G-Sync

If you live long enough, you will be able to enjoy the best of your decade become the subject of a revival of sorts to a new generation of music fans. We have lived for some time in the shadows of the 80s revival, with musical acts and tribute bands all vying for your attention at local events like Mega 80s. But lucky for those fans of the 1990s, this often overlooked decade, with its low unemployment to the launch of the dot-com era, is about to get really hot locally this weekend as The Intersection presents Saved By The 90s. This touring band promises a 90s themed night that will usher ...
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It is hard not to fall in love with the Grand Rapids Public Library’s programming throughout the year as it conducts some of the most diverse and culturally important work of any institution in our city. And while the library focuses on a host of culturally significant holiday celebrations observed by so many groups in our city, it is the Día de los Muertos (translation: Day of the Dead) observation that takes its community-engaging programming to new heights. When folks attend this year’s Día de los Muertos at the main branch of the GRPL, they are in for a special ...
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If suddenly you stumble upon a superhero or a furry creature as you walk about downtown this weekend, have no fear because it is the sign that Grand Rapids Comic Con is back in town. And, just like with every passing year that Comic Con is celebrated here in our city, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This year, in addition to the 100,000-square-foot DeVos Play vending hall, which will be host to scores of small businesses devoted to the art of the comic and illustrated novel, Grand Rapids Comic Con is also hosting a car show, a film festival, an art show, an anime screening room, a ...
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There are only a handful of home game matches left for this year for our Grand Raggidy Roller Derby. This weekend, our girls hit the rink at Grandville’s Rivertown Sports to take on the Brighton Roller Dollz of Brighton, Michigan and Killamazoo Derby Darlins’ from Kalamazoo, Michigan. This double header starts off with our junior team, the Grand Raggidy Attack, going up against the Brighton Roller Dollz’s C and B teams. If you are a betting person, then you will be happy to know that the numbers have been crunched and our Attack team is favored heavily with a 94 percent ...
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For the third annual Grand Rapids Feminist Film Fest (GRFFF), the organizers will be offering so much more than just a chance to screen more than 40 short films as a part of their annual event at Wealthy Theatre. This year, the upgrades include more seminars and workshops devoted to all things cinema -- and this year they will be programming two blocks of films that are free of triggers that could set off children. This is a huge upgrade for families who want to attend but might have concerns about the content of some of the films being screened this year. These blocks of films can be located ...
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One of the art world’s most elusive of modern sculptors will be making his United States speaking debut at our Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Up until now, the chance to hear artist Dietrich Klinge has been a rare treat and something that has never happened in the country. Meijer Gardens, which owns numerous graphic works and models by Klinge, will be the setting for this special lecture. Along with the Grosser Trefree sculpture, Meijer Gardens is proud to showcase two outdoor bronzes in the permanent collection from Klinge. Many may be familiar with his colossal Model ...
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Ever since the democratization of digital filmmaking tools, Grand Rapids has been flush with creative minds showcasing their visions via our local screens.  On Friday, Grand Rapids’ filmmaker Joel Potrykus (“Buzzard,” “Ape”) will debut locally his latest film, “The Alchemist Cookbook,” at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts for a two-week run. This film arrives here after being invited as an official selection at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Festival. “The Alchemist Cookbook” is the story about a young outcast, Sean, who has ...
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A few weeks ago we featured the Blue Bridge Music Festival because we wanted to bring to light not only the many acts that would be performing but to showcase this region’s and our state’s ability to produce so much wonderful talent via the music labels popping up here. One such label, Hot Capicola Records, will present a music showcase of three of its acts at the Pyramid Scheme. It is shaping up to be a dream ticket for your Friday night out on the town. The headliner on Friday is Tunde Olaniran, a native of Flint, Michigan who has been described by Rolling Stone Magazine as one ...
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Search any major city for a book event and you will be blown away at how many are out there. But when you seek to narrow your focus to other areas of diversity that include women, you might be surprised at how few there really are..  Lucky for us, we are doing our part locally by way of our Hook a Sista Up (HASU) 2nd annual Women Who Write Author Showcase, which returns to the south side’s Kroc Center on Saturday, Oct. 15. This unique community event follows HASU’s mission to help area women authors gain visibility and recognition in their community. This literary showcase enables ...
