West Michigan Blues Society’s Holiday Party: Blues on stage, happiness at every table

Sunday, Dec. 8, 1:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Billy’s Lounge, 1437 Wealthy St. SE
With December dropping tons of snow on us on the first day of the month, we honestly are not shocked if you all you want to do is curl up on the couch and wait for spring to return. (We understand.) But that would be a mistake as the winter season in the city is often the hottest for entertainment options. Happening at Eastown’s iconic music venue/neighborhood bar Billy’s Lounge on Sunday, December 8th, the West Michigan Blues Society’s annual Holiday Party promises to be hotter than ever. Our West Michigan Blues Society (WMBS) seeks to promote and preserve the appreciation ...
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Tribute Show: Party like it's 1999!

Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:00 p.m. (doors)
The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce SE
Over the last few years, The Pyramid Scheme (PS) has been hosting a locally unique live music series that asks our local musicians to pair up with other act’s members to form super acts who will for one night gather to perform a classic album from the year they are honoring. Last year at this time, we gathered at The Scheme (nickname for PS) to hear these pop-up acts cover from front to back 1998’s album releases from artists Nada Surf, Hole, Refused, and Fatboy Slim.  This year’s Tribute Show series visits the year 1999 and will be showcasing the entire album in performance ...
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Eastown Holiday Tree Lighting Party: A tiny creative act builds community within a city neighborhood

Thursday, Dec. 5, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Harmony Brewing Company, 1551 Lake Dr. SE
Let’s raise a toast to those in our neighborhoods who perform little acts of kindness with a dash of creativity.  One such example is that last year, Eastown’s Harmony Brewing Company decided that due to their prime location in Eastown, they would put up a tree and then host a neighborhood tree lighting. And with no big fanfare but with a lot of love for their community, a new tradition was born the moment the lights were activated on their Christmas tree.  For 2019, the Eastown Holiday Tree Lighting Party has moved to the same night, as the annual Uptown Holiday Shop Hop 2019 ...
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Vertigo Music Takeover Jam: A beloved local record store hits the neighborhood pub

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 9:00 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Rocky’s Bar and Grill, 633 Ottawa Ave. NW
We all have a lot of choices this Wednesday, Nov. 27 when our area bars and craft brewpubs entice folks to come out the night before Thanksgiving for the biggest bar night of the year.  This annual tradition has only grown with time and provides area locals, as well as those traveling back home, an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and family members in a comfortable urban setting.  For those looking to step it up hoping to dance until 2 a.m. (before heading home to raid the refrigerator of the many holidays treats for our four-day thanksgiving break), then the Vertigo Music Takeover ...
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Kelly and Rick CD Release Party: Cabaret gets the spotlight it deserves

Sunday, Nov. 24, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Apartment Lounge, 33 Sheldon Ave. NE
As a transplant from Flint to Grand Rapids, I have always enjoyed our very vibrant art scene from day one. And while many changes and emergent styles have occurred within the arts over the last few decades, one area that has stood the test of time is the cabaret performer, and we have folks like Rick Santamaria to thank for that today. Over the years, Santamaria, a very talented musical artist with infectious vocal chops, a rapid-fire wit, and impressive keyboard skills, has entertained us in a variety of venues and often with a stellar guest vocalist in tow. His latest cabaret act, Kelly and ...
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Each year we all participate in one way or another in the many holiday traditions that begin to pop up on your calendar, from office parties to the super bowl of all holidays: Christmas. And yet at many of these events, we splurge on extras that often are great sounding at the time of purchase only to riddle the thinking person’s mind at the end with a gnawing question: what am I going to do with all this stuff now? (And often we just toss it in the trash and say, 'I will do better next time'). At The Factory, a downtown co-working space that just celebrated ten years in Grand ...
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Each year we have recommended that our audience visit the annual Grand Rapids Wine, Beer, & Food Festival at DeVos Place where wines, beers, ciders, and too many to mention food adventures await those who will make the journey to attend. Besides the chance to attend insightful lectures and workshops, engaging cooking demonstrations, and sample inspiring new offerings, this event is a chance to see up-close and often meet the producers of the many beverages that are just waiting to be discovered. What I have personally enjoyed over the last 11 years that I have attended is the chance to ...
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Over the last year, UICA has continued an evolution to reshape the landscape of our art community. Personally, I am beyond thrilled to see the intentionality here to be ever more inclusive — a trait that I believe has been a part of the UICA experience since I first walked through their doors on Race Street in 1986.  Currently on display is the work of Larry Cook: On The Scene, which, according to his description, “examines the formal, social, and cultural aspects of this photographic practice, including photographs of subjects posing in front of backdrops that focus on elements of ...
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Rhythm and Race Documentary: Popular GR music doc appears at a musically-focused downtown church

