Teen filmmaker Meet Miniatures MuseumGreat LakesBringing music & an joy focuses little detailsBurn Camp Animal Acupuncturist NathanonGinter to seniors
August2018 2018 August
Nationally acclaimed poet
FROM THE ASHES A disaster launched their business on an unlikely course for success
Five great Meetspots Dave to find Morgan nature
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From farm to hospital table. Advancing the health of our community starts with advancing the health of our patients. That’s why almost half of the food we serve comes from local producers. It helps ensure our patients, visitors and staff receive the freshest, healthiest and most nutritious meals possible. That’s good for everyone’s health, including the environment’s and our local economy’s. And since we believe you have to eat well to be well, we’ve partnered with Kalamazoo Valley Community College to create the Bronson Healthy Living Campus. It’s teaching culinary students and healthcare professionals about nutrition, food production and sustainability. All while bringing locally sourced foods and the skills to prepare them to people in our community. For more, visit bronsonpositivity.com. Or follow us on Facebook.
Teen filmmaker Meet Miniatures MuseumGreat LakesBringing music & an joy focuses little detailsBurn Camp Animal Acupuncturist NathanonGinter to seniors
August2018 2018 August
Five great Meetspots Dave to find Morgan nature
Southwest Southwest Michigan’s Michigan’s Magazine Magazine
Nationally acclaimed poet
FROM THE ASHES A disaster launched their business on an unlikely course for success
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Encore Magazine is published 12 times yearly. Copyright 2018, Encore Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation and advertising correspondence should be sent to:
www.encorekalamazoo.com 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: Publisher@encorekalamazoo.com The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.
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ENCORE EDITOR'S NOTE
From the Editor I occasionally see Diane Seuss, nationally acclaimed poet and Kalamazoo resident,
around town. A couple of times shopping in D&W, sometimes walking downtown, now and then at a local coffee shop. For someone who’s been a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won other national writing awards, she is rather unassuming. Not that you can wear those kinds of honors around your neck like medals, but if she could, she still wouldn’t. That’s why Margaret DeRitter’s profile of Seuss in this issue is so wonderful. Margaret is able to capture Seuss’ engaging personality and let us all feel a little more familiar with this inspiring, talented woman who walks among us. Margaret also gives us a clear window into the mind and method behind Seuss’ poetry, demystifying it and making it more accessible to those of us who claim to be non-literary types. Also in this issue, we talk with Bob Rowe, another artist whose work and passions have gotten notice outside Kalamazoo. He and the others who are part of his nonprofit group, Renaissance Enterprises, play music at senior living centers around the region, entertaining thousands of elderly people each year and giving them the joy of music. He’s won awards and the attention of such folks as Mother Teresa. Our Back Story introduces you to Dave Morgan, the new CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo. Morgan credits the YMCA with changing the trajectory of his life when he was an adolescent, and he’s committed to carrying that mission forward in all he does at the organization. Yes, August’s Encore is definitely full of feel-good stuff, and as the end of summer looms, that’s a good thing. Enjoy.
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FEATURE Full Life With Poetry
Nationally acclaimed poet Diane Seuss’ rural roots and love of art infuse her new collection
DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor 8 Contributors Up Front
Happenings and events in SW Michigan
14 Five Faves — Animal encounters of the best kind at Binder Park Zoo
Tiny Things — The Midwest Miniatures Museum is big on little details
Meet Dave Morgan — It’s all about access for the new head of the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo
ARTS 26 Entertaining the Elderly — Bob Rowe and his Renaissance Enterprises brings music and joy to seniors 31 Poetry 32 Events of Note On the cover: Works by poet Diane Seuss draw much from her rural Southwest Michigan roots. Photo by Brian Powers. Photographed on location at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Above: A miniature figure from the Midwest Miniatures Musueum, gives another a piggy back ride.
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Marie is the editor of Encore and often the interviewer behind Encore’s monthly Back Story feature, which she says is harder than it looks. “Even though Back Story is a Q&A format, I always come away with more great information about people than we have space to print,” she says. Dave Morgan was no exception. “He is very genuine, candid and generous with details about his life and philosophy. He laughs easily, especially at himself, but you know deep down there is the heart of a lion. He truly loves the Y and its mission.”
Lisa, a freelance writer based in Portage and a frequent contributor to Encore, tackles two very different stories this month. In “Tiny Things” on Page 16, she looks at how lovers and creators of the obscure art form of miniatures established a thriving museum in Hickory Corners filled with little replicas of real-life rooms and buildings. In this month’s arts feature, she introduces us to musician Bob Rowe, whose Renaissance Enterprises has brought the joy of music to the elderly for more than 30 years.
Photo: Shelly Mosman
Margaret is the copy editor and poetry editor of Encore magazine and a former editor and reporter at the Kalamazoo Gazette. Margaret is also a poet, so she naturally gravitated toward writing this month’s cover feature on local award-winning poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Diane Seuss. “I first met Di when I took a poetry workshop with her 20 years ago at the Portage District Library,” Margaret says. “Besides being a great poet, she’s a wonderfully encouraging and hilarious teacher. I was thrilled to have the chance to sit down with her recently to talk about her latest book, her passion for poetry and her love of visual art.”
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
First Things Something Country
See Asleep at the Wheel at Bell’s The nine-time Grammy Award-winning country band Asleep at the Wheel brings its Western twang to Bell’s Beer Garden Aug. 23. Known for its honky-tonk vibe, the band has released more than 25 studio and live albums, which include such hits as “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read” and “Miles and Miles of Texas” and covers of “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” and “Route 66.” Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8:30. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 the week of the show, and $45 the day of the show. Attendees must be at least 21 years old. For tickets and information, visit bellsbeer.com/event or call 382-2332.
Find that item of your dreams Are you just dying to find some unique old item
that’ll make you the envy of your social circle? Or to experience a little nostalgia? With more than 30 vintage clothing, décor, furniture and food vendors, Vintage in the Zoo is sure to offer up some nostalgic surprises. It runs from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, 1204 Bank St., with music provided by DJ Hardbargain. For more information, visit vintageinthezoo.com.
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ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Barn stages Bullets Over Broadway Jump into a glitzy 1920s world filled with mobsters and showgirls when the Barn Theatre stages the musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s screenplay Bullets Over Broadway Aug. 14-25. The musical tells the story of David Shayne, a young, idealistic playwright who finds his latest play funded by a mobster whose talentless girlfriend dreams of being an actress. Throw in a diva who hasn’t seen a hit in years and a bodyguard who’s actually a gun for hire and watch the shenanigans unfold before your eyes. Show times are 8 p.m. Aug. 14–18 and Aug. 21–25 and 5 p.m. Aug. 19 and 26. Tickets range from $39-$48. The Barn Theatre is located at 13351 West M-96, in Augusta. For tickets or more information, visit barntheatreschool.org or call 731-4121.
Balloon fest takes to the skies What’s summer without seeing the Kalamazoo skyline dotted
with hot air balloons? Good thing the Kalamazoo Balloon Festival will provide that eye candy and more Aug. 24-26. This is the sixth year of the three-day festival, based at Gull Meadow Farms, 8544 Gull Road, where you can witness balloons in flight, shop local vendors and enjoy the end of summer with farm-themed activities. There will be nighttime Balloon Glows Aug. 24-25. Festival hours are 4–10 p.m. Aug. 24, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Aug. 25 and 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Aug. 26. Admission is free, but there will be a charge for other activities. For more information, visit gullmeadowfarms. com or call 629-4214.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
Something Alternative Hear 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul
Now here’s a reason to break out your ’90s-era flannel shirts: the grunge-lite bands 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul will roll into Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, Aug. 4. 3 Doors Down, known for its hits “Kryptonite” and “When I’m Gone,” and Collective Soul, which brought us “Shine,” “Heavy” and “The World I Know, ” are touring together with Soul Asylum (“Runaway Train”). Really, it doesn’t get more original alt rock than this. The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25–$76.50, and VIP passes are available. For tickets or more information, visit wingseventcenter.com.
