Gloria Badiner’s Glorious Glass Art
Knappen Milling’s Family Legacy
100+ Films & Counting: Kalamazoo Moviemaker Chuck Bentley
Must-See Local Music
Meet Kirsten Clemente
Southwest Michigan’s Magazine
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Gloria Badiner’s Glorious Glass Art
Knappen Milling’s Family Legacy
Must-See Local Music
Meet Kirsten Clemente
Southwest Michigan’s Magazine
100+ Films & Counting: Kalamazoo Moviemaker Chuck Bentley
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ENCORE EDITOR'S NOTE
From the Editor A
nd just like that, it’s summer. Maybe because we’ve all been hunkered down indoors for months thanks to COVID-19, it feels as if summer snuck up on us. And it is not a typical summer for sure. This month businesses across the area will have just reopened, after having had to revamp to a new normal. We will all finally be able to get haircuts and reschedule other appointments. We will resume going to outdoor events, even if it means we are seated farther from one another at concerts and restaurants, and we will do all this with one watchful eye on others and face masks in place. Putting a magazine together during these times has proven interesting and challenging. We’ve adjusted Encore’s content over the past few months to reflect the times — from May’s Porch Portrait Project to June’s coloring-pages version of our annual “See Your Town Like a Tourist” issue. That meant, unfortunately, we had to shelve some great feature stories we had planned, but the good news is that this issue is packed full of great reading. In this issue, you will find stories on two very different local artists, both of whom have had long, prolific careers. Writer Lisa Mackinder profiles Gloria Badiner, who talks about how she left a career as a cell biologist to become a glass artist but still applies science to her work, while Chris Killian explores the creative mind of filmmaker Chuck Bentley, who is wrapping up his 45th film. We also profile Augusta’s Knappen Milling Co., which is now being run by the founder’s great-granddaughter. And our Back Story feature introduces us to Kirsten Clemente, who oversees DeLano Farms, the working, educational farm at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. We hope you enjoy all that July brings: plenty of sunshine, seeing people you love again, and this issue of Encore.
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Lisa interviewed castglass artist Gloria Badiner in her Mattawan studio for this month’s issue. Badiner, who was previously a scientist with the former Upjohn Co. (now Pfizer Inc.), switched gears and became an artist 25 years ago and hasn’t looked back. “Being around Gloria inspires a person to write, paint, design, make glass — anything and everything creative,” Lisa says. “Gloria’s enthusiasm and passion for her work is catching. I couldn’t wait to get home, sit down at my computer and write — either that or pull out some acrylic paint.” Lisa is a Portage-based freelance writer and a frequent contributor to Encore.
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For this issue’s Back Story, Donna interviewed Kirsten Clemente, who oversees DeLano Farms, a working, educational farm at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Donna, who is a climate activist in addition to being a freelance writer, says the work DeLano Farms is doing to educate people about growing their own food is critically important, not just for the environment but for their personal well-being. "As Kirsten says, the pandemic has made it abundantly clear that our food and other systems are fragile,” says Donna. "It's also brought a new awareness of and interest in gardening."
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Like many who visit filmmaker Chuck Bentley’s home studio, Chris admits he was intrigued by Bentley’s house and yard, which are full of items that often end up as props in his movies. “His house and yard are very theatrical. They resemble film sets, which they often are,” says Chris, who wrote a feature on Bentley for this issue. “But in talking with Chuck and his wife, Donna, it’s apparent that every item has been carefully curated,” Chris adds. “It’s fun just to go from room to room and see what is there.” Chris also wrote about Augusta’s Knappen Milling Co. and contributed to the Five Faves article on “Bands To See”. He is a travel-loving freelance writer who is currently hiking the Pacific Coast Trail.
FEATURES 100+ Films and Counting
The Glorious Glass Art of Gloria Badiner
Prolific Chuck Bentley keeps making movies
The former cell biologist left the lab for life as a glass artist
DEPARTMENTS 3 From the Editor 6 Contributors Up Front
Like what we do? Help Encore continue to tell the stories of the people, places and things of SW Michigan by subscribing today! Subscribe online OR
First Things — A round-up of things happening in SW
Five Faves — Five local musical acts that should be on your short list to see
Michigan this month
Running the Mill — Great-granddaughter blazes trail as Knappen Milling’s CEO
Meet Kirsten Clemente — Growing food is just one part of her job at the Nature Center’s DeLano Farms
ARTS 33 Events of Note 35 Poetry
send in the subscription card in this issue Thank you for your support!
On the cover: Filmmaker Chuck Bentley in the movie studio he created in the basement of his Kalamazoo home. Photo by Brian K. Powers.
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‘Visionary’ Dixon’s Violin to play at Bell’s
Something Musical Free outdoor concerts offer nostalgia and more
The nice thing about outdoor concerts? You can spread out a little bit, maintain social distance and still enjoy the music. You’ll have four opportunities this month in Kalamazoo and Portage. Kalamazoo
The Concerts in the Park series, presented Portage
by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, will offer two concerts at Bronson Park this month: July 19: The Michigan Nightingales — A Kalamazoo-based gospel group. July 26: Shayna Steele — New York-based R&B and jazz vocalist. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for these 4 p.m. performances. In case of rain, the concerts will be held in the First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St., across from the park. Check the Arts Council website, kalamazooarts.org, for schedule updates or changes.
Frolic among the sunflowers If you need a little color in your life,
then plan to frolic among the flowers at the Sunflower Festival at Gull Meadow Farms, in Richland. Festival hours are 2–6 p.m. July 31 and Aug. 7 and 14 and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Aug. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16.
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The Michigan Nightingales
This month’s Summer Concert Series performance, presented by Portage Parks & Recreation, will be “drive-in style,” letting attendees listen to the music from the comfort of their own cars at Ramona Park, 8600 Sprinkle Road. The tribute band Motown Nation will perform at 7 p.m. July 30, singing songs by Motown artists such as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Frankie Valli, The Supremes and The Temptations. For more information, visit mypark. portagemi.gov or call Portage Parks & Recreation at 329-4522.
Violin, featuring a violinist whose music has been described in reviews as “transforming,” “mesmerizing” and just plain beautiful, will perform at 8:30 p.m. July 25 in the Back Room at Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave. Dixon, who first picked up the violin at 10, improvises on a five-string electric violin with a looping system he developed to create an all-live one-man symphony. He has toured internationally, given numerous TED Talks and has been a staple at both the Burning Man festival and the Electric Forest music festival, among other events. Tickets are $12. Dixon was originally scheduled to appear at Bell’s on April 25. All tickets purchased for that performance will be honored for this one. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit bellsbeer.com.
The farm offers five acres of sunflowers, including some that are bigger than your head. Admission to the festival is $13 and includes family activity areas, a petting farm, a wagon ride out to the sunflower patch, and one sunflower to cut and take home. For tickets or more information, including any schedule changes, visit tinyurl.com/sunflowerfestkzoo or call 6294214.
ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Help bring the Nighthawk to the Air Zoo Last year the Air Zoo learned it would receive a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk
for public display. The Nighthawk was one of the U.S. Air Force’s first active military stealth aircraft. When the highly decorated Shaba (tail number 817) arrives this fall, the Air Zoo will be the first non-governmental facility in the country — and the only museum in the state of Michigan — to display an F-117. With the complications and challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Air Zoo is seeking the public’s help to fund the transportation of Shaba to Kalamazoo and its partial restoration. The museum and science center needs $200,000 to fund Shaba’s journey. Not only will a donation help in the effort to bring the Nighthawk to its new home, but because of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, it could be refunded dollar-for-dollar up to $300 per individual when you file your 2020 taxes or $600 for married couples filing jointly. The Air Zoo suggests consulting with your tax professional for more information on this charitable program. To make a contribution or to get more information, visit airzoo.org/ get-shaba.
