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Wednesday, November 5,2014

Strange beauty

Coffee house photo show captures everyday splendor

by Jonathan Griffith
Coffee shops in the 17th and 18th century were convergences point for great minds. Scholars, scientists and other brainy types would drink coffee, debate and discuss ideas with their peers, and as such they were known as “penny universities,” because coffee only cost a penny. Eventually, the plague came, and society put a pin in the whole coffee shop fad for a while.
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Wednesday, October 22,2014

Cut-and-paste aesthetic

New art exhibit celebrates Michiganīs place in the Rust Belt

by Jonathan Griffith
Despite the absence of corporate backing in production, Midwest creatives of all varieties with a desire to produce works have proved since the ‘80s and ‘90s that if there is a will, there is way. In “Substrate,” (SCENE) Metrospace’s new exhibit opening Friday, visitors are shown the many ways in which, albeit on a smallscale, people are taking production back.
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Wednesday, October 15,2014

What Lies Beneath

by Jonathan Griffith
Its about this time of year that most Michiganders are cracking open protective slips full of winter attire to prepare for the unrelenting cold. So as you’re zipping up your umpteenth layer, try and comprehend this: There was a time when Michigan was always warm. In fact, it was cove...
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Wednesday, October 8,2014

Pattern of conversation

October art exhibits focus on old school photography, plaid fashion sense

by Jonathan Griffith
There is a complexity to the pattern of plaid that goes beyond its crisscross patterns and various colors. Originally known as tartan, the origins of it date back as far as 8th century B.C., linked to the Hallstatt culture of Central Europe. And while it seems to be the unofficial fashion preference for twentysomethings who hang out in coffee shops and sport waxed mustaches these days, it traditionally symbolizes one’s allegiance to a clan in the Scottish Highlands.
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Wednesday, September 24,2014

Absurd and report

FRIDAY, SEPT. 26

by Jonathan Griffith
David Letterman had his fair share of off-kilter interviews over 31 years as a late night talk show host. Crispin Glover’s manic karate demonstration, Madonna’s multiple f-bomb drops, Joaquin Phoenix’s staged meltdown. But rather than shy away from the absurd, East Lansing-based filmmaker Zachary Zweifler (top left) has embraced it in his faux talk show “Human Food.” So when he interviews strange guests such as Dirtman or Drundil the Drunken Wizard, he doesn’t worry about things getting weird. He expects them to.
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Wednesday, September 17,2014

‘Tis the season

THURSDAY, SEPT. 18 & SUNDAY SEPT. 21

by Jonathan Griffith
It seems Halloween starts earlier every year. The back-to-school aisles in local superstores have started filling up with candy, and costume shops have already begun taking over vacant storefronts. In that vein, two literary events this week and one spooky tour will start getting mid-Michigan in the spirit of the season.
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Wednesday, September 10,2014

Super festival

The whole ball of beeswax about the 4th annual Art Attack!

by Jonathan Griffith
In the winter of 1960, the comics world saw its first super team-up when DC’s mightiest heroes — including Aquaman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman — formed the first iteration of the Justice League to battle a giant space echinoderm. So when economic downturn and loss of regional awareness threatened Lansing’s historic REO Town district, a similar team-up of exceptional entities united with a common goal. And thus the Art Attack! festival was formed, comprising local artists, musicians and food vendors to battle the threat of redevelopment and to raise awareness of a community rich in culture and creativity.
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Wednesday, September 10,2014

The new (Abby) normal

THURSDAY, SEPT. 11-14 & THURSDAY SEPT. 18-21

by Jonathan Griffith
Mel Brooks probably had little idea that his 1974 comedy “Young Frankenstein” would become the iconic phenomenon it is today when he filmed it. Brooks reported that the original cut was over was twice as long as the film we’re familiar with and that for every three jokes, only one was even funny. Nowadays, however, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t directly associate “Puttin’ on the Ritz” with the film or mimic Marty Feldman’s classic “Walk this way.”
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Attack the block

SATURDAY, SEPT. 6

by Jonathan Griffith
There’s no shortage of summertime art-themed events in the Lansing area. East Lansing has its Art Festival. Old Town has ScrapFest and the newly launched ArtFeast. So when it’s REO Town’s turn to host the party, the fourth annual Art Attack! festival, what can a member of...
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Wednesday, August 27,2014

Manifest “Destiny”

MONDAY, SEPT 1

by Jonathan Griffith
Michigan seems to have a cultural climate conducive to producing eccentric, ambitious film directors. Michael Moore is probably the most high profile, the poster child for idiosyncratic documentary moviemakers. Moore’s fellow Flint native Kerry Conran is another piece of work; he toiled for years on what became the 2004 genre mash-up “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” a throwback sci-fi action film that married 21st century technology with tropes from old serials. And now there’s Thomas Reilly-King, a Michigan State University graduate and aspiring filmmaker who, much like Conran, has blended disparate styles into a feature-length film, “Enduring Destiny.” And those styles are about as unalike as Alfred Hitchcock and “National Lampoon.” Seriously.
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