Category Archives: Arts and Culture

New book uses letters from Europe to tell story of WWII

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/108999329" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

BY ANTHONY RIZZO

A Michigan author is using letters her father wrote to loved ones to tell his story of being a soldier in Europe during World War II.

She’ll be making a stop in Houghton Lake to discuss her new book next week.

Teresa Irish, the author of A Thousand Letters Home: One WWII’s Soldier’s Story of War, Love and Life, will talk about her book at the Houghton Lake Public Library next Monday.

Irish’s book is filled with 320 letters and 104 photographs that her father sent home from November 1942 to December 1945.

Irish said it’s a unique perspective to read her father’s letters and see pictures from the time he entered the war to the time he left.

“His letters and his thoughts and his experiences really mirrored those of the 16.1 million Americans that went through WW2. So, very quickly did I realize how the letters resonated with other people who wanted to fill in the gap with their grandpas or dads. And I’m just really honored how it’s been received, both the presentation and the book,” Irish said.

Irish found her father’s letters shortly after he passed away in 2006 from cancer. She said her father never told her or her nine siblings about the letters.

Share Button

Psychological thriller brings big names to Northern Michigan

BY MARCY MISNER

Northern Michigan is home this month to filming for a Made in Michigan movie.

A Cheboygan county children’s author is testing the theatrical waters with the film release of one of his adult novels.

Headed down a one-lane gravel road in a driving rainstorm, I felt like a character in the psychological thriller that’s being filmed at a cabin here on the shore of Lake Huron.

Filming is taking place in DeTour and Petoskey this month for the book titled “Bestseller” by Michigan author Christopher Knight. Knight is well known by another pseudonym, Johnathan Rand. He’s been scaring kids since 2000 with his Michigan Chiller series and now he’s tempting an adult audience.

Christina Rohn, associate producer, said filmmakers don’t know yet how great the state is and she hopes to showcase the area and the love she and the cast and crew have for Northern Michigan.

“That’s what we’re hoping to kind of, you know give that back to Michigan, same thing with Petoskey, really give that back. Where people will be excited to come up and visit because that was a place where a film was shot, that was a successful film. At least that’s what we’re hoping for,” Rohn said.

The Michigan Film Office said “Bestseller” was awarded a tax credit of just over $42,000 on a projected budget of $145,000.

All of that money will be spent in-state. The project is expected to hire 34 Michigan workers.

The film is scheduled to be released later this year.

Share Button

Inaugural North 45 East poetry reading

BY ANTHONY RIZZO
A chance to experience the original works of local award-winning poets has come.
The inaugural North-45-East poetry reading will be held in downtown Alpena at the Art tomorrow in the Loft.
Joe Bastow, a poet of Alpena, will be hosting the reading.
He said he has a vision that the reading could evolve in in the future.
“We see this going to possibly a writing festival in Northeast Michigan where we have a three-day event or a five-day event with workshops that entail slam writing and performances at the band show and cagefighting with poets and inspiring words. All kinds of things are on the horizon for us and we’re just getting started,” Bastow said.
Bastow said he’s launching the poetry reading to increase awareness and practice of reading and writing through education and performance. 
Share Button

Weekend gathering to promote healing among native peoples

BY AMY ROBINSON
A gathering scheduled for this weekend in Ontario will focus attention on continued efforts of recovery from, what First Nation’s people call, the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.
The gathering will focus on “Healing and Reconciliation through Education”
It’s hosted by the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association and the Shingwauk Residential School Centre.
Mike Cachagee is with the Alumni Association. He said the residential schools tried to stamp out native culture, in part, by taking away the languages of the First People. He said this gathering will focus on bringing native languages back.
“We’ve always maintained that if we’re going to go back and find out who we are, it had to come back to language. This is what we’re looking at right now in this gathering we’re having is that who aspect of language reclamation,” Cachagee said.
Cachagee said the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement from 2007 has a $300-million surplus. He said his alumni organization is pushing for that money to be used for group language reclamation programs.
Share Button