Something Delicious Get your food truck fix
If you’ve been missing those mobile menu choices offered by the area’s food trucks, you will have several opportunities this month to make up for lost time. Food truck vendors will be returning to Bronson Park on Fridays in July for Lunchtime Live! events presented by the Kalamazoo Parks & Recreation Department. The events run from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. In addition, the Late Night Food Truck Rally will take place from 8-11 p.m. July 10 on Water Street between Church and Rose streets. Participants are asked to maintain a social distance of 6 feet between themselves and other customers in line.
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FIVE FAVES ENCORE
Local music acts that are must-see by
A h, summer. Its happy arrival brings outdoor music venues, concerts in the park, music festivals and lots of opportunities to see great local bands on stage. Well, at least it did before before COVID-19 so rudely interrupted all of our fun. However, we’re optimistic that live music will emerge again this summer and have recommendations of local music acts you need to see (before they become all internationally popular like Greensky Bluegrass).
Katy Needs A Life
Billing its music as "sad pop," Katy Needs A Life is a musical
project conceived by Katy May in 2007 and has, as its Facebook page proudly proclaims, been "bringing down the moods of parties in Kalamazoo" for more than a decade. “KNAL specializes in what’s known in the biz as the ‘blunt’ and ‘harsh’ style,” says the band’s Facebook page. “… Truthfully, you never know what you’ll get when you see KNAL on a bill. It could be the full band playing the songs loudly and heavily. It could be a three-piece with backing tracks. It could be Katy standing alone on stage, sheepishly making weird jokes between songs, also with backing tracks.” What you will get, however, is a chance to hear a unique local act that might make you “dance a little while you cry.” Members: Katy May — Vocals, keyboards Benji Wearwulf — Guitar, vocals Rick Matheny — Bass, vocals Jake Simmons — Drums 10 | ENCORE JULY 2020
Check them out here: • katyneedsalife.bandcamp.com • facebook.com/pg/ KatyNeedsALifeBand
"Guitar UP!” was yelled repeatedly by rock guitar pioneer Link
Wray at his sound guy throughout a concert at Kalamazoo’s Club Soda in the 1990s. Local guitarists Shawn and Jay Gavan were at that show and decided, as an homage to Wray and that notorious concert, to make that phrase the name of their new band. “Heavily influenced by the early ’60s era of guitar rock and instrumental surf music, Guitar UP! plays covers of classic guitar instrumentals from artists like the Shadows, Ventures, Wray and others,” says the band's Facebook page. “They also have written their own guitar instrumentals with echoes (actually lots of reverb) of spy, surf, spaghetti western and movie soundtrack styles.” Members: Brian Heaney — Drums Shawn Gavan — Guitar Jay Gavan — Guitar Mark Duval — Bass
Check them out here: • guitarupsurfband.com • facebook.com/pg/guitarupband
ENCORE FIVE FAVES
Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts
WOWZA WOWZA started as a vehicle to perform songs that local guitarist
Ike Turner had lying around that didn’t fit for his other band, Out. He began WOWZA with his friend Zach Hench, of Los Angeles. They played for a bit remotely, but then an urge to play the songs live emerged organically. Turner asked buddies Franki Hand, Mark Walters and Chafe Hensley to help organize what WOWZA is today. WOWZA's music pulls in a lot of directions. What began with a psychedelic vibe has given way to a straight-ahead rock sound “with way-out-there freak-out parts punctuating the sound,” says Turner. Members: Franki Hand — Guitar, vocals • wowzainkalamazoo. bandcamp.com/ Ike Turner — Guitar Chafe Hensley — Bass, vocals • facebook.com/WowzaIn-Kalamazoo-1656635924372753/ Mark Walters — Drums Check them out here:
Classifying its genre as soul punk and Americana, two words we aren’t sure even belong in the same sentence, this band is a little bit of a paradox. They describe themselves as “Big. Loud. Rock & Roll” and likely to be “rolling down a highway in a busted van.” Jake Simmons & the Little Ghosts formed in 2010 and has spent the last decade traveling across the country performing in dive bars, on festival stages and everywhere in between. They describe their songwriting as a little bit blue-collar Springsteen, a little bit Stone Cold Steve Austin, and a little bit Hold Steady-esque. They play guitar music fast and loud and boast that they are “always brash, always honest, usually with a middle finger to convention.” The group released its first album in 2011 and has since produced two full-length albums as well as a handful of EPs and singles. Their third full-length album, 2018’s Shake So Easy, is “a celebration of their first chapter as a band and the sounds that formed their style, providing a decidedly Midwestern take on rock & roll influenced by artists like The Clash, Black Sabbath, Otis Redding and Tom Petty. Members: Jake Simmons Ben Bojanich Matt Blasco David Sparks Katy May Reggi Paige
Check them out here: • jakesimmons.us • facebook.com/pg/jakesimmonslg
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FIVE FAVES ENCORE
Soul Artistry Art Hops Not technically a band, but the monthly Soul Artistry Art Hops are a great way to experience not only local performing artists of different genres but also visual art as well. Yolonda Lavender, the CEO of Soul Artistry LLC, a business that provides arts consulting and events curating (among other things) puts together monthly Art Hop events featuring both visual and performing artists. Kristen Chesak, executive director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, says the collaborative aspect of Soul Artistry Art Hops make them “not to be missed.” “Yolonda really curates the most unique pairings of artists that you are very unlikely to see in the same place otherwise,” says Chesak. Past events have paired painter Georgia Tandy with vocalist Courtney Moore, and Lavender performing with a variety of Yolonda Lavender visual art from the Soul Artistry collection. Historically, Soul Artistry Art Hops have occurred from 5-8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month at the WOOD-TV8 studio, 151 S. Rose St., but during the COVID-19 restrictions these events could be viewed online as part of the Arts Council’s Virtual Art Hops. To find out when the next Soul Artistry Art Hop will be, visit the ACGK website at kalamazooarts.org or the Soul Artistry Facebook page at facebook.com/Soul ArtistryLLC. — Chris Killian and Marie Lee contributed to this article.
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Running the Mill
Great-granddaughter blazes trail as Knappen Milling’s CEO
BY CHRIS KILLIAN
Charles (Charlie) Brown Knappen opened his milling company in Augusta more than 90 years ago, women had had the right to vote for only about a decade. Now a woman who carries his name is sitting in the company’s top seat, keeping Charlie’s idea alive — her way. It took a while for Emily Likens, Charlie’s great-granddaughter, to return home. A Kalamazoo native, she moved out West in the mid1990s, attending the University of Arizona in Tucson before leaving a year later for Colorado, where she lived, got married, had four boys and became a midwife. She estimates she helped deliver about
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50 babies a year. Now, still involved part-time in midwifery, she’s delivering something else too: a new way of doing business. “Women in general are more relational in how they interact with others,” says Likens from her corner office, from which towering grain elevators are framed in a large window behind her. She has been CEO of Knappen Milling since 2018. “I am trying to create a culture of openness, where relations are nurtured from bottom to top and top to bottom,” she says. Not long ago, one of Likens’ 43 employees came to her with a problem. Instead of negotiating through a human resources
handbook or beginning some inefficient human resources process, Likens asked the person if she could work a shift together. “I want to talk. I want to know details,” she says. “I didn't have the intention of taking this job when we came back to Michigan, but this is a family business.”
