G-Sync

The holidays are here and soon you will most likely be in a position where having to produce a bottle of bubbly could make or break your party. I mean, we can all be forgiven for putting out the Andre, but you were probably 22 then, too … so age up, please. Lucky for you, you can do some good while also learning a bit about champagne and sparkling wines. And yes, Virginia, there is a difference.  Hosted by the Gilmore Collection's H.O.M.E. (House of Music & Entertainment), the 19th annual WYCE Bubble Bash is a fitting way to learn what sparkling beverages you should consider ...
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The city is rapidly changing and a big part of our transformation is because Grand Rapids has many organizations who are empowering people often marginalized by society to, as we often say in the queer community, "show up" for the future. Our local Urban Core Collective (UCC), an organization that harnesses the power of their member nonprofits, has for many years been hosting the Transformational Leaders Program (TLP). Over the years this program has produced local leaders, many of whom I am fairly certain you have worked, served, marched, or played alongside in our city. (I know I ...
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There is a kernel of truth in all the images and memes related to one’s trip home for the holidays. In fact, a whole sub-genre has emerged under holiday films just devoted to this emotionally-driven topic. Jodie Foster even made a film about the awkwardness of it with “Home for the Holidays.” Before you start you holiday descent (or ascent, depending on your station in life), the Pop Scholars show at Wealthy Theatre presents an opportunity to get your gut-busting laughs out before they awkwardly erupt when Aunt Wanda over dinner gets drunk and starts talking about the ...
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Grand Rapids has a booming music scene. And while a testament of this scene is evident in the dizzyingly long list of original music created by our local artists, every once in a while we all get a hankering for a tasty throwback tune. So lucky for us that our local music series, Tribute Show, is roaring back to The Pyramid Scheme stage with four great albums from the year 1998. The albums from 1998 that will be performed in their entirety by our brilliant local music community will include: Nada Surf’s “The Proximity Effect” with musicians Dan Fisher, Luke Shoemaker, Eric ...
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The human voice unified in a song is one of the most beautiful experiences of living and lucky us, we have many opportunities to hear from so many choruses that make up our region of the state. One such group that has earned international recognition over the years is the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus (GRWC) — a diverse and all-volunteer group of 70 inspiring women who passionately lend their talents to create music that is sure to delight as well as uplift through song. They also are advocates for social change, often presenting works from composers all over the world. We have ...
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It is no secret that the passage of Prop 1 legalizing recreational cannabis in November 2018 started a movement to revolutionize our state in so many ways, from growth to distribution, as well as in so many other emerging services.  Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) is not waiting around, nor willing to sit idly by as a new industry sets up shop in our state, and will be offering a special class to assist showcasing how area Black entrepreneurs and Black businesses can begin to participate in this emerging multi-billion dollar industry. We know that since Prop 1's passage the ...
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Imagine the excitement that after the announcement of being nominated for 12 Emmy Awards, “Rupal’s Drag Race” would go on to win six Emmy’s, including the prestigious Outstanding Reality-Competition Program category. Drag is not new but its ever-widening acceptance as a form of entertainment is. None of us could have predicted, must less imagined, that a drag show would headline at the DeVos Performance Hall when it opened decades ago, but here we are today in the present and with many sold-out shows later. On Tuesday, December 11, joining the ranks of touring shows ...
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Strong, community-supported neighborhood businesses are the lifeblood a city for without them, you would be left with big boxes with revolving door staff or the coldness of shopping in bed from places that have no real meaningful connections to your community. In my opinion, the neighborhood business model is most successful when it is rooted in being neighborly. On Thursday evening, the Uptown neighborhood, which has seen its fair share of starts and stops over the 30-plus years I have lived here (East Hills was the site of my first apartment in the ‘80s), is throwing out the welcome ...
