective on aging from the Greek lyric poet Anacreon, who was born around 582 B.C.

Writers are constantly drawing inspiration from the world around them. A story idea can come from almost anywhere: a painting, a historical event, or even other books. Michele Young-Stone’s latest novel draws its inspiration from musicians, specifically John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Courtesy of Ryan Parrott

In February, we brought you the story of Ryan Parrott. He’s a former Navy Seal sniper from Michigan who now runs “Sons of the Flag”, an organization that helps veterans with burn injuries. Parrott is coming back to Michigan from Dallas, where he lives now, to serve as the grand marshal of Dearborn’s Memorial Day parade on Monday. With a name like Parrott, you know he picked up a nickname in the Navy Seals--he’s called Birdman.

Carl Van Vechten/Wikimedia Commons

May is Older Americans Month and we’ve been featuring the voices of some of Michigan’s senior citizens. Today, we get some wisdom on aging in the form of poetry.

 Here is Lansing poet Ruelaine Stokes reading an unnamed poem by the Chinese writer Lin Yutang.  Current State's Public Poetry Announcements are produced in collaboration with the Center for Poetry at Michigan State University.  

Twitter/Jameel Syed

A Muslim faith leader from southeast Michigan has recently returned home from a long trip.  It was not the time-honored pilgrimage to Mecca, which all Muslims are encouraged to do at least once during their lifetimes. Instead, Jameel Syed toured America, visiting mosques in all 50 states.  

Syed is a muaddhin, which is a special position in the Islamic faith who calls the faithful to prayer several times each day and is affiliated with the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills. Current State's Kevin Lavery talked to Syed about the motivation behind the trip. 

Courtesy/Lansing Symphony Orchestra

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra closes out its season this Friday at Wharton Center. This concert features music from Stravinsky’s "Firebird" and pieces by Ravel and Rossini. It also features a new piece for piano and orchestra that area audiences haven’t heard yet.

Lansing’s Peppermint Creek Theatre Company is teaming up with a national organization that gathers stories from veterans and their families for an upcoming project. “The Telling Project” wants to hear from Michigan people with military ties for what Peppermint Creek will call “Telling: Lansing”. It will be staged in November.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

It’s another Live Music Friday here on Current State, and we’re happy to welcome Jackalope to WKAR’s Studio S. The guys in Jackalope are Charlie Richardson, David Stowe and Mike Lawrence. They played their country, blues, and western Americana music throughout the show.

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