55 episodes

"Listen In, Michigan" is an audio storytelling feature brought to you by the online alumni magazine, Michigan Today. From historical features and alumni dispatches to campus news and provocative opinions, "Listen In, Michigan" will entertain and inform, helping to keep you connected to the University of Michigan — today.

Listen in, Michigan Deborah Holdship

    • Education
    • 4.5 • 2 Ratings

"Listen In, Michigan" is an audio storytelling feature brought to you by the online alumni magazine, Michigan Today. From historical features and alumni dispatches to campus news and provocative opinions, "Listen In, Michigan" will entertain and inform, helping to keep you connected to the University of Michigan — today.

    Episode 56: Cinema Ann Arbor, featuring Frank Uhle, BFA '83/MILS '92

    Episode 56: Cinema Ann Arbor, featuring Frank Uhle, BFA '83/MILS '92

    The history of Ann Arbor’s film scene unspools like one of those epic historical dramas, the kind that opens with Model Ts and cloche hats and ends in the uber-future with gleaming skyscrapers and self-driving cars. Of course, there's the mod period in the middle -- all hippies and rebels and rockers.

    For now, film fans will have to settle for the book version of this saga in "Cinema Ann Arbor" (University of Michigan Press/Fifth Avenue Press, 2023). Frank Uhle, BFA '83/MILS '92, delivers 334 pages jam-packed with anecdotes and memories culled from more than 80 interviews with film industry alumni as well as the faculty, students, and local iconoclasts who pioneered this vibrant scene.

    Legendary professors Marvin Felheim, Joe Wehrer, and Robert Sklar are covered, as well as George Manupelli and the ONCE Group. The beloved Hugh Cohen (who is still teaching film at 92) was the Cinema Guild's faculty adviser in 1967. He was arrested for screening the experimental film "Flaming Creatures, deemed obscene by the Ann Arbor police, and offered up his mugshot for Uhle's book.

    Cohen's personal scrapbook was just one treasure trove that Uhle discovered through his years of research, writing, and production. He tracked down performance artist Pat Oleszko, familiar to patrons of the Ann Arbor Film Festivals in the late '60s. He connected with Seattle-based artist Buster Simpson who photographed an early Velvet Underground performance at the 1966 film festival when Andy Warhol screened his “Up-Tight with Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground.” And he met journalist David Margolick, one-time Michigan Daily photographer, who still had his negatives from 1973 when director Frank Capra spoke to Felheim's class.

    The author took advantage of several campus archives, from U-M's Labadie Collection of anarchism to the Screen Arts Mavericks & Makers Archive, featuring the work of Robert Altman and John Sayles. He mined The Michigan Daily digital archives and combed through the Bentley's photo collections of Daily alumni and others who were on the scene.

    The ads, calendars, mugshots, flyers, receipts, notes, and schedules will transport one back to an analog era when film canisters traveled from screening to screening on trains, planes, and automobiles. The Cinema Guild schedules, once taped on virtually every refrigerator in town, offer a newsprint snapshot of the culture. The list is long, the films are diverse, and the screening rooms were all over campus and town.

    In short, our little college town got in on the action pretty early in the game -- 1929 if you consider that an events coordinator named Amy Loomis screened films at the newly opened Michigan League. But 1932 is the year students and faculty created the Art Cinema League, officially marking their territory on this new celluloid terrain. A number of societies and guilds would crop up through the years, eventually succumbing to Hollywood trends that emphasized home entertainment.

    Any film lover or history buff -- especially the members of Ann Arbor’s longstanding cinema guilds, film societies, and festivals -- will delight in this trip through time. Read more at michigantoday.umich.edu.

    • 25 min
    Episode 55: Truth is stranger than historical fiction, featuring A. Arbour

    Episode 55: Truth is stranger than historical fiction, featuring A. Arbour

    A 'daughter' at 37

    Most visitors to the University of Michigan Biological Station return with tales of the lush woods, rustic cabins, and beautiful beaches of Douglas Lake. But for the bookish and artistic daughter of the late-U-M botanist/biology professor Howard Crum, it was the mid-century library in Pellston, Mich., that would capture her imagination.

    Mary Crum Scholtens, BM ’84/MM ’86, spent each of her childhood summers with her father and family at U-M’s Biological Station. She was always intrigued by the bust of a man who seemed to watch over the camp’s library 24/7. She never knew who he was, but the statue’s constant presence in her life left an indelible impression.

    The bust disappeared in the mid-’70s and when Scholtens enrolled at U-M she discovered the subject was Chase Salmon Osborn (1860-1949), a U-M regent from 1908-11 and the state’s governor from 1911-13. She also learned Carleton Angell, the artist behind the pumas standing guard at the Museum of Natural History, was the sculptor.

