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Snap Your Best Selfie

June 2019

Dine Al Fresco

Frolic at a Music Festival

Meet Gaby Gerken

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine

Every individual in Kalamazoo deserves the opportunity to provide a decent livelihood for their family, which includes high quality education and care for their children, a safe and affordable home, and the ability to earn a living — no matter



zip code, race or gender. The Kalamazoo Community Foundation partners and supports many Kalamazoo County nonprofits in removing barriers so individuals and families reach their full potential. However, systems have been built to marginalize individuals based on their identity or culture. The Community Foundation’s focus on equity with an emphasis on education is a crucial strategy in addressing gaps at a systems level.



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Snap Your Best Selfie

Dine Al Fresco

Frolic at a Music Festival

June 2019

Meet Gaby Gerken

Southwest Michigan’s Magazine


encore publications, inc.


marie lee

Art Director/Designer alexis stubelt

Photographer brian k. powers

Contributing Writers

jordan bradley, adam rayes, greyson steele

Copy Editor/Poetry Editor margaret deritter

Advertising Sales janis clark celeste statler krieg lee


chris broadbent

Office Coordinator hope smith

Events Calendar hope smith

Encore Magazine is published 12 times yearly. Copyright 2019, Encore Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation and advertising correspondence should be sent to: 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: 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 Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.

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From the Editor O

ur writers and staff really enjoy putting together our annual See Your Town Like a Tourist issue because they uncover new adventures, places and charms this area offers that they might not have known about or might have forgotten. For instance, in discussing the area’s best selfie spots for our Five Faves feature, one staff member suggested the West Lake Drive-In at the same time another blurted out “Bates Alley!” Then, simultaneously, they both asked, “Where’s that?” For a couple of years, my husband and I lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, a tourist town like no other. Locals there jealously guard the identities of their favorite haunts to keep those spots from becoming overridden by visitors. The first piece of advice we got when we moved there was, “If you like something, keep it to yourself.” But that’s not a worry here. Southwest Michiganders are happy to share all the unique, fantastic things to do and see in our community. Three of this issue’s writers are on the younger side, so it was fun for those of us with a little more life experience (and years in the community) to explain the iconic Stephen Hansen artwork of the man pointing to his hand. The youngsters, on the other hand, schooled us on Electric Forest, disc golf and climbing. But when it came to talking about outdoor dining, we found common ground — we all had good go-to spots to share. The biggest challenge in putting together our See Your Town Like a Tourist issue is fitting a lot of information into not a lot of space. The bad news is that we could not possibly know and write about every outdoor dining option or mention every gaming opportunity in the area. So if your favorite place wasn’t included, don’t feel slighted. Drop us a line and let us know. We welcome your suggestions and ideas because this is an annual issue and we know that no one knows this area better than those who live, work and play here every day (and read Encore). Don’t be a Williamsburger. Share with us!

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FEATURE See Your Town Like a Tourist!


Snap Your Best Selfie


Our Five Faves feature highlights the best places to snap yourself

Dine Outdoors


Do Something Different


Fresh food amid the fresh air is delicious

Beat the mid-summer blahs with alternative recreation

Frolic at a Music Festival

How to experience the area’s eclectic music festival scene


DEPARTMENTS 5 From the Editor Contributors 8 Up Front


First Things


Back Story

Happenings and events in SW Michigan

Meet Gaby Gerken — She’s behind the bountiful Kalamazoo Farmers Market

ARTS 34 STREET Art and More — Art exhibit one outcome of afterschool program for at-risk youth 38 Events of Note 43 Poetry

On the cover: Part of being a hometown tourist is collecting your own personal stash of Southwest Michigan souvenirs. Photo by Brian K. Powers.

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Jordan Bradley

For this issue, Jordan wrote about two of her favorite things: music and recreation. But even this avid concertgoer, climber and outdoor enthusiast learned something new. “No matter what kind of music you are into, there is a festival somewhere nearby for you,” she says. “And there are 36 disc golf courses! Thirty-six! There is no reason for boredom around here.” Jordan is an editorial assistant at Encore.