Opposite Page: Emily Likens, left, took over the helm of Knappen Milling from her father, Chip, right. This page, top: The Knappen Milling complex in Augusta. Bottom: Bags of SoTac wheat flour, one of Knappen’s many products.
Likens describes her great-grandfather Charlie Knappen, a farmer and entrepreneur, as a man who was always interested in a good idea. In the late 1920s, Charlie was approached by Eck Udell, a purchaser for Kellogg’s, about his company’s need for a reliable source of heavy bran that was close to Battle Creek for its growing cereal business. Charlie was able to gather enough support from associates and friends to buy the old Augusta Mill, which had sat shuttered since the late 1800s. W.E. Upjohn agreed to buy Charlie’s 300-acre farm in Richland, which provided the bulk of the money to make the venture a reality. Charlie was a motivated man, but he was no miller. He brought aboard associates with the know-how to run the mill, and the Knappen Milling Co. was incorporated on Oct. 9, 1929. Twenty days later, Black Friday occurred, beginning the weeklong stock market crash that ushered in the Great Depression. But Knappen Milling survived, manufacturing 80-pound bags of heavy bran for Kellogg’s. To stay profitable, Charlie, ever the entrepreneur, diversified his business during the mill’s early days,
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producing animal feed, molasses, farm fencing and storage tanks. As time went on, Charlie’s descendants joined the company. His son Chuck started at the company in 1946, after serving in World War II. Chuck’s son and Likens’ father, Chip, started there in 1972. The decades after Chip took the CEO position saw Knappen Milling add milling and storage capacity, diversify its product lines and drop products that no longer served its business strategy. In all, the four generations of Knappens share an innovative verve. None of them attended business school, but the successful recipe for doing things right, doing business with integrity and fostering relationships does not need to be learned in a classroom. They are family values, learned in a family. “I came in totally cold,” Likens says. “I didn't go to business school. I was totally starryeyed, but I knew I had a multi-generational track record behind me.”
A culture of openness It hasn't always been easy for Likens, even with such a solid foundation under her and her company. At milling conferences she has attended with her husband, Bob, she’s felt a dismissive culture in the air, with male leaders of other companies pretending they forgot her name, refusing to shake her hand or outright ignoring her, speaking to Bob instead.
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Left, top and bottom: Historic photos of Knappen Milling in the 1920s. Above: Knappen Milling Co. CEO Emily Likens is the great-granddaughter of Charlie Brown Knappen, who started the company. A right, top and bottom: Photos from the company’s nearly 100-year history.
“That was tough,” she admits, “but it’s not going to faze me.” Her focus on developing relationships and a company culture of openness means that she can claim a couple of things that some of her male counterparts at other milling companies can’t: camaraderie and loyalty. “When your employees know you sincerely care and are authentically interested in their lives at home and work, they want to be productive, to contribute. You cannot put a price on that,” she says. “I have high expectations of our employees, and I want them to have high expectations of me. “We are a family company, and it’s important for me to keep that family atmosphere alive. As we grow, I know there are a lot of other people's lives dependent on our success. We have to keep that in mind. Running a business is not just about making a profit.”
Likens says she is also starting to see more and more women entering into leadership positions across several agricultural industries. It’s a trend that is only going to get more pronounced, she predicts. “Don't worry,” she says with a smile. “They’ll know our names soon enough. I’m not going anywhere. This is the job I’m retiring from.” In April 2019, Knappen Milling became the only Women’s Business Enterprise/Women Owned Small Business-certified commercial flour mill in North America.
Collaboration and innovation The mill produces more than 500,000 pounds of flour per day, and its products include cleaned wheat, soft wheat flour, bran and specialty products like cracked and crushed wheat, cut wheat and flaked wheat. Knappen Milling’s products make their way into the production lines of many industries across North America,
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including snack food, baking, distilling and brewing, cereal and candy. If that sounds like a lot of products for a lot of industries, well, it is. But it pales in comparison to the daily output of large industrial-scale mills, the ones with big-time corporate names on their outside walls, like ADM, Star of the West and Mennell. Some of ADM’s biggest mills churn out up to 2 million pounds of products every day, Likens says. But Likens isn’t trying to be one of the giants. “Knappen is going to be Knappen,” she says. “We are not going to pretend to be anything else.” Collaboration is not the norm in the milling industry, Likens says. It is commonplace for CEOs to hold their cards tight, but she sees that as an isolating way to do business. Instead, she believes that reaching out is the wisest business strategy in today’s very connected world. After all, building and sustaining relationships is a cornerstone of her business paradigm. Here in Southwest Michigan, collaborating is easy to do, she says. The region’s craft beer scene, along with a host of other industries that rely on the types of products her company makes, means opportunities to cooperate are ripe for the picking, both in sales and in the development of products particular markets need. Knappen Milling’s focus as it moves forward into the new decade is to innovate
Top: Various milled products await shipment at Knappen Milling. Bottom: Bags of hard red wheat in the Knappen warehouse.
to meet the needs of industries that utilize its products, by expanding the size of the milling facility, developing new products, designing ways to grow and enhance social and environmental sustainability and responsibility, and incorporating new, innovative technologies. It’s pretty clear that Charlie’s innovative spirit rests firmly in his great-grandaughter. In a corner of her modest office, a vintage box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes sits on a table. “We know how this all started,” she says. “It’s not going to end anytime soon.”
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FILMS AND COUNTING Prolific Chuck Bentley keeps making movies BY CHRIS KILLIAN
infancy, if you lived in the greater Kalamazoo area, there’s a good chance you saw Chuck Bentley on your TV screen: a man with kind, intense eyes and a mop of curly hair resting softly on his shoulders. Bentley was one of the first private citizens in Kalamazoo to use cable TV’s then-new Public Access platform to showcase his art. He’d been an independent filmmaker since 1968, but with the advent of Public Access he was on the verge of finally making a name for himself locally. “I couldn’t go anywhere without people recognizing me,” he says. “I’d be in Meijer and someone would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, aren’t you that guy on Public Access?’ If you had cable, you saw our show.” In total, Bentley, 72, has made more than 100 films, beginning with shorts in the late 1960s and moving into feature-length films (of which he is on his 45th) in the early 1980s, taking on the task of writing, directing and editing them all, paying for production costs out of his Social Security retirement and money saved from a video production business he used to run. The fact that he performs nearly all the production tasks himself saves him money, with his most significant costs going toward paying for the music scores for his films, penned by local composer Randon Myles Chisnell. Bentley is proud of the fact that he is beholden to no one, that his creations are his and his alone. As his website says, Bentley has “no investors to pay back, no gatekeepers to appease, and no requirements to fulfill, and, as such, has made no Faustian deal to compromise his vision or distort his truth.” 20 | ENCORE JULY 2020
In the early 1980s, when cable television was still in its
Chuck Bentley and his wife , Donna Kaminski, in their Kalamazoo home, which doubles as a film set for many of his movies. Kaminski plays a pivotal role in the logistics of Bentley’s movies.