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The 2016 Local First 6th annual Fork Fest, presented by Brewery Vivant, has so many delicious reasons why you should attend this year, but it is the chance to see a live demonstration unlike anything I have ever witnessed at a food-themed event that is sure to be the talk of the town the following morning.  While this event will feature dozens of food and beverage providers from our region (see list below), as well as great music from returning act Fauxgrass, it is the butchering demonstration that has my interest. Louise Earl Butcher — which is provide this butchering demonstration ...
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There are lots of ways you can celebrate Pulaski Days this year in Grand Rapids. For starters, there is always the family-friendly Pulaski Days Parade, where not only will the Polish royalty be out en masse, but many organizations and causes loosely associated with this festive annual event will be in the streets celebrating this beloved festival.  This year’s Pulaski Days Parade begins at 11 a.m. and marches down Michigan Street from College to Diamond Avenue. Immediately after the parade, fans can continue their celebration by landing at the Sixth Street Hall (649 Sixth St. NW), where ...
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The University Wits, a local theatrical troupe started in 2014, will kick off their 2016 - 2017 season with what they bill as a “Michigan horror story.” No, they are not adapting the Evil Dead film series for the stage as others have done over the years. The University Wits’s Michigan horror story is “Escanaba in da Moonlight” written by Chelsea, Michigan native Jeff Daniels. Wait a minute, you say, I do not recall Jeff Daniels’ story being a horror flick. Well, it is and it isn’t depending on who you talk to about the play’s premise (that would ...
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It is hard to believe that just a year ago Rapid Growth’s G-Sync sat down with the producers of MODUL8 to discuss what they were hoping to do with their series that debuted at the intimate event space at Bar Divani on Ionia Avenue. What made this group of music-focused DJs work so well over the last year as they popped from venue to venue, building an audience along the way, was how committed they were to creating experiences for which music wasn’t the only thing that drove the night. These events explored other forms of art could be harnessed to deepen the creative spirits they ...
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What began as a YouTube project has grown to become a new documentary, “Project Ñ,” that is beginning to make its rounds to cities around the nation. “Project Ñ” makes a stop in Grand Rapids on Monday, Oct. 10 at Grand Valley State University’s Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium (401 W. Fulton St.) as a part of their national tour. (Ñ is pronounced “En-Yeah”) Built around personal interviews, “Project Ñ” seeks to give voice to the 16 million (and growing) American/U.S. born Latinx with parents from a ...
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Part of the fun of ArtPrize is not just the chance to see so much art all around downtown Grand Rapids, but the opportunity to,about halfway through the contest, have the community come to hear and celebrate those artworks that have made it in the public vote’s Top 20. When we get to this point of the contest, round two voting becomes fierce, as these 20 works will now be competing to win your single vote and the much-coveted $200,000 ArtPrize Public Vote Grand Prize, which will be broadcast live on WZZM-13 later this week. But this special gathering on Sunday is not just exciting ...
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It is rare that you get to mix two of my favorite things together, like peanut butter and chocolate, to make something really delicious to consume. For fans of theater and “The Simpsons,” we have something really incredible that is landing on stage at Grand Rapids’ Actors’ Theatre. On September 29, one of the most talked about plays from our last decade, “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” by Anne Washburn, will make its West Michigan premiere on Grand Rapids Community College’s Spectrum Stage. Washburn’s “Mr. Burns” begins as a group ...
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Why do I love Rev. Charles Preston Smith? The obvious reason is that he is simply one of the funniest musicians in our community, proving year after year his ability to explore such depths of the human psyche in the pursuit of a good time. But most of all, he has one of the biggest heart-ons for felines.Returning for the 10th year, the Anti-Valentine benefit for local feline rescue centers, Crash's Landing & Big Sids, will be filled with great music and a host of surprises best left unprinted to protect the guilty.Due to a clash of cultures, the night will be jam-packed as league bowlers ...
