G-Sync

German beers are an art. And the folks at Midtown’s 7 Monks Taproom on Michigan Street have a special night devoted to this delicious craft of brewing these unique beers. For starters, it is summer, which makes many of the six different styles on tap at German Beer Night that much more inviting, since many of these beers taste (in my opinion) best on a hot summer night. Jumping on tap at 7 Monks Taproom this Thursday will be German lagers, Weiss bier, and Kolsch served alongside a special night of German menu items. The published tap list includes: Schneider Aventinus, Sunner Kolsch, ...
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It is inspiring to see so many movements at work in our society, and one locally that is garnering attention is the Grand Rapids Area Black Business (GRABB) organization’s annual Sankofa Mix & Pop-up Marketplace at East Hills’ Richard App Gallery. Sankofa is from the Twi language of Ghana and has been described as a method through which we must venture back to our roots in order to move forward. And like so many other ancient cultures, this Akan belief provides a rooted vision of the steps necessary for us to advance as we harness our past to help us plan the future. To the ...
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It says a lot about the nature of our evolving culture when a show devoted to drag queens competing are in the running for seven Emmy’s this year! But if you are one of the millions who have been enjoying RuPaul and the queens on any one of the past 11 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then you are in luck. he touring show, War on the Catwalk, will soon strut onto Grand Rapids’ DeVos Performance Hall’s stage. War On The Catwalk features the contestants from Season 9 of VH-1’s RuPaul’s reality show performing live on stage and rocking the catwalk with glitz, ...
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Emerging out of the Punk movement of the 1970s came the radio-friendly music of artists performing under the genre of New Wave. Unlike the music that it owes its legacy, New Wave became a catch-all for everything that was not Post-Punk making this a genre that was often filled with fun pop hooks, cutting edge synthesizers, and often a lyrical style that was left of center and refreshing to the era it was born into.  On Tuesday night, those who are fans are in for a treat as six of the best 80's New Wave stars will perform at a special concert, 105.3 HotFM presents Retro Futura: HOT ...
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Nite Jewel, an alias of Los Angeles musician and multimedia artist Ramona Gonzalez, will be in Grand Rapids to support her latest release, “Real High.” Known for her lush mix of lo-fi, synth-based compositions with a nod to freestyle and electronic disco, Nite Jewel’s latest earned from Pitchfork an impressive 7.5 rating citing this work (her fifth) as her “most focused work yet with many nods to new jack swing and Janet Jackson.” Nite Jewel’s charm is her DIY approach to music that she has embraced in more and more of her releases as she moves to a more ...
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4th Annual Grand Rapids Balloon Festival: Up, up and away

Friday, July 21, 5 - 9 p.m. and Saturday, July 22, 1 - 9 p.m.
Summer is the best time to roam because the days are long, offering lots of opportunities to stay outside and enjoy the weather. As an added bonus to the blue skies and fluffy clouds comes the return of the 4th Annual Grand Rapids Balloon Festival held on the Hudsonville Fairgrounds. On both days, Friday and Saturday evening (and depending on the weather) the balloon launch of 20 hot air balloons will take place at approximately 8 p.m. If your goal is to see the balloons filled with air but also have an opportunity to see them up close, then organizers recommend arriving by 6 p.m. to ensure ...
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Nearly everyone who has grown up in the last four decades has experienced the evolution of the music video. But what is more impressive is having a chance to see a former music video director make the leap to full length feature or documentary films. On Saturday night the documentary film “Swagger” will be screened in town for one showing only and will include a UICA-led Q&A with director Olivier Babinet. Director Babinet’s film follows 11 kids from the Parisian neighborhood of Aulnay-sous-Bois and takes place in the streets, projects, and schools where these students ...
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Summer is the best time to wander about the city. And since many of you are probably looking to venture not too far on a Tuesday night (saving your big adventures for the weekend) head to the westside’s newest brew pub, New Holland's Knickerbocker Beer Garden, for the 5x5 Night Hits The Road Tour. If you have never attended a pitch night event for 5x5 Night then you are in for a treat as five creators (previously selected before this event) share with an audience their ideas in the hopes of winning $5,000…with no strings attached. While 5x5 has no limit on the scope of an ...