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Homegrown talent Bentley had production facilities in the Park Trades Center until 1993, when he moved them to his West Main Hill home. There, in his basement, specifically constructed with towering ceilings, the tools and props of his trade are scattered about — candelabras, frilly dresses, statues, a knight’s suit of armor, a broadsword. He’s made the move to digital film production, but a plastic box full of old tapes he has been converting to digital sits next to knickknacks and props. “Those should be in the fridge,” he says of the tapes. On a door that leads into a room with walls covered in dozens of press clippings highlighting his work over the years, is a “Things To Do” board so full of Post-It notes that the surface underneath can’t be seen. Some of the notes go back 30 years. Bentley gives the board a once-over and picks out one particular to-do item. “Sh--,” he says, “I forgot to do that.” One can’t blame him for that, not after all he’s done. He won a Community Medal of Arts in 1997, an annual award bestowed by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo as a sort of lifetime achievement award for an individual’s “significant creative contributions and leadership in the arts.” And though all the world’s a stage, as one of Shakespeare’s characters said, it is Kalamazoo that is Bentley’s main stage. Bentley doesn't hold auditions for roles in his films. He handpicks his actors from local theater groups, as well as those studying at his alma mater, Western Michigan University. He often makes use of local places for location shots; he’s shot his films at O’Duffy’s Pub, The Heritage Co. and several other local spots. “Kalamazoo is unique in that it is not only a place full of incredible art and talented artists, but a place where one can manifest those talents,” he says. “Much of my work is made for and about the people of Kalamazoo.” But overseas destinations also play a significant part in his films as well. Over the years, he has taken casts to France, England and Italy to shoot portions of his films. Cast members pay for their airfare and food, while Bentley picks up the accommodations and other transportation.
Bitten by the bug A Grand Rapids native, Bentley came to Kalamazoo in 1966 with his then-high school sweetheart, Donna Kaminski (she is now his wife), to attend Western Michigan University. The couple have been Kalamazooans ever since. “WMU has had a major impact on our lives,” he says. At WMU, Bentley majored in English and physical education and got involved in theater, where he was bitten by the stage bug. “I got hooked,” he says. So he replaced the physical education major with theater, quickly seeing the staying power of filmmaking.
22 | ENCORE JULY 2020
“We perform for people on stage, but I thought, ‘Why not broaden the horizon?’” he says. “With a film, there’s a record. My work could be exposed to a wider audience. And here we are, 50 years later. Some of my earliest material still exists.” Bentley’s production process bucks the usual way of making movies. He chooses his cast first, then writes the script around their personalities, focusing on themes of attraction, lust versus love, commitment, the nature of humanity and how sexuality is changing. He has also starred in many of his own films. He describes his work as “art house,” “sophisticated comedy” and “a comedy of manners for the modern era,” he says. He debuts his films at the Goodrich Kalamazoo 10 movie theater on West Main Street in Oshtemo Township. The movies then make their way to the Public Media Network, which is the local public access cable network, and online to Bentley’s YouTube and Vimeo sites and to his website, chuckbentleyproductions.com.
‘A Renaissance man’
Clockwise from left: Bentley uses photos of the already-chosen cast members to write the script for a movie; Bentley shoots a scene for his latest film, When I Was Lost, with, from left, Kitty Kachniewicz, Mickey Sykes and Laura Henderson; Bentley and the cast of Like Joy in Memory do a first read-through of the script for the movie, which was filmed at O’Duffy’s Pub.
Being in a Bentley movie is a true experience for his actors. Laura Kay Henderson is currently working in Bentley’s latest (and 45th) feature-length film, When I Was Lost, parts of which are set in Florence, Italy. This is her eighth Bentley film, and Henderson plays the main character, Sydney Peterson, a writer in a coma who, while dreaming in her unconscious state, realizes all the people she sees in her dream are folks she knows and has written about. As the story unfolds, Peterson interacts with them, sometimes turbulently, as the familiar faces are not happy with how she has written about them. In the end, Peterson re-humanizes these people as she builds empathy for them. “She becomes softer, kinder,” Henderson says. “She gains humanity herself too. Henderson has good things to say about Bentley. “On set, he (Bentley) is wonderful, creative and driven,” she says. “Off set, he is gracious, generous and kind. I’ve learned a lot from him.” Bentley was looking for an older couple to be a part of the cast of his film An English Country Wedding, set in England’s visually striking Lake District, where he and Kaminski have a residence and where they’ve lived part-time for more than 30 years. Ron Dundon
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and Dixie Edwards, a retired couple who regularly act in Civic Theatre productions, were recommended to Bentley, and after a few interviews were cast in the film. “Anyone in the acting community here has heard of Chuck,” Dundon says. “Being in his films is a great opportunity for local actors.” Dundon says the film, which premiered in October 2019, was “a joy” to work on. He and Edwards paid for their own flights and food, while Bentley provided the cast with lodging in a seven-bedroom house where much of the film was shot. Dundon says he and his wife “felt like family.”
‘Because I have to’ “We were welcomed into his world,” he says. “It was a skeleton crew on a tight budget, but he spared nothing to make us feel at home. He treats the people who work with him very well.” “He’s a wonderful actor in his own right,” Dundon adds. “He’s a true artist in every respect. In many ways, he’s a Renaissance man.”
It’s almost as if the films Bentley has made and the imaginative juice he squeezes from his mind have covered him in a youthful verve. There is a palpable energy that emanates from him as he sits on a plump couch in his living room, heavy purple drapes hanging from the ceiling like a pregnant belly, the room looking like a film set, with trinkets and pictures from around the world scattered on small Greek columns and heavily decorated walls.
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24 | ENCORE JULY 2020
science professor at Western Michigan University, sits cross-legged on a loveseat nearby, a look of quiet admiration painted on her face, perhaps still mesmerized by the man she married 53 years ago. “She’s been here from the beginning,” he says of Kaminski, who is often the logistics organizer on his films, coordinating trips, accommodations and props. “She truly is my biggest support.” They have no children, but Chuck speaks of his films like one would talk of their offspring. They have challenged him, frustrated him, taught him things he otherwise wouldn't have known about himself and given him the kind of sincere and authentic joy that comes from creating something out of nothing and sharing that with the world.
From far left: Memorabilia from his long film career adorns a dressing room in Bentley’s studio; Bentley filming a roof-top shot in Paris, France; Bentley consults with actors Ron Dundon (facing camera) and Dixie Edwards on location in England; and a marquee in Bentley’s studio indicates the name of the most current film in production.
In the backyard of his home, Greco-Roman statues and columns are illuminated with spotlights, creating what Bentley calls “a theatrical illusion.” When he speaks, his voice still holds the authoritative grace of a trained actor. As he discusses his decades as a filmmaker, his eyes gleam, his stance stiffens at attention, his hands swirl in front of him, like he’s casting a spell. Through it all, his wife, a computer
11. Edie Trent, of Kalamazoo, is content to knit until spring arrives and the virus is over. 12. The Joseph family, of Kalamazoo, have faith in the future. Back row (l to r): Renu, Anthony, Jenson and Rachael; front row (l to r): Grace and Daniel. 13. Stephanie Maes, on right, holding Otis the dog, has her hands full with (l to r) husband Jason, and sons Evan and Parker, all of Kalamazoo.
“Some artists stop after they peak,” he says. “Maybe it’s because I never reached the pinnacle of fame that I am still hungry. Sometimes success can be as devastating as failure. Creative inertia keeps me going. I am creative because I have to be. I feel like I don’t have a choice.” So, is he planning on hanging it up anytime soon? “Sure, I’ll stop,” he says, “when they pry the camera from my cold, dead hands.”
