Encore July 2017

Page 1

Learn from a Garden Guru

July 2017

The State of the State (Theatre, that is)

The Go Rounds

Meet Laura Lam

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine


Favorite flavors tickling locals’ tongues

up front encore


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2 | Encore OCTOBER 2015

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Editor's note encore

Learn from a Garden Guru

The Go Rounds

The State of the State (Theatre, that is)

July 2017

Meet Laura Lam

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

From the Editor


Favorite flavors tickling locals’ tongues


laughed when Laura Lam, who is featured in our Back Story this month, told me that when she lived in California, the 300-plus days of sunny weather there “stressed her out.” That’s because, as a native Michigander, she knows that when there are beautiful, blue-sky days with temps in the mid-70s, it’s summer and you better get out and enjoy it before it’s gone. If you are conditioned to think that way, every day in California is a day you feel you should be outside, being active or going somewhere to enjoy all that sun. Not very helpful to a person with an office job. This month we honor this innate urge to make the most of our short months of warm-weather bliss by exploring one of the things that makes summer so delicious: ice cream. From the folks who make it and those who scoop it, we find out what favorite ice cream flavors are tickling local tongues. In addition, we learn about a local gardening guru who is teaching others, we say “Happy 90th Birthday” to our own beloved State Theatre, and we meet The Go Rounds, a Kalamazoo band whose music is setting ears on fire across the country but whose members are most happy at home. So get a scoop of your favorite ice cream, find a comfy lawn chair or nearby hammock and spend some sweet moments savoring summer with this month’s Encore. Enjoy!

Marie Lee


encore publications, inc.


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alexis stubelt


brian k. powers, tim conrad

Contributing Writers

kara norman, lisa mackinder, adam rayes, emily townsend

Copy Editor

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The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.

encore Contributors

Lisa Mackinder

Kara Norman

For this month’s issue, Lisa sat down with Amanda Hyman, landscape specialist and teacher of Garden Guru classes at VanderSalm’s Flowershop & Garden Center, in Kalamazoo. Hyman had previously been on a completely different career track, but then discovered her green thumb. “I’ve known people who truly enjoy plants,” Lisa says, “but Amanda absolutely loves plants — so much so, she can’t even settle on a favorite.” Lisa is a Portage-based freelancer who has written for local and national publications.

While it’s going to take Kara awhile to recover from reporting on this issue’s cover story about what flavors of ice cream we’re eating in Southwest Michigan, her 3-yearold daughter certainly loved the assignment. Kara lives in Kalamazoo, where she reads in a hammock, writes about local artists and pretends to cook real dinners. See more of her work at karanorman.com, where she blogs about books, parenting and modest adventures.

Adam Rayes

Emily Townsend

Adam, who is working as an intern at Encore Publications, is somewhat new to Kalamazoo, so his story this month on the Kalamazoo State Theatre’s 90th anniversary not only gave him an opportunity to see the interior of the historic theater for the first time, but triggered a desire to learn more about Kalamazoo’s rich culture and history. Adam is a native of Monroe and is majoring in journalism at Western Michigan University.

This month Emily merged her love for a great story with her love for Kalamazoo music and her passion for the mysteries of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Luckily, the local band The Go Rounds embodies all three. As a longtime friend and fan of the band, Emily examined the group's idea of home and community. For more of her radio and writing work, visit soundandscrawl.com.

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FEATURE Favorite Flavors

The ice cream flavor concoctions tempting local tongues


DEPARTMENTS 5 Contributors 8 First Things Happenings in SW Michigan 12 Up Front Still Nifty at 90 —Building community and memories at the State Theatre



VanderSalm’s Garden Guru — Plant lover shares her wealth of knowledge

38 Back Story

Meet Laura Lam — She’s helping make the most of the Foundation for Excellence


26 The Go Rounds Despite national attention, this local band still loves

being home

32 Events of Note

On the cover: A bouquet of popular flavors of Plainwell Ice Cream served up by the folks at Spirit of Kalamazoo. Photo by Brian Powers.

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First Things encore

First Things Something Cultural

Partake in the Black Arts Festival With an aim to mix education with entertainment, the Black

Arts Festival will combine music, dance and theater in a four-day celebration of black artists and performers. The festival, to be presented July 13–16 by the Black Arts Cultural Center, will feature national and local artists and performers and activities that reflect the festival’s theme of “Unity Through Culture.” The festival schedule includes: • Y outh Day, with programs for ages 7–17, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. July 13, Bible Baptist Church, 1700 N. Drake Road. • P roductions of In The Blood by Face Off Theatre Company, 7:30 p.m. July 13 and 14, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. • Unity Through Culture Weekend, with live entertainment, vendors and food, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. July 15 and 16, La Crone Park, 535 W. Paterson St. • Summer Black Party, a block party for ages 21 and up, featuring DJ/Emcee Conscious, 9 p.m. July 15–1:30 a.m. July 16 at Rootead, 1501 Fulford St. For a full schedule, ticket prices and more information, visit blackartskalamazoo.org or call 349-1035.

Something Old

Go old school at vintage market Want to own a piece of history? The Vintage in the Zoo market on July 16 will provide ample opportunity for you to do just that. The market, to be held at the Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, 1204 Bank St., from 11 a.m.–3 p.m., will feature vintage and antique clothing, furniture and more from vendors such as J-Bird Vintage, VintageVibes, ScarlettSmileVintage, Vintage_616 and Restore Thrift. For more information, visit vintageinthezoo.com.

8 | Encore JULY 2017

encore First Things

Something Funny

Improv under an open sky What if you were able to combine a relaxing evening outdoors with a night of

hilarity and laughter? Western Michigan University invites you to do just that for this month’s Broncos Night Out, July 21. The show, which will be held on Heritage Hall’s grand lawn and starts at 6 p.m., will feature local improvisational comedy troupe Crawlspace Eviction. Bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs for this free night of laughs. Concessions will be available to purchase, and the first 250 guests will receive a voucher for free snacks and beverages, such as Pop City Popcorn, 20-ounce Pepsi products and ice cream provided by Treat Street. For parking details and more information, visit mywmu.com.

