I traveled to Cuba over spring break this past March and I didn’t know what would be waiting for me when the plane landed in Havana. The most I knew about Cuba was what I learned from my friend, and traveling companion, Erin. She studied abroad in Havana for five months in summer 2014, and fell in love with the country, its people and its culture.
She was so excited to share it with me and for me to experience it for myself.
“Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” is a documentary film inspired by the book of the same title by Dr. Jack Shaheen. It chronicles the stereotypical depiction of Arabs in movies and on television. Next week, on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, Shaheen will attend a screening of the film on the MSU campus.
When your mind often swims in the written words of others, sometimes the water can get a bit muddy. You don’t mean for this to happen, but plots might intermingle in your head, characters might meet up even though they are in different stories and sometimes, honestly, you might point the finger at a possible murderer, not realizing right away that they are from another book and, of course, perfectly innocent. That is sometimes how my brain works.
The Renegade Theatre Festival will be back in Old Town Lansing for a ninth year this week. On Thursday through Saturday, there will be a variety of theatrical events in several Old Town locations, and a number of local theatre companies are again taking part.
The city of East Lansing bills itself as the "City of the Arts." City officials are considering a measure that some say could strengthen that image. On Wednesday, the city council is expected to take up a proposal dubbed the "Percent for Art."
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” While some would take this quote from Shakespeare as merely insightful into human nature, author Christopher Moore takes it as gospel. Moore’s character named Pocket turns out is the very same fool from the great Bard’s “King Lear.” And this fool is the wisest person in any throne room.
Pocket first appeared in Christopher Moore’s wonderful satire “Fool,” reinventing the classic Shakespeare tragedy from the perspective of this intrepid character. In that novel, Pocket is the mastermind for the undoing of King Lear and his two wicked daughters.
Now Pocket has returned in a new book, “The Serpent of Venice.” In this comedy adventure Pocket is stuck in Venice, and it begins with him trapped in a cellar preparing to experience a slow and horrible death. From there the story grows to include mermaids, a best friend named Othello, a merchant named Shylock and a villain named Iago, who really doesn’t have a chance against a brain like Pocket’s.
The passions of farming, cooking, brewing and much more are all a part of RoadBelly Magazine. The Grand Rapids based publication is about to enter its second year as it expands its scope beyond western Michigan.
Detroit-area native, composer and musician Patrick Grant has created seasonal musical celebrations in his adopted home of New York City. His event titled "Tilted Axes" rung in the winter equinox of 2012 with dozens of electric guitarists hooking portable amplifiers to their belts and walking the streets of Manhattan to observe winter's arrival.
Starting this past spring, Detroiters and suburbanites have gathered in growing numbers at historic Detroit Churches. They’ve been named the ‘Detroit Mass Mob’ and have been imagining the past while building toward the future.
Every year, thousands of people from around the state and elsewhere visit a museum in the Lansing area: the state of Michigan Historical Museum downtown perhaps, or the dynamic new Broad Art Museum in East Lansing are two that come to mind.
The exhibit Revisiting Verger’s Dahomey: A Photographic Contrast is currently on display at the Michigan State University Museum. The show presents a comparison of the images of Pierre Verger, the French photojournalist who immersed himself in the lives, customs, and beliefs of the people of Dahomey, now Benin, West Africa.
The Tony Award for best Broadway musical revival in 2012 went to “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”. The company touring the country with “Porgy and Bess” is in East Lansing this week for eight performances at MSU’s Wharton Center.
Art, like life, goes through phases and changes. A longtime mid-Michigan artist who relocated to New Mexico a few years ago is exploring the inspirations there and has just come out with her first short film. Many listeners will be familiar with Jane and Dick Rosemont. He was one of the forces behind Flat Black and Circular, an East Lansing record shop, and she was a fine arts photographer.
Traditionally, short stories are birthed out of what-ifs.
What if you go to Mars and find dead relatives? What if a sea monster confuses a fog horn with a mating call? Both of those examples, by the way, are from master short story writer Ray Bradbury.
In Donald Lystra’s latest story collection “Something that Feels Like Truth,” he does something very different from Bradbury. In many ways, his Michigan short stories are not what-ifs but episodes. They are brief glimpses into the lives of real people, and each is at a turning point or a moment of self-realization. These are character studies focused more on the emotional impact of a moment than on a surprising plot twist.
Most people who live in the Mitten State have fond memories of time spent at one of the Great Lakes. Those memories are what fuel The Great Lakes Book Project. The book captures over 20 personal stories about life along the shoreline, exploring the powerful bond people across the region and the world have with the Great Lakes. Current State's Emanuele Berry speaks with the books publisher and editor Walter Blake Knoblock.
From the supermarket check-out, to any bookstore best-seller section, to TV seminars and your smart phone, Americans are deluged with opportunities for self-improvement. We spend in the tens of billions of dollars annually, hoping to end co-dependency, cultivate our spirituality, improve our sleep. The list is endless.
In Michigan one of the things we all accept are the supposed differences between the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula. The stereotypes haunt the residents of both regions: rural versus urban; those who are stressed versus those who are relaxed; those happy with money versus those happy in long underwear.
We all know people in our community who we feel are extraordinary for their memorable life experiences or their sacrifices. Maybe for their success or their service, and for the insights that result from those experiences.
Getting better acquainted with extraordinary people is the focus of Current State’s ongoing series, Voices of Experience.
Rabbi Morton Hoffman was the head of Congregation Shaarey Zedek from 1983 until 2000, and then again for a few years until 2003 when he re-retired.
It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today, we feature the Resolution Services Center of Central Michigan (RSCCM). The Lansing-based non-profit offers peaceful conflict resolution services for businesses, individuals and schools in six Mid-Michigan counties.
The 1491s describe themselves as “a gaggle of Indians chock full of cynicism and splashed with a good dose of indigenous satire.” The five Native American artists create work that will make you snicker, but will also make you think.
Comic lovers from across the state will converge in East Lansing this week for the annual MSU Comics Forum. This year’s event features an artist alleyway, panel discussions and keynote speaker Stan Sakai.
In 1968, Michigan Governor George Romney signed an agreement with the governor of Shiga Prefecture, which is one of Japan’s 47 state-like territories, to create a sister state relationship. The cultural partnership between the two states is one of the longest-running in the country and is still going strong today.
Travel adventures, culture shock and honest conversations are all topics brought up in a new documentary that follows four American students, one from MSU, and four Chinese students as they travel through China.