G-Sync

There are 23 events being produced to further not only our region’s design community forward but present something meant to enrich one’s life experience through the power of design. I mean, we can barely open a magazine these days without someone touting the role of design in contemporary society. Whether it is in the hallowed chambers of our furniture labs to the board rooms of many local firms, talk of design has slowly, over the years, finally been given its rightful seat at the table of innovation. Design Week includes opportunities to tour local studios, attend a hands-on ...
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We have lost so many old traditions in the dawn of our new century, but a few of them are re-emerging as people struggle for ways to connect in a more meaningful fashion. One area in Grand Rapids where this reconnecting to a more meaningful experience takes place is the Full Moon Supper Club series of dinners, where chef Tory O’Haire welcomes locals back to the dining table as he presents a limited edition meal meant to inspire your tastebuds while sparking conversation. This month, the event travels to a new vista high atop the Belknap neighborhood overlooking the mighty Grand River and ...
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The music scene of Grand Rapids has exploded over the years, and a big portion of this success can be attributed to the work of local musicians who not only have pursued their craft to the level that is now capturing national magazines’ attention but contribute their expertise in a new way — teaching. Sure, teaching music has always been a part of most of our culture growing up. Who doesn’t recall the joys or, in my case, the pains of having to sit next to an elderly person trying to teach me scales on the piano. Boy has a lot changed when you look at what locally is ...
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For Beau Laine Vansolkema, the president at the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) StandOut! LGBTQ+ Student Club, the upcoming drag show he is organizing at GRCC is not only a chance to meet new people, hear some incredible music and, of course, see a dizzying array of intricately made costumes — it’s putting love and understanding center stage. “That’s the most positive thing about the drag show — it will raise more awareness [about the transgender community] for the faculty and students,” Vansolkema says of the show that will be held April 6 at 7pm at ...
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When Calvin College professor Dr. Stephanie Sandberg premiered Lines: The Lived Experience of Race at Actors’ Theatre of Grand Rapids in 2010, the production not only sold out the entire two-week run immediately, but the demand for this timely theatrical event ran so intense that additional performances had to be added to accommodate the crowds. When Lines returns to the stage — this time at Wealthy Theatre — it will not just be another limited run.his Wealthy Street setting will be one much more closely aligned to where the work was created over 2009 to 2010, when Dr. ...
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When the musical Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Weber debuted on Broadway in 1971, the nation was in the grips of an ideological divide over where America should head next. Its main subject matter was reflective and not so far removed from the nation, which had just experienced the loss of so many idealistic leaders of the era prior. Jesus Christ, much like King and the Kennedys (and many other less celebrated individuals) had risen to the times and, in speaking simple truths, paid the ultimate sacrifice with his life. The story of Jesus Christ Superstar is loosely based on the ...
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It is hard to imagine that in only 10 years, the friends-run events promotion company Paxahau of Detroit stepped in to save the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (or DEMF to early insiders). In doing so, Paxahau not only resurrected this very niche-focused local music event but, under the reorganizing name of Movement, solidified a new international music festival in Detroit, where the local could perform next to the world-celebrated electronic music artist over Memorial Day weekend each year. It is a true celebration of this music form in a place known as the birth of techno. As part of an ...
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Women’s History Month is a time devoted to the celebration of their accomplishments and contributions to society. But what women often harbor inside, those private thoughts buried below the surface, is something that often stays locked away until it is freed through the art of conversation.  Actors’ Theatre of Grand Rapids presents this month the appropriately timed production of Rapture, Blister, Burn — a 2012 off-Broadway comedic play by Gina Gionfriddo that delves into the secret inner dialogues we keep locked away. Making its debut at Grand Rapids Community ...
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There are no shortages of events happening around the state seeking to address or help solve the Flint water crisis. These events range from donations of bottled water, “fish-slaps” at The B.O.B. (DATE) to even LaughFest, where Kathy Griffin called for the governor to be recalled. It is a diverse and hot topic in our state. But Michigan's American Civil Liberties Union is the one organization that has earned the right to be at the top of your list of groups that we should be listening to on this tragic series of events that lead to the massive poisoning of an entire city. Kary ...
