Encore February 2024

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Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners

Marlborough turns 100

February 2024

The Multi-Faceted

Marissa Harrington

Curiosities of the KVM collection

Meet Michael Symonds

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

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From the Editor O

ne of my favorite things about being the editor of Encore is when a reader tells me, "I learn so much from the magazine. I find out about things in the community I never knew about." That's the luxury of being a magazine — we can tell the whole story, not just provide a two-paragraph or 30-second bite. We reveal the many sides of people and the back stories behind their work. Take our cover story this month about Marissa Harrington, who co-founded and runs Face Off Theatre. Face Off presents compelling, provocative theater productions while providing a platform for artists of color. But Harrington, we learn in Robert M. Weir's story, does much more than run the theater company — she's a real estate professional, a mother of three and someone deeply committed to improving our community through her work. In this issue we also learn about the Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners, a nonprofit started by Jan and Jim Van Tuinen and Nate and Mary Rykse. This start-up works with local farmers, taking produce that would normally end up in a landfill and dehydrating it and packaging it to distribute to the hungry across the globe. The personal why of the founders and the logistical how of making it all happen are as much a part of the story as the group's mission. We also meet Michael Symonds, a journalist with the Report for America corps who is currently working at WMUK. Michael is on a beat called "rural meets metro" working to expand public radio stations' coverage of rural areas. Our intern Jarret Whitenack discovered some moving reasons why Michael became a journalist in the first place. If you are reading this and are not a subscriber to Encore, I'm asking you to consider subscribing. Here are the compelling reasons: Not only will it save you a trip to one of our locations for a copy (better for the planet), but it will be delivered conveniently by mail to your home or business (supporting the U.S. Postal Service), it's not expensive ($36 a year, or $3 an issue) and, most importantly, it helps to ensure Encore's sustainability in the future. There are subscription cards in each issue, and you can also subscribe online at encorekalamazoo.com/subscribe. Thank you for your interest in Encore. We'd love to add your name to our subscriber list.

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February 2024


Marissa Harrington 16

Wanting to make an impact drives her multi-faceted creative and professional endeavors

DEPARTMENTS 3 From the Editor 6 Contributors 7 First Things A round–up of happenings in SW Michigan 9 Five Faves

Curiosities from the Kalamazoo Valley Museum collections

11 Enterprise

Dwelling in the Past — City's first downtown apartment building, The Marlborough, turns 100

21 Good Works

Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners — Group works to turn surplus produce into sustenance for the hungry

34 Back Story

Meet Michael Symonds — This Report for America journalist is bringing news coverage to rural communities

T heArts 24 Theater 24 Comedy 25 Dance 25 Visual Arts 26 Music 27 Literature On the Cover: Face Off Theatre co-founder and managing artistic director Marissa Harrington. Photo by Brian K. Powers.

28 Events of Note 32 Poetry "Ice Wine" by Lynn Pattison

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Zinta Aistars The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that one-third of the food we produce in this country goes to waste. For this issue of Encore, Zinta wrote a story about a local organization, Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners, that aims to address this problem. "Jim and Jane Van Tuinen gave a great deal of thought to this problem, and they decided to do something about it," Zinta says. "While considering food waste, they also thought about how many people across the world go hungry. They started a nonprofit to work with farmers to create a pathway for food that might otherwise go to waste and instead get it to those who need it most." Zinta is the creative director of Z Word LLC and the producer and host of the weekly radio show Art Beat, on WMUK 102.1 FM.

Jarret Whitenack

Robert M. Weir When Robert heard the director of Face Off Theatre Company, Marissa Harrington, speak at a community forum last summer, he told himself, “Her story is Encore material.” Encore Editor Marie Lee was already familiar with Harrington and readily agreed. In addition to working in theater, Harrington is also a real estate professional and a wife and mother. Robert’s interview with her, he says, was fun, exciting and dynamic. “She’s got a great personality. No wonder she’s involved with theater,” he says. Robert is a local author and editor who has written many freelance articles for Encore. Read more about him at robertmweir.com.

Jarret, our editorial intern, wrote two stories this month. The first, on Kalamazoo's historical Marlborough building, was close to his heart. "I majored in history and really liked digging into the building's past and how it's evolved," he says. He also interviewed Report for America journalist Michael Symonds for our Back Story feature. "It was interesting to find out being a journalist wasn't where Michael thought he would end up and to learn about the path that brought him to this career," Jarret says. Jarret is a graduate of Portland State University, in Oregon, with a degree in history.


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First Things

Something Cultural

Events to observe Black History Month A number of events and activities will be offered across the greater

Kalamazoo community this month in observance of Black History Month. Among the events scheduled are: • Dr. Sian Proctor — The geoscientist, space artist and astronaut who served as mission pilot for SpaceX Inspiration4, the first all-civilian orbital mission, will give a free presentation at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Air Zoo, 6151 Portage Road. Proctor is the first Black commercial astronaut, first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft, and the author of Space2inspire: The Art of Inspiration. A question-

Something Festive

Marshall celebrates ice, brews and blues What do ice, brews and

blues have in common? They will all be celebrated Feb. 2–3 in downtown Marshall when the city hosts its annual Ice, Wine, Beer & Blues Fest. The event will include wine and beer tastings at 10 businesses, live ice sculpting, appetizers and a concert Feb. 3 by Laith Al-Saadi, who competed in 2016 on NBC’s The Voice. Al-Saadi will perform at 8 p.m. in the Franke Center for the Arts, 214 E. Mansion St., with the Blain Luis Band opening the show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25–$40 for the Friday beer and wine tastings. Tickets for Saturday's tasting and concert range from $34–$180. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit thefranke.org/ events. Laith Al-Saadi

and-answer session and book signing will take place after the presentation. For more information, visit portagemi.gov/calendar. • Local Black Artists Exhibition — Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Center for New Media and its Arcus Gallery will host an exhibition of works by local Black artists throughout the month. The Center for New Media is located at 100 E. Michigan Ave., and gallery hours are noon–2 p.m. Tuesday–Friday. For more information, visit kvcc.edu/artexhibits. • 10 Little-Known Facts — This exhibit at the Portage City Hall Atrium will highlight memorable moments and stories of courage in Black history. It will run from Feb. 1–March 29 and be available for viewing from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, visit portagemi.gov/calendar. • Kalamazoo History-Makers: Celebrating Black History Month — This three-part series will showcase Black community groups and members, including Peace During War, Kenjji and Ny’Shawn Scott. They will discuss topics such as community violence reduction, local youth and art and education. The events will be 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Black Arts & Cultural Center Gallery, in the Epic Center; 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Kalamazoo Public Library's Alma Powell Branch; and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at KPL's Central Library. • History of the Frederick Douglass Community Association — Local authors Sean Hollins and Sonya Bernard-Hollins will discuss the history and importance of this organization for Kalamazoo's Black residents. Their talk is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at KPL's Central Library.

Something Fun

Party kicks off KIA's 100th The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts kicks off its centennial year with a “heART pARTy” on Feb. 16. The party, set for 7–10 p.m. at the KIA, is touted as a family-friendly fundraising event that will take a look back at the KIA's past century and forward into its future. Tickets for adults and teens are $50 in advance or $75 at the door. Tickets for youth 12 and younger are $25. Admission includes desserts, dancing, a photo booth, entrance in the KIA-through-the-decades costume contest and a champagne toast (except for the kids). A “Sweetheart Gift Box” filled with KIA merchandise and love-centered items will be available for $25. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit kiarts.org. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 7


Something Historical Something Artsy

Garage Sale Art Fair returns You might find a bargain or two when

more than 145 artists bring their overstocks, seconds and art supplies to sell at the annual Garage Sale Art Fair. The event runs from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St. Artists who work in media such as photography, ceramics, clothing, jewelry and painting will be participating. There is a $5 entry fee for guests. For more information, visit garagesaleartfair.com.

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Exhibit highlights psychiatric hospital Michigan's first and longestoperating psychiatric hospital is the focus of a new exhibit opening this month at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St. Kalamazoo State Hospital: 165 Years of Psychiatric Care, which opens Feb. 3, will explore the history of what is now called the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital's history includes innovative programs such as a training school for psychiatric-care nurses, an occupational therapy program in partnership with Western Michigan University, and a colony farm system that was believed to have a curative effect on patients by keeping their bodies and minds active. The exhibit runs through Jan. 19, 2025. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesday– Saturday and noon–4 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the museum is free. Whether you are planning a spring break trip, family vacation or weekend getaway, our private jet charters are a convenient, comfortable and safe travel option that is more affordable than you think. Contact us today to learn how you can take your next trip with us.

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Five Faves

Curiosities from the KVM collections BY REGINA GORHAM

With the first donation made in 1881

to what would later become the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and nearly 60,000 objects now in the museum's possession, there’s no end to the surprises we find in the museum's collections. As the museum's collections manager, I often find myself looking at something and thinking, “How did this end up here?” Here are a few unique items I’ve come across — an assortment that is a great representation of the variety and vastness of the collections. If you’re interested in seeing more, check out the online collections database on the museum’s website, at kalamazoomuseum.org/collections.

Tube tester, circa 1950s–1960s

In the first half of the 20th century, prior to the invention of the transistor, vacuum tubes filled electronics such as radios, televisions and early computers. Tubes went bad over time and had to be checked with a tube tester to figure out which tubes needed to be replaced. This tube tester was used at Laing’s TV in Kalamazoo, a store opened by Jefferson Laing in 1952 that sold, installed and repaired televisions and other electronics. The store closed in 2020.