Crawlspace Eviction

Something Blue

Experience a blues-filled weekend Few genres have had the effect on today’s music that the blues has, and you can gain an appreciation for its contributions at the Kalamazoo Blues Festival, July 14–16. The festival, which will be held this year at a new location, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, is a weekend of performances by nationally recognized blues artists, including Joe Louis Walker and the Sugaray Rayford Band, and local and regional bands as well as food for all ages to enjoy. The festival hours are 4:30–10:25 p.m. July 14, noon–10 p.m. July 15 and noon–5 p.m. July 16. There is a fee for admission, although children ages 12 and under get in free. For ticket prices and more information, visit kalamazoobluesfestival.com. w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 9

First Things encore

Something Musical

Enjoy July’s open-air concerts If you missed the Concerts in the Park series last month or just need more outdoor summer tunes, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo has you covered with this month’s concert lineup. Every Sunday through August these free concerts bring local artists to Bronson Park, in downtown Kalamazoo, with the exception of July 2, when no concert is scheduled, and July 9, when a festival will be held in Portage that’s jointly sponsored with the K’zoo Folklife Organization. The concerts slated for this month are: • The K'zoo Folklife Music Festival (see entry under Something Folksy), 1–4 p.m. July 9, Overlander Bandshell, 7999 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage. • Outer Vibe, rock/pop band, 4 p.m. July 16, Bronson Park. • M otor City Women & Detroit Express, rock/ blues band, 4 p.m. July 23, Bronson Park.

Outer Vibe

• The Verve Pipe, rock band, 4 p.m. July 30, Bronson Park. For the full summer Concerts in the Park schedule and additional information, visit kalamazooarts.org.

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encore First Things

Something Sporting Put your mettle to the pedal

With more than 300 racers and multiple sweeping and 90-degree turns, the Business, Technology and Research Park Bike Race on July 8 is an epically fun challenge. If you are thinking of participating, you can engage in a little preparation on July 7. Trainers from Richland-based Team Athletic Mentors will offer two clinics to teach bicyclists new to racing what they need to know. Both clinics are free if you register in advance and will take place on the race course on WMU’s Parkview Campus. A women’s clinic from 6–8 p.m. will focus on cornering, drafting, group riding etiquette, and riding in a pace line. A combined clinic for men and women from 6:30–9 p.m. will have participants practice cornering drills and pack-riding skills and will provide information on race preparation, rules for criterium racing (which involves laps around a closed circuit) and sprint techniques. If the clinics leave you feeling confident enough, you can head back to the course at 8 a.m. the next morning to participate in the actual BTR Park Bike Race. Otherwise, you can cheer on those who are participating. For more information about the race or to register for the clinics, visit wmich.edu/btrrace/clinics.

Something Folksy

New folk music festival hits town Folk music lovers rejoice! A new festival for you kicks off this month in Portage. The first K’zoo Folklife Music Festival will be held from 1–4 p.m. on July 9 at the Overlander Bandshell, 7999 S. Westnedge Ave. Organized by the K’zoo Folklife Organization in partnership with the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, the festival will have performances by regional and national bluegrass and folk acts, including Edgar Loudermilk Band and local favorite Who Hit John? Admission is free. For more information visit kzoofolklife.org or contact 327-7145.

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up front encore

Living History

State Theatre director aims to build community and memories by

Adam Rayes


istory is often preserved in “look, but don’t touch” exhibits, but when it comes to the Kalamazoo State Theatre, which is turning 90 this month, the building’s executive director, Stephanie Hinman, believes the best way to preserve history is to keep it alive. “This is important, not just because of the building,” Hinman says. “It's a lively piece of history downtown. It's not some closed-off museum space. It’s active and is still creating more memories.” But keeping nearly a century’s worth of history well maintained while creating a space that works for modern audiences and

12 | Encore JULY 2017

performing acts is a very precise — and expensive — balancing act. The Hinman Co., which owns the theater, has maintained as much of its original design as possible, from repainting the interior walls to match the theater's original colors to keeping the statues that decorate of the atmospheric auditorium (one of which may have gone crowdsurfing during a Red Chili Peppers concert), but many changes had to be made. Most of the changes, such as the refurbishing of dressing rooms for performers and the addition of fireproof curtains, were made to

encore Up Front

The State Theatre has much of the same décor today as it did when it opened in 1927. Below: Stephanie Hinman oversees the theater’s operations.

“I’d love to get cooling,” Hinman says, “and there’s tons of other things we’d like to do. But it’s just having the money to be able to do it, which is hard because we don’t.” “We can’t really do it on tickets alone,” she adds. “Being that it’s an older building,

Brian Powers

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Brian Powers

bring basic amenities up to date or ensure the safety of those in the building, while other changes, like replacing the orchestra pit with an open floor, were made to cater to the modern programming the theater provides now, as opposed to the vaudeville and orchestra performances of its past. But there are still a host of changes Hinman aims to make.

it really could use a chunk of money for improvements. It would be nice to have (new) heating. It would be nice to have ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements and get it up to code.” The company is exploring many possibilities, including the formation of a nonprofit organization, to ensure the theater will be here for another 90 years or more,

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Brian Powers

up front encore

Improvements to the State Theatre include turning the orchestra pit into an open floor and maintaing the theater's iconic exterior.

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Hinman says. Other historic theaters, such as the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, have established nonprofit organizations to help them bring in money through endowments and donations to fund for necessary improvements. “If we had the capacity to book more private events, then we could probably grow,” Hinman notes, “but we would need more staff. And the more we use the building, the more we would need improvements.” “If we stumbled on $30 million, it would probably be really nice,” she jokes. Hinman has managed the theater since becoming its executive director in 2014. Despite the limitations she faces with the State Theatre, she loves the building and its patrons. “It’s cool when it’s full,” she says, brimming with excitement as her voice echoes off the walls of the ornate, dimly lit auditorium. She says there’s a sense of community and shared energy that comes from going to an event at the State that isn’t quite as present at some of the area’s other performance venues. To build that sense of community, Hinman says, she tries to get as many types of

Pena Bonita (Apache/Seminole, b.1948), Skywalker, 2006, color print, 20x16 inches, courtesy of the artist. © Pena Bonita

An exhibition of photographs by artists from North America, Peru, Iraq, and New Zealand

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Brian Powers

The exhibition in Kalamazoo is made possible by

audiences through the theater’s doors as possible. And to that end, the theater has seen all sorts of programs over the past few years, including burlesque shows, ballet, world music, rap, R&B and more. “We want to have a really well-rounded variety of programs,” she says. “We (the Hinman Co.) own it, but it’s for the community. Without the community, we can’t be in business.” In the future, Hinman hopes the work she puts into the State will ensure that the theater will be around long after it isn’t in her charge anymore. “We own this building, but we’re not going to be here forever, and we want to make sure it ends up in the right hands, with the right mission: to preserve the historical integrity,” she says. “This is a place that is a box of everybody’s memories, passion, hopes, dreams, blood, sweat, tears. And we’ll preserve that and provide programming that is relevant to the community. “This is a part of Kalamazoo’s culture, and it will continue to be. (We) just have to do the legwork to make sure everything’s OK.”