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Are you running out of things to do with the kids this summer? How about a walk on the wild side as The Highlands,a new parkland space in Grand Rapids. It is open for the first time on Thursday and they are inviting the public to come walk the property. Earlier this year the 121-acre Highlands Golf Club was acquired by our local Blandford Nature Center, in partnership with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, with a loan from The Conservation Fund, enabling this unique collaboration to add to their already spacious property devoted to all things nature. The Land Conservancy of West ...
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As the sun sets over West Michigan, the dancers and band members of this month’s Shimmy Shack Burlesque Troupe have something truly remarkable in store for those who will venture out into the city’s westside. Like a full solar eclipse, it is really very rare that we have an alignment of burlesque and live genre music in an alt-music venue of our city devoted to all things rockabilly. What makes this style of music so intriguing and fun is because rockabilly is one of the earlier musical genre styles of rock and roll music. Our local Shimmy Shack Burlesque Troupe, who has been, as ...
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I come from an era of Grand Rapids where bootstrapping wasn’t just an idea tossed around in business classes but a way of getting things done in the arts during a pre-digital age. So it is exciting to see the legacy of making “stuff” happen here has been mirrored within Grand Rapids’ DJ culture, where area producers are attempting to replicate but also innovate new models to serve this growing audience of dance music lovers. And unlike the “let’s party” mode of the last big era of dance that emerged out of GR’s MySpace years, this new era of ...
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You only have six opportunities this summer to take in the ninth annual GRAM on the Green summer concert series at downtown Grand Rapids’ Rosa Parks Circle amphitheater. Kicking off this popular live music series that includes everything from indie rock kids to hip hop to jazz is our local folk rock band, The Crane Wives. Held outside at this rain or shine event, you will be enticed to sing along and dance with one of the area’s top performing acts amidst a sea of tasty food trucks and a cash bar for adult beverages served in this beautiful setting. As reported recently in Local ...
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How about kicking off your Fourth of July Weekend this year with a little soulful dancing? If you have not been able to make any of the Grand Rapids Soul Club Parties over the past years, then this night of music will have something for everyone as they welcome DJ Makossa and a repertoire of funk, soul, reggae, hip-hop and world music. With more than 16 years experience, DJ Makossa brings a style of urban music of the same name, makossa, which was made popular in Cameroon. In fact, within its native language, makossa translates as "dance." The artist was influenced at an early age ...
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If you are into crowds of folks packed onto the rolling green hills of Ah-Nab-Awen Park, then head early to this river bank park on Saturday, July 1 for the best seating options at the annual Amway Family Fireworks. This annual event kicks off at 5:00 p.m. at this city park located in front of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in downtown Grand Rapids and will feature a program from Townsquare Media who welcome their on-air personalities for a night of live bands before the 10:30 p.m. fireworks display. In addition to this live entertainment show, there will be food trucks as well as a ...
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For more than eighty years, Grand Rapids has been home to the state’s oldest Fourth of July parade: the Hollyhock Lane Parade located on the edge of Grand Rapids’ Ottawa Hills neighborhood. What started as an unsanctioned bike parade for kids in 1934 that was actually shut down their first year for not pulling a permit has become one of the most beloved neighborhood events in the city. Created as a little-to-no cost event birthed during the Great Depression, this annual parade attracts not only politicians seeking office. It is also most importantly an event where neighborhood ...
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Fans of lyrics that appear to have been inspired by Miguel de Cervantes, William Burroughs, Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Anton Wilson and delivered via a voice that has been called Tom Waits-meets-Frank Zappa black comedy are in for a real treat when The Mike Dillon Band  arrives at Founder’s Taproom for a night of music that evokes New Orleans’ debauchery with a heft mix of age-old themes of travel, love, self-destruction and greed. But if you want to pigeonhole this unique artist’s work, then good luck since, after listening to “Band of Outsiders,” you will be ...