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An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson is so much more than a night devoted to seeing the nationally celebrated scientist live on stage but a validation that, in an era of monster trucks and explosive Broadway productions that grace our arenas, there is a place for science to be center stage. Buoyed by the power of his ratings darling Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (FOX), Tyson tours the world and shares with live audiences the wonders of our universe in a stage production that evolves just as freely as the stars above. And while this production is rich with photos and videos, Tyson makes it very ...
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It may not have been Oprah’s book of the month selection, but Todd Robinson’s 2013 “A City Within A City” received the same kind of local sales bump the former queen of afternoon talk shows could generate. Shortly after her first State of the City address, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss named "A City Within a City” as the "Mayor's Book of the Year." Thursday, Mar. 24 readers and local history buffs will have an opportunity to hear Robinson share insights on his current local bestseller at Linc Up. Published through Temple University Press, ...
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It is hard to imagine that LaughFest 6 is already here. And in an attempt to help you cut through the fog of winter blues that are beginning to fade, I want to present, as requested by LaughFest’s Festival Director, Joanne Roehm, my LaughFest 2016 Sexy Six Days recommendations: My LaughFest Sexy Six Days List: First up: Thursday (Mar. 10) LaughFest — ever into kicking old record holders off their celebrated perches — returns at its community kickoff event with the challenge of hoping to win back our 2011 Guinness World Record title for "Largest Rubber Chicken Toss." ...
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The Second Annual River City Water Festival is arriving at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and it is bigger and better than last year. The first big addition is an extra day devoted to education and will be held on Friday, March 13. And while normally this is a good thing to report, sadly, if you were hoping your school or class could join the registration, it has sold out already. The event organizers received more than 450 reservations with several hundred additional students seeking to attend. The organizers hope to add more space next year for this rapidly growing and very relevant ...
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Did you know that while Grand Rapids is home to the La Grande Vitesse, the United States’ first public spaces art grant (1969), it is also home to the first major art earthwork to be supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and is still visible to this day?  In this new century of art as talks of art bubbles and commodification, it is refreshing to know that these creative works — often in reaction to the consumerism of the art worlds of their day — still pack a relevant punch today.    And while Robert Morris’ The Grand Rapids Project (1974) may not be the ...
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When we get that first blast of warm air as we did earlier this week, it is hard to visualize going back to the colder temperatures, which we most certainly will before spring officially begins. However, say you seek a warmer, more humid experience but cannot afford the airfare passage to a Caribbean island, then the Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies are Blooming exhibit at Meijer Gardens is probably your second best opportunity to feel the warmth on your skin. And while you may not feel the warm soil on your toes since the gardenss insists you stay on the trail, I can promise that, if ...
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Alynn Guerra: Climate of change on paper

Opening, Friday, Mar. 4 - 25 / Reception, Thursday, Mar. 10, 6 - 7 p.m.
Artists often provide a portal into other worlds or ways of thinking about our surroundings. And, on rare occasions, some artists get to actually play a part in making the world a better place through their creations. One local artist, Alynn Guerra, who has long been the artistic visual conscious of our modern times within the subjects she has covered, is once again having a solo show. This time, her work will be included as a part of the ongoing local artists series at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center. And while you may think you have experienced Guerra’s work firsthand, then get ...
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What is more fun than karaoke in the city? Karaoke in the city with your favorite drag queens. And this is exactly what you are going to get when GVSU student and local entertainer Ginger Ambrosia takes the mic as your emcee for the night’s activities. What makes this event much sweeter for some folks is that, unlike drag shows in the city, which famously run long and start late in the evening, this event will give the in-bed-by-11 crowd a taste of all the drama and witty banter that comes with a drag show …but this time the voices are real…and yours. Billed as our ...