3 Doors Down
Sample beer at Bronco BrewFest Taste craft beer and meet the beer makers at the second annual Bronco BrewFest, set for Aug. 10 on the lawn of Western Michigan University’s Heritage Hall, 625 Oakland Drive. More than 20 WMU alumni-affiliated breweries and industry experts who are shaping the local and Michigan craft-brewing scene will be on hand to offer their stuff, nearly twice as many as were on hand at last year’s fest. The event, which runs from 6-8:30 p.m., will include pubstyle snacks, music by DJ Armando and the chance to win some swag. You must be 21 or older to attend, so be sure to bring a valid ID. Tickets are $25 for designated drivers, $45 for general admission and $85 for VIP access. All guests receive a sampling glass and 10 pours of 2 ounces each. VIP guests also receive early entry and reserved parking, among other perks. A portion of each ticket sale — $5 from most tickets and $10 from the VIP passes — goes to the WMU Sustainable Brewing Program. For more information, visit bit.ly/2KraqZD.
Swing the night away at the Air Zoo Break out that awesome vintage dress from the 1940s, put on your pumps
and get ready to swing the night away Aug. 17 at the Hangar Dance at the Air Zoo, 3101 E. Milham Ave. in Portage. The Hangar Dance will take place from 6–10 p.m. and will feature swing and big-band music by Jim McKinney, swing dancers, food trucks and a raffle. The event is a benefit for the Talons Out Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization that takes World War II & Korean War Veterans from Southwest Michigan to Washington, D.C. (at no charge to the vets) to visit their memorials. Period dress is encouraged, and tickets are $15, $25 for a couple and $5 for those 16 and younger. For tickets and information, visit airzooevents.com. 12 | ENCORE AUGUST 2018
ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Grab a blanket for free concerts You can get your free outdoor concert fix, from bluegrass to jazz to big-band music, this month at a variety of venues from Parchment to Portage. Almost all of these concerts are lawn seating, so bring your own chairs, blankets and bug spray. The scheduled concerts include: • The Glenn Miller Orchestra, big-band music, 7 p.m. Aug. 2, Overlander Bandshell, 7810 Shaver Road, Portage. • Kris Hitchcock, country singer and his band, 4 p.m. Aug. 5, Bronson Park, downtown Kalamazoo. • Barn on Fire, jam folk and rock, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5, The Stage at Kindleberger, Kindleberger Park, Parchment. • Lake Effect Jazz Big Band, 6 p.m., Aug. 12, Flesher Field, 3664 S. Ninth St., Oshtemo Township. • The Cabtown Checkers, jazz, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12, The Stage at Kindleberger. • Schlitz Creek, bluegrass, 4 p.m. Aug. 19, Bronson Park. • Bronk Bros., American country and Southern rock, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19, The Stage at Kindleberger. • The RockShow, Journey tribute band, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26, The Stage at Kindleberger. For more information, visit kalamazooarts.org/ concerts-in-the-park. Top: Bronk Bros.. Bottom: Barn on Fire
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Animal encounters of the best kind by
BINDER PARK ZOO STAFF
In the course of four decades, Binder Park Zoo has evolved from a small petting zoo to a cultural organization and facility that has more than 400 acres and 500-plus animals and is dedicated to the conservation of animal species. From its beginning, the zoo has provided guests with opportunities to get up close and personal
Lions lounging around Last July, Binder Park Zoo opened the African lion exhibit in our Wild Africa section, becoming the must-see summer exhibit at the zoo. A young male lion named Enzi and his sister lionesses Shelby and Salem were welcomed to Wild Africa, creating a new pride at the zoo. Their exhibit features a vast natural habitat to roam in, complete with compelling views for guests and state-of-the-art holding areas for the safety, care and comfort of the lions. Whether you catch the lions lounging or prowling, this exhibit will elicit awe.
Make mine rare, please Carcass feeding to zoo carnivores is an experience equally enriching for the animals and for witnessing guests. This recently introduced practice at the zoo involves the delivery of a carcass portion — generally deer — to our African painted dogs, Mexican gray wolves and African lions. Carcass feeding encourages natural behavior in these animals, providing mental stimulation, physical exercise and the enjoyment of a meal quite different from their daily diet. For social carnivores like the African painted dogs, it helps re-establish the hierarchy of the pack order, fostering stronger bonds between its members. Observing a carcass feeding is to have a unique glimpse into the natural world of some of the zoo’s most fascinating animals. 14 | ENCORE AUGUST 2018
with animals from far-flung places. From the thrill of a face-to-face encounter with an African lion to the experience of hand-feeding a giraffe to the emotional connection made gazing into the eyes of an ancient tortoise, these are some our favorite animal encounters.
ENCORE FIVE FAVES
You can call him Al One of the most iconic animals at the zoo lives but a few yards from the lions — the Aldabra giant tortoise, more affectionately known as Al. He has resided at the zoo since 1984, longer than any other animal and most staff. This beloved behemoth weighs more than 500 pounds and, at nearly 80 years old, is still considered only middle-aged, since tortoises can live from 150 to 200 years. Aldabras are among the world’s largest land tortoises and are considered vulnerable due to habitat loss and competition for resources. Quite social by nature, Al can identify his keepers and savors receiving his favorite treat from them — the occasional banana. On warmer days, Al can be found grazing in his exhibit or lounging in his pool.
Twiga-tastic Twiga is the Swahili word for
giraffe, and the zoo’s aptly named Twiga Overlook is where guests can enjoy the thrilling experience of hand-feeding a giraffe. The reticulated giraffes that roam the savanna area, among zebras, gazelles and waterbucks, are curious and gregarious animals that will wander right up to the overlook deck to receive snacks of romaine lettuce offered by guests. To look the world’s tallest land mammal directly in the eye, touch its velvety muzzle and feel its tongue curl around the lettuce leaf in your fingertips prompts gasps, giggles and squeals of delight. But in that moment, a deep and meaningful connection with nature can also be made, fostering a greater understanding of the importance of conservation.
Endangered species B inder
Park Zoo is home to 11 endangered and critically endangered animal species. “Critically endangered” means the species is one step from extinction, and in that group are the addax, addra gazelle, Panamanian golden frog and black and white ruffed lemur. The snow leopard, spotted turtle, African painted dog, Chinese red panda (at left), Mexican gray wolf, Przewalski’s wild horse and ring-tailed lemur are only two steps away, thus making the “endangered” list. Many zoo members and guests have a favorite animal that they connect with on an emotional level — the cute red panda, the spirited snow leopard or perhaps the comical ring-tailed lemur. The zoo’s mission is not only to connect people to nature and inspire them to conserve but also to educate zoo-goers about the situations faced by these animals’ counterparts in the wild. When you pay a special visit to your favorite animal, note its particular conservation status and what you can do to make a difference.
