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Artpod: Made in Michigan

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For all your late holiday shoppers out there, today's Artpod is filled with ideas for giving local.


I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook to hear your thoughts on Michigan-made gifts you'd like to give (or receive) this year. I also reached out to the owner of an independent bookstore in Grand Rapids, and the owner of an independent music store in Ann Arbor to get their suggestions, too.

So without further ado, here's what you had to say about giving local:

Steve Amick's 12 Days of Christmas

Michigan author Steve Amick put together a Michigan-centric list of gift ideas and places to visit on his facebook page. Disclaimer: He calls the list "overtly nepotistic."

  1. "Once Upon a River" - a book by Bonnie Jo Campbell
  2. "The New Britton Sound" - an album by Timothy Monger
  3. "The Windward Shore" - a book by Jerry Dennis
  4. "Knuckleheads" - a book by Jeff Kass
  5. "Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them" - a collection of essays and stories by various authors
  6. "Mending Time" - an album by Dave Boutette
  7. "My American Unhappiness" - Dean Bakopoulos
  8. Artist Lauren Kingsley's website, www.paintedtrout.com
  9. "Marginalia for a Natural History" - a poetry collection by Keith Taylor
  10. "Dick Siegel and the Brandos LIVE!" - an album by Dick Siegel and the Brandos
  11. "Space in Chains" - a poetry collection by Laura Kasischke
  12. A trip to Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, or any other independent bookstore in Michigan

Something old, something new

Matt Bradish owns Underground Sounds in downtown Ann Arbor. He says whenever anyone from out of town asks for a Michigan album, he always suggests Chris Bathgate's album, "A Cork Tale Wake." The album came out a couple years ago, but Bradish says "it still holds its own."

As for a current recommendation, Bradish points to "Party Store" by the Detroit band The Dirtbombs, where they do rock covers of famous techno songs.

Gifts for foodies (and beer drinkers)

Jennifer Howard suggests "chocolate covered cherries and cherry jam" to highlight Michigan's "strong tradition of growing cherries."

Kerry Conway wrote in to say she thinks a Pewabic Pottery mug and Zingerman's marshmallows would make the "perfect hot chocolate combination."

Want to make your own homemade marshmallows? Check out this recipe by Michigan native Dani Davis.

Other suggestions from folks who wrote in: Michigan maple syrup, Calder chocolate milk, and growlers from Michigan breweries.

For the bibliophile on your list

Roni Devlin owns Literary Life Bookstore in Grand Rapids. Here are her book recommendations:

  • "Michigan’s Guide to Local Cooking" by Susan Clemente
  • "Glance at the Past: An Album of Grand Rapids History" compiled by the Grand Rapids Historical Commission
  • "Lord of Misrule" by Jaimy Gordon
  • "Once Upon a River" by Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Story collections by Caitlin Horrocks and Adam Schuitema

For the person who has everything

Suggestions include: a donation in their name to a Michigan charity; a membership to one of Michigan's arts and culture institutions; a free (!) subscription to Artpod.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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