    In researching Osborn, who turned out to be something of a Horatio Alger type, Scholtens learned he was an iron prospector, newspaper magnate, celebrity, and politician known for making several fortunes and giving them away. He successfully lobbied Franklin D. Roosevelt to have the Mackinac Bridge constructed and favored progressive policies like workers’ compensation. But Scholtens kept tripping over a personal fact, seemingly brushed aside, that appeared in every account of his life. Osborn and his wife, Lillian, had adopted a daughter in 1931. She was a University of Michigan alumna named Stella Lee Brunt, who’d earned a master’s degree in English. And she was 37 years old.

    “I’m thinking, ‘This does not make any sense,’” Scholtens says. “How do you convince a wife that you’re going to do this?”

    Listen in to find out. Read more at https://michigantoday.umich.edu/2023/03/24/episode-55-truth-is-stranger-than-historical-fiction-featuring-a-arbour/

    • 20 min
    Episode 54: COVID’s silver lining, featuring Rob Ernst, MD ’91, CHO

    Episode 54: COVID’s silver lining, featuring Rob Ernst, MD ’91, CHO

    He’s a first-generation college graduate, one of 12 children, and, at 6-foot-6, a likely cinch at college hoops. But Rob Ernst, MD ’91, U-M’s Chief Health Officer, had no desire to be a student-athlete. He always prioritized academics over athletics during his undergrad years at Notre Dame and his medical school stint at Michigan.

    “I was varsity library,” says the longtime primary care physician, who recently moved his clinical practice from Michigan Medicine to the University Health Service on campus. “Physicians are problem solvers and lifelong learners and that always resonated with me. It’s no surprise I became an internist. My joy comes from knowing a lot about a lot.”

    That’s a good thing, because Ernst also is the University’s associate VP of health and wellness in student life. Mental health stressors in 2023 are more extreme and overwhelming than ever. Nothing drives that point home more than the Feb. 13 shooting at Michigan State that left three students dead and five others fighting for their lives. It’s woefully inadequate to describe the modern-day student experience as turbulent in light of so many existential stressors. But if anyone understands, it’s Ernst. In the past 35 years, he has served as a U-M physician, a clinical educator, and an administrator. At Spring 2023 Commencement, he will become a proud alumni parent

    Ernst credits his medical training as an internist for honing a holistic approach to problem-solving that has defined his career. While working as a clinical faculty member at Michigan Medicine, he relied on an affinity for systems-based thinking to tackle physician burnout.

    “The contemporary notion of health promotion is to acknowledge an interconnectedness of people, places, and the entire planet,” he says. “And the general consensus is that you can’t fully address an issue like physician burnout through individual initiatives: You can’t ‘yoga’ your way out of it. To really move the needle, you need a systems-based approach to identify and address some of the upstream effects of stress and anxiety.”

    To “really move the needle” in higher education, Ernst advocated that U-M adopt the Okanagan Charter, a framework for wellbeing that calls upon post-secondary schools to embed health into all aspects of campus culture and to lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.

    Popular in Europe and Canada, the charter came from the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. Participants from 45 countries, representing educational institutions and health organizations (including the World Health Organization and UNESCO), collaborated to produce the charter. U-M is one of the first U.S. universities to sign on.

    “It helps get partners around the table to talk about strategy,” Ernst says. “It forces us to ask the question: ‘If we were really living into this aspirational goal of being a health-promoting university, would we think about this issue or policy differently?’ There may be many things to consider, but [having a framework] helps to check that particular box. It provides a strategy to work toward a common purpose.”

    Today’s students share the collective trauma of growing up with school shootings, anxiety about climate change, and the pain associated with institutional racism. The ongoing effects of COVID-19 further detract from a supportive learning environment. Many students grapple with social anxiety and isolation, all while a sense of belonging is critical for thriving in the community. Decision-makers have to consider context and climate when considering mental health initiatives, Ernst says.

    “We can’t move the needle on mental health without focusing on equity and inclusion,” he says. We can’t center our own individual well-being if the community around us is struggling.”

    • 20 min
    Episode 53: The Greatest Comeback, Featuring John U. Bacon, BA '86/MA '94

    Episode 53: The Greatest Comeback, Featuring John U. Bacon, BA '86/MA '94

    How Team Canada fought back, took the Summit Series, and reinvented hockey

    When prolific author and Michigan Today contributor John U. Bacon, BA '86/MA '94, pitched me on his new book about the 1972 Summit Series, I had no idea what he was talking about. But after a few sentences, delivered with Bacon's characteristic ebullience, I was in. This episode is just a little morsel that teases Bacon's latest sports tale, "The Greatest Comeback" (Harper Collins, 2022), a chronicle of the "most unforgettable matchup in hockey history."