Adam Rayes

Adam tackled our outdoor dining story for this issue and found that the options were abundant. “From food trucks in a park to patios overlooking a lake or tucked away in a historic neighborhood, you can pretty much enjoy any type of food in the great outdoors,” he says. Adam also interviewed Kalamazoo Farmers Market Manager Gaby Gerken for our Back Story feature. Adam graduated from Western Michigan University in April and, in addition to being a freelance writer, is currently working at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor.

Greyson Steele

Greyson is a freelance writer who is enthusiastic about all things Kalamazoo. In pursuing the story on the STREET Afterschool Program for at-risk boys in those neighborhoods, he asked the program’s CEO what it was doing differently to help today's youth. "Charlene (Taylor) made it very apparent that the focus of the program is not solely on keeping these kids off the street," Greyson said. "It's about treating the whole person — physically, mentally and emotionally — so that they can truly reach their full potential."

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First Things Something International

The Tamburitzans perform in Comstock Showcasing the songs, dances and costumes of more than a dozen countries, the Tamburitzans will bring their show to Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St., at 7:30 p.m. on June 8. Formed in Pittsburgh in 1937, the Tamburitzans are the longest-running live stage show in the United States. The ensemble features 29 performers from the United States, Canada and Europe who are enrolled in Pittsburgh-area colleges. The show is sponsored by the Comstock Community Center. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling 345-8556.

Something Celebratory

Freedom celebrated at Juneteenth event Music, film, speakers, vendors and family activities will be the highlights of the free Juneteenth celebration from 1–4 p.m. June 15 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St. Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day, is the day that celebrates African-Americans’ emancipation from slavery on June 19, 1865. The local celebration event is free to attend and is being presented in collaboration with Soul Artistry, an organization that curates artistry-rich experiences.

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Something Nostalgic

Exhibit explores Paw Paw’s baseball legacy An exhibit exploring the history of baseball

using the stories of Paw Paw’s hometown athletes who played in the major or minor leagues goes on display June 9 at the Carnegie Community Center, 129 S. Kalamazoo St., in Paw Paw. Past Times in Paw Paw: A History of Baseball in Our Hometown tells how and why baseball became known as the national pastime through the stories of local players such as Wade and Bill Killifer, Charlie Maxwell and Derek Mitchell. The free exhibit, running until Sept. 8, is being presented by the Paw Paw Historical Commission and Paw Paw District Library. An opening ceremony will be held from 1-4 p.m. June 9, and the exhibit will be on display from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. For more information, call 657-5674.

Something Sculpted

Exhibit spotlights global refugee crisis An exhibit combining sculpture and photography that spotlights the global refugee crisis will open June 8 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Orna Ben-Ami: Entire Life in a Package features works by Israeli sculptor Orna Ben-Ami. She begins with enlarged Reuters news photographs of people with their belongings and sculpts iron satchels, hats, suitcases and other familiar forms to affix to the images. The resulting artworks illustrate the physical and emotional weight of a journey away from one’s home. A reception for the artist will be held at 5:30 p.m. on June 20 at the KIA, followed by a talk by the artist at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the KIA is $5, or $2 for students. Children through age 12, KIA members, and active military members get in free.

In the Mud, Orna Ben-Ami, welded iron and photo.

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Something Heavenly

Launch party celebrates poet's new book Kalamazoo poet Jennifer Clark will celebrate the publication of her new book, A

Beginner's Guide To Heaven, with a launch party June 10 at Texas Corners Brewing Co., 6970 Texas Drive. A Beginner's Guide To Heaven is being published by Unsolicited Press, of Portland, Oregon. The launch party runs from 4:30-6 p.m. at the farm-to-table restaurant and brewery, which serves craft beers and ciders. If the weather is good, the party will be held on the restaurant’s patio.

