City Pulse - Arts and Culture <![CDATA[A stranger Hmong us]]> The Hmong are one of Michigan’s most overlooked immigrant groups, often lumped together with the Vietnamese and Cambodian peoples who fled to the U.S. following the Vietnam War. Martha Aladjem Bloomfield’s new book, “Hmong Americans in Michigan,” is an attempt to put a spotlight on this community. The Hmong are, in fact, a distinct ethnic group found in Laos, China, Thailand and Vietnam. In Michigan, the Hmong are mostly known for their community gardens, their vibrant tapestries, a cultural exhibit in Frankenmuth and a supporting role in Clint Eastwood’s 2008 movie “Gran Torino.”]]> <![CDATA[Return of the king]]> When “Pippin” hits the Wharton Center stage this week, it brings with it a very special guest from the musical’s past. 40 years after he originated the title role, John Rubinstein returns to the musical, this time as Pippin’s father Charlemagne.]]> <![CDATA[Freedom in the air and on the wall]]> A half-buried, two-way tunnel runs between the camps of art and music. From Mussorgsky´s "Pictures at an Exhibition" to Jackson Pollock´s jazz-fueled drip fantasias, artists and musicians have snorted, smuggled and stolen each other´s smokes for a long time. The next concert in Absolute Gallery´s long-running chamber music series, Absolute Music, will fuse the visions of New York painter Richard Estrin with the music of a 20th-century visionary, Olivier Messiaen.]]> <![CDATA[Rent to own]]> It’s official. On Dec. 30, Williamston Theatre purchased the building it has called its home since 2006. Located at 122 S. Putnam Street in downtown Williamston, the 5,000-square-foot, century-old building houses Williamston Theatre’s rehearsal and performance space as well as offices. The theater company is confidently moving into its 10th season, now as theater owners. ]]> <![CDATA[Minimal maximalism]]> The MSU College of Music trimmed away the usual oratory and commentary from this year´s Martin Luther King Jr. tribute and served up two courses of pure music. Something was lost, but something else was gained. This year´s sold-out concert bore little resemblance to the long, cathartic community sweat lodges of past years, but it was an entertaining, highly professional show that snuck in a message or two by purely musical means.]]> <![CDATA[Gospel à la King]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Turn it down]]> ]]> <![CDATA[New in town]]> Lansing gets intergalactic Wednesday with the opening of Cosmos, a wood-fired pizzeria attached to intown Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern. Co-owner Sam Short said Zoobie’s, the 2-year-old craft beer, wine and cocktail hotspot, has been successful, but demand for food has been astronomical. “I think we’re going to make a lot of people happy with the Cosmos,” he said. “Zoobie’s only has light snacks right now, but when you’re out for the evening, sometimes you want something more (substantial).”]]> <![CDATA[A vintage farewell]]> <![CDATA[Book reviews: Notes from Neil]]> FRIDAY, JAN. 16 — Time to get caught up on titles I've raved about in hardcover (some more than once) that have had their paperback release since. Reading groups, start your engines! Here's what we're reading: ]]> <![CDATA[Tapestry of voices]]> Each year, topical threads are added to timeless ones, but warmth is always woven into the MSU College of Music’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, ”Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest.” The annual tapestry of music and spoken word will shine with a new filament Sunday. The luminous, six-piece a cappella gospel group Take 6 will shed extra light on the “prayer” part of the proceedings.]]> <![CDATA[Requiem for a (SCENE)?]]> Since 2004, East Lansing’s (SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles St., has provided a venue for risk-taking visual and performance art to be showcased. But faced with a tightening budget, the city — which has co-funded the gallery’s six annual exhibitions with the support of private donations — has been quietly looking for ways to get out from under the financial burden without skimping on its dedication to art and placemaking. Enter Michigan State University. ]]> <![CDATA[Intensity and intention]]> Two gunmetal gray, stark cold cemetery benches flank the stage of Riverwalk Theatre, awaiting audience members who shuffle in from the gunmetal gray, stark cold Lansing winter. Welcome to Jean-Claude van Itallie’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “The Sea Gull.”]]> <![CDATA[Hey, elk, look up]]> <![CDATA[A history of nonviolence]]> “Selma” comes along at the right time and with precisely the right message to give hope for a nation that still needs to proclaim #blacklivesmatter. The Martin Luther King Jr. biopic has none of the sweeping grandeur that made Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi” (about King’s idol) pure Oscar bait or any of the deft filmmaking touches that gave Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” (about King’s political converse) a burning urgency. “Selma” is a quiet, contemplative film that grounds King’s nonviolent methods in the humdrum world of political red tape and systemic racism.]]> <![CDATA[Queens of comedy]]> The Women’s Center of Greater Lansing is serious about its mission to help Lansing women, but it will take a break to laugh this weekend as it presents the 10th annual “She Laughs” fundraiser. The event will feature standup comedy from four Lansing-area women. Headlining the show is comedian Kate Brindle, who recently moved to East Lansing to pursue a doctorate in law at Michigan State University.]]> <![CDATA[Turn it down]]> ]]> <![CDATA[New in town]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Book reviews: Notes from Neil]]> FRIDAY, JAN. 9 — Spending the last few weeks of the year recapping things I've already written about, while great fun, does cause me to miss a book or two that came out near the end of the year that truly deserve to be mentioned. Here are two significant titles that fit that description and will amply reward the time you spend with them. Here's what we're reading:]]> <![CDATA[Money for nothing and your art's for free]]> Several Lansing arts organizations received a financial shot in the arm this week as the Arts Council of Greater Lansing announced their 2015 mini-grant award winners. This year, the council was able to award $21,825 in funds to nine different arts organizations and artists.]]>