G-Sync

Maybe it is a mix of nostalgia and a desire for an analog experience, but locally for some time various late-night event producers have been diving into old album bins to resurrect forgotten gems for the dance floor from days long passed.   This trend of falling in love with vinyl is not limited to just vintage records. In fact, it is part of an ever-growing music industry-wide uptick in new music vinyl sales that could translate into a billion dollar industry in 2017, according to NME Magazine. Locally, this trend of mining for old albums has translated into a revival of long-lost sounds from ...
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It is hard to imagine Grand Rapids’ Ionia Avenue before the arrival of HopCat -- a downtown watering hole that not only boasts one of the most eclectic beer lists anywhere in the country, but is a place that has received numerous awards like the prestigious RateBeer.com ranking in 2012 and 2013 as the number one brewpub in the United States. In addition to a great selection of beers from around the world, HopCat’s other claim to fame is its secret spices that, when added to their deep fried potatoes, becomes the much-sought after menu item: crack fries. On the occasion of their ...
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One of the joys of being in Grand Rapids these days is the flurry of folks seeking to create new ways of making a living. Some might be happy with punching the clock, but as we have witnessed over the last decade, there is a steady stream of people here seeking to build something new. And while we have plenty of larger institutions with a host of clients they serve at various stages of development, one organization that I have had the privilege of getting to know better over the last couple years is the woman-led entrepreneurial group Hook a Sista Up (HASU) from Linda Otterbridge. What makes ...
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The new year is a time of creating fresh pathways, of integrating ways of working, and for placing a will to resolve that which might have troubled us in the past. This time of the year is a time to also celebrate what we already have, as evidenced by this year’s LocalMotion Awards from Local First. Our LocalMotion Awards is a chance for our city’s residents and businesses to celebrate those organizations within our community who are taking bold steps as they seek to improve our region through the intelligent leveraging of our local supply chains, the establishment of sustainable ...
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A few things happen locally now when you remark in a conversation that you would like to attend a “new urbanism” event. Either folks look at you with a vacant, “I-don’t-know-what-you-are-saying” blank stare, roll their eyes large, or get so excited they nearly spill their craft beer on your artisan cheese board.  But you’d be wrong to roll your eyes or look confused when you consider how incredibly cool it is that the Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) is bringing to Grand Rapids a program of short films from the New Urbanism Film Festival (NUFF), held ...
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On the first of the year, everyone sets the bar quite high for creating new pathways via those pesky resolutions we all set for ourselves. But they don’t have to be seen as a chore. In fact, I would guess that if you have been wanting to add a bit of a cultural kick up to your New Year, why not select the thrilling and perfectly timed Grand Rapids Symphony’s (GRS) concert this weekend? Your local GRS welcomes to the podium the youthful Teddy Abrams, the music director of The Louisville Orchestra who will conduct an eclectic and, in many ways, a contemporary program of 20th ...
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Everyone likes a good competition, and on Friday night fans of rap music are in luck as the Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grille -- a unique and gem of a watering hole on the west side of the city - will host the Rap for a Stack contest. A stack is a pile of cash, and, in this case, a $500 short stack for which area rappers, who have pre-signed up in advance of the event, will battle the night away in this High Rise United & Screaming Needle Tattoo & Body Piercing Studios joint production. Hosted by local entrepreneur and MC performer Ajax Stacks, Friday’s Rap For A Stack has been ...
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This year Grand Valley State University is hosting a series of events commemorating the life and legacy of civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK). Over the decades since King’s assassination, Americans have been engaging around the topic of race at the national and community levels. As we look at his life and meaning of his message, it is clear that even after all the dialogue we still in our very fractured nation have a lot of work to do around the topic of racial inequality. However, while this issue may be polarizing to some, it is a conversation that we need to have ...
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It is really hard to imagine that Mustard Plug is 25 years old. But this locally formed ska band that took the world by storm in 1991 is still performing strong after all these years. Of course, the city was different then, as I recall one or two shows in unsanctioned venues because we simply did not have a lot of options in those days for that style of music. Fast forward to the present and after many years of performing on the road, Mustard Plug has,for as long as I can remember, played a special holiday show for us locals. What makes this one stand out is that while their fans have gotten ...