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Art used to be defined in most circles as something that hangs on your walls. If we have learned anything since the advent of electricity, it is so much more.  Luckily for you, with the dawn of a technology age, the tools once reserved for the well-off and connected have been democratized across so many platforms, making new works of art possible. Bring Your Own Beamer, an open-source, one night only, happening of an art event, is a projection-based art exhibition series happening all around the world, and UICA is home to their third outing. Artists and fans of emerging art pieces are invited ...
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Traditionally I try to avoid covering any fundraisers in G-Sync Events unless it fits a pretty distinct profile. Of course, my event’s code, like Tim Cook of Apple, is proprietary so don’t look for me to reveal it anytime soon. However, since March is Women’s History Month, and we are staring down (yet again) a host of perennial stories on income inequality, this should provide a window of understanding to my system’s code. And since I am a fan of locals working to set society’s imbalances right, Girls Rock! Grand Rapids! on the occasion of their third annual big ...
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Detroit’s Gosh Pith kicks off their 15-city Gold Chain tour in Grand Rapids on Friday night at the Pyramid Scheme. If it is not sold out by the time we go to print, then click here to grab a ticket while you are able. Why? Quite simply because Gosh Pith’s new EP being released on Feb. 26 is filled with soothing, evocative sounds capable of not just propelling us forward via this electronic ride, but, when layering in guitars, big bass beats, and ethereal vocals, well, give up all hope of resisting their lush new tracks. On one of the new pre-released track from the EP Gold Chain, ...
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A few years ago the organizers of the annual Winter Beer Festival had a huge problem on their hands. Having grown so popular meant that many hoping to attend braved the cold, hoping to score a ticket to the sold-out event. Facing a capacity issue with no more room left on Saturday to grow, this popular festival devoted to Michigan’s ever-growing craft brew industry did the right thing and added a special Friday ticket. So, while tickets to Saturday’s sold-out event can only be found on sites like Craigslist (and often at a huge premium), the addition of Friday to the event again ...
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Every time that music artists Rick Chyme or Nixon returns to the stage with a new release, you can be certain of two things. One, it will be a richly creative event packed full of guest artists and special acts carefully curated to produce maximum musical impact. Appearing with Chyme & Nixon at Founders’ Taproom stage will be The Accidentals and SuperDre, who will both deliver a range of sounds, from energetic folk to electronic dance music. Secondly, unlike previous release parties, Chyme and Nixon’s performance at Founders will accompanied by a lush and stimulating visual ...
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Last year, when Antionette Carroll, Chair of the AIGA Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, as well as President of AIGA St. Louis, came to Grand Rapids, the country was in the midst of conversations about race and equity.   Now, nearly a year later, the dialogue is still happening, which is one reason why Carroll has been invited to present at Start Garden on Conversation of Design Thinking, Social Innovation, Design Entrepreneurs, & Community Organizing. Carroll of Creative Reaction Lab has taken on challenging topics, like “Can Design End Racism?”, to promote a better ...
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Within our city is a jewel of a venue that many I believe don’t fully appreciate until after they have been able to sit in it. It is not as if the programming is not there to capture your attention. No, I believe it’s more than likely due to it’s off the beaten path of where most tend to trend in the downtown region of Grand Rapids. And once you do attend a concert at St. Cecilia Music Center, then you will know firsthand what every musician who I’ve interviewed over the years say about it. It is quite honestly one of the most acoustically perfect venues this side of ...
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The 2016 WYCE-Bell’s Brewery Jammies XVII are so hot that the entire state of Michigan is about to go off the charts weather-wise,breaking all records as 55 degrees will become the high temperature right as local bands are loading in for what can only be described as Grand Rapids’ version of the Grammys. Instead of staying at home to see national acts on your TV, the Jammies is the night you can gain beautiful access to the full night of local music. And there is not a clunker on either of the two stages being programmed hot for your aural pleasure this year. In addition to ...
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You will want to get there early to take in not just all the great programming being produced in collaboration between sponsors Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., but Taste of Soul is also a chance to snack on the region’s best soul food (and for free). Now, I am not suggesting you starve yourself to indulge in the joys of mac and cheese chased by a piece of chicken swimming in Red Hot sauce. Rather, if you pace yourself throughout the afternoon, the reward is an opportunity to learn from the cultural lectures conducted by local authors and historians ...