Tutankhamen’s throne replica, pre-1980

Do not let the gold color fool you — it’s not real gold. This chair was made as a replica piece for Irving Gilmore, son of one of the two early owners of the former Gilmore Bros. Department Store. (Irving's father, James, joined his brother John as co-owner in 1883, two years after John opened the store in downtown Kalamazoo.) The Gilmore family traveled widely, and this chair was used in a display in the store in the 20th century. Based on the throne found in Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, which is made of gilded wood and colored glass with carnelian and other semiprecious gemstones, this replica is made of wood, with carved reliefs and paint used to duplicate the look of the original chair.

Passenger pigeon, circa 1870s

On Sept. 1, 1914, Martha, the

last passenger pigeon known to exist, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. A century earlier, there may have been as many as five billion passenger pigeons in North America. Because the birds were easily caught, they were often hunted for food. The rise of cities and the expansion of farms also contributed to their demise, as passenger pigeons lost their natural habitats. This passenger pigeon in the KVM's collections was captured in the late 1870s near Petoskey, one of the last major nesting places remaining in Michigan at the time. The last time a passenger pigeon was seen in the wild in the state was in 1881.

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Mechanical political pin, 1896

What do golden bees have to do with politics? This "Gold Bug" campaign pin has the images of William McKinley and his vice presidential nominee, Garret Hobart, on its retractable wings and was given out during McKinley's presidential run of 1896. The images retract behind the bee's body, and the pin’s golden color was chosen to highlight McKinley’s campaign platform, which supported the gold standard, and was used as a reaction to William Jennings Bryan’s campaign, which supported the silver standard.

Michigan Celery Cookbook, 1946

Celery may not come to mind as a No. 1 dinner choice, but in this cookbook it’s front and center. Celery was a very important crop in Kalamazoo and outlying areas from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and the city became so known for the vegetable that it was nicknamed the Celery City. This cookbook was produced toward the end of Kalamazoo’s dominance as a celery grower, but it promotes Michigan celery and its uses. Sections include “Comparisons of Vitamins and Minerals in Michigan Celery with Other Basic Foods,” "Michigan Celery in Salads and Appetizers” and “Pointers on Keeping (and) Preparing this Delicious Vegetable.” About the Author Regina Gorham is the collections manager at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. She received a B.A. in history and Spanish from Augustana College, in Rock Island, Illinois, and an M.A. in history from DePaul University, in Chicago. During her time in Kalamazoo, she has been involved in a variety of roles with the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission and has worked on the review committee for Michigan History Day.

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Dwelling in the Past

City's first downtown apartment building turns 100

If you're walking around downtown Kalamazoo, it's easy to see the

evidence of the recent explosion in residential apartment construction. There's the towering Exchange building as well as the four-story midrises on Rose, Cedar and Park streets. But often overlooked is the downtown building that started it all: the Marlborough. To the random passerby on South Street, the Marlborough might be seen as just another big brick building. But this H-shaped structure holds an interesting history and still holds great appeal for those who call it home. When it was constructed 100 years ago, the Marlborough represented a big change in downtown Kalamazoo, just as its modern counterparts do today. In a July 8,1922, article in the Kalamazoo Gazette, it was described as “Kalamazoo’s first big metropolitan building, not only from the standpoint of construction and design, but also services and conveniences offered to tenants.”

Brian Powers


Top: The exterior of the Marlborough shows two legs of the H-style architecture of the building located at 471 W. South St. Bottom: The stately front entrance shows the original woodwork of the 100-year-old building. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 11


The building was originally paid for and owned by Kalamazoo Apartments Corp., which hired the local firm Billingham & Cobb for the architectural planning and Henry L. Vander Horst as the construction contractor. The construction cost somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000, which would be $5 million to $7 million in today's dollars. The building opened in 1923 with 75 residential units and a garden level for commercial space. As an apartment building, the Marlborough was home to many prominent Kalamazoo residents, such as local grocer August Scheid; former City Assessor Lucy Little, who was Kalamazoo’s first female administrator; and broadcasting magnate John Fetzer. The building's commercial space housed several well-known stores of the time. “The commercial garden units were the birthplaces of the Athena Book Shop and (what has been described as) 'The (legendary) Knitting Bee,' which was perhaps only legendary in the eyes of knitters,” says Pam O’Connor, a local historian and former Marlborough resident. Converting to condos For nearly half a century, the Marlborough was an apartment building, but in the 1970s Ted Little, the nephew of former resident Lucy Little, purchased the building with the intent of updating it and turning it into condominiums.


“I think he loved the place. He remembered being here when he was a kid to visit his aunt, and he was fascinated by it,” says O’Connor. “I knew Ted, and he told me a couple of times that it was not a money-making project for him.” Little combined apartment spaces within the building to create 35 condos. The condos are about 1,600 square feet each, some bigger and some smaller. The interiors were designed

to their new owners’ specifications with the help of local contractor Bob Shannon. This transformation to the Marlborough Condominiums took about 15 years, says O’Connor, during which the building gained a listing on the National Register of Historic Places based on its architectural style that represented the era of its construction. It was classified as a Mission-style building with

Brian Powers


Opposite page, clockwise from top left: A chess set sits in front of a stained glass window in one of the building's hallways; a living room area (top) and the kitchen (bottom) of a condominium owned by Steve Gibson and Stephanie Nielsen. This page, top: Marlborough residents gather for their weekly bourbon night event in the common area of the building. Bottom: Marlborough board members include, from left, Steve Gibson, Brenda Longman, Mark Sloan and Derl Oberland.

simplified parapets, deep eaves topped with barrel tiles, paired brackets and decorative wrought iron. At the time of construction, it was also the only “alphabet style” building in Kalamazoo, having been built in the shape of an H. In its new chapter as condominiums, the building’s history and architecture would prove to be attractive to those wanting to be a part of its story. “I was attracted to living in the Marlborough because I was trained as an architectural historian. I had been in love

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with it from the day I first met it. It only took me a half century to get here,” says O’Connor, who lived in the building from 2002 to 2022. The Marlborough's current residents own their units, and there is a board that makes decisions regarding the maintenance of the building, such as replacing windows or fixing the roof. Many of the residents say that among the benefits of owning a unit in the Marlborough is that they have no yard work or exterior repairs and maintenance to do. “We had a big house out in Richland, and we just decided that it was too much, too much yard, actually, " says Janet Riley, who lives in the Marlborough with her husband, Arthur. “I used to work up at Kalamazoo College, and when I walked downtown, I'd think to myself, ‘If I was on my own looking for a place to live, I'd probably look at this place.' I've always found this building very attractive." Downtown living Residents say another of the Marlborough's benefits is its close proximity to downtown Kalamazoo. “Our kids had just gone to college, and we were looking to change our lifestyle. We had a house out in Portage, and we wanted to come downtown,” says Marlborough resident and board member Derl Oberland. “We wanted to come and enjoy life. We wanted to be able to walk to restaurants. We could walk to bars. It was just the lifestyle we were looking for. I was tired of yards, I was tired of all of that stuff.” Arthur Riley lists multiple things that he thinks bring people to the Marlborough: its location downtown within walking distance of many restaurants and events; the size of the condos, which he says are larger than many apartments; and the building’s construction, which he says creates privacy, since residents rarely hear neighbors through the walls. Lastly, he cites the “wonderful” community that exists within the building, where “people are friendly.”


Top: A bedroom in Derl and Heidi Oberland’s condominium in the Marlborough. Bottom: Stained glass lamps create a cozy atmosphere in Arnie and Debby Johnston’s condominium.


Brian Powers

Riley’s observation about the community at the Marlborough was backed up by the experience of this writer during interviews of residents and a tour of the building for this story. The friendliness of residents was apparent the minute I walked into the entryway. In this cozy little hideaway, a number of residents sat and chatted with those who came through the door, asking about each other's families and days. And the building tour was often interrupted by residents coming out of their units to talk with board members giving the tour. Also creating a sense of community are the frequent events for residents, such as a bourbon night, clubs to watch specific television shows, and a monthly breakfast discussion. “It's not snobbish like gated communities, but it does have a secure feeling," says John Meyer, who has lived in two different units in the Marlborough. "Everybody kind of looks after each other, and that's part of the community."

Local historian and former Marlborough resident Pam O’Connor, far left, with current residents, from left, Derl Oberland and Janet and Arthur Riley.

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The Multi-Faceted

Marissa Harrington Wanting to make an impact drives her creative and professional endeavors BY ROBERT M. WEIR

Marissa Harrington is a walking Venn diagram. One circle represents family, one represents home ownership, and one represents theater. In the overlapping area at the heart is this wife and mother, real estate agent, and co-founder of Kalamazoo’s Face Off Theatre Company who is animated and passionate about all three areas of her life. Harrington was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1983. Her father, Robert Davis, was in the Army; her mother, Rowena Snead, was in the Navy. Harrington calls herself “a military brat.” She grew up under Snead's care in South-Central Los Angeles, and it was there that Harrington's multifaceted life began. “I started theater when I was 12 years old,” explains Harrington. “Theatre is how I found my voice and my confidence. I struggled a lot with low self-esteem, and my mom was, like, ‘OK, we need to put this girl in an environment that will help her develop and grow.’ At our church there was a lady and her mom who ran a theater school, Faith Acting Studios, in their home. It was a diverse school, but all the instructors were professionally working Black actors. “My mom’s thought wasn’t that I would be an actor. She just decided, ‘I want my kid to at least be introduced to this.’ And I wasn’t trying to be on stage. But I got there, and I was like, ‘Oh, oh, I want to do this for the rest of my life.’ It was serendipitous. It literally changed my life.” It was also while Harrington was growing up in South-Central L.A. that the seeds of her other future career were planted. “Mom struggled financially, and we experienced extreme housing insecurity due to evictions,” Harrington says, “so I’ve always been passionate about educating people, especially folks of color, on what it means to own a home.” In 2009, at age 24, Harrington moved from L.A. to Chicago to be closer to her father. Not able to find employment, she accepted an invitation from her mother, who was in Kalamazoo helping