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While you were figuring out what to do with that leftover Turkey, some folks downtown have been quite busy stringing more than 40,000 lights on the city’s Christmas tree that will be the center of attention on Saturday, December 1 when they throw the switch to kick off our annual holiday season in Downtown Grand Rapids. The tree lighting event will take place at Rosa Parks Circle at 6:30 p.m sharp (so don’t be late).  But that is hardly the start of the festivities at this year’s Light Up Downtown, which includes an appearance by the City of Grand Rapids’ Mayor Rosalynn ...
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Each year as we post advances in the decades-long battle against AIDS, we are reminded that this crisis that has gripped the world is not over. Last month, I discovered an old journal of mine from 1990 — a time period where our region was just beginning to suffer the devastating loss of lives that had for years earlier plagued the coasts and other major cities. As I read the entries, I was reminded of the fears, isolation, but also deaths that were occurring during this period of our city’s history. And while we have seen advances in health that are moving this into a manageable ...
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The best gifts I find at the holiday are those that often defy labels and come from the heart. And on Sunday afternoon, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) invites folks to take a class where they will learn to create a work of art using the expansive method of monotype printing. If you are scratching your head about what this entails, read on. Monotype printing is a super versatile method for creating one-of-a-kind prints that, through experimentation, can produce truly wonderful results that can become the basis of original cards, wrapping paper, or even a new work of art for your true love. ...
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The tradition of friends gathering together is something that most can agree is a long-standing tradition. But in modern times, table conversation can often occur with faces staring down in our phones, missing the glow of why table dialogue with friends is the thing that we should not lose. So it is with much encouragement that a contemporary play, “At the Table,” arrives at Actors' Theatre Grand Rapids. This new work is perfectly suited for our time as much of what we see on stage is easily recognizable to the audience. Playwright Michael Perlman’s "At the ...
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We can’t say this enough: how lucky we are that each year the weekend before Thanksgiving, area food and spirits enthusiasts get to discover new flavors and tasty treats that can make you the informed star at your next holiday affair. The 11th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, & Food Festival returns bigger than ever to DeVos Place this weekend and you will want to be sure to visit. This event opens up to you a chance to enjoy the first sips of brand new products like local canned cocktails, to chef-led culinary workshops and instructional sessions with food authors, to ...
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I, for one, am very excited to see that the 100th Art Van Santa Parade has not happened yet, so I can avoid all those folks next year who will surely ask, “Is this your first time down to the parade?” Granted, I love a good parade. There I said it. And lucky for me and those who like me enjoy a good festive parade, I am looking forward to celebrating the 99th year of this festive event for the first time. There will be parade floats, live music, and of course, a chance to have your photo taken with Santa courtesy of PNC Bank. The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. on the corner of ...
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Pitch competitions are a thing here. Don’t be shocked because we need them to be a thing here for host of good reasons, but most of all because they help generate good creative energy for our region. If you have watched on TV any of the many Shark Tank-styled pitch shows, then don’t expect that made-for-ratings drama fueling us here. (That TV stuff is made to keep you locked to the screen.) For those around you who have attended, say, a Start Garden 5x5 Night or any of the Michigan Women Forward’s Dolphin Tanks, then you know these are exciting and interesting nights of ...
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Don’t panic when, while enjoying a meal at your favorite downtown Grand Rapids cafe, you see from a distance a bird … or is it a plane … wait, it’s Superman, Chewbacca, and a Power Ranger!  These sightings are just an indicator that Grand Rapids Comic-Con is back in town for the weekend. Our local version of the national Comic-Con is a hometown celebration of the amazing art and creativity in creating this genre that has sparked comic books, movies, TV series, YouTube celebs, role playing, toys, and so much more. And ours just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This ...
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There are not many bands out there that can boast being proficient in so many styles of world music, much less rework it in a way that becomes something remarkably danceable under the guidance of two DJ/musicians.  But that is exactly what one can expect to see from this band that I have been a fan of for more than 20 years. It is worth noting that this act from the District of Columbia appears at 20 Monroe Live and has played at the early version of the Rothbury Festival but has never had a radio hit, a big budget YouTube video, nor major label backing. Instead, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton of ...