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Want to see Adele at the Palace of Auburn Hills this Sept. 7? Well, if you are seeking the tickets on the main floor, then StubHub has a few at the halfway point in the arena’s bowl. But you better be prepared to spend $1,500 per ticket. (Yeah, I hate the scalping of music these days, too.) But lucky for you that you live in a town where the access to talent just as impactful and meaningful can be secured for a lot less. On Monday, Feb. 22, you can see local performer Noddea Moore Skidmore in her one night only show, "Noddea Sings Adele.” Noddea is the debut artist at the ...
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Valentine’s Day can be a time of bruises. No, not in an S&M kind of fashion but in how the heart, while on the path to love, often takes a few hits before bouncing back ... and often against all odds to find its match. Oh, ain’t love grand. And who better to spend a night devoted to the ups and downs of love than a group of theatre people ready to entertain you with a rapturous night of song and dance?  Actors Theatre of Grand Rapids invites those fans of the musical genre to their special off-site event: If They'd Only Let Me: The Game Show! Billed by Managing Director ...
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Access to the moon might be a long shot unless you know how to get to, well, The Moon. On Saturday night, a very unique art happening, Eat Your Heart Out My Bloody Valentine, which has connections to other communities around the world, will be launched at this special transdisciplinary global art event. It is rare in our city for such a mysterious happening to take place because of the amount of planning that must go into the production of such an event. This also represents what is possible to launch within a Grand Rapids venue — the joy of discovery will be wedded to a temporal ...
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Transcend: In love with love

Saturday, Feb. 13, 7:15 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. performance
Baxter  
It has been a long time since Dance in the Annex (DITA) put together a night of music and dance that I have honestly lost track of that time between. But lest you think that DITA has been resting on their laurels of the past glory of their theatrical bliss in their annual shows like Salmagundi or Trip The Light, then you have not been paying attention. Not only has DITA consistently placed in ArtPrize top ranks, including a 2013 jurors award in the time-based category for “respirador (breather)”, but they have ventured out by appearing in video dance performance pieces and engaging ...
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Open any newspaper today and, regardless of where you call home on planet earth, at some point you'll read a headline about an ecological disaster often produced at the hands of man. It is a form of that all too familiar adage that history is 20/20 vision, and if we only had a time machine we could prevent it. Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University presents artists Sarah Lindley and Steve Nelson, who will be attending the closing reception exhibition of Ripple Effect: From Industry to Environment in the Kalamazoo River Basin. This special closing event enables ...
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What is more fun than sledding down a hill in the winter? How about three days of fun on a giant snow-covered hill on the westside of Grand Rapids as we welcome three great ways to enjoy WinterWest this year. The festivities kick off on Friday evening with a brand new event, the Adult and Corporate Crazy Cardboard Sled Race, presented by Long Road Distillers. This new pay-to-sleigh Friday event is a partnership between Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and Grand Rapids Sports and Social Club. With your $40, you and your teammates can vie for Red Wings hockey tickets, a private tasting and tour ...
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Bowie Night: A wake like no other

Friday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m. doors / 7:30 p.m. event begins
Call it the ultimate send-off or odd sense of timing, but when David Bowie released his last album, Darkstar, on the occasion of his 69th birthday, the critics lined up to weigh in on this modern masterpiece. A few critics even went so far as to say it heralded the return of The Man Who Fell From Earth for its expansive and creative adventurous use of the tools available. It was also hailed for its ability to fold in new elements like the use of an experimental jazz band while reaching into the forgotten vaults of 90s trip hop. Who could have known, except those very close to the artist, that ...