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Enterprise encore

The Garden Guru

Plant lover shares her wealth of knowledge by

Lisa Mackinder


Brian Powers

manda Hyman came close to having a profession that involved carrying a firearm and assessing criminal behavior, but instead she now wields a garden trowel and sketches landscape plans. The landscape specialist at VanderSalm’s Flowershop and Garden Center, in Kalamazoo, was only a few classes short of a degree in criminal justice and sociology at Western Michigan University when a change of heart rerouted her career plans: She no longer wanted to become a criminal profiler. “I got a job here (at VanderSalm’s) trying to figure out what I was going to do next,” Hyman says. That soul searching didn’t take long. Hyman immediately fell in love with plants after being hired as a sales clerk at VanderSalm’s in 2002. “When I started with the plants, it was like, 'I want to do this,'” she says. Hyman learned anything and everything about perennials, shrubs and trees. By the time she went to Michigan State University in 2011 to pursue a degree in landscape design and horticulture, she already knew the plants by their scientific names. “I didn’t know the common names of things,” Hyman says, laughing. “I was backwards from everybody.” Hyman, who grew up in Okemos, lived there with her parents during the school week. On weekends she returned to Kalamazoo and stayed with Justin Hyman, her then-fiancé (now husband). Hyman continued working at VanderSalm’s and also

16 | Encore JULY 2017

Brian Powers

encore Enterprise

After graduating from MSU in 2014, Hyman became VanderSalm’s landscape specialist, a position in which she orders the plants, answers customers’ landscape and horticulture questions and travels to customers’ homes for landscape design consultations. After viewing their property during these consultations, Hyman sits down with customers and discovers what they are looking for and how much they would like to invest — not only monetarily. Her biggest landscaping tip is this: Evaluate how much time you want to invest in caring for plants. “Because you can have a really nice garden that still looks good even if you can’t put in hours and hours,” Hyman explains. “You just Opposite page: Amanda Hyman teaches Garden Guru classes at VanderSalm’s. Left: One of the classes teaches how to make fairy gardens. Below: Class participants learn about succulents.


interned at Kellogg Biological Station, in Hickory Corners, and Gull Lake Landscape Co., in Richland. Originally, she planned to major in landscape architecture, but switched to landscape design because it focused more on the plants. “Landscape architects and landscape designers often work together because the designers know what to plant where,” Hyman says. Hyman is all about the plants, so much so that she can’t even settle on a favorite — or a few favorites for that matter. “In every green shrub I’d have a favorite, and every flowering shrub I’d have a favorite,” she says. “There would just be too many.”

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Garden Guru Classes Dates and times for the Garden Guru classes are set up a few weeks before the event. To learn when the following classes are to be held, visit VanderSalm’s Facebook page at facebook.com/vandersalmsflowerandgardencenter or call 343-2671. July: Shade Gardens August: Fairy Gardens September: Pruning October: Pumpkin Floral Arrangement November: Thanksgiving Centerpiece

have to know what your restrictions are because you can plant a ton of flowers and not have time to take care of them.” Hyman also puts her education to work teaching a host of VanderSalm’s free Garden Guru classes. Held on Saturdays, the classes include Building a Fairy Garden, Planting Vegetable Seeds, Growing Roses, Growing Hydrangeas, and Creating Shade and Native Plant Gardens — to name a few. While Hyman teaches many of the Garden Guru classes, fellow VanderSalm’s staffer Ignacio Luna, the plant design coordinator, teaches the class on succulents, and Lexie Lantinga, the shop’s wedding designer, teaches design classes. VanderSalm’s pays attention to gardening trends, Hyman says, by noticing when several customers start

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asking questions about the same topic and by seeing hot sellers such as fairy gardens in gardening catalogues. “It’s pretty easy to keep your finger on the pulse (of trends),” Hyman says. Adults and children attend the fairy garden class, which is free except for the materials. Before the class, Hyman takes students around the store to view the examples on display, select a container, and pick tiny items such as mushrooms, chairs, houses, bridges, ponds and miniature live plants. Some people decide to build a fairy garden the size of a coffee can while others create a desktopsized version, Hyman says. “It’s pretty much up to your own imagination what you want to do,” she says. Hyman believes students’ interest in planting vegetables from seeds results from wanting to know where their foods are coming from and to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and chemically derived pesticides. Some of her students seek organic options. “We have certain natural repellents for your tomatoes that are marked organic,” Hyman says. “Organic food, organic soil — it’s pretty easy, if that’s what you’re going for, to find what you need.” Growing vegetables also offers a feeling of accomplishment, she says, because they are easy to grow, especially tomatoes, green beans and anything in the pepper family. VanderSalm’s keeps the class sizes limited to approximately 30 students. If a class garners great interest, the shop will create two classes on the subject — one in the morning on a Saturday and one in the evening. Hyman’s favorite class to teach is the one on shade gardening. “People feel like they don’t have that many options (with shade gardening),” she explains. “It’s fun to introduce people to these really cool plants.”

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Brian Powers 20 | Encore JULY 2017

Flavor Fave The ice cream tastes that locals go for

story by

Kara Norman

July is National Ice Cream Month, and if that’s not enough

good news for you, July 16 is National Ice Cream Day. From family-owned businesses like Plainwell Ice Cream to dairies such as Sherman’s Ice Cream in South Haven, which has been in existence since 1916, there is no shortage of places in Southwest Michigan where you can go to observe these occasions with a scoop or two. So what flavor do Southwest Michiganders prefer to eat to cool off in the summer heat? According to Dave Gaylord, who, along with his parents Art and Judy Gaylord, makes and sells Plainwell Ice Cream, area ice cream lovers order a whole lot of vanilla. If that makes us sound like a boring lot, rest assured that vanilla is the base for myriad ice cream concoctions, from milkshakes to banana splits to hot fudge sundaes. But after the perennial favorites and old standbys of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, our preferences get a lot more interesting. “There’s about four flavors that are all pretty close to each other in popularity” at Plainwell Ice Cream’s retail spot at 621 E. Bridge St. in Plainwell, says Gaylord: Salted Caramel, Island City Fudge, French Silk and butter pecan. Island City Fudge is vanilla ice cream with a thick fudge swirl and fudge pieces. French Silk has a rich chocolate base with chocolate flakes added to it. That's more like it.

