Arts and Culture

Portrait: Ken Burns
Courtesy of Justin Altman / PBS

Legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is back with another PBS series. Country Music debuts Sunday night on WKAR-TV.


May Erlewine photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR

The Ten Pound Fiddle concert series has announced its 2019-20 schedule of folk music shows.


Matthew Desmond photo
Courtesy photo / MacArthur Foundation

Matthew Desmond’s book “Evicted” is being read by incoming MSU students and East Lansing residents as this year’s “One Book, One Community” selection. Desmond tells stories of how poor renters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin struggle to pay rent, how even one eviction can change their lives for years, and how landlords deal with tenants who fall behind. 


Abrams Planetarium Pop-Up Stories crowd photo
Amanda Pinckney / WKAR/MSU

WKAR and the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University celebrated the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon with a weekend of activities July 19-21. Hundreds of people gathered at the planetarium to mark the occasion with events that included a return of WKAR's Pop-Up Stories.

In case you missed Pop-Up Stories on July 19, we've collected them here. Enjoy!

Tom Sampson photo
Amanda Pinckney / WKAR/MSU

Last week, WKAR hosted a Moonfest Pop-Up Stories event at MSU’s Abrams Planetarium, where people gathered to discuss Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.

One of our storytellers was Tom Sampson, who was serving in Vietnam on July 20th, 1969.


Jackie Payne photo
Amanda Pinckney / WKAR/MSU

WKAR’s Moonfest Pop-Stories event last week at the Abrams Planetarium included Jackie Payne’s story of planning a wedding, as the Apollo 11 mission was taking place 50 years ago.


Apollo 15 astronauts photo
NASA

Last week’s MoonFest events at MSU’s Abrams Planetarium celebrating the first steps on the moon 50 years ago has us remembering the Apollo space missions.

Forty-eight years ago this week, Apollo 15 launched. It was NASA’s fifth mission carrying astronauts to the surface of the moon. It’s especially important in Michigan history because all three astronauts aboard had ties to the state.


Neil Armstrong photo
NASA

Last week, WKAR and MSU’s Abrams Planetarium celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first steps on the moon with MoonFest, a weekend of events including a return of WKAR’s Pop-Up Stories. One of those stories was told by the planetarium’s program assistant, John French.


John Lepard and David Blixt photos
Courtesy photo / Michigan Shakespeare Festival

The Michigan Shakespeare Festival opens tonight in Jackson. The festival’s Artistic Director, Janice Blixt, tells WKAR’s Scott Pohl that she took a “go big or go home” approach to picking the plays to mark their 25th year.


Mohiudeen Kareem and Fareed Kareem photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR/MSU

If you’ve ever tried to memorize a lengthy passage like verses from the Bible, you’ll recognize what a daunting challenge it can be. Imagine, then, memorizing an entire book, in a language other than your native tongue.

Recent East Lansing High School graduate Fareed Kareem has done exactly that.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl has the story of a young man who has committed his holy book, The Quran, to memory.


UPDATE: A "Homecoming" celebration of the life of Lawrence Leathers has been scheduled for Saturday, June 29th at the New Mount Calvary Baptist Church on West Miller Road in Lansing. There will be a public viewing at 9 a.m. and a service at 10 a.m., followed by burial at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. A man and a woman are in custody, facing charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

A Lansing-born Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer was found murdered Sunday in New York City. Lawrence "Lo" Leathers was 37. A suspect is in custody. He was a prodigy, playing as a toddler and playing professionally at the age of 15, attending the Juilliard School and winning Grammys in recent years.

Leathers played on two of Cécile McLorin Salvant’s three Best Jazz Vocal Grammy-winning albums.

WKAR's Scott Pohl talks with Diego Rivera of the MSU College of Music about Leathers' life and career.


East Lansing Art Festival 2018
Katie Cook / WKAR-MSU

The East Lansing Art Festival returns to the streets of East Lansing this weekend. Julie Levy-Weston, the festival’s interim director, speaks with WKAR’s Scott Pohl about this year’s event.


Laura Apol photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR/MSU

For two years, Dennis Hinrichsen has served as Lansing’s first Poet Laureate. As his term ends, a new poet laureate has been named. Laura Apol is an associate professor of literacy and curriculum in the Michigan State University College of Education. 


Hamilton national touring company photo
Joan Marcus

When the Wharton announced that Hamilton was coming to East Lansing about a year and a half ago, the anticipation started to build. The biggest hit musical in a generation will be in town for three weeks, starting May 14th, and on Saturday, individual ticket sales begin. They’re sure to go fast, so WKAR’s Scott Pohl brought Bob Hoffman in from the Wharton Center to get the lowdown on how you can get tickets to see Hamilton.


Westrin and Mowry photo
Courtesy photo

A Lansing-area musical duo has been named the grand prize winner for folk music in the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest. Westrin and Mowry now move on, along with winners in 23 other catagories, in vying for the competition’s Song of the Year honors.


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