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Free Pinball Night: Stuck in town this weekend? Get your balls rolling at The Scheme.

Just because you might be low on funds this last holiday weekend of summer, does not mean you have to stay home.

In fact, with the college semester in full swing already (signaling to many that summer of 2018 is truly over) you might discover that downtown this year might be a little busier than it has been the last few weeks as folks have tried to squeeze one or two more adventures out of this warm season.

One such draw downtown this Sunday is the monthly event “Free Pinball Night” at the Pyramid Scheme.

This downtown bar with an indie concert venue out back is not just home to one of the baddest juke boxes and a mouthwatering selection of Short’s Brewing Company’s best beers, it also houses some of the world’s greatest pinball machines. 

And on Sunday, Sept. 2 from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., these pinball machines of distinction are entirely free to play all night long. 

So don’t stay home this weekend, hit the Scheme for some serious ball action at one of the coolest bars in the city. 

GR Swing Dance: Only a few more chances left to dance under the open sky

If you have not attended one of the many GR Swing Dance events that have been popping up at downtown Grand Rapids’ Rosa Parks Circle since May 1 of this year, then you have missed one of the cultural gems of our entire city.

More than once, I have been entertaining folks downtown, only to turn a corner on a Tuesday and discover it was GR Swing Dance night as hundreds upon hundreds pack the entire circle, all dancing to the music coming from the stage. It is truly an amazing scene to witness — so many diverse ages and people having so much dancing fun under the open sky!

Tuesday, September 4 is just one of five dance events left this year taking place at Rosa Parks Circle, and with the threat of weather patterns shifting with each passing week this fall, why wait to experience this much fun in the city?

Get out and down at Rosa Parks Circle for GR Swing Dance while the summer warmth is still with us. 

Night Sky Trivia: Lighting of the night ... and your intellect

One of the perks of being at the late stage of summer is that sunset appears earlier with each passing day, making for earlier stargazing activities.

And on Thursday, Sept. 6, the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPL), along with the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association, invites the public come out for a special education-focussed evening that promises to light up the imagination and intellect as they ask we turn our focus to their Night Sky Trivia event.

This one night only event starts in the GRPL’s Chaffee Planetarium, which seeks to showcase how to identify the summer constellations, and will also offer an extended version of the Under Scorching Skies live show.

Immediately after the planetarium show, attendees will venture outside for a hands-on telescopic observation event with the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA). 

This group will showcase what is viewable from the city under the summer night's sky. You will learn how to work with a star chart and meet astronomy experts who will help answer any questions and also guide the experience. 

GRAAA projects that with clear conditions, guests will be able to see Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, as well as some of the very brightest stars such as those that make up the Summer Triangle.

The outdoor observation portion is weather-dependent and so should it rain, plan on participating in the alternate indoor activities, which include a trivia tournament in the museum’s newly renovated Meijer Theater.

Tickets are $8 for Museum members, and $12 for non-members. GRPM doors open at 7 p.m., with the planetarium show beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Ralston & Friends: Meijer Gardens summer season winds down with locals center stage

If you live long enough, you find tiny traditions that fill your life with excitement but also some sense of meaning …. and often art has a hand in these moments.

One such moment in our city is the annual music series, Ralston & Friends, held each summer at the world class Frederik Meijer Gardens and hosted by local music legend Ralston Bowles.

Each summer, Bowles welcomes to the outdoor, open air stage special musical guests who are never revealed until they walk out on the stage. And over the years he has had a series of musicians join him that, should one take the time to dig into these musicians resumes, will be quite impressed with the talent that graces this summer series.

But all things must come to an end so after a summer of local shows organized under the “Tuesday Evening Music Club” Ralston & Friends is the last one the 2018 season.  

In the past they have welcomed guest artists like Larry McCray and Thornetta Davis, as well as The Accidentals and Marshall Crenshaw. So you can see the level of talent Bowles is able to bring with him to this festive, local musician-focused event.

Bowles promises a few really great artists surprises and will debut a few new songs as well at this final “Tuesday Evening Music Club” series. 

These special Tuesday night concerts are free for members and are included with each paid admission to Meijer Gardens for the general public. Guests may bring picnic food during the shows or enjoy the Taste of the Gardens Café and amphitheater concessions. Chairs of all heights are welcomed at this particular event.

Pink Sky: Dawn of the new via album release concert

This week’s issue of G-Sync Event is focused on the joys of our local music scene. And what is more exciting than the chance to see a band debut a new album of brand new material on a local stage that is also known for hosting some of the best indie acts this world has ever produced?

