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The Flamingo Dance Party: In town Saturday? There is a Miami option.

Ok, the busiest local DJ is once again on the move. But instead of landing at a brunch spot or a steamy yoga studio, AB (Adrian Butler) is back where he belongs this Saturday night as he and others will take to the stage at Eastown’s Billy’s Lounge for The Flamingo Dance Party — one of only a few local bars known and respected for its devotion to booking DJs (and other live music programming) on a weekly basis. 

For this special night, AB invites folks to join the summer vibes being given off at The Flamingo Dance Party where, for just $5, those looking to get sweaty on the dance floor can let loose at this late-night dance party. 

In keeping with that Florida vibe of The Flamingo Dance Party, AB, along with DJ Gobs, DJ Jay B, and DJ Snax, will be conducting a sonic landscape of tunes traveling over time, pulling music from the early 1980s Miami sound through the present with an eclectic mix of hip-hop and funk with a dash of James Brown thrown in to get your hips moving. 

We may not be in Miami, but with a little help from AB and friends, they’ll bring the heat to the dance floor this Saturday night.

The Concussions with Vivacious Miss Audacious and Sliquor

It is Sunday in the summer, and as you look at the calendar you realize that your weekend options to skate off to the lakeshore are getting fewer. No worries, since on Sunday you have a great reason to head off to the Red Dock bar in Douglas for an early evening event with Grand Rapids’ favorite surf rock instrumental band: The Concussions.

Diving deep into their collection of surf rock-inspired music best experienced under the warm sun, The Concussions are known for their energetic, percussion- and guitar-driven shows from a band wearing their infamous skull masks.

Joining the band at this classic “other west coast” destination party dock will be the hoopalicious Vivacious Miss Audacious, along with musician Sliquor.

This is a free show, so apart from the money spent on gas and drinks, invite some friends to pile in the car and head to the liveliest dock in all of West Michigan this Sunday. (Note: The last time I was at the Red Dock it was a cash only business.)

Visit this link for all the emerging details on this perfect shoreline destination event in Douglas.

Live From Dhaka: One-night-only screening of this award-winning film from Bangladesh

For one-night-only, the UICA will be screening the Bangladesh film “Live From Dhaka,” and then afterward present an insightful panel of locals to discuss the film’s significance touching on themes of contemporary life in Dhaka, the role immigration plays, and the status of women's rights.

According to the filmmakers, “Dhaka is the city that Sazzad came to as a young ambitious man seeking his fortune. But the stock market crashed and he ended up in debt. His disability prevents him from finding other work, while the loan sharks circle him. His relationship with his girlfriend Rehana suffers, and there’s absolutely no talking to his drug-addict brother Michael. Sazzad wants to get away, go abroad. The pressure of the city is like a raw nerve that is — literally — making him ill. 

“Live from Dhaka is made up of short scenes shot in grainy black-and-white, covering the city in a constant grey shroud. This reinforces an underlying sense of threat and increasing desperation that can turn to rage at any moment. This is the world that leads people to decide to emigrate — the unsalutary push-factor behind those who go in search of ‘happiness.’”

Appearing at the panel will be pediatrics specialist Dr. Masuma Macfield, Grand Valley State University’s Assistant Professor of Film and Video Production Anal Shah, and Assistant Professor and Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates’ Sarah Yore-Van Oosterhout, Esq.

To purchase tickets in advance tickets to guarantee access, visit UICA’s Eventbrite page.

As always with the UICA, if you or an individual with disabilities require special accommodations please contact the UICA’s Associate Director, Megan Bylsma at 616.454.7000 x11 or megan@uica.org at least 72 hours in advance. (Welcoming others like this is how it is done. Thank you, UICA, for your leadership in this area.)

Big Latch On 2018: World Breastfeeding Week asks that we get real in the park

It is no secret that when a baby is hungry, it does not care where it is nor what time it is, and they do so often in a manner that is inconvenient for all parties involved. In short, when a baby wants to feed, we all know it. 

But some people still are still getting their undies in a bunch when the original “milk wagon” starts to dole out the juice of life. 

Pushing back against those folks who think women should not nurse in public is the international Big Latch On event organized by our local Grand Rapids chapter. 

