G-Sync

This weekend you have a lot of options to consider if you want to visit downtown’s World of Winter Festival with a long list of activities, but the real winner is the chance to witness a crowd of folks spazzing out in the middle of Rosa Parks Circle. So if you are downtown on Friday night and you witness erratic dancing and (often) large groups of folks “sanging” one of your favorite dance tracks, then it is the World of Winter Festival’s Silent Disco. Silent discos are a unique way to experience live music curated from three different DJs who will be spinning all at ...
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This city has plenty to offer when it comes to live music, but for those seeking events that defy definition, well, they are quite rare. Lucky for those seeking uniqueness in entertainment comes the Maiden Michigan album release party with Hundo as your host of this night of heavy metal music. And lest you think the fun stops with the metal, then get ready because this night is also the debut of the Anti-Pageant Extravaganza at Creston Brewery. This anti-pageant will award points based on actions, answers, and, of course, killer attitude awarded over two rounds. In addition to the ...
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Recently over the holiday break, I discovered a crate of old VHS tapes from the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Not only was I shocked to uncover this treasure trove of motion images captured on magnetic tape, but as they unspooled on a screen in our basement, I roared with laughter at what I would discover.  This is experience is similar to what it is like to attend the touring Found Footage Festival, which returns to the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts this Saturday night. The festival is a beautifully odd and downright laugh-out-loud hilarious time as hosts Nick Prueher and Joe ...
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We have said it on many occasions in the past here at Rapid Growth, but with each passing year, Grand Rapids’ music scene continues to evolve into some new kind of wonderful. Not only is our region becoming a draw for musicians, but also an attractant for folks who enjoy not just access to live music but such incredibly diverse musical styles available almost nightly on our scene. And this year is another milestone for local musicians as it is the 20th Annual WYCE Jammie Awards celebration at The Intersection. This night is a chance for fans of our community-sponsored and volunteer-DJ ...
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Grand Rapidians who recently moved to this place may not have heard of the name Dr. Randal Jelks, but to many of us, he represents so much of our history through the many ways he has intersected with our community over the years. And on Tuesday, February 12, Dr. Jelks will host a community conversation about his newest project at Schuler Books. Randal Maurice Jelks is Professor of African, African American, and American Studies at the University of Kansas. He holds courtesy appointments in history and religious studies, and is the co-editor of the journal “American Studies.” Jelks ...
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There is something really wonderful about how fandom evolves over time, revealing itself within the culture via the many forms it can take. For fans of Harry Potter’s universe, we have witnessed everything from fan fiction (including erotica) to musical acts, to even the series creator’s eventual stage play of the cast much later in life. It is exciting, to say the least, to witness how Harry has stayed with us for so long and in so many variations over time.  Folks who are fans of the film series are in for a treat as our local Grand Rapids Symphony under Conductor John ...
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After this week’s polar vortex, who can blame you if you are seeking warmer shores?  But recognizing that not every budget will accommodate a fast pass to the warm shores of Florida, might we suggest a different passage that is a bit more realistic and just as hot (on the dance floor). Once again, Billy’s Lounge will be cranking up the heat as they host their annual birthday party to honor reggae’s legendary Bob Marley. Scheduled to perform at this year's Bob Marley Birthday Bash are Universal Xpression with special guests King Jazzy and DJ Sanjay. This annual event is ...
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In an era of few smiles as you scan the news, it is hard to imagine humor having a purpose or need. But looking over history, if that view was true, then it would be a terrible turn of events. However, according to The Hauenstein Center, “Humor, a widely misunderstood and underappreciated component of American civic life, often feels in short supply amid the hyperpolarization, loneliness, and resentment presently afflicting our polity.” H.W. Brands, the Jack S. Blanton senior chair in history at the University of Texas at Austin, will present at the Eberhart Center insights on ...
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Winter cabin fever setting in? Tired of playing video games with your friends connected to the game only by way of a broadband line?  If you answered “Yes” to both, then Monday nights at Creston Brewery should be the ticket as they present this season their Old School Console Night once again. The community tap room recently underwent at the first of the year a slight reorganization of their space, placing a higher value on creating more space for folks to just hang while enjoying a freshly made craft beer. Added to the venue on Old School Console Night are stacks of TVs spread ...
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The Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University presents some of the most delightful nights of intellectual curiosity in our city, and as we prepare to celebrate Black History Month, their January panel is sure to ignite a lot of minds as they look at a beloved but equally curious American historical leader. Thomas Jefferson — one of our nation’s most revered philosophers of the early republic’s Enlightenment ideals — was deeply involved in the nation’s original sin of slavery. History shows us that he was not only a slave owner, but modern DNA testing ...