On Saturday night, Grand Rapidians will have a chance to catch live the new electronic band, Pink Sky, who only started about a year ago. The band will hit the Pyramid Scheme stage on the occasion of their double LP being released on this same evening. 

With so many musical styles happening here from rock to hip hop, one area that is often overlooked by some is the richly layered sounds of our electronic music scene.

Pink Sky’s new album, created by husband and wife duo of Ryan and Angelica Hay, arrives much the same way as other artists who have gone through some experience and then used art as a vehicle to process it.

Except in this case, Ryan Hay, who was nearly killed in a car accident, found that through art the husband and wife were able to make sense of this harrowing experience.

And while the story of the band has been captured in depth via Revue’s “Synthesizers & Silver Linings” by Eric Mitts, music this layered and personal is always best experienced live.  

Opening for Pink Sky are acts Wing Vilma, Bronze Wolf, and Darkly. This is a solid ticket so if you are looking to guarantee a spot at this electronic powerhouse of a lineup, be sure to get your tickets in advance here

Breakaway Grand Rapids: The hit acts just keep coming to Grand Rapids newest and most exciting festi

Just because the local universities have started their fall semester classes doesn’t means that the rest of use (or those students for that matter) should bid adieu to the summer of 2018. 

In fact, with day temps still hovering in the high '80s and lows at night in the '70s, let’s keep that outdoor party vibe going a bit longer.

One such event that has filled the last summer festival slot is the Breakaway Festival produced by our state’s very own MiEntertainment Group and Prime Social Group. 

Breakaway Festival, held in Belknap Park on Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25, will welcome a dynamite line up including Odesza, Khalid, Borgeous, Flatbush Zombies, Flosstradamus, Jaden Smith, Kayzo, NGHTMRE, Rich The Kid Dombresky, Grey, Maxo Kream, Tee Grizzley, and so many more guest artists.

“We started this festival by combining urban living with a carefully curated, multi-genre lineup that festival goers of all ages and music preferences could enjoy. With the success of the festival’s first year, it was a no brainer to return to Grand Rapids for its second year,” Managing Partner Adam Lynn says.

Breakaway Music Festival debuted in 2013 in Columbus, Ohio with names like Kendrick Lamar, Bassnectar, and twentyonepilots. The festival expanded to Grand Rapids in 2017 and was nominated for the first-ever “Grandy’s” Award Show for Outstanding Live Music Event. Since its debut, the festival brand has expanded to include five different markets: Dallas, Columbus, Charlotte, Nashville, and Grand Rapids.

Organizers say the best way to find the festival is to plug in this address for your GPS or ride sharing app: Griffs Icehouse: 30 Coldbrook St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

So with the days of summer counting down, you only have so many outdoor music events left to consider. For those looking to experience one more (or their first) festival this August, then Breakaway Music Festival is your best bet.  

Elton John Tribute: Chris Andrus & Steve Talaga at SpeakEZ

While there is no shortage of local bands taking the stages and festival grounds this summer, the tribute act is a bit of rarer beast. (But it’s out there if you look.)

And on Wednesday, August 29th at the North Monroe neighborhood’s SPeakEz Lounge will be a thrilling first hosted by our favorite all-things local music website Local Spins

For this special night of music, area guitarist-singer Chris Andrus (of The Mitten Brewing Company) and keyboard player Steve Talaga (a Hope College professor) will join forces on the SpeakEZ stage for a tribute night of music devoted to the legendary Elton John.

And while the music of Elton John travels nearly 50 years, the night will feature fan favorites of John, including “Levon,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” “Your Song, Philadelphia Freedom,” “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me,” “Bennie & The Jets,” and oh so many more.

Joining Andrus and and Talaga on a few numbers as guest musicians will be Local Spins’ very own John Sinkevics and author Charley Honey. 

The Local Spins Wednesday series production of the Elton John Tribute is presented by Local Spins, SpeakEZ Lounge, Perrin Brewing Company, and community-radio partner WYCE, with Michigan beer specials on tap. There is also free parking available at the Sixth Street Park lot, which is a block north off Monroe Avenue NW. (Editorial photo of Elton John in concert courtesy of Anthony Norkus/Local Spins.)

Assassins: The most unlikeliest of musical topics comes (back) to local Grand Rapids stage

(Final Weekend) Thursday - Saturday, Aug. 16 - 18, 8 p.m.
There is something truly remarkable about an artist who can start their artistic career contributing to a knock-off of a Shakespeare play and then over time deliver a series of original musicals that change American Theatre.