THE BUSINESS AND ESTATE PLANNING
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MICHAEL J. WILLIS, J.D., C.P.A., WILLIS LAW
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THE BUSINESS AND ESTATE PLANNING
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THE BUSINESS AND ESTATE PLANNING
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levels of skill and integrity. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.
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down at thepractice nursing home.and isyour Is thata certified true? 491 West South is andanCounselors irrevocable for persons Michael J. WillisStreet is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys at Law, is licensed totrust law in Florida and Michigan, in registered ascircumstances public accountant that can be in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, Kalamazoo,signifies MI 49007 established with foryour the Heextent exceed that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized the highestassets levels of skill to and integrity. is listed in thethey Best Lawyers in America. the protected 269.492.1040 amount (whichYes. under Michigan law will cap folks at a little Most often when talkover on$125,000). trust planning, they are www.willis.law If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an referencing a revocable trust. In fact, that is the case probably more annuity income stream back to you per the terms of the trust, then in than 99% of the time. A revocable trust under Michigan law generally such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable up only to avoid probate--that’s its only benefit. However, there asset, isbutset instead an income stream and thereby exempt for Medicaid purposes. is a sophisticated I highly is an This irrevocable trust forplanning personstechnique, in your and circumstances that can be encourage you to seek this technique or the protected established withcounsel your before assetsimplementing to the extent they exceed any other Medicaid planning. amount (which under Michigan law will cap at a little over $125,000). Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, is licensed to practice law in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant If the trust is irrevocable and the assets are effectively established in an in the state of Illinois. Attorney Willis is rated as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognizedincome for the highest stream levels of skill and integrity.to He isyou listed inper the Bestthe Lawyersterms in America.of the trust, then in annuity back such a circumstance the trust will no longer be considered a countable Michael J. Willis is the Managing Partner of Willis Law, Attorneys Counselors Law,and is thereby licensed to for practice asset,and but instead an incomeatstream exempt Medicaidlaw in Florida and Michigan, and is registered as a certified public accountant the isstate of Illinois. Attorney Willis purposes.in This a sophisticated planning technique, andisI rated highly as an A V -Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating, according to Martindale, whichimplementing has beenthis rating lawyers for encourage you to seek counsel before technique or over a century, signifies that an attorney has reached the heights ofanyprofessional excellence and is recognized for the highest other Medicaid planning.
this in early June), the Paycheck Protection Program loan is able to be forgiven if it is used within eight weeks of receipt for salaries and also for utilities, rent and interest on loans. If you are just getting back to work, and let’s say that you took the loan out 5 weeks ago, you only have 3 weeks to use the loan and have it forgiven. Here are some ideas. It is legitimate and allowable to pay your employees more than they ordinarily would have been paid. This increase in pay may include yourself, as the small business owner (however any payment to yourself that exceeds an annualized salary of $100,000 will not be forgiven). You may also employ family members, or otherwise increase your employ, for legitimate work. Finally and importantly please note that currently a bill has passed Congress that would extend the time period to utilize the funds, and still be forgiven, from 8 weeks to 24 weeks (the same law would also only require you to spend up to 60% of the PPP funds on payroll as opposed to the 75% which is currently required). If this bill is signed by the President the issues here are largely moot for most employers.
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Brian Powers 26 | ENCORE JULY 2020
The Glorious Glass Art of
Gloria Badiner She gave up cell biology for a career as an artist by
When Gloria Badiner laid eyes on cast glass for the
first time, 25 years ago, it was love at first sight — but her newfound love had consequences. “Our house kind of filled up with glass,” says the artist and owner of Arts & Artifacts Glass Studio in Mattawan. Badiner, then a cell biologist for the former Upjohn Co. (now Pfizer Inc.), was working on a paper at Brown University when she wandered into the Rhode Island School of Design and discovered an exhibit of cast-glass art, which is created by pouring molten glass into a mold. Back in Kalamazoo, she enrolled in a class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts on glass sand casting. During that class, she found a 1950s-era kiln in the dumpster, promptly rewired it, set it up on a card table in her kitchen and got busy, and that’s how her home became overrun by her own glass creations. “And my husband (David Badiner) goes, ‘Have you ever thought of selling any of it?’” Badiner recalls. “And I go, ‘Who’d buy it?’ It never occurred to me. I was just playing.” Badiner called up Jerry Catania, a professional glass blower she had met during the sand casting class who, with his wife, Kathy, owned Vesuvius Art Gallery, in Glenn. “They said, ‘Sure, bring some stuff by,’ and I really haven’t looked back.” Glass artist Gloria Badiner in her Mattawan studio. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 27
Within a couple months of placing her work at Vesuvius, Badiner had her pieces displayed in another gallery and had been asked to teach a class at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency, in Saugatuck. But her fast-paced success as an artist didn’t immediately sink in. A pivotal moment occurred when the Badiners were shopping in a bookstore and Gloria was selecting books such as Business for the Crafter. “My husband took the stacks of books I had and put them on a table and goes, ‘You’re already there, honey,’” Badiner says. She faced a decision: Art or science? Badiner loves science, which she refers to as “the never-ending story.” But cast glass, as Badiner jokes, “ate away at her brain.” When light enters a piece of cast glass, she says, it gets trapped inside because the surface isn’t smooth. She loves how the light bounces around inside. “It was the translucency of the glass,” she explains. “I just want(ed) to know everything about this.” Badiner knew that she couldn’t successfully do both careers. To be a good scientist, she says, takes constant study, so she decided to launch a career as an artist.
From kitchen to studio
Before long the workspace in her farmhouse kitchen didn’t cut it anymore. She moved into an unheated barn on their 80acre property in Mattawan, but that didn’t last long either. The barn roof leaked. “One day I actually got a shock off the kiln because the water had come down,” Badiner says. So the Badiners tore down an old carriage house on the property and built a new garage. She used the upper floor as a studio, and they built another outbuilding for the kilns. That arrangement was temporary as well. Last September, Badiner moved into a new, dedicated studio building constructed on their property. It’s a roomy space with high ceilings, colorful glass panels on one wall, eye-popping finished pieces on other walls, and work tables in the middle. There’s even a kiln room, which houses ovens, tools and five kilns, including the 4-foot-by-6-foot kiln Badiner lovingly refers to as “Big Blue.” 28 | ENCORE JULY 2020
This page, top: Badiner and her “Big Blue” kiln she uses to create many of her works of art. Bottom: Prairie Life: Spring Storms, Planted, First Frost, tryptic, frit, fused glass on kiln-formed tablets, barnwood. At right, top: Badiner, surrounded by glass in her Mattawan studio. Bottom: Waterfall, kiln cast glass, patinated copper and stainless steel (commissioned work).
“She’s on wheels,” Badiner says of Big Blue, speaking about “her” with the same affection car aficionados have for their vehicles. “I can even put her out in the studio, do all my layout here and then just roll her back in.” Badiner’s fondness for Big Blue is understandable. “I invested in this kiln when I had a big commission for the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago,” Badiner explains.
Making art that matters
In 2011, a representative of Ed Hoy’s International — the largest art glass distributor in North America — contacted Badiner with a question: Would she be interested in working on a project that honored Hoy? Hoy, a pioneer in the development of products and equipment for the cast glass industry, was turning 90. Badiner jumped at the chance. She’d known Hoy for many years and taught classes for his company.
