Culture Calendar: Alice Cooper Drops an Album & The DIA Debuts a New Exhibit

Ryan Patrick Hooper, host of ’CultureShift’ on 101.9 WDET, curates your guide to the month in arts and entertainment
Experience & Expression
American artist Rashid Johnson’s piece “River Crossing, 2011” is part of Experience & Expression, an exhibit revisiting works in the DIA’s collection of contemporary art. // Photograph courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts

A New ‘Experience’ at the DIA

As you might have noticed, the Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020 exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts (on display through June 27) completely took over the suite of contemporary art galleries at the museum. For art fans who don’t necessarily care about cars, the DIA is unveiling Experience & Expression, which pulls from the museum’s collection of contemporary art pieces acquired over the past decade. The exhibit will feature works by Hernan Bas, Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovi´c,  McArthur Binion, and many others. Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; through
Oct. 3. Visit

Inside the ‘Strike Heard ’Round the World’

What happens when the working class takes on the largest industrial corporation in the world in Flint, Michigan? That’s the epic story behind the new book Midnight in Vehicle City: General Motors, Flint, and the Strike That Created the Middle Class by journalist and historian Edward McClelland, who chronicles the Flint sit-down strike of 1936-1937 with great detail and gripping narrative. The BBC would later dub it the “strike heard ’round the world,” as it swelled United Auto Workers’ membership from 30,000 to 500,000 within a year. History buffs won’t need much convincing to read this title, but even those on the fence will be glad they let this tale of by-force factory takeovers, standoffs between workers and police, and spies within the ranks take them to school. Author Edward McClelland will host a virtual talk at the Flint Public Library on March 4.
See for details.

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks has been updated for younger readers. // Courtesy of Beacon Press

Rebellious Rosa Parks — for Kids

When we think of Rosa Parks, one story stands out — her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus that kicked off an epic, 381-day bus boycott. But her role in that pivotal civil rights moment is just a fraction of her 60-year career as an activist both in the South and here in Detroit. More than a decade before the boycott, Parks was integral to a rape investigation that helped expose widespread sexual assaults against Black women in the South. Nearly a decade after Montgomery, she was in Detroit fighting against housing discrimination. Originally released in 2013, Jeanne Theoharis’ The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks helped tell the civil rights icon’s remarkable full story and was hailed as the most complete biography of Parks to date. A new young readers format, out this month, aims to reach the next generation of readers with the vastness of Parks’ contributions. Author Jeanne Theoharis will host a virtual talk at the Detroit Historical Society on March 18 at 6 p.m. See for details.

‘The Souls of Black Folk

What’s it like to see the world through another’s eyes? One of Detroit’s oldest art institutions, The Scarab Club, hopes a new mixed-media show in its main gallery can help patrons do just that. The Souls of Black Folk exhibition is named after W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1903 book of the same name — a groundbreaking study of sociology and of being Black in America. “In a year like 2020, looking deep into what Blackness is and what racism causes in Black Americans’ lives is crucial and is best told by Black artists,” says project director Donna Jackson. The exhibit will feature work from artists Asia Hamilton, Désirée Kelly, Ralph Jones, and Rachel E. Thomas, among others. Programming for Souls of Black Folk: Bearing Our Truths will include a virtual exhibition and brief videos from participating artists talking about their practices and the theme of the exhibit. The Scarab Club, 217 Farnsworth St., Detroit; Feb. 3 through March 6. View the exhibit online at

Alice Cooper
Shock-rocker Alice Cooper takes a trip back to the Motor City on Detroit Stories, his 21st solo album. // Photograph by Jenny Risher

Alice Cooper Comes Home

Alice Cooper might have been born in Detroit, but he’s been calling Phoenix his home for quite a while. With his 21st solo album, however, Cooper is ditching the desert and digging up his Motor City roots for a collection that’s rife with homages to the city that helped craft his signature sound. Detroit Stories, which drops Feb. 26, reunites Cooper with longtime producer Bob Ezrin (who produced early Cooper classics like the proto-punk masterpiece Killer in 1971) and brings in storied Detroit musicians, including MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, Detroit Wheels drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, and bassist Paul Randolph. Don’t expect anything sonically groundbreaking; this is more about an iconic homegrown musician looking back fondly on his Detroit glory days.

Ryan Patrick Hooper is the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET Detroit’s NPR station (weekdays from noon to 2 p.m.).