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In 2015, I made a road trip to Pittsburgh to experience Open Engagement — a conference devoted to looking at the ways that art can intersect with society outside of the gallery walls. In other words, where can art live if it is not in a studio, corporate collection, or on your home walls? Little did I know at the time, but Open Engagement’s yearly eye-opening event was the creation and under the direction of Jen Delos Reyes, who will be the first guest speaker at the 2016 - 2017 Visiting Artist Lecture at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). In keeping with the 2016-2017 lecture ...
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So much of the public perception about ArtPrize is often devoted to the art we hang on our walls or the 3-D works that adorn the public spaces, but there is so much more to art than that. You can see that again this year with the expanding programming that continues to push other forms of art, from music to cinema. This year we get to see the return of a music event, Blue Bridge Music Festival, which is tied to ArtPrize. What makes this event stand out to me is how this event, happening over two days, is a chance for visitors or lovers of music to explore the diverse sounds being created in ...
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What can you say about an event that takes over the city, inspires lots of walking (as well as traffic), and has folks talking to one another as they stare in their phone? No, I am not talking about Pokemon Go but the return of ArtPrize 8 — a radically open international art event where the public and curatorial gatekeepers of art get to weigh in, and sometimes even agree on, who should be awarded the top prize monies totaling more than $500,000. (See ArtPrize’s history for the year when both the public and jury agreed. It is surely an answer within the ultimate GR trivia game.) ...
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It used to be that Grand Rapids was a place with a church on every corner. And while sometimes it still might seem true, it is becoming ever more clear that, as Beer City, USA asserts its hops-fueled muscle, we are soon to add a craft brew pub to that popular saying. And while we have a host of beer festivals that pop up around the city, this bier merrymaking with a nod to the German’s traditional celebration of Oktoberfest returns to John Ball Park on Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24 from noon to 11pm. This German-styled "Volksfest," brought to Grand Rapids through ...
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The hardest ticket to get in the District of Columbia is the grand opening celebration of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). But, no worries, since on Saturday before the crowds descend upon downtown for ArtPrize, you will have a chance to see firsthand this historic moment at Grand Rapids’ Calder Plaza. As part of a special arrangement with the Lift Every Voice Campaign, our local Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA), along with a host of other sites around the U. S., has been granted permission to live stream for the public this ...
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At the start of a video commemorating the St. Francis Sculpture Garden at the Dominican Center at Maywood are the words “walk, breathe, sit.” Three very simple words but powerful reminders to all of us that sometimes these simple acts are all that is required of us. This garden located on the city’s northeast side was designed by architect and master gardener Bill Cox, whose firm brought to our city the main greenhouse at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, and was created through the collaboration of landscape designer Skip Herrema to bring to West Michigan a ...
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Recently the New York Times ran an insightful piece that looked at the meaning of disability. Call it a unique sense of timing, but as this international paper was inviting the world to consider the meaning of the word, people in Grand Rapids will have a chance to engage a few ways on this topic at the local level, with the arts playing a key role in the conversation. Locally, those first two opportunities to deepen your intellect on the topic of disability will be via a panel discussion being held the morning of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s (GRCT) debut of “Good People,” a ...
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One of my first neighborhoods that I explored when I moved to Grand Rapids in the 1980s was Eastown and instantly I fell in love with this area of the city. For one, this southeast neighborhood business district was so unique because of the many mom and pop shops that populate their main arteries of Lake Drive and Wealthy Street. And the second reason was because no matter what time of the day I arrived to walk their streets, it was always a different experience. Thankfully that uniqueness is still alive today many decades later On Saturday, Sept. 10, the neighborhood’s annual event, ...
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While the Celebration on the Grand is no more, the good news is that another group has emerged to present a new event, Tribute on the Grand, that is sure to fill the hole the old festival left in your fall schedule. Founders Brewing Company along with television’s FOX17 are partnering to present Tribute on the Grand — a brand new community-building event created to support the fundraising efforts of the Grand Rapids Whitewater, a local nonprofit working to improve the Grand River. Projected to attract as more than 6,000 people to Ah-Nab-Awen Park in downtown Grand Rapids, the ...