Something Theatrical

Barn’s got Love, Lies and the Doctor’s Dilemma Mix a rom-com with The Comedy of Errors and what do you get? Love, Lies

and the Doctor’s Dilemma running June 11–16 at the Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96 in Augusta. For mature audiences, this play follows Joan as she tumbles down the rabbit hole after telling a white lie about her guy, Sandy, who is a gardener. When Joan’s sister-in-law and former actress Olivia visits, Joan panics and tells her Sandy is her psychiatrist. Mix in a mobster, a chaotic neighbor, a cross-dressing son and some misguided advice and things get confusing very quickly. Show times are 8 p.m. June 11–15 and 5 p.m. June 16. Tickets are $39–$48. For tickets and more information, visit or call 731-4121.

Something Positive

Armand & Angelina to perform The music duo Armand & Angelina will bring their positivity performances

to Unity of Kalamazoo, 1204 Whites Road, on June 16 and 17. The duo performs posi (or positive) music — songs of any musical style that have messages of peace, unity, healing, empowerment, personal and global transformation, social justice and environmental sustainability. On June 16, the duo will be the guest artists at the church’s 10 a.m. service. At noon, they will teach a Native American flute-playing workshop. On June 17, they will perform a concert at 6:30 p.m. A love offering of $15 is suggested. For more information, call 385-2239 or visit

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Something Musical

Catch a concert in the park this month This summer is getting more musical.

The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo’s SummerTime Live series has added two new locations to their roster of free outdoor performances. Downtown Kalamazoo's Beats on Bates Wednesday Night Summer Music Series and Richland Township's After Hop Concert are joining the venues of Bronson Park, Parchment’s Kindleberger Summer Festival of the Performing Arts–The Stage at Kindleberger, Oshtemo Township’s Music in the Park, and the City of Portage’s Thursday Summer Entertainment Series as hosts of the performances. SummerTime Live kicks off with concerts starting this month and runs through August. June performances will be: • June 2: Kalamazoo Singers, Bronson Park, 4 p.m. • June 5: Dj Disobedience and Lilly Mazzone, DC, Jessica Ivey, and Abbie Maikoski, Bates Alley, 5–8 p.m. • June 9: Kari Lynch, Bronson Park, 4 p.m. • June 12: Jazz & Creative Institute, Bates Alley, 5–8 p.m.

• June 27: The Boy Band, Overlander Bandshell, Portage, 7 p.m.

• June 16: Kalamazoo Concert Band, Bronson Park, 4 p.m.

• June 30: Lake Effect Jazz Band, Bronson Park, 4 p.m.

• June 19: So Long Belladonna, Bates Alley, 5–8 p.m. • June 23: Yolonda Lavender, Flesher Field, Oshtemo, 6 p.m. • June 23: Shout! Beatles Tribute Band, The Stage at Kindleberger Park, Parchment, 6:30 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic meals (but no grilling is allowed), blankets or lawn chairs to the concerts. For more information or to see the schedule, visit KalamazooArts. com/concerts-in-the-park.

• June 26: Black Arts & Cultural Center, Bates Alley, 5–8 p.m.

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S nap Your Best Selfie


Dine Outdoors

24 D o Something Different 28 Frolic at a Music Festival w w | 15

You Are Here

Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport by


The Space Needle. The Golden Gate Bridge. The Arch in St. Louis. You see these iconic landmarks in a selfie and you know right where the person is. (Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis, just in case you had a geographic memory lapse). The greater Kalamazoo area has its own iconic landmarks to pose in front of that will announce to all your social media buddies that you are HERE. Here are five of our favorite spots to snap yourself:

Located in the gate area of the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport is a 3D reproduction of artist and former Kalamazoo resident Stephen Hansen’s original print You Are Here, with its helpful Kalamazooan employing the native habit of using the right hand as a map of Michigan to show his spot in the state. The sculpture is an iconic way to tell those coming and returning to the area that they have arrived at their destination.

Kalamazoo sign Kalamazoo Transportation Center, 459 N. Burdick St.

Bates Alley Between Portage and Edwards streets

Colorful during the day, magical at night, Bates Alley is the newest pedestrian promenade in downtown Kalamazoo. The pavement is an abstract river of blues and greens, with outdoor seating for the restaurants along the strip. At night, the alley’s long rows of bistro lighting offer the perfect twinkly, festive backdrop.