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We are a region rich with folks making all sort of waves within our social spaces with the tiny works of video they produce to showcase a story or quick message.  But what about those local creatives who wish to use their keyboard skills to create a story that could become the next “Moonlight,” “Moonraker,” or “Moonstruck?” Lucky for those of us seeking such a way to release our inner story idea, this weekend there is a workshop on screenwriting that is also a benefit for our local Write616. This Screenwriting Workshop is a fundraising event hosted by Grand ...
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Marlee Grace, when she was living here, always amazed those of us who frequented her Have Company Division Avenue store. But those who delved deeper also enjoyed her artist residency program, where artists from all over the nation would venture here to create works of art that she would place on display.  And while she has been out of the area for a couple years now, her work continues to evolve as she roams the earth. (She even caught the eye of the NY Times for her work on the Instagram account Personal Practice.) On her spin back through Grand Rapids, this time she will be arriving with a ...
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The American experience has been recorded over the centuries and if one were to select a handful of those whose works of art sought to do more than just entertain but actually reflect the culture of the time, then you would be hard-pressed not to include Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein was more than just a conductor/composer, but an accomplished pianist, author and, most of all, a humanitarian. Whether he was composing for Broadway or for the concert hall, the roots of Bernstein’s iconic music dive into the urban-American life of the post-World War II era. And his contributions to the ...
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There is a plethora of artist markets these days in our region, but 10 years ago when the Recycled Art Market debuted, it was unique and remains so to this day. For the 10th Annual Recycled Art Market, those who will venture to Grand Rapids City High Middle School (1720 Plainfield Ave. NE) will have a chance to visit more than 75 artisans whose booths will feature creations that owe a lot to the past. Why the past? Well, these unique, one-of-a-kind, and handmade items have one thing in common with the past: they all must use at least 50 percent recycled, upcycled, or repurposed materials in ...
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The film “Coco” introduced in a huge way to a new generation the annual celebration of Día de los Metros — or for our English-speaking folk, Day of the Dead.  When folks attend this year’s Día de los Muertos at the main branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL), they are in for a special treat because of how expansive this presentation is becoming with each passing year. For this special Day of the Dead celebration that opens to the public on October 31 and culminates with a community-themed Family Day gathering on Sunday, Nov. 4 from 1 to 4:30 ...
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On November 6, we, who are of voting age and registered, will have a chance to add our voice to the ballot box as the nation goes to vote in one of the most anticipated votes of my lifetime. With so much on the line in an ever-polarizing world, sane voices are needed at the polls more than ever. And while Rapid Growth does not endorse candidates for partisan reasons, we do place a high value on participatory acts like voting and how they can make a difference in society. Voting is a way to lend one’s voice to the process of society’s evolution (or devolution depending on who you ...
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One of the most powerful tools of our human evolution is our voice. And yet, we live in a time when most feel voiceless because we have forgotten how to talk with one another. Many might attribute this to a host of reasons, but ultimately it is on us to harness the power of our voices and engage in the civil dialogue, even in the discourse, if we as a society are to advance beyond the anger that fuels most conversations today.  Returning for the fifth year is the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium — a part of an Endowed Professorship of Civil Discourse from the Brooks College of ...
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This last Monday at the Disability Advocates of Kent County’s Invest in Ability annual dinner, the City of Grand Rapids was singled out for an award for their advances in creating a more welcoming city for all through their commitment to expanding access for all. This is not just good PR but good governance, since who doesn’t want to make room for others to experience what so many freely do (and often without much thought)? But a huge part of our city’s journey is also owed to DisArt, an organization committed to increasing the participation of Disabled people in our ...
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As I look around my home office, I realize I might have a toy problem. From where I sit, I can see so much history as I spy a Hot Wheels car, Carol from “Where the Wild Things Are,” and a talking Po doll from the popular kids show Teletubbies.  And while these toys on the surface when created were just something to play with as a kid (or child at heart), they also each represent a plethora of happy memories and good stories as to why they still are with me as I navigate my adult years. The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) is hoping their new exhibition, TOYS!, will inspire you, ...