Sunday, Nov. 10, 12:45 p.m.
Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE
In May 2017, a new documentary produced at the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT), “Rhythm and Race: A History of African American Music in Grand Rapids,” debuted at Wealthy Theatre, providing not just an opportunity for folks to witness a new work of art in progress, but a special screening event for filmmakers to discover new voices that would further deepen the film project’s scope. A year later in May 2018, “Rhythm and Race” would appear this time at Celebration Cinema North for its big-screen debut with an exclusive interview with Curtis ...
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Prohibition Music Series: November is chilly, but local singer-songwriters are hot

Debuting Thursday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Creston Brewery, 1504 Plainfield NE
Earlier this year, Creston Brewery added an upright piano to their tasting room/restaurant and I was immediately captivated for two main reasons: First, I was intrigued that probably unbeknownst to those just popping in for the first time to this north-end neighborhood brewpub (where, thank God, there are no TV screens found within), just across the street from the brewery is the site of a former piano repair shop that specialized in servicing the upright style for many years in the Creston neighborhood before shuttering their doors a couple years ago. Secondly, I have over my life enjoyed ...
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Rocky Horror Picture Show: “Let’s do the time warp again!”

Thursday, Oct. 31, 10:30 p.m.
Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy SE
All of us enter the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" universe at some point. And while some have experienced it via their home screening on their TV or streamed to their tablet, truth be told, Rocky Horror (as it is commonly referred to by fans) is best experienced on the big screen and with a large audience of fans. And the fans of Rocky Horror are unlike any other in cinema history as this popular cult film, which almost immediately gained notoriety, is also an example of how audience participation has shaped this film to become something legendary. Originally released in 1975, Rocky ...
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As the warmish fall weather exits, ushering in a new phase of unpredictability with increased threats of rain and (gasp) snow flurries, many popular, year-round Grand Rapids events begin to move inside. And fans of the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society (GROSS) — an ongoing year-round public dance series — will be in luck this Halloween as our area’s most community-engaging dance party will be one of the very first events to inhabit the newly renovated The LitGR (the site of the former Ladies Literary Club). Realizing that not everyone has a background in dance styles like ...
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Eastown Howl-oween Pawty: The city goes to the dogs at Uptown neighborhood park

Saturday, Oct. 19, 1 - 5 p.m.
Wilcox Park, 100 Youell Ave SE
Ever since the creation of the citizen-raised Hillcrest Dog Park (1415 Lyon St NE) at Fuller Park, Grand Rapids has quickly gone to the dogs. This is visibly evident anywhere you travel in the city where dogs big and small parade their owners (or walkers) out in the open. People here love their canine friends. On Saturday at Eastown’s Wilcox Park (and within a short distance from Hillcrest — our city’s first public dog park) arrives the first-ever Howl-oween Pawty produced by the Eastown Community Association. This free event will welcome dogs, their owners, and friends to a ...
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Zoo Goes Boo: Westside is the best side and now with six days of trick-or-treating!

