Asian Street Food Drive-Thru: A twist on food truck debuts in Creston's Riverside Park

Saturday, July 18, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Riverside Park (Guild Street Entrance), 2001 Monroe Ave. NE
You might have thought that drive-thru was just about traditional fast food, but on Saturday a whole new one-day-only venture could have you leaving your afternoon runs to Mickey D’s and Taco Bell in the review mirror. On Saturday, fans of the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival, which had to cancel their 2020 event in June due to COVID-19, are in for a real treat with a truly delicious new event that hopefully will tide you over (or at least your appetite for street food) until they return to downtown in 2021. Debuting on Saturday at Riverside Park, the city’s largest park ...
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Sunset Cinema and Listening Lawn debuts: Studio Park debuts a solution for fans of cinema and music

Debuting July 15, 6 p.m. (doors), 8 p.m. (showtime)
Studio Park, 123 Ionia SW
Since the start of COVID-19 season in Grand Rapids four months ago, I had given up all hopes of being able to enjoy a big-screen movie, much less attend a live concert experience.  Well, due to the innovative thinking of the Studio C folks at Studio Park comes a solution that, while it may not be what we had prior the arrival of COVID-19, this new program indeed is a good first step forward as it offers those starved for a cinema or music experience something truly worth celebrating. In downtown Grand Rapids on the expansive piazza at Studio Park are two new entertainment programs with the ...
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On any typical week within this G-sync space, we would devote almost exclusively our focus to those in the creative arts who make our Michigan venues and public spaces such a wonderful place for so many to call home or to visit. I think we can all agree, just as our ability to gather is removed temporarily under CDC.gov rules on performances, that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed how we enjoy seeing our musicians performing, but also that these musical artists are facing hardships immediately as their bookings have canceled and their future income hopes have all evaporated so ...
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Naima Lowe: One of contemporary arts’ rising stars arrives at KCAD for a gallery talk

Tuesday, Mar. 17, 11:30 a.m.
The FED Galleries at KCAD, 17 Pearl St. NW
Naima Lowe’s work from the insightful and thought-provoking exhibition "Selling Sexism" at KCAD’s The Fed Galleries may have already closed, but don’t let that stop you from attending to hear from one of art’s emerging and powerful voices, whose work is exploring the topic of race and racism. Lowe’s free lunchtime lecture/interactive performance work, "Thirty-Nine(39) Questions for White People,” will be held on Tuesday, March 17 and explore the emotional labor and vulnerability inherent in discussing race and racism, and how artworks like ...
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St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Irish cultural pride on display Saturday, and, yes, wear green.

Saturday, Mar. 14, 11 a.m.
Downtown Grand Rapids, Begins Monroe Center
Each year, Grand Rapids welcomes many groups and organizations who take to the streets in celebration of one’s identity. It also presents a chance for area locals and visitors to learn a bit more about the many cultures that make our city truly Grand (Rapids).  This year is no exception and one of the most anticipated parades to arrive in downtown Grand Rapids is our annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which begins at 11 a.m. on Monroe Center and snakes around the city to end at the Grand Rapids Public Library. The 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s Grand Marshal is Mike ...
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Bring it to the Table: An invitation for us to return to civility

Wednesday, Mar. 11, 4:30 p.m.
GVSU, Loosemore Auditorium, 401 Fulton W
Somewhere along the way within the evolution of our modern digital social platforms, we, as humans, split into two very distinct versions of ourselves: the analog (in-person) version and our online persona. The latter online version of ourselves is often the harshest as we take to social media tossing civility out the window to engage in quasi-dialogue that quite often shuts it down. This Wednesday, March 11, the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Educational Foundations (COE), and Common Ground (Hauenstein Center) welcome the public to a free ...
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LaughFest 2020: Our Seriously Funny comedy festival celebrates 10 years with impressive lineup

