Arts and Culture

Arts & Culture
11:40 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Ex-Navy sniper from MI shares veterans’ stories in new book

Former Navy Seal sniper Ryan Parrot has released a new book on his and other veterans' stories.
Credit 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.

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Arts & Culture
11:39 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Public Poetry Announcement: Lin Yutang

Chinese writer and poet Lin Yutang.
Credit 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.  

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Arts & Culture
11:39 am
Wed May 20, 2015

MI Muslim performs call to prayer in 50 states

Jameel Syed, a muaddhin for the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills, traveled across the U.S. to perform the Islamic call to prayer in all 50 states.
Credit 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. 

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Arts & Culture
11:53 am
Tue May 12, 2015

LSO wraps season with Stravinsky, Ravel, Rossini and new work by Aldridge

Credit 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.

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Arts & Culture
11:50 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Peppermint Creek bringing stories of vets to stage

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.

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Arts & Culture
11:42 am
Fri May 8, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Jackalope

Jackalope is Mike Lawrence (left), Charlie Richardson (center) and David Stowe (right).
Credit 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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Arts & Culture
11:25 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Book Review: Emily St. John Mandel's "Station Eleven"

These days, it seems every writer, producer, and director out there wants to say something about the apocalypse. Whether it’s a TV show full of zombies or a movie about an alien invasion, you just can’t seem to escape the end of the world. "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel is also about the end of life as we know it, but don’t let that deter you. This book is about more than just survival and desperation. It’s about humanity itself.

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Arts & Culture
11:21 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Mighty Uke Day returns to Lansing with flash mob, Capitol strum

Ben Hassenger (right) is the organizer of Mighty Uke Day. He was joined by Steve Szilagyi in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Mighty Uke Day 5 is Friday through Sunday in Old Town Lansing. It’s promoted as a celebration of the “diminutive yet dynamic” instrument and its ties to Michigan culture. There will be performances by professionals, and opportunities for beginners to try their hand at playing the ukulele.

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Arts & Culture
11:24 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Pianos decorated by artists head to Lansing, East Lansing

When you’re walking around Lansing and East Lansing this summer, one of the new attractions you’ll be seeing will be pianos. Not indoors, in entertainment venues where you might expect them, but outdoors, and they won’t be ordinary pianos, either. Each will have been decorated by a local artist. It’s all part of a new project from the Capital Area Blues Society called Keys in the Cities.

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Arts & Culture
11:30 am
Fri May 1, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Jen Sygit

Jen Sygit is our Live Music Friday guest today in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Our Live Music Friday guest today is local singer-songwriter Jen Sygit. Jen has been featured on WKAR-TV’s “Backstage  Pass,” and she sat in a few weeks ago here on Current State with Brendan Doherty. It seems she’s everywhere there’s live music in Lansing, including the open mic scene, and she’s working on an exciting recording project we’ll learn more about.

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Arts & Culture
11:40 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Public Poetry Announcement: T.S. Eliot

April is National Poetry Month, and before we get to the tulips and sunny days of May, we wanted to take some time to listen to one of the most famous poems about this month. Here is Director of the Michigan State University Center for Poetry Anita Skeen reading an excerpt from “The Wasteland” by T.S. Eliot.

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Arts & Culture
11:26 am
Wed April 29, 2015

British actor lampoons “Downton Abbey” at MSU

Luke Kempner created and stars in 'America's Got Downton' Thursday at the Wharton Center.
Credit americasgotdownton.com/

“Downton Abbey” is the biggest hit show on PBS in many years. So popular, in fact, that a one-man show poking gentle fun at “Downton Abbey” is touring the country, including a stop at MSU’s Wharton Center this week.

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Arts & Culture
11:30 am
Tue April 28, 2015

“Gay from Gaylord” explores growing up LGBTQ in northern Michigan

The lives of LGBTQ Americans are more visible than they’ve ever been before. In the past decade, the number of television shows and movies feature gay, lesbian, and transgender characters has exploded. Celebrities and public figures are more open about their sexual orientations.

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Arts & Culture
12:23 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

New Broad exhibit looks at evolution of American food culture

The 'American Apetite' exhibit at the Broad Art Museum includes John Baeder's 1979 work 'Market Diner."
Credit Courtesy, Broad Art Museum

When you think of American food, you probably see hamburgers, hotdogs, maybe french fries. But there’s a lot more to food culture in the United States than typical drive through fare. The evolution of what and how Americans eat is the focus of a new exhibit at the Broad Art Museum.

Arts & Culture
11:28 am
Fri April 24, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Rob Klajda of The Lash

Rob Klajda sings and plays the citern today in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

For 20 years, Lansing music fans have enjoyed what’s been described as the “celtic mayhem” of The Lash. Tonight, the group will perform for the last time. They’re calling the show “One Last Paycheck”. It’s at The Avenue Café in Lansing. Jen Sygit will open the show at 9 p.m.

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Arts & Culture
11:31 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Award-winning poet Carolyn Forché brings “poetry of witness” to MSU

Carolyn Forché will talk about her four books of poetry at 3 pm today in room W449 of the MSU main library.
Credit Courtesy The Poetry Foundation

While poetry is often thought of as a way to capture the beauty of the world in words, it has also long been a vehicle for political dissent and social criticism. From Walt Whitman to Pablo Neruda, many of the world’s most famous poets frequently drew inspiration for their poetry from their politics. Carolyn Forché is carrying that legacy of socially engaged poetry into the 21st century.

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Arts & Culture
11:21 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Book Review: Farran Smith Nehme's "Missing Reels"

Blogging is one of the greatest things to happen to the art of writing. In a blog, a writer is free to do whatever they want. They can experiment with form or subject matter, and build a readership without worrying about the approval of an agent or publisher. It can also be a launch pad for a career.