Harrington’s grandmother care for a sick relative. “Mom had a friend in her church who owned Smoothie King on Drake Road. She told my mom, ‘I’ll hire Marissa.’ I said, ‘I’ll take it.’ I got paid $7.25 an hour, but it was a job.” At the same time, Harrington questioned her decision to leave the Windy City. “I’m a performer, you know, so I’m going, like, ‘Oh, Chicago. Yeah, that’s where I should be.’ I didn’t know anything about Kalamazoo. I actually pictured cornfields and an abyss, so obviously I was pleasantly surprised by the arts community when I moved here.” Inspired by her past Harrington quickly saw opportunity, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from Western Michigan University in 2013, and sought a career that would allow her the flexibility to pursue her passion to perform. Recalling the housing situation of her youth, Harrington chose real estate. In 2015, she became an assistant with Keller Williams Realty. Within a year, she acquired her real estate license and changed employment to Five Star Real Estate. In 2023, she returned to Keller Williams as an associate broker, running her own team of eight people in an office located at 2624 Portage St. Harrington’s life now includes owning a home on Westnedge Hill; being married to her husband, Harold, “a wonderful man and so sweet,” whom she met while attending WMU (professionally, he is finance director of international compliance at Stryker Corp. and has served as Face Off Theatre Company’s treasurer); and being the mother of three children, Lyla (14), Hunter (9) and Stella (4). “They’re theater kids,” Harrington says of her children. “Every step that I’ve taken in theater in Kalamazoo my kids have been with me. They’ve been on stage for rehearsals either while I was pregnant or after they were born.”

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Face Off Theatre's 2024 performances Face Off Theatre Company will offer six shows, plus its annual Youth New Play Project. The first production of the year was Goodnight, Tyler, by B.J. Tindal, which ran in January. Here are the company's remaining shows for 2024:

North Star 7:30 p.m. April 19, 20 & 27; 2 p.m. April 28 In this play by Gloria Bond that is part of Face Off's Youth Play Series, Relia, a Black girl in North Carolina in the 1960s, is searching for her place to shine in society when tensions of the Civil Rights Movement interrupt her joyous innocence. Stargazing with her father helps her cope with her parents’ struggle between letting her participate in demonstrations or shielding her from the harsh realities of rising racial tensions. The Youth Play Series is a Theater for Young Audiences production that features youth as actors and provides aspiring youth the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the theatre production process.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ 7:30 p.m. June 14, 15 & 22; 2 p.m. June 23 This sassy, sultry, three-time Tony award-winning musical revue, which will be presented in partnership with Uplift Kalamazoo, brings the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s to life. Five performers take the audience on a jump-jivin’ journey through the timeless music of Thomas “Fats” Waller, including “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’," “Black and Blue,” “This Joint Is Jumpin’,” and “I’ve Got a Feeling I’m Falling.”

Bambiland 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16, 17 & 24; 2 p.m. Aug. 18 In this play by FOTC co-founder Kendra Flournoy, Nic, a 28-year-old New York City journalist, has spent 10 years in the Big Apple writing gritty investigative stories. When her editor asks her to write a career-advancing story about overtaxed Detroit homeowners, Nic finds herself back in the city of her youth facing what she has been running from. This new work will be workshopped and developed for six months, culminating in a fully staged production with community feedback.

Smart People 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, 19 & 26; 2 p.m. Oct. 27 On the eve of Barack Obama’s election to the presidency of the United States, four of Harvard’s brightest — a surgeon, an actress, a psychologist and a neuropsychiatrist — are intrigued by how the human brain responds to race. The characters' sharp, witty dialogue about social and sexual politics also reveals their search for love, success and identity. The play is by Lydia Diamond.

Youth New Play Project 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 New plays written and directed by youth in the community will be featured in this annual production.

Crumbs from the Table of Joy 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, 7 & 14; 2 p.m. Dec. 15 In this play by Lynn Nottage, a recently widowed, religiously conservative Black man named Godfrey has moved his inquisitive teenage daughters, Ernestine and Ermina, from 1950s Florida to Brooklyn. Tensions in the household rise when Lily, his communist, sexually liberal, anti-racist sister-inlaw, shows up and when Godfrey marries Gerte, a white German immigrant. All shows will be performed at the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre, in the Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. For more information, visit faceofftheatre.com. 18 | ENCORE FEBRUARY 2024

Clockwise from top: The Harrington family, back row, from left: Lyla, Marissa and Harold; front row, from left: Hunter and Stella; Harrington performing in the title role of a Kalamazoo Civic's 2017 production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; a young Harrington, left, with her mother Rowena Snead.

Relatedly, she recalls her preteen epiphany in L.A. and says, “Traditionally, people think kids are too young to discover their purpose. We think they don’t know.” To youngsters, she says, “Whatever is in you as a gift or a talent, it’s in there. You were born with that.” To parents, she advises, “All we need to do is make sure that we are providing the opportunities for those gifts to be cultivated.” Within their own family, Marissa and Harold are cultivating Lyla’s love of cross-country running, Hunter’s penchant to illustrate comic books and play sports, and Stella’s interest in music and dance. Their youngest, born in 2019, has special needs. “I call her ‘homie with an extra chromie’ because she has Down syndrome,” Harrington says. “She was a preemie born four weeks early and then held in NICU for 17 days. She had trouble breathing and a rapid heart rate. We were by her side every day, and she came home on Christmas Eve. “She’s thriving now in preschool. She’s a spitfire, charismatic, loving and affectionate.” Founding Face Off The star of Harrington’s theatrical life is Face Off Theatre Company, which she founded in 2015 along with five other Black women who had recently graduated from WMU’s theater and playwriting programs. Those five — Janai Lashon, Tanisha Pyron, Bianca Washington, Kendra Flournoy and Mickey Moses — are still associated with Face Off in some way and are collaborating on planning the company’s 10-year anniversary celebration, in 2025. “We were, you know, fresh and green," Harrington says. "We had our master's or undergrad degrees and our talent and passion and creative energy, and there was nowhere to put it, so we just said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do theater together?’ “We asked ourselves, ‘What is going to make us different? What is going to set us apart? What do we care about?’ And we decided that we want Kalamazoo to be impacted by our presence, whatever that means.” That intention led to the company’s name. “We asked if Face Off was confrontational. We agreed that it was, and then we also agreed that we were okay with that," Harrington says.

“When you take your face off, you’re taking off your mask, so, as a company, we are intending to bring the community together by taking our masks off, looking at our reflections in the mirror and asking, ‘Are we the best community that we can be right now? Are we as diverse as we can be, as equitable as we can be? What has theater looked like traditionally and where have actors of color been placed in theater? Are you OK with that?’” Thus empowered, the founders of Face Off Theatre Company approached the Black Arts & Cultural Center, which at that time produced two theatrical shows per year. The FOTC founders proposed to become BACC’s in-house theater production team and do four shows a year in exchange for BACC being FOTC’s nonprofit fiduciary. From that energetic, yet humble beginning, Face Off has evolved to become a nonprofit entity of its own. It has attained semiprofessional status (using both Actors Equity and non-union talent and paying some people but not others) and is the only theater company in Southwest Michigan that features only people of color. In 2024, it will produce six shows, the first time the company has presented more than four in a season. Face Off also fulfills its mission of making an impact on its community in two dynamic ways: Shows are written and characters portrayed by people with diverse ethnicities,

and every performance is followed by a “community conversation” with the audience. "We are the only ones to do this in the community who do it solely and with 100 percent accessibility. Face Off Theatre’s mission is to create meaningful work that inspires and sparks change in our community through providing a space that empowers, develops and supports artists of color," Harrington says, quoting the company's mission statement. "We present audiences with fresh and innovative work that is inspirational, entertaining and thought-provoking and create transcendent theater art that explores the complexity and richness of the Black experience, as well as encouraging cross-cultural dialogue that illuminates and expands our understanding of the universal human experience." The community conversations are pivotal to achieving this mission, Harrington says. “People go to the theater or the movies or a poetry reading or a dance recital wanting to be entertained, but art is activism, right? As artists, we have this opportunity to impact the audience. We have them fresh. We have their ears to learn something new, a different perspective. Then we give them the opportunity to talk and ask questions about what they observed in the show." These community conversations also create a catalyst for collaboration. Usually, Harrington leads these discussions, but

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sometimes Face Off partners with another organization that has an interest in a particular show. For example, in October, staff of The Kalamazoo Promise led a community conversation after the Face Off performance of Exit Strategy, which is about the closing and razing of a public high school in Chicago. “We prioritize Black artists because Blacks don’t have enough opportunities to tell their stories, but we want to be inclusive of other ethnic groups too," Harrington says. "We have to strike a balance between empowering ourselves as a Black community while recognizing that there is space for depending on others.” Face Off Theatre Company has done at least one collaborative show with another community group or theater company each year, including Queer Theatre Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo College, the WMU Department of Theatre, Read and Write Kalamazoo, and Uplift Kalamazoo. FOTC has also worked with local talent Buddy Hannah, who was featured in the production of Sunset Baby in 2018, and the company is very close with the family of local theater luminary Von Washington Sr., of Washington Productions. Washington was a professor for several of the company’s founders when they were students at WMU, and Face Off co-founder Bianca Washington is his niece. “We don’t learn by staying in our own lane,” Harrington says. “We learn by being vulnerable and open and collaborating and

dependent on somebody else. We learn by seeing who does things differently than we do and vice versa, having tough conversations, unpacking to see if our heart is in the right place.” The company’s philosophy of inclusivity is also evident in its pricing policy. The suggested minimum donation for a show is $5. “If somebody wants to pay $20 or $25 for a ticket, that’s OK. Absolutely. But if somebody wants to go to a show and they only have $5, that’s OK too. Come on in,” Harrington emphasizes. FOTC receives financial support from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, Stryker Corp., the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Uplift Kalamazoo, and Sisters in Business. Future growth As FOTC’s managing artistic director, Harrington is in charge of what she calls the "eagle’s-eye view" of the company, "making sure," she says, "that we’re on task with our mission and vision, making sure the company is running right, and being visible in the community.” Other key people are Face Off's production manager, Milan Levy; arts manager, Kayde Moore; dramaturg, Dr. Shealin ShobowaleBenson; house and volunteer manager, Betty Lenzy; ensemble member in charge of costumes and props, Zaynee Miller; and community engagement manager, Khadijah Brown.