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Just in case you didn’t know that Kalamazoo is almost smack at the halfway point between Chicago and Detroit, this sign at the Kalamazoo Transportation Center is a handy reminder that Kalamazoo really isn’t in the middle of nowhere. The beautiful, historic architecture of the center, built in 1887, makes a snazzy background to boot.

West Lake Drive-In Heritage Hall Western Michigan University’s East Campus Oakland Drive

There’s a reason why Western Michigan University’s first buildings were placed atop this hill: the view. A selfie taken at the back of this historic building and toward the east will provide a backdrop that catches buildings rising up from downtown Kalamazoo and, if you time it right, a wonderful sunrise to boot. If you turn around and snap a picture, you can capture the historic building’s majestic columns.

9138 Portage Road

With a retro orange-and-white canopy and a location overlooking its namesake lake, West Lake Drive-In is both scenic and tasty. Grab one of its deluxe olive burgers or bluegill sandwiches and a frosty homemade root beer and pose with your lunch by the lake. This spot also offers a divine opportunity for a stunning sunset shot.



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Outdoor dining blossoms with the flowers by

Brian Powers 18 | ENCORE JUNE 2019


It’s worth taking advantage of every minute of warm weather in

Michigan, a state with the audacity to get snow in late April. That’s why, when the weather warms up enough, outdoor dining blossoms. Whether it’s just a couple of tables set up on a sidewalk or a large deck overlooking a lake, patio dining at local eateries arrives when spring does. “The freshness (of eating outside) is great,” says Shawn Hagen, chef and business partner at Bravo! Restaurant and Café. “It’s kind of nice to be out with Mother Nature. It works hand-in-hand with food and nature.” Whether you want to enjoy the view, climate or fresh air with a brew, cocktail or meal, there are plenty of options in the Kalamazoo area.

East-end hub A place to start is on downtown Kalamazoo’s eastern end. There’s a cluster of microbreweries and tap houses that not only pour a mean craft brew or two, but offer dining outside. Bell’s Eccentric Café, Old Dog Tavern, Arcadia Brewing Co. and HopCat all offer unique outside venues to enjoy the day or evening as well as a meal. The beer gardens at Old Dog, Bell’s and Arcadia make for excellent places to enjoy live music with a drink in your hand, a warm summer sky and beautiful greenery. Sterling Riethman, marketing specialist at Bell’s Eccentric Café, offered her thoughts on why people enjoy the outdoor seating at Bell’s: “It tends to be a great place for people to come and socialize, whether (customers) are looking for a night out just with friends or whether they’re looking to bring their family out during the day. it

Opposite page: Bravo’s cozy patio is the perfect place to enjoy the restaurant's signature pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas and hand-crafted beer. This page: Above, the colorful deck is just one part of Old Dog Tavern’s expansive outdoor beer garden. Top right: HopCat offers an urban atmosphere complete with heaters and the occasional train rumbling by.

really is one of those environments that you can make your own. It’s a great place to hang out and enjoy a beer and some snacks. It’s a nice laid-back but kind of lively environment all at the same time.” The simultaneously rustic and retro Old Dog has quite a few seats to offer. With about 140 outdoor seats and plenty of standing room spread out across four parts of its property, there are plenty of options to make the most of any summer day. Old Dog’s live music selection can be described as sophisticated and somewhat strange, which perfectly fits the food offered on the tavern’s menu, which runs the gamut from a quinoa power bowl to burgers to pasties. Arcadia has a varied menu that includes falafel sandwiches, “Brewer’s Chili,” and chicken and waffles. The microbrewery makes a “British Inspired – American Brewed” beer selection that has close ties to the community, with collaborations like special Art Hop and Kalamazoo Marathon brews. HopCat offers a rock ‘n’ roll vibe and music selection to go with the large number of beers it offers from around the world and with its delicious pub-food offerings, like its famous “Cosmik Fries” (formerly known as “Crack Fries”). Bell’s, famous nationwide for its unique and well-priced craft brews, offers a backyard aesthetic and live music. Bell’s will sometimes open outdoor bars on its patio if things get busy, and grilled on-the-spot food specials are sometimes offered in the beer garden. The menu at the Eccentric Café is seasonal, and this year a special, easy-to-eat-outside menu will feature finger food like tacos and hot dogs. “It’s kind of a more laid-back feel,” says Riethman.