About the Author Binder Park Zoo opened its doors in 1977, near Battle Creek, three miles south of Exit 100 on I-94. Its mission is to “Connect. Inspire. Conserve. Connect people to nature. Inspire them to conserve.” The zoo is open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday. For visitor information, programs, events and more, go to binderparkzoo.org.
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Midwest Miniatures Museum is big on little details by
exhibits, and to-scale dolls. Most of its displays are done in 1:12 scale, meaning one inch equals one foot, but the museum does have even tinier ones in HO scale, which is 1:87 scale — or 3.5 mm (0.137795 inches) to one foot (think model railroads). The museum’s seven rooms are filled with miniature pieces created by world-renowned miniaturist artists. Visitors will find such small-scale replicas as six 1900-era medical specialty rooms filled with precise replicas of medical equipment, including stethoscopes, thermometers and bandages, and a grocery
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na Whitney points to an itty-bitty cat peeking from behind tiny curtains at the very back of the Midwest Miniatures Museum’s “Midnight at the Pied-à-Terre” exhibit. Although Whitney has volunteered at the Hickory Corners museum for 10 years, she never noticed that cat until a visitor saw it. But Whitney routinely encounters previously unnoticed details in the museum’s displays. “There’s little discoveries like that all the way through,” says Whitney, president of the museum’s board. The Midwest Miniatures Museum features miniature houses, room boxes and vignettes, miniature silver and crystal, special themed
Above: Ina Whitney, board president of the Midwest Miniatures Museum holds a tiny figure from the Hopi Indian exhibit that includes 200 tiny, unique pieces. At left: Tiny portraits and miniature furniture on display. Opposite page, from left: The “Brakenwood Vale” exhibit invites young visitors on a treasure hunt; a miniature display depicting quilters.
One of the exhibits, “Brakenwood Vale,” is by far the biggest hit with young visitors, says Whitney. Created by Rik Pierce, a Vancouver, Washington, artist and owner of Frogmorton Studios (named after a village in the Lord of the Rings series), “Brakenwood Vale” depicts a thatch-roofed cottage tucked into a craggily branched tree with lifelike bark, invoking imaginings of gnomes and woodland creatures. Children can engage in a “little treasure hunt” of the exhibit, says Whitney, through a game that has them count all of the figures nestled into nooks and crannies of the exhibit and find secret compartments for elves. “This was actually the last large piece that he (Pierce) did before he was commissioned (by an individual) to do a Hogwarts (the school of witchcraft and wizardy of Harry Potter fame),” Whitney says, “and that was so successful that he’s spent the rest of his life catching up with Harry Potter commissions.”
How it started
store stocked with tiny bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. There’s a replica of the house in Arles, France, depicted in painter Vincent van Gogh’s The Yellow House where van Gogh and artist Paul Gauguin rented rooms. Inside the miniature house are paintings, easels and bedroom furniture.
‘Little treasure hunt’ With so many minute and detailed pieces within the exhibits, it’s easy to see why even Whitney notices new elements every day.
A decade ago, local collector Francis Mary Light and miniaturist artists Criss Goad and Pat Bauder started the Midwest Miniatures Museum so that people would see miniatures as an art form. The museum, located on the grounds of the Gilmore Car Museum campus but not part of the Gilmore museum (the museum has its own entrance), now partners with the Barry Community Foundation and organizations such as the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo to educate the public and provide exposure for miniaturist artists. The museum also offers classes. “We have a class that’s a 1:144 scale,” Whitney says. “You end up with a whole house that fits into the palm of your hand.” Other classes include wiring, construction and design for 3D printing. “One of the fads right now amongst miniaturists — which I guess we could do here, although we haven’t tried it — is people are having themselves photographed so they get 360-degree photos, and then it
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Midwest Miniatures Museum Where: 6 855 W. Hickory Road, Hickory Corners When: May–October 11 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays 11 a.m.–6 p.m. weekends 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday How much: Admission is free, but donations are accepted. (the 3D printer) creates a ‘mini me,’” Whitney says. Whitney came to the Midwest Miniatures Museum after she retired as an administrator of mental health facilities for the state of Michigan. She admits she became interested in miniatures after starting a dollhouse project for her niece. “I somehow got it into my head that she needed a dollhouse,” Whitney says, noting 18 | ENCORE AUGUST 2018
November & April
she hadn’t the slightest idea of how to begin. “But a year later it was done, and not just me but about a dozen of my friends had gotten involved with it and were hooked on miniatures.” After that, Whitney joined the local miniatures club, Mini-Fingers of Kalamazoo. “And then Francis (Light) twisted my arm into doing some things and it’s just kind of gone from there,” she says.
Why miniatures? What is it about making miniatures that’s so intriguing? “There is an underlying fascination that people have, and have always had, with tiny things,” Whitney says. Miniatures began with Dutch Baby (Doll) Houses in the 15th century, she says, to train girls on how to run a household. In the 16th century, it became a fashion trend to elaborately decorate small houses. Miniature toys have even been found in Egyptian tombs. Model railroads, toy soldiers and model building are more examples of our fascination with small versions of big things. Currently, one of the most popular new attractions in Europe, Whitney says, Clockwise from opposite page: A miniature child’s room complete with dollhouse; a dining room; exact replicas of medical instruments; a tiny box of silver tableware; and a Hopi Indian from the exhibit donated by Francis Light, one of the founders of the museum.
is the HO-scale Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany. In a 16,000-squarefoot warehouse, a miniature world has been created with 260,000 figures, nine theme worlds and 1,040 trains. Controlled by 40 computers, 250 vehicles and crafts are mobile. Boats sail in the harbor, planes take off from the airports and trains wind through cities and countrysides. During the night simulation, 300,000 LEDs illuminate homes, stadiums and streetlights. “There are fires that their fire department puts out,” Whitney says, “and the whole thing goes through a 24-hour cycle within — an hour. It’s absolutely amazing.” Though surrounded by fascinating miniaturist art all day, Whitney notes that it‘s not her favorite part of the job. “It’s the kids,” she says and then grins and adds, “and it could be a kid of any age who discovers miniatures and didn’t know about them.”
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Kalamazoo poet Diane Seuss was staying in a hotel
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Poetry Diane Seuss’ rural roots and love of art infuse her new collection
in Portland, Maine, in April 2016 when she received a text from her editor that she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her book, Four-Legged Girl. “I thought he was kidding,” she says. “He said, ‘Check social media.’” She saw that he was serious. “I just flipped out. I called him immediately, and I was crying. … I don’t drink, but I got a cognac I was so flipped out.” Seuss says she doesn’t fit the typical profile of poets who garner major acclaim. The usual suspects are younger poets from big cities on the coasts. She’s a 62-year-old, largely self-taught poet who grew up in rural southwestern Michigan and lives in a smallish Midwestern city. But that rural Michigan upbringing provides some rich fodder for her poetry, which is filled with earthy images, inspired metaphors, astute observations and a deep sense of identification with people on the margins. As in Four-Legged Girl, Michigan images figure prominently in Seuss’ latest collection, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, released in May by Graywolf Press. In the new book, Seuss mixes her observations and descriptions of paintings by artists such as Rembrandt and Rothko with the kinds of people and scenarios she has encountered in places like Niles and Edwardsburg. She also works in elements of life in places like New York City. In blending these worlds, Seuss explores issues of class and gender, who gets to be the painter and the painted, the observer and the observed, and the desire to step outside the picture frame. In the book’s opening poem, “I Have Lived My Whole Life in a Painting Called Paradise,” rural images abound: “the milkweeds splitting at their seams emancipating their seeds,” “the gold fields / and stone silos and the fugitive cows known for escaping their borders.” But it is not a simple rural idyll that Seuss paints, for here there are also “fields of needles arranged into flowers / their sharp ends meeting at the center” and “in the air also are little gods and devils trying out their wings.” Paradise is a complicated place in Seuss’ imagination, and not everyone longs to remain there. Near the end of the poem Seuss writes, “I am told some girls / slide their fingers over the frame and feel the air outside of it / and some even climb over the edge and plummet into whatever / is beyond it.” The idea for the book came to Seuss after a dream. She could see the words “still life” written on the inside of her eyelids, she says, as she sweeps her hand across her face during an interview at Walnut & Park Cafe. The experience
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prompted her to begin researching still life paintings and she found the Rembrandt painting Still Life with Peacocks. The painting shows one bird hanging by its feet and another lying in its own blood with its feet in the air. A young girl looks in at them with her arms folded on a windowsill. “I stumbled upon that painting, and something about it just compelled me,” Seuss says. “And now I see that it’s the perfect representation of everything that was to come: the class issues, the woman/girl outside looking in, coming in out of the dark. (But) if someone asked me to conceptualize the book before I started, I wouldn’t have had a clue. I think our subconscious is more intelligent or knowing than our consciousness.”