Opening Friday, Oct. 18 (through Oct. 27)
John Ball Zoo, 1300 Fulton W
What is better than the opportunity to go trick-or-treating this Halloween? Well, if your costumed self lands at John Ball Zoo starting on Friday, October 18, you can potentially engage in six days of this fun activity.  When Zoo Goes Boo, sponsored by Meijer, arrives back at John Ball Zoo, fans of this popular Halloween-themed event will have a chance to go trick-or-treating, view a stunning array of costumes, enjoy fresh entertainment, marvel at all the cool zoo decorations, and participate in lots of smile-inducing games. The cost of admission to this annual event is $12.00/adults and ...
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WGVU and NPR Pop Up Series: Listening Room’s soft opening debut with Molly

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7:00 p.m. (doors at 5:30 p.m.)
Studio Park, Listening Room, 123 Ionia SW
It is not every day that a person has a chance to experience the debut of something new, but tucked away upstairs and to the left of the lobby of Studio Park is a new performance venue: Listening Room. And on Wednesday, October 16, WGVU Public Radio and NPR invite you to the soft opening debut of Listening Room with special guest Molly. This ticketed, general admission event is part of a series of pop up shows that showcase Michigan artists and will give the public the opportunity to experience this intimate, 200-seat venue that is acoustically superior in every way. And this freshness has ...
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Thriller! Chiller!: So much more than just cult films

Opening Tuesday, Oct. 8 (through Saturday, Oct. 12)
Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St. SE
There is no shortage of genre cinema that one can access and stream as you lay in bed. But what fun is that, when just down the street in East Hills is an opportunity to experience a film within the setting it was created in the first place? And a favorite world festival, Thriller! Chiller!, is returning to Wealthy Theatre. Thriller! Chiller! is Michigan’s original international film festival celebrating the world’s best independent action, sci-fi, horror, suspense, thrills and chills movies screened in a neighborhood cinema of Grand Rapids. Thriller! Chiller! returns starting ...
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Relax at Rosa Meets Project 1: Dance in the Annex debuts a new performance piece downtown

Starting Thursday, Oct. 3 (and each Thursday until Oct. 24)
Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center NW
Since Relax at Rosa debuted downtown, people who venture to Rosa Parks Circle have experienced a wonderful range of local musicians who have taken to this outdoor stage to entertain folks who are enjoying their lunch hour or just want to see a concert outside of a bar or club. And while the popular annual music series has delighted the ears of those who venture to listen, starting on October 3 and every Thursday after until October 24, Relax at Rosa will engage your eyes as Dance in the Annex (DITA) will be debuting a fresh new contemporary dance series titled, “A Women's Place is on ...
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Mdou Moctar might be playing wedding music when he is back in his hometown village of Tchintabaraden located in rural Niger, but that is probably not for long as he racks up a sizable list of influential fans here in the states, including Bob Boilen of NPR Music. We’ve all heard stories of folks who have benefited from digging into those forgotten spaces of the web where old movements remain buried, ready to be revived. And we can thank YouTube’s reach deep into Mdou Moctar’s village where, due to his community’s very conservative Islamic standards that forbid folks ...
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It is no secret that Grand Rapidians love nostalgia. Personally, I think we do a little too much that this constant backward glance can get in the way of creative progress as many artists seek to move us into future spaces. That said, I do think there are those who work within this space who not only understand the challenges but also set out to create a program to make sure they keep it fresh as they evolve this area of entertainment. Jef Leppard is one such local artist who continues to spin classics from the 70s through the 90s and does so in a way that continues to build fans in our ...
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Grand Rapids VegFest: The annual festival devoted to all things vegan turns 5!

Sunday, Sept. 28, 10:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The DeltaPlex Arena, 2500 Turner Ave NW
It is a great time to be a vegan in Grand Rapids as this once sleepy bedroom community has now more than 40 restaurants offering an array of animal-free options on their menus … and this was before Burger King rolled out the Impossible Whopper! But VegFest, which is celebrating its fifth year, is so much more than just eating as this annual event touches on so many areas of vegan living from cosmetics to clothing/fashion, animal rights, restaurants, and wellness coaching. Each year our local VegFest has showcased an ever-expanding list of vendors as well as the local chefs and ...
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Digital Asset Management 101 - Get your “stuff” together this fall

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Little Space Studio, 111 Division Ave S
When Little Space Studio (LSS) first opened on Division Avenue, it appeared to join the long line of startups who have sought to bring folks to this once designated arts district. (Even LSS’s space has been many things over the years.) But in keeping with their mission to serve our community more fully they have been expanding their offerings from services found within to hosting community gatherings. This Wednesday, Sept. 25, they are offering an educational opportunity to anyone trying to manage the ever-expansive digital world that continues to demand more and more of our time away ...
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African American Art and Music Festival: A joyous and expansive celebration lands at MLK Park

