G-Sync

West Michigan has long had a steady relationship with the work of one power couple (and their grandparents) and for once I am not talking about the DeVos-VanAndel empire but that of Charles and Ray Eames, who formed a partnership with Herman Miller that we still benefit from to this day. But many may not be aware of how their grandson, Eames Demetrios, has been traveling the world, creating new connections as he installs markers and denotes the historic sites of a parallel world he calls Kcymaerxthaere. I was recently reminded of these 104 markers and historic sites installed in 22 ...
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West Michigan has long had a steady relationship with the work of one power couple (and their grandparents) and for once I am not talking about the DeVos-VanAndel empire but that of Charles and Ray Eames, who formed a partnership with Herman Miller that we still benefit from to this day. But many may not be aware of how their grandson, Eames Demetrios, has been traveling the world, creating new connections as he installs markers and denotes the historic sites of a parallel world he calls Kcymaerxthaere. I was recently reminded of these 104 markers and historic sites installed in 22 ...
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There is no shortage of fun dance party events in the city these days and this weekend, in what can only be described as the battle of the booty, comes two events that even old King Solomon would have trouble choosing between.   For starters, The Pyramid Scheme is banking on a big box office sequel success with the return of last year's popular downtown comic store Vault of Midnight's second dress up event: Super Heroes Unite! (The first one was a birthday celebration for Batman who, if you recall, is finally old enough to collect social security.) To up your odds, use the hashtag ...
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As Grand Rapids attracts more and more attention from the outside, those on the inside know that our city has a vibrant and lively music community committed to expanding our musical landscape. Michigan Global Roots Music Festival (MGRMF) is committed to the showcasing of local world music. The festival returns to downtown's One Trick Pony for an afternoon of amazing grooves to start your winter thaw on March 1 right. With a focus on the family aspects of this music (i.e. lyrically smart for families worried about language use), MGRMF presents traditional world folk music married to a ...
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Local actor and singer/songwriter Joshua Burge's face is being plastered all over buildings -- and soon the big screen -- in celebration of his role in director Joel Potrykus' third Grand Rapids-set animal film trilogy "Buzzard," which is coming to American theaters on March 6.   But before the national release, on Mar. 4 you will have another great opportunity to see the second film in the trilogy, "Ape," at UICA.   In the first short film, “Coyote,” Burge is a nervous werewolf ranting about howling at the sun like the junkie that he is. Pretty tame ...
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It is easy to think that whistle blowers are something that occur in other parts of the country or world and are not connected to tiny, off-the-beaten-path places like Grand Rapids.   However, on March 8, 1971 a group of ordinary Americans (including a couple from Grand Rapids) who were very concerned about potential violations of civil rights did something quite bold. Their story is the subject of a documentary film, 1971, and is being screened as a part of Fountain Street Church Duncan Littlefair Great Speaker Series. Local residents Bonnie Raines and her husband John were members of this ...
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In the years ahead, I predict Grand Rapids will not only watch women become a dominant force in the battle of the sexes (demographic division), but with a little push from these two groups, we are also sure to see a new wave of female all-stars emerge from the male-dominated pack.   For more than a decade the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls have been part of a new wave of roller derby more than 200 international teams strong. This weekend, they will be celebrating, and on Saturday will be partnering with the Experience Pink Project to help draw awareness to breast cancer prevention. They will ...
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This might seem like a very strange event to feature in G-Sync but quite often within the pages of this section, we devote focus not just to what is happening but how it fits into the greater context of what has come before. The Grand Rapids Public Library features many interesting opportunities to help us better understand our relationship to our own history in the city with a local history department -- but our own history is often much harder to reveal. If you seek a more thrilling connective experience to your past and have contemplated what your ancestry might look like, then this is ...
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As we struggle as a region to discover the silver bullet that will ensure all our dreams come true – economically speaking, of course -- a next generation of innovators are stepping off the path and trying new things all the time. They're in pursuit of a hundred things that have the potential to make this region radically different than ever before. From Grand Rapids changing its education models to STEM (and a few looking at STEAM) to Kendall College of Art and Design's newest fashion program, this region is betting on a host of things to enact a powerful change in how we ...