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Arts & Culture
11:17 am
Thu April 23, 2015

A2SO season finale features Mahler’s magnificent “Fifth”

Aaron Berofsky and Kathryn Votapek will perform with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Saturday night.
Credit Courtesy Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra presents its season finale at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium this Saturday at 8 p.m. The concert will be broadcast live on WKAR 90.5-FM. The program features works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Gustav Mahler.

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Arts & Culture
11:18 am
Wed April 22, 2015

MSU’s “Latin IS America” mirrors cultural, political changes

The MSU College of Music presents its third annual "Latin IS America" series through May 2nd at various campus venues. Artistic director and associate professor of music Ricardo Lorenz oversees the festival.

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Arts & Culture
11:27 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Wharton schedule includes “Book of Mormon,” “Sound of Music”

'The Sound of Music' will be at the Wharton Center next February on its way to Broadway.

There’s always a lot of excitement when MSU’s Wharton Center announces its schedule for the coming season, and today, the slate of shows for 2015-16 is being released. The Broadway schedule always leads the way at Wharton, and the shows coming to East Lansing include some that are new to town, one major program that will be here before heading to Broadway, and the return of “The Book of Mormon.”

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Arts & Culture
12:12 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Public radio favorite Ira Glass brings dance show to East Lansing

Ira Glass (center) brings 'Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host' to East Lansing this weekend.
Credit David Bazemore

If you’re a public radio fan, chances are you know and love Ira Glass, host of the popular weekly show and podcast "This American Life". The show started at WBEZ in Chicago in 1995, and in the 20 years since has become one of the world’s most popular public radio programs. It’s even made its way into pop culture, showing up on tv shows like "Saturday Night Live", "30 Rock", and "Orange is the New Black".

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Arts & Culture
12:09 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Brad Cole, Chris Edrington and Erin Sax

Chris Edrington (left) and Erin Sax (center) join Brad Cole (right) in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Brad Cole is our Live Music Friday guest today on Current State. We’ve heard from him and his friends Erin Sax and Chris Edrington during the show today. The trio performed yesterday at the Broad Art Museum and at a Pump House concert in East Lansing last night.

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Arts & Culture
12:02 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Essayist Jack Lessenberry to keynote Rally of Writers

Jack Lessenberry keynotes A Rally of Writers in Lansing this weekend.
Credit Courtesy Michigan Radio

The 28th Rally of Writers is Saturday in Lansing. The annual one-day conference will bring together leading Michigan writers like “Bootstrapper” author Mardi Jo Link, author and WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael and others with audiences who love reading and aspire to write themselves. The keynote speaker will be Jack Lessenberry, whose essays on Michigan politics are seen in publications across the state and heard on our Michigan Public Radio Network sister station in Ann Arbor, Michigan Radio.

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Arts & Culture
11:37 am
Thu April 16, 2015

Lansing Trio re-imagines Bach masterpiece

Tigran Shiganyan

This Sunday at 3 p.m. at Lansing’s First Presbyterian Church Molly Grove Chapel, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra Chamber Series presents a single work. It’s Johann Sebastian Bach’s seminal keyboard composition, “Goldberg Variations”, a one-hour study in melody and invention unsurpassed since its 18th century creation.

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Arts & Culture
11:13 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Poet comes to EL to promote literary arts in Detroit schools

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring poetry! This is National Poetry month and poetry-related events are taking place in cities across the country. That includes MSU’s Spring Poetry Festival right here in East Lansing. One of this year’s guests is Terry Blackhawk, an award-winning Detroit poet who is also the Executive Director of InsideOut Literary Arts Project.

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Arts & Culture
11:04 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Public Poetry Announcement: Billy Collins

Credit Flickr - maxeagar

April is poetry month and it seemed like the perfect time to bring back our occasional series of Public Poetry Announcements. In keeping with the weather, we have a spring themed poem.

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Arts & Culture
11:43 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Capitol City film festival to feature ‘Keep GM’ story

Credit Monica Reida / Flickr

One of the most dramatic chapters in recent Lansing history involved the groundbreaking effort to ‘Keep GM’ that began in 1996.   Former Mayor David Hollister remembers well the day General Motors’ executive Ed Donovan shared with him “some good news and some bad news.” After the 100th birthday of Oldsmobile, the company wouldn't have any new product for Lansing. 

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Arts & Culture
11:31 am
Fri April 3, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Brendan Doherty

Brendan Doherty (right) was joined by Jen Sygit to perform in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Our Live Music Friday guest today is Brendan Doherty. He’s an Irish guitarist-folk singer who’s new to East Lansing, after a life of performing all over the world. He’s joined today by a local favorite, Jen Sygit.

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Arts & Culture
12:43 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

MSU Cello Plus series combines music and film

Suren Bagratuni
Credit WKAR file photo

The MSU College of Music’s Cello Plus series returns to Fairchild Theatre this Monday night at 7:30. WKAR will be there with a live broadcast on 90.5 Classical. Cello professor, string department chair and series founder Suren Bagratuni presents four diverse programs over the course of the week.

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Arts & Culture
12:37 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Book Review: Graeme Simsion's "The Rosie Effect"

It’s pretty common to hear people complain about the impact TV has on society. It ruins young minds. It contributes to obesity. It shortens attention spans. But while there’s plenty of talk about how bad television is for humans, no one ever talks about the influence it has on books. Exhibit A: "The Rosie Effect" by Graeme Simsion, which is the sequel to his New York Times bestseller "The Rosie Project".

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