Love of art
Seuss’ love of art can be traced to her teenage years growing up in Niles. She and a friend would take the South Shore train to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. “We knew nothing. We were just these hick kids who got on a train,” she says. But there they fell in love with the paintings by Mark Rothko and others. “The art, we saw, was good,” she writes. “We swallowed it down hungrily, without filter, like drinking
water straight from the creek, no matter the risk, because it tasted so sweet.” A visit to her Niles high school by late poet and longtime Kalamazoo College professor Conrad Hilberry when she was 15 and his subsequent encouragement led Seuss to attend Kalamazoo College, where she took classes with the late sculptor Marcia Wood and became an art history minor. “That’s where I really first started learning stuff about art,” she says. The way she fell in love with art — experiencing it first and then being educated about it — is the way she says she taught creative writing at Kalamazoo College, where she worked from 1998 until her retirement in 2017. “I would set people up to discover metaphors without even naming them. Then I would tell them what a metaphor was, and then we would learn about it that way,” she says. In working on Peacocks, Seuss says, she became obsessed with looking at art, with looking in general, with who’s doing the From left: Seuss’ 2010 book Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open captured the Juniper Prize; Diane Seuss with poet and mentor Conrad Hilberry; Seuss’ book Four Legged Girl was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Comments on Seuss’ new book • Politics and Prose Bookstore calls Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl a “magnificent fourth collection,” saying: “… Seuss doesn’t make a fetish of tragic artistry. Her elegies are celebrations of spirit and defiance. … Seuss writes with an irrepressible ‘virtuosic madness’ and her still lifes are anything but, showing us new worlds … .” • Daisy Fried of The New York Times calls it a "marvelous, complex, attractive, frightening book, which allows life to spill out of the frames of the artworks providing occasions for the poems. ... Seuss’ wonderfully flexible syntax, with her linguistic pizzazz and
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startling juxtapositions, removes boundaries between living and dying, paradise and hell, made things and lived things. " • Elizabeth Lund, writing in The Washington Post in May, named Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl one of the three “best poetry collections to read this month.” “Throughout this rich collection, the speaker uses art to show how women and the lower class have been portrayed and framed, so to speak, by social norms and expectations. She challenges long-held ideas about worth, privilege and beauty … .” — Excerpted by Margaret DeRitter
looking and why. She looked not only at still life paintings, whose everyday subjects interacted so well with her rural upbringing, but at portraits, self-portraits, landscapes, and abstract art. “My eyes were hungry for paint, like I used to imagine / a horse could taste the green in its mouth / before its lips found the grass,” she writes in her poem “Memory Fed Me until It Didn’t.” This obsession made her wonder, “Why am I so hungry to look?” She eventually realized that her father’s death when she was 7, was a big motivator “because I didn’t look at him dead.” She explores this subject in her poem “Still Life with Turkey,” which was first published in The New Yorker: “I think I assumed that my seeing him would / make things worse for my mother, and she was all / I had. Now I can’t get enough of seeing, as if I’m paying a sort of penance for not seeing then ,“ she writes.
‘Turning the stone’
When Seuss was born in 1956 in Michigan City, Indiana, her father and mother were living in Three Oaks, Michigan. Her dad was an industrial arts teacher there who also drove a school bus and ran the district’s bus system. “My mom remembers him carrying children, during the really bad winters there, from the bus to the door,” Seuss says. When Seuss was 3, the family moved to her mother’s hometown of Edwardsburg,
where they lived next to a cemetery. Her father accepted a teaching job in Niles when Seuss was 5, and the family moved there and her parents bought their first house, “a little prefab rectangle,” where her mother still lives. Before her father died, he became a guidance counselor. “That was his deepest meaning,” Seuss says. “He loved his work. He loved the place. He loved his students. He loved his colleagues.” ”On his gravestone there’s a torch, and it says ‘Guidance.’ It’s like we all carried on for him. My mom became a teacher (in Niles after he died), my sister a hospice nurse that helped people die, and I was a counselor and then a teacher.” Seuss’ father is buried in the Edwardsburg cemetery that bordered her early childhood home, and that place and her father figure prominently in her poems. “I used to tell my students we all have about three subjects,” she says. “We keep turning the stone in our hand and discovering new facets.”
Through it all, writing
Seuss’ interest in poetry and other literature was evident early. When her mother was attending college to become an English teacher, Seuss, then a young child, would sometimes sneak into the back of the college classrooms to listen
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to the lectures. She also remembers being curious about the books her mother would bring home — books of modern poetry, works by Virginia Woolf. Seuss wrote her first poem in first grade for an assignment for Mother’s Day and began writing poetry outside of school when she was 14. “When I started,” she says, “it was all spewing. There’s some real energy in that, in discovering how it felt to tell the truth, to run the line all over the page. But as I read more and interacted with Conrad (Hilberry), I gradually started learning about the thrill of restraint.” She continued writing through nearly 30 years of teaching, a divorce, single parenthood, and a broken leg and shattered ankle. “I’m proud of that — while chopping broccoli, diapering, I still managed (to write),” she says. And although college teaching often consisted of 12- to 15-hour days, it “absolutely fed” her writing, she says. “The energy of working with young people every day, having to live up to their expectations, having to read new stuff constantly to stay up to date, it forced me to stay current.”
Coming of age ‘till we croak’
Peacocks is Seuss’ fourth published poetry collection. Her first, It Blows You Hollow, was published by Western Michigan University’s New Issues Press in 1998. “My first book didn’t come out till I was 40,” she says. “That’s often the story for women. They don’t have someone there facilitating their career, and I wouldn’t want one of those because it’s not fair to (that person).” Seuss is currently working on a fifth collection, what she calls “a memoir in sonnets.” Looking back on a lifetime of poetry writing, Seuss sees each of her books as representing a stage of development. “I think we continually come of age until we croak,” she says. (continued on page 30)
Seuss and her son Dylan Seuss-Brakeman.
