Former Detroit writer looks back at real-life tragedy in “Purgatory”

By Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press Bryan Gruley’s advice for writing a novel? Sit down and do it. After years working in a newsroom, the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Bloomberg reporter and former writer for the Detroit News says he can write in any setting, with any noise level. It’s really just about getting itContinue reading “Former Detroit writer looks back at real-life tragedy in “Purgatory””

Detroit photographer exhibits emotional photos, stories of refugees

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press Looking through his lens, photographer Kenny Karpov tries to capture who people truly are — their expressions, their bodies and the light in their eyes. His emotional portraits, paired with written work, tell their stories. In Karpov’s latest project, the book “Despite It All We Never Learn,” he tellsContinue reading “Detroit photographer exhibits emotional photos, stories of refugees”

Silverware artist upcycles cast-offs to beautiful objects

By Stephanie Sokol for Digital First Media We all know recycling is a way to help reduce waste going into our landfills. But for some creative people, it can be a form of art. Christine Yonker upcycles vintage silverware, turning it into something completely different and beautiful. She started out working more with glass, butContinue reading “Silverware artist upcycles cast-offs to beautiful objects”

Coming-of-age film ‘Superior’ showcases beauty of Northern Michigan

Birmingham-native filmmaker Edd Benda returned to his home state last year to put together the Upper Peninsula adventure film “Superior.” The idea for the film came to Benda, 25, at a family Thanksgiving dinner table a few years ago. His uncle, Karl Benda, shared the story of a bicycle trip he took Up North moreContinue reading “Coming-of-age film ‘Superior’ showcases beauty of Northern Michigan”

Rochester Art & Apples Festival back in the park Friday

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press Artwork, treats and entertainment will fill Rochester Municipal Park, along Paint Creek Trail, for the 48th annual Art & Apples Festival this week. What started as one large tent and a few Rochester artists eventually was picked up by Paint Creek Center for the Arts and grew into aContinue reading “Rochester Art & Apples Festival back in the park Friday”

Concert Review: Shinedown lets Carnival of Madness crowd be the boss

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press Shinedown lead vocalist Brent Smith was a commanding presence Tuesday night, Aug. 27, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, uniting the crowd through both song and story during the fourth annual Carnival of Madness tour. The group headlined this year’s lineup, which also included Papa Roach, Skillet, We AsContinue reading “Concert Review: Shinedown lets Carnival of Madness crowd be the boss”

Detroit native Porcelain Black teases album with live video series

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press Fans of Detroit native and musician Porcelain Black should know who is behind the music they listen to. Alaina Marie Beaton, known more commonly by her stage name, began releasing a series of five live performance videos with personal narrative intros on her Youtube channel “PorcelainBlackMusic” last week. “ComingContinue reading “Detroit native Porcelain Black teases album with live video series”

Concert Review: The Backstreet Boys still have a place “In a World Like This”

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press INDEPENDENCE TWP. — Though the world is changing, there’s still a place for The Backstreet Boys. The quintet proved that on Thursday night, Aug. 8, at DTE Energy Music Theatre, with performances of their most popular songs as well as new tracks from the just-released “In a World LikeContinue reading “Concert Review: The Backstreet Boys still have a place “In a World Like This””

“Rifftrax: Starship Troopers” brings laughs to local Theaters

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press Science fiction fans seeking a laugh are in luck, as “Rifftrax: Starship Troopers” hits theaters in Oxford, Walled Lake and other Michigan and national locations at 8 p.m. Aug. 15. Comedians Michael Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett are the men behind Rifftrax. The group creates comedic commentary toContinue reading ““Rifftrax: Starship Troopers” brings laughs to local Theaters”

Musician Stewart Francke tells the world “What Makes Me Strong”

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press Music makes a difference in people’s lives. For musician and Saginaw native Stewart Francke, it saved his life. In his memoir, “What Don’t Kill Me Just Makes Me Strong,” Francke discusses how music and the Detroit community helped him get through his struggles to come out tougher, dealing withContinue reading “Musician Stewart Francke tells the world “What Makes Me Strong””