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Storm chasing is a big deal. And not just in the traditional sense of hopping in a car with a skilled guide in the hopes that that ominous bank of storm clouds one is chasing will become a potential tornado that you can video or possibly take a selfie beside from a safe distance. I’m talking big as in TV shows, special editions of magazines, and movies like “Twister.” There is even a minor league baseball team called the The Omaha Storm Chasers in Nebraska. People just love the act. People just love storm chasing and it is a growing passion for many. But have you ever ...
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There have always been many challenges to doing business on South Division’s Avenue for the Arts, but if the current crop of new and established businesses have their way, this will soon be a thing of the past, as you will see via a special tour hosted by Dwelling Place on the successful women-owned businesses of this corridor. This annual tour features ten of the numerous women-owned businesses that make up this important street in the city’s Heartside neighborhood. This tour, which only has a few space openings left, will enable those attending a chance to hear first-person ...
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If you live in the state of Michigan then it is pretty clear that at some point along your journey you will encounter a body of water. In fact, it is has been widely shared within groups who serve to protect this life-giving source, that in Michigan you are never more than six miles from a source of fresh water. Michigan is not just home to the Great Lakes but is filled with more than 65,000 inland lakes, making our state truly a water wonderland. But with this comes great responsibility to honor this gift, and so it is time to gather on the banks of Grand Rapids’ mighty and majestic ...
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If you have waited until today to get tickets to the Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP), who are stopping in Grand Rapids for a concert performance at the Van Andel Arena on Sunday, June 25, then your options are pretty slim, since at press time there were only a handful of tickets available for this soon to be sold-out show. What makes this concert special is that Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the RHCP, was born here in Grand Rapids. In fact, nearly every time in modern history that the band and Kiedis arrive back here to perform songs from their collection of 11 studio records, it is as if the ...
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If you are frustrated with the lack of imagination as it relates to language under our current President, then maybe it is time to take a trip back to a time when kings roamed the land in battle and in the pursuit of love. If so, then “Henry V” by William Shakespeare is just the ticket. Produced by our region’s Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company (PCSC), “Henry V” is part of Shakespeare’s canon of plays devoted to the English Monarchs and is one of my favorites. What I have always enjoyed about this particular play is the heroic warrior-king language that ...
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Nearly thirty years ago when I attend our first Gay Pride, it was a lonely affair in many ways since it was typically the only event that took place to commemorate our community’s LGBTQ.  Now the entire month is packed full of events happening all over the city including this weekend’s Third Annual White Party kick off event at Rumors on Friday, June 16 to a festive Pride Block Party / Family Gathering hosted by the Apartment Lounge and the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum with special musical guest Betty on Sunday, June 18. Even at Actors' Theatre of Grand Rapids a play ...
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This Friday is a great time to pack the picnic blanket and head to the banks of the Grand River for a double feature as a part of Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.’s Movies in the Park. And unlike in years’ past where you had to wait until sunset to begin the first film, thanks to new brighter screen technology provided by LiveSpace of Grand Rapids, this season’s double features can begin earlier so that you are not wandering home in the wee hours of the early Saturday morning. What makes this lineup so delicious is not just supremely wonderful film choices. Rather, it is their ...
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Juneteenth celebrations have been happening across America since 1865 and are held each year in various cities to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States and this weekend you have an opportunity to attend a special commemoration open house event at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA). Starting at noon at their home on Monroe Center in the heart of downtown, GRAAMA will present a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation as well as read this historical document for the public. Also on the occasion of this historic event, Author Jackie James be in attendance ...
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If last weekend was about celebrating downtown Grand Rapids with events like Festival for the Arts and the Local First Street Party, then this one presents an opportunity to shift your path to one of our neighborhoods as Rock The Block returns to the Southtown community. This is the 7th year of Rock The Block—an annual celebration where neighbors and visitors intersect with good food, plenty of local talent, and a variety of community-focused vendors looking to connect you and your entire family to the goodness of our region. New this year is a chance to pitch your business idea in the ...