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Entertaining the Elderly
Organization brings music and joy to senior facilities LISA MACKINDER
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One day back in 1988, local musician Bob Rowe opened his
mailbox to find a yellowed envelope addressed from India with type that was obviously composed on a non-electric typewriter. One thought came to mind: “Could this be …?” And indeed it was what he thought. As Rowe has recounted to reporters many times over the years, the letter was from Mother Teresa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner known for her work with the poor in India as founder of Missionaries of Charity. She was responding to a letter he’d written to her seeking her insight about his outreach to the elderly via Renaissance Enterprises. He had founded that local nonprofit organization earlier that same year to bring music and arts programs to residents of nursing homes, senior apartments and other institutions. “I poured my heart out,” Rowe says of his letter to Mother Teresa. “I kind of forgot about it and wasn’t expecting a response.” But then, two months later, there it was — an envelope from across the globe sitting inside his mailbox from none other than the woman herself. It sparked an ongoing correspondence between Rowe and Mother Teresa. Rowe sent photographs of himself and other artists performing in nursing homes, and Mother Teresa would return the pictures with handwritten notes attached. She also wrote Rowe letters filled with reinforcing and supportive words, he says. “Mother Teresa did what I needed most of all, to make me feel special and good about what I was doing,” Rowe says. “She didn’t tell me, ‘Do this differently and that differently;’ she just told me that what I did mattered. That I should be grateful for my gifts, cherish them, and continue to use them in the service of God and the world.” Renaissance Enterprises now offers more than 150 music and arts programs to the elderly in Kalamazoo, Berrien, Calhoun, Ingham and Kent counties. It has 30 professional entertainers on its roster, some performing every week (such as the Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame band The Green Valley Boys) and others when their schedules permit. Rowe was 32 when he launched Renaissance Enterprises, but his heart for the elderly and his ministry to them began much earlier. At 15, after receiving his first paycheck from working at his parents’ hardware store, Gordon’s Hardware, in Battle Creek, Rowe purchased a guitar at nearby Grinnell’s Music store. With his background playing the piano and pipe organ, learning the chords on a guitar came easy, he says. Around that time, the nuns and priests at St. Philip Catholic Central High School in Battle Creek, which Rowe attended, took him to visit the elderly in nursing homes, and he played songs for them like “You Are My Sunshine.”
At left and above: Bob Rowe entertains residents at Bronson Commons, a senior residential facility near Kalamazoo.
“I could see it really was a real connection with myself and the music and the elderly person,” Rowe says. His parents, Robert F. and Mary Lou Rowe, longtime owners of Nelson Hardware of Portage (which is still in the Rowe family), also influenced his career with their love of music and their generosity. They introduced Bob to folk music, taught him to live out his faith and believed in service and putting others first, he says. “It was kind of a natural when the priests and nuns started taking me around to the shut-ins in the nursing homes,” he says. “I found an immediate way I could use my gifts as a musician to help others.” Brian Powers
‘A real connection’
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When Rowe launched his music career immediately after graduating from high school — he has recorded more than 20 albums (Higher Ground was released in 2017); has appeared on regional and national television networks; and has published hundreds of songs, poetry compilations, songbooks and other publications — he started out playing in nightclubs and traveled around the world with an agent. Following his performances, Rowe would seek out a local nursing home in each city and give a free program. But after 15 years, he grew tired of playing nightclubs and living his life on the road and desired something more fulfilling spiritually. “That’s when I got the idea to formulate a nonprofit organization,” Rowe says. “I got to thinking, ‘Hey, I’ve been doing this for all these years and I can see a huge need.’ There are thousands of elderly people in homes all over the country. I was totally convinced of what music did to change their lives. People with Alzheimer’s couldn’t remember their name, but they’d start singing a song word for word.”
Getting started The fun part for Rowe was, and still is, finding high-quality musicians. Having been in the music industry for so long, he always
finds top-notch artists who also have a passion for the elderly. “It was fun trying to get people I thought would have a heart for the elderly and would have the right musical approach to connect with that audience,” he says. The difficult part was that initial fundraising. When Rowe approached Russ Gabier, then a trustee of the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation,
Above: Rowe sings directly to a member of the Bronson Commons audience. At right: Rowe says his elderly audience members often sing along when he performs.
with the idea for Renaissance Enterprises, Gabier was immediately intrigued, Rowe says. He advised Rowe to go through the steps to form a nonprofit and promised to give Renaissance Enterprises its first grant money. But getting more sponsors in those early years
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was tough, Rowe admits, because of a couple factors — the country’s focus on youth and his untried nonprofit model. “We’re one of only a handful of organizations in the entire country, even now, that do this type of work,” Rowe says, “so I had to beg.” Rowe laughs and adds, “I was — and still am — a pretty tenacious person.” His persistence paid off. Rowe receives financial support from local arts councils, businesses and charitable foundations such as the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, and DENSO Manufacturing Michigan Inc. Contributors recognize the nonprofit is not a “fly by night” organization, he says. It also helps that in 2006 Rowe received the Mother Teresa Laureate award from the St. Bernadette Institute of
Sacred Art for “work and dedication to beautifying the world by bringing music and the arts to our nation’s forgotten elderly.” Past laureates include the Rev. Billy Graham and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Strikes a chord Even with the growing financial support, Renaissance Enterprises receives more requests for programs than can be funded. If an organization rejects Rowe’s request for funding, he takes it to heart. “It’s not about me,” but it’s crushing when a funder declines to support an effort that can bring someone joy, he says. And Rowe witnesses residents’ joy during every performance, he says, routinely seeing elderly residents who are curled up or slumped down in wheelchairs light up when the music plays. Music, he says, also initiates socialization between residents who might not otherwise engage in conversation. He estimates Renaissance Enterprises touches 12,000 people per year with its programs. With many nursing homes, Renaissance has established regular days and times each week to bring the elderly music, but Rowe would still like to see growth in the number of people served. “It’s tear-jerking just to think that a little effort like going in and playing a tune makes a difference in somebody’s life,” he says. Rowe calls the epiphany he had 30 years ago to combine his passion for music with helping the elderly a “light bulb moment.” Since experiencing that moment, he has graced the pages of publications such as Time magazine and has appeared on PBS, but he shrugs off the attention and accolades. “I found a way to do good for humanity and still be a musician that isn’t just focused on me getting applause and money.”