“I have to tell you (about) the first time I ever met Ed,” Badiner says, chuckling and leaning in to tell the story. In 1995, Badiner visited Ed Hoy International in Warrenville, Illinois, and before she’d been introduced to Hoy he came “barreling” out of his warehouse, holding up a tool in his hand. “This is the coolest thing ever!” Badiner remembers Hoy exclaiming to her. She admits, “I didn’t even know what it was used for.” The tool was a handheld electronic pyrometer — a remote sensing thermometer used to measure the temperature of a surface — which Hoy helped invent. Before that, pyrometers were stationary and installed on a wall. Hoy’s enthusiasm made an impression. “I thought if I could be 75 and still be like that, I have picked a great career,” says Badiner, now 65. In addition to honoring Hoy, Badiner was compelled to do the commissioned piece
Park, in Texas, where they hiked and bouldered in a variety of places, including Chisos Basin. As usual, this natural getaway inspired Badiner’s art. She says she was fascinated by the change within the basin from limestone to sandstone and the layers in between exposed rocks. She marveled at how stones would flip: limestone on top of sandstone and then vice versa. Observing the layers filled her mind with ideas. “Tonal ideas, use of color, stark changes, lines in between — that all becomes more interesting (when making a piece of art),” Badiner explains. “You could just put two pieces together — not so interesting.” Looking at the subtleties of what’s happening with the rocks, whether tonal difference or granule size variation, she says, “helps me build ideas and images.” Badiner’s fascination with rock formations dates back to childhood. She recalls a trip with her parents driving through Pennsylvania in their little black station wagon. As a young child, Badiner stared out the window at the layers inside of exposed rock and became captivated. “I just had to have one of those rocks,” she says. Her parents pulled over to satisfy her request. Badiner chuckles and adds, “They were such good parents!”
because of where it would be displayed: in the lobby of the new 90-apartment Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. She wants her art to matter, so it meant a great deal to her, she says, “to have something like that and do something working with a group that works with ill children and their families and takes such good care of them.” For the installation, Badiner created a serene lakeshore scene with reeds, grasses and purple flowers. It’s composed of five glass panels 2.5 feet by 3 feet that weigh 100 pounds each.
Inspired by rocks
Such natural themes are typical of Badiner’s work, which now includes fused, kiln-cast, sand-cast and dalle de verre works (pieces of colored glass set into concrete and epoxy resin or other supporting material). She and her husband used to climb mountains, but now, both in their 60s, settle for bouldering, which involves climbing on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without ropes or harnesses. The couple recently returned from Big Bend National w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 29
She admits she loves holding rocks and feeling their textures. David, who well knows Badiner’s interest in rocks, will tease her to put a rock back where she found it because in the past he has found rocks tucked into his empty shoes.
As an artist, Badiner has found creative growth by participating in a number of residencies, including two at Pilchuck Glass School, in Stanwood, Washington, which was founded in 1971 by internationally known glass artist Dale Chihuly. “You’re invited to come and develop your voice to be stronger, and you’re there with colleagues that are at the same (stage of) professional development — whatever age they are,” Badiner says. Badiner’s work used to center on fuel and food, but after her Pilchuck residencies her work began to focus on the issue of hunger. Hunger can be a dark subject to approach, she says, but Badiner translates this subject into her art through an overriding theme: corn. “It’s all about corn!” she exclaims, laughing. The image of corn evolved from her former work on the subject of fuel. Driving through Illinois, Badiner saw big cornfields with signs that read, “This is our new fuel,” and she observed that corn was being taken out of the food chain for ethanol production. As that industry grew, she says, hunger went up.
30 | ENCORE JULY 2020
Badiner also noticed changes in agricultural practices, such as farmers plowing to the edge of a field. Without buffers, that creates runoff and contamination downstream, she says. “I made a piece that was blown — actually blown in cast glass — and it had corn cobs that were filled with fuel,” she says. “And then I put the husk on top and tied it like grenades, so, you know, this is a time bomb waiting to go off. “Corn just became the motif. I grew up with corn. I had a field across the street from me when I grew up. Both of my parents are farm kids.”
‘All about corn’
One of Badiner’s other takeaways from her Pilchuck residencies was discovering that her work speaks strongly to others. “People are really getting what I’m trying to say,” she says, “and that was really important to me right at that time, because I wasn’t just making production work to have a studio. I was trying to make personal work that spoke to people, whether it sold or not.”
Clockwise from top left: Take Your Medicine, kiln cast glass, blown glass, Bakelite and found objects; Badiner in her studio holding Plenty, kiln-formed panel with fused powders and cyanotype on barnwood; Self Rising, cyanotype on cast kiln-formed glass; and It is Written, kiln cast glass, kiln-formed layered stack with painted powders and cyanotype script, a piece from her Thesis on Hunger.
Glass, rocks, corn, fuel — Badiner is a woman with many passions. Add teaching to that list too. Badiner teaches classes in kiln casting, which involves heating glass above or inside a mold until it flows to fill the void. She taught at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency for six years and now teaches classes at her studio, at Paw Paw Brewery and at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, to name a few places. In addition, she has taught children, including students at two elementary schools in Chicago. “I love to watch people use the material, in particular children. They’re fearless,” Badiner
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Summertime The Michigan nightingales!
local venues & totally free!
Sunday, July 19 at 4 pm Bronson Park, 200 S. Rose Street Come join us for some socially distanced, safety-first fun as we kick off Concerts in the Park in Bronson Park!
For Full Summer Schedule, visit:
Fence, gate and railing services since 1981 Kalamazoo, MI • 269.381.0596 • www.fngfenceandgarden.com 32 | ENCORE JULY 2020
says. “They just go right at it. They’re not caution-directed like adults.” Badiner has also taught continuingeducation classes for Illinois art teachers, demonstrating how to use copper wire and inexpensive or donated plate glass to make art. Most of the art teachers already have a kiln, she says. “It’s just a matter of sharing the technology of how to use their own resources to bring glass art into the classroom and to do it on a low budget,” she says.
Still playing with science
Admittedly, Badiner never completely hung up her lab coat — cast glass keeps "my science brain engaged quite a bit,” she says. She continues to experiment with applying different techniques to her glass work. For example, she recently began using a cyanotype photographic technique used in the 1860s. During this process, a photograph is developed in sunlight under running water, gets placed on top of glass and then put into a kiln. When taken out of the kiln, the image has been transferred to the glass. “They only make paper for glass or ceramics in a standard sheet (for cyanotype), and I work bigger than that,” Badiner says, “so I had to develop a technique that I can use on glass.” Badiner created her own handmade emulsion and paints this emulsion onto the glass, places the photograph on top and puts it into the kiln. After removing it from the kiln, she wipes away the emulsion. The image has transferred to the glass. Explaining the science of the process, Badiner says, “Where you make your exposure, there’s an iron precipitate chemical reaction with the heat, and it precipitates the iron, and then that actually sticks to the surface of the glass and it’s permanent.” Perhaps it is this never-ending story of creative growth that makes Badiner love her second career so much that she says she never sees an end in sight. “I don’t want to retire,” she says. “I want to keep doing this.”
Please Note: Due to the COVID–19 virus, some of these events may have been cancelled after press time. Please check with the venue and organizations for up-to-date information.