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The power to change our world has many roads one can consider taking, but the most powerful tend to be the sharing of our personal stories from the journey. On Saturday night a new theatrical work “As We Go On,” which originated from Ann Arbor’s LGBTQ community, will be on stage at Wealthy Theatre. This evening of live storytelling delivered via performers on stage and those projected onto the screen is a presentation of the real life passages one goes through as a LGBTQ individual. The performers on stage—from young to old—tell the stories of coming and being ...
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After last year’s historic Native American protest at Standing Rock (and numerous supportive events and marches locally) against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), this year is the perfect time to visit the annual Three Fires Pow Wow held at Grand Rapids’ Riverside Park. Situated on the banks of the mighty Grand River, the 38th Annual Homecoming of the Three Fires Traditional Pow Wow provides an opportunity to experience and learn about the heritage of our first people's lives at this social gathering that attracts hundreds of visitors each year. In addition to providing booth ...
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What began as a one-day event, the Loving Day Celebration, an open and affirming event for multicultural, multiracial families, and their supporters, will expand to three days of unique programming this weekend. The expanded programming arrives right as the nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Starting at the Ladies Literary Club on Friday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m., a staged program from the Ebony Road Players (ERP), "Giving Voice to Love,” will ...
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For those who have ever wondered if their idea was big enough to launch, High Growth Happy Hour is just the shot of inspiration you might need to get started. Rapid Growth’s first High Growth Happy Hour welcomes Elliott Rader, one half of the team of brothers who created the snack sensation the Gluten Free Bar. Thursday night you will have a chance to hear firsthand from a local entrepreneur who recognized a need in society and through a steady vision and testing of their idea became something tasty and new. The Gluten Free Bar is not just enjoyed in 230 Meijer stores, but according ...
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For those staying in the city this Memorial Day weekend, you don’t have to feel like there is nothing going on. Despite your friends’ updates showcase some heading to the lakeshore or jetting off to some far-off destination, adventure indeed awaits here on Saturday with the return of She Rides Her Own Way’s YOLO (You Only Live Once) ride in Riverside Park. Unlike last year’s event, this year’s YOLO ride is focussed on the Creston so you’ll get to experience the White Pine Trail but also get a tour of the neighborhood via your trail hosts. This year’s ...
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Judy Wicks who is credited as one of the pioneers of the “shop local” movement wrote, “Not long after I opened the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia in 1983, I hung a sign in my bedroom closet in my home above the business—right where I would see it each morning. ‘Good morning, beautiful business,’ it read, reminding me daily of just how beautiful business can be when we put our creativity, care, and energy into producing a product or service that our community needs. I was just beginning my journey. I didn't know then what I do now: that when you connect ...
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In 1983, Neil Simon, one of America’s most prolific and funniest playwrights/screenwriters debuted his semi-biographical play about his childhood in “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” What made this production stand-out, beyond the obvious of art imitating life, was the various devices Simon used to break down the theatrical fourth wall with the character speaking at times to the audience as if to let them in on the various secret backstories and thoughts of Eugene Morris Jerome, the main character. Circle Theatre's second production of their 2017 season is set in the the early ...
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Film fans are in luck this month once again as yet another exciting connection to the industry will be appearing in West Michigan. This time is the chance to see Antwone Fisher speak at the Every Child is a Star to be Cherished/Michigan CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) event at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market on Tuesday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m. Antwone Fisher is the subject of the 2002 film directed by and starring Denzel Washington. But the film is rooted in Fisher’s bestselling autobiography, “Finding Fish,” that the author would adapt for the big screen. Born in an ...
