College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts in the news

News outlet logo for favicons/washingtonpost.com.png

Lara Spencer apologizes for ridiculing Prince George and ballet, but damage is done

“I screwed up,” said ABC’s “Good Morning America” host Lara Spencer, speaking about mocking statements she made last week about Britain’s 6-year-old Prince George — eldest son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge — and his plans to take ballet at school. That segment was slammed on social media and quickly went viral. Last Friday, Spencer posted an apology on Instagram. In her on-air apology on Monday, Spencer went further, saying her comments were “insensitive and stupid, and I am deeply sorry.” Douglas Risner, a dance professor at Wayne State University who studies the stigmatizing of adolescent boys who dance, said in an interview Sunday that his inbox flooded with emails after Spencer’s report, and like those writers, he also found her segment appalling. She “underscored harmful stereotypes and signaled that harassment and bullying of boys who dance is acceptable. And she projected all of that on a defenseless child,” he said. “She implicated the father, too, implying that he’ll change his mind about this once harassment starts.” In a 2014 study of adolescent boys who dance in the United States, Risner found that 93 percent of his respondents experienced teasing and name-calling, and nearly 70 percent suffered verbal or physical abuse. Teen boys who dance “are at least seven times more likely than the general adolescent population to be bullied,” Risner said. “If this behavior concerned any other activity than dance,” he said, “it would be considered a public health crisis by the Centers for Disease Control.” Risner said bullying and the kind of belittling that Spencer expressed last week ends up excluding men from the field. He estimates that 75 percent of male dance students will quit before their 16th birthday. 
News outlet logo for favicons/hourdetroit.com.png

A Wayne State University Theater Ensemble Performs Original Play in Scotland

Exploring topics such as race, gender, sexuality, and mental health, members of the Freedom Players — an ensemble formed out of Wayne State University’s Black Theater and Dance Program — went no holds barred this month when they performed their honest and original play, I Am, at the Scotland-based Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The trip marked the first time WSU students have attended the month-long, city-wide celebration, and their play was one of more than 50,000 performances showcased during the festival’s run. Following their experience across the Atlantic Ocean, Hour Detroit spoke with Billicia Hines, artistic director of the Black Theatre and Dance Collective at WSU, about the decision to attend this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, how it felt to bring their heartfelt work to an international audience, and the unforgettable impression this experience has had on the young Freedom Players.                                                    
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Detroit Democratic debate: Local experts name winners, losers

The first of two scheduled debates in Detroit among the wide field of Democratic presidential candidates proved long and feisty. The Free Press asked expert debate coaches for their spot analysis and hot takes on who among the initial group of 10 contenders triumphed or floundered Tuesday night on the Fox Theatre stage. Who won the performance? "If winner is defined as those who are going to move on to the September debates and have solidified their top 5 status, I would say (Massachusetts Senator) Elizabeth Warren and (South Bend mayor) Pete Buttigieg," said Kelly Young, director of forensics (speech and debate) at Wayne State University. Buttigieg "did a good job of framing (himself) as above the fray in a lot of the debates...he didn't have a lot of moments when he went at somebody on the stage, and he's talking about how we need an inter-generational change or these problems are just going to constantly replicate.” Who had the worst performance? Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland. "I think he certainly lost. I think every time he went after one of them, particularly Elizabeth Warren, he lost badly. But maybe he is a candidate who benefits from any attention — good or bad,” Kelly said. Best moment or moments? “The back-and-forths between Warren versus Delaney. Also, the thoughtful answers from author Marianne Williamson. "She (Williamson) is the one candidate who I thought had the best discussion of Michigan when she talked about Flint, and then used that as a moment to expand on much deeper problems nationally."
News outlet logo for favicons/rollingstone.com.png

See Jack White receive honorary doctorate from WSU

Jack White received an honorary doctorate from Wayne State University during the Detroit college’s commencement event Friday. White, donning a cap and gown for the ceremony, was honored for his “dedication to the city of Detroit and significant contribution to the arts,” Wayne State president Roy Wilson said in his introduction. Wilson also detailed some of White’s philanthropic efforts in the city: His effort to restore Clark Park, how he saved the Masonic Temple from tax foreclosure and how his Third Man record plant helped revitalize midtown Detroit.
News outlet logo for favicons/fox2detroit.com.png