Some unique additions to this year’s Art Hops are After Hop concerts, guided public tours, student/communitybased projects, and more! Mark your calendars and stay tuned for the exciting details. To learn of the latest Art happenings, sign up for our weekly eNews mailing list at KalamazooArts.org!


March 1st

Celebrating Movement and Dance

May 3rd

The Great Outdoors A Celebration of Public Art


Currently Face Off productions are staged in the intimate, theatre-in-the-round setting of the Judy K. Jolliffe Theatre, in the Epic Center, in downtown Kalamazoo, but Harrington and Face Off's board have set intentions in their three-year strategic plan for FOTC to own its own space and attain full professional status. On a personal level, Harrington has a goal of offering yoga for actors and artists, for which she is a certified instructor. “As actors and artists, we put ourselves on the line emotionally and physically when we’re doing our work," she says. "There’s a lot of negative impressions placed on our bodies by taking on all the trauma of heavy drama.” Yoga, she says, is a tool to help creative individuals process that trauma through thoughtful movement and breath. Her personal motivation for practicing yoga is simple and relates to the fabric of her life beyond the stage. “I have kids and a husband. I have a business to run. I don’t have the luxury of being immersed in a character for months. I need to be able to separate.” As for the overall mission of Face Off Theatre Company, she sums it up like this: “We’re centered around community collaboration, community discourse, betterment of the community. We feel this is a mission that people will be able to hear, subscribe to and invest in.” It's an apt description of her personal mission as well.

July 12th Celebrating Black Arts

Sept 6th

Resilience Vehicle & Voice

Nov 1st

The Art of Practice Students & Arts Education

Dec 6th

Reflection A Year in Review






Growing Solutions to Hunger

Gleaners group to turn surplus produce into sustenance BY ZINTA AISTARS

The numbers are staggering. Across the world, 750 million people

are going hungry. Every day, 25,000 men, women and children die of starvation. It was these numbers that captured the minds and hearts of Jim and Jan Van Tuinen and spurred them to found Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners, which they hope will begin operations by fall. “Two years ago, in 2021, about a year into my retirement, Jane and I came back to Michigan from our getaway in Florida, and I said to Jane, 'I need something to do,'” says Jim Van Tuinen, the retired owner of Van Tuinen Painting. Being a couple of deep faith, the Van Tuinens prayed to find the path where they might be of most use. “A few days later I came across an article in the Calvin University alumni magazine,” Jim Van Tuinen says. “It was about a nonprofit called Sus Manos Gleaners, located in Jenison.” The Van Tuinens were fascinated by what they read about Sus Manos Gleaners, which accepts food donations from West Michigan

Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners was started by, from left, Jim and Jane Van Tuinen and Mary and Nate Rykse.

farms, processes the food and ships it to Christian missions that serve the poor. Both Van Tuinens are Calvin College (now called Calvin University) alumni. Jane is now retired from a career as a teacher, and Jim from his successful painting business. Both grew up in the Grand Rapids area, and Jenison is just down the road from Grand Rapids, so the Van Tuinens made a call to the father-and-son team of Jim and Tim Paauw, who had launched Sus Manos Gleaners. “And they said we were the answer to their prayers,” Jim Van Tuinen says, noting that the Paauws were feeling the need to expand their operation. A visit ensued, and the Van Tuinens learned about the gleaning business. Gleaning is a process of collecting surplus produce from local farmers, preparing it for shipment by washing, chopping, dehydrating and packaging it, and then working with relief agencies to ship the produce overseas to feed the hungry and malnourished.

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GOOD WORKS ENCORE “This is food that might otherwise end up in a landfill,” Jim Van Tuinen says. “The food waste in our country, unfortunately, is huge. There is no question that this planet produces enough food — it’s just a matter of getting it into the hands of people who need it.” Tackling food waste According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the United States is wasted. Much of that food is nutritionally valuable but either is left over or considered “imperfect” and therefore not shipped to grocery stores. Food is the single largest category of material that ends up in U.S. landfills. “We spent some time volunteering in Jenison and learning the business,” Van Tuinen says. “We also visited two other gleaners in Canada. They gave us a model to follow.” Jane Van Tuinen notes that there are currently only two gleaning organizations in the U.S. that dehydrate and package food for redistribution, "and we decided we wanted to be one,” she says. The couple networked widely, approaching friends and their church congregation to talk about their mission of feeding the hungry and to ask for donations. Friends Nate and Mary Rykse quickly signed on as co-founders of what has become Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners. Together, they contacted an attorney to begin the process of gaining 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, which they achieved in October 2021. “We were able to raise $923,000 in donations, but our total budget is around $2.5 million,” Jim Van Tuinen says. “And volunteers — we need many, many volunteers.” They also needed a building where they could gather produce and prepare it for shipment. A generous donor purchased a 23,000-square-foot building off King Highway for their use. Work is now underway to convert the building to their needs. Completion of the building is expected by fall. Among the Van Tuinens' first steps in establishing Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners was meeting with local farmers to see what produce might be available and how to gain access to it.


“So far, we have five to six farmers who have committed to us,” Jim Van Tuinen says. “Mostly what is available are potatoes — cosmetically imperfect but nutritious. Once the potatoes are delivered to us, some 20 to 40 volunteers will be needed to wash the food, cut the produce up and trim defects, place them (the potato pieces) on cookie trays and racks, send them through a chopper," and finally dehydrate them. "About 1,000 pounds of potatoes can be reduced to 100 pounds that way, then boxed up for storage.” “Then when the boxes are received, all that you need to do is to boil the potatoes in water and prepare them as needed,” Jane Van Tuinen says.

Putting plans in motion An organization known as Feed the Hungry, located in South Bend, Indiana, has committed to assist Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners with shipping and to absorb the shipping costs, planning to deliver 2,200 boxes of produce per shipping container to churches, missions and orphanages in 26 countries worldwide. “We see (providing) 400,000 meals per day at this point, but we have a goal of providing

a million meals a day,” Jim Van Tuinen says. “While we are mostly working with potato farmers now, we plan to expand this to other vegetables too.” The Van Tuinens say they understand the importance of food sustainability and growing food in an eco-friendly manner, “but we don’t pretend to that at this point," Jim Van Tuinen says. "First, you need to be fed before you can work on that next step.” Through a grant from an anonymous foundation, Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners has been able to purchase a massive food dehydrator and is now working to purchase and install the remaining needed machinery. Clockwise from top left: Volunteers with Niagara Christian Gleaners in Niagara, Ontario, process food for dehydration and were a model for Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners; the refurbished building on King Highway that will house the Kalamazoo Valley Gleaners; a newly installed dehydrator at the KVG facility.


DONATE TODAY “Right now it’s all about fundraising and finding volunteers,” Jim Van Tuinen says. “This is work that is not for the faint of heart, but it is deeply rewarding and an intense spiritual experience for us. We feel God’s hand upon us. We hope to be a community asset with worldwide impact.” “We cannot flourish without the support of our community,” Jane Van Tuinen adds. “The answer to world hunger is literally growing around us.”

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT: VALERIE The Honors Program participant is studying political science and sociology and intends to make the world a better place for others. Receiving a scholarship and grant has been a huge benefit. “The cost of college is one thing I don’t have to worry about,” Valerie said. “I can focus more on my studies.” LEARN MORE ABOUT VALERIE


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Spotlighting greater Kalamazoo's arts community

More Fun Than Bowling

Feb. 2–18 WMU Theatre

If you think there's nothing funny about bowling, you might change your mind after seeing this play at the York Arena Theatre, on Western Michigan University's campus. The show reflects on the life of bowling alley owner Jake, who has been unlucky in love (two of his three wives died in bowlingrelated accidents) despite his daughter’s attempts to fix him up with women hoping to marry for love and free lane time. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 8–10 and 16–17 and 2 p.m. Feb. 4, 11 and 18. Tickets are $7–$21 and available by calling 387–6222 or online at wmich.edu/theatre.

Shedding the Antlers Feb. 15–25 Queer Theatre Kalamazoo

How the appearance of a white-tailed deer in an individual's home causes an identity crisis will be explored in this production at the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition, 315 W. Michigan Ave. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15–17 and 23–24 and 2 p.m. Feb. 18 and 25. Tickets are on a name-your-price basis and available at queertk.org or by calling 569-6250.