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A lot has happened since UICA started their annual kick-off event to ArtPrize, Oddball, debuted six years ago. And while the theme of each of the previous five have revolved around a theme, this year’s retooling of OddBall should have a lot of heads turning (and I mean this in the best possible way). For starters, OddBall 2016: FUTURE TALK, presented by Meijer, is so much more now than just a kick-off party, as UICA has added dinner and a chance to reveal a new awards program. This year expect to be pampered with signature cocktails, dinner by Applause Catering and Events, a dessert bar ...
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Hispanic / Polish Festivals: West of Division North meets South

Friday - Sunday, Aug. 26 - 28
Rosa Parks Circle (Polish) / Calder Plaza (Hispanic), Downtown Grand Rapids
We are reaching that time of the year where college students are arriving by the carload and area parents with school-age children begin to worry (or delight) about the long list of back-to-school activities they must engage in before we begin our fall season. So much is happening right now that the last thing many of them want to worry about is what to eat. Lucky for us, over the next few weeks a series of ethnic festivals begin to fill the night air that to stay home would be a crime. Kicking off this season of good eats are two cultural happenings in Grand Rapids’ downtown that you ...
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Grand Rapids in our quest to become a more bike-friendly city has a host of partners working to make sure this happens in a safe and sane manner. But one group in our region that really stands out to so many as one of the most equitable is The Spoke Folks -- our local bicycle co-op with a mission to provide bikes to everyone who needs one. This weekend is the return of their music festival, Music for Miles, where area bands play and folks on bikes zip to this warehouse street location to enjoy some grub as they chase it with a beer, cider, or soft drink. Taking to the stage this year is an ...
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From the mind of one of the co-creators of our former Thriller! Chiller! genre film festival (on hiatus) comes a triple feature that is sure to delight, as well as scare, the pants off thriller movie fans. Mr. Spookity will guide those attending this micro cinema triple feature program with screenings of “Grizzly,” “Night Train to Terror,” and “Last House on Dead End Street.” “Grizzly” is a bloodthirsty 15-foot-tall grizzly bear who terrorizes a national park and the only person who can save those trapped within is a park ranger. “Night ...
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One of the most influential artists of the 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark, will have his work featured over the course of two days in Grand Rapids.  Thursday night is a presentation of his 16mm films “Fire Child,” Day’s End,” and “City Slivers” at the Grand Rapids Art Museum with Jessamyn Fiore, Co-Director at the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark, presenting a lecture after the screenings.  On Friday at the SiTE:LAB Rumsey Street Project location, another group of films will be unspooled for the public in the garage where this popular ArtPrize venue will be the host ...
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Movies in the Park: Bueller? Bueller? Jumanji!

Friday, Aug. 19, 7 p.m. pre-movie entertainment, dusk - first of two features begins
Before “Jumanji” gets a rumored remake with Kevin Hart and Duwayne Johnson, the locals of West Michigan have made their desires pretty clear this 1995 film is the one they want to see as a part of the Friday night double feature that includes “Ferris Bueller's Day Off.” The selection of “Jumanji” was via the public vote that selected this film to close this year’s wildly popular Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s (DGRI) outdoor Movies in the Park 2016 program. (“Jumanji” plays before “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”) ...
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With the final weeks of summer before us, it is hard for many of us to stay inside knowing that our time in the warm sun is coming to a close. No worries if you are wondering what to do this weekend, as the 5th annual DTE-sponsored GRandJazzFest will arrive back downtown. GRandJazzFest is a perfect two-day getaway that will cost you nothing to attend, as this is West Michigan’s biggest and longest running free jazz festival. While they will have 11 music acts this year, one performer who really stands out is Cindy Bradley — who becomes the first female jazz artist to headline our ...