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The city may have fewer and fewer dance clubs, but the amount of deejays is not declining anytime soon. In fact, one local is about to get her moment in the spotlight as she becomes the subject of a roast held at Rumors Nightclub in the heart of the Avenue for the Arts on Division Avenue. DJ Monica Parker is no stranger to the dance scene of our city, as she has played for many years as the house DJ at Rumors and also has popped up at events like the annual LoveWins at the Rainbow Bridge party in June. On Tuesday night, DJ Monica Parker will take over the hot seat that Batty Davis inhabited ...
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There is nothing like a little honky-tonk country, the raw sexuality of rockabilly, and the warmth-inducing surf music to chase your winter blues away on the Friday before Christmas. And, luckily for you, on Grand Rapids’ westside is a tiny little bar that is committed to showcasing the best sounds of this style of music. Taking a break from their more straightforward performances, Delilah DeWylde and the Bootstrap Boys invite the public to join them for a Holiday Hoedown at the Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill. The Bootstrap Boys, made up of Big Jake, Nicky, Clyde, and Jake Bootstrap, ...
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I will admit that one of the joys of New Year’s Eve is, after so many of them, they begin to all blend into two categories: those we like; those we don’t. Looking at the spectrum of offerings in our city, it was easy to land at SpeakEZ’s celebration for a host of reasons. One, SpeakEZ’s past events have always delivered on the best of our local talent in an intimate setting where happy memories are recorded often. Need proof? If you were at the Adele tribute concert with vocalist Noddea Moore Skidmore then you know what I mean. This venue attracts such amazing talent on ...
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The holidays are the best time to openly flaunt your nostalgia flag since the entire season is devoted to such outbursts of joy. Luckily for those who like their nostalgia with a healthy portion of good old-fashioned sporting glory, the Grand Rapids Public Schools Athletics (GRPSA) are bringing back their popular East vs. West Battle of the Best of I-96 Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament. It may have been many years since the last tourney was staged here, but it has not faded from the memory of those who looked forward each winter to this day-long basketball event at which rival teams get ...
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What is more exciting than sitting on Santa’s lap this Saturday? How about a chance to go round and round with the big guy and his main squeeze, Mrs. Claus, at Grandville’s Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink? Opened in 1959 with a simple mission to provide a athletic space for families to have fun on eight wheels, Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink features a booming 5,200 watt sound system for Top 40, pop, rock, hip-hop, country, dance, and religious music for folks to get their groove on under a state-of-the-art light show. In addition to an afternoon of hearing festive holiday tunes ...
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The warmth of summer may have departed from our region, but you’d never know it as the “Movies Not In The Park” series from Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. (DGRI) will yet again be screening another film before the end of 2016 at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. For its sixth feature in this newly launched series, DGRI offers an opportunity to view for free in the comfort of a warm theatre “The Nightmare Before Christmas” — a musical from the mind of Tim Burton. This more than 20-year-old musical classic has all the trappings of what makes Tim Burton ...
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If you had hoped to attend the 2016 Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow to experience its thrilling production of “The Nutcracker,” then if you have not booked your trip to see them plan on dropping more than $3,000 to get there by Sunday. For those on a budget, and for the seventh year in a row, fans of this world-class ballet troupe can experience the joys of “The Nutcracker” on Sunday afternoon right here in West Michigan and still be home in time for work on Monday morning without the obligatory jet lag. For the low cost of just $18 a ticket, you can sit in comfortable seats ...
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Once you reach a certain age, it goes without saying that if you get caught rolling your eyes at the suggestion that you must go see another retelling of the 1843 “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, then you are within your right to do so. I mean, the body can only take so much sugary holiday cheer before it rots the soul this time of the year. Need more proof? We have a “Bad Santa 2” now playing in the movie theaters. People need a pressure release that a cooked goose and foggy pudding just can’t deliver. Luckily, for those seeking a little creative levity ...