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Outdoor dining options While not an exhaustive list of all the outdoor dining options in our area — there are many more outdoor dining venues, and new ones opening all the time — here are those mentioned in our article: Arcadia Brewing Co. 701 E. Michigan Ave. Bell's Eccentric Café 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave. Bravo! Restaurant & Café 5402 Portage Road Central City Tap House 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall

She says when the beer garden isn’t being used for 1,200-person concerts, it allows for people to just hang out, eat, drink and play “yard games” like cornhole or Jenga Giant. As far as the bugs that come with eating outdoors, the Bell’s team does its best to limit their effects on customers, but some are just unavoidable, she says. “We haven’t really had a large issue with (bugs) in the past,” she says. “But we (let people know) that if they are concerned about it, it is an outdoor garden and there is only so much we can do.”

Cosmo’s Cucina 804 W. Vine St. Cove Lakeside Bistro 9110 Portage Road East Egg Mattawan 23901 City Center Circle, Mattawan HopCat 300 E. Water St.

Left: Principle’s patio dining offers a streetside view of downtown Kalamazoo. Above: The view goes on forever at the Skydeck. Right: Martell’s offers a shaded, lakeside spot.

Latitude 42 Brewing Co. 6101 W. Main St. 7842 Portage Road Mangia Kitchen + Bar 209 S. Kalamazoo Mall Martell’s 3501 Greenleaf Blvd. Nonla Vietnamese Street Food 24050 Front St., Mattawan Old Burdick's Bar & Grill 100 W. Michigan Ave. Old Dog Tavern 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave. Principle Food & Drink 230 S. Kalamazoo Mall SkyDeck 300 E. Michigan Ave. The Spirit of Kalamazoo 154 S. Kalamazoo Mall Taco Bob’s 300 S. Kalamazoo Mall The Union Cabaret & Grille 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall University Roadhouse 1332 W. Michigan Ave. Zazios 100 W. Michigan Ave.

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You could even enjoy a nice summer night stroll in the city and visit all four of these great bars and eateries, since they are all pretty close to each other. Just make sure you’re ready for the loud whistle when the occasional train rumbles by.

Food with a view If you want a venue with a particularly excellent view, there are several regional options. To kick off your night on the town (or end it with a nightcap), head to the SkyDeck, on East Michigan Avenue. This rooftop venue serves delicious cocktails seven stories up to a maximum of 750 people. “The green treetops from this vantage point look like they go on forever,” says Amanda Rodriguez, the manager for Kalamazoo’s Entertainment District. “Three-

hundred-sixty-degree views are unbeatable, and the ability to bar hop all within the block really make it worth it. Summer is short. This is worth the reservation.” There are also more casual restaurants with outdoor dining on an upper floor, though not nearly as high. Both the University Roadhouse, near Western Michigan University’s main campus, and Cosmo’s Cucina, in the Vine neighborhood, offer outdoor dining on their second floors. For a beautiful view closer to the ground, there’s the Cove Lakeside Bistro, on the east shore of West Lake in Portage. “We’re right on the water and have a great view, which is pretty unique to us,” says the Cove’s general manager, Troy Lutke. The Cove’s seafood and drink menu is designed to reflect its location. Last year the restaurant held an outdoor seafood boil event. Lutke says that holidays tend to be an especially good time to go to the Cove and

the highest quality and everything like that, but it’s not just a special-events location and there is no dress code. We want people to come off the lake in their shorts and their flip-flops and come and eat with us.” For outdoor dining near a body of water that might better fit the “upscale” moniker, there’s Martell’s. Its small, cozy outdoor dining space presents an opportunity to enjoy its American and Italian cuisine by a small lake between Little Asylum Lake and Lake Lime Kiln.