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As social media luster starts to fade with each breach of privacy, meetups, on the other hand, are roaring back in style (much like podcasts did). And while some may say they never went away, their power, importance, and meaning for our culture can be a healing force in a social media landscape in rapid decline as civility dies within our favorite digital spaces. And since it is very cold outside and, if you are like me, then we all are in search of the warmth of good community interaction that isn’t digitally driven, but reaches back into our analog traditions. One such meetup ...
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It is Friday night. The temps are falling but you are not sure where to go. If this is your predicament, then the best advice to beat the winter doldrums that keep many warm and couch-locked on a Friday night is to venture down to the North Monroe Neighborhood for the city’s best long-running dance party, Control, on the tiniest dance floor in the city. The tunes are always hot as DJ Colin Clive (of Mustard Plug) turns up the heat as you sweat away from the troubles of the week. So if you are tired of freezing, then this Friday night, call a Lyft and head to Control Dance Party at ...
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The city has no shortage of spaces for artists to showcase their works. One of the most reliable of venues over the history of contemporary art for creators to have their works seen has always been the local coffee shop. On Saturday night, art lovers with a passion for remix culture and video game design will have a chance to meet artist Sita Navas at her reception at the popular Grandville Ave. coffee shop, Mayan Buzz Cafe. The coffee shop already has a solid reputation for its bold, flavorful brews and will seek to build upon that reputation with an equally strong showcase when this Tucson, ...
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When it comes time to celebrate the anniversary and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a lot of area organizations host some tribute to the slain civil rights leaders who not only advocated for racial equity for African-Americans, but also spoke out against war, housing discrimination, and poverty. Locally, three of our education institutions, Davenport University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Grand Valley State University have harnessed their power to welcome guest lecturer Dr. David Stovall to Grand Rapids. Dr. Stovall is a professor of African-American Studies and Criminology, ...
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It has been nearly three years since a group of Native Americans set up a camp in North Dakota at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to begin what would become one of the greatest acts of resistance seen this century. This very grassroots movement organized under the hashtag of #NODAPL sought to halt The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from being constructed by the Canada Energy Transfer Partners. And while the battle would be lost once President Trump took office, reversing President Obama and our U.S. Corps of Engineers’ denial of the easement needed for construction of the pipeline ...
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January is a great time to visit the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and it is not just because of the art that adorns the walls. This is the time of the year when they begin to welcome a series of programs like the 20th Anniversary of the Animation Show of Shows. Locally, most of our experiences with this art form are via the popular long-form films that dot area movie screens, ranging from cute kids films to complete reboots of popular action hero series. Instead, with The Animation Show of Shows, locals are treated to a thrilling and inventive showcase of 15 thought-provoking, ...
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Let’s be honest. Substance use disorder sucks. It ruins people’s lives, destroys families and relationships, and most of all often erodes one’s confidence in life. But it does not have to be like this and locally a national player is entering Michigan via CrossFit Luminary for the first time, offering local folks who are seeking to stay sober a running chance at hitting their goals. The Phoenix originated in 2006 and was started by Scott Strode. According to their website, they seek to “offer a free sober active community to individuals who have suffered from a ...
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There are many indicators that the holiday season is upon us, and one such is the return of the Grand Rapids Ballet’s annual crowd-pleaser, “The Nutcracker.” And if you have not been in some time, now is the time to get there because this annual tradition got a major overhaul a few years ago with a true West Michigan touch. But please don’t worry, the Nutcracker character has not been replaced by a Dutch man handing out windmill cookies. Rather he and the entire production have been totally updated to become a fresh theatrical rendering from the mind of one of our own, ...
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One of the hardest parts of the holidays is finding an activity that can please the hordes of friends who find themselves looking for something to do the weekend before New Year’s Eve’s festivities commence. And while the selections this time of the year are slim pickin’s, Billy’s Lounge of Eastown has the best bet for Saturday night. A Night of R&B and Old School Hip Hop is a production of DJ Composition and Troy Caesar with a dance floor reminiscent of the era in which much of this music was created. What I mean is that Billy’s is that perfect neighborhood ...
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It is not a secret that after decades of New Year’s Eve parties, I feel like I have seen it all … until this year. For starters, while some events inflate the heck out of their cover fees (because they know you will pay it to gain entry), the venue rarely goes above and beyond the free glass of “complimentary” sparkling wine … and it is typically a step above André that they are pouring. Lucky for us, seeking a bit more with our cover charge enters Long Road Distillers and Beauty Beyond Drag, who will present a very special NYE Masquerade Drag Show. The ...