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Love the fudge Island City Fudge’s popularity reaches beyond the “Island City” of Plainwell. Rita Sertic, co-owner of Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlor, at 115 W. Prairie St. in Vicksburg, confirms that her customers love Island City Fudge and butter pecan, both of which Apple Knockers gets from Plainwell Ice Cream. Apple Knockers sells more than 60 flavors of ice cream, some from Plainwell and others from Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream, in Oceana County’s Shelby Township. Apple Knockers is one of 35 local distributors of Plainwell Ice Cream, which makes about 65 flavors and 50,000 gallons of ice cream a year in 100-gallon batches. Plainwell Ice Cream is made in the same building where its ice cream shop is located.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Key Lime Pie are other favorites of Apple Knockers patrons, says Sertic, who co-owns the shop with her mom, Paula Hochstetler, and sister Angie Palomaki. She says kids particularly can’t get enough of those electric-colored flavors Superman, Blue Moon and Cotton Candy Confetti. What does a flavor like Superman taste like? “I always tell people, ‘It tastes like blue,’” Sertic says with a laugh. “I honestly don’t know how to describe it.” As far as blue ice creams go, Apple Knockers also carries Blueberry Marble, one of Plainwell Ice Cream’s many seasonal offerings. Appearing every June and July during blueberry season, Blueberry Marble is a huge hit, along with pumpkin, a fall favorite that

22 | Encore JULY 2017

the Gaylords have been making for 20 years. Bob Eisenman, who has owned Sherman’s Ice Cream and Dairy Bar, at 1601 Phoenix Road in South Haven, since 1988, has a word for the expansion of flavors an ice cream business offers over the months of the year. “I call it the ‘accordion effect,’” he says. When Sherman’s opens in March, it carries 32 flavors. A month later it adds eight more, and then in May another 18. By Memorial Day weekend, the shop scoops 58 flavors. Come fall, Sherman’s dials it back again so that when it closes at the end of October, it’s back to offering 32 flavors.

questions is, ‘What’s new?’” The dairy sells ice cream to about 100 wholesale customers. This year Sherman’s introduced Oreo Cheesecake, a cheesecakeflavored ice cream with Oreo cookie pieces in it, and Brownie Delight,

Local ice cream establishments, from left, Apple Knockers in Vicksburg, Sherman’s Ice Cream in South Haven, Plainwell Ice Cream in Plainwell and Spirit ofKalamazoo, all weighed in on local favorites, such as the strawberry cone held here by Plainwell Ice Cream employee Colleen Loftus. Photos by Tim Conrad

In addition to ice cream cones, the parlor serves gargantuan scoops of ice cream in glass dishes with long spoons and free coffee in classic diner mugs. “Our ice cream shop has been around for 60 years, so we’re really known as a traditional shop,” says Eisenman. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is a preferred flavor for Sherman’s customers ordering cones and dishes, Eisenman says.

The new scoop Still, Eisenman and his employees enjoy tinkering and inventing new flavors during the dairy’s winter months. “When our wholesale customers start ordering in the spring,” he says, “one of their first

which features brownie pieces in milk chocolate ice cream swirled with fudge. “When we create new flavors, most of them turn out to be oneor two-year deals,” says Eisenman. “You make it one year, and everybody’s excited. You bring it back the second year, and it does OK. If you bring it back the third year, it’s going to sit.” But every once in a while, as with Salted Caramel, they bring out a flavor that becomes a standard. Plainwell Ice Cream’s Gaylord agrees that Salted Caramel is a flavor trend that isn’t going anywhere. He started making it four years ago when a friend who lived out West suggested it. Immediately, it became his shop’s third most popular flavor. “It’s still strong,” says Gaylord. “It’s basically become a staple.” Both Eisenman and Gaylord get new ideas from the flavor companies they buy ingredients from, but usually they or somebody working for them throws out an idea to see if it’s anything they want to try making. Dean’s Ice Cream owner Gery Bentley, who’s been in the ice cream business for 30 years, agrees that choosing new flavors is intuitive. His business, another popular Plainwell destination, is located at 307 N. Sherwood Ave., scenically situated next to a playground overlooking the Kalamazoo River. Vanilla, butter pecan and mint chocolate chip, he says, are the popular flavors at Dean’s, which produces about 32 to 35 flavors a year. But Bentley, who has owned Dean’s since 1987, is sometimes

w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 23

You can lick a cone, like the one at left, by the scenic Kalamazoo River at Dean’s in Plainwell. Photos by Tim Conrad

surprised by how popular some flavors become. Orange mixed with vanilla, “like an old Dreamsicle,” is one of these for him. At Apple Knockers, there’s a flavor certain customers order that Sertic doesn’t quite understand. “Rum raisin,” she says. “It’s always a shock for me when people ask for it.”

Novelty flavors If you’re craving a brave new world of ice cream, you might put the newly minted Lafayette Creamery on your to-try list. The shop, located at 7933 S. Eighth St., in Texas Corners, creates flavors on site such as Apricot Sumac, Tarrazu Coffee, Cherry English Walnut, cinnamon, and

Olive Oil & Salt, in addition to serving its more traditional Sweet Milk Chocolate and Madagascar Vanilla. Speaking of novelty flavors, Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream introduced a popular flavor called Michigan Pot Hole two seasons ago that’s sold at Apple Knockers. It’s a chocolate-based ice cream with “tar and asphalt” — chocolate chunks and a fudge swirl. Portions of Michigan Pot Hole’s sales are being donated to fund road repairs in Michigan. And The Spirit of Kalamazoo, an ice cream and merchandise shop at 154 S. Kalamazoo Mall, began making a coffee milkshake with Plainwell’s Salted Caramel ice cream and cold Water Street coffee a few years ago. It’s topped with whipped cream and a cherry and has been a hit with customers, says Kathleen Widner, co-owner of the shop, which carries all Plainwell Ice Cream. “The people at Plainwell Ice Cream are truly the experts, in my opinion,” says Widner. She says she is always interested in what Plainwell Ice Cream recommends, like a flavor it started making last year called Oatmeal Chip. Similar in taste to an oatmeal cookie with small chocolate and butterscotch chips, Oatmeal Chip is a flavor Widner believes will grow in popularity this year. When asked how long he’s been making ice cream, Plainwell’s Gaylord sighs and says, “Forever.” “I had a lot of ‘doctor and dentist appointments’ during school when I was a kid — I would get picked up early from school to make ice cream," he says, laughing. "I probably had a pretty thick school folder, you know?”

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Arts encore

Coming Back Around

Despite national attention, The Go Rounds still love home Emily Townsend

John Hansen



n a cold night in January, steam rolls off concertgoers as they emerge from the back door of The Milhouse, a red and white twostory home in the Vine neighborhood. Over the past eight years, the house’s basement has been the site of more than 120 DIY concerts and tonight’s is a pretty standard Kalamazoo house show. A young punk band plays both originals and covers. A hip-hop duo plays a short set. A hat is passed for donations. People leave the door open. Every 10 minutes or so, the show booker reminds everyone to close the door and keep it down outside. But inside, The Go Rounds begin tuning up and the mood shifts to buzzy anticipation for the headliner. The basement is packed with attendees who are craning their necks to see the band, which is back in town after months away playing more than 100 shows across

26 | Encore JULY 2017

Members of The Go Rounds, from left: Adam Danis, Mike Savina, Graham Parsons and Drew Tyner.

North America. This is only the fourth Kalamazoo show in a year for The Go Rounds, a band that was once a local staple. The four-piece band cracks into a set with the synchronized three beats, three chords of its upbeat favorite “Cage Divine,” off the band’s 2016 album, I Promise I Won’t Get Hurt, and the crowd responds enthusiastically. They know this band, and they know this song. Two days from now, however, The Go Rounds will be gone again, off to play at a slew of high-end breweries, house venues, dive bars, art spaces and concert halls across the Midwest and the South and up the East Coast.