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This year we can expect one thing for certain as we look at record numbers expected to attend this year’s Maker Faire: if all 7,000 people projected to attend are inspired afterwards and rethink the way they “make” things, then the impact from this imaginative group locally could revolutionize the future. And it started here …maybe. Suddenly, when you attend a Maker Faire, things become possible because that part of your brain that creates is suddenly lit up and ready to go. That is the beauty of Maker Faires, which are celebrated all over the world. It is wonderfully ...
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Names that now we take for granted, from Uber to Airbnb to Facebook, are all names of things we use on regular basis and can’t imagine being without. The reason many of these names are so powerful today is a result of careful design — a word becoming ever more important to those hoping to innovate within our civilization. AIGA West Michigan — our local internationally recognized chapter devoted to strengthening our region’s design power — presents a special one-night-only screening of “Design Disruptors,” a fresh documentary about the rising ...
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Local musicians often draw their energy from the artists or arts legends of their community. For those seeking or craving to hear some wonderful singer-songwriter styled music from Austin, Texas, then look no further than Thursday’s edition of the Long Road Distillers’ Summer Series, which will feature free live music from Jaime Harris. Harris has spent years touring from house concerts to sold-out clubs since landing in Austin, where she perfected her buttery smooth voice as she plies it to a series of songs reflecting a spellbinding hybrid of pop melodies with her rooted-in-folk ...
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You have to love a festival that includes such ancient descriptor words like “swashbuckling,” “plunder,” and “scallywags.” And at the 10th annual Michigan Pirate Festival you can expect a whole lot of this and so much more given their expanded coverage in the Grand Haven area the rest of this week. Working from an appropriate theme of "Pirates through the Ages,” you can expect a diverse array of pirates from all periods of history as re-enactments are set up all over Harbor Island on Saturday and Sunday. This is an enchanted festival where young ...
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Midnight movies used to be a staple of this town as college kids and locals from all over the county would descend upon a local theatre for the best in off-beat entertainment. Looking to revive that former trend comes Celebration Cinema with a new series of midnight movie nights that will not only satisfy aging Gen X’ers desires to still say they can stay up past midnight, but it will open a new audience to the cult magic and joys of the late, late night cinema. Joining the film “20 Million Miles to Earth” will be Laughfest, which has invited one of our local comedian ...
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One of the things I love about our local culture is how we have gone from being known as having a church on every corner to becoming a city with a brew pub in every neighborhood. It is a nice transition in many ways. Another is that we are becoming a city known for its flourishing neighborhoods, complete with tremendous investment via the new developments that are adding more options to each district. But we are also a city learning to embrace its long-standing roots with the many unique venues that still continue to operate here. One such neighborhood is Midtown, where, in addition to access ...
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Recently, I received word that Tanglefoot - a building where I share a studio with a group of local artists - received second place as the Best Local Alternative Art Gallery in Revue Magazine’s annual Readers Choice Awards. What we did not know until the August issue hit the newsstands was who received the top honors. With much pride, I can say it was Mexicains Sans Frontieres - an original Avenue for the Arts space where, under artist and musician Hugo Claudin, we have witnessed some of the most ground-breaking and off-the-beaten path art programs debut from his loft’s unmarked ...
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After a long day at the beach and sun, where does one go to cool off while basking in the glow?  That’s easy. Head to the Rezervoir Lounge to enjoy all the shenanigans of the Shimmy Shack Burlesque of Grand Rapids. This unique brand of Grand Rapids’ burlesque, under the direction of the Vivacious Miss Audacious, breaks down longstanding boundaries, introducing to the stage performers spanning the gender spectrum to create a thrilling themed night of entertainment with each new installment. Vivacious Miss Audacious is no blushing bride of the stage locally and has, in fact, created ...
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So you cannot afford a ticket to jet off to Pamplona to run with the bulls this year? No problem because this weekend in the city the bulls are coming for you. Literally, our local Grand Raggidy Roller Derby team will be acting as the bulls as they race through the streets armed with foam bats playing whack-a-mole as you attempt to race from bar to bar in this updated, and far less deadly, version of Spain’s El Encierro (The Running of the Bulls). Our local roller derby teammates once again are inviting folks to attend in their free-to-participate downtown Grand Rapids pub-crawl that ...