Is There Life After High School? Feb. 16–25 Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

Whether the memories of high school make you feel nostalgic or cringe, you may relate to this production that looks at those pivotal years and their aftermath. It is presented by the Civic's Senior Class Reader’s Theatre, a program for adults 50 and older who perform without props or scenery, with the focus on the written word and storytelling of the script. The show will feature songs and monologues capturing high school experiences and how they play out after graduation. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16–17 and 23–24 and 2 p.m. Feb. 18 and 25 at the Civic's Parish Theatre, 405 W. Lovell St. Tickets are $17–$30 and available by calling 343-1313 or online at kazoocivic. com. 24 | ENCORE FEBRUARY 2024



Feb. 29–March 3 Festival Playhouse This symbolic version of the Adam and Eve story, in which a naive bourgeois Black man is murdered by an insane and calculating white seductress, will be staged at Kalamazoo College's Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St. The drama, written by Amiri Baraka, deals with race, class and power. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29–March 2 and 2 p.m. March 3. Tickets are $5–$25 and can be purchased online at festivalplayhouse. kzoo.edu or by calling 337-7333.

Don Giovanni Feb. 17 All Ears Theatre

Just in time for Valentine's Day, All Ears will present this tale of a lothario and the consequences of his actions at 6 p.m., at the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition, 315 W. Michigan. Adapted by Grey Grooters from the opera by Mozart, this all-audio theater production tells the story of Don Giovanni, a nobleman who manages to abuse, enrage or seduce just about everyone. Admission is free. For more information, visit allearstheatre.org.

Ongoing Productions Cats — Feb. 1–4, Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

Native Gardens — Feb. 1–4, Farmers Alley Theatre


Improv performances Throughout the month Crawlspace Comedy Theatre

Three local improv troupes and a double bill of Chicago duos will attempt to tickle audiences' funny bones this month with performances in the Crawlspace Theatre at the Kalamazoo Area Nonprofit Coalition, 315 W. Michigan Ave. Performing will be: • Riddled with English, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3, $4–$10. • Blunder Bus, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, $4–$10. • Crawlspace Eviction, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 & 17, $4–$15. • Piebinga Plumbing/She's Boygan, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24, $2–$15. For more information or to buy tickets, visit crawlspacecomedy.com.


Dance concerts

Throughout the month WMU Department of Dance

RAD Fest

The Western Michigan University Department of Dance will present two dance concerts this month. The Winter Gala Dance Concert, the department's annual showcase, will be presented Feb. 9–11 in Shaw Theatre. It will feature new works by dance faculty and students and excerpts from Family of Jazz choreographed by Kim Cooper of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10 and 2 p.m. Feb. 10 and 11, and tickets are $7–$21. Before the Feb. 10 evening performance, Partners in Dance will host a Toast for the Talent Fundraising Soiree at 6 p.m. in the Gilmore Theatre Complex, with hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are $50. Curated works by WMU dance students and a performance by the student organization Ebony Vision Dance Ensemble will be featured in the WMU Student Dance Concert. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 and 24 and 2 p.m. Feb. 24 and 25 in Studio B of the Dalton Center and tickets are $7–$21. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit wmich.edu/dance/events.

American Realism: Visions of America, 1900–1950 Through April 14

Kyungmi Shin: A Story to Finding Us Through May 12 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

American Realism: Visions of America, 1900-1950 looks at how the American experience during this period was captured in paintings, drawings and prints. The exhibition draws from the collections of the KIA, the Flint Institute of Arts and the Muskegon Museum of Art and features artists such as Robert Henri, George Bellows, Guy Pene du Bois, Edward Hopper and Peggy Bacon. For the exhibition Kyungmi Shin: A Story to Finding Us, Shin selected pieces from the KIA’s Chinese ceramics collection and contrasts them with her collaged paintings and other works, challenging prevailing stories about identity, immigration and colonization and celebrating stories of the Asian diaspora. The KIA is open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students and free to members. For more information, visit kiarts.org.

Feb. 29–March 3 Epic Center Dancers from across the country will descend upon downtown Kalamazoo this month for the Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RAD Fest). With live stage performances, site-specific works, a Screendance film series, master classes and workshops, this juried event is a multi-day showcase of cutting-edge contemporary dance. The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. Feb. 29 with a Michigan Made performance featuring dance troupes from across the state. The festival concludes on March 3 with a Youth Performance featuring works choreographed and/or performed by artists younger than 18. Ticket prices are $10–$25, depending on the event. For a complete schedule, visit midwestradfest.org.

VISUAL ARTS The Illustrated Accordion Feb. 2–March 15 Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

Books created in the accordion style by emerging and established artists will be featured in this annual exhibition, with receptions for the artists set for 5–8 p.m. Feb. 2 and March 1. Accordion books are composed of a continuous folded sheet of paper that can be stood up to view all the pages at once. They had their origins throughout Asia. The KBAC is at 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday or by appointment. For more information, call 373-4938 or visit kalbookarts.org.

Ongoing Exhibitions Annual Faculty & Staff Exhibition, through Feb. 24, Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery, Richmond Center for Visual Arts, WMU Zibaldone: Excerpts from a Codex of Possibilities, through Feb. 24, Netzorg & Kerr Gallery, Richmond Center for Visual Arts, WMU

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Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Feb. 2 & 3 Feb. 24 Miller Auditorium

The KSO offers two very different programs this month. On Feb. 2 and 3, it will play John Williams' score for Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone during a screening of the film. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and 2 p.m. Feb. 3, and tickets are $45–$125. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem and Thea Musgrave’s The Seasons will be on the program when Western Michigan University's Grand Chorus joins the KSO at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Soprano Jessica Faselt, mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider, tenor Nathan Grammer and bass-baritone Donovan Singletary will perform. Tickets are $5–$68. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit kalamazoosymphony.com.

Sean Mason Trio Feb. 11 Wellspring Theater & online

This rescheduled performance by a trio led by pianist and composer Sean Mason will be at 4 p.m. as part of The Gilmore’s Rising Stars Series. The trio was to perform in December but had to reschedule due to an injury. Mason, who began teaching himself piano at 13, studies at The Juilliard School and has played at Lincoln Center, the Rochester Jazz Festival and the Montana Folk Festival. His debut album of original compositions, The Southern Suite, was produced by Branford Marsalis. Wellspring Theater is in downtown Kalamazoo’s Epic Center. Tickets for the in-person performance are $7–$28. Online viewing is on a name-yourprice basis. Tickets can be purchased at thegilmore.org or by calling 250-6984.

Yu-Lien The

Lori Sims

WMU Department of Music Throughout the month Various venues

With guest artists, faculty recitals and student music group performances, February is shaping up to be a musical month at Western Michigan University. Unless noted, performances will be in the university's Dalton Center Recital Hall and are free. Scheduled this month are: •University Jazz Orchestra & University Jazz Lab Band, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, $5–$15. •Dennis Parker & Greg Sioles, cello and piano, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2. • Student Composers II, recital, 2 p.m. Feb. 9. •University Symphony Orchestra, 3 p.m. Feb. 11, Miller Auditorium. • Lori Sims, piano, 4 p.m. Feb. 11. • Western Winds, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, $5–$15. • Phyllis Rappeport Piano Competition, for students 12–18 years of age, 10 a.m. Feb. 17. • University Bands Spectacular, featuring University Wind Symphony, University Symphonic Band and University Concert Band, 2 p.m. Feb. 18, Miller Auditorium.

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•Yu-Lien The and Lori Sims Piano Duo, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, $5–$15. To purchase tickets, go to wmich.edu/ music/events.

At Home


Feb. 11 Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra The KJSO will be joined by cellist Starla Breshears, who was the 2023 Stulberg International String Competition bronze medalist, when it performs at 4 p.m. in Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. Breshears will perform two songs with the youth orchestra: Tchaikovsky's "Variation on a Rococo Theme" and Shevchenco's "My Ye (We Are)." Tickets are $5–$15 and available at kjso.org or stulberg.org.

Castalian String Quartet Feb. 23 Dalton Center Recital Hall

This award-winning resident ensemble at England's Oxford University will perform at 7:30 p.m. The quartet, which formed in 2011, was awarded first prize at the 2015 Lyon International Chamber Music Competition, received the Merito String Quartet Award and Valentin Erben Prize and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2018, and was named Young Artist of the Year at the 2019 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards. The concert is presented by Fontana Chamber Arts. Tickets are $15–$30 and available at fontanamusic.org.

Unlock Your Imagination

Feb. 24 Kalamazoo Concert Band In a program inspired by literature, readings will be woven in between music selections in this concert at 7:30 p.m. at Chenery Auditorium. The free concert is the third of four in the KCB's season that focus on a theme of unlocking imagination. For more information, visit kalamazooconcertband.org.


Marianne Chan & Carmen Gimenez Feb. 17 Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

Two award-winning poets will read from their works in this virtual 7 p.m. event that's part of the KBAC's Poets in Print series. Marianne Chan is the author of All Heathens, which was the winner of the 2021 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. Her second collection, Leaving Biddle City, will be published in 2024. Her poems have Marianne Chen appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Best American Poetry, New England Review, Kenyon Review and Michigan Quarterly Review. Carmen Giménez is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award, and 2019's Be Recorder, a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, and Carmen Giménez the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has been awarded the Academy of American Poets Fellowship Prize and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. A link to this online event is available at kalbookarts.org.