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“When you come home, you do feel a little out of touch,” says the band’s guitarist, Mike Savina. “There are people who host house shows, who host open mics, and they do it every week. As a band we might be perceived as being outside of the DIY (do it yourself) scene because we miss some of that while out touring.” For The Go Rounds, the Milhouse show in January was important because it allowed them to connect with their home base in the kind of inexpensive show that to some is the purest form of concert-going. “We were really, really honored to be a part of that,” says Savina. “Those spaces have a unique feeling. It’s like being inside a black box. People are just wet with sweat and freaking out.”

Began in 2009 The Go Rounds came into being in 2009 and have had a rotating roster of members led by singer-songwriter Graham Parsons. The current lineup — Parsons, Savina, bassist Drew Tyner and drummer Adam Danis — came together in 2014. With a sound

described as “high-energy twang rock,” the band has released three albums, toured Mexico twice, played a showcase at the 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival, in Austin, Texas, and were signed earlier this year by the booking and promoting agency Prater Day Agency, of Knoxville, Tennessee. And while none of the band members are natives of Kalamazoo, they all consider the city home and the stick against which they measure other cities. “The DIY scene that people have here, especially the venues that have been longstanding, that’s something that we don’t find in other places,” says Parsons. “It usually takes only one or two interested people to galvanize a scene. We are always trying to find those people within other cities. It’s probably a lifelong endeavor.” In Kalamazoo, the band says, that galvanizing force is Selner Bros. Music, at 505 W. Vine St. “Selner Bros. filled a void that we had been lamenting for years,” says Tyner, who grew up

in Saginaw. “When I moved to town in the early 2000s, there were six music stores, and they all closed when Guitar Center opened. Having Jarad (Selner) there is so important for musicians’ day-to-day well-being. We can trade gear, talk gear. Every time you’re in there, you run into two or three artists.” Danis agrees. “It’s a vector for strengthening the scene.”

Keweenaw to Kalamazoo Without a doubt, though, Parsons is the vector of The Go Rounds. The son of educators and homesteaders, he grew up in Allouez, a township on the northwest tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula with a population just shy of 2,000. The Parsons’ family farm, a 9½-hour drive from Kalamazoo, sits alongside a 2-square-mile property where the neighbors are also homesteaders. The enclave calls itself Farm Block, and Parsons was raised among neighbors who own hot-sauce companies, hunt for mushrooms, fish for walleye, write prose about fly fishing, exchange home-canned

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beets and provide hospice care for aging farmers. It’s a place where, when you lend a jar to a neighbor, you can expect that it will come back filled with homemade sauerkraut. Parsons, who had played music for years, had a life-altering moment in high school when he met Michigan folk musician Seth Bernard and vintage blues musician Luke Winslow-King. The duo came over to watch a football game at Parsons’ house after performing a show at the Calumet Theatre. “It was enlightening to meet someone on a path I still wasn’t able to fully conceptualize,” says Parsons. “I had never known anyone who was a touring musician.” “There's this magical web of intelligent, fringe-type hippies that made connections throughout the Keweenaw, Traverse City, Marquette, Kalamazoo areas. That's just to say, Seth’s parents knew my childhood neighbors, Ray and Viki Weglarz, the makers of Ray’s Polish Fire hot sauce.” Bernard, who started the music collective and record label Earthwork Music, became a friend and mentor to Parsons and in 2005 invited him to play at the Earthwork Harvest Gathering in Lake City, northeast of Cadillac. Parsons has played the festival every year since, performing with The Go Rounds in recent years.

Festival born from loss Parsons’ tight ties with Bernard paved the way for The Go Rounds to become a favorite on the Midwest folk festival circuit, and the band has played scores of shows, including at the Wheatland Music Festival, in Mecosta County; Blissfest, in Petoskey; the Buttermilk Jamboree, at Circle Pines, in Barry County; Founders Fest, in Grand Rapids; the Traverse City Microbrew and Music Fest; Holler Fest, in Brooklyn, Michigan, southeast of Jackson; and Mile of Music, in Appleton, Wisconsin.

28 | Encore JULY 2017

The Go Rounds Take a listen See and hear video for "Cage Divine" at youtube.com/watch?v=b1KOCrb1bds

Catch a show The Go Rounds won’t be in our neck of the woods until September, but here are some other upcoming Michigan shows • July 3–4, The Fitz 4th of July Party, Eagle River • July 9, Dow Gardens, Midland • July 28–29, Farm Block X Festival, Calumet • Aug. 17, Odmark Performance Pavilion, Charlevoix • Aug. 18, Hoxeyville Music Festival, Wellston • Sept. 16, Arcadia Ales, Kalamazoo Parsons dreamed of hosting a music festival of his own modeled after the Earthwork Harvest Gathering, a goal that came to fruition after tragedy. Parsons was attending Western Michigan University and, while home for the holidays in 2007, convinced his best friend and closest musical collaborator, Dan Schmitt, to move to Kalamazoo. Schmitt, who began playing music with Parsons in middle school, had experienced a challenging childhood and eventually lived with the Parsons family. They encouraged him to get his GED diploma after the dropped out of high school. “We were supposed to drive down (to Kalamazoo) together, but plans changed. I started driving downstate and I got the call in Marquette from our drummer,” says Parsons.

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Schmitt had been killed in a car accident. “That was the first real hardship or death that I faced,” Parson says. “I had to drive to Kalamazoo with all of his stuff ... He was such a wonderful instrumentalist and kind. Not an enemy in the world. I was stunted in every way for a while after he passed.” That summer, the Parsons family held a fundraising concert on their farm in Schmitt’s name, raising $3,000 to buy guitars and lessons for students at Horizons, an alternative high school in Calumet. Farm Block Fest was born. The festival supports a nonprofit, Dan Schmitt Gift of Music and Education Fund, created in 2014 and now headquartered in Kalamazoo, where it provides after-school lessons and jam sessions for Kalamazoo Public Schools students. A decade old, Farm Block Fest has developed a cult following of Kalamazooans willing to make the trek to Parsons’ homestead in Allouez. It is a small festival with just one stage and food cooked from scratch (except for the pasties) in a small outdoor kitchen. Last year, 30 bands played the festival, including Anna Ash, The Mac Pods, Vox Vidorra, Kansas City Bible Company and, of course, The Go Rounds — introduced with great gusto by Parsons’ father, John, who has made an annual tradition of warming up the crowd for “the house band.” “This community and how it connects to the Keweenaw is cool. So many people from Kalamazoo go to the Keweenaw, and vice versa,” says Parsons. “Dan died on the day he was going to move here. That’s part of why I have clung to Kalamazoo. Making music and having community is the only healthy way I have been able to process all of that.” And whether it is Graham Parsons weeding his garden and making chicken soup in his 104-year-old Vine neighborhood home, Adam Danis’ wavy hair flouncing to PJ Harvey while he waits for a $1.50 coffee at Fourth Coast, Mike Savina trying out a guitar at Selner Bros. Music, or Drew Tyner walking his dog around the Vine, The Go Rounds all seem to embrace their adopted community. For them, Kalamazoo isn’t just another stage. It’s home.