Outdoor ambience If a scenic view isn’t your main priority, then, depending on your wants and your wallet, there’s a variety of outdoor options to try. Upscale diners in the Portage area will find the Bravo! Restaurant & Café’s 24-seat patio a private and relaxing space to enjoy the restaurant’s Italian food. The patio is conveniently tucked on one side of the restaurant.

enjoy festivities, like the boat parade and fireworks on July 4. The outdoor section of the restaurant has about 100 seats, Lutke says. The lake’s natural breeze tends to keep many of those pesky summer bugs away from diners’ food, and the outdoor space is treated to keep lake gnats out too, he says. “For some reason, people have this idea that we’re more like a fine dining, upscale kind of place,” Lutke says. “We try to (have)

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“We do change our menu with the seasons,” says chef and business partner Shawn Hagen. “So we’re eating lighter foods in the spring and summertime, and that goes hand-in-hand with eating outside.” The patio is situated right by the restaurant’s herb garden, where the chefs can be seen choosing the right herbs for a delicious meal. “With Michigan’s nice crisp air, it is really special compared to most major, busy cities,” says Hagen. “We have such an advantage of having such clean, fresh air here in Michigan.” Latitude 42 Brewing Co.’s Oshtemo Township and Portage locations both offer some fancy dining opportunities in their gorgeous patio spaces. In Mattawan, Nonla Vietnamese Street Food offers bubble tea and Vietnamese soups and sandwiches on a small but attractive outdoor patio. Similarly, East Egg Mattawan offers breakfast food on a small patio that overlooks a pond and fountain.

A bit of everything downtown If you can’t decide where to dine outdoors, head downtown and walk along the Kalamazoo Mall. Heading north from Lovell Street to Michigan Avenue, you’ll find outdoor seating at Central City Tap House (a pub), Taco Bob’s (a more casual joint), Principle Food & Drink (an upscale farm-totable restaurant), The Spirit of Kalamazoo (an ice cream shop), Mangia Kitchen + Bar (Italian food), The Union Cabaret & Grille (American fare), and two restaurants in the Radisson Hotel: Old Burdick's Bar & Grill (a sports bar) and Zazios (contemporary American fine dining). Of course, restaurants and bars don’t have a monopoly on the outdoor eating business. Every summer, Kalamazoo holds events like the Late-Night Food Truck Rally, Sunday Brunches and Lunchtime Live, which offer food trucks, stands and carts in Bronson Park and on Church Street. You can find more information and schedules for these events at and With such a range of outdoor venues, there are plenty of great ways to enjoy every second of your summer while still enjoying the drinks and grub you know and love (or learn to love).

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Try these alternative recreation options

Brian Powers


24 | ENCORE JUNE 2019



e all know that feeling: Sometime toward the middle of the summer you get that hazy, been-there-done-that mood that just can’t be cured by viewing a summer blockbuster, hiking in the woods or sitting on the Lake Michigan beach. You just need to do something different. Luckily for us, Southwest Michigan offers a variety of recreation alternatives — from arcades of varying kinds to disc golf courses to indoor rock climbing — to get you out of the house and back to enjoying summer.

And when customers pay to play at one arcade, they’re allowed to play at the other the same day without an additional charge. Cost: $7 per person per day Hours: 4 –8 p.m. Thursday and Friday (2.0 location); noon–8 p.m. Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday (both locations) More info: or 269-628–9079

Get your game on Who says recreational activity has to make you sweaty? Sure, video games aren’t the most physically strenuous activity, but they are definitely fun and humidity-free. Whether you like your video games old school or straight out of Silicon Valley, there are plenty of places in the Kalamazoo area to check out.

One Well Brewing offers pinball leagues and craft brews.

Classic pinball and games at Klassic Arcade 1.0.