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Some of my favorite experiences in an art gallery have not just been the viewing of visual art, but how some venues are able to transform their space to host other artistic practices. LaFontsee Galleries of East Hills is one such place in our city that is expanding our perception of an art gallery as they bring back for the 2018-2019 season a jazz music series with four live concerts held the last Sundays of October, February, March, and April. For this next season, fans of jazz will have a chance to hear Aretha Franklin’s Drummer, a French Jazz Accordionist, and many other exciting ...
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When we set out to create a list of distinct events to consider attending this next week, GRCC Diversity Lecture Series’ guest speaker tweeted, “A US Permanent Resident was turned into mince-meat by the Saudis. Thousands of Floridians lost their homes, thousands more are without power. And the President of the United States is on Twitter calling one woman, 'Pocahontas', and another one, 'horse-face'. It must be Tuesday.” Now before your eyes roll your eyes back in your head, this is a tweet from Ana Navarro who is coming to Grand Rapids and is unabashedly a ...
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Two things are best enjoyed during October once you give up Halloween for blood sugar health reasons: tree planting and drinking beer in the crisp air. And lucky for us, the two activities will meet on Friday afternoon in the city of Grand Rapids’ Riverside Park located on the mighty Grand River. At this special annual Brewer’s Grove Tree Beer(s) event, you will get to assist in planting trees alongside the city’s favorite Grand Rapids Area Brewers. Many years ago, the Emerald Ash Borer epidemic impacted thousands of trees in our region, including hundreds in Riverside Park. ...
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The city has seen plenty of zombie fun since the wildly popular Rob Bliss-produced Zombie Walk took over Rosa Parks Circle in 2008. Now, 10 years later, we may have witnessed a lot of zombie-themed events and parties, but none can compare to the thrill of the annual Zombie Dash 5K that takes over the riverfront neighborhoods just north of Downtown. This seventh annual post-apocalyptic 5K takes place on the streets, paths, and bridges of Grand Rapids' north end. Runners are encouraged to study the map in advance to know where the various zones are for this run and what to expect at each ...
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Many years ago at the former location of the West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (WMCAT), the nonprofit would host an annual Make It Take It special hands-on fundraising event. For those who recall, the last time WMCAT hosted such an event was in 2012. At this special event, attendees were invited into WMCAT’s space to play with various materials employed in the creation of something that the guest could take home with them at the end of night. In those early years, you had a variety of activities awaiting you inside this downtown facility, from learning to print a t-shirt to ...
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Each year, our community nominates hundreds of individuals, but only 40 will be selected to represent the annual Grand Rapids Business Journal’s (GRBJ) 40 Under 40 event. This year, the event will be held at 20 Monroe Live downtown and will be filled with many locals who have, in one way or another, made a difference in our community through their contributions. And while it might seem odd that Rapid Growth — another magazine in our community — would highlight such event, until you realize that within the ranks of honorees is one of our own, Leandra Nisbet. While Nisbet ...
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Over the past nine years, LINC UP, a community development organization, has celebrated our region’s individuals and organizations who have made their mark here via its Community Spirit Awards. The event, unlike other awards shows in our region, has a beautiful celebratory feel to it because it highlights those who have impacted our community for the better. And while over the past couple of years LINC has hosted the Empowered Communities Conference in conjunction with this annual event, this year they will focus on the awards, but also welcome a special guest speaker to round out the ...
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Some of my favorite moments at Wealthy are those where I am challenged by their community-focused programming. And while a lot of changes have been happening over the years with some events running their course or just growing too big to be housed here, I am happy to see that this theatre seated in the Wealthy Street business district and in the Baxter Neighborhood will be hosting another fabulous event that is sure to spark dialogue among attendees. The theatre will be hosting on Friday, October 12, the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial debate between candidates Gretchen Whitmer (Dem) and Bill ...