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Once Upon a Mattress — Kindleberger Summer Festival family musical, 7 p.m. July 12–14, 5 p.m. July 15–16, Kindleberger Park, 650 S. Riverview Drive, Parchment, kindleberger.org/festival.php.

All in the Timing — A collection of short plays by David Ives that combine wit, intellect, satire and fun, 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., through July 22, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328.

Annie — Center Stage Theatre presents the Broadway musical about an orphan looking for her parents, 7:30 p.m. July 14–15 & 21–22, 2 p.m. July 16 & 23, Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St., 388-9400.

The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon — Kindleberger Summer Festival youth production, 5:30 p.m. July 12–14, 3:30 p.m. July 15–16, Kindleberger Park, 650 S. Riverview Drive, Parchment, kindleberger.org/ festival.php.



In the Blood — Face Off Theatre Company production during the Black Arts Festival, 7:30 p.m. July 13 & 14, Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 349-1035. Peter and the Starcatcher — Farmers Alley Theatre presents a swashbuckling prequel to Peter Pan, 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., July 21–Aug. 6, Little Theatre, 798 Oakland Drive, 343-2727. The Lion in Winter — A modern-day classic of sibling rivalry, adultery and dungeons surrounding the royal family of Henry II of England, 8 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 5 p.m. Sun., July 25–Aug. 6, Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96, Augusta, 731-4121. Musicals

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story — The story of the singer/songwriter's meteoric rise to fame, featuring his greatest hits, 8 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 5 p.m. Sun., through July 9, Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96, Augusta, 731-4121. Queen's We Will Rock You — A musical set in a futuristic world, featuring Queen’s greatest hits, 8 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 5 p.m. Sun., July 11–23, Barn Theatre, 731-4121.

Gun Lake Live Summer Series — Tony Fields, Doug Decker & Jeff Starr, July 1; Brena, July 8; Main Street Dueling Pianos, July 15; Don Middlebrook, July 22; Thornapple Jazz Orchestra, July 29; all shows 6–10 p.m., Lakefront Pavilion, Bay Pointe Inn, 11456 Marsh Road, Shelbyville, 888-486-5253. Big Thief — Indie rock band, 8 p.m. July 1, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Soul-Filled Sundays — s2r, electronic trio, July 2; Monica Pabelonio, jazz vocalist, & Max Brown, guitarist, July 9; Sugar Still, acoustic duo, July 16; Gabrial James, singer/songwriter and guitarist, July 23; Steve Pesch, rock and country guitarist, July 30; all shows 5–7 p.m., Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 701 E. Michigan Ave., 2760458. Reel Big Fish: The Beer Tour — Ska-punk band, 6:30 p.m. July 2, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The 126 Army Concert Band — 7 p.m. July 6, Overlander Bandshell, 7999 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage, 329-4452. Start Making Sense — Talking Heads tribute band, 9 p.m. July 6, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Art Hop: Jack Adams — St. Joseph-based guitarist, 6–9 p.m. July 7, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 276-0458.

Stop Light Observations — Southern-retro electrorock band, 9 p.m. July 8, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. K’zoo Folklife Music Festival — Bluegrass and Americana music, noon–4:30 p.m. July 9, Overlander Bandshell, Portage, 329-4452. The Red Sea Pedestrians — Oshtemo Friends of the Parks Music in the Park Summer Concert Series, 5 p.m. July 9, Flesher Field, 3664 S. Ninth St., 375-4260. Live Music at Arcadia Ales — The Brass Rail, local brass quintet, 6–8 p.m. July 12; Edge of Midnight, pop/ rock/blues cover duo, 7–9 p.m. July 19; Shelby Lynn, vocalist, 7–9 p.m. July 26, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, 2760458. Steve Moakler — Country singer/songwriter, 8:30 p.m. July 13, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Kalamazoo Blues Festival — Local, regional and national blues performers, 4:30–11 p.m. July 14, noon– 11 p.m. July 15, noon–6 p.m. July 16, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Squirrel Nut Zippers — Big band/jazz/alternative rock band, 9 p.m. July 14, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Tim Reynolds & TR3 — Multi-instrumentalist and lead guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band, 9 p.m. July 15, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Concerts in the Park — Outer Vibe, July 16; Motor City Women & Detroit Express, July 23; The Verve Pipe, July 30; all concerts begin at 4 p.m., Bronson Park, 342-5059. Toad the Wet Sprocket — Alternative rock band, 7 p.m. July 16, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Tom Sadge Concert — Neil Diamond impersonator, 7 p.m. July 20, Overlander Bandshell, Portage, 329-4452. Drive-by Truckers — Alternative country/Southern rock band, 7 p.m. July 21, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

one good day Billy Strings — Acoustic/bluegrass guitarist and singer, 8:30 p.m. July 7, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

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Riversedge Summer Music Series — Green Light Music, Kalamazoo String Collective, Blarney Castle and The Red Sea Pedestrians, 5–11:59 p.m. July 22, Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo, arcadiaales.com/summermusic or 276-0458. Echoes of Pink Floyd — A Pink Floyd concert experience with laser, light and video show, 9 p.m. July 22, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Who Hit John? — The folk band performs in the Kindleberger Summer Concert Series, 6:30 p.m. July 23, The Stage in Kindleberger Park, Parchment, kindleberger.org. The Vegabonds — Rock, jam and soul band, 8:30 p.m. July 27, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. The Menzingers — American punk rock band, 8:30 p.m. July 28, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Last Mango — Jimmy Buffett tribute band performs in the Kindleberger Summer Concert Series, 6:30 p.m. July 30, The Stage in Kindleberger Park, Parchment, kindleberger.org. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits

Pressed for Time: History of Printmaking — A historical survey of the four major processes of Western printmaking, through July 2. Impressions: Printmaking in Japan — Japanese wood-block prints from the KIA collection, through July 23. Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist — A Smithsonian exhibition by the Native American artist displaying her abstract paintings, landscapes, drawings, sculpture and signature diptychs, through Sept. 10. Our People, Our Land, Our Images — An exhibition of 51 works by 26 indigenous photographers, July 15– Oct. 22.