Psychological thriller brings big names to Northern Michigan

BY MARCY MISNER
A Cheboygan county children’s author is testing the theatrical waters with the film release of one of his adult novels.
Headed down a one-lane gravel road in a driving rainstorm, I felt like a character in the psychological thriller that’s being filmed at a cabin here on the shore of Lake Huron. 
Filming is taking place in DeTour and Petoskey this month for the book titled “Bestseller” by Michigan author Christopher Knight. Knight is well known by another pseudonym, Johnathan Rand. He’s been scaring kids since 2000 with his Michigan Chiller series and now he’s tempting an adult audience. 
Christina Rohn, associate producer, said filmmakers don’t know yet how great the state is and she hopes to showcase the area and the love she and the cast and crew have for Northern Michigan.
That’s what we’re hoping to kind of, you know give that back to Michigan, same thing with Petoskey, really give that back. Where people will be excited to come up and visit because that was a place where a film was shot, that was a successful film. At least that’s what we’re hoping for. 
The Michigan Film Office says “Bestseller” was awarded a tax credit of just over $42,000 on a projected budget of $145,000. 
All of that money will be spent in-state. The project is expected to hire 34 Michigan workers.  
The film is scheduled to be released later this year.
Share Button

156 year old carnival comes to Bay City Fireworks Festival

BY SARAH ADAMS

The Bay City Fireworks Festival is featuring the usual line-up of food, fun and of course, fireworks celebrating Independence Day this weekend. But attendees might not realize they are enjoying another part of American history.

The Skerbeck Carnival is in Bay City this weekend, with an assortment of rides and vendors. The carnival dates back to 1857. But, according to Marian Matyn, the archivist at CMU’s Clarke Historical Library, the family performers really got their start at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

“Significantly, they were part of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The people who were planning the worlds fair really wanted it to be a
success. So they went to the businessmen in town and said, ‘what do we
need?’ and they said, ‘you need something to draw in the average person
and something they will find interesting and so they developed the
Midway and some of the Skerbecks performed on the Midway with other
acrobats.’ They had carnival rides, the first ferris wheel was at that
fair.” Matyn said.

Today, Skerbeck Carnival is the largest family owned and operated carnival in Michigan. The carnival will be a part of the Bay City Fireworks Festival through Saturday.

Share Button

CMU Summer Theater set to open 2013 season

BY RICK WESTOVER
Bush Theatre on the campus of Central Michigan University has seen a lot of activity over the past several weeks. The summer theater company has been hard at work developing not one, but three plays that will debut this week.
Associate professor of Theatre, Keeley Stanley-Bohn and director of Anybody for Murder shares notes with her cast following an afternoon rehearsal. The cast features members of CMU’s summer theatre company. Over the past six weeks they have also been preparing Robert Fulgham’s All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Think of it like a summer theatre boot camp.
Steve Berglund is Director of University Theatre at CMU and is also directing Robert Fulgham’s All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
I’ll do the math for you. That’s over 60 hours a week while the summer session is in full swing. In fact, there’s very little down time according to Dr. Tim Connors, Professor of Theatre at CMU and the director for The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde.
Right, I forgot to mention they also take the production on the road. It’s a massive challenge that CMU theatre students have been rising to meet for more than 20 seasons now. Students like Iana Neville, a Junior from Big Rapids and Kyle Burch, a Junior from Shelby Township who readily admit the program is intense, but that’s what drew them in.
The students often have the opportunity to learn new skills in all aspects of theatre when they’re not acting in one of the productions. Ann Dasen heads up the Costume shop and has seen a shift through the years as Home-Ec skills, that were once passed from generation to generation, have fallen out of fashion.
Can you picture the flurry of activity as the summer theatre company of 12 learns lines, preps lighting, sets, sound and costumes. They also help publicize the shows that begin at 7:30 pm this Wednesday through Saturday in Bush Theatre, with a Sunday matinee set for 2 pm. Once the local run is through, they pack it all up and head out on the road. 
CMU Summer Theatre stops in Sturgis at the Young Auditorium July 11th -13th at 7:30 pm and then on to the Howmet Playhouse in Whitehall July 18th – 20th also at 7:30 pm. The summer session may be intense, but Professor Tim Connors considers the experience invaluable for students that look to make a career out of their passion for the theatre. 
The students, supported by their dedicated faculty and staff, have put in the work, a lot of work, in fact, and now they need an audience. Additional ticket and performance information can be found on our website at WCMU.org.  
Share Button

