Mira Spenner at WMUK
Rebecca Thiele/WMUK

Music Helps Flutist Recover From Traumatic Brain Injury

A lot has happened for Michigan flutist Mira Spenner in the past few years. She moved to Missouri, got married. She also faced the biggest challenge of her life. Last year, Spenner got into a traumatic car accident and suffered a brain injury. She says wanting to play the flute again helped her to make a miraculous recovery. Spenner will give a talk Friday, November 17th at 11 a.m. at Kalamazoo College’s Stetson Chapel. It’s called “Recovering from the Unexpected: Using Music to Recover from a Traumatic Brain Injury.”

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Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

The Little Mermaid Brings Undersea Fantasy To Kalamazoo Civic

Director Steven Carver, marketing director Janet Gover, Este'fan Kizer (Sebastian), and Lizzy Stone (Ariel) join Cara Lieurance to preview the Kalamazoo Civic's production of The Little Mermaid , which opens on Friday. The familiar Hans Christian Anderson story, made famous in the 1989 Disney movie, was adapted to stage in 2007, but took a few years to reach its current version, says Carver. Lizzy Stone, who starred as Eliza in the Civic's My Fair Lady, says that as a redhead, she loved Ariel as a girl, going on to say that the part requires some unusual acting challenges, including wordless acting and a flying harness. Este'Fan Kizer, who was last seen in Sister Act , plays the crab Sebastian, and sings the most recognizable song in the musical, "Under The Sea."

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A film series called REEL Faith and Sexuality begins Tuesday night at Kalamazoo College. It’s co-sponsored by The Faith Alliance of the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center. The Faith Alliance is a gathering of religious leaders in the community who seek full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in public and religious life.

The New Vic Theatre

Before The Woman in Black was made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, it was a play adapted from a novel written by Susan Hill. The New Vic Theatre in Kalamazoo will perform the play starting Friday. The Woman in Black is your classic haunted house story. 

Just a small part of the Willie Nelson collection in Chris Nelsen's home.
Karen VandenBos

Kalamazoo resident Chris Nelsen is one of singer/songwriter Willie Nelson’s biggest fans. After following him and his music for over 30 years, the local man has an extensive collection of Willie Nelson memorabilia and stories of the times they’ve met. 

Philip Levine, the most recent poet laureate, is coming to Western Michigan University Friday. Levine was born in Detroit. Some of his most famous poems are about his time working for General Motors, a job he says he didn't like very much. 

Southwest Michigan author D.E. Johnson just released his third novel with St. Martin’s Publishing. It’s a follow up to The Detroit Electric Scheme and Motor City Shakedown. Detroit Breakdown follows protagonists Will Anderson and his girlfriend Elizabeth Hume into a mental institution of one hundred years ago. 

WMU Theatre

Western Michigan University students will perform the play Fuddy Meers starting Thursday. Fuddy Meers is about a middle aged woman named Claire who has a type of amnesia where she forgets everything that happened the night before.

Chris Killian

The contest between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney dominates the news. But amid reports about gaffes and political tactics, is the campaign addressing issues that matter to real people? Kalamazoo independent journalist Chris Killian is on the road to find out during his Swing State Stories project. Over the next few weeks he’ll visit states where the race is close, beginning in Nevada.

Aaron Cooper

Kalamazoo Book Arts Center director Jeff Abshear has spent part of the past decade teaching book arts in Venice to Italian children, but this summer’s trip with was the first time he taught Americans there. Eleven students from the Frostic School of Art and Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University went with Abshear to Venice this summer to study book arts. They attended a printmaking school and studied at a letterpress museum.

One thing you can count on each year with the Toronto International Film Festival: It will be a treasure trove of cinema from around the world. Approximately 300 movies from all corners of the globe are screened each September over the course of a week and a half, including everything from this year’s big Oscar hopefuls to documentaries to comedies that show the lighter side of life in North Korea. 

You might have spotted billboards around Southwest Michigan advertising something a little different—local art. On Friday night from 5:30 to 7:30, you can meet the ten artists who won this year’s Billboard Art Contest at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Their work will be on display at the KIA. One of the artists is Paul Marquardt who works out of his home studio.

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