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In 2014 locals were delighted to witness the stage debut of a new re-imagined ballet production of “The Nutcracker.” For this new version of this popular Christmas production, Grand Rapids Ballet tapped the enormous talents of former Grand Rapidian and illustrator/author Chris Van Allsburg (“The Polar Express,” “Jumanji”), the Tony Award-winning set designer Eugene Lee (“Wicked,” “Sweeney Todd”) and choreographer Val Caniparoli (San Francisco Ballet), who, through their combined inventiveness, would bring to birth locally a brand new ...
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If you need a little levity to help get you through the holidays this year, then a stop at the annual West Michigan Gay Men’s Chorus (WMGMC) is the best ticket in my opinion to lift your spirits. I mean, gay is in the title. Not only is the WMGMC a great place to experience live holiday music delivered via our community-based chorus, all the members of which volunteer to put on concerts and appearances throughout the city all year long, but this holiday show is a chance for the singers to reflect on the year we have experienced as society. As with each concert, the guys invite special ...
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This past Sunday, the United States Army Corps of Engineers denied the Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) permit that would have sent a portion of the 1,172-mile pipeline under the nation’s largest fresh water river, the Missouri River. This act would have threatened numerous sacred sites, but also, most importantly, the fresh water of all those downriver, including the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation whose sovereign land is dependent on access to fresh, clean water. The DAPL pipeline was originally scheduled to run north of Bismarck, North Dakota, but the ...
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The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Leadership. Commitment. Impact” — three words that, when enacted, honestly can truly change our world. And locally you can take those critically important steps by joining others who will be gathering at Fountain Street Church again to commemorate the lives we have lost, as well as provide support for our fellow citizens, friends, and family members living with HIV every day. This event is part of a long, local tradition of not letting the memory of those who cannot speak today be forgotten. We all bear witness in music and ...
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The city is flush with artisan shopping options, from the house shows of folks like the annual Beerhorst Family Holiday Art Show to the eclectic Vinecroft Artist Market, where Fred Bivens gets to showcase his talents are more than just his work at the Festival for the Arts or ArtPrize. But no other event can boast more than 72 solid artists who will be a part of Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts’ 28th Annual Holiday Artists Market (HAM), held again this year at the spacious Steelcase Town Hall on the city’s southeast side. The sale offers so many choices, from the beautifully ...
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It is hard to imagine, but for the first time in America’s history we have finally rebuilt and exceeded the number of breweries in the United States since before Prohibition. According to the Brewers Association, America had at the height of our pre-Prohibition years 4,131 breweries in 1873. After crumbling the industry via Prohibition, we had rebuilt it to 110 breweries in 1985 -- and since this date have climbed to a eye-popping 4,269 in 2015. The reason why our numbers went from zero to where we are today is a direct result of the repealing of the 18th Amendment in 1933. Grand ...
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With a strong foundation in classical music, Cécile McLorin Salvant will arrive in Grand Rapids as a part of the 2016/17 St. Cecilia Music Center’s Jazz Series. Dubbed as the Ella Fitzgerald for our modern generation, McLorin Salvant is a stunning performer to see live, particularly in such an intimate setting that St. Cecilia Music Center’s (SCMC) Royce Auditorium provides musicians. (Here’s the thing, SCMC’s Royce Auditorium is why many musicians love Grand Rapids. You must see a show there to believe the acoustics!) Having seen McLorin Salvant perform a few ...
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Sister: Gee, Babs, you look like something the cat just dragged in. Babs: I know. I feel crummy. But I just can't seem to put my finger on what's wrong. Sister: That's too bad, Babs. Has it ever dawned on you that it just may be your uvula? During Saturday Night Live’s inaugural first season they performed these lines from a groundbreaking sketch comedy that was so downright cutting edge that I am certain the censors were scrambling to determine Bab’s uvula’s true meaning. Lucky for us, sexual innuendo and the need to hide it is far behind us when it comes to ...