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As we enter the second weekend of celebrations commemorating Black History Month, Grand Rapids has two distinct dramatic arts events worth considering.   The first is a dramatic reading of Jeff Stetson's play The Meeting performed by the area's premier theatrical arts group devoted to the Black theater arts and education programming opportunities, the Ebony Road Players.   The Meeting imagines a chance encounter between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X and what they might have discussed in private had these two leaders spent an hour or so together. Under Stetson's pen we are ...
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If you are a fan of local music, then this is the night that is tailor-made for a seasonally appropriate love-fest – and not just because it's Valentine's Day weekend. In fact, in a recent conversation with WYCE's newly hired station manager AJ Paschka he was pretty bold about his prediction about who was going to win big this year. As to who Paschka thinks will come out ahead, well, you might be shocked to hear his answer. "Grand Rapids," says Paschka, who believes that the next big thing to emerge out of a region known for Amway salesman and craft beer is ...
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It is really rare that two art events that really should be happening in tandem appear on the same night, making it difficult for me to act like ol' King Solomon. So rather than split the baby, I have decided you should see both of these art shows simply because of the women behind these shows and what they have to offer.   In the Eastown business district, it is the debut of the newest body of paintings from local artist and comedienne Sarah Jean Anderson. Not only has Anderson's new exhibition, Born to Beguile, raised a few eyebrows from art collectors who cannot quite figure out ...
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I can think of no more fitting organization to host the exploration of culture than the public library. The joys of leafing through a book to make a discovery are multiplied each year as our Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) hosts the 10th Annual Taste of Soul Sunday downtown on Sunday, Feb. 15. Taste of Soul Sunday has grown over the years to become the most popular of events hosted each year at the GRPL's downtown branch. In fact, you could almost say it is downright heavenly to experience the music of the guest artists like Karisa Wilson, Serita's Black Rose, and the Imani ...
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Last week while in San Francisco, I discovered firsthand what I have long suspected: talent indeed travels. No, I am not talking about my journey, but about the way my phone blew up upon landing at SFO with a text from a member of Grand Rapids' Don't We Boys (DWB) comic troupe announcing that they were to perform at the 14th annual SF Sketchfest on Saturday night. The DWB with their single text confirmed that our region is in a comic renaissance, as more and more people come to learn that Grand Rapids has some very funny bones among us. Joining our local improvisational comic ...
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Most three-year-olds can be awkward, but not SpeakEz. When SpeakEz opens their doors on Saturday to celebrate three years of existence, they will be inviting all the diverse groups who are entertained (or do the entertaining) back to help blow out the candles. What makes this bar worth celebrating this Saturday is not just the incredible beer specials, but that this place has pushed the entertainment envelope by programming everything from live jazz to expanding their line-up to include new faces out and proud in the open. Additionally, the Grand Rapids Football Club will be debuting their ...
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For the last three years, the Michigan Adventure Race: Winter Edition, has wowed audiences from the Cannonsburg Ski Area where this challenging obstacle course of a race has traditionally been held. But due to the rising interest in this unique racing event (translating into more registrations), the organizers had to move it to Rockford's Camp Roger. Part of the move is due to space concerns, but according to race director Mark VanTongeren, they are also committed to providing more inclusive access via the core elements of adventure racing (multiple events, teams, map/navigation based) ...
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In Celebration of Women’s History Month (and during Grand Rapids' Year in Disability and Art) comes a new lecture on an extraordinary woman, Roberta Griffith. This event features Gordon Olson, Grand Rapids City Historian Emeritus, and Rick Stevens, Executive Director of Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI). Sponsored by the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, this presentation focuses on Griffith, who lost her sight as an infant and later went on to achieve greatness on the national, state, and local levels. Ten years older than Helen Keller, ...