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Seuss (continued from page 24)
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“My first book was more autobiographical in the traditional sense. The ‘I’ was me and less about bringing in other stuff, although there were quite a few God poems. “By my second book (Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, winner of the Juniper Prize), I was doing more with the fluid speaker. I had learned from (Walt) Whitman that the ‘I’ in a poem isn’t necessarily the you that walks around. The minute you commit it to the page it’s an invention.” By the time she was writing the poems in Four-Legged Girl, she says, there was “more and more space between me and the speaker. It’s a mythologized me.” That book's title refers to a real girl who was born with two sets of legs and two reproductive systems. As a woman, she married a doctor and had kids from both wombs. She died in her early 50s. Seuss saw a picture of her online and was taken by “just the utter uniqueness, the freakishness of her … this idea of being the only one like you.” “The fact is we’re all like that,” Seuss says. “Hers (her uniqueness) is just more obvious. She became the metaphor for the desire for the most audacious side of yourself and the poetry that comes of that.” That book was written during “a period of my life when I was thinking about desire and the cost of desire and about rescinding desire,” Seuss says. “The end of the book is about reconfiguring desire in my own image. One night at home I just started feeling like it’s either poetry or die. Poetry is just my everything.” Now, says Seuss, “I’m kind of postdesire.” In Peacocks, the poem “Memory Fed Me until It Didn’t” speaks of how “the erotic charge turned off like a light switch” and was replaced by this new hunger, this new love for paint, for images. As for the overall structure and content of Peacocks, Seuss says, “I feel like it’s more like an opera than a concert. It’s a whole thing. It has its movements. That’s why I didn’t number the sections but use pieces of the image” of the Rembrandt painting to separate the sections. A complete image of the painting comes together before the final poem, “I Climbed out of the Painting Called Paradise.” In this
ENCORE POETRY poem the speaker pads “barefoot across the cold marble floor of the museum” and catches a ferry to the mainland with other escapees. A man with gold in his teeth tells her to go home to Mommy, and she realizes he was right: “I had a mommy. A mother / and a sister. … My mother’s hair, / white like a cloud of apple blossoms. I could picture her arranging / peaches in a bowl, and I remember our house, small and gray, / and beside it a cemetery on a hillside … “ By the end of the poem, the speaker says, “I went running toward it, all of it.” Perhaps here the “I” of the poem and the woman who wrote it do converge. Being named a Pulitzer finalist has given Seuss more recognition, more opportunities for readings, more teaching engagements elsewhere, but still she climbs out of that world and returns home to visit her mother in Niles, talk with her friends in Kalamazoo, give a reading at a local bookstore, and do what she has always done — write about what matters to her.
Mark Rothko Some of us would take the South Shore to Chicago to see art. We’d stand in front of large canvases in palatial museums, speaking to each other in invented languages. We wore solid yellow shirts and red pants, with a rope belt demarcating the blocks of color, befuddling the critics. The art, we saw, was good. We swallowed it down hungrily, without filter, like drinking water straight from the creek, no matter the risk, because it tasted so sweet. We rode the swaying train home at sunset, the smokestacks of Gary shooting flames into a sky already clanging orange. The city had been a dream. Home, too, a dream, black above, silver-gray below, floodlit by buzzing security lights. — This is one of five sections of a prose poem called “Walmart Parking Lot,” in Diane Seuss’ poetry collection Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl.
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Aug. 2, Overlander Bandshell, 7800 Shaver Road, Portage, 342-5059.
PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Musicals
Disney's Beauty and the Beast — A musical about an enchanted prince and the woman who breaks his curse, 8 p.m. Aug. 1–4 & 7–11, 5 p.m. Aug. 5 & 12, Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96, Augusta, 731-4121. The Producers — Farmers Alley Theatre presents the story of two swindlers putting on the worst musical in Broadway history, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 2, 8 p.m. Aug. 3–4, 2 p.m. Aug. 5, The Little Theatre, 798 Oakland Drive, 343-2727. Bullets Over Broadway — A musical comedy by Woody Allen set in the Roaring ‘20s about a young playwright who accepts help from a gangster, 8 p.m. Aug. 14–18 & 21–25, 5 p.m. Aug. 19 & 26, Barn Theatre, 731-4121. Disaster! — A campy musical about New Yorkers attending the opening of a floating casino plagued with disasters, 8 p.m. Aug. 28–Sept. 1; 5 p.m. Sept. 2, Barn Theatre, 731-4121. Other Cowboys: Songs, Stories & Poems — 8 p.m. Aug. 10–11, 17–18 & 24–25, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. MUSIC Gun Lake Live Summer Series — Hurricane Band, Aug. 1; Avon Bomb, Aug. 8; Typo, Aug. 15; Cheap Dates, Aug. 22; Union Guns, Aug. 29; all shows 6–10 p.m., Lakefront Pavilion, Bay Pointe Inn, 11456 Marsh Road, Shelbyville, 888-486-5253. The Glenn Miller Orchestra — Summertime Live concert featuring big-band music, 7 p.m.
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Gaelic Storm — Celtic rock band, 9 p.m. Aug. 2, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul: The Rock & Roll Express Tour — The popular ‘90s alternative-rock groups perform with Soul Asylum, Aug. 4, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Echoes of Pink Floyd — Pink Floyd tribute band, 9 p.m. Aug. 4, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Kris Hitchcock — Summertime Live concert featuring Hitchcock and his country band, 4 p.m. Aug. 5, Bronson Park, 342-5059. Barn on Fire — Summertime Live concert featuring the eclectic folk-rock band, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5, Kindleberger Park Stage, corner of Park Avenue & Hubbard Street, Parchment, 342-5059. Chris Robinson Brotherhood — American blues-rock band, 8 p.m. Aug. 10, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Whitney — Chicago-based indie-rock band, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Lake Effect Jazz Big Band — Summertime Live concert, 6 p.m. Aug. 12, Flesher Field, 3664 S. Ninth St., Oshtemo Township, 342-5059. The Cabtown Checkers — Summertime Live concert featuring this jazz band, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12, Kindleberger Park Stage, 342-5059. Finkel — Pop, indie and soul duo, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 17, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The Legendary Trainhoppers Play Graceland — Six-piece Americana band, 9 p.m. Aug. 18, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Schlitz Creek — Summertime Live concert featuring this bluegrass band, 4 p.m. Aug. 19, Bronson Park, 342-5059.
The Bronk Bros. — Summertime Live concert featuring the Michigan-based brother duo, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19, Kindleberger Park Stage, 342-5059. Crescendo Academy of Music: Chamber Music Recital — 7 p.m. Aug. 19, Jolliffe Theatre, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 345-6664. Asleep at the Wheel — Country-western swing band, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 23, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The Accidentals — Indie, folk and rock band, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 25, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The RockShow — Summertime Live concert featuring the ultimate rock tribute band, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26, Kindleberger Park Stage, 342-5059. Octocelli Concert: Cello Explosion — Americana — American-themed music performed by solo cello and a choir of cellos, 7 p.m. Aug. 30, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits
Vibrant Bounty: Chinese Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region — Folk paintings and artifacts of rural China, through Aug. 12. West Michigan Area Show 2017 — Works by artists from 14 Michigan counties in a juried exhibition, through Sept. 2. Global Glass: A Survey of Form and Function — Exhibition surveying artists and works from the mid-1960s to the present, through Oct. 14. The Way Forward: New Acquisitions at the KIA — Paintings, photography, mixed media, prints and ceramics, through Dec. 2.
ENCORE EVENTS Events ARTbreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Pewabic Pottery, talk by a guest from the Detroit ceramics studio, Aug. 7; West Michigan Area Show Artists and People's Choice Award, talk by artists Louise Papageorge and James Palmore and announcement of People’s Choice Award winner, Aug. 14 (voting for the award closes Aug. 9); sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Film at the KIA — Test screening of Host, a film about a woman who wakes up from a bad dream and is infested with a parasite, and discussion with director Andy Westra and producers Josh Martin and Rudi Goddard, 6:30–8 p.m. Aug. 9. Teacher Night at the KIA — Galleries, prize drawings, art making and beverages, 6:30–8 p.m. Aug. 30. Other Venues
Dianne Carroll Burdick: Lingering in the Landscape — Hand-colored photography, through Aug. 31, Glen Vista Gallery, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 3811574. Rita Grendze: Signs for Those Seeking Light — Cast-off books that have been cut by hand, mounted and suspended give voice to writing as a powerful visual language, through Dec. 16, Atrium Gallery, Richmond Center for Visual Arts, WMU, 387-2436. Art Hop — Art at various Kalamazoo locations, 5–8 p.m. Aug. 3, 342-5059. Community Art: MRC artWorks — Acrylic paint on wood board by various artists, Aug. 6–Sept. 28, with reception 6–8 p.m. Aug. 13, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544. Painting in the Parks — Expert artists offer step-by-step painting instructions to create a
masterpiece, 6–9 p.m. Aug. 23, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, 329-4522.
Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544
Solo Gallery: Nancy Arndt — Pastels on canvas, through Aug. 25, Portage District Library, 329-4544.
Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Aug. 4.
LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library First Saturday @ KPL — Stories, activities & door prizes, 2–3:30 p.m. Aug. 4, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837. Jennifer Pharr Davis: The Pursuit of Endurance — The National Geographic Adventurer of the Year speaks about her new book, 6:30–8 p.m. Aug. 6, Van Deusen Room, Central Library, 342-9837. Novel Ideas Book Club — Discussion of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Cat Health and Behavior – Discussion of humane alternatives to de-clawing, noon–3 p.m. Aug. 4. Parchment Book Group — Discussion of The Leisure Seeker, by Michael Zadoorian, 7 p.m. Aug. 6. Yum's the Word: Cook with the 600 Kitchen and Bar — Chef Nate Shaw gives a talk titled “Michigan Terroir: The Mitten's Unique Agriculture and Seasons,” 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8; registration required. Front Page: Donuts & Discussion — Currentevents panel discussion with local media, educators, politicians and special guests, 10:30 a.m.–noon Aug. 18. Mystery Book Club — Discussion of Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20.
Paint Along with Bob Ross — An episode of The Joy of Painting on painting little trees, 7 p.m. Aug. 8. International Mystery Book Group — Discussion of The Bridge of Sighs, by Olen Steinhauer, 7 p.m. Aug. 9. Classic Movie: 42nd Street — A Broadway director stages an ambitious musical before his retirement, 2 p.m. Aug. 18. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555 Wild Weather — Hands-on, immersive journey through the science of extreme weather, through Sept. 5. Hangar Dance at the Air Zoo — A 1940s-style dance to benefit Talons Out Honor Flight, an organization that flies World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., to see their war memorials; period dress encouraged, 6–10 p.m. Aug. 17. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089 Library Sale — Featuring books, magazines, brochures and manuals, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 4. Red Barns Spectacular Car Show & Swap Meet — Antique, classic and other cars, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Aug. 4. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990
Kalamazoo A–Z — Rarely seen Items from the museum's collections, through Aug. 26.
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EVENTS ENCORE Treasures of the Great Lakes — Learn how navigators used the night sky and lighthouses to guide them, 2 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Tues. & Thurs., through Sept. 8, Planetarium. Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here — The band's album set to stunning visuals, 4 p.m. Sat., through Sept. 8, Planetarium. Cats & Dogs — Entertaining and interactive environments that help us understand life as a cat or dog, through Sept. 9. Journey to Space — What future space missions may look like, 3 p.m. Sun., Mon., Wed., Fri., & Sat., through Sept. 9, Planetarium.
Seeing! — A photon's journey across the galaxy to investigate the eye's structure, 4 p.m. Sun., through Sept. 9, Planetarium. Distant Worlds: Alien Life? — Investigate the conditions required for life in our solar system and out to exoplanets, 4 p.m. Aug. 5 & 12. NATURE Binder Park Zoo 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, 269-979-1351 Reptile Weekend — Hands-on encounters with reptiles and amphibians, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Aug. 4, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Aug. 5.
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1204 Bank St. MAY – NOV Saturday: 7AM – 2PM JUN – OCT Tuesday: 8AM – 1PM Thursday: 3PM – 7PM 7900 S Westnedge Ave. MAY – OCT Sunday: 10AM – 2PM
1204 Bank St. JUN – SEP Every 3rd Thursday: 5PM – 10PM
PARCHMENT – SUNDAYS 6:30 pm at Kindleberger Park AUG 5 BARN ON FIRE AUG 12 CAB TOWN CHECKERS AUG 19 THE BRONK BROS AUG 26 THE ROCK SHOW - JOURNEY TRIBUTE BAND
34 | ENCORE AUGUST 2018
Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574 Willard Rose Prairie Field Trip — Join biologists from the Michigan Butterfly Network to spot butterflies in our natural areas, 3–5 p.m. Aug. 2. Zipline Adventure: Ground Landing — Soar through the trees on a zipline, 10–11:30 a.m. Aug. 18. Kellogg Biological Station 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-5117 Native Grass Identification — Learn to identify graminoid species in this two-part workshop, 6–8:30 p.m. Aug. 16 and 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Aug. 18, Room 145, Stack Building, Kellogg Biological Station, with Aug. 18 field trip; register by Aug. 10. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510 Bird and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. Aug. 8. Native Pollinators Workshop — Learn about providing habitat for pollinators, 10 a.m.–noon Aug. 18; register by Aug. 10.
MISCELLANEOUS Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesdays, 3–7 p.m. Thursdays, through October; 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays, through November, 1204 Bank St., 359-6727.
PORTAGE – THURSDAYS 7:00 pm at Overlander Band Shell AUG 2 GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA
OSHTEMO – SUNDAYS 6:00 pm at Fletcher Field AUG 12 LAKE EFFECT JAZZ BIG BAND
Sunset on Savanna — Enjoy a stroll through the zoo, live music and a dining experience, 5–10 p.m. Aug. 31.
Hummingbird Banding Demonstration — Brenda and Rich Keith, from the Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory, demonstrate hummingbird banding, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Aug. 21.
Summertime KALAMAZOO – SUNDAYS 4:00 pm at Bronson Park AUG 5 KRIS HITCHCOCK AUG 19 SCHLITZ CREEK
Tour de Zoo — A bike ride through the zoo with beer, games and music, 5–9 p.m. Aug. 9.
Kalamazoo Night Market — 5-10 p.m. third Thursday of the month, through September, 1204 Bank St. 359-6727. Portage Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 28, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage, 359-6727.
For Full Summer Schedule, visit:
Ribfest — Food, entertainment and music, 11 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Aug. 2, 11 a.m. Aug. 3–12:30 a.m. Aug. 4, 11 a.m. Aug. 4–12:30 a.m. Aug. 5, Arcadia Creek Festival Place, 145 E. Water St., kalamazooribfest.com. 2018 USTA Boys' 18 & 16 National Tennis Championships — Over 500 juniors compete for the national tennis championship title; gates open 8 a.m. daily, Aug. 3–12, Stowe Stadium, Kalamazoo College, 337-7343, ustaboys.com. Lunchtime Live! — Live music, food trucks and vendors, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Fridays, Bronson Park, featuring Mark Sala, Aug. 3; Megan Dooley, Aug. 10; Kaitlin Rose, Aug. 17; Run for Cover, Aug. 24; Scott Davis, Aug. 31; 337-8191. Urban Craft Fair — Artists, crafters and vendors, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 4, Bronson Park, 903-5820.