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Theatre double feature: Grace and Godspell

Grace, Thursday, Feb. 4 - 6 & Friday, Feb. 5 - 6 & 12 -14, see individual theatre groups for showtimes
It is rare that two distinct theatre groups in our region present two equally interesting productions touching on the topic of religion. Opening this weekend is GVSU’s production of Godspell (Feb. 5 - 6 & 12 -14) and Actor’s Theater of Grand Rapids’s midwest premiere of Grace (Jan. 28 -30 & Feb. 4 - 6). Godspell, the musical that brought us the pop music hit "Day by Day," is a 1970s look at the life of Christ told though a contemporary lens. It is pure post-sixties counterculture gold touching on themes that still resonate centuries later after the original ...
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Bob Marley has said a lot in his short lifetime, but one quote still remains just as powerful as the day he said it: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” It is one of those powerful lines that informs not just our vision but also one that guides our steps in our world. While Bob Marley only got to live among us for 36 years, his legacy in music, as well as his philosophy of living with one another, still resonates today. On Saturday night, in a neighborhood that has for me ...
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Come out on Friday night to celebrate not just the addition of two new artists to UICA’s Coming Home exhibition, but to welcome the opening of Sticks & Squares and to see the 2015 Fresh Pick winning artist Lydia Boda show. Coming Home focuses on the emerging and established Michigan artists by providing space for inspiration, exploration, and creativity to flow from this exhibition that highlights a diverse group of working artists.  Working within the themes of departures and reunions, Coming Home welcomes two new exhibitions to this series: The Third Age of Bashan by Eric German ...
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I remember spending time with a few friends at a recent art opening when I overheard one say, “They’re an artist’s artist.” Funny how that term overlaps since it was exactly what entertainment booker Dan Climie of Long Road Distillery said, “Julio’s a musician’s musician.” And here’s the thing: he’s right! I was banging my head against the wall, trying to describe musician Julio Gomez, whose local career defies all categories. Here’s a singer-songwriter guy who has roots in punk, but also blues and country. He’s played the ...
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What is getting in the way on your commute? As this city continues to grow and we seek faster ways to recapture our precious time, the commute to the city to work, play, or live is going to be a factor as more and more people call West Michigan their new home. But are we ready really for what a growing city will entail? As we approach the end of winter — and yes, it is getting closer — we need to begin to leverage conversation in our community about how we can begin to create space for multi-modalities in our city’s pathways. The West Michigan Environmental Action Council ...
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Vinyl is right now. Or wait, it was....no, it just is. Formats that rely upon old technology to run, like BetaMax, magnetic reel-tot-reel tape, and even laser discs have come and gone, but one format, the long playing album or LP, has stood the test of time. Part of its appeal is the organic pop and hiss as it pulsates through your hi-fi but the other part is that it really relies very little on a lot of parts and pieces coming together. (See Kenner's Close-n-Play) The joys of favorite artists' vinyl is that somehow, through all the changes, this analog sensation has survived. Signs ...
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Monday morning armchair quarterbacks was once a term used only to describe those who offered advice after the fact on a football play, giving one the allusion that had they been in the huddle the outcomes would have been different. This is also where the snarky reply “shoulda, woulda, coulda” was probably birthed a few second later by Captain Obvious. When this phrase crossed over into other areas of media (and shortly after the debut of Web 2.0), the discussions via these public comment forums often resulted in a mind-numbing back and forth, accomplishing little but bruised egos ...
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One of the highlights of a Rapid Growth event hosted a few years ago at the Grand Rapids Public Museum was from the folks behind restoring the natural flow of the Grand River’s rapids that ironically run rather placidly through downtown Grand Rapids. At this meeting, it was revealed that before man tamed the river for commerce purposes with a series of diversion channels and a dam, the mighty sturgeon would sound its mating call along the shelf that exists on the east bank near the North Monroe neighborhood. And while the thought of a loud group of fish with a lineage reaching back to ...
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Almost on a daily basis the news headlines reflect a world in transition. As the many diverse populations of this planet begin to migrate for a variety of reasons, from climate change to political unrest to religious skirmishes, we as a nation are faced with what to do with the displaced peoples seeking refuge. For many decades Grand Rapids has been a top five destination for the U.S. State Department to place those seeking refuge and asylum. It is something that we have been most proud to share as this region has welcomed such incredible diversity. But with change comes misinformation that ...