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Over the years, many area restaurants have attempted to interject a bit of community flavor into their business model, but the one area establishment that really has been turning heads is Wyoming’s Lindo Mexico Restaurant Mexicano on 28th Street in its new and expansive location. On a recent trip there for dinner with my friend visiting from Hong Kong, who was understandably missing a good home cooked Mexican meal, I discovered Lindo Mexico’s Arte en Familia - a first-time family art festival debuting on Tuesday, Aug. 9 from 4 - 7 p.m. Lindo Mexico’s Arte en Familia was ...
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Comics are evolving as the publishing houses that produce some of the most beloved brand of super heroes and villains are embracing the diversity of our real world. They have accomplished this most easily through the swapping of gender roles with some of our most beloved characters taking on new modern story lines, or through the tweaking of a character’s nationality or place of origin. The remix is infectious and fun as you scan the racks of new releases hitting the shelves all the time in area comic book stores. This Friday, another remix of sorts is happening when the Vault of ...
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We are past the halfway point of summer in the city, and if you have not attended a local baseball game this season then now is time. Considering this Sunday is another special edition of the Spectrum Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Days, during which they’ll celebrate Latino Day with the Whitecaps, then maybe this weekend is the most fabulous time to jugar a la pelota (play ball). Pre-game festivities provided by the Cook Arts Center will include folkloric dancers, mariachi musicians, and plenty of other Latino-centric entertainment.  The primer lanzamiento ...
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You have to admit it is pretty awesome to learn that not only is one of our most beloved jazz vocalists in our city performing a free concert on the banks of the Grand River’s Ah-Nab-Awen-Park, but, scanning her bio, we also discover she has entertained the U.S. troops via a USO tour of Asia and the United States. Mary Rademacher Reed, winner of the West Michigan Jazz Society’s Jazz Musician of the Year (2006), is a long time local favorite vocalist who has built up her career from club shows to the many stages of our theater community. She is also a member of the touring musical ...
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DisArt Festival may have closed its inaugural 2015 event, which consisted of multiple venues showcasing world renowned artists all over downtown, but since then the popular new festival has been hosting a series of one-off events aimed at advancing its mission “to change perceptions about disability, one work of art at a time.” On Wednesday night is a chance to attend a special DisArt Grand Rapids exclusive film premier event as DisArt welcomes “Life, Animated” — a real life story about a boy with autism and the fascinating journey he takes his family and others ...
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Spelling Bee(r): Adult fun with consonants and vowels

Thursday, July 21, 6 p.m. registration, 8 p.m. the bee begins
What happens when you take our local craft brew culture and marry it to the energy often exhibited in television ratings’ darling storytelling-while-intoxicated programming like "Drunk History?" Well, you create a space for the second annual Spelling Bee(r) to appear. Taking its cue from a rash of other popular events that were once reserved solely for the classroom, drunk spelling bees are popping up around the country. The BOB, in partnership with Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) and DrinkGR, invite folks to come downtown on Thursday to experience this hilarious and fun ...
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While we have already reported on the impressive lineup of acts this summer season taking to the stage at the 8th annual GRAM on the Green summer concert series, this one is truly unique from all the others for a host of reasons. For starters, it is a chance to witness the impressive sonic stylings of former-Grand Rapidian DJ Superdre, who has changed so much of our nightlife culture – and this special event at the GRAM enables her to try something new as she welcomes artist and LazerBoyz member AJPASCHKA to the patio stage. In addition to this night being devoted to the rhythmically ...
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Modeled on the principals of The Public Theater’s summer NYC series, Shakespeare in the Park, our local Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company is returning again to Grand Rapids’ Riverside Park on the northeast part of the city to perform William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.” This public event, which is free to the public, is the dramatic telling of one of the Bard’s earliest comedic works about mistaken identities. The play centers on the two sets of identical twins who are separated as infants. The first set of twins, both named Antipholus, are masters ...
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