Events Art Hop: Square Dance Kalamazoo — 5–8 p.m. July 7. ARTbreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Black Ash Basketry: A Story of Cultural Resilience, documentary, July 11; Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, documentary, July 18 & 25; all sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Unreeled: Film at the KIA — Music and the Movies: Kalamazoo College professors Dr. Siu-Lan Tan and Danny Kim discuss how music works with moving images, 6:30 p.m. July 13, KIA Auditorium. Get the Picture: Andy Warhol’s Jacqueline Kennedy III and Gerald Ford — An in-depth discussion of these works with Curator of Education Michelle Stempien, noon July 20. Changing Perspectives on Indigenous Art — Reception and talk celebrating the opening of photography exhibition Our People, Our Land, Our Images, 6:30 p.m. July 20, KIA Auditorium. Other Venues Community Art Show: Garden — Area artists’ works reflecting gardens, July 5–28, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544.

2017 Great American Eclipse — Richard Bell, Kalamazoo Astronomical Society president, discusses the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, 1 p.m. July 18. Kalamazoo Public Library First Saturday @ KPL — Family event with stories, activities, special guests and door prizes, 2 p.m. July 1, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837. Tom Stanton: Author Visit — The Michigan author and journalist discusses his newest book, Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-Era Detroit, 6 p.m. July 25, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Parchment Book Group — Discussion of The Long Arc of the Universe: Travels Beyond the Pale, by Kathleen Stocking, 7 p.m. July 3. Front Page: Donuts & Discussion — Current-events panel discussion with local media, educators, politicians and special guests, 10:30 a.m.–noon July 22. Yum's the Word — Learn how to grill like a champion, 6:30 p.m. July 26; registration required.

Tamora Hirzel: Printmaker — The artist displays her prints, July 5–28, Portage District Library, 329-4544.

Puppy Love: Dog & Cat Adoption — Meet dogs and cats who need a home and learn how to find the perfect pet, noon–3 p.m. July 29.

Art Hop — Art at various Kalamazoo locations, 5–8 p.m. July 7, 342-5059.

Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544

Artist Reception: Sean Panich — For painting exhibition Atmospheric, 2–4 p.m. July 23; exhibit on display through Aug. 31, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574.

LEGO City Returns — Western Michigan LEGO Train Club displays a city and local landmarks made of LEGOs, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. July 3, 5 & 6; 9 a.m.–6 p.m. July 7; 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. July 8.


Top Shelf Reads: Book vs. Movie — A young professionals' book group discussion, 7 p.m. July 17, 585-8711; registration required.

Comstock Township Library 6130 King Highway, 345-0136 Soap-Making Workshop — Marge Perrin, dairy goat expert, teaches cold-process soap-making, 5:30 p.m. July 12.

Must Be 21+: After Hours Whiskey Tasting — Angie Jackson shares the history and how-to of the beverage, 7 p.m. July 21, 585-8711; registration required.

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Must Be 21+: Game, Doodle, Color — Hang out and play some games, 7 p.m. July 24. Normalizing Vegan — Hillary Rettig of Vegan Kalamazoo presents Vegan 101: The Joys of PlantBased Living, 6:30 p.m. July 27. MUSEUMS Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089 Deutsche Marques: A German Auto Event — Featuring "daily drivers" to "weekend treasures," including BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. July 8. Mad Dogs & Englishmen's British Auto Faire — British-made vehicles, People's Choice judging, car games, bagpipers and British tea time, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. July 9. Checker Car Club of America 2017 Convention — 10 a.m.–3 p.m. July 15. MOPARS at the Red Barns Show & Swap Meet — West Michigan's largest all-Chrysler products car show, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. July 29. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine — A look at the men and women who served as surgeons and nurses during the Civil War, through Sept. 2.

Eclipse 2017 — A simulation of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, 3 p.m. Tues. & Thurs., 2 p.m. Sat., through Sept. 9, Planetarium. Led Zeppelin Laser Show — The band's classics in surround sound set to computer-generated effects, 4 p.m. Sat., through Sept. 9, Planetarium.

Dinosaurs: Land of Fire & Ice — Explore the age of the dinosaurs, through Sept. 17. Planet Dinosaur: Lost World — New dinosaur finds from Africa: Lost World, July 5; New Giants, July 12; The Great Survivors, July 19; all sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday Night Highlights: The Steve Pesch Band — Classic rock, blues and classic country music, 6–7:30 p.m. July 7.

NATURE Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510 Birds and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. July 12. Family Fishing Day: What Eats What? — Fish for the eagle's breakfast and examine what fish eat, 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m. July 14. MISCELLANEOUS Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival — Hotair balloons, air show, carnival and fireworks, through July 4, W.K. Kellogg Airport, 15551 S. Airport Road, Battle Creek, 269-962-0592 or bcballoons.com.

My Grandmother Had One of Those! — Hands-on experience with artifacts used in exhibit design, 1–3 p.m. July 11 & 18, Stryker Theater; advance registration with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU required, 387-4200.

Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues., Thurs. & Sat., through Oct. 31, 1204 Bank St., 359-6727.

Fossils: Storytellers from the Past — Fossils collected from Michigan and methods of fossilization, 1:30 p.m. July 26, Stryker Theater.

Kanoe the Kazoo with Arcadia Ales After Party — Meet at Merrill Park, on River Street at Comstock Avenue, Comstock, for a leisurely paddle along the Kalamazoo River, with check-in 4:30–5:30 p.m., paddle 6–8 p.m. July 3, 276-0458.

Eclipsed! Understanding Sun and Moon Eclipses — Hands-on activities explaining the sun-earth-moon relationships, 1–3 p.m. July 27, Stryker Theater; advance registration with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU required, 387-4200.

Portage Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 29, Portage Senior Center, 300 Library Lane, 3596727.

Lunchtime Live! — Food trucks, vendors and live music: Kari Lynch, July 7; Kris Hitchcock, July 14; McFerrin and Borr, July 21; Ed Lester, July 28, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Bronson Park, 337-8191.

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BTR Park Bike Race — A 1.1-mile circuit around WMU's Business Technology and Research Park; cycling clinics held at 6 p.m. July 7; race begins at 8 a.m. July 8, WMU's Parkview Campus, 387-2072. Kalamazoo Late-Night Food Truck Rally — Food trucks, artisans, booths, music and networking, 9–11:45 p.m. July 7, 201–299 W. Water St., 388-2830. Kalamazoo 4-H Open Horse Show — Classes for every riding discipline, 8:30 a.m. July 8, 9 a.m. July 9, Kalamazoo County Expo Center Horse Arenas, 2900 Lake St., msue.msu.edu/kalamazoo. Kindleberger Summer Festival of the Performing Arts — Family musical production, youth play, 5K race, car show, parade, arts and crafts and children's activities, July 12–16, Kindleberger Park, 650 S. Riverview Drive, Parchment; see schedule at kindleberger.org/festival. php. Black Arts Festival: Unity Through Culture — Features Youth Day and weekend events, July 13–16, 349-1035; see schedule at blackartskalamazoo.org. Fitness in the Parks — Free exercise program, 6:30– 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, July 13–Aug. 10, Frays Park, 4400 Canterbury Ave., 337-8006. Vintage Electronics Extravaganza '17 — Vintage radios, TVs, record players, computers and video games, 7 a.m.–6:30 p.m. July 14, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. July 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 734-316-2803.