Author talks

Through the month Various venues A number of authors of fiction and nonfiction works are scheduled to give talks in person or online this month: • Award-winning local novelist Bonnie Jo Campbell, whose latest novel is The Waters, will give a reading at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Student Commons Lounge at Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Texas Township campus. She will also appear at 5 p.m. that day in KVCC's Dale B. Lake Auditorium to converse with filmmaker Haroula Rose, who turned Campbell's novel Once Upon a River into a feature film. The film will be screened after the talk, and a book signing will follow. These events are free, but tickets are required. For tickets visit kalamazoomuseum.org. • Sonya Bernard-Hollins will present Merze Tate: Her Life, Her Legacy and discuss her own children's book about Tate from 6–7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Kalamazoo Public Library's Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle Ave. • Aiden Thomas, the young adult fantasy novelist of Cemetery Boys, Lost in the Never Wood and Sunbearer Trials, will discuss the intersection of Latinx & LGBTQ+ identities from 6:30–7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Kalamazoo Public Library's Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St. • Tom Springer, author of The Star in the Sycamore and Looking for Hickories, will discuss his work from 6–7 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Richland Community Library, 8951 Park St., Richland. • Award-winning Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye will discuss her poetry book Everything Comes Next in an online presentation at 7 p.m. Feb. 27. Register in advance for this webinar at zoom.us/webinar/register/ WN_EGg0p-kyTFyQSN0wCF_t4A. • Irene Miller, a Holocaust survivor, will discuss her memoir Into No Man’s Island from 6–8 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane. Registration is required; visit portagelibrary.info. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 27

Feb. 23 & 24, 2 p.m. Feb. 24 & 25, Studio B, Dalton Center, WMU, wmich.edu/dance/events. Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RAD Fest) — Hosted by Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, Feb. 29–March 3, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, midwestradfest.org, 342-4354. PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays

Native Gardens — A comedy about clashing cultures among neighbors, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1–3, 2 p.m. Feb. 4, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727, farmersalleytheatre.com. More Fun Than Bowling — A comedy about bowling alley owner Jake & his daughter’s attempts to fix him up with women, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 8–10 & 16–17, 2 p.m. Feb. 4, 11 & 18, York Arena Theatre, WMU, 387–6222, wmich.edu/theatre. Shedding the Antlers — The appearance of a whitetailed deer in their home causes Dani to experience an identity crisis, presented by Queer Theatre Kalamazoo, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15–17 & 23–24, 2 p.m. Feb. 18 & 25, Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition, 315 W. Michigan Ave., queertk.org, 569-6250 or 383-4433. Dutchman — A naive bourgeois Black man is murdered by an insane & calculating white seductress who is planning for her next victim, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29–March 2, 2 p.m. March 3, Kalamazoo College's Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St., festivalplayhouse.kzoo.edu. Musicals

Cats — The Civic Youth Theatre’s Penguin Project, which gives children with disabilities the chance to participate, presents this musical about a tribe of cats that gathers for an annual ball, 10 a.m. Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 2 p.m. Feb. 3–4, Civic Theatre, 3431313, kazoocivic.com. Is There Life After High School? — The Civic's Senior Class Reader’s Theatre presents songs & monologues capturing high school experiences & how they play out after graduation, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16–17 & 23–24, 2 p.m. Feb. 18 & 25, Parish Theatre, 405 W. Lovell St., 343–1313, kazoocivic.com. On Your Feet! — A musical that tells the story of the life and music of Emilio & Gloria Estefan, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29, Miller Auditorium, millerauditorium.com. Other

Lamb of God — A musical retelling of the final days of Jesus Christ, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387–2300, millerauditorium.com. Don Giovanni — An all-audio theater production by Grey Grooters, 6 p.m. Feb. 17, Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition, 315 W. Michigan, allearstheatre. org. DANCE Winter Gala Dance Concert — Presented by Western Michigan University Department of Dance, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9, 2 p.m. Feb. 10–11, Shaw Theatre, WMU, wmich.edu/dance/events. WMU Student Dance Concert — WMU students and Ebony Vision Dance Ensemble perform, 7:30 p.m.


MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists

Stars Series, 4 p.m. Feb. 11, Wellspring Theater, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, with virtual & in-person tickets available, 342–1166, thegilmore.org. Western Winds — Performs in WMU’s Bullock Series, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, Dalton Center Recital Hall, wmich. edu/music/events. Phyllis Rappaport Piano Competition — 10 a.m. Feb. 17, Dalton Center Recital Hall, wmich.edu/music/ events.

Parker McCollum — Country & Americana music, with Corey Kent & George Birge, 7 p.m. Feb. 8, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, wingseventcenter. com/events.

Crescendo Academy of Music Student Recital — 2 p.m. Feb. 18, First Congregational Church, 345 W. Michigan Ave., 345-6664, crescendoacademy.com.

Bell’s Eccentric Café Concerts — Disco Dance Party inspired by ABBA, Feb. 9; Willi Carlisle, Feb. 10; One with the Riverbed w/Mouthful of Locusts & After Midnight, Feb. 15; Knee Deep Shag w/Domestic Problems, Feb. 16; Saturday at Your Place w/Charmer, Liquid Mike & Headband Henny, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23; Joe Hertler DJ Set, Feb. 24; Gaelic Storm, Feb. 29; all shows begin at 8 p.m. except the Feb. 23 show, which begins at 7:30 p.m., 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382–2332, bellsbeer.com.

Yu-Lien The & Lori Sims Piano Duo — Performs in WMU’s Bullock Series, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, Dalton Center Recital Hall, wmich.edu/music/events.

Nickel Creek — Bluegrass & folk music, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., kazoostate.com. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More University Jazz Orchestra & University Jazz Lab Band — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, wmich.edu/music/events. Enchanted Forest — Relic early music ensemble performs Corelli, Purcell, Lully & more, 4:30 p.m. Feb. 2, First Congregational Church, 345 W. Michigan Ave.; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3, Kalamazoo College’s Dalton Theatre, 1140 Academy St., relicensemble.org.

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone — The KSO performs along with HD projection of the movie, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 2 p.m. Feb. 3, Miller Auditorium, kalamazoosymphony.org. WMU Guest Artist Recital — Cellist Dennis Parker & pianist Greg Sioles perform, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2, Dalton Center Recital Hall, wmich.edu/music/events. Live Music at the DCA — Musical performance by WMU School of Music presented by Fontana Chamber Arts, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6, Douglass Community Association, 1000 W. Paterson St., kpl.gov. Student Composers II — Studio recital, 2 p.m. Feb. 9, Dalton Center Recital Hall, wmich.edu/music/events. Coffee with Friends – An acoustic trio performing songs by artists like the Eagles & James Taylor plus originals, 2 p.m. Feb. 11, Parchment Community Library, 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org. University Symphony Orchestra — 3 p.m. Feb. 11, Miller Auditorium, wmich.edu/music/events.

University Bands Spectacular — University Wind Symphony, University Symphonic Band & University Concert Band, 2 p.m. Feb. 18, Miller Auditorium, wmich.edu/music/events.

Castalian String Quartet— Playing works by Britten, Janacek & Beethoven, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23, Dalton Center Recital Hall, fontanamusic.org.

Unlock Your Imagination — Kalamazoo Concert Band weaves readings in between music selections, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., kalamazooconcertband.org. Mozart’s Requiem — The KSO joins forces with WMU’s Grand Chorus and four professional vocalists, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24, Miller Auditorium, kalamazoosymphony.com. COMEDY Crawlspace Comedy Theatre — Improv performances by Riddled with English, Feb. 3; Blunder Bus, Feb. 10; Crawlspace Eviction, Feb. 16–17; Piebinga Plumbing/She's Boygan, Feb. 24; all shows begin at 7:30 p.m., Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition, 315 W. Michigan Ave., crawlspacecomedy. com. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775, kiarts.org Exhibitions

American Realism: Visions of America, 19001950 — Looks at this period through paintings, drawings & prints that sought to capture the new American experience, through April 14. Kyungmi Shin: A Story to Finding Us — Selected works from the KIA’s Chinese ceramics collection and original works by Shin exploring the historical narratives embedded in the painting & ceramic practices between the East & West, through May 12. Events

Faculty Recital — Pianist Lori Sims, 4 p.m. Feb. 11, Dalton Center Recital Hall, wmich.edu/music/events.

ARTbreak — Programs about art, artists & exhibitions: Denise Miller, talk by the artist, Feb. 6; The Obliterating Whiteness of the Ashcan Circle and U.S. Visual Culture, presentation by Alexis L. Boylan, Feb. 20; Listen, Feel, Imagine: Discovering Nuestra Tierra through Musical and Somatic Research, presentation by Amanda Ramirez, Feb. 27; all sessions begin at noon in the KIA Auditorium, with tickets available for online or in-person attendance.

Sean Mason Trio — The pianist & composer performs with his trio as part of The Gilmore Rising

Not Yet: An Artist’s Oeuvre — Presentation by ceramicist Suze Lindsay, 6 p.m. Feb. 8.

At Home — Performance by the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra and cellist Starla Breshears, the Stulberg 2023 bronze medalist, 4 p.m. Feb. 11, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 349– 7557, kjso.org, stulberg.org.

ENCORE EVENTS Threads of History — Presentation by photographer Ginger Owen-Murakami, 2 p.m. Feb. 13. Book Discussion — Discussion of Nicole Mones’ Cup of Light, 2 p.m. Feb. 21.

Black Art: In the Absence of Light — Screening of the acclaimed 2021 HBO documentary, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25. Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436, wmich.edu/art/galleries

Annual Faculty & Staff Exhibition — Through Feb. 24, Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery. Zibaldone: Excerpts from a Codex of Possibilities — Works by Nick Kuder, associate professor of graphic design & Design Center director, through Feb. 24, Netzorg & Kerr Gallery. Other Venues

The Illustrated Accordion — A non-juried exhibition of accordion-style books by emerging & established artists, Feb. 2–March 15, with artists receptions 5 p.m. Feb. 2 & March 1, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, 373-4938, kalbookarts.org. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Antwerp Sunshine Branch Library 24283 Front St., Mattawan, 668-2534, vbdl.org

Page Turners Book Club — Discussion of Jonathan Escoffery’s If I Survive You, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12, Oshtemo Branch & online; registration required. Quiet Time with Sue — Reserve 15 minutes with a therapy dog, 3:30 p.m. Feb. 13 & 27, Eastwood Branch; registration required. Partnered Yoga — Learn gentle breathing & stretching techniques with a friend, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, Move with Joy Studio, 1103 Portage St. Classics Revisited — Discussion of Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15, Central Library; Zoom option available.