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No matter how and what you celebrate during the holidays, the chance to see a parade in your city is always a delight for the eyes…especially children’s eyes. On Saturday morning, the Art Van Santa Parade glides back into Grand Rapids with its famous reindeer, and I couldn’t be happier after a long and depressing 2016. Soon the streets will be filled with the sounds of soaring vocals, hot brass, and a steady drum beat as local marching bands, carolers, and performers take to Monroe Avenue to announce the arrival of a fat man in a red suit who somehow has avoided diabetes ...
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Many may recall that before I was writing or working in media, I was first and foremost an artist of your community. On Nov. 18 and 20 I invite you to join me in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the annual Tanglefoot Artists’ Open Studio Event on the westside of Grand Rapids. And while I am certainly one reason to consider attending if you have ever wondered what my artist studio space looks like, I am not the sole reason. In fact, I can offer you nine additional reasons as to why you should be there to celebrate this historic milestone. These nine diverse reasons are: Elaine ...
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In the days after the election of President-elect Trump, the rate of hate crimes in America rose to higher levels than we have not seen since after the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001. While the targets of these attacks have ranged from crimes based on race, gender, and even perceived and actual country of origin, another group within the LGBTQ has faced some of the highest rates of violence than nearly all other groups - the transgender person in contemporary American society, and these individuals transcend so many other identities. So, as we have done each year, the Grand Rapids Pride ...
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One of the most powerful ways to address societal issues as a group has always been the theatre, and this Friday Grand Valley State University’s theatre department presents a timely production exploring the topic of teenage sexual assault and the consequences to the lives of its victims, survivors, perpetrators and bystanders. The play, “Good Kids,” centers around a teen hosted party that goes horribly sideways and is told through the multiple perspectives of the attendees who explore the aftermath of the sex crime and its cover-up. Topics covered in this provocative ...
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Here is the heart of the PechaKucha challenge: You have just 20 images and 20 seconds per slide to share your passion on a topic. Do you think you can do it? On this night of the 15th edition of PechaKucha Grand Rapids, special guest presenters include Grand Raggidy Roller Derby’s Ann O'Steel Kuipers, Grand Rapids Art Museum’s Dana Friis-Hansen, Dodd’s Records and musician Rev. Charles Preston Smith, real life Mad Men and former Grand Rapidian Clayton Boothe, and many more will be welcomed by your host for the evening, emcee Ted Jauw. This fast-paced story-telling format ...
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Coming Home: For us, from us...and only at UICA

Opening Reception, Friday, Nov. 11, 5:30 - 6:00 p.m. (members preview), 6:00 - 9:00 p.m (general public)
“Coming Home” offers West Michigan art lovers a chance to see the latest works from some of the area’s emerging and established artists with an exhibition devoted to showcasing fresh new works. This exhibition really cements UICA’s role as an arts center for local artists who have selected Michigan as their home ultimately revealing what is possible within this state. With “Coming Home,” the state acts a platform through which an artist can find inspiration, limitless exploration, and along the way increase their creative artistic development. Since this ...
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We could all use a little inspiration to get us through Friday, and on Nov. 11 at 8:30 a.m. attendees of CreativeMornings will get just the right amount of inspiration to add flight to their steps. Patricia Barker, artistic director at Grand Rapids Ballet — Michigan’s only professional ballet company — is the former principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet and is considered one of the world’s most gifted ballerinas. In addition to a life devoted to dance, Barker is also wired with an entrepreneurial mind bringing her distinct management experience to the field of ...
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There is a beautiful stillness that emits within Todd Freeman’s art work. It is simple in its representational style, but inviting, in that it draws down our focus, prompting us to further probe the questions that begin to emerge. In his earliest works it was his strong acumen for creating intriguing taxidermies-stylish drawings that captivated my attention, but since then his depiction of the natural world still is center to understanding his pieces. For his new series, “At Sea,” Freeman is turning to the vastness of the ocean, not just as a physical space but as a thing ...