Saturday, Sept. 21, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE
Turn on the TV, visit any movie theatre, or just cue up a top ten hits Spotify music playlist and you’d be hard-pressed not to be exposed to the creative offerings of an African American artist.  And on Saturday, September 21, local fans of the creative contributions of African American artists are encouraged to attend the Third Annual Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Celebration, presented this year in partnership with ArtPrize’s Project 1. This day-long, free celebration in the park centers on the vast contributions of our local African American artists and includes ...
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BYOBevvie ArtPrize Project 1 Tour: It's better with friends…and beer

Beginning Friday, Sept. 13 (through Oct. 26)
Craft Beer Cellar, 404 Ionia Ave. SW (starting point)
Each year in September, Grand Rapidians are presented with a host of ways to experience ArtPrize, from artist openings to education panels to award ceremonies. But since ArtPrize is moving to an every other year model going forward, they are launching a new series, Project 1: a 51-day, multi-site, large, public art installation that seeks to leverage going forward the art biennial model embraced all around the world. Project 1 seeks to highlight the work of a few artists with these commissioned works that could not be produced at this level during the ArtPrize contest. And while there are ...
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Hedwig and the Angry Inch: The punk musical that won the world’s heart is back on stage in GR

Opening Thursday, Sept. 12 (through Sept. 21)
Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids, 160 Fountain St. NE
On February 14, 1998, and far off-broadway, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” an energetic rock musical with incredible heart, would debut at NY's Jane Street Theatre launching a new theatrical production that would go on to span the world. What helps this musical remain so endearing more than 21 years since its debut is that at the heart of this androgynous, 1970s indie/punk rock musical is a love story for the ages looking at themes of creative partnerships and about the tough choices (and personal sacrifices) we all are willing to make with our relationships. “Hedwig and ...
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GRandJazzFest: The city’s largest jazz event returns for year 8 downtown

Saturday - Sunday, Aug. 17 - 18
Rosa Parks Circle, 155 Monroe Ave. NW
There are a lot of summer music events to consider in our city, but none has been able to hit this level of cool as our GRandJazzFest, a two-day festival that is celebrating eight years this weekend at Rosa Parks Circle. Presented by DTE Energy Foundation, the GRandJazzFest is West Michigan's only free, weekend-long jazz festival and provides our community an opportunity to hear renowned performers and up-and-coming talent. The event is family-friendly and includes for kids (and those kids at heart) a face-painting tent, plus a chance to learn how to play the guitar. The festival will ...
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Yassou!: Lemon, garlic, oregano…Opa!

Friday - Sunday, August 16 - 18
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 330 Lakeside Dr. NE
Each year the city is full of events that feature amazing cultures that inhabit our region, and one that is truly a favorite of mine is our annual greek festival, Yassou! What makes Yassou! so wonderful is how many points of entry there are for those curious about Greek culture. For starters, there is the obvious and very obligatory food component of the festival. But rather than leave one in the dark about the mysteriousness and deliciousness of this cuisine, Yassou! offers two cooking classes so that one can begin their culinary journey into Greek food. For those curious about beverages, ...
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There are not many weekends left to get away to the lakeshore and if you are growing tired of quiet, long afternoons at the beach, might we suggest you head to the final weekend of the annual Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. And while this popular event has been running since last weekend, it is Saturday’s Meijer Grand Parade that is truly the high point of the festival. With close to 100,000 people expected to attend this year, the streets of downtown Grand Haven will be alive with activity as this parade runs for two hours and includes marching bands, clowns, military units, local ...
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Metro Grand Rapids: Debut of the new...that has a great beat to dance to