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The days are getting longer but your window to see parts two and three of the award-winning exhibition curated by KCAD's Michele Bosak is closing January 30. As an incentive to see these last two installments, The FED Galleries are hosting a series of "I Am" lectures (that began earlier this week) with two very special speakers on tap for the final days of the show. On Thursday night this show, which focuses on gender and associated themes around the body, will present the work of multi-media artist Heather Cassils. The artist uses his body as a form from which the work often ...
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Very soon the new Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture will open to the public. Before we turn to Japanese-everything this June when it debuts, the gallery is offering a spectacular invitation to begin our journey to the East with the Splendors of Shiga: Treasures from Japan exhibition. The region of Shiga is not just one of the most picturesque regions of Japan, but the Shiga Prefecture and the State of Michigan have a Sister-State relationship in one of the oldest and most comprehensive cultural partnerships between our two nations. But ...
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While Elvis sits at home in his retirement hideaway in Kalamazoo, the city's roller derby team, Killamazoo Derby Darlins, will hit the road to celebrate the King's birthday (1/31) with a double header against our Grand Raggidy Roller Girls.   Prior to this match, Killamazoo has been ranked 59th so it is your duty as a local citizen to support our girls, who are ranked right behind them at 61st. Let's Killa Killamazoo and raise our rank! Proving once again that no other team trains, plays, or promotes as hard as our girls, Grand Raggidy Roller Girls and their booster club will ...
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It seems to me that there is no shortage of art-themed events these days. Even MOMA New York is getting in on the action with classes these days. And while some may cringe at the thought of having to paint a landscape (myself included), some are perfectly ok with that activity. And if you are okay with the theme of "Love Birds" (again I cringe) then this Wednesday at Billy's Lounge - who has joined a list of other bars locally to offer painting nights – you have found your true calling for paint and pints. Over the course of two hours, you will be able to enjoy a ...
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People like to say that classical music is dead, but I would argue, looking at the numbers from other cities that maybe it's just that our local perspective could use some infusion of the creative revolution of talent happening within one of the centers of culture: New York's Lincoln Center. And not only could you prove me wrong by purchasing a ticket to this one-night-only event, but the arrival of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center musicians David Finckel, cellist, Benjamin Beilman, violin, Ani Kavafian, violin, Yura Lee, violin/viola and Paul Neubauer, viola to Grand ...
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WinterWest: Reasons to love winter right now

Friday - Sunday, Jan. 23 - 25, see website for event times
Over the last few years the city has really evolved, and while much of it went unrecorded elsewhere, those who read Rapid Growth know the back story of these events, having been plugged in since the start. We hope he insider's perspective has served you well in connecting you to the fun. One event that has formed around the beauty of neighborhood events that bring community together is WinterWest – an outdoor themed event returning for the fifth year in a row to Richmond Park from January 23-25. WinterWest, at its core, is really about creating an opportunity for fun to advance ...
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With all the talk about the circus these days and the elephant cruelty issue working its way through city hall, I was hesitant about anything with the word circus until I got to see Bangarang Circus in action. Returning for their third annual Pyramid Scheme extravaganza on Sunday, Jan. 25, ringleader Rachel Finan shares why Bangarang offers not just something unique but also an opportunity for those charged with event planning. This is a human-centered circus, unlike others where elaborate production values must be installed on a stage to create the desired impact. Bangarang's ...
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One of the happiest bands in the city takes to the stage on the West side and you may never attend another band's event the same way. What has been lost in so much of our pursuit to be "fill-in-the-blanks" as a city is often our sense of humor. This is the void we have created and where, lucky for us, a Bermuda Triangle-like event happens when musicians, including members Michael Cunningham, Jolene Rumsey, Claire Fisher and a revolving door of others, hit the stage to create one of the best nights of music this side of the Grand River. I wish I could hum you a song or post a ...