Jack White awarded honorary doctorate from WSU

Musician and Detroit native Jack White received an honorary doctoral degree Friday from Wayne State University. He was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters during the morning commencement ceremony at the Fox Theatre. Wayne State bestowed the degree "for his dedication to Detroit and significant contributions to the arts as one of the most prolific and renowned artists of the past two decades." Jack White III was born and raised in southwest Detroit and was the youngest of 10 children. He graduated from Cass Tech High School. 
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Jack White receives his honorary doctorate from Wayne State: 'absolutely incredible'

Wearing a cap and gown for the first time in his life, donned in the green-and-gold of Wayne State University, Jack White, the Detroit-bred rock musician was awarded an honorary degree during a Friday commencement at the Fox Theatre. "As a teenager, I was a busboy in this building, so it's nice to be back here for a different reason," White said during a brief speech after being conferred his doctor of humane letters by Kim Trent, a governor on the WSU board. 
News outlet logo for favicons/nytimes.com.png

Rocker Jack White Receives Honorary Doctorate in Detroit

Detroit's own Jack White, a singer, songwriter and business owner has added "doctor" to his list of titles. The White Stripes frontman received an honorary doctorate during Wayne State University's commencement ceremony on May 3. The school says the degree is for White's dedication to Detroit, and for his significant contributions to the arts. Born and raised in southwest Detroit, White graduated from Cass Technical High School, worked as an upholsterer and played in underground bands before founding The White Stripes. He has won 12 Grammy Awards and Rolling Stone recognized him as one of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Jack White to receive honorary degree from Wayne State University

Jack White is set to receive an honorary degree from Wayne State University. The now-globally-renowned rock musician will be on hand at 9 a.m. May 3 at the Fox Theatre to receive an honorary doctor of humane letters, "for his dedication to Detroit and significant contributions to the arts as one of the most prolific and renowned artists of the past two decades," according to a WSU release. The May 3 ceremony is part of a two-day slate of commencement activities for WSU's latest graduating class of 4,000-plus students. Other honorary degrees will also go to Detroit native Florine Mark, CEO of the WW Group (2 p.m. May 2), and social-justice scholar Earl Lewis (2 p.m. May 3). 
News outlet logo for favicons/freep.com.png

Michigan teen made viral Buzzfeed quizzes for free. Now she's cashing in

Rachel McMahon, a west Michigan teen obsessed with pop star Justin Bieber, made national headlines when she was identified — outed? — earlier this year as the unpaid author of nearly 700 BuzzFeed quizzes. "Digital life, like life in general, has positive and negative aspects," said Karen McDevitt, a Wayne State University instructor on new media. "Economically, digital media has not really found a sustainable business model. It's based on virality." That means, McDevitt said, companies must get a lot of attention. "The joy of the Internet is that we can access everything, and the problem with that goes back to that unsustainable business model," McDevitt added. "If you post something online, why should I have to pay to access that? The thinking is that it should be free. So how do we pay people to do that?"
News outlet logo for favicons/broadwayworld.com.png

Theatre and Dance honors Jeffrey Seller with 2019 Apple Award at Hamilton

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, a program within the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, is honoring Michigan native and Tony Award-winning producer of "Hamilton," Jeffrey Seller, with the 2019 Apple Award on March 27 at the Fisher Theatre. On March 28, Seller will meet with Wayne State Theatre and Dance students for a conversation about his Michigan roots and his rise to one of Broadway's most-celebrated producers. This event will take place in the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry at 11:30 a.m. The Apple Award, named for Sarah Applebaum Nederlander, is given by the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University on behalf of the Nederlander family. Previous Apple Award winners include Garth Fagan, Neil Simon, Carol Channing, Stephen Schwartz, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Marvin Hamlisch, Elaine Stritch, Tom Skerritt and Natasha Katz.
News outlet logo for favicons/crainsdetroit.com.png

Roxbury's Bonstelle Theatre lease OK'd as part of boutique hotel project

The Wayne State University Board of Governors approved Wednesday a long-term lease of the to-be-decommissioned Bonstelle Theatre as part of Detroit-based developer The Roxbury Group's planned West Elm hotel project. David Di Rita, principal of Roxbury, said the 45-year lease also includes a number of options to renew and that the property would be renovated and restored with things like updated HVAC systems and interior, auditorium and finishes. A specific budget for the theater renovation project has not been calculated, but the overall effort to restore it and construct the West Elm hotel on Woodward Avenue on the edge of Midtown and Brush Park is expected to cost $50 million. Wayne State is decommissioning the Bonstelle and a building at 95 W. Hancock St. as part of the $65 million Hilberry Gateway Performance Complex project.
News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