Open Daily (see website for details)
Metro Grand Rapids, 1901 Division S
Joining a long line of local music venues in our city from Eastown’s Billy’s to downtown’s Pyramid Scheme is newcomer Metro Grand Rapids, which, after a series of soft openings, is celebrating its first full week of operations in Burton Heights. Over the last few years, a local DJ/promoter from our city’s dance music subculture has been quietly building a bridge to a full-service neighborhood-centered venue, where this very diverse and cultural-crossing musical art form could take root and emerge within our region. According to their website: “We’re ...
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It is hard to believe that we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the WOTV 4 Women’s Maranda Park Party this year! What is especially powerful about this children’s party series is how Maranda has always sought to engage with our neighborhood’s kids as Maranda Park Party has inhabited many community spaces all around our city over its 25 years. After stops earlier this summer in Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Holland, and Muskegon, the 25th Anniversary of the Maranda Park Party comes to an end on Thursday, July 25 at Grand Rapids’ Garfield Park. Parents looking ...
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George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee farewell stop in GR

Friday, July 19, 7:00 p.m. (doors), 8:00 p.m. (show time)
20 Monroe Live, 11 Ottawa Ave. NW
Just three days ahead of his 78th birthday, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (1997) George Clinton, along with Parliament Funkadelic, will be in Grand Rapids to blaze some stank up on the stage at 20 Monroe for his One Nation Under a Groove Tour. This iconic performer, whose roots reach back to the early days of Motown, has since gone on to form his own projects as well as other acts whose music will light up the stage with fan-favorite classics like “Atomic Dog,” "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),” “Flashlight,” and “One Nation Under ...
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Goat Yoga: Downward dog, open sky, and baby goats

Thursday, July 18, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Dorr to Eden, 4050 24th Street, Dorr
If you have lived long enough in Grand Rapids, then you know that locally we have seen every new yoga trend (LaughFest’s laughter yoga, hot yoga, wakeboard yoga, and high yoga) enter our market ever since Carolynn Heines of Eastown dared to open one of the very first yoga studios 40 years ago in our city. (Some folks back in the day used to think of it as a cult.)  Joining the long line of local yoga experiences comes Goat Yoga held at Dorr To Eden, a naturopathy and animal-enhanced growth and learning center in the city of Dorr. Your instructors for this unique (and sure to be ...
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Creston. After Dark: A funky reboot of a neighborhood street fest

Saturday, July 13, 4:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Creston Neighborhood, Plainfield Avenue between Leonard and Grove
It is hard to believe that it has been 19 years since I moved from the MLK neighborhood to Creston. And within these two decades, we have seen a lot of slow growth that is actually quite beautiful in so many ways. Part of the evolution began when a group of us local neighborhood artists via the Creston Neighborhood Association decided to adopt Creston to bring greater attention to the region and what it could offer our community members via our then-annual event, Christmas in Creston. We envisioned a vibrant neighborhood beyond the boarded-up windows and empty stores that made up our ...
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Fourth of July Celebration: Downtown lights up the night (on July 6 this year)

Saturday, July 6, 6:00 p.m.
Ah-Nab-Awen Park, Downtown Grand Rapids
There are many options for celebrating your Fourth of July holiday, but for locals, there is one clear favorite judging by the crowds that grow bigger and bigger each year: the annual Grand Rapids Fireworks presented by Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. Hosted on Saturday, July 6th (instead of Thursday, July 4th), Grand Rapids Fireworks is presented in 2019 by a new sponsor, the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, and will feature many of the benefits folks have come to enjoy at our city’s annual family-friendly celebration. This year’s celebratory event of America’s birthday ...
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The Batty Davis Farewell Show: One of Grand Rapids’ greatest drag queens exits our local stages

Sunday, June 30, 10 p.m. - 1:30 a.m.
Rumors Nightclub, 69 S. Division Ave
It is hard to imagine Grand Rapids' Drag community without the incomparable Batty Davis in the mix.  Davis, who has been a favorite of our city since the very beginning of her career as she dominates pretty much every stage she walks on, will give a final farewell performance at Rumors Nightclub on Sunday, June 30 at 10 p.m. She was also the first drag queen to ever appear on the mast of Rapid Growth! This final farewell event will see guest performances from local drag queens Gemma Stone, Jasinya Sanchez, Maria Za’Tease, Mocha Pronto, Lavender Larue, Astara Love, Selena Gonzales ...
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We are really enjoying all the energy shifting to our city’s neighborhoods, and on Saturday at Roberto Clemente Park comes an exciting and festive community-building event.  On Saturday, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Police Department and City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department, present Movies in the Neighborhood Park and will be showing a free pop-up screening of the animated film “The Grinch” in this much-beloved Westside neighborhood park. Now if you are scratching your head about an outdoor screening of the holiday ...
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West Michigan Loving Day Celebrations: Making the dream a reality one event at a time