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It is hard to imagine that five years ago a group of guys talk their friends into helping them host a series of house concerts — all within walking distance of each other — and set out to program them like one would a festival. The rest is history, as they say, because Lamp Light has indeed succeeded against all the ups and downs that hosting a popular festival can entail. According to its mission statement, Lamp Light seeks “to inspire, educate and empower with programming that includes music, workshops and panel discussions.” And do they ever, with seven unique ...
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Part of getting older is we become a bit risk averse. And who can blame those folks who often arrived at the top of their personal pinnacle often while others who, like them, sharing the same dream, but not the ability to execute it. To remain nimble enough to try new adventures is the challenge of all generations. This month is the kickoff of a new monthly film series from Start Garden — hosted in partnership with Worksighted & Lakeshore Advantage — and will feature “Generation Startup,” a new documentary looking at six college graduates all on the front lines of ...
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While I know Christmas is so much more than just a season devoted to the act of giving, it is, to many, a time when the purchasing of stuff can produce stress for folks who are concerned about our over-consuming culture. Luckily, for those who are seeking a more interesting gift-giving path this year, one of my favorite events is happening again in Creston. This year the Recycled Art Market will see more than 75 artisans set up their booths devoted to those unique and truly one-of-a-kind items for the perfect gift-giving experience that is easy on the environment as well. Items at the ...
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It is hard to fathom that it has been 11 years since Green Day appeared in 2005 at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena in support of the band’s culturally significant “American Idiot” release. If you were at this concert then you can attest to the rawness of this production, as well as its rich theatricality with a picture-perfect ending as the band selected one of the greatest rock anthems — Queen’s “We Are The Champions” — as one of their final songs of the night. Fast forward four years and you quickly see the audience was not the only one ...
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Some folks in the fall live for Christmas, with all the shiny lights and the presents under the tree. And others for a chance to over-consume at Thanksgiving and spar with an always-disagreeable relative before finally taking a nap before waking up to begin a round of eating seconds (or thirds). But, for me, this fall has been more than the cooked carrot of turkey day and the lure of colorful wrapping paper. This fall, since laying eyes on the Corgis in the Park event, all I could think about as we marched ever closer to Oct. 29 is how many Corgis will actually show up this year at Riverside ...
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If you live long enough, you will be able to enjoy the best of your decade become the subject of a revival of sorts to a new generation of music fans. We have lived for some time in the shadows of the 80s revival, with musical acts and tribute bands all vying for your attention at local events like Mega 80s. But lucky for those fans of the 1990s, this often overlooked decade, with its low unemployment to the launch of the dot-com era, is about to get really hot locally this weekend as The Intersection presents Saved By The 90s. This touring band promises a 90s themed night that will usher ...
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It is hard not to fall in love with the Grand Rapids Public Library’s programming throughout the year as it conducts some of the most diverse and culturally important work of any institution in our city. And while the library focuses on a host of culturally significant holiday celebrations observed by so many groups in our city, it is the Día de los Muertos (translation: Day of the Dead) observation that takes its community-engaging programming to new heights. When folks attend this year’s Día de los Muertos at the main branch of the GRPL, they are in for a special ...
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If suddenly you stumble upon a superhero or a furry creature as you walk about downtown this weekend, have no fear because it is the sign that Grand Rapids Comic Con is back in town. And, just like with every passing year that Comic Con is celebrated here in our city, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This year, in addition to the 100,000-square-foot DeVos Play vending hall, which will be host to scores of small businesses devoted to the art of the comic and illustrated novel, Grand Rapids Comic Con is also hosting a car show, a film festival, an art show, an anime screening room, a ...
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There are only a handful of home game matches left for this year for our Grand Raggidy Roller Derby. This weekend, our girls hit the rink at Grandville’s Rivertown Sports to take on the Brighton Roller Dollz of Brighton, Michigan and Killamazoo Derby Darlins’ from Kalamazoo, Michigan. This double header starts off with our junior team, the Grand Raggidy Attack, going up against the Brighton Roller Dollz’s C and B teams. If you are a betting person, then you will be happy to know that the numbers have been crunched and our Attack team is favored heavily with a 94 percent ...