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It is hard to believe that I have been alive long enough to remember when Elton John debuted on our music scene. But I can honestly say from my childhood to adulthood, I have enjoyed every era of this musician’s life and his contribution to our music scene but also our world through his work in raising awareness during the AIDS world crisis (and during a time when few would lend their voices). Elton John is a man who needs no introduction at this point and on Monday, October 15, fans will flock downtown when he arrives in Grand Rapids for the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour ...
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For many authors, the path to publishing can be a daunting process as the writer must not only create the work, but then somehow garner the attention of a system that can be off-putting, not to mention quite difficult. However, for some local authors who eschew this long process, there is a path where their labor can be focused on the beautiful small of Do It Yourself (or DIY) self-publishing, embracing its power using the Zine format. This form of artistic expression often reaches beyond just the written word, opening up exciting and tiny editions filled with literary and visual delights. On ...
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We hear a lot these days about the lack of opportunities for women in the sciences. Locally, I am happy to report that we are not only shoring up these gaps through new programs in education, we are also advancing hands-on experiences like the Grand Rapids Girls Robotics Competition, which will be held this Saturday in Wyoming. Grand Rapids Girls Robotics, according to FIRST, the event organizers, provides a fun, low-cost event, which allows teams to enjoy using their robots, thus giving more students an opportunity to showcase their robot in a student competition. And if you wondered about ...
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With all the rapid expansion happening in our city, it is easy to lose sight of the little activities that make up urban life for so many as we dash off to eat at the hottest new restaurant or sip the coolest elixir from your favorite barkeep. Lucky for us, a few locals, like Paul Soltysiak and Liz Kamyszek — a couple of community-minded Westsiders, decided to do something about the fact that one neighborhood high school team in our city plays their heart out each week, but the stands are often near empty. So to Facebook they went and organized Fill The Stands, Westsiders!, what I ...
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While this season’s leaf peepers have yet to arrive as we await the arrival of the beautiful fall colors to fill our vision, this weekend, you can see another forest through the trees at the annual Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s Fall Bonsai Show. If you have never attended, you are really missing a wonderfully inspiring event that is good for children of all ages (and I am including myself) as this living art form is sure to spark the imagination of any who attend. The art of bonsai comes from trees who have been crafted to remain tiny (in comparison to their wild ...
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WYCE & HopCat Blue Bridge Music Fest: The musical side of ArtPrize

Friday, Sept. 28, 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 29, 1 p.m. - 10 p.m.
ArtPrize visual artists might be jamming your inbox with “vote for me” messages, but on Friday and Saturday a different kind of artist will be jamming to get your attention … and boy, does it sound great this year. Returning to Grand Rapids’ Blue Bridge this weekend, local independent, community radio station WYCE (FM 88.5) and HopCat invite you to visit the Blue Bridge Music Fest for ArtPrize 2018. On Friday and Saturday, the Blue Bridge will transform into a festival with live musical entertainment that includes a wide variety of singing, dancing, and moving ...
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It has been a while since Cabildo has played at Creston Brewing on the city’s north end, but if the last show is any indication, you can expect a hot set that is certain to pack the dance floor at this most unique of tasting rooms in the city. Cabildo is a much lauded and loved West Michigan alternative Latin rock collective, who evolving over time, has kept the band fresh as they welcome bandmates from many regions of the Americas. Their sound is an unique blend of cumbia, ska, folk, and other genres of music from Latin and South America. Their shows performed in Spanish are vibrant ...
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When the sun sets on Grand Rapids Saturday and the ArtPrize venues have closed for the night, it is time to think about where you are going to sweat away the last hours of the day dancing to the best groove the city has to offer. For those looking to experience fine dance music curation, then Grand Rapids Soul Club (GRSC) has to be your go-to spot given their track record. Over the last year alone, they have welcomed some of the biggest names in the dance music industry of all things soul.  Keeping that tradition of solid programming, GRSC welcomes DJ Soul Sister to The Pyramid Scheme. She is ...
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When most folks hear the name Rick Steves, they often think of adventure. But I doubt most folks — before he began his multi-city tour this year — thought he’d be advocating for the legalization of cannabis. And yet, that is what he will be addressing here when Steves, the popular PBS travel writer and host of “Rick Steves’ Europe,” arrives in Grand Rapids on Thursday, Oct. 4. Shocking to some is that the author has actually been a member of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, since 2003. Rick Steves at this public forum will ...