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The hilly region of Northern California’s Marin County might lay claim to the birth of mountain biking, but Muskegon’s hilly snow-covered sand dunes is the site where a young inventor created and later patented a wooden planked sporting device that would come to be known as the modern snowboard. After a foot of fresh powder landed in Muskegon on Christmas day in 1965, Sherm Poppen, seeking to find a way to entertain his snowbound daughters, fashioned two skis together in what would become a single board that they could traverse easily down the giant dunes. Since Poppen’s idea ...
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Something wonderful happened recently while I was attending a Grand Rapids Soul Club (GRSC) event. In the middle of one of the mixes, I heard the chorus of a song lift through the beat. At once it was familiar and then not again. As I listened deeper, I realized it was not “Loud Places” by Jamie XX, but rather it was a lesser known (and thereby less familiar) 1977 song, “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” by Idris Muhammad. In this moment I was reminded of the power of GRSC to transfer an audience of passive listeners into active music archaeologists whose quest it was ...
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Grand Rapids musical culture happens in waves, not just along a continual line. This means we will, like any city, experience moments of being hot, followed by a cooling off period. This is true of most cities, like Detroit’s Motown sound of the 1960s to Seattle’s grunge rock scene of the 1990s. But at this moment in time, with the democratization of tools needed to create music, Grand Rapids, like so many places around the country, is experiencing a boom of music releases with one caveat: many of our groups are actually beginning to get national attention. An act that is really ...
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We all could use a bit of a brush up when it comes to our personal or professional brands and what makes us attractive. Luckily for you, one of the leaders of branding, Jason Sperling, will be at CityFlatsHotel to present a lecture aptly titled, Look at Me When I Am Talking to You. The title of the lecture is the same as the book Sperling is creating, which is the very first book to be created entirely on the Instagram platform. This innovative writer concluded his contribution to literature on his 176th day of working on it with a thrilling note to his readers who, if you are like, me often ...
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Riding the crest of the wave of acts from Michigan doing their best to stay on tour (and thus on the minds of their growing fan base) is the act Valentiger. This Grand Rapids-based three-piece band, Valentiger is Brent Shirey (vocals, guitar), Scott Rider (drummer) and Bill Kahler (bassist), who will be dropping in at Founders Brewing Company’s Taproom at the midway point of their latest 10-city tour of the Midwest and upper East Coast. Valentiger has often been referred to by many writers as the slow burn artist of Grand Rapids, in that they are solid in each of their releases over the ...
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In 2015, shortly after the San Bernardino shootings in California, the Grand Rapids Police Department announced their intention to move ahead with the purchase of 65 assault rifles — a purchasing decision later confirmed through a 5-2 vote by the City Commission on December 15. The leadership of Equity Drinks took an important step at this meeting, addressing the commission by reading a carefully prepared statement crafted by their leadership asking for a delay on the vote. They asked that a final approval be delayed until the city’s 12-point police community relations plan has ...
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David Bowie is turning 69 on Friday, and the night before fans of the AARP-certified rocker are invited to attend Vinyl Thursdays at Harmony Brewing, which will be throwing a party for the man The New York Times once called in 2002 a 21st-century entrepreneur because of the scope of projects the artist has surrounded himself with as he ages. Proving he shows no sign of slowing down as an artist, the artist recently penned a few songs for the new off-broadway show Lazarus, a follow-up to “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” It debuted in New York on Dec. 7 and was, at the end of the year, ...
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Last year, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series welcomed a lot of great music, but one act really pushed Bob Boilen’s capacity to the bursting point as Mucca Pazza crammed the 23-member band behind the famed set/desk. Now, almost a year later, the band hailing from Chicago will be landing in Grand Rapids and will be facing the same challenges as they did on the NPR program as they attempt to fit all the members on the tiny stage at the Pyramid Scheme. What sets them apart from the Detroit Party Marching Band (another amazing band to see when they return to GR) is that Mucca Pazza ...
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