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It has been a long road to get to our city’s food truck ordinance, but now that we have cleared the way, it is time to celebrate the joys of having more options to dine in the city (even if your favorite restaurant is housed on four wheels and is on the go). To mark this occasion, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. (DGRI) in partnership with our Grand Rapids Food Truck Association (and many other community partners) want to invite you to attend the Roll'n Out Food Truck Fest to taste the best of your city in one location this Sunday. Roll'n Out Food Truck Fest showcases the diverse ...
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Who hasn’t as a kid wandered into Spencer’s and marveled at the simple joys of staring at a black light poster as the colors vibrated with life on this two dimensional surface? If you have not experienced this feeling or you are aching for the tug of nostalgia for this hold-over gimmick from the 1960s, then you must attend Fluorescent Black—the first big part of the summer of 2017 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The black light is actually a very dark purple, drawing its light from the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum, and is invisible to the human eye. However, when you place ...
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If you have lived long enough then you know that right after a long election season comes a period of reflection which eventually it leads to greater dialogue within our communities about how to move forward. And while Donald Trump’s presidency is unique in so many ways, one unique aspect of this presidential cycle is the amount of news consumption and related dialogue that this new President has stirred in our society. On Monday night at Celebration! Cinema North Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry, along with a panel of political experts, invite the public ...
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There is no shortages of filmmakers in this community who are participating in what can only be called a golden age for local film.  Just attend any one of the many events in our city, from awards shows to film society special screenings to even film festivals, and you will quickly see what I mean. This city is beautifully reflected in the flickering glow of so many films being created here. Joining the ranks of films being created locally is a new documentary “Rhythm and Race: A History of African American Music in Grand Rapids.” Produced with the guidance of the West Michigan ...
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Last Call Cinema: Potrykus month kicks off in Michigan

Starting Friday - Saturday, May 12 & 13, (see website for showtimes)
It is no secret that Rapid Growth’s Tommy Allen loves local filmmakers. And it’s not just because of the diverse amount of talent we have here in our state who are showing more and more their visual storytelling proficiency, but because we have had so many rise up from our ranks over the years to produce some stellar film projects. Our state’s impressive list of filmmakers with roots in Michigan include Sam Rami, Paul Shrader, Michael Moore, and so many more. Starting this Friday night and running throughout the month of May, local screenwriter/director Joel Potrykus will be ...
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When one thinks of hip-hop they often think of music, clothing, lifestyle….but architecture? If you are scratching your head on that last one, then G-Sync has a mind-blowing event for you to attend this week. Architect Michael Ford, author of “Hip Hop Architecture 101,” will be at Kendall College of Art and Design as a part of the 2017 Hip Hop Appreciation Week. Through his years of research, publications, and lectures, Michael Ford has been shaking up the landscape that he inhabits by blending professional practice and academia between the architectural and hip hop ...
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With roots in the bike messenger community, the advent of the alley cat race phenomenon is something that on the surface appears to be just about having fun when in fact, local organizers believe it can have far deeper meaning for our community. The skinny on the event format is quite simple: bicyclists start at a single location before racing across the city to a series of secret locations getting their card punched at as many stops as possible before returning to the starting point. Once back at the starting point, racers will trade in their punched cards in the hopes of winning by a random ...
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Relax at Rosa, an outdoor noontime concert series, returns to downtown Grand Rapids’ Rosa Parks Circle on May 4 and will run each Thursday until September 14. And if anyone doubted after two years that maybe the energy could be waning, then look again at the dynamic lineup of Michigan musicians that Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. (DGRI) has on deck for our season of sun. Music styles from jazz to rock to soul (and so many more) are all scheduled to appear this summer, thus ensuring there is something for everyone and yet, providing a chance to wander off one’s well-worn Spotify path ...
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While there is no shortage of bars and venues who will attempt to lure you in to their Cinco de Mayo festivities, one local eatery has taken a huge step in providing something truly unique for the community. Donkey Taqueria’s Cinco de Mayo event (held on May 6) will be, to the best of my knowledge, the first time a community-building event has shut down a portion of Wealthy Street south of Fuller since the 1990s days of the East Hills’ Wealthy Street Alive event. On Saturday, Donkey will close this popular thruway street between James to Henry from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 ...