First for the haters: please stop. Really, please, stop. Women have been nursing children since the dawn of time and it is a necessary function in our society for child rearing. Deal. 

Those who wish to join others in this ancient act of breastfeeding are invited to come out to Briggs Park in the Creston neighborhood for the annual Big Latch On that begins promptly at 10:45 a.m. 

If you plan to attend, organizers ask that you bring your picnic blankets if you wish to sit on the ground or choose one of the many picnic tables in this park.

Briggs Park also has plenty of playground equipment nestled in a grove of old growth tall trees that is perfect for older kids looking to burn off some of that summer energy.   

The Big Latch On also provides an opportunity for mothers to connect with area vendors supportive of this issue as they share services they offer in this region. 

Our local Big Latch On event is connected to the global celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and aims to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding families through these agenda items: 
  • Provide support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion in local communities.
  • Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available locally and globally.
  • Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
  • Make breastfeeding a normal part of day-to-day life at a local community level.
  • Increase support for people who breastfeed — they are supported by their partners, family and their communities.
  • Ensure communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated, appropriate, and accessible breastfeeding support services.
In the end, we, as a community, should begin to leverage our privilege as we seek to lessen the stigma that too many women who breastfeed in public have been made to feel by others when trying to nurse their babies. 

The Big Latch On seeks to normalize breastfeeding and help all of us reframe this act as a part of our daily lives (and not something that we should make those who care for the newest humans feel bad about doing.)

Thank you, Grand Rapidian women who participate in this annual global event, for once again you are reminding us of the power to organize for a better society locally. I tip my “hat” to you and your offspring for your act of courage in this arena. Someday it will be normal behavior again because of your activism.

#freetheboob #thekidishungry #dealwithit

New Date - Movies on Monroe: West Side Story & The Shape of Water head to the riverfront cinema

Starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, August 31, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.'s Movies on Monroe will be back at their pop up Grand River-side venue for a night of free entertainment.  

The night starts off with a full program of pre-movie fun, including host Gabriella de la Vega of El Mundo Musical, DJ Ace Marasigan, dance artist Bird Clarkson, and many more, who will take to the stage to welcome and kick off the night with a festive feel. 

At 7:30 p.m. the winner of 10 Academy Awards winner West Side Story will begin and I just dare you not to toe tap, sing along, or try to not cry at this dramatic musical.

West Side Story,” the film is based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, is inspired by the star crossed lovers of Shakespeare's tragic play “Romeo and Juliet.”

As two rival gangs fight for control of their neighborhood streets, a seed of love is planted in the hearts of the film’s leads Tony and Maria who will try their best to navigate their attraction during a time of racial tensions.

The second feature of the night is the 2018 Academy Award winning feature film “The Shape of Water.” 

The story is centered on the timid but curious Elisa, a mute woman who works as a cleaning lady in a secret, high-security government laboratory during the cold war in 1962’s Baltimore. 

But her quiet and predictable life changes course when she uncovers the lab's sinister, hidden secret: a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in the lab’s water tank. 

“The Shape of Water” is also one of the best examples of a film that uses ambiguity (a popular device employed in many modern films who seek to avoid storybook wrapped-up-with-a-bow endings).  

Both of these poignant films reveal the power of love and compassion … and why it is still needed in this world.

Friday’s movies will be played in English with Spanish subtitles for the Spanish-speaking community.

(This double feature was to screen in July but was rescheduled for August 31 due to rain on the original date.) 

Caribbean Summer Jam III: Caribana style invades downtown and the dance floor

If you are walking around downtown on Saturday and wondering where all the folks adorned in bright colors and the sweetest kicks are heading, you best believe it is the parade of ready-to-dance attendees advancing to the third annual Caribbean Summer Jam

Held at 20 Monroe Live, this celebratory event has grown to become the largest annual summer party in Grand Rapids celebrating Caribbean culture through music and dance. 

And with every year there will be a little bit of something for everyone at the Caribbean Summer Jam III. 

For starters, those who enjoy dance music should prepare for a solid night of afrobeats, bachata, dancehall, reggaetón, dembow, hip hop, trap Latino provided by West Michigan Disc Jockeys DJ Sanjay, DJ Tony Banks, and PJ DA DJ.