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The art of capturing a city is a tricky one for artists since you want to be true but not trite in your representation.   Luckily for us, one of the largest collections of Reynold Weidenaar, an artist who hails from West Michigan and went on to earn international acclaim, will be on display at the Grand Rapids Public Museum in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth, celebrated in the new exhibition, Through the Eyes of Weidenaar. Before Weidenaar left our region, he spent a lot of time recording the city of Grand Rapids. Many of these early drawings are being exhibited for the first ...
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HopCat: Seven Grand Years!

Saturday, Jan. 17, 11:00 a.m. doors
Grand Rapids is full of parties devoted to the beer culture of this city, but one bar appears to have world domination on its mind.   No, I am not talking about the takeover of the planet by Founders Brewing Company – although I would not mind – but instead I am talking about the bar that's spawning a new class of urban brewpubs devoted to the unique pleasures of exploring fresh beers. I am talking about HopCat as it celebrates its 7th year. Part of this celebration will be people toasting to the continued growth of our local brand and the many things that they make possible, ...
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With 2015 just a few days old, the thought of going out might trigger a reaction from the center of your brain that rules your pleasure center. With a freshly minted stack of New Year's Resolutions, it is easy to see how some music fans might be tempted to just sit out a big night of local music when WYCE 88.5 FM hands out their annual Jammie Awards at The Intersection Lounge on Feb. 14. But you don't want to miss that – and you don't want to miss one of the biggest and most anticipated releases of the new year happening this Saturday night. Since it was hinted last October ...
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Scrapbooking your family vacations is so 2014 when you consider the new forms of historical, sleuth-like adventures that are waiting within your city to be uncovered and then rendered in a form of your choosing. And while the focus of this event is on story sleuthing history, what you do after in reaction is sure to be creative, so consider a scrapbook. On Saturday you are invited to attend the Grand Rapids Public Library’s award-winning “History Detectives: Sleuthing for Local History” event produced in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Historical Society. This all-day ...
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At one point you will stand back and look at what you hang on your wall and say, "That sure looks great." That purchase or creation you have is part of your vision, the organizing of your world around something as wonderful as art. It will have value to you. On Friday night the public is invited to stop by UICA and hear from Ryan Kortman, along with Ben Gott, as they talk about the why, what, and how when they determine which contemporary art pieces they will add to a collection. I, for one, am most intrigued to know more (and to see this show at least one or two more times before ...
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"Forty isn't old, if you're a tree." On Friday night The Pyramid Scheme's co-owner Tami VandenBerg - a towering "tree" in our community - is turning forty and she's inviting the city to join her in a celebration. And while I hosted a karaoke party for my 40th, VandenBerg, as co-club owner (with brother Jeff VandenBerg), has something truly fun planned for the community on the occasion of her big night. Not only will the stage feature local favorites like our very own SuperDre (formerly of Grand Rapids) and Detroit's vinyl spin master DJ Pyscho, but ...
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The new season of Salt of the Earth concert series has just been released and already the shows are selling briskly. It is not hard to see why this series, filled with nine acts over ten weeks (no Super Bowl Sunday concert on 2/1), is a big draw when names like bluegrass' Cabbage Crik & Ruth & Max (1/11), Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys 'eclectic Americana' (1/18), and local singer-songwriters J. Oscar Bittinger, Ralston Bowles, Michael Crittenden, and Josh Rose (all 1/25) plan to take to this tiny town's stage. Fennville may seem like a long way for many in the ...
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January is often the season of beginnings and downtown shop/art gallery/social space Have Company is offering something that is truly unique to this region: a chance to learn how to weave a wall hanging in an evening from a working artist and to leave with a work of art for your home. Have Company welcomes artist-in-residence Meghan Shimek as she presents a night of meditative weaving – a new form of relaxation, according to shop owner Marlee Grace. This event takes a lot of the frustration out of the mix by prepping the looms in advance so you can start your creation almost as soon as ...