The legacy of America’s greatest living musical artist Stephen Sondheim, whose early work on “West Side Story” would propel him to create award-winning works based on a giant art painting hanging in a Chicago Museum (“Sunday in the Park with George”) to a vengeful barber whose shaving skills prove deadly and delicious (“Sweeny Todd”), is a reminder of his incredible ability to take what could be humdrum and make it really sing.

Included often on those top lists of the composer’s best works is a tiny, more obscure musical titled “Assassins" — a show about a cast of folks who have attempted or succeeded in killing a U.S. President. Like I said, he can take the most unlikely of material and turn it into a memorable and completely hum-able production.

The musical format allows Sondheim to recast these historical assassins into a opening setting of a carnival. Right out of the gate, weapons are produced as the audience meets the cast one by one, which include John Hinkley, Jr., Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, Giuseppe Zangar, John Wilkes Booth, and many others. 

This new production of “Assassins” comes from our local Heritage Theatre Group and is the musical’s third time (at least) that it has been staged in Grand Rapids. It arrives (yet again) during a period of our history when violence in America is still a national topic, making the viewing of this latest production perfectly timed as the story dives into the motivations of these infamous characters brought back to life on stage. (Lifestyle Editor’s note: Actor’s Theatre of Grand Rapids has staged “Assassins” twice and it is probably the only musical in their history to be repeated twice.)

Our local production is filled with veteran actors of Grand Rapids stages as well as plenty of newish ones to our local theatre scene. 

“Assassins” is directed and choreographed by Krista Pennington with vocal direction provide by Ross Johnson and features actors Amy Cain, Will Porter, Nate Reynolds, Shane German, Ryan Owen, Ricardo Tavarez, Charles Decker, Ian Grell, Hope Swanson, and Eva Swiatek. The musical also has a chorus that includes Katy Scott, Rod Zamarron, Jeffery Wyckoff, and Audrey Moore. This production is stage managed by Carlie Bergsma. 

Sondheim is a true gift to the American musical theatre. If you miss this restating of “Assassins,” who knows how long before it returns again here locally. (Hint: Don’t miss it.) 

Night of Couture & Culture: New runway show goes to the movies

As a city, we have always had pockets of creativity where folks can gather and showcase whatever they are working on with others. Often times, this is seen in the fine arts community, but Grand Rapids has always had an underground fashion scene for as far back as I can recall. (And I am talking all the way back to Gaia where poets, musicians, and fashion designers staged after hours shows in the 1980s at this former East Hills eatery.) 

But with time and proper nurturing comes a maturity of a scene. Over the last few years we have seen a new era of fashion begin to emerge in Grand Rapids from beautiful small to institutions like KCAD with many creative folks taking to various spaces from the physical to the virtual to showcase their creations.

On Thursday, you have a chance to witness another chapter of our fashion evolve with a Night of Couture & Culture happening at the westside’s Goei Center. 

A Night of Couture & Culture is coming to us by way of Delasie, who has invited fellow design firms MelX Fashion, The Kyra Danaya Collection, and Bel Ren Couture Clothing to join her at this special night of fashion.

Inspired by the classic Eddie Murphy film, “Coming to America,” Delasie’s theme for the night has taken a page from the rich palette of royal African styles that populate the popular film. Expect to see colorful couture on and off the runway this night. 

The evening will include a cash bar, dancing, and a chance to purchase clothing from Delasie’s fashion line with 100 percent of the proceeds going to our local nonprofit counseling center Arbor Circle. 

The event organizers even invite the audience to wear their best attire for a chance to win a very special “Best Dressed” award. 

Tickets are just $25 and can be purchased online or at the door. 

Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire 2018: Parents, get your kids out of the house this weekend!

It is hard to believe that we are already celebrating the fifth year of our own annual Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire, but time flies when you are tinkering with this much fun in our community.

Each year, the Grand Rapids Public Museum invites the public to come out and experience this very hands-on, education-focused event devoted to the joys (and pains) of making things. 

Billed as “part science fair, part county fair and part something entirely new,” our Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire has on display over the course of two days the established as well as the emerging local makers including tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, hobbyists, engineers, artists, students, commercial exhibitors, and everyone in between. There truly is something for everyone at this event. 

This year for the adults, the Grand Rapids Maker Faire will debut an official Maker Faire beer brought to life by local brewery Two Guys Brewing. In this special section devoted to beer, you will have a chance to learn what a typical brew day is like at our Maker Faire with Rivertown Homebrewers. And it wouldn’t be a beer city event without the opportunity for adults to sample the various craft brews and hard seltzers available at the cash bar. 