Also appearing on stage will be these music acts: Bersachi (reggaeton), Deeclef (dancehall), Whisko (dancehall), Jamar The Prince (r&b), and Illvibethinny (r&b). 

Celebrity appearances at the event include Erica Mena of VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta; Christian Keyes of BET’s In Contempt & Supernatural; and Geraud Sing, a Grand Rapids Native making culture pop whether as an actor, model, or industry influencer. (Author’s note: Sing’s mother is a friend and has served the disability community with me over the years at LaughFest and Disability Advocates.)

Since it is the 50th year anniversary of the Caribbean Carnival and the Jam is centered on this festive occasion, many of the guests will be decked out in the most beautiful Caribana style. 

If you are unfamiliar with Caribana style, then expect to see the most enthusiastic attendees adorned with bejeweled faces, the sickest footwear on men, and lots of feathers. The heat of downtown under summer’s warm glow will only spark the imaginative to bring their brightest A-game out on this special night.

All of this is brought to Grand Rapids through 616 Grand Productions’ SHE-E-O Angela Nelson, who invites folks to come out and experience an uplifting and celebratory occasion in our city where love and happiness can blossom through dance and music.

Purchase tickets in advance here or at the door on Saturday night.

Madcap 10th Anniversary Bash: Local coffee shop startup hits a milestone in making good for all.

Over the years, we have celebrated those large corporations that make a lot of good happen here through economic development. And the list of good is truly notable, but there are those who quietly go about their business of doing good that extends beyond our city limits. 

One firm that is making an impact on our community through the delivery of their amazing, international award-winning coffee is Madcap—a (once) tiny startup in the heart of downtown that over 10 years has grown to three local locations and loads more of vendors clamoring for their fresh-to-ship coffee beans. (Their Fulton location also sports one of the regions best murals by Pat Perry.

To celebrate their growth and advancement of coffee culture here in our region, Madcap, a coffee business that began with a friendship and a commitment to excellence, will celebrate ten years this Saturday with a special one-day bash complete with live music, activities for all ages, and of course, lots of great coffee to sample. 

Performing on this day will be acts Timbre, Lady Ace Boogie, Shamar Alef, and Tom Hymn, but your paid admission also includes a tea tasting with Peter from Song Tea, and access to Food Trucks and limited edition Madcap merchandise. 

Since Madcap is committed to the welfare of others in their supply chain, they have made equitable partnerships over the years that improve the wages of the people who supply their beans to them. As an added bonus Madcap’s partners from Guatemala (Finca de Dios), El Salvador (El Porvenir) and Peru (Rivera) will also be attending this festive coffee bash. 

Tickets are available online here for pre-sale for $15 and at the event for $20. Kids under the ages of 12 and below are free. Each paid admission includes a delicious scoop of Love's Ice Cream. 
 

Fun Home: Graphic Artist gets personal in this tender look at family

Growing up has a lot of benefits, but none is greater than our ability as adults to begin to see life through our parents’ eyes as we age. Over the next couple weeks, Grand Rapids’ musical theatre fans will have a chance to experience “Fun Home”, a fresh, new musical making its local debut at Circle Theatre of Grand Rapids.

“Fun Home” is the winner of five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and is a one-of-a-kind production that introduces us to its protagonist Alison at three different ages. 

Alison’s story moves seamlessly between the past and present, along the way revealing just as much about her as it does her uniquely dysfunctional family.

Adapted to the stage by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir of the same name, “Fun Home” is a delight because it warmly reminds the audience of the opportunities we have as adults to see the child we were and our parents’ secrets. And again, this moving story is conveyed through song and dance. 

“Fun Home” is directed and choreographed by Jolene Frankey with musical direction provided by Scott Patrick Bell, and stars local actors Eirann Betka (Alison), Kobe Brown (Roy), Caitlin Cusack (Helen), Madeline Jones (Medium Alison), Ethan Mathias (John), Jason Morrison (Bruce), Drake Selleck (Christian), Katie Tamayo (Joan), and Evangeline Vander Ark (Small Alison).