“We wanted a more traditional setting for our wedding reception.”


e had been to many weddings at all of the usual places, when the planner suggested the Beacon Club we thought “Now that would be different!”. Where else could our perfect day be hosted in a place built in 1851?

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Great Lakes Summer Postcard & Paper Show — Postcards, photos and paper items, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. July 14, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. July 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 517-230-0734. Movies in the Park: McFarland USA — Family activities at 7 p.m.; movie begins at sunset, July 14, Southside Park, 2100 Race St., 337-8191. Vintage in the Zoo — Outdoor vintage market, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. July 16, Kalamazoo Farmers Market, 989-859-1875. Kalamazoo Night Market — Food and other vendors with music, games, beer and wine, 6–10 p.m. July 20, Kalamazoo Farmers Market, 359-6727. Movies in the Park — Watch Disney's Zootopia, 8:30 p.m. July 20, Oshtemo Township Park, 7275 W. Main St., 216-5224. Olde Tyme Tractor & Steamer Show — Threshing machines, baling, community garage sale, parade and antique cars, July 21–23, Scotts Mill County Park, 8451 S. 35th St., Scotts, 223-0003. Broncos Night Out: Improv Night — A family-friendly event with local improv group Crawlspace Eviction, 6–8:30 p.m. July 21, WMU's Heritage Hall, 601 Oakland Drive, 387-8816. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. July 22, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 779-9851. KalamazooKitty Mini Market — Over 50 unique vendors and food trucks, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. July 29, KalamazooKitty, 6883 W. Main St., 365-0194.

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Print, and Prepare for Impact!


A grand opening, new-product display, sidewalk-sale promotion, or corporate conference —your event deserves tangible attention. How do you get the word out and get people excited about what you are doing?

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With print in your marketing mix, you give your message the power it needs to reach people and stir imaginations. Print items like posters and display banners bring your advertising to your audience, reminding them of not only the details about your event, but WHY they should join in.

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When you want a big turnout, remember to add the benefits of print. Print provides the impact that makes the difference between a lost opportunity and a big success.

The Ayres Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 The Beacon Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Betzler Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Bravo! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Centre Spa & Wellness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Concerts in the Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Clear Ridge Wealth Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Consumers Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Dave’s Glass Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Fence & Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 First National Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Food Dance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Four Roses Café . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Great Lakes Shipping Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Greenleaf Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

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Halls, Closets & More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Hettinger & Hettinger, PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Kalamazoo Community Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kalamazoo Institute of Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Kelvin & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Lake, Parfet & Schau, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Langeland Funeral Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19







LVM Capital Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Maple Hill Auto Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Mercantile Bank of Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Oakland Centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Portage Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Principle Food & Drink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Red Tail 412 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Saffron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Salt of the Earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 State Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Tujax Tavern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Varnum Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Vlietstra Bros. Pools & Spas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


Wild Ginger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Willis Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 WMUK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Woodwork Specialties Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

36 | Encore JULY 2017

BACK STORY (continued from page 38)

nonprofits in Chicago, where do you get your money but from calling bingo?” she says. “Every Saturday night for two-plus years I’m on the North Side of Chicago calling bingo. It was by far one of the more challenging positions I’ve ever had because you have one happy person and 299 people who are mad. You need to learn to work a room in a way that lets you leave at night.”

How did you get where you are today? I am a proud Kalamazoo Public Schools graduate (Loy Norrix High School) and went to Kalamazoo College, where I majored in human development and social relations. I did student organizing through a class called the Building Blocks Program, where my role was to help people understand what they wanted to fix in their neighborhoods and how to take these matters into their own hands. Helping people change and take control of their lives just kind of stuck with me. I worked as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago and then worked for the city of San Jose, California, in its Strong Neighborhoods Initiative Program. Coming from Chicago, where I had been fighting city hall, I had sort of a negative view of cities and I thought progress was going to occur in spite of cities. But San Jose had this true spirit of partnership between its residents and the city, and it made me think, “What if you’re able to organize the community and city hall to be in partnership with each other? Wouldn’t that

Organize Your Garage!

get you farther?” I saw the power of cities being partners with community to get things done and where residents can guide the work. After nine years enjoying the lack of winter, I realized it was time to move back. A community development manager position opened with the City of Kalamazoo, and my husband is a software engineer who can work remotely, so in the summer of 2009 we packed up the car, the dogs, the 1½-year-old, the bikes, drove across country and didn’t look back.

What does overseeing the Foundation for Excellence entail? The Foundation for Excellence is about three things: stabilizing the city’s budget, reducing property taxes and investing in aspirational projects. My position is to prepare and organize the city to keep track of those three elements over the next three years. The hope is that in three years we’ll have a successful model and have raised an endowment large enough to allow this model to continue in perpetuity.

Do you find the challenge daunting? Absolutely. When I was in San Jose, there were about 250,000 people in 19 neighborhoods and at night when I’d go to bed I’d think, ”How are we going to affect a quarter of a million people?” I’m still lying awake at night, but now it’s because of the opportunity. We have all the ingredients and we have the resources, so now it’s “How are we going to maximize this opportunity to its

greatest extent to realize what we want to see?” It’s a fabulous challenge to have.

What do you do when you’re not working? When I’m not chasing after my boys (ages 9 and 5), I like to go running. It’s a release for me and keeps me healthy mentally and physically. The running community here is amazing. You can’t go out anywhere without seeing someone running. And they are so dedicated — out in the winter, out in the rain. The running community here is very accessible, and I have really enjoyed it.

What is your favorite thing about Kalamazoo? When I came back here in 2009, people would say, “What are you doing going back to Michigan in the middle of a recession?” I came back and was amazed to see in 10 years what Kalamazoo had become, the way downtown had evolved. There was hope and a spirit in this community in 2009 that said, “We understand that there are national and state issues that affect us, but we are ever facing forward.” There’s a spirit here that says, “We take care of ourselves, we take care of our own problems, and we’re going to do this.” How do you not get excited about that? I get goosebumps just talking about it — to know how fortunate I am to be in the community I grew up, in a town I love, in this position to do this kind of work. It’s pretty amazing.

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hallsclosets@gmail.com w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 37


Laura Lam

Assistant City Manager, Kalamazoo

(continued on page 37)

38 | Encore JULY 2017

Brian Powers


aura Lam admits that her role overseeing the city of Kalamazoo’s new Foundation for Excellence, the $70.3 million philanthropic approach to solving the city’s budget problems, can be a daunting task, but it’s not the first challenge she has faced. When Lam was working in mental health advocacy in Chicago, she became a professional bingo caller “because working for

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