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Many folks love New Year’s Day for the laziness often built into it. For starters, you always have plenty of football games to choose from and the day is often enjoyed under a cozy blanket while in your best loungewear as you dive into a healthy start of your new year’s diet or resolution. But what about those who are not into sports or lounging around, but would like to start on a different foot this year? Lucky for us, you can put your best foot forward with the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society (or GROSS) as they start their nearly weekly 2019 gatherings with its kick-off The ...
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“A great movie is never just about its story. It’s about how that story is told, and particularly how it’s seen by the audience.” This is how Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson started her very insightful and tender review of Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón's latest film, “Roma.” But more importantly to me is that the film’s producer, Netflix, will only be showing this film in the theatre in a very small amount of theaters for a very limited run before it is streamed on your phone, laptop, or tablet days after its theatrical release. But a film ...
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The holidays are here and soon you will most likely be in a position where having to produce a bottle of bubbly could make or break your party. I mean, we can all be forgiven for putting out the Andre, but you were probably 22 then, too … so age up, please. Lucky for you, you can do some good while also learning a bit about champagne and sparkling wines. And yes, Virginia, there is a difference.  Hosted by the Gilmore Collection's H.O.M.E. (House of Music & Entertainment), the 19th annual WYCE Bubble Bash is a fitting way to learn what sparkling beverages you should consider ...
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The city is rapidly changing and a big part of our transformation is because Grand Rapids has many organizations who are empowering people often marginalized by society to, as we often say in the queer community, "show up" for the future. Our local Urban Core Collective (UCC), an organization that harnesses the power of their member nonprofits, has for many years been hosting the Transformational Leaders Program (TLP). Over the years this program has produced local leaders, many of whom I am fairly certain you have worked, served, marched, or played alongside in our city. (I know I ...
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There is a kernel of truth in all the images and memes related to one’s trip home for the holidays. In fact, a whole sub-genre has emerged under holiday films just devoted to this emotionally-driven topic. Jodie Foster even made a film about the awkwardness of it with “Home for the Holidays.” Before you start you holiday descent (or ascent, depending on your station in life), the Pop Scholars show at Wealthy Theatre presents an opportunity to get your gut-busting laughs out before they awkwardly erupt when Aunt Wanda over dinner gets drunk and starts talking about the ...
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Grand Rapids has a booming music scene. And while a testament of this scene is evident in the dizzyingly long list of original music created by our local artists, every once in a while we all get a hankering for a tasty throwback tune. So lucky for us that our local music series, Tribute Show, is roaring back to The Pyramid Scheme stage with four great albums from the year 1998. The albums from 1998 that will be performed in their entirety by our brilliant local music community will include: Nada Surf’s “The Proximity Effect” with musicians Dan Fisher, Luke Shoemaker, Eric ...
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The human voice unified in a song is one of the most beautiful experiences of living and lucky us, we have many opportunities to hear from so many choruses that make up our region of the state. One such group that has earned international recognition over the years is the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus (GRWC) — a diverse and all-volunteer group of 70 inspiring women who passionately lend their talents to create music that is sure to delight as well as uplift through song. They also are advocates for social change, often presenting works from composers all over the world. We have ...
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It is no secret that the passage of Prop 1 legalizing recreational cannabis in November 2018 started a movement to revolutionize our state in so many ways, from growth to distribution, as well as in so many other emerging services.  Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) is not waiting around, nor willing to sit idly by as a new industry sets up shop in our state, and will be offering a special class to assist showcasing how area Black entrepreneurs and Black businesses can begin to participate in this emerging multi-billion dollar industry. We know that since Prop 1's passage the ...
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Imagine the excitement that after the announcement of being nominated for 12 Emmy Awards, “Rupal’s Drag Race” would go on to win six Emmy’s, including the prestigious Outstanding Reality-Competition Program category. Drag is not new but its ever-widening acceptance as a form of entertainment is. None of us could have predicted, must less imagined, that a drag show would headline at the DeVos Performance Hall when it opened decades ago, but here we are today in the present and with many sold-out shows later. On Tuesday, December 11, joining the ranks of touring shows ...
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Strong, community-supported neighborhood businesses are the lifeblood a city for without them, you would be left with big boxes with revolving door staff or the coldness of shopping in bed from places that have no real meaningful connections to your community. In my opinion, the neighborhood business model is most successful when it is rooted in being neighborly. On Thursday evening, the Uptown neighborhood, which has seen its fair share of starts and stops over the 30-plus years I have lived here (East Hills was the site of my first apartment in the ‘80s), is throwing out the welcome ...