PERFORMING ARTS THEATER
Smoldering Fires — Face Off Theatre youth play about two boys who dream of effecting change in their drug-infested neighborhood, 7:30 p.m. July 9–11, 2 p.m. July 12, Jolliffe Theatre, 259 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 359-1046, blackartskalamazoo.org. Farmers Alley Theatre Online Events — For Farmers Alley Theatre online events, visit the theater’s website: farmersalleytheatre.com. For information on other area theaters, including the Civic and the Barn, visit the theaters’ websites. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Gun Lake Live Summer Concert Series — Brena, July 1; The 1985, July 8; Global Village, July 15; Tell Yo Mama, July 22; Jedi Mind Trip, July 29; all shows 6–10 p.m., Lakefront Pavilion, Bay Pointe Inn, 11456 Marsh Road, Shelbyville, 888-486-5253, baypointeinn.com. Tejano Music Night with Jr. Aldaco and the Midwest All Stars and Grupo Viento — 8:30 p.m. July 17, Back Room, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332, bellsbeer.com. The Michigan Nightingales — This Kalamazoobased gospel group performs as part of the Concerts in the Park series sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, 4 p.m. July 19, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org. KT Tunstall — Scottish singer-songwriter, 8 p.m. July 19, Back Room, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332, bellsbeer.com. Dixon’s Violin — Visionary violinist, 8:30 p.m. July 25, Back Room, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332, bellsbeer.com. Shayna Steele — New York-based R&B and jazz vocalist performs as part of the Concerts in the Park series sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, 4 p.m. July 26, Bronson Park, kalamazooarts.org.
May Erlewine Trio — Folk singer/songwriter, 8 p.m. July 26, Back Room, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332, bellsbeer.com. Motown Nation — Motown and ‘60s hits presented during this drive-in concert presented by Portage Parks and Recreation, 7 p.m. July 30, Ramona Park, 8600 Sprinkle Road, Portage, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov. Gaelic Storm — Celtic band, 8:30 p.m. July 30, Back Room, Bell’s Eccentric Café, 382-2332, bellsbeer.com. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Virtually Gilmore — Access an online performance series featuring selected recorded concerts from the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival archives and special Gilmoreproduced, live-streamed and pre-recorded webcasts, www.thegilmore.org. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S Park St., 349-7775, kiarts.org 2020 Young Artists of Kalamazoo County — Take a virtual tour of artwork by K–8 Kalamazoo County students. High School Area Show — View online a showcase of juried works by high school students from nine West Michigan counties. Other Venues Virtual Art Hop — Art displayed online by area artists, 5–7 p.m. July 3, 342-5059; visit kalamazooarts.org for details or facebook.com/ acgk359. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Comstock Township Library 6130 King Highway, 345-0136, comstocklibrary.org Curbside pickup of library materials began June 15. See library website for more information on reopening and for access to digital materials.
Kalamazoo Public Library 553-7800, kpl.gov As of press time, all KPL locations were scheduled to reopen June 22 with limited service at reduced hours. Curbside pickup was also scheduled to begin on that date. See library website for more information on reopening and for access to KPL’s digital collection of e-books, e-audiobooks, e-videos, e-magazines and e-music. Share Your COVID-19 Stories and Photos — The library’s goal is to preserve the stories and images of our daily lives during the pandemic. See the library’s website for details on how to contribute. Black Lives Matter — See the library’s website for links to the library’s Social Equity Collection and Law Library and for information on local activist organizations and the library’s Antiracism Transformation Team. Page Turners Book Club Online — Discussion of The Lido, by Libby Page, 6:30 p.m. July 6; registration required at www.kpl.gov/event/ virtual-program-page-turners-book-clubonline-6. Reading Race Book Group — Join a virtual discussion of An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones, 6:30-8 p.m. July 14; registration required. Inside the Artist’s Studio — An online tour of the studio of Patrick Hershberger/Bonus Saves, 4:30 p.m. July 2; registration required. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org A phased reopening began on June 8, and, as of press time, a fuller reopening to the public was tentatively scheduled for June 29. See library website for more information. Parchment Book Group — 6:30 p.m. July 6. Book Sale – 10 a.m.–3 p.m. July 11. Mid-day Monday Hoopla Book Club — Hosted on Zoom, 1 p.m. July 13, www.parchmentlibrary. org/midday-monday-hoopla-book-club.
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EVENTS ENCORE Mystery Book Club — 4 p.m. if the club meets on Zoom; 6:30 p.m. if it meets in person, July 20, www.parchmentlibrary.org/mystery-book-club.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990, kalamazoomuseum.org
Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544, portagelibrary.info
As of press time, the museum was closed until further notice but was offering an online exhibit and tour.
Curbside pickup of library material began June 10. As of press time, limited building access was to begin June 24. See library website for more information on reopening and access to digital materials. International Mystery Book Discussion Online — Discussion of book (TBD) via Zoom, 7 p.m. July 9; visit website to register. PDL Film Club — Discuss a movie (TBD) via Zoom, 7 p.m. July 16; visit website to register. Book Buzz: PDL Online Book Discussion — Discuss a book (TBD) via Zoom, 7 p.m. July 22; visit website to register. Richland Community Library 8951 Park St., 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org See library website for information on reopening and access to digital materials. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555, airzoo.org The Air Zoo will reopen to the public July 13. Launchpad to Learning — Until the Air Zoo reopens to the public, you can still explore new games, activities and documentary clips online daily at airzoo.org/launchpad-to-learning. Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089, gilmorecarmuseum.org The museum reopened to the public June 12 with capacity limits and the requirement for visitors and staff to wear masks inside buildings.
Legendary Packard: From Lightbulbs to Luxury Automobiles — Exhibit showcasing 20 of the finest examples of Packards, including one of the oldest-known Packards and coach-built masterpieces. Corvette Envy — Show and swap meet, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. July 19. MOPARS Lite — West Michigan’s largest gathering of muscle cars, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. July 25.
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Tracing the Path: The 1980 Kalamazoo Tornado — An online exhibit at kvmexhibits.org. 360 Virtual Tour — Explore all of the museum exhibits online at www.theasys.io/viewer/ voCUaA0Rj0hZXb0WW0nH7WdbQA5ybj. Click on the arrows to move through the museum. Call for COVID-19 Community Stories — Share your COVID-19 story online with the museum staff as they document experiences in our community. See website for details on how to submit your story. NATURE Binder Park Zoo 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, binderparkzoo.org The zoo is now open. Visit website for details. Binder Park ZooCam — Offers remote access to watch a variety of savanna animals go about their business in real time, binderparkzoo.org/ zoocam. Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574, naturecenter.org As of press time, buildings were closed but trails were open at limited capacity on a firstcome, first-served basis, 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m., with Sundays and Mondays for members only and Tuesdays through Saturdays free to the public.
MISCELLANEOUS Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesdays, 2–6 p.m. Thursdays, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays, 1204 Bank St., pfcmarkets.com. Lunchtime Live! — Food truck vendors, live music, retail vendors and activities, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Fridays, Bronson Park, kalamazooparks.org. Portage Farmers Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, Portage City Hall parking lot, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., farmersmarket.portagemi.gov. Cookie & Donut Decorating — Portage Culinary Academy partners with Peace, Love & Little Donuts as part of their monthly cooking classes, 6 p.m. July 8, Stuart Manor, 7340 Garden Lane, Portage, 329-3522. Late Night Food Truck Rally — Enjoy a variety of food options, 8-11 p.m. July 10, on Water Street between Church and Rose streets. Friday at the Flats — Enjoy local food trucks and vendors across from where the Movie in the Park will be shown (see listing below), 5–8 p.m. July 10 & 17, Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, Portage, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov. Olde Tyme Tractor & Steamer Show — Threshing machines, garage sale, parade and antique cars, July 17–19, Scotts Mill Park, 8451 S. 35th St., Scotts, 223-0003. Movies in the Park — Drive-in showing of Jumanji: The Next Level, 9 p.m. July 10, and Detective Pikachu, 7 p.m. July 17, Ramona Park, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov.