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Hey fans of the forgotten age of VHS and BetaMax! The Found Footage Festival of New York is rolling back into town with co-hosts Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (Letterman, Colbert) on the occasion of their 10-year anniversary.   Oh, they are not "together" as in a couple – unless, of course, that's revealed in a long-forgotten VHS proving otherwise. No, this is their 10th year of taking the treasures of those early years of VHS, when everyone thought fame was just a frame away and anyone could be a video star if only someone would stop by our house to watch our ...
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Vox Vidorra: X-Mas blues healer

Saturday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Everything that Molly Bouwsma Schultz graces with her voice just gets better and better. It is why this female vocalist is in such high demand all over the city. But it is her latest band project, Vox Vidorra, that is once again giving you a reason to leave the comfort of your home as she heats up our area's stages. This Friday, we have a rare chance to see the band that is playing out a lot these days in a great neighborhood bar that is truly a rare gem in this city, as each venture to the venue feels like a homecoming. Some spaces just have an untouchable sense of style and place ...
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At this point there are so many First Friday events in the city that it is hard to tell them apart as folks race from venue to venue in the hopes of being seen and being at the scene that is happening. But when Linc Gallery decided to add a new night devoted to the Latino population and culture of our city, they noticed that the Third Friday was like an uncharted land of opportunity. Following the pattern of their First Friday events devoted primarily to the African American experience in our city, La Tardeada offers a chance for the Hispanic community of Grand Rapids to network with ...
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In October of this year, G-Sync Events ventured to cover just one ArtPrize event/entry, the Super Happy Funtime Burlesque's (SHFB) ArtPrize: The Musical. While it might seem like I was stacking the deck, I knew even with a mad following of fans here in town and around the country, they would not have a chance to win, so no harm no foul…until they started to track with voters on the short list of things to see at the popular fall event. After a year of going in and out of this city as SHFB toured all over, the occasion of a holiday party seemed like the perfect opportunity for us ...
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The newly energized music series, WYCE Live at Wealthy Theatre, is not just turning heads but is helping area groups in the process. What is not to love about a jazz act that not only creates critically acclaimed music but does so from a songbook closer to your iPod than your grandpa's Victrola?   When The Bad Plus returns for what I think will be their 4th visit to the area, we can expect some of their familiar foray into pop culture's music as it is transformed in a remarkable and never predictable fashion. They also will be here to promote an entire cover-free new release, ...
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Did you miss your prom? Is that Ugly Sweater Party not smelling so great after too many of them? Does your star shine brighter in glitter than felted oversized wool garments? Then you can change your course of action during a time of too many layers and strip down to wear something really glamorous as you dance the night away with our Grand Raggidy Roller Girls (GRRG), who present the second annual Retro Prom fundraiser at Creston’s Rezervoir Lounge. This year's event, officially titled Retro Prom: Red Carpet Edition, is your chance to do some good while getting down among the ...
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Last week we witnessed a record sold out, SRO crowd to see the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus' Winter Concert, so you can be certain if you delay on this weekend's musical marvel you will be locked out in the cold of the night.   This Saturday night, be sure to catch the annual holiday men's chorus who will mark their 7th year with an all-new program, "Making Your Yuletide Gay." This popular and affirming "all are welcome" holiday concert from the West Michigan Gay Men's Chorus is sure to lift your spirits. This year the men are planning a very special ...
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In November, G-Sync profiled the big changes continuing to happen at the West Side's Glitter Milk Gallery via director Miranda Sharp's vision of what a modern gallery can be. Moving into a new era of programming, Sharp presents the Speed Reading exhibition, which is about the written word by authors with connections to the Midwest. Speed Reading is much more than the work of ten nationally renowned Michigan authors being paired with contemporary artists of our region. It is a chance to secure a very limited edition anthology of this unique collaboration at a great price. Sharp ...
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Chess: Cold war politics mixed for your pleasure

Opening Thursday, Dec. 4, 8 p.m. (through Sunday, Dec. 20)
As an artist is it hard to present new works of art sometimes. Often this struggle is because the new work is created in the shadow of the staggering genius of previous work that towers over the newborn.   This is especially true for lyricist Tim Rice, the co-creator to partner Andrew Lloyd Webber's huge smash Broadway hits Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968), Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), and Evita (1976).   For his new work, Chess, one of many compositions that would be absent of Webber, Rice enlisted the former ABBA bandmates Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus for ...