Opinion: Whitmer environmental order helps broaden input

Rahul Mitra, an assistant professor at Wayne State University who researches environmental organizing and policymaking, wrote an op-ed about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders to reorganize the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) noting that her move is in the best interests of ensuring Michigan’s water security. Mitra wrote: “By creating a new Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy from the ashes of the DEQ, Whitmer signaled she understands that Michigan’s water security requires a holistic engagement of socioeconomic disparities, infrastructure upgrades, and environmental risks.”
News outlet logo for favicons/arabamericannews.com.png

Wayne State University research examines Muslim response to Trump administration

Wayne State University’s Department of Communication presented research Nov. 27 that examines the effects of the Trump administration on North American Muslims. At the presentation, Stine Eckert of WSU’s journalism program introduced three doctoral candidates and contributors to the studies, Jade Metzger-Riftkin, Sydney O’Shay-Wallace and Sean Kolhoff of the Department of Communications. Eckert, a former Al Jazeera producer, said her previous studies incited an interest in Muslim identity; and though many studies based in number-based research found how Islamophobic rhetoric causes an increase in hate crimes, she wanted research based in conversation. “As I developed this project the Trump campaign came along,” Eckert said, “I didn’t plan for that; nobody did. It happened to be in this time that we started this research. So it kind of just fell into my lap to then ask more specifically, in this moment of heightened concern, particularly for people who claim that as part of their identity, what does that mean?” She said the study covered the time period of the latter half of the Trump campaign, the election season, before his inauguration and into the first 100 days of his presidency.
News outlet logo for favicons/detroitnews.com.png

Finley: Thank you, Don Pilette, and RIP

Detroit News editorial editor Nolan Finley wrote a memorial tribute about Don Pilette, and his Wayne State University memories. “In the winter of 1976, I was sitting in Don's news editing class at Wayne State University, a journalism major in my junior year, uncertain whether I'd be able to complete my degree. The small auto factory where I'd worked since high school, and which was providing the paycheck I needed to pay for college, had shut down. I was out of work and out of money, and on the brink of giving up. At the end of class, Don, who was then the national editor of The Detroit News, asked if anyone was interested in a copy boy's position at the newspaper. The duties, he explained, would fall mainly into the messenger/clerk category, but it would provide valuable exposure to the newsroom. I was amazed to look around the room of roughly 20 students and find that mine was the only hand in the air. Two weeks later I walked into the Detroit News to begin what is now 42 years in the newspaper business. Don continued to teach and mentor me after I arrived. Perhaps he didn't want to get the blame if I flopped.” “He (Pilette) kept teaching even after he retired from The News in 1992, at Wayne State and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. That was his joy. Wayne State named its journalism lab in honor of Don, who taught there for 37 years. I'm one of countless journalists in this town and across the nation who benefited from Don Pilette's wisdom. And from his helping hand.”
News outlet logo for favicons/nature.com.png

Does science have a bullying problem?

The secrecy — and the resulting confusion — are prime examples of the difficulties that scientific institutions and researchers face in dealing with the thorny issue of bullying. Some actions might fit into a grey zone. What one person considers firm management, another might consider bullying. It is not difficult to imagine, for example, a Ph.D. supervisor giving a student a raft of unfamiliar experiments to complete, with a deadline that leaves the student stressed and working all night. Is this bullying? The answer depends on the broader behavior and approach, explains Loraleigh Keashly, a communications scientist at Wayne State University.
News outlet logo for favicons/broadwayworld.com.png

“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.
News outlet logo for favicons/newswise.com.png

NSF award to provide new insights on how drinking water and public health systems interact

A research team at Wayne State University recently received a four-year, $1.57 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its project, “Water and Health Infrastructure Resilience and Learning.” The award is part of a multi-institutional $2 million collaborative project funded under NSF’s Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes program.
News outlet logo for favicons/cbslocal.com.png

Wayne State Breaking Ground On Performing Arts Building

Wayne State University is breaking ground on a major project for theater, music and dance. Campus officials and others will gather Thursday night to mark construction of the $65 million Gateway Performance Complex and the future home of the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. The Performance Complex will have three theaters, production space for students and a cafe for guests who attend performances. Wayne State's Hilberry Theatre will be renovated to become a 200-seat jazz center named for Valade, a Detroit-area philanthropist and granddaughter of the founder of Carhartt Clothing. Valade has committed more than $9 million to Wayne State's jazz program. She founded Mack Avenue Records and owns the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in Grosse Pointe Farms.