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The Summer of 2018 might have come and gone, but it does not have to end. And with the latest run of unseasonably warm weather, we can continue to enjoy our city this fall.  Entering the street festival circuit this September 22 is the Westside neighborhood’s fresh new WestSide StreetFair and ArtWalk. Billed as two joined activities on Facebook, this new festival seeks to elevate the fun factor of this neighborhood while seeking to place a value on the diversity of their community. To meet these goals, the entertainment for the day reflects that mission with acts like Lady Ace Boogie, ...
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Love, Gilda: Three local chances to witness this comic genius on the big screen

Thurs., Sept. 20 (ArtPrize Hub), Sun., Sept. 30 (Celebration! - Woodland), and Mon., Oct. 1 (Knickerbocker - Holland)
Holland  
It is weird to live long enough to bury your heroes, and a hero to many comics who left us too early was the legendary Saturday Night Live original cast member Gilda Radner, who died from ovarian cancer in 1989. For more than a decade, Gilda amused us with the sensitive and hilarious characters she created on the big and little screens from television to motion pictures. And lucky for us who fondly recall Gilda’s unique brand of humor, we will have three unique chances over the next two weeks to see her on the big screen again. “Love, Gilda” has all that one would expect from ...
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Sometimes when listening to some of the latest acts, I find echoes of that distinct guitar sound that was a hallmark of the early days of rock music. These guitar-heavy sounds rooted in the raw energy of rock and roll from this era are popping back into vogue from solos to samples. Locally, you will have a chance to experience a former rock and roll act of the late '60s/early '70s — The Doors — when tribute band The Doors Opened sets up on the Tip Top Stage in our city’s westside neighborhood. This tiny venue is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to experience such ...
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It would not be the fall season without an Octoberfest or two on your calendar, so why not plan on visiting the newest HopCat to open locally at the Knapp’s Corner location as they celebrate Hoptoberfest on Sunday? For those who are up for this beer adventure, they will experience an array of special tap takeovers of carefully curated brews from the United States and Germany.  At press time, HopCat Knapp’s Corner will be offering these special beers on tap:
  • HofBrauHaus {Munich, Germany} – Oktoberfestbier – 6.3% - Festbier
  • Cedar Springs Brewing Co. {Cedar Springs, MI}
...
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Grand Rapids film history continues to evolve as folks begin to leverage their talents honed here as well as abroad to make an impact in the art of filmmaking. Case in point is the West Michigan premiere on Thursday night of the Sundance 2018 competition breakout film, "A Boy, A Girl, A Dream,” which was executive produced by former Grand Rapidian Jash'd Belcher. "A Boy, A Girl, A Dream” is the story of Cass (Omari Hardwick), a Los Angeles club promoter who meets a Midwestern woman named Frida (Meagan Good) in the City of Angels on the night of the 2016 presidential ...
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While the new Queen film “Bohemian Rhapsody” doesn’t arrive in local theaters until November, fans of the music of this iconic British rock band are in luck as the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) welcomes a new production set to their music. “The Queen Light Show: From Mercury with Love”, a rock and roll light show presented at the GRPM’s Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium, will open on Saturday night and run through November 21. Arriving in Grand Rapids by way of the Longway Planetarium of Flint, this projected production brings to life a visually rich ...
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On Friday, you have one last chance to catch the local-focused outdoor concert series, Bands at Blandford. Held at the Blandford Nature Center’s farm, this annual outdoor music series has featured numerous local music acts. But the 2018 series ends on September 14, so your time to experience live music in such a unique setting is coming to a close this weekend. For the last concert of the series, Bands at Blandford welcomes the WYCE 88.1 FM Jammie Awards XIX Special Jury Prize winners, Hollywood Makeout. The band formed in 2012 with Tim Broderick (drums), Cedric Canero (guitar), Tim ...
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