Arts and culture in the news

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Wayne State University unveils new float to debut at 92nd America's Thanksgiving Parade

Wayne State University unveiled its new float, “Warrior Strong,” this morning during the 19th Annual Parade Pancake Breakfast. In celebration of the university’s 150th anniversary, the “Warrior Strong” float will make its debut at the 92nd America’s Thanksgiving Parade® with a national broadcast reaching 185 major cities across the country. “For 150 years, Wayne State University has been committed to the city of Detroit and we are proud to celebrate our anniversary with our students, supporters and community with a new float on Thanksgiving morning,” said Dr. M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University. “Our float, ‘Warrior Strong’, embodies a motto that Wayne State students and alumni live out each day in classrooms, boardrooms, labs, medical centers and on stage.” 
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Digging for mid-1800s trash uncovers lives of Corktown residents

Thomas Killion, associate professor of anthropology at Wayne State, said he and his students worked for three years on the archaeological dig at the row house, one of Detroit's oldest surviving structures. The dig revealed more than 6,000 fragments and pieces of different household objects that helped paint a picture of how these workers lived in the mid-1800s. Killion said archaeologists don’t expect to find one huge item that reveals everything, but rather a lot of little things that add up to a story. “It was an interesting icon for this fairly mythical Irish neighborhood of Detroit. It had the trifecta there: (the beverages you drink in) early life, middle life and later life," he said. Krysta Ryzewski, associate professor in anthropology at Wayne State, has led the Roosevelt Park digs every other year since 2012. When plans to build the train station were announced in the early 1900s, the city wanted to forcibly remove those who lived around the station, Ryzewski said. 

“As You Like It” announced at the Hilberry Theatre

William Shakespeare's “As You Like It” treads the boards at the Hilberry Theatre beginning Friday, Oct.26 and running through Nov. 11. Directed by Lavinia Hart and set in present day Appalachia, this comedy allows audiences to view a classic story through a creative lens that transports you to the hills of Tennessee. "Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' is universal in theme and characters, easily translating to any century in any city or countryside, revealing surprising cultural connections to the here and now," says Hart.
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(Column) Americans' enthrallment with British royalty

Janine Lanza, associate professor and director for the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program at Wayne State University, examines the intense interest many Americans have in the affairs of British royalty. “Our history and Constitution forbid noble titles from taking hold in this country. American culture traditionally prizes individual achievement and accomplishment rather than status conferred by birth,” she says. “However, the pomp and ceremony of Old World royalty have captivated a country with a brief history and no traditions to rival the pageantry that marks such royal events.”
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The 2 things North Korea's Kim Yo Jong and Ivanka Trump have in common

As the Winter Olympics kicked off in PyeongChang, South Korea, this weekend, the media turned their attention to one notable nonathlete attendee: Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. Stine Eckert, chair of the feminist scholarship division of the International Communication Association and an assistant professor of communications at Wayne State University, notes that there is one particularly notable comparison that should be made between the two women in question. “They are both blueprints for whatever at the time their society and current administration needs in terms of a tool to advance their political agendas,” Eckert says.
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Movie about early activism of Rosa Parks will be based on Detroit historian's book

A book by a Detroit historian is inspiring a movie about the early activism of Rosa Parks and her quest for justice for a rape survivor. The upcoming film will focus on a real-life event that occurred long before Parks made history in 1955 by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. Parks helped spark the landmark Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama and became an icon of the civil rights movement. But a decade before that, she was one of many African-American women fighting for the right to live and travel without fear of racial and sexual violence. The early activism of Parks is detailed in "At the Dark End of the Street," an award-winning 2010 book written by Wayne State University adjunct associate history professor Danielle McGuire.
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2017 Detroit Knight Arts Challenge finalists announced

Musicians, poets, even a video game maker are among the 63 finalists for the 2017 Detroit Knight Arts Challenge sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.       Wayne State University, Department of Art and Art History: To explore the connection of politics and printing by publishing a book on the Detroit Print Co-op, which produced noteworthy and beautifully designed publications on leftist politics in the city.

Maggie Allesse Dept. of Theatre & Dance at Wayne State announces 2017-18 season

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University announces its 2017-18 season beginning this fall. Opening the season is "The Underpants" by legendary comedian and award-winning actor, Steve Martin. The theatre invites audiences into the forest with Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" from Oct. 12 to 28 in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry. Next is Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire," performing Nov. 3 to 19 at the Hilberry. Then, the annual holiday favorite, "A Christmas Carol," returns to the Bonstelle Theatre, Dec. 1 through 17. Running Dec. 7 to 16 in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry is Diana Son's "Stop Kiss." Wrapping up the fall is the December Dance Concert, featuring contemporary dance masters for one weekend only, Dec. 8 and 9 at the Detroit Music Hall. The winter opens with the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Playwriting One Act Festival, Feb. 1 through 3 in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry. Next is George C. Wolfe's "The Colored Museum," running Feb. 2 to 18 at the Hilberry Theatre. Celebrating its 89th year, the Spring Dance Concert performs at the Bonstelle Theatre March 1 and 2, highlighting national and international works from the dance world's top-performing artists. Following is Aaron Posner's "Stupid F*ing Bird" March 1 through 31 in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry. In April, the Bonstelle Theatre presents the Broadway musical "Sister Act" running April 13 to 22. Closing the season is Shakespeare's "King Lear," performing April 27 to May 13 at the Hilberry.

In Detroit, a colorful mural stands as a reminder of the city's 'Segregation Wall'

A wall — known as Detroit's Wailing Wall, Berlin Wall or The Birwood Wall — was constructed in the 1940s, integration was not the goal. "There's no mistaking why this wall was built," says Jeff Horner, senior lecturer in Wayne State’s department of urban studies and planning. "The urban uprisings in the 1960s gave rise to the Fair Housing Act of 1968," he says. "Until that time - until I was 7 years old - it was perfectly legal to discriminate against somebody of color. You didn't have to sell them their house if you didn't like the color of their skin. You didn't have to rent to them." The wall was basically there to delineate the white side from the black side. It was there, says Horner, “To keep black people from moving into the white neighborhood." Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the population of Detroit grew, buoyed in large part by southern blacks moving north for factory jobs during the Great Migration. But when a developer wanted to build housing for white people adjacent to this neighborhood, the Federal Housing Authority wouldn't guarantee loans for houses with black neighbors — unless there was a segregation wall. "Ultimately what resulted," Horner says, "was this so-called compromise to build a wall that separated the undeveloped part of Detroit from this already established black neighborhood that was in the city, that had been here since the 1920s - what's referred to as the 8 Mile and Wyoming area."

Innovative Partnership Increases Exposure For Detroit’s Largest Archival Repository

Historical materials preserved at the Walter P. Reuther Library are receiving increased exposure and research use through an innovative partnership with the Digital Publishing Unit in the University Library System. The Reuther Library is the largest archival repository in Detroit and preserves primary sources related to the history of organized labor in North America, urban affairs in Southeast Michigan and Wayne State University.