Comedian Paula Poundstone coming to Boyne City

BY AMY ROBINSON
This Saturday, comedian Paula Poundstone will bring her unique brand of humor to Boyne City. 
Stand up comedy is a really personal art form. And a face to face setting can make it all the more effective.  
But Poundstone has effectively also reached out to touch people via social media. Specifically, it seems she’s nursing a bit of a Twitter addiction.
Amy Robinson spoke with Paula Poundstone yesterday about the ways in which technology has impacted her professionally.
Paula Poundstone was born in 1959 and raised in the heyday of television. Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show; she grew up in the era of the classics.
But TV is not her first love today, in fact she ran interference for her three children
“I raised my kids not allowing them to watch television, and when I would walk my son to school, he often sort of needed distracted from everything. So while we were walking to school, I would tell him stories and generally speaking, I would tell him stories about television shows, but he didn’t know it of course. I did tell him one time about the unsuspecting people who’d gone on the three hour tour on the little boat, and how the tiny ship was tossed. He looked at me like why wasn’t I a Pulitzer prize winner for this fine yarn I had spun. And basically I told him the theme song from Gilligan’s Island, and it worked like a charm. So I think second hand television is wonderful. First-hand, not so much,” Poundstone said.
But Poundstone doesn’t eschew all technology. In fact, to hear her tell it, she adores Twitter.
She said she discovered Twitter years ago at her son’s gymnastics practice. Another mom there introduced her to it. Today she follows more than 30,000 people, mainly, as she said, regular people and news organizations. And she tweets whenever the mood seizes her.
“Just the immediacy of being able to be somewhere and toss up a joke. I love that. I really felt like it would, it was like having a Roomba for me. It was like having a thing that just clears up all the clutter in my brain, because I think of jokes, and I just love the idea that wherever I am, I can think of it and put it up. And therefore I do, ” Poundstone said.
Whether you tweet or not, many NPR listeners know Poundstone. She’s been a regular panelist on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me for the better part of a decade.
She’s began her career as a stand up comedian in 1979. She’s appeared on Saturday Night Live, the Late Show and HBO.
And this weekend, she comes to Boyne City. She said her manager has been asking her to tweet the date. She said she prefers to tweet jokes.
“But I do say, oh I’m coming to Boyne City, but then it occurs to me, how many followers could I possibly have in Boyne City? I don’t really think it’s where they’re hiding. So, one person wrote back and said, yeah I’m here, and I want to thank her, very, very much. And I’m hoping she comes out. And so, by golly, I’m going to fill at least one seat in the front row. That I know for sure,” Poundstone said.
You can help fill the front row, or farther back. Poundstone’s show is scheduled for this Saturday at 8pm at Performing Arts Center in Boyne City.
Share Button

Search for the Griffin continues on Lake Michigan

BY PETER PAYETTE
French archeologists said the timber being excavated in northern Lake Michigan appears to be the bowsprit of a ship that is centuries old.
The leader of the team, Michel L’Hour, said it appears erosion over “many centuries” has narrowed the beam of wood where it sticks out of the lake bottom.
The beam with pegs in it was found by an American group searching for the Griffin, the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes.
It disappeared in 1679.
L’Hour said he would recommend fully excavating the site and the conditions are good for such a project. 
“It’s very clear water, it’s very easy to work. It’s very easy to do pictures to take some pictures. It’s very easy,” L’Hour said.
The test excavations will continue through at least Friday. 
If it is the Griffin, France would own the ship.
Share Button

DIA protection bill passes State Senate

BY RICK PLUTA
Michigan Public Radio Network
The Michigan Senate has narrowly approved a bill that seeks to shield the paintings, sculptures, and other assets of the Detroit Institute of Arts from being sold if the city goes bankrupt. The legislation faces an uncertain future. 
State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said Detroit will need thriving cultural institutions like its art museum to remain attractive and viable following the city’s restructuring. 
“The way I look at it, it’s nothing more than an extra layer of protection over some of the more important cultural assets of the state of Michigan. It’s just that simple,” Richardville said.
“Don’t get me wrong. I love the arts and stuff, but when do we stop taking things off the table?” Green said.
State Senator Mike Green was a “no” vote. He said no one asset should be protected from a plan to pay off the city’s debts. There’s also some question as to whether a state law can stand in the way of an order by a federal bankruptcy judge.
Copyright 2013, MPRN
Share Button