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While you were figuring out what to do with that leftover Turkey, some folks downtown have been quite busy stringing more than 40,000 lights on the city’s Christmas tree that will be the center of attention on Saturday, December 1 when they throw the switch to kick off our annual holiday season in Downtown Grand Rapids. The tree lighting event will take place at Rosa Parks Circle at 6:30 p.m sharp (so don’t be late).  But that is hardly the start of the festivities at this year’s Light Up Downtown, which includes an appearance by the City of Grand Rapids’ Mayor Rosalynn ...
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Each year as we post advances in the decades-long battle against AIDS, we are reminded that this crisis that has gripped the world is not over. Last month, I discovered an old journal of mine from 1990 — a time period where our region was just beginning to suffer the devastating loss of lives that had for years earlier plagued the coasts and other major cities. As I read the entries, I was reminded of the fears, isolation, but also deaths that were occurring during this period of our city’s history. And while we have seen advances in health that are moving this into a manageable ...
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The best gifts I find at the holiday are those that often defy labels and come from the heart. And on Sunday afternoon, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) invites folks to take a class where they will learn to create a work of art using the expansive method of monotype printing. If you are scratching your head about what this entails, read on. Monotype printing is a super versatile method for creating one-of-a-kind prints that, through experimentation, can produce truly wonderful results that can become the basis of original cards, wrapping paper, or even a new work of art for your true love. ...
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The tradition of friends gathering together is something that most can agree is a long-standing tradition. But in modern times, table conversation can often occur with faces staring down in our phones, missing the glow of why table dialogue with friends is the thing that we should not lose. So it is with much encouragement that a contemporary play, “At the Table,” arrives at Actors' Theatre Grand Rapids. This new work is perfectly suited for our time as much of what we see on stage is easily recognizable to the audience. Playwright Michael Perlman’s "At the ...
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We can’t say this enough: how lucky we are that each year the weekend before Thanksgiving, area food and spirits enthusiasts get to discover new flavors and tasty treats that can make you the informed star at your next holiday affair. The 11th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer, & Food Festival returns bigger than ever to DeVos Place this weekend and you will want to be sure to visit. This event opens up to you a chance to enjoy the first sips of brand new products like local canned cocktails, to chef-led culinary workshops and instructional sessions with food authors, to ...
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I, for one, am very excited to see that the 100th Art Van Santa Parade has not happened yet, so I can avoid all those folks next year who will surely ask, “Is this your first time down to the parade?” Granted, I love a good parade. There I said it. And lucky for me and those who like me enjoy a good festive parade, I am looking forward to celebrating the 99th year of this festive event for the first time. There will be parade floats, live music, and of course, a chance to have your photo taken with Santa courtesy of PNC Bank. The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. on the corner of ...
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Pitch competitions are a thing here. Don’t be shocked because we need them to be a thing here for host of good reasons, but most of all because they help generate good creative energy for our region. If you have watched on TV any of the many Shark Tank-styled pitch shows, then don’t expect that made-for-ratings drama fueling us here. (That TV stuff is made to keep you locked to the screen.) For those around you who have attended, say, a Start Garden 5x5 Night or any of the Michigan Women Forward’s Dolphin Tanks, then you know these are exciting and interesting nights of ...
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Don’t panic when, while enjoying a meal at your favorite downtown Grand Rapids cafe, you see from a distance a bird … or is it a plane … wait, it’s Superman, Chewbacca, and a Power Ranger!  These sightings are just an indicator that Grand Rapids Comic-Con is back in town for the weekend. Our local version of the national Comic-Con is a hometown celebration of the amazing art and creativity in creating this genre that has sparked comic books, movies, TV series, YouTube celebs, role playing, toys, and so much more. And ours just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This ...
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There are not many bands out there that can boast being proficient in so many styles of world music, much less rework it in a way that becomes something remarkably danceable under the guidance of two DJ/musicians.  But that is exactly what one can expect to see from this band that I have been a fan of for more than 20 years. It is worth noting that this act from the District of Columbia appears at 20 Monroe Live and has played at the early version of the Rothbury Festival but has never had a radio hit, a big budget YouTube video, nor major label backing. Instead, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton of ...
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We are a region rich with folks making all sort of waves within our social spaces with the tiny works of video they produce to showcase a story or quick message.  But what about those local creatives who wish to use their keyboard skills to create a story that could become the next “Moonlight,” “Moonraker,” or “Moonstruck?” Lucky for those of us seeking such a way to release our inner story idea, this weekend there is a workshop on screenwriting that is also a benefit for our local Write616. This Screenwriting Workshop is a fundraising event hosted by Grand ...
