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This Week's Events

6th Annual Recycled Art Market: Still One of the Very Best Holiday Markets

Saturday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Once an event gets a solid reputation, there is no stopping the number of vendors who will seek entry. This year's Recycled Art Market, an event I have been visiting since it began, has so many opportunities to secure a few gifts for those on your holiday or birthday list that it would be a crime to list only a few.
But since I am pretty sure these crimes are easily forgivable, here are a few highlights from this year's event that you'll want to know about before heading to the once-a-year market held in the Creston neighborhood.
Hides + Stitches makes key chains, wallets, and even wine totes with a range of full-grain leathers. For the "I don't use leather products" sect, there are crocheted hats, boot cuffs, and stuffed animals that will charm the chill of the approaching winter away.
Budding Bohemian offers so much old world charm with their up-cycled mix of handcrafted vintage planters, Parisian style pots, and small hand painted furniture for your home and garden. They even have a few vintage board game shelves that you have to see to believe how novel they are.
For the guy on your list there is Mancave Creations, who have created "BOTS" out of vintage tins, cigar boxes, and even old Altoids mint containers that would normally head to the trash bin in some folks' hands.
Debuting this year will be Chella's Collection, whose pendants created from old maps and atlas books are whimsical as well as sophisticated in design. Chella's ability to keep things simple in her design, something others would do well to pay attention to, means that these maps provide all of us a road map to collectable jewelry when it is created this beautifully. 

Regardless of your taste in gifts, this is a great example of an event that is truly unique to this region and one that should be on the top of your list of things to do this weekend.

Admission: $1 donation at the door

Dia de los Muertos: Now a Weekend Thing (delivered three ways)

Oct. 31 - Nov. 2 (see links for actual program times.)
A sign that Grand Rapids is growing ever more diverse is the level of programming devoted to the cultures and nationalities that call this region their new home. This week I want to highlight three venues all doing a great job of promoting the international event Dia de los Muertos.
The downtown branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) began celebrating Dia de los Muertos just five years ago with a small gathering of guests making altars, but their event quickly expanded in size, much like those beautifully rich orange marigold blooms that decorate many of the traditional 3-D works.  
This year the GRPL has set aside two days just for school groups to visit and learn about the traditions of the holiday via a temporary exhibition that provides the history, tradition and symbolism of this day. This is a great way to explore the international history of Dia de los Muertos but also a chance for locals to participate in honoring the dead. On Family Day, November 1, people can engage in face painting, view the altars, and have a chance to hear local author and altar creator Roberta King read from her book He Plays a Harp and discuss the altar she created honoring her son, the subject of her book.
"Dia de los Muertos not only explores the Mexican holiday of Day of the Dead and the traditions the holiday incorporates to remember those who have passes away, it also connects the holiday back to our community," says Kristen Krueger-Corrado GRPL's Marketing and Communications Manager, "The altars that Grand Rapids residents create, using the symbolic items (ofrenda) that commemorate the life of the deceased, become a celebration of that person's life and allow us to remember as a community all the unique and special people that make this a tremendous place to live."
Saturday night is the chance to see a cultural mash-up at Founders Brewing Company's Taproom stage, where Cabildo, AB!, Sonorama, and Guapachosos will perform. And since no musical Dia de los Muertos celebration would be complete without an altar, Founders has tapped local Tanglefoot Building artist Carlos Aceves to build one this year at the tasting room.

On Sunday, those wanting to stay in a neighborhood and enjoy a very relaxed (but no less vibrant) Dia de los Muertos celebration should make a point to stop by the Richard App Gallery, where, for the second year in a row, they will welcome the band El Hurakan from Guanajuato (by way of Chicago). 
When gallery owner Richard App heard El Hurakan perform at the gallery's celebration last year, he knew he had to book them to return to Grand Rapids this year. Part of App's enthusiasm for the band is due to their unusual selection of instruments, created from organic sources like tree stumps, gourds, and even tree limbs.
"I've never seen or heard of anything like it," says App.
Another aspect of this popular gallery celebration event is the sculptural art of Carla and Ismael Sanchez, who will be displaying 14 Catrina dolls that commemorate the goddess known as the "Lady of the Dead."
These sculptures are so stunning in their presentation that I dare you not to get caught up in the buying frenzy that often lands these collectable works in area art collections. The sculptures must be seen to truly understand their power.
Speaking of powerful imagery, the gallery will once again present an original (and sizable) altar in this spacious East Hills Gallery.
GRPL and the Richard App Gallery events are free; admission to Founders Taproom concert is $5.

The Rocky Horror Show: Do The Time Warp (Live) Again

Opening Friday, Oct. 31 (through Sunday, Nov. 9), see site for show times
After a good run of titles that has included Marilyn’s Kennedy and In a Single Bound, local nonprofit theatre troupe The University Wits is closing out its 2014 season with another show-stopping production: The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O’Brien.
Unlike the cult film favorite that packed Downtown Grand Rapids Inc's Movies in the Park, this performance plans to not just revive the stage version but to integrate the best of the filmed version's elements into the production.
Richard O’Brien’s absurdist musical comedy, set in the 1950’s sexual revolution, has been an audience favorite for generations. This raunchy comedy has plenty of catchy crowd-pleasing moments an abundance of music including the "Time Warp."
"The show, by nature and tradition, will be similar to most versions of The Rocky Horror Show that people have seen," says actor Richard Carnegie, who is playing Rocky complete with a pair of gold shorts. "Fans of the film version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show often don’t realize that it was a stage show first—which is what we are doing."
University Wits is promising to place their own spin and flavor on this very popular cult-favorite story with plenty of fun costume choices and exciting new choreography.
If you are fan and plan on par-tic-i-pating, please note that outside props will not be allowed but you can purchase prop bags at the door for $5.
Since this is a small theater with extremely limited seating, please consider purchasing tickets in advance to be guaranteed an entry. (Hint: Opening night Friday and Saturday pre-sale tickets are already sold out.)
Admission: $18.

Stepdad: Midwest / East Coast Tour (Sorta) Starts Here

Friday, Oct. 31, 8:30 p.m. doors, 9:30 p.m. concert
For most bands in our region, the launch of a new tour is typically something reserved for locals and often takes place via a big send-off concert before departing the city limits.
But local act Stepdad, who started their fall Midwest and East Coast tour this month, kicked it off outside our area, playing in Toledo and Detroit before arriving for a very special Halloween concert at Grand Rapids' Pyramid Scheme with their touring opening act, Sphynx.
Stepdad's sound has been evolving nicely as their production values soar to new heights on their latest EP, Strange Tonight.
There are a lot of choices on Friday night with Halloween parties all over the city, but if you miss Stepdad before their big 15-city tour, well, that is just downright the scariest thing you could do.
Admission: $12
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