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For the third annual Grand Rapids Feminist Film Fest (GRFFF), the organizers will be offering so much more than just a chance to screen more than 40 short films as a part of their annual event at Wealthy Theatre. This year, the upgrades include more seminars and workshops devoted to all things cinema -- and this year they will be programming two blocks of films that are free of triggers that could set off children. This is a huge upgrade for families who want to attend but might have concerns about the content of some of the films being screened this year. These blocks of films can be located ...
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One of the art world’s most elusive of modern sculptors will be making his United States speaking debut at our Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Up until now, the chance to hear artist Dietrich Klinge has been a rare treat and something that has never happened in the country. Meijer Gardens, which owns numerous graphic works and models by Klinge, will be the setting for this special lecture. Along with the Grosser Trefree sculpture, Meijer Gardens is proud to showcase two outdoor bronzes in the permanent collection from Klinge. Many may be familiar with his colossal Model ...
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Ever since the democratization of digital filmmaking tools, Grand Rapids has been flush with creative minds showcasing their visions via our local screens.  On Friday, Grand Rapids’ filmmaker Joel Potrykus (“Buzzard,” “Ape”) will debut locally his latest film, “The Alchemist Cookbook,” at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts for a two-week run. This film arrives here after being invited as an official selection at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Festival. “The Alchemist Cookbook” is the story about a young outcast, Sean, who has ...
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A few weeks ago we featured the Blue Bridge Music Festival because we wanted to bring to light not only the many acts that would be performing but to showcase this region’s and our state’s ability to produce so much wonderful talent via the music labels popping up here. One such label, Hot Capicola Records, will present a music showcase of three of its acts at the Pyramid Scheme. It is shaping up to be a dream ticket for your Friday night out on the town. The headliner on Friday is Tunde Olaniran, a native of Flint, Michigan who has been described by Rolling Stone Magazine as one ...
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Search any major city for a book event and you will be blown away at how many are out there. But when you seek to narrow your focus to other areas of diversity that include women, you might be surprised at how few there really are..  Lucky for us, we are doing our part locally by way of our Hook a Sista Up (HASU) 2nd annual Women Who Write Author Showcase, which returns to the south side’s Kroc Center on Saturday, Oct. 15. This unique community event follows HASU’s mission to help area women authors gain visibility and recognition in their community. This literary showcase enables ...
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The 2016 Local First 6th annual Fork Fest, presented by Brewery Vivant, has so many delicious reasons why you should attend this year, but it is the chance to see a live demonstration unlike anything I have ever witnessed at a food-themed event that is sure to be the talk of the town the following morning.  While this event will feature dozens of food and beverage providers from our region (see list below), as well as great music from returning act Fauxgrass, it is the butchering demonstration that has my interest. Louise Earl Butcher — which is provide this butchering demonstration ...
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There are lots of ways you can celebrate Pulaski Days this year in Grand Rapids. For starters, there is always the family-friendly Pulaski Days Parade, where not only will the Polish royalty be out en masse, but many organizations and causes loosely associated with this festive annual event will be in the streets celebrating this beloved festival.  This year’s Pulaski Days Parade begins at 11 a.m. and marches down Michigan Street from College to Diamond Avenue. Immediately after the parade, fans can continue their celebration by landing at the Sixth Street Hall (649 Sixth St. NW), where ...
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The University Wits, a local theatrical troupe started in 2014, will kick off their 2016 - 2017 season with what they bill as a “Michigan horror story.” No, they are not adapting the Evil Dead film series for the stage as others have done over the years. The University Wits’s Michigan horror story is “Escanaba in da Moonlight” written by Chelsea, Michigan native Jeff Daniels. Wait a minute, you say, I do not recall Jeff Daniels’ story being a horror flick. Well, it is and it isn’t depending on who you talk to about the play’s premise (that would ...
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