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Marlee Grace, when she was living here, always amazed those of us who frequented her Have Company Division Avenue store. But those who delved deeper also enjoyed her artist residency program, where artists from all over the nation would venture here to create works of art that she would place on display.  And while she has been out of the area for a couple years now, her work continues to evolve as she roams the earth. (She even caught the eye of the NY Times for her work on the Instagram account Personal Practice.) On her spin back through Grand Rapids, this time she will be arriving with a ...
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The American experience has been recorded over the centuries and if one were to select a handful of those whose works of art sought to do more than just entertain but actually reflect the culture of the time, then you would be hard-pressed not to include Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein was more than just a conductor/composer, but an accomplished pianist, author and, most of all, a humanitarian. Whether he was composing for Broadway or for the concert hall, the roots of Bernstein’s iconic music dive into the urban-American life of the post-World War II era. And his contributions to the ...
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There is a plethora of artist markets these days in our region, but 10 years ago when the Recycled Art Market debuted, it was unique and remains so to this day. For the 10th Annual Recycled Art Market, those who will venture to Grand Rapids City High Middle School (1720 Plainfield Ave. NE) will have a chance to visit more than 75 artisans whose booths will feature creations that owe a lot to the past. Why the past? Well, these unique, one-of-a-kind, and handmade items have one thing in common with the past: they all must use at least 50 percent recycled, upcycled, or repurposed materials in ...
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The film “Coco” introduced in a huge way to a new generation the annual celebration of Día de los Metros — or for our English-speaking folk, Day of the Dead.  When folks attend this year’s Día de los Muertos at the main branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL), they are in for a special treat because of how expansive this presentation is becoming with each passing year. For this special Day of the Dead celebration that opens to the public on October 31 and culminates with a community-themed Family Day gathering on Sunday, Nov. 4 from 1 to 4:30 ...
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On November 6, we, who are of voting age and registered, will have a chance to add our voice to the ballot box as the nation goes to vote in one of the most anticipated votes of my lifetime. With so much on the line in an ever-polarizing world, sane voices are needed at the polls more than ever. And while Rapid Growth does not endorse candidates for partisan reasons, we do place a high value on participatory acts like voting and how they can make a difference in society. Voting is a way to lend one’s voice to the process of society’s evolution (or devolution depending on who you ...
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One of the most powerful tools of our human evolution is our voice. And yet, we live in a time when most feel voiceless because we have forgotten how to talk with one another. Many might attribute this to a host of reasons, but ultimately it is on us to harness the power of our voices and engage in the civil dialogue, even in the discourse, if we as a society are to advance beyond the anger that fuels most conversations today.  Returning for the fifth year is the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium — a part of an Endowed Professorship of Civil Discourse from the Brooks College of ...
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This last Monday at the Disability Advocates of Kent County’s Invest in Ability annual dinner, the City of Grand Rapids was singled out for an award for their advances in creating a more welcoming city for all through their commitment to expanding access for all. This is not just good PR but good governance, since who doesn’t want to make room for others to experience what so many freely do (and often without much thought)? But a huge part of our city’s journey is also owed to DisArt, an organization committed to increasing the participation of Disabled people in our ...
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As I look around my home office, I realize I might have a toy problem. From where I sit, I can see so much history as I spy a Hot Wheels car, Carol from “Where the Wild Things Are,” and a talking Po doll from the popular kids show Teletubbies.  And while these toys on the surface when created were just something to play with as a kid (or child at heart), they also each represent a plethora of happy memories and good stories as to why they still are with me as I navigate my adult years. The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) is hoping their new exhibition, TOYS!, will inspire you, ...
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Some of my favorite experiences in an art gallery have not just been the viewing of visual art, but how some venues are able to transform their space to host other artistic practices. LaFontsee Galleries of East Hills is one such place in our city that is expanding our perception of an art gallery as they bring back for the 2018-2019 season a jazz music series with four live concerts held the last Sundays of October, February, March, and April. For this next season, fans of jazz will have a chance to hear Aretha Franklin’s Drummer, a French Jazz Accordionist, and many other exciting ...
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When we set out to create a list of distinct events to consider attending this next week, GRCC Diversity Lecture Series’ guest speaker tweeted, “A US Permanent Resident was turned into mince-meat by the Saudis. Thousands of Floridians lost their homes, thousands more are without power. And the President of the United States is on Twitter calling one woman, 'Pocahontas', and another one, 'horse-face'. It must be Tuesday.” Now before your eyes roll your eyes back in your head, this is a tweet from Ana Navarro who is coming to Grand Rapids and is unabashedly a ...
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