    It was September 1972, and Cold War tensions were off the charts. What better time for an unprecedented eight-game hockey series between Canada and the national team of the Soviet Union? Team Canada, flush with its country’s best players — all NHL stars, half of them future Hall of Famers -- was expected to sweep the series. But five games in, the team had mustered only one win. With just three games left, Team Canada had to win the last three in Moscow. (Spoiler alert: They did.)

    The Summit players asked Bacon to tell their story and he spoke to almost every living member of the team. He says the series was an experience so unforgettable that each player considers those eight games to be the highlight of their storied careers. And, as with all unforgettable stories, the University of Michigan had a part to play. Red Berenson, BBA ’62/MBA ’66, U-M hockey coach for 33 seasons, not only played on the team, he's naturally one of Bacon's best sources.

    • 13 min
    Episode 52: Harvest at the Campus Farm, featuring Jeremy Moghtader & Talya Soytas

    Episode 52: Harvest at the Campus Farm, featuring Jeremy Moghtader & Talya Soytas

    In this episode of Listen in Michigan, we are celebrating the Harvest. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows or without?

    With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it seemed ideal the ideal time to showcase The University of Michigan Campus Farm and all its bounty.

    Founded by Michigan students in 2011 at the Matthei Botanical Gardens, the farm is a living-learning lab – classic academic lingo, right? But it really is. It’s a place where students and researchers from any school and college can contribute their expertise – from engineering and public policy to biology and economics. It’s one of those living labs that is actually living. The goal is not only to produce good food and feed people fresh and ecologically grown produce, but to improve our multifaceted, complicated, wasteful, and often illogical food system. Social justice and equity are important topics at the farm, as much as preserving and optimizing our natural resources.

    This episode's guests are Jermey Moghtader, program manager at the campus farm, and Talya Soytas, a student leader at the farm and an environment & economics major. Jeremy says most of the students he encounters aren’t looking at farming as a full-time career. It's nearly impossible to make a living as a small-scale, diverse farmer these days.

    The majority of the students – like Talya -- are seeking to increase their skill set and understanding of food production to better understand the entire food system and help those farmers out.

    Meanwhile, our changing climate will require new ways of thinking about co-optimizing resources, maximizing land use, and developing new farming techniques – all great research topics for engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Have you ever heard of agro-photo-voltaics? Keep listening and you will. Either way, the opportunities at the farm are endless – it’s part of a virtuous circle on campus that includes U-M’s Sustainable Food Program, Michigan Dining, the Maize & Blue Cupboard, and more.

    More than anything the Campus Farm is one of those places that provides everything a college experience should. It’s authentic. It’s high impact. It’s “co-curricular.” It’s perfect for the student who just wants to grow veggies for their fellow students and sell them at the Campus Farm Stand, or for the student with an eye on a Cabinet position in a future presidential administration that will transform policy.

    Listen in to learn more.

    • 17 min
    Episode 51: Art Fair -- A ‘jewel in Ann Arbor’s crown,’ featuring Angela Kline

    Episode 51: Art Fair -- A ‘jewel in Ann Arbor’s crown,’ featuring Angela Kline

    Blazing temps, a torrential storm, and thousands of passionate art aficionados reunited in Ann Arbor in July for the 2022 Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. Love it or leave it, this Midwest tradition draws close to half a million attendees over three days in July each year for browsing and shopping. It is the largest juried art fair in the nation with a footprint that spans some 30 city blocks in downtown Ann Arbor, extending onto the University of Michigan's campus.

    The original Ann Arbor Street Art Fair dates to July 1960 when the town's merchants sought a way to offset the effects of the annual student exodus. Today's modern event comprises three fairs:
    -- the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original;
    -- the Guild's Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair,
    -- and the Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair.

    In this episode of Listen in, Michigan, you'll meet Angela Kline, executive director of the Original. An artist herself, she worked for years marketing the textiles artist Chris Roberts Antieau, managing galleries in New Mexico and New Orleans, producing a documentary, and, yes, staffing the artist's booth at the Ann Arbor fair for nearly a decade.

    As an artist-friendly executive director following in the steps of longtime leader Maureen Riley, Kline brings valuable perspective to the artist/vendor experience. She describes the fair as a "jewel in Ann Arbor's crown."

    Whether you're a fan who delights in the organized chaos or a curmudgeon who leaves town for a week, the fair likely was a large part of your Ann Arbor experience. Listen in, as we walk through the crowds, mingling with some of the most brilliant talents on the planet -- and loving our town because of it. The art featured here is a self-portrait by Michigan painter Armando Pedroso.

    • 19 min

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