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Wednesday, September 10,2014

‘Violin-ism’ without mercy

Yevgeny Kutik opens Lansing Symphony season with arch-romantic concerto

by Lawrence Cosentino
You donīt need to unpack a violinist’s backstory to appreciate a tone that runs from caramel to glacial melt to bat’s blood, as the music demands. Russian-born Yevgeny Kutik, 28, will probably lean toward the caramel when he plays Max Bruch’s arch-romantic violin concerto to start the Lansing Symphony’s 85th season Friday.
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Wednesday, August 27,2014

Bunker makeover

LCC goes from gritty concrete college to garden hip spot

by Lawrence Cosentino
Ivy covered walls are back in style. A little more than six years ago, Lansing Community College President Brent Knight inherited a downtown campus that was cutting edge in 1957 — a brutalist bunker of corrugated concrete, dark brown masonry and darker brown steel, walled off from the surrounding city.
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Wednesday, August 27,2014

New at MSU

Campus changes modernize, modify and magnify

by Lawrence Cosentino
Every fall, MSU shows off some glistening new muscles, from jock-polishing sports facilities to quark-crushing science complexes. Here are a few of the more conspicuous bulges Sparty has put on over the summer:
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Wednesday, August 27,2014

Painting the Oldsmobile

Lansing Art Gallery’s ‘backbone,’ Cathy Babcock, retires after 17 years

by Lawrence Cosentino
Championing art in Lansing is like painting an Oldsmobile. Ask Cathy Babcock. Last week, Babcock retired after 17 years with the Lansing Art Gallery, the last 15 as director. She led the gallery through three problematic locations, including a car dealership and a basement that rings with the clanging weights of an upstairs gym. Donor dollars all but dried up in the 2008 recession, but she wrote grants like a racehorse, kept the gallery going and never doubted that her gritty city has a big heart for art.
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Wednesday, August 20,2014

Love the church, hate the dogma

Methodists’ rift over gay marriage could divide church

by Lawrence Cosentino
If the Rev. Jennifer Browne were gay, she wouldnīt bother to warm a pew in her own church, University United Methodist in East Lansing. "Iīd be out the door in a second," she said. "Even as a straight person, I couldnīt be part of a congregation that wasnīt completely affirming of who LGBT persons are."
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Wednesday, August 13,2014

‘Walden’ in the city

Lansing area simplifiers go for less stuff and more soul

by Lawrence Cosentino
Suzanne Love pulled Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” from the shelf two weeks ago. She hadn’t looked at it since college. Back then, it was required reading. Now it’s more like an inner voice. At 66, Love retired on a fixed income last year.
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Wednesday, August 13,2014

A fistful of drama

Renegade Theatre Festival brings stampede of theater companies, independents to Old Town

by Lawrence Cosentino
A spur-jingling cowpoke saunters through a Western street, picking up snatches of drama from every door: Guffaws, gunshots, a baby crying, some honkytonk piano, sighing lovers, the crash of the obligatory troublemaker flying through a plate glass window. He raises an eyebrow, touches his gun and moves on.
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Wednesday, August 6,2014

Crunch time

by Lawrence Cosentino
Mike Jenkins has had three heart attacks. He has diabetes. He has probably earned enough frequent siren miles for a free EMS ride to Saskatoon. Crunchy’s, MSU’s old-school beer, burger and fries joint, is the last place he should haunt.
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Wednesday, July 30,2014

Guardians of the intergalactic

JazzFest 2014 gets spacey with a supergroup, guest guitarists and dueling organs

by Lawrence Cosentino
The 2014 Lansing JazzFest continues the tradition of bouncing trumpet riffs, drum rhythms and skeet-skat-dadiddly vocals off the buildings of Old Town. But this year it gets a little otherworldly with the addition of a vintage instrument that would sound at home in a ‘60s sci fi movie. The amalgamated talents of some of Lansing’s premier jazz artists will join a battle of the organs and special guests like polystylistic guitar master Fareed Haque to make JazzFest 2014 one for the cosmos.
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Wednesday, July 23,2014

No Brainard

Public art by longtime MSU prof is destroyed, covered up

by Lawrence Cosentino
The push for new public art is well under way at Michigan State University and growing in Lansing and other mid-Michigan towns. But in the stampede to new art, gems from the past are sometimes trampled, or at least neglected.
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