Nature Now — Connect with nature from your own backyard: naturecenter.org/naturenow.
Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. July 18, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 2900 Lake St., 779-9851.
Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510, birdsanctuary.kbs.msu.edu
Ramona Beach Bonfires — Enjoy a summer night, bonfire and s’mores, 8 p.m. July 18, Ramona Park, 329-4522, mypark.portagemi.gov.
As of press time, all buildings were temporarily closed but trails remained open 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunflower Festival at Gull Meadow Farms — Five acres of sunflowers, wagon rides, petting farm and family activities, 2-6 p.m. July 31, Aug. 7 & 14; 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Aug. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16, 8544 Gull Road, Richland, 629-4214, gullmeadowfarms.com.
Online: Wild Wednesdays — Nature programs for families: Marvelous Moths, July 1; Spectacular Snakes, July 15; Dazzling Dragonflies, July 29; all sessions 6:30–7:30 p.m. Online: Birds and Coffee Chats — Learn about bird species in our backyards, woods and waters, 10 a.m. July 8.
As a child I ate and mourned Now I will not eat. I will not mourn. Bowls of glistening peaches. Bowls of them, I tell you. Golden, with a menstrual stain where the pit was pulled away. On one of my daily strolls into the next-door cemetery I encountered the hog snake, which even then was put on earth to represent the antithesis of the working stiff. The funeral director set a house trailer on the cemetery edge to serve as a chapel for grievers. It was cold in there, even in summer, the paneling warped. A cheap box of tissues on the card table. I slid one out and balled it up, stuck it in my mouth. Those were paper-eating days.
The gravedigger, his shovel carried over his shoulder like a musket. I was pure of soul. I was. Chosen to play the angel in every drama about God. I had things in the right order: i.e., the body is but a playhouse for the soul, all that. â€” Diane Seuss Seuss, a Kalamazoo poet, is the author of several collections, including Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Four-Legged Girl, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and which included this poem. The poem originally appeared in the literary journal Blackbird. Her new book, Frank: Sonnets, is forthcoming in March 2021 from Graywolf Press, which also published the other two books.
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ENCORE BACK STORY
Kirsten Clemente (continued from page 38)
it turns out, is a good fit for someone going into agriculture, partly because I didn’t have preconceived ideas about how things should be done,” says Clemente, who oversees DeLano Farms, the working educational farm of the Kalamazoo Nature Center. “I love science and learning how things work. A minor in botany helped me understand how plants grow, the structure of soil, and so on. I thought I would go further, but it was hard for me to sit still in class. I found a summer farm apprenticeship in Seattle, then came back to Ohio and managed small-scale farms for several years, including our own in Cleveland.” Clemente, with her husband and three children, moved to Kalamazoo three years ago from Cleveland. She directs farm-related activities at the homestead founded by the DeLano family in the mid-1800s. The grounds occupy the western portion of the Nature Center’s 1,100 acres. This working farm has goats and chickens, learning gardens, a gardening internship program and weekly summer vegetable shares through its community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. How did you end up at DeLano Farms? Just after moving here, my husband and I were biking the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and we rode past the Nature Center. I didn’t know we had a place like this in the area. After the ride, I discovered there was an opening for a farm field attendant. I had no idea what that was, but it seemed like something I could learn to do. I applied and got the job. Over time, I’ve been able to grow into my current role. I have the privilege of working with a team committed to science- and researchbased education. We have several community partnerships and a growing gardening internship program. This work is my passion, and I get to do it with a great team of people that give me so much help and support. What is DeLano Farms’ community-supported agriculture program? The concept is that shareholders invest by paying up front before the growing season begins. This gives the farmer a funding boost for seeds, materials, soil amendments, etc. In return, the shareholder gets a weekly supply of whatever the CSA specializes in. Our 16-week shares typically include a wide variety of veggies and fresh herbs. A CSA is a risk-sharing agreement. A crop might fail. Raccoons might get the sweet corn. When that happens, we compensate with other crops.
There are so many benefits. CSA members are more in tune with the seasonality of food than if they shop solely at the supermarket, where most foods are available year-round. We encourage U-pick, which our customers love and we do too, because it’s an opportunity to teach harvesting skills, answer questions and interact on a deep level about the food we grow for them. However, we are currently rethinking this feature of our CSA due to COVID-19 restrictions. Seed companies and gardening organizations are experiencing explosive growth in their products and services. What is driving people to be more interested in growing their own food? I think the pandemic has made it abundantly clear that our food and other systems are fragile. We are so dependent on other countries for goods such as PPEs (personal protective equipment) and global businesses for our meat and food. The pandemic has made it clear that we have to be more self-sufficient in our communities. The other thing is that many people have had more time through the quarantine and they love to garden. Whether it’s a pot of basil on their back patio or container tomatoes, it’s so rewarding to plant something, watch it grow and then eat it. I’ve had more calls this spring — probably three times as many as in the past — from people with questions about starting a garden, like “Do I need a border around my garden bed?” (no) and “Can I plant edibles in my flower bed?” (yes). What advice do you give to those new to gardening? Start small! Containers are good. So many things can be grown in a container. A 4-foot-by-8-foot space with sunlight of six hours or more (per day) is plenty big. Choose crops that are easy, such as tomatoes and peppers. Perennial herbs, meaning they grow back every year, like oregano and thyme, are easy to grow. Lavender is good for crafts, and it’s a perennial too. Many vendors at local farmers’ markets offer seedlings, or “starts,” that can go right into your bed. Mulch to keep weeds down. What do you do when you’re not growing food? I love to cook, ride my bike and read science fiction, especially Ursula Le Guin. I’m rereading all the Harry Potter books. And my kids will tell you I can whittle and build a catapult. — Interviewed by Donna McClurkan
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BACK STORY ENCORE
Kirsten Clemente Director, DeLano Farms
Family lore has it that the first word Kirsten
Clemente uttered was “cucumber.” Growing up in a rural farming community in northwestern Ohio, Clemente gardened with her dad, so while growing food may be in her DNA, her educational background wouldn’t necessarily suggest a farming trajectory. “I have a bachelor of philosophy (degree) from Miami (of Ohio) University, which,
(continued on page 37)
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Kalamazoo Public Schools are reaching higher!
uation rates ad gr ar ye 5d an 4g Risin hool and high sc le d id m , ry ta n e m Rising ele vement school student achie er of students taking b m u n e th le b u o d More than e last 10 years th in s e rs u co t n e m Advance Place d mandatory an n io it tu ge lle co e romise: fre ts apply) The Kalamazoo P ndance requiremen te at & cy en sid (re s e fees for KPS graduat Promise scholars 0 0 0 2, an th re o M grees have completed de 2,500 students ly e at im x ro p ap f o Growth e last 13 years th r ve o t) n e rc e p 5 (2
For enrollment or more information please contact Kalamazoo Public Schools at
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