"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 VandenBerg was able to take advantage of a gap in her favorite band's touring schedule to bring Dead Prez back to town.
Often described as "revolutionary hip hop with a touch of gangsta lean," this duo, made up of M-1 and stic, is sure to inspire any community member with their socially rich, lyrically powerful concert style, which is quite appropriate for our city's birthday gal, who is also known for her authentic approach to society's challenges.
VandenBerg is the executive director of Well House but has long been an advocate for social justice issues, from homelessness, LGBT rights, environmental awareness, and HIV prevention and treatment via her work with The Grand Rapids Project Red.
Dead Prez is one of those rare acts, like VandenBerg, not afraid to travel down new pathways of thought, forsaking the trappings of "this is the way things have always been done" logic. In my humble opinion, we as a society are better because these visionaries create better communities through their art and their activism.
Maybe life does begin at 40 or, at the very least, begins at VandenBerg's fortieth birthday party on Friday night.
Admission: Limited general admission advance tickets sold
at $15 each.