Dungeons & Dragons Game Night — Beginner & experienced tables, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15, Central Library; registration required.

Comstock Township Library 6130 King Highway, 345-0136, comstocklibrary.org

Kalamazoo History-Makers: Celebrating Black History Month — A three-part series showcasing community members and groups, including Peace During War, Kenjji & Ny’Shawn Scott, 1 p.m. Feb. 17, Black Arts & Cultural Center Gallery, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall; 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21, Alma Powell Branch Library, 1000 W. Paterson St.; 5:30 p.m. Feb. 26, Central Library. Silent Disco Party Honoring Michael Jackson — Presented by DJ Conscious with the theme of “African Americans & the Arts,” 6 p.m. Feb. 19, Eastwood Branch.

Home to Over 100 Events Each Year! Car Shows • Expos • Dog Shows Festivals • Collectible Shows • Family Events Trade Shows • Flea & Antique Market Conferences • Banquets

Big Furry Friends — Meet therapy dogs, 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3. Sunshine Readers’ Book Club — 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21.

Kalamazoo Puzzle Swap — Swap puzzles & enjoy snacks, raffle & more, 10:30 a.m. Feb. 17, Oshtemo Branch; bring only gently used puzzles with all of the pieces.

For a complete schedule of events Please visit www.kalamazooexpocenter.com

2900 Lake Street Kalamazoo, MI 49048 269-383-8778

Family Game Night — Play a variety of board & card games, 4:30–8 p.m. every Wednesday. Adult Book Club — 1 p.m. Feb. 8. Adult Book Club — Discussion of Cheryl Knott’s Not Free, Not for All: Public Libraries in the Age of Jim Crow, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 29; registration required. Kalamazoo Public Library 553-7800, kpl.gov African Americans & the Arts Collage — Be a part of creating a collage of art for all ages throughout the entire month, Feb. 1–29, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle Ave. First Saturday of the Month — Featuring community organizations, crafts & activities, 11:30 a.m. Feb. 3, Alma Powell Branch, 1000 W. Paterson St. KPL Mobile Library — 3:30–5 p.m. Feb. 5, New Village Park/Heather Gardens, 2400 Albans Way; 11 a.m.–noon Feb. 12, Ecumenical Senior Center, 702 N. Burdick St.; 10–11 a.m. Feb. 27, Lodge House, 1211 S. Westnedge Ave.; 3–4 p.m. Feb. 27, Maple Grove Village, 735 Summit Ave. Rose Street Poetry Club — A reading & writing poetry group for adults, 10 a.m. Feb. 10, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St. Music & Memories with Fiddlehead Music Therapy — Songs for older adults & discussion about how music brings up memories, 10:45 a.m. Feb. 12, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St.

Merze Tate: Her Life, Her Legacy — Sonya BernardHollins shares the story of Black educator Merze Tate, 6 p.m. Feb. 12, Eastwood Branch.

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 29

EVENTS ENCORE Aiden Thomas — Author of the young-adult fantasy novels Cemetery Boys, Lost in the Never Wood & Sunbearer Trials discusses the intersection of Latinx & LGBTQ+ identities, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19, Oshtemo Branch. Senior Citizens’ Breakfast — A hot breakfast with information & planning of events, 10:30 a.m. Feb. 23, Eastwood Branch.

History of the Frederick Douglass Community Association — Sean Hollins & Sonya Bernard-Hollins discuss the history & importance of this nonprofit founded shortly after World War II, 6 p.m. Feb. 27, Central Library. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org Great Michigan Read/Parchment Book Group – Discussion of Angeline Boulley’s Firekeeper’s Daughter, 6 p.m. Feb. 12. Mystery Book Club – Discussion of Elsa Hart’s The White Mirror, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20. The Great North American Eclipse – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society President Richard Bell will give a preview of the April 8 total solar eclipse & explain how to see it, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544, portagelibrary.info Muffins & the Market — A discussion of recent stock market trends, 9 a.m. Feb. 1 & 15. Exploring Options with Warren: The Basics of Investing with Options — Warren Fritz presents personal investment fundamentals, 10 a.m. Feb. 1. Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Feb 3; Friends of the Library members can shop early, 4–5:30 p.m. Feb. 2. Yoga with Apral — Apral Milan-Corcoran leads an hour of movement, 4 p.m. Feb. 5 & 12; registration required. Kalamazoo County Historical Society — Monthly meeting to learn about local history through speakers & discussion, 7 p.m. Feb. 5. Speed Friending for Adults — Meet new people in this session for 20– to 30-year-olds, but all are welcome, 6 p.m. Feb. 6; registration required. Lunar New Year Festival Celebration — Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with the lion dance, storytelling & lanterns in this event by the Haenicke Institute’s Asian Initiative Unit, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7; registration required.

Classic Movie Screening — The Absent-Minded Professor, 1 p.m. Feb. 17. Kalamazoo Valley Genealogical Society — Open to those interested in genealogy, 7 p.m. Feb. 19. Workshop on Chinese Painting — With teachers from the Haenicke Institute’s Asian Initiative Unit, 6 p.m. Feb. 20; registration required. Plots & Pages: A Local Writers Group — Author Mark Love discusses the craft of writing, 6 p.m. Feb. 20. Cookies & Conversation: Heartwarming Reads Book Club — Discussion of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, 2 p.m. Feb. 21. Chocolate Making with the Candy Lady — A hands-on class, 6 p.m. Feb. 21; registration required. '90s Trivia — Come on your own or as part of a team of up to 6, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22; registration required.

Other Venues Bonnie Jo Campbell — The award-winning author of the novels The Waters & Once Upon A River gives a reading, 2 p.m., Student Commons Lounge; converses with filmmaker Haroula Rose, who turned the latter novel into a feature film, 5 p.m., Lake Auditorium, followed by a screening of the film at 6 p.m. and then a book signing; all events Feb. 2 at KVCC's Texas Township campus, www.kvcc.edu/ news/stories/2023-10-31_VisitingWriters.php. Poets in Print — Marianne Chan & Carmen Giménez read from their works in this virtual event, 7 p.m. Feb. 17, kalbookarts.org. Naomi Shihab Nye — The award-winning Palestinian-American author discusses her poetry book Everything Comes Next in an online event, 7 p.m. Feb. 27, libguides.kvcc.edu/visitingwriters. MUSEUMS

Into No Man’s Island — An evening with Holocaust survivor Irene Miller, 6 p.m. Feb. 29; registration required.

Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089, gilmorecarmuseum.org

Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org

2024 Winter Lecture Series — How to Buy & Sell Collector Cars, with Patrick Krook, Feb. 4; The American Guide Series, with Jim Craft, Feb. 11; Sam Hodgeman’s Civil War Experience 1861–1864, with historian Rick Cahow, Feb. 18; The Golden Age of Building in Kalamazoo, with local historian Lynn Houghton, Feb. 25; all sessions begin at 2 p.m.

Bridge Club — Noon–3 p.m. Tuesdays. Creative Boot Camp: Six Exercises to Spark Artistic Creativity — A six-session CreativeBug workshop; Class A runs 6–7 p.m. Feb. 8; Class B runs 6–7 p.m. Feb. 20; registration required. Richland Area Writer’s Group — Open to new members, 10 a.m. Feb. 10 & 24, in person & online. Cookbook Club — Sample & discuss recipes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof, 6 p.m. Feb. 13. RCL Film Club — Discussion of The Truman Show (1998), 6 p.m. Feb. 14. RCL Book Club — Discussion of R.F. Kuang’s Yellowface, 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Social Security & Medicare Information Class — Southwest Michigan Financial will present information & take questions, 6 p.m. Feb. 21; registration required. Family Movie Matinee — 1 p.m. Feb. 24. Meet Michigan Authors Series — An evening with Tom Springer, author of The Star in the Sycamore & Looking for Hickories, 6 p.m. Feb. 27. Trivial Pursuit Trivia Night — Teams of 2-6 people, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28; registration required.

Pint with the Past — Beverages from popular brewers, distillers & vintners, with music by Out of Favor Boys & lessons on 1920s dancing, 7 p.m. Feb. 10; attendees encouraged to dress in 1920s attire. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990, kalamazoomuseum.org Exhibitions

Kalamazoo State Hospital: 165 Years of Psychiatric Care — Explores the history of the patients, employees and buildings of Michigan's longest-operating mental hospital, Feb. 3–Jan. 19, 2025. Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity — Examines the shape-shifting, color-changing and adaptable nature of skin and the technological innovations it inspires, Feb. 10–June 2. Event Adult Discovery Series & Retro Cafe — Immersive program on cosmic chemistry, 2 p.m. Feb. 13; registration required.

International Mystery Book Club — Discussion of Paul Vidlich’s The Matchmaker, 7 p.m. Feb. 8.

Vicksburg District Library 215 S. Michigan Ave., 649-1648, vicksburglibrary.org

Documentary & Donuts — Viewing of Haulout, about a Russian scientist who observes walruses in the Arctic, 10 a.m. Feb. 9.

Adult Winter Reading Program — Read books & earn prizes, through March 22; must be over 18 & no longer in high school.

Saturday Sound Immersion — Wind Willow Consortium members share information & play instruments for relaxation & well-being, 10 a.m. Feb. 10; registration required.

Bridge Club — 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays.

Winter Feeder Counts & Bird-Friendly Coffee — Learn about common birds seen at feeders during winter, 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15; registration recommended.

Book Club for Adults — Check at circulation desk for book title, 9:30 a.m. Feb. 1.