Also debuting is a new Young Makers Area with area makers presenting projects that are certain to inspire kids of all ages! Children in this area of the festival can learn new skills as well as ask questions of the makers who will do their best to answer their questions. This area proudly features the work of the festival’s youngest makers so expect some eyebrows to be raised at what the young ones have created and displayed.

Grand Rapids Maker Faire will be open on Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Tickets are on sale at GrandRapids.MakerFaire.com

Grand Rapids Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc.

Beyond Her Grave Bicycle Tour: The past is female, too, in Grand Rapids

There are no shortages of local partnerships that our Grand Rapids Public Library hosts throughout the year. 

And while many often take place inside their facilities around the city, on Saturday you will have a chance to step outside on a journey as you are invited to join others as they pedal from the downtown Library around the town on this one-of-a-kind local history event.

Beyond Her Grave Bicycle Tour” digs into the local legacies of the many women who are buried in the city’s Fulton Street and Oakhill Cemeteries. 

The library’s special two-day bicycle touring event (the first one took place on Tuesday, August 14) is produced in partnership with the popular She Rides Her Own Way and the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council who will guide the riders to the first of their two stops at the Fulton Street Cemetery — the city's oldest cemetery. After a period of walking and hearing about the women buried here, the tour will then proceed to the Southeast’s Oakhill Cemetery, which is filled with stunning architectural works perfect for absorbing their beauty as well as posting to your Instagram.

What makes this trip really special is that often history has been focused on the contributions of men with women invisible.  

As our local culture has evolved with time, we are beginning to see a new urgency as well as keen interest in the sharing of the contributions many of these historic women have had on the shaping of our Grand Rapids community.

This special program is a part of the library’s GR Reads program. For more details, please visit the library’s website.

1978 Tribute Show: Local talent taking you back for one night only

In 1978, the first cellular phone was introduced in Illinois, the average cost for a gallon of gas was 63 cents, and the phrase ”Drinking the Kool-Aid” was birthed after 900 members of a cult led by Jim Jones were ordered to commit mass suicide. It was a wild, explosive year to say the least. 

But on Friday night, the return of the Tribute Show at The Pyramid Scheme will see the popular music series turn its gaze to 1978 with a killer list classic albums performed by local musicians.

Selected to be performed this Friday are the following albums:

This Year's Model (Elvis Costello)
Man-Machine (Kraftwerk)
Outlandos d'Amour (Police)
s/t (Van Halen)
Darkness on the Edge of Town (Bruce Springsteen)

Each of these albums selected hold critical acclaim but also incredible memories for what they brought to the music landscape of listeners. The chance to hear them live and in this album format is truly a rare experience. 

What should not be overlooked is that part of the charm of seeing our local artists on stage is how they choose to interpret the music. For the 1978 Tribute Show, the following artists will be taking part in bringing this one-night-only performance of these classic albums to life:

Charity Lytle
Patty Pierzchala
Chris Bursley
Kendra Kamp
Rick Johnson
Ben Ryznar
Aaron Mace
Ben Hunter
Raf Ohli
Nick Rhodes
Matt Younker
Dan Fisher
Joel Brusk
Ryan Hay
Jeremy Pyne
Josh Stacey
Kevin Clancy
Steff Rosalez
Jesse Kaczmarczyk

For the low cost of entry of  $10 in advance or $15 on the day of the show, you can enjoy a memorable revisit or first-time encounter with five albums that helped define a year. And no, I have not drank the Kool-Aid, this is truly a don’t-miss event that showcases the amazing musical talent in our city. You will not regret nor soon forget these outstanding performances!

Drag Brunch: Delicious, new, and always outrageously fun

Sunday, Aug. 12, 10 a.m. (first seating), 2 p.m. (second seating)
The launch of Drag Brunch in Grand Rapids is a part of the natural evolution of how urban centers, when under the weight of the same old offerings, see new ways to engage an audience with a concept that becomes the don’t-miss event of the season.

And this season is all about the queens — specifically the drag queens — of Grand Rapids who have been performing all over the city this summer in what has often been the hardest ticket to score once the event has sold out. 

Covered in Rapid Growth’s RapidChat, “Trevor Straub on mimosas, delicious food, and drag queens,” Drag Brunch is having its moment here. 

It has emerged so brightly that no one would have guessed how hot of a ticket the event would become; these shows have been performed in a variety of breakfast venues from the brand new to the established heavy-hitters in our neighborhoods. 

On Sunday, August 12th, Drag Brunch will appear at Zoko 822 in Grand Rapids’ emerging North Monroe district.

You have two showtimes to choose from this Sunday, but you will want to purchase your ticket in advance to ensure you can score a seat. The cost s $35 per person and includes brunch, two drink tickets, and a fabulous performance. 

