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Wednesday, December 31,2014

My heart bleeds

Jesse Jackson, Lansing area mourners remember Rev. Michael Murphy

by Lawrence Cosentino
Shocked at the death Sunday of longtime Lansing political and pastoral leader the Rev. Michael Murphy, friends are finding solace in the memory of a principled public figure and empathic friend. "Itīs an overwhelming sadness. My heart bleeds," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said in a phone interview Monday. "I knew him as a very conscientious freedom fighter who sought racial justice and reconciliation."
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Wednesday, December 31,2014

Year of the Long Pinch

Unforgettable jazz and classical moments of 2014

by Lawrence Cosentino
If you love jazz and classical music and you live in the Lansing area, you only needed six words in your vocabulary to describe this year’s schedule: “Pinch me. I must be dreaming.” A relentless run of top-drawer musical experiences, most of them related in some way to the stellar MSU College of Music, made 2014 the Year of the Long Pinch.
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Wednesday, December 10,2014

Their final battle

Auction of female action figures will benefit The Women's Center

by Lawrence Cosentino
Nancy Lombardi vigorously shook a heavy crystal globe with Wonder Woman inside, fists akimbo. The fluid swirled with sparkly pain from freshly punched enemies. Or maybe it was Amazon magic. "Isnīt that cool?" Lombardi, 68, had to summon up super strength to lift the globeīs base, as massive as the Temple of Minerva, let alone shake it. She admitted to ordering it by mistake from a nowdefunct comic store on Michigan Avenue.
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Wednesday, December 3,2014

Slide on in, the jazz is fine

Trombonist Robin Eubanks barnstorms for a week with MSU’s Jazz Orchestra

by Lawrence Cosentino
Robin Eubanks is one of the top trombonist-composer-arrangers in jazz, but “genius” talk isn’t his style. The latest international jazz star to take part in MSU’s Jazz Studies residency series doesn’t hide behind the mystique of improvisation, no matter how miraculous it might seem to outsiders.
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Wednesday, November 26,2014

When parallels meet

MSU’s jazz and classical armies rendezvous and conquer

by Lawrence Cosentino
There are risks to putting jazz and classical musicians together. When Duke Ellington unleashed his first big jazz-symphony hybrid, “A Tone Parallel to Harlem,” in 1951, photographers swarmed the stage. (Ellington made news taking a bath, let alone blending a symphony orchestra with his big band.) A flash bulb exploded and fell on the balding head of a string-bass player, according to a review the next day.
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Wednesday, November 19,2014

Silent servants

Lansingīs Victim Advocate Program needs help comforting families and friends of trauma victims

by Lawrence Cosentino
There are certain things you should never say to someone who has suddenly lost a loved one: “Sheīs in a better place,” or “It’s God’s will,” or “you can have more kids.” Thatīs a small part of the training for Lansing’s Victim Advocate Program, an all-volunteer force that speeds to trauma scenes alongside police to help grieving survivors.
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Wednesday, November 19,2014

Little mermaid, big message

Author packs transgender girl's be-yourself-ness into vibrant children's book

by Lawrence Cosentino
“Pretending I was a boy felt like telling a lie.” “I Am Jazz” touches piano keys no other children’s book touches, but the last chord has a familiar ring: Be yourself. A mermaid-loving Florida girl, 14-yearold Jazz Jennings is swimming into mainstream culture to become the smiling face of transgender youth. In her wake, a brightly hued book about her life is darting upstream into schools, libraries and stores.
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Wednesday, November 12,2014

Hummingbirds & cigars

Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will take flight at Wharton Center concert

by Lawrence Cosentino
Last week, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, the distinguished composer, arranger, and 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, was relaxing on the patio of his home in Calabasas, Calif., watching hummingbirds. “I love those little birds, man,” he said “Every time one comes around, I smile.” Darting iridescent bodies and a blur of wings so fast the eye can’t follow are the perfect visual counterparts to Sandoval’s supersonic bebop-and-beyond trumpet flights.
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

No restraint

Violinist pours fire on fire with the Moscow State Symphony

by Lawrence Cosentino
Should violinists hold a little something back when they play Max Bruch’s oh-so-romantic violin concerto? Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, star soloist in Sunday’s big Moscow State Symphony stop at the Wharton Center, is the wrong person to ask. “I suppose it can be restrained,” she admitted. “I very much doubt it will be for these performances.”
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Wednesday, November 5,2014

‘Future’ begins

Chinese art exhibit opens at Broad

by Lawrence Cosentino
Six of the artists featured in “Future Returns,” the large new exhibit of contemporary Chinese art at the Broad Art Museum, flew into town for the public opening last Thursday. Jizi, 74, explained with a twinkle that his 40-meter-long scroll, “The Epic of Nature,” ends with the ultimate mysteries of the universe. Alas, owing to lack of gallery space, that part remains rolled up, so viewers will have to finish the exquisite ink drawing with their imaginations.
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