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Wednesday, February 27,2013

Comics: The Thing With Three Brows!

Low, middle and high culture converge at the MSU Comics Forum

by Lawrence Cosentino
There are questions you both love and hate to hear. Ryan Claytor gets one often: "Where do I start reading comics?" You can't blame people for asking him. Claytor, 33 writes and draws comics, teaches comic art at Michigan State University and organizes the MSU Comics Forum, an annual gathering of creators, scholars and fans coming this weekend on campus, now in its sixth year and growing.
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Wednesday, February 27,2013

From 'The Salon' to the big sky

Nick Bertozzi unpacks a bottomless bag of comic tricks

by Lawrence Cosentino
From French-ified sound effects like "knoque" to carefully beaded Lakota Sioux word balloons, comic artist Nick Bertozzi carries a loose bag of storytelling tricks — some stolen, some adapted, some invented.
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Wednesday, February 20,2013

Meaty, mighty diva

Renée Fleming to give rare recital at Wharton Center

by Lawrence Cosentino
The voice of Renée Fleming inevitably causes music lovers to wheel out a pastry cart of adjectives like "creamy" and "honeyed." But don't reach for the dessert too fast. Last week, the music world got a reminder that Fleming is a meaty, mighty diva.
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Wednesday, February 13,2013

Biggest in their medium

After four decades, the Verdehr Trio 'tapering off' with concert series

by Lawrence Cosentino
After 40 years of music making, hundreds of world premieres, 20 CDs and seven spins around the globe, Sunday will be among the last chances for local audiences to soak in the bracing sonic vinaigrette of Walter Verdehr's violin, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr's clarinet and Silvia Roederer's piano.
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Wednesday, February 6,2013

'All we got is the spirit'

A press roll through jazz history with drummer Randy Gelispie

by Lawrence Cosentino
Randy Gelispie folded his hands and gave thanks for his meal. Settling into a booth at the Lansing Mall Panera Bread, he began to dismantle his sandwich, like a jeweler taking a watch apart.
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Thursday, January 31,2013

Depot gets new shot at history

BWL gives REO Town's Grand Trunk railroad station $2.8 million makeover

by Lawrence Cosentino
A strangely lopsided, unlikely architectural tableau has opened to view on South Washington Avenue in Lansing's REO Town. Deep in the south shadow of the Lansing Board of Water and Light's mountainous new co-generation power plant, nearing completion and set to go on line in July, sparkles a storybook-castle Grand Trunk Western Railroad depot, newly restored by the BWL to its 1903 glory.
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Wednesday, January 30,2013

The next riff

$1 million gift to MSU Jazz Studies program is a 'game-changer'

by Lawrence Cosentino
As seductive in college as it was in the clubs, jazz has long had the power to coax open a well-placed wallet, but a recent gift from the MSU Federal Credit Union to Michigan State University's Jazz Studies program is in a class by itself.
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Wednesday, January 30,2013

Music for a fading empire

BBC Orchestra, Keith Lockhart brings high British melancholy to Wharton

by Lawrence Cosentino
Forget FDR and Churchill, Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl or fond nods from Ronald Reagan to Margaret Thatcher. The "special relationship" between Britain and America was really cinched in 2002 when Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart was named music director of the very British BBC Concert Orchestra.
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Wednesday, January 16,2013

Leaning on love

MSU's annual musical King tribute stretches a big tent bigger

by Lawrence Cosentino
Michigan State University's annual musical and spoken word tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. is still known by its original name, "Jazz: Spirituals, Prayers and Protest" — a big tent to begin with — but MSU Jazz Studies chief Rodney Whitaker keeps stretching it bigger and bigger.
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Wednesday, January 9,2013

The sweet smell of failure

At 50, MSU grad Rose Cooper brings hope to slackers everywhere

by Lawrence Cosentino
Inspiration can be a drag. Take the guilt-inducing paragons who taunt us on the interstate: "Climbed Everest. Blind." Desmond Tutu, Steve Jobs, Jackie Robinson. Sure, we can relate. Thank God, millions of mortal screw-ups have Lansing's Rose Jangmi Cooper, the singing motorcycle dreadlock woman, to look up to.
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