This Sunday’s show will include Dia Elektra, Batty Davis, Gabriella Stratton Galore, Virus, Gemma Stone, and Veronica Scott, and will feature DJ Keller Shaw and Ricky. And with any drag performance, it is proper and polite to bring plenty of dollar bills to tip these hard working performers. 

Zoko 822’s Drag Brunch offers these choices on Sunday:

Steel Cut Oats:
With seasonal fruit, fruit preserves, barrel aged maple syrup

Tortilla Español:
Spanish Potato and Onion Omelette, Jamon Serrano, Crema

Griddle Cakes: 
Chickpea Pancakes, Bacon, Barrel Aged Maple Syrup

Huevos Revuettos: 
Soft Scrambled Eggs, Pequillo Peppers, Toast

Patatas Bravas: 
Hand Cut Potatoes, Salsa Brava, Alioli 

Empanada Duo: Pick any 2:
-Jamon & Cheese: Smoked Ham, Manchego Cheese, Scallion 
-Chorizo & Egg: Spanish Chorizo, Potato, Scrambled Eggs 
-Spicy Bean: Spanish Chilis, White Beans 
-Vegetable: Brussels, Artichoke, Goat Cheese 
-Rioja Beef: Red Wine Braised Beef, Sofrito, Rosemary 
-Mushroom & Thyme: Roasted Mushroom, Thyme, Blue Cheese
-Spinach & Cheese: Spinach and Mozzarella

Market Salad: 
Marinated Olives, Shaved Fennel, Orange Segments, Artichokes, Preserved Citrus Vinagreta

House Salad:
Roasted Golden Beet, Toasted Almonds, Blue Cheese, Brown Butter Bread Crumbs, Tart Cherry Vinaigrette 

All shows are 18 and older with a limited number of minors admitted at the event. See the website for ticket details.

Creston Vibes: New-ish Session featuring JustQueen

Last week as folks were sorting through their social feeds, you no doubt came upon one or two or ten postings congratulating those who placed on Revue Magazine’s annual Best of the West reader’s poll. (Full disclosure: our publisher Tommy Allen tied for third place with Carol’s Ferals as Best Advocate/Activist.) 

And while the list (and who is or is not on it) is always the topic of intense debate, I think we can all agree who have visited Creston Brewery that their third place win as the Best Open-Mic Night trailing behind the big guns of Founders Brewing and Rockford Brewing is a strong indicator of the type of experiences people are having at this community-building venue in our city. (They don’t have TVs so that guests can converse openly without annoying distractions.) 

One such program that they have hosted is the Creston Vibes series — a performative night of diverse offerings in which area folks can bring their best verses and performances forward to the brewery’s open platform. 

The theme for this round of Creston Vibes is New-ISH Session and artists are being encouraged to share something brand new that you've been wanting to share/perform. (Or even if it is kind of new to you, then jump in on the vibes.)

This Sunday, August 12’s New-ISH session is also pleased to welcome to the stage the talented writer, hip-hop/spoken word artist, and ghostwriter JustQueen, who will be performing tracks from her brand new album "Queenz Roar.” 

The brewery also offers specials on this night to performers, including $2 off nachos and $1 half pints for participating artists! 

And remember #peaceandlove reign supreme here. Come join the creative community at this neighborhood brewery in the heart of Creston. 

Open Projector Night: Showcasing the state of the art of filmmaking in our region

One of the pleasures of visiting the offerings from our creative arts community is the opportunity to rub elbows with all types of artists at these gatherings. And almost always from these encounters, the attendee gets to better understand how layered our arts community truly is.

Last month, we ran a story about a few of our local creatives who are stretching their creative wings (as they do our imaginations) with brand new opportunities of access in sharing their story. (See “Michigan Creative Chambers connects the dots for filmmakers, other creatives in Grand Rapids” by Matthew Russell.)

Local fans of film will really dig UICA’s Open Projector Night, which invites filmmakers new and old to submit works for a chance to have them screened for the public at this special one-night-only celebration of the art of film. 

Starting at 8:00 p.m., you will have a chance to view all the films selected to screen at Open Projector Night, which span a host of genres from animation to experimental to commercial work. 

After the screenings, there will be an audience question and answer period with the filmmakers, thereby offering greater opportunities for creative types to better understand the process of going from concept to screen. Also, the winning filmmaker will have the chance to have their winning entry previewed at special screenings before UICA’s feature films.

The cost of entry is $4 for UICA members and $8 for the public.
1983 Articles | Page: | Show All
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