Friday - Sunday, June 21 - 23
Greater Grand Rapids, various locations
The spirit of Loving Day is alive all over our city. But for locals who are not familiar, Loving Day is an open and affirming series of community-building events for multicultural, multiracial families, and their allies celebrated each year in honor of the landmark Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Our local Loving Day celebration is produced by the Ebony Road Players who have continued their mission to continually expand our experiences with the context of what this Supreme Court ruling meant for our society. ...
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Rock The Block: Southtown’s community open house is in the streets.

Saturday, June 8, 11 - 6 p.m.
Linc Up, 1167 Madison Ave SE
The 2019 Rock The Block is a beautiful, annual celebration carried out in the streets of Madison Square and invites Southtown neighbors and visitors to taste the area’s best street food, plenty of local talent, and a variety of community-focused vendors looking to connect you and your entire family to the goodness and opportunities of our region. (See their sponsor list to get an idea of that depth of experience waiting for you.)  This lively event, which is celebrating its ninth year, is produced by Linc Up, a Grand Rapids-based community revitalization nonprofit whose mission is ...
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It is hard to image that we are already at the 50th Anniversary of our local Festival of the Arts. So many memories have been made by way of the arts but also via the many food booths and activities that appear to magically pop up all over the downtown starting the first Friday at noon of every June since 1969. The impetus for this annual community-centered event began the same year as the installation of Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse in front of City Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. This 43-foot-tall, vibrant red stabile, which locals shortened to “The Calder,” ...
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Jam Making: How to artfully preserve our 2019 growing season

Thursday, May 30, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Lions & Rabbits, 1264 Plainfield NE
With Michigan’s growing season knocking on summer’s door, now is the time to consider ways to extend the beauty of our fresh, tasty peaches, strawberries, and plums long into the year via the art of jam making.  On Thursday, May 30, folks who want to extend the freshness of our summer long into the cooler winter months will want to attend this special Jam Making class held at Creston's Lions & Rabbits and led by Cellar Door Preserves' owner and jam maker Zenobia. Keeping with all things local, this special one-night-only class will focus on using seasonal produce and ...
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Paddleboard Yoga: Love times two plus you

Thursday, June 6, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Reeds Lake (launch behind the police station), East Grand Rapids
Summer is a great time to add a little extra something to your day. Why? Well, for starters, you are free from the burden of winter’s freezing grip as our days become filled with much-needed sunshine stretching long past 9 p.m. for the next few months. Why not add an activity to keep you under that glow? For those seeking to amp up their summer activities, look no further than this Paddleboard Yoga class on Reeds Lake. This weekly class seeks to blend all the balancing fun and prowess of paddleboarding with the mind-calming practice of yoga. This new sporting activity lasts 90 minutes ...
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Rad Women Walking Tours: A fun way to experience the A,B,Cs of women’s history

Debuting Tuesday, May 7, 1:30 p.m. (through May 12)
Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center St NW
If you have been downtown this spring, then you have noticed a lot of those utility boxes scattered all over that suddenly got a facelift with many colorful portraits of women. This is in support of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s (DGRI) Rad Women project that was inspired by artist and author Kate Schatz’s "Rad American Women A-Z" book. To celebrate this event, DGRI, alongside with Grand Rapids Running Tours, present Rad Women Walking Tours — where those who show up for these free walking tours can learn about each of the Rad Women from A (Angela Davis) to Z (Zora ...
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There is no shortage of Cinco De Mayo celebrations in our city, but this year there is one event that I am certain is going to be a hot ticket: the Cinco De Mayo Cumbia Dance Party held at MeXo, produced with MamboSi Entertainment. Sure, you could go to any one of the many pubs or bars offering a Cinco De Mayo celebration this weekend to eat tacos and wash it down with a tequila drink. However, MeXo has shown within its short time in our region to be a very serious business that is all about sharing the rich and delicious history of their tasty cuisine offerings in downtown Grand Rapids. And ...
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4th Annual Mayor's Greening Initiative: Planting a future forest in a morning is pure Bliss