Beginning Thursday, Mar. 5 through Sunday, Mar. 15
Greater Grand Rapids, Various locations
It is hard to imagine that it has been more than 10+ years since a Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids executive gathered a bunch of funny locals and comics to share they wanted to start a comedy festival. In those days, we had a few places around town that would feature comics, but nothing like we have today, as open mic nights for comics and comedy acts take to area stages all over the city. And to be honest, we can thank LaughFest for playing a role in this unexpected development. However, for most folks, LaughFest is a shot of good medicine where laughter is dispensed over eleven days in a ...
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Winter Beer Festival: The best winter carnival in Michigan (with no rides or games) turns 15

Saturday, Feb. 22, 1 - 6 p.m.
pin Fifth Third Ballpark, 4500 W River Dr. NE
It is hard to imagine that the biggest winter beer festival is already 15 years old when the Michigan Brewer's Guild annual Winter Beer Festival arrives back at the Fifth Third Ballpark on Saturday, Feb. 22. As a person who has attended numerous of these events since the start, I can with most confidence say they have not only grown in popularity and size, but they truly are the closest thing we have to a winter carnival (sans the rides like pop-up roller coasters with icy rails and prizes like frozen fish in a bowl at the arcade game area). Lucky for folks looking to attend, this ...
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The Continual Struggle fine art exhibit: The American freedom movement and seeds of social change

Opening Thursday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. (through May 31)
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl Street NW
There are many events locally that are celebrating Black History Month that exploring the past, present, as well as the future. This informative programming often include a distinct focus on our local culture, as seen last weekend at the Grand Rapids Public Library's annual Taste of Soul, and in the future visions as we will see at UICA's Afro-futurist exhibitions, Translating Valence (open now) and A Beautiful Struggle (opening Feb. 21). Starting on Feb. 20 and in recognition of Black History Month, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum welcomes a fine art exhibition by ...
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Taste of Soul Sunday 2020: Black History Month gets the local treatment

Sunday, Feb. 16, 1 - 4:30 p.m.
Grand Rapids Public Library (Main), 111 Library St NE
For those seeking an educational Black History Month celebration that is rooted in our local culture, then head down on Sunday, Feb.16 to the incredibly popular Taste of Soul Sunday. This annual event is oh so much more than just a sample platter of our area's African American community's history, as local folks share energizing art performances, powerful storytellers unpack tales of their journey, and black-owned businesses provide a delicious opportunity to sample the culinary treats of our area food culture. This year's event is centered around the themes of Listenlearneat,  ...
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WYCE's 21st Annual Jammie Awards - Fall in love all over again with our local music scene

Friday, Feb. 14, 5:30 - 11 p.m.
The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW
It may not be the Grammys but to local music fans, it is just as exciting, as this Valentine's Day the 21st Annual WYCE Jammie Awards returns to The Intersection! For those who venture downtown, you will be rewarded with a very diverse lineup of original musicians both on stage and off as our Jammies 21 will feature over 20 Michigan bands performing on three stages. And this night is so much more than just an elaborate music sample platter from musicians of our state, as it is also the annual occasion that WYCE. our community-supported radio station at 88.1 FM, will award Best Album of ...
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The Grand Rapids Historical Society presents: A visual history of Bissell

Thursday, Feb. 13, 7:00 p.m.
Grand Rapids Public Library, 111 Library St NE
As I looked for the words to describe the feeling of driving by the old Bissell building on Monroe along the river in the Creston neighborhood, the William Faulkner line, ”The past isn't dead; it isn't even past” comes to mind. For starters, this former factory situated on the Grand River, a place where much will be happening over the next decade, is on the market so we can see the signs that this building rooted in our past is still very much a part of our present (and future). But getting to this moment of transition takes time and is often the subject of those who ...
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UICA Drop-In Studio Event: Centering on Translating Valence's Artist Devan Shimoyama