Kalamazoo County Fair — Farm animals, educational displays, 4-H exhibits, carnival rides, games and food, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Aug. 7–11, Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground, 2900 Lake St., 383-8778 or kalamazoocountyfair. com. National Blueberry Festival — Various activities for the family, Aug. 9–12, downtown South Haven, blueberryfestival.com. Broncos Night Out Series: Throwback Movie Night — Watch Ghostbusters under the stars, 8 p.m. Aug. 10, WMU’s Heritage Hall, 625 Oakland Drive, 387-8816. Garden Movies: Lady Bird — An eccentric teenager clashes with her mother, 9 p.m. Aug. 14, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Kalamadoodle Drink & Draw — Express your creativity by doodling, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Aug. 15, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Movies in the Park — Watch Wonder Woman under the stars, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 16, Oshtemo Township Park, 7275 W. Main St., 553-7980. Hot Date Night at Glass Art Kalamazoo — Create projects in the glass blowing and kiln fusing studios, 5–7 p.m. or 7–9 p.m. Aug. 17, Glass Art Kalamazoo, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., 552-9802. Movies in the Park — Watch Sherlock Gnomes under the stars; family activities begin at 7 p.m., movie begins at sunset, Aug. 17, Frays Park, 4400 Canterbury Ave., in the Westwood neighborhood, 337-8191. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Aug. 18, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 779-9851. Haunted History of Kalamazoo Tour — Kalamazoo history mixed with the paranormal world, 8–10 p.m. Aug. 18, starting in Bronson Park, 220-9496. Bikes and Beers Kalamazoo 2018 — A 15mile and a 30-mile ride through Kalamazoo, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Aug. 25, starting at Bell's Eccentric Café, 231-4049. Hop Harvest Beer Tour — Tour a farm and visit a brewery, noon–6:30 p.m. Aug. 25, starting at Old Burdick's Bar & Grill, 101 W. Michigan Ave., 350-4598. Manor House Tour & Lakeside Concert — Tour the W.K. Kellogg Manor House, noon–3 p.m., and enjoy the Cereal City Concert Band, 3–5 p.m., Aug. 26, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-2160. Historical Tours & Speaker Series: The Early History of Portage — Local historian Steve Rossio shares stories of early pioneers, the plank road and one-room schools, 2 p.m. Aug. 26, Celery Flats Amphitheatre, 7335 Garden Lane, Portage, 329-4522. Community Arts Awards — Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo honors local artists and arts supporters, 4 p.m. Aug. 26, Civic Auditorium, 329 S. Park St., 342-5059.
Everyone’s a Member Day Friday, August 3 Welcoming everyone for all-day benefits 8 am-8 pm
$20 off a fall class or workshop (with on-site registration)
10 am-8 pm 10% off in the Gallery Shop 11 am-8 pm Free gallery admission
Featured exhibitions: Global Glass: A Survey of Form & Function, West Michigan Area Show, Moving Forward: New Acquisitions at the KIA, Vibrant Bounty: Folk Art from the Shaanxi Region
6-8 pm Nashon Holloway performs (beer & wine available)
Coming up in September Friday, September 7 Art Hop: Back to School Art Party Fall art classes for all ages - scholarship applications welcome by August 21
KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 435 W. South Street 269/349-7775 kiarts.org w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 35
Fresh. Local. Handcrafted.
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
Arborist Services of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Barn Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Betzler Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Binder Park Zoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Bronson Health Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Dave’s Glass Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Susan Dennis, DDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Fence & Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 The Gilmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Greenleaf Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Halls, Closets & More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Kalamazoo Community Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Kalamazoo Public Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Keyser Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 LVM Capital Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 MacKenzies’ Café & Bakery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Mercantile Bank of Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Metro Toyota . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Parkway Plastic Surgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Salads starting at 3.25 Pasta salads starting at 5.25 Mediterranean & Chef Salads 6.25
PFC Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services . . . . . . . . . . .13 Portage Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 RAI Jets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Southern Michigan Bank & Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
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Varnum Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Willis Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 WMUK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
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Summertime Live Concerts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Subscribe online at encorekalamazoo.com Or call 269-383-4433
BACK STORY (continued from page 38)
is in the midst of a $6 million expansion focused on increasing access, from renovated, ADA–compliant, all-access locker rooms to a new pool at the YMCA’s Maple Branch that includes a zero-steps entry to efforts to strengthen the Y’s scholarship program. “We have facilities that can really make a difference in peoples' lives,” says Morgan.
How did you become involved with the YMCA? I grew up in a little bit of a funky household. My parents didn’t graduate high school, and school was never really that important. I had a lot of free time where my parents didn’t know or care where I was or what I was doing. I used to sneak into the Y when I was 11 or 12 and cause problems. When I was 13, the sports director, Pat Klinkner, grew tired of kicking me out and asked me to volunteer a few hours a week. I did housekeeping, cleaning the weight room, but it gave me a membership to the Y. After I started working there at 16, I started teaching everything from youth basketball to gymnastics to soccer and took on more responsibility. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I was an engineering major. I loved it, but about a year and a half in, I decided I really wanted to work for the Y. I went back to Pat and asked him what he got his degree in, and it was some obscure program called recreation resource management, so that’s what I did. I did my internship at the Y in Madison. I’ve never left the Y.
Where were you before you came to Kalamazoo? I spent 19 years working at the Madison Y and was an executive branch manager there when the CEO job at the Stevens Point (Area) YMCA (in Stevens Point, Wisconsin) opened. I was offered the job, but my wife and I questioned whether we wanted to leave Madison — we adored the community. My boss pulled me in and said, “No offense, but you need to leave. We love you to death, but I’ve spent the past
five and a half years getting you ready for you to start leading the movement. It’s time for you to leave and take on your own Y.” I took the job, and it was a great experience. It was a Y that was struggling financially and had issues with staff regarding trust and culture. After 13 years, I had accomplished everything I’d been asked to: The Y was out of debt and had a surplus, we were raising more money for scholarships, purchased a camp and renovated our building. I felt I could leave on good terms.
What intrigued you about coming to the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo? It’s a little bigger operation than Stevens Point, but there are several challenges. One is transportation and access for folks; we need to improve that either by making sure people can get to us or go to where they are. I am also a big proponent of early-childhood education, which organizations tend to shy away from because it has incredibly high staff ratios — one staff member for every four children — which is financially challenging. But we know that 80 percent of brain development happens before kids are 3 years old, so we need to get to them early on. Finally, we need to focus on our fundraising. The more that people see us as a charity, the more good we can do. We have our work cut out for us.
Do most people see the YMCA as only a gym? Unless someone has an intimate relationship with us already, people tend to see us as just another fitness center, gym or place to go swimming. That’s where we have to do a better job telling our story. People don’t think about the number of kids we reach through our Lincoln Branch or in our child-care programs. We also help people stay active and focus on their health. We have diabetes and cancer survivorship programs and facilities that allow people to walk, bike and exercise in the winter. We are so much more than that (a gym). You just never know what 13-year-old is going to come into our Y that day and need someone to help change their life. — Interview by Marie Lee
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BACK STORY ENCORE
Dave Morgan President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo
ave Morgan is a YMCA lifer. As an adolescent, he would sneak into his neighborhood YMCA in Madison, Wisconsin. At 13, tired of constantly kicking him out, a forward-thinking Y employee asked him to start volunteering a few hours a week. At 16, he got his first paying job at the Y. “My first job was as a gym supervisor, and it was a great job because my main role was to make sure kids weren’t sneaking in,” he says with a chuckle. “I had done that for so many years, I knew the best ways to keep that from happening.” Fast-forward 36 years and two YMCAs later, and Morgan, 49, now heads the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo, which has three branches and child-care and early-education programs and administers beforeand after-school programs in local schools. The organization (continued on page 37)
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Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Meet nationally acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize nominee Diane Seuss, the Midwest Miniature Museum, YMCA's D...
Published on Jul 26, 2018
Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Meet nationally acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize nominee Diane Seuss, the Midwest Miniature Museum, YMCA's D...