Love Lights: Valentine’s Candlelight Night Hike — 6 p.m. Feb. 16; registration recommended.

Reality TV: Why We Still Watch It — Discussion on the psychology behind the appeal of reality TV, 7 p.m. Feb. 13.

Take Your Child to the Library Day — A worldwide event with free fun activities for the whole family, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Feb. 3.

Returning & Reskilling Series — Woodworking with hand tools, 10 a.m. Feb. 24, DeLano Homestead, 555 West E Ave.; registration recommended.

Kalamazoo Macintosh Users Group — About Macintosh computers, programs & accessories, 9 a.m. Feb. 17.

Chocolate Tasting — An event for all ages, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

Other Venues


NATURE Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574, naturecenter.org

Kalamazoo Astronomical Society Meeting — Multimedia tour of the path of the April 8, 2024, eclipse by geographer & cartographer Michael Zeiler,


7 p.m. Feb. 2, Kalamazoo Area Math & Science Center, 600 W. Vine St.; register for in-person or online viewing at kasonline.org. Beginning Birding Walk — Led by an experienced birder, 9 a.m. Feb. 3; meet at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery's second parking lot, 34270 County Road 652, Mattawan, kalamazooaudubon.org. Kalamazoo Astronomical Society Online Viewing — See the universe through the “eyes” of the KAS Remote Telescope, located in southeastern Arizona, 9 p.m. Feb. 3; cloud date Feb. 10; register online at kasonline.org. Introduction to Amateur Astronomy — A five-part lecture series presented online: “Part 3: Binocular Basics,” Feb. 10; “Part 4: Telescope Tutorial,” Feb. 24; “Part 5: The Art of Astrophotography,” March 9; all lectures 1 p.m.; register at kasonline.org.

IceBURG Festival —A celebration of winter & ice, with grilled cheese & soup tastings, live music & kids' activities, 2–6 p.m. Feb. 17, downtown Vicksburg; see Facebook event page. Shipshewana on the Road — Gift, food & craft show with nearly 220 booths, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Feb. 17, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Feb. 18, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, shipshewanaontheroad.com. Kalamazoo Record & CD Show — New & used records & CDs, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 18, Room A, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 734-604-2540.

Blue Heat: Glass Art Gala & Auction — An annual celebration of glass art with live & silent auctions, food, drinks & music, 7–10 p.m. Feb. 24, Glass Art Kalamazoo, Suite 100, Park Trades Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., glassartkalamazoo.org. Winter Blast Half Marathon, 10K & 5K — 12th annual running event, 8 a.m. Feb. 25, starting at Loy Norrix High School, 606 E. Kilgore Road; registration required, portagemi.gov/calendar.

Garage Sale Art Fair — 145 artists selling overstocks, seconds & supplies, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 24, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, garagesaleartfair.com.


Kzoo Parks Winter Family Scavenger Hunt — Find 30 items hidden in 15 participating parks for a chance to win prizes; maps & clues will be given for this self-paced scavenger hunt during open hours at participating parks, Feb. 14–28, kzooparks.org/events. Online Birds & Coffee Chat — “How Birds Fall in Love,” 10 a.m. Feb. 14, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510; register at birdsanctuary@kbs.msu.edu. ASIAIR: Generalized Information & Live Demo — Online discussion of advances in technology in astrophotography, 8 p.m. Feb. 16; register at kasonline.org. Flurry of Fun — Free family event with sledding, snow kayaking, winter obstacle course, ice bowling & more, 5 p.m. Feb. 17, Spring Valley Park, 2600 Mt. Olivet Road, kzooparks.org/events.

James R. Shinar T: (269) 329-4625 F: (269) 323-3418

8051 Moorsbridge Rd. Portage jim@shinarlaw.com


MISCELLANEOUS Virtual Portage Farmers Market — Shop vendors virtually, with vendor list & links at portagemi. gov/643/markets. Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week — Explore restaurants downtown during a week with special menus, Jan. 25–Feb. 4, kalamazoorestaurantweek. com.

10 Little-Known Facts — Discover memorable moments & courageous stories in Black history, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Feb. 1–March 29, Portage City Hall Atrium, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., portagemi.gov/ calendar. KAARC Winter Auto Swap Meet — Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club event with 200 vendors offering parts, accessories & memorabilia, 2–6 p.m. Feb. 2, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Feb. 3, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., kaarc.org. Dr. Sian Proctor — This geoscientist, space artist & astronaut serving as mission pilot for SpaceX Inspiration4 will speak, 6 p.m. Feb. 3, Air Zoo, 6151 Portage Road, portagemi.gov/calendar. Meet & Greet Animal Station — Meet ambassador animals from John Ball Zoo & learn how their young grow up, 10 a.m. Feb. 10, Portage Parks & Recreation Building, 320 Library Lane, portagemi.gov/calendar; registration required. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Reptiles, amphibians, small mammals & other exotic pets, plus supplies & food, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Feb. 11, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South, kalamazooreptileexpo.com. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 31


Ice Wine Vintners leave fruit on the vine for a lucky frost. Too mild too late they lose everything. They know the sugar’s fine—only the water frozen and if they harvest before dawn press fast they get sweet gold. And you and I wait for our little kernels of giddiness or grief

to ripen to a rich essence we press onto the page hoping the timing’s right— that things haven’t gone to mush that we end up with something golden worth the risks. — Lynn Pattison A number of Southwest Michigan wineries offer ice wine, including Fenn Valley Vineyards and St. Julian Winery. The author of this poem is a Kalamazoo poet whose latest chapbook is Matryoshka Houses (Kelsay Press, 2020).

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ENCORE BACK STORY Michael Symonds (continued from page 34) science." I talked to him about it, and I talked to a therapist about it and came to the understanding that I was not doing what I wanted to do, that I was afraid to do what I wanted to do. I have wanted to write my entire life, but I was afraid because I come from a very mechanical family. My dad's a CNC worker (using a manufacturing method called computer numerical control) and owns a machine shop. My brother went to U-of-M for mechanical engineering, one uncle's a chemist, the other is a CNC worker as well. Being the person in the family who wasn't mechanically inclined, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I knew I was going to go to Western Michigan University — I didn't know what for exactly — but it was closer to my friend so I could support him. On May 23rd, 2021, he passed away. I couldn't make sense of it but I decided that I wanted to do something good, to fill that void as much as I could. I majored in journalism, worked at the Western Herald (the WMU student newspaper) and started a little radio show called Stupid Questions at WIDR (WMU’s student radio station). I was interning at WMUK, and Sehvilla Mann (the WMUK news director) suggested I apply for the Report for America position that they had. What do you do for Report for America? WMUK wanted to cover rural areas more, reporting on stories that aren't being covered. Usually when places like Cass County are covered in the news, it's "this person who died in a car crash in Cass County" or "this person was arrested for meth in Cass County." WMUK doesn't cover those stories. We get different stories to get to know the community. Another part of the RFA job is the service aspect of reaching out to local schools and organizations to help foster youth journalism. I’ve worked with Southwest Michigan Second Wave’s Voices of Youth program, where they teach students to report and write a story in a month.

The program had never done audio journalism before, and they had one student who was interested in that. She did a climate change story and ended up talking to State Rep. Julie Rogers. It was a big thing for the student. We brought her into the studios so that she could interview Rogers and do the narration for the story. What makes audio journalism different? It’s like television without the visual part. When doing a story, we have to bring the audience in through sound. It breeds its own innovation style. When you hear somebody crying or hear them having fun at a festival, that's powerful. In written journalism you can only do so much to express how sad or happy somebody is. People get enveloped in the story when they hear the actual people who are affected by it. What are you most proud of in your work? There was a story about a battle over books in Brandywine (Community Schools, in Niles Township) and how this little town was being torn apart over it. I spoke to a teacher whose own father was not talking to them anymore because of it. I'm doing a story right now about how LGBTQ+ communities are becoming more accepted in rural areas. I talked to someone from Colon, and just hearing their story about when they were a kid they were threatened with violence, and slurs were thrown around like nobody's business, but now they’ve had a gay pride float in the Fourth of July parade in 2023. He said, "I'm glad somebody's doing a story about how much has changed and how things are getting better instead of just, ‘Hey, things suck or people hate you for being gay.’ I'm glad someone is covering the story and not denying how bad things were but showing that we're making progress and things are changing." That was a clear indication that I'm doing something right. — Interview by Jarret Whitenack, edited for length and clarity.

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Michael Symonds

Report for America corps member and WMUK news reporter "I do this to try to make a difference.” So says Michael Symonds who came to WMUK last April through Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists into local newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered issues. A 23-year-old Dowagiac native, Symonds is tackling a new beat at WMUK, covering stories from rural communities in Southwest Michigan. But you might be surprised to learn what propelled this young man into this work: his best friend, Carson Ausra, who died at age 20 from Ewing sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. “I couldn't make sense of it, you know," says Symonds. "It was just this 20-year-old who had never done anything wrong in their entire life (who) not only had their life taken away, but had to go through months and months of treatment, where they couldn't do anything else outside of that treatment, just to pass away.

“I had to have something come out of it that wasn't just senseless death, so I decided I would do something good with my desire to write, and what came into my head was, ‘Well, I could report the news and give people information that seems important.'” Symonds will serve in the RFA position at WMUK through July. How did you get to where you are today? Originally my best friend was going to do computer science, so I was like, "I'm gonna do computer science, and I'll just bare my teeth through it." I started Michigan Tech in the summer of 2020, and we were going to go up there together. We were the Two Musketeers. But in August of that year my friend was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. He said, "You know, with cancer and everything, I'm rethinking if I still want to do computer

Brian Powers

(continued on page 33)


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