Friday, Feb. 7, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. (drop in)
UICA, 2 W. Fulton
When the first Friday of the month comes around, many local folks might feel it is just another occasion to celebrate the arrival of the weekend as we engage in time-tested and community-edifying activities like packing a local pub with friends or preparing a tasty meal at home to welcome one’s chosen family to the table. There are really no shortages of how we celebrate locally the first Friday of the month. But for our arts community, when we hear First Friday, they think of the decades-long and on-going event held on Division Avenue (south of Fulton) as the creatives and businesses ...
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Gala 2020: Debut of the new … and with benefits

Friday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m. - Midnight
Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW
With every passing year, there are more and more gala events to consider attending in West Michigan. From nostalgia-infused affairs to fresh-air-focussed outdoor parties, the galas of our region, above all else, have created a space where a reflection of our community’s heart can emerge. Gala 2020, a new fundraising event debuting on Feb. 7 at the Grand Rapid Public Museum, is an opportunity for area small and big businesses, as well as locals and visitors, to mix and mingle together while enjoying locally sourced drinks and stellar beats that propel us over time. This debut event is ...
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Lunar New Year Festival 2020: The Year of Rat arrives in West Michigan with a timely message

Saturday, Jan. 25, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.
World of Winter Festival, 555 Monroe NW
For those who look to the zodiac for personal guidance, the Year of the Rat signals the start of the Chinese zodiac beginning the first of its 12-year cycle. What makes the celestial Rat very intriguing as a sign and worthy of our attention is that it signals to us mortals that 2020 is going to be a time for us to be flexible. It asks that we strive to keep an open mind in all that we seek in this new year. Keeping in mind that this is an election year, I find this advice truly enlightening in its timing. Those who heed the ancient message of the rat may even find navigating life much easier ...
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GR Soul Club: 8th-year anniversary party welcomes BreakBeat Lou & Dave Mata

Friday, Jan. 24, 9:30 p.m. (doors)
The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce SW
It is hard to imagine that just eight years ago Grand Rapids Soul Club debuted in our region to present a series of dance parties focused on the beauty of the ever-expansive genre of soul music.  Over the years, those who have shown up have not only witnessed legends of the 1’s and 2’s like De La Soul’s Maseo, DJ Soul Sister, and DJ Makossa, but our city’s GRSC has also spun rare unearthed 45s from Grand Rapids soul artists thought lost to time.  For their eighth anniversary event, GRSC welcomes BreakBeat Lou and Chicago’s Dave Mata who are sure to entertain the ...
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Hot Drink Walk at Huff Park: Get closer to natural space more in 2020

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 9 a.m. (start time)
Huff Park, 2399 Ball Ave. NE
Taking a walk in a city park may not be at the top of most folks' list of morning activities as windchills begin to usher in cooler temperatures after an unseasonably warm December. However, as someone who lives within the city, I have found that our parks offer many benefits to be enjoyed all year long. Huff Park in winter, our only nature preserve within our city limits, presents an opportunity to not just experience the recently restored/replaced and (now) elevated boardwalk, it offers as well a quiet space for reflection, quiet conversation, and observation of nature. Switchback Gear ...
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Freedom Outdoors: A future-focussed MLK celebration emerges in a park setting

Saturday, Jan. 18, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Martin Luther King Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE
On Saturday at the city’s Martin Luther King Park on the southeast side emerges a fresh event that is sure to turn heads as well as raise the heart rate of those who attend … and all of this in a good, healthy way.  As one reads the description for this event, while it is not directly a celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Freedom Outdoors with its selection of the MLK park just two days before we nationally celebrate the work of Dr. King, creates a thrilling next generation experience for our community’s school children grades five through 12. From my decades of walking ...
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Looking for a solid companion film to 2018’s “Roma” — the critically-lauded and heavily awarded (including the Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film at the 76th Golden Globe Awards)? Then you will want to see “The Chambermaid" — a 2019 film being shown as a part of the Chiaroscuro International Film Series at UICA. In her feature debut, theater director turned cinema auteur Lila Avilés has created a visually poetic look at the daily work life of Eve (Gabriela Cartol), a chambermaid at a luxurious Mexico City hotel. And like ...
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Trap Yoga: A future-forward way of doing yoga lands at the Baxter Community Center