After the July 27 Circle Theatre performance, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A that will focus on author Alison Bechdel's contributions to art and society, as well as dialogue on “Fun Home's” central themes of family and LGBTQ.

Kid-Preneur Expo/Expo de Ninos Emprendedores: Tap into your inner creativity (and inner child)

Ever look at a child and wonder where all that energy went that used to so easily flow from your fingertips as you addressed the tasks before you? Well, lucky for us, a new event, Kid-Preneur Expo/Expo de Ninos Emprendedores, is debuting at the Downtown Market and it is aimed not just at children;  it will also provide a fitting reminder of the power of entrepreneurs’ need to creatively express their visions.

Each of the kids, who have pre-registered (registration has already closed for this first time event), will compete for an opportunity to win $200. 

Kid-Preneur Expo/Expo de Ninos Emprendedores seeks to help young entrepreneurs understand the foundational elements of customer service, marketing, selling, and other practical life skills. 

As the event page states, this event imparts concepts like the power of generating ideas, problem-solving, managing inspiration, creating space for interaction and collaboration, the power of creativity, and how to take the initiative. 

Kids participating will have a chance to display for the public their ideas via the drawings, posters, and actual products that they have produced. 

The kids will even have the opportunity to sell their products to the public who will vote for their favorite business idea. And while the organizers will select first, second, and third place, the public will have a chance to submit their favorite choices, too. 

Participating at this first time event is Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), who in advance of this special event, will be conducting mini sessions with those competing.  But unlike adult programming, this one will be in a kid friendly environment and with a vocabulary that is easy to grasp.

Please note: The organizers of this event (Latinas Emprendedoras GR, Start Garden, GROW, and The Downtown Market) insist that if you are a parent or legal guardian attending with your child, you must be present with your kid(s) at all time.

Disability Advocates ADA Celebration: 28 years of creating access for others

The story of the battle to win the 1990 American Disabilities Act (ADA) is one that if you have never taken the time to read, is well worth the research into this topic. For the winning of the ADA is the story not of one, but of the many who engaged all across the nation in acts of boldness that revealed the very real disparities people with disabilities face every day.

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

Disability Advocates of Kent County once again will join area agency partners in a community celebration of this historic act that opened not just doors, but new pathways for our disability community. 

This year’s 28th ADA Celebration is once again free and will be held at the Kent District Library’s Kentwood branch. This commemoration will feature live entertainment, delicious food, and a visual art activity led by Artists Creating Together (ACT). 

This event is also a chance for members of the disability community to discover those community partners who will be on hand to answer any questions about their services and the benefits out there for individuals with disabilities.

Since they will be ordering food for this event, please take a moment to pre-register for this free event at this website.

Eat Shop Rock: Uptown invites you back for some summer fun

While some may be jetting off to the beach this weekend in the hopes that maybe Lake Michigan will be warm enough to dive in above the knee, others know that this Saturday, there is a reason to stay close to home as the Fourth Annual Eat Shop Rock rolls back into the city’s Uptown district.

Uptown, a popular region of Grand Rapids, is actually made up of four distinct business districts (East Fulton, East Hills, Eastown, Wealthy Street)  running through the eastern portion of the city. 

This vibrant center is bustling with activity on almost any given day. However on Saturday, Eat Shop Rock will be ramped up the reason to visit with area businesses offering one-day specials. The organizers also will fill the day’s opportunities with plenty of live music, access to delicious food trucks, and even offer beer tents throughout many of the districts.

For a complete list of all the opportunities that await, as well as which stores are participating and their hours, please visit Uptown’s website.

Black Girl Magic: Volume 2 looks to recapture the spark

In January 2016, Julee Wilson wrote of Black Girl Magic (a creation of CaShawn Thompson in 2013) as a way for people to ”celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of black women.” 

And starting Saturday afternoon, you will have a chance to participate in this act of celebration within the North end’s Creston Brewery as they welcome back Black Girl Magic Vol. 2.

Like the last one, organizers Bri Ross’ and Kyd Kane’s Black Girl Magic Vol. 2 will follow the same format as the first with a showcase of black women entrepreneurs and artists market segueing into an evening celebration event. 

