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Wednesday, September 24,2014

Case closed?

EAST LANSING COMICS WRITER DAN MISHKIN JUMPS FROM WONDER WOMAN TO THE WARREN COMMISSION

by Lawrence Cosentino
There are hundreds of books about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Do we need another? “The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation,” written by East Lansing comics creator Dan Mishkin, makes the case that we do. Itīs a drastic turnaround for a veteran writer of escapist fantasy. Mishkin has worked on dozens of characters in a 30-year career, including a threeyear stint writing “Wonder Woman.” Heīs used to letting his imagination run amuck.
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Wednesday, September 24,2014

Captured and Captivated

Ernst Floeter’s journey from Hitler’s Germany to small town America

by Lawrence Cosentino
Ernst Floeter makes a convincing Uncle Sam at Grand Ledge’s Yankee Doodle Days Parade. It boggles the mind to think he ever said heil to Hitler. To be fair, he was only 8 years old. And he added “you fat swine.” In Latin. Floeter, 89, is enjoying an Indian summ...
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Wednesday, September 17,2014

Saturday night and Sunday morning

Sharrie Williams blends gospel and blues, headlines BluesFest 2014

by Lawrence Cosentino
The gospel blues of Saginaw’s Sharrie Williams will bring the bells of Sunday morning to the Saturday night grooves of Old Town BluesFest. Williams’ radiant, bigger-than-pain voice fuses blues and gospel into one irresistible force, diagnosing your ills with the former and healing you with the latter.
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Wednesday, September 17,2014

Fall Colors

Violinist Evgeny Kutik brings autumnal bite to Lansing Symphony opener

by Lawrence Cosentino
. A fascinating Russian violinist, very much alive at 28, and a dead Russian composer who refuses to roll over at 174 dominated Friday’s Lansing Symphony opener. The ursine show of force moved me to climb into a virtual T-90 tank, point it westward and shred the sublime verse of Joni Mitchell: “I’ve looked at Slavs from both sides now/alive and dead, and still somehow/their brooding power holds me in thrall/I just canīt shake that Russian pall/at all.”
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Wednesday, September 10,2014

Haunted by history

Demolished house near Eaton Rapids brought visions of fugitive slaves

by Lawrence Cosentino
Bob Albaugh straddled the rubble of a demolished house in Hamlin Township, near Eaton Rapids, last Thursday evening. "Everything in this house was built for a particular purpose," he said. The extra large cistern with no water line, the smooth beam in the attic, the trap-door in the kitchen — to Bob and his wife, Pat, who owned the house at 9740 Kinneville Road, it all added up to one thing: The timber-framed hulk was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
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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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