Friday, Jan. 10, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Baxter Community Center, 935 Baxter Street SE
Over the years, Rapid Growth has featured as well as highlighted the many ways yoga has evolved or been presented in our community, from its early origins in our region, to yoga on paddleboards on Reeds Lake, to even exercising alongside and with baby goats.  Yes, yoga has many ways it is presented here in West Michigan today. So when we were presented with a chance to share an event called Trap Yoga, we were like, “Oh, hell yeah!!” It is 2020, a new decade, so why not?!? What is special about this particular style of yoga arriving on Friday night at the Baxter Community Center is ...
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Roast of Santa: You better watch out, St. Nic

Saturday, Dec. 21, 10:00 - 11:00 p.m.
The Comedy Project, 540 Leonard St. NW
Around the time that LaughFest began nearly 10 years ago, a lot of folks began to take notice of our local comedy scene. Not only had a few comedy-focussed clubs popped up via our dedicated spaces (Dr. Grin’s) to even pop-up nights at area theatrical companies (Dog Story Theatre), a few of our local comics, who had cut their teeth on area stages, were now busy starting their careers as they toured around the country from comedy clubs to college campuses. Fast forward to today, comedy is everywhere you look around us and we continue to welcome so many different comedy acts to stages all ...
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TimeWarp Retro Dance Party feat. DJ Psycho: A three-course buffet of dance music

Friday, Dec. 20, 9:00 p.m. (doors open)
Metro Grand Rapids, 1901 S. Division
One of my favorite dance music moments is from Donna Summer’s 1977 release, "I Remember Yesterday.” On this newly anointed disco queen’s fifth release, Summer would take a creative turn creating a concept music piece that sought to marry modern electronic dance beats with the sounds of the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. This playful act alone would have made it a good album. However, what makes this musical contribution truly soar is the inclusion of a future-focused (and now time-tested) dance song “I Feel Love,” produced and co-written by Giorgio ...
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A Winter's Tune Rebooted: It’s been 7 years since we’ve heard this tune…come join the band downtown

Sunday, Dec. 15, 12:30 p.m. (doors), 2:00 - 5:30 p.m. (doors)
Studio Park’s Listening Room, 123 Ionia SW
The new Listening Room at Studio Park is drawing rave reviews from all who’ve ventured downtown to this brand new music venue in Grand Rapids. And on Sunday is yet again another reason to make the journey to experience some amazing singer/songwriters of our community that has been lovingly curated by J Oscar Bittinger for the return of A Winter’s Tune Rebooted. It is hard to believe it has been seven years since Oscar hosted this annual event (and previously at East Hill’s Wealthy Theatre). For the 2019 artist lineup, Oscar has assembled an inspiring list of guest ...
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Winter Trails Open: Multimode sporting activities welcomed again to area golf course

Opening Saturday, Dec. 14, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (weather permitting)
Indian Trails Golf Course, 2776 Kalamazoo Ave. SE
A few years ago, our city began to explore ways to enhance our parks experiences as year-round spaces. However, one area, the city’s Indian Trails Golf Course, seemed to be deemed only suitable for warm-weather activities. That is until last year, when the Grand Rapids Parks Department under the leadership of David Marquardt, our City’s parks and recreation director, opened the Indian Trails Golf Course to winter activities. It was so successful last winter that it is opening again for winter activities (and weather permitting) at the popular public access golf course. Beginning ...
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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 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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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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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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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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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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Mdou Moctar: Don’t miss the artist who is showing just how far Psych-Rock can reach

Sunday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce SE
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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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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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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