The first one was so popular a few months ago that Ross and Kane decided to launch it again with Spoken Word Poetry by Creston Vibes: Open Sessions hosted by the organizers (both poets)  throughout the event. 

When I stopped by the brewery earlier this week, Ross was really excited about the special of the day, which will be Creston’s tasty fried chicken with plenty of delicious sides— a perfect treat on a summer’s day. 

Later that night, folks are invited to a celebration of Black Girl Magic as they welcome yolonda Yogi lavender to the stage with a real hot dance party mixed by the one and only DJ Sun*Rise. (Here is a video from yolonda Yogi lavender to get you excited about Saturday's celebration.)

Hollyhock Lane Parade: More than 80 years of patriotic joy

Wednesday, July 4, 8:00 a.m. (line up), 8:30 a.m. (parade commences)
For those who rise early on July 4th and head to the intersection of the Calvin Ave. and Franklin Street, there will be a real historical treat that is sure to melt the most cynical of hearts as the annual The Hollyhock Lane Parade arrives back at this southeast neighborhood.

This parade, popular with every politician in our state seeking a vote from the folks in this region, has been happening on these quaint neighborhood streets for more than 80 years. 

The parade winds from the streets of Calvin through the neighborhood before landing at Giddings’ alley where spectators seeking to add to this truly Americana experience can attend an old style political stump rally focussed on the power of democracy. They even have an Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty who join the festivities each year.  

So grab your lawn chair and head to the curb or find a candidate or cause that is marching and join them in the streets for some real patriotic fun this Fourth of July.

If you have just moved to Grand Rapids or are looking to make a great impression with those who are, invite them to the Hollyhock Parade. You'll thank us later. Happy Fourth of July!

100 Ideas Demo Day at 20 Monroe Live: Start Gardenís first 100 lands back in downtown for the top 10

Start Garden’s 100 Ideas began as a call out to the community to submit their best new ideas in the most unlikely of pitch rooms as folks flocked to bars, community centers, and entrepreneurial support organizations. Almost immediately, this movement to change the way we think of entrepreneurial activity was adopted by so many looking to pitch their idea. 

On July 10, 100 Ideas enters its exciting conclusion as this entrepreneur competition in Michigan will narrow the 100 ideas chosen to compete down to the final 10 who will receive another $20,000 to keep their idea moving forward.

All told Start Garden reports that 28 tech companies, 27 physical products, 18 new service providers, 15 food entrepreneurs, seven social impact initiatives, five retail concepts from every neighborhood in West Michigan, and representative of every corner of our state will be in a battle to win a coveted Top 10 slot.  

What made this project unique from others typically held in other communities is just how diverse our top 100 winners are, with 44 percent women, 56 percent men, 47 percent caucasian, 53 percent minorities represented in this group.

Starting at 4:00 p.m. (until 7:15 p.m.), attendees will have a chance to tour the 100 Ideas by watching folks demo their submissions. Immediately after, the awards will commence with ten of our lucky contestants walking away with another $20,000 to make their dreams a real opportunity. 

And don’t worry if you missed the contest earlier this year. It was so successful that it will be back. 

If you would like to attend this free event, please RSVP via this link

Summer SOULstice Gemini/Cancer Party: Starshine time as season kicks off

By the time Friday night rolls back around in the summer months, the city can seem like it is a ghost town as folks head to the big (or smaller) lake(s). 

Lucky for us, on Thursday night there is a Summer SOULstice party brought to us by Grand Rapids Hip Hop Coalition, Totem Soul, The Love Movement Inc. at The BOB.

This soul themed, dressed-to-impress event is emceed by Love Movement’s Governor Slugwell with special guest artist 97.3 FM’s DJ Rush the Guillotine spinning on the 1s and 2s all night.

Did we mention that this solstice-focussed event is also a celebration of the star signs of Gemini and Cancer

The solstice is the longest day of the year, so show up while the sun shines high in the air to celebrate this official kick off of summer at the Summer SOULstice Gemini/Cancer Party.

Tickets can be purchased in advance with ladies garnering the biggest offer with free admission if they enter the club before 9 p.m. on Thursday. 
1983 Articles | Page: | Show All
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