Saturday, Apr. 27, 8:30 a.m. (check-in)
Roosevelt Park, 739 Van Raalte Dr. SW
Grand Rapids’ mayors have always called upon us to be better citizens, and in keeping with this tradition of civic engagement is Mayor Bliss’ annual Greening Initiative, which is produced each year in partnership with our Mayor’s Office, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and the City’s Forestry Department. Our mayor’s annual event seeks to engage our entire community as we seek to reach the ambitious goal of increasing our city’s tree canopy to 40%. Cities with a higher tree canopy percentage benefit tremendously from cooler temps in the summer and greater ...
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Party for the Planet 2019: Local Earth Day becomes a nationwide collaborative event

Saturday, Apr. 27, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
John Ball Zoo, 1300 Fulton W
In my lifetime I have been a part of a lot of history-making and ambitious events, from marches on Washington to even being a part of Hands Across America in the 1980s. And on Saturday, April 27, more than 120 zoos from all over the nation are linking up to create the largest Earth Day celebration when Party for the Planet debuts here at our John Ball Zoo. Activities are still being produced at press time for this Earth Day event, but as with past events at our local zoo, the folks at John Ball always have plenty for children as well as adults to enjoy on this special occasion when the world ...
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The 2018 Westside Cleanup saw more than 600 volunteers come out for this annual community-building project spearheaded by the local Westside Collaborative’s Jim Davis. And this year’s event is even bigger than ever as our neighborhood-focused westside nonprofit works with the John Ball Zoo, Blandford Nature Center, and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks to greatly expand this annual Westside Outside neighborhood clean-up event. Folks looking to contribute to this annual clean up effort are encouraged to sign up at westsidecollaborative.org/westsideoutside. Pre-registering enables ...
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As a person who has looked at the evolving but also emergent culture of our city, I can say without any reservation that our local Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival (GRLAFF) has been presenting films that expand beyond the themes of LatinX, exploring aspects of living as it relates to everything from modern love to societal shifts related to place. And this year it appears they are on their way to continue to evolve that mission to be more than just a series rooted in Latinx films. When GRLAFF arrives for their ninth series, they do so with a powerful, mission-driven series title of ...
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In the realm of Broadway productions, before "the show can go on," it often needs to travel out of town to test the material. And while our very own Vivacious Miss Audacious (a.k.a., Audria Larson) has appeared on nearly every stage in our city beta testing her various acts and individual artistic practice, on April 10 she debuts in Grand Rapids for the very first tine a new cabaret act that has already captured audiences all over the country except here.  But that changes when Luxotica Lounge Cabaret makes a triumphant debut at The Pyramid Scheme. Luxotica Lounge Cabaret is a lush, ...
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This city is full of lots of opportunities to join others in song. This is true whether one joins a band, a church choir, or any one of the many choral groups that are offered in this region. In fact, the human voice in song is to many cultures one of the most beautiful aspects of being alive. There is just something very powerful about what happens when we all get on the same page in song. Keeping that local tradition alive is a relatively new choral group, Justice Choir GR. This choir has already been featured in Rapid Growth’s story, “Social Justice Choir puts GR's culture ...
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While the headlines as of late have not been great for many on the gender spectrum, our local transgender community wants us to know that despite the news, our local community is thriving and finding support here in Grand Rapids.  This fact is worth celebrating, and so on the 10th anniversary of the international Transgender Day of Visibility, commemorated around the world on March 31, they invite you to hear their stories at their annual Speak Your Truth open mic event. In the past, those attending have been treated to inspiring, first-hand storytelling from a diverse group of individuals ...
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I know we sound like a broken record, but there is something unique in West Michigan where access and connections can easily produce collaborations in the pursuit of one’s creative dreams. Now as a preface, if fame and fortune is your career tracks focus, then, yeah, L.A. or New York will have advantages we cannot even touch. But if you want to find a place where people actually help each other out in the pursuit of a creative project, then this is where it can happen. Filmmaking is one creative area locally that continues to evolve through the ease of access to digital tools, as well as ...
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