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There is something special about a city with a downtown comic store. On the occasion of the wildly popular Free Comic Book Day, the Grand Rapids Vault of Midnight has big plans this year for fans of all ages. If you have never attended a Free Comic Book Day event, this is the year not to miss. Vault of Midnight, along with numerous local comic shops throughout the world, will offer free comic books to those who dare to venture out to experience the joys of this special day. And if you think these are your grandparents’ comics, think again, as the scene has really blossomed over the ...
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Since 2007, Rapid Growth’s publisher and Creston Grand Rapids neighborhood resident Tommy Allen has been hosting Art Battle for Community, an engaging art event with lots of laughter held in the heart of this old but growing neighborhood.  This year’s Art Battle for Community, sponsored by 616 Lofts, will have many fresh new changes at Grand Rapid’s biggest neighborhood fundraising event to date. This event built around local artists, many from the Creston neighborhood, encourages artists to “battle” via the paintings they will create around a central theme over a ...
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Fountain Street Church in the heart of the city of Grand Rapids may hold many memories for the people of our city, whether it be the topical sermons to the special music programming like U2 to Kronos Quartet. Or, perhaps residents remember an international roster of guest speakers that has included world leaders like Winston Churchill to innovators like Susan B. Anthony to boundary-breaking individuals like Helen Keller, Malcolm X, Joseph Campbell, and Amelia Earhart. And while all these events are part of the wonderful tradition that still continues to this day at Fountain Street Church, it ...
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It is hard to imagine downtown Grand Rapids without the Pyramid Scheme. But here we are on the eve of its sixth birthday, and boy is our future weekend looking enticing at this wildly independent venue. For starters, on Friday night the talented folks at Pyramid Scheme have programmed a birthday showcase of talent with Tunde Olaniran, Paucity, I Believe In Julio, and JADE TV all jamming this intimate stage for an outstanding night of fresh and exciting music.  And while Friday is a nod to the diverse talent of our region, on Saturday night is another chance to celebrate the anniversary with ...
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Actress Penelope Keith once said, “I plant a lot of trees. I am a great believer in planting things for future generations. I loathe the now culture where you just live for today.” And this has never been more true in our region, as Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss will join Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and the Grand Rapids Urban Forest Project to invite the public to press pause on their Friday morning schedule and join their fellow citizens and area businesses for the 2017 Mayor's Greening Initiative Arbor Day Planting. This concept of gifting a future city something as ...
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Earlier this week, Lindo Mexico, a Wyoming, Michigan restaurant with a keen focus on community development, as well as presenting some of the tastiest sit-down Mexican food in our region, kicked off its annual Dia del Niño/Children’s Day celebration -- and the crowds were record-breaking. While there were some who were not able to attend Dia del Niño/Children’s Day, there will be another chance for celebration this Saturday. More than 40 area organizations and businesses are banding together at Cesar E. Chavez Elementary (1205 Grandville Ave. SW) to create an event ...
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Record Store Day 2017: Celebrating the indie spirit 10 years 'spinning'

Saturday, April 22
Greater Grand Rapids, Various locations
The joy of attending Record Store Day (RSD) is its ability to be many things to so many people. This means that you can join the throngs who will be camping out in front of area record stores from Grand Rapids’ Vertigo Music to Grandville’s Corner Record Store in the hopes they will secure that special limited edition release that somehow you must have at all costs. And while this first-in-line style is great for the person who enjoys the chaos of a Black Friday shopping event, the other side of this day is the experience of being in an independent record store, where a music ...
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On Grand Rapids’ westside warehouse district are many emerging creative studios and artists’ collectives/businesses. One group committed to the exploration of this region of our city is Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) Civic Studio, whose students have been working in the community on a very unique art presentation worth checking out while you have two last opportunities. Friday night is the second public opening of Civic Studio’s "Liminal Dissonance" exhibition. From their website: “Daily life exists in tension. The horrific and unjust becomes ...
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