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Mo' Markets: Keep the local love going

Various dates and locations; see copy below
Grand Rapids, MI
In 2008, a then-new Local Works study revealed that more than 60 percent of every $100 spent at a locally owned store is reinvested in the community, compared to just 43 percent from non-local store spending. But I think if you were to hang with the artists of our community, you would find, as I have, that our artists in our city are very generous, often taking proceeds from a sale and buying the work of other artists.   This weekend I want to suggest four artist-driven market events where you can invest a little but make a huge impact in the lives of many. Uptown Holiday Shop Hop: Thursday, ...
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December is a great time to think about the many things we have in our community and the gifts they give us all year 'round. One such item is the gift of song and no other vocal group does it with such style as the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus, who present an evening of beautiful and inspiring music at their annual Winter Concert.   This internationally recognized chorus will once again challenge our ears to listen as they showcase an eclectic showcase of songs, including a Czech folksong with cello from Donald Patriquin’s World Music Suite called “Ach, Synku, Synku" ...
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The DanceOff: Finals are here

Saturday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m. doors, 9 p.m. dance begins
This weekend, a total of 16 dancers who competed in public auditions earlier this fall season will finally get to the finals, with one rising through the ranks to be crowned the best dancer in the city! On Saturday night, Dec. 6, three judges will decide who is going to be the winner in the city's first ever The DanceOff competition. “The goal of The DanceOff is to showcase some of the extraordinary talent we have in the Grand Rapids area while supporting a vital resource in our community to help more people achieve the safety and comfort we all deserve,” says Jonathan ...
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Are you the type of foodie who has fantasized about being under one room with access to 1,200+ wines and 200+ beers, plus an array of handmade (and many local) ciders and light-up-the-night spirits?   If you are a local and you answer, "Yes… and I have been for years now been seeking such an experience," then I must say, "Where have you been all this time?" because this weekend we offer such an experience right downtown at the Grand Rapids Wine, Beer and Food Festival for the 7th year in row. Within this ultimate one-stop-shop are thousands of chances to sample ...
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OK, I will admit that I wanted to employ just the right amount of provocative to get your attention, not only about the return of the Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) Black Market but also the debut of the 1st Annual GRABB Awards reception. This year's Black Market is an event devoted to increasing the visibility of Black-owned businesses, bringing the community into the awareness camp so they can understand the power of patronizing these local businesses, and supporting the businesses during the holiday season and beyond. This year, the market is combined with a new event, the ...
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If you are an alien and you want to take over the city of Grand Rapids, then this is your weekend to stage that attack, as the streets and halls of hotels will be filled with comic fans many adorned as their favorite character who will descend upon our fair snow-covered city for the ever-growing Comic-Con. You'll blend right in with the costumed crowd. If you know what Comic-Con is, then you are already preparing your outfits for the weekend festivities that sprawl from the DeltaPlex for the convention to the area bars and businesses ready to receive you just as you are. (Area merchants ...
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Sometimes a writer will step back and let another take over. When I asked John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of Local Spins Online Magazine, to reflect on his last 20 years of producing the music-fueled charity event, Feedback (first known as Basement Bands Benefit), I expected a few bits of quotes. What I got is really worth printing in its entirety, but here are a few things should know before you venture out to attend this concert. These are John's reflections on Feedback: "For two decades, this has been a true labor of love for me and my band mate, friend and guitarist Charley ...
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Every year many in our nation participate in a tradition where we decorate a tree in our living room. For those feeling a bit patriotic or wanting to run the risk of tree envy, you will have just one chance (shy of traveling to the District of Columbia) to see our Nation's Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree.” What began in 1964, when then-Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack (D-MA) placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn, has evolved to an updated reality that many who garden could have predicted. In this case, it became ...
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