Klassic Arcade 1.0 and Klassic Arcade 2.0, in Gobles, should hit the spot if you’re craving a nostalgia injection, a little bit of competition between siblings or just a way to switch up date night. Housing 140 classic arcade games and pinball machines between them, these arcades have everything from Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to Joust and Space Invaders. Owner Kevin Ketchum has spent more than 20 years collecting and caring for old school video games in his spare time. By 2003, he had accumulated enough to fill a warehouse and opened Klassic Arcade 1.0, at 22711 M-40. It has 60 pinball machines and classic arcade games, almost all of which were new in the 1980s. By 2016, Ketchum had more than 200 machines, giving him enough to open a second location a mile and a half away, at 206 S. State St. That site boasts 80 games. Both arcades are open Saturdays and Sundays, with 2.0 open on Thursdays and Fridays as well. Opposite page: Climbers get a grip at Climb Kalamazoo.

Classic arcade games and Deadpool-themed pinball machines line the walls at One Well Brewing, at 4213 Portage St. as part of the brewery and restaurant’s eclectic décor. One Well opened in 2014 and the next year began hosting its own pinball tournaments and pinball league. The first pinball tournament had only five participants, says owner and pinball lover Chris O’Neill, but the league now has 35-40 players. One Well’s summer pinball league meets at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, beginning on June 12 this year. The cost to join is $5, which goes toward trophies and fees for the league to be part of the International Flipper Pinball Association. “We have forged some great personal relationships through pinball and also gotten a lot better as a whole as players,” says O’Neill. The brewery also holds weekly Two Player Tuesdays and quarterly tournaments. Both are open to anyone interested in improving their skills in a competitive environment. Two Player Tuesdays last from 8–9:30 p.m. and, aside from the 75 cents it costs to play the pinball machines, cost $1 to enter. Tournaments are free to join, but don’t forget the coin drop. “Anyone can join,” O’Neill says. “We have age ranges from children to blue hairs.” Not feeling competitive? The machines at One Well are always ready to be played during its operating hours, provided there’s not a league or tournament players using them. Hours: 3 p.m.–midnight Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Friday and Saturday and noon–11 p.m. Sunday More info: or 459-9240

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Want to go to Yellowstone this summer? Or brave a zombie horde? Step into Nova Virtual Reality, at 806 S. Westnedge Ave., put on a headset, and see the geysers or just about any other world of your choosing. Nova uses HTC Vive technology and offers between 95 and 100 different experiences, according to Peter Bernhard, Nova’s night manager. One of his favorites is Superhot, a first-person shooter game in which time moves only when you deliberately move through an arena of knife- and gun-wielding figures attacking you, he says. Recently, Nova updated the headset in the VIP room to a wireless HTC Vive headset with a battery pack that fits in a player’s pocket, allowing for more mobility, as opposed to a headset being connected by a wire to the TV screen, as with older models.

Above: A disc golfer takes a shot on the course at Oshtemo Township Park. Right: Climbers scale the walls at Climb Kalamazoo.

A player at Nova Virtual Reality.

Customers can reserve rooms online. A social room for $20 per hour fits one to five people comfortably. The VIP room costs $25 and seats up to eight people. For those just needing to jump into another reality on their own, solo play costs $15 an hour. Hours: 3 p.m.–1 a.m. Monday–Thursday, 3 p.m.–2 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.–2 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Sunday Reservations or more info: or 488-7335

Throw a disc Whether you’re looking for a little friendly competition or a laidback activity that still gets you moving, disc golf might be it. Modeled after — you guessed it — traditional golf, disc golf uses your aim and flying discs rather than clubs and a ball. The objective is to toss the disc as few times as possible to reach a metal basket yards away. While disc golf mirrors the structure of golf’s game play, the cost for equipment and play is not as high. A lower-end set of three discs costs about $10, and there are many free courses around the area. Jennifer Sawyer, a professional disc golfer and director of Kalamazoo’s Women’s Disc Golf League, first started playing disc golf when a group of friends invited her out. “I was pretty much hooked from the start,” she says. “I love being outside with friends, and its low cost to play was pretty appealing.” Sawyer started competing at an amateur level in 2008 and professionally in 2014. She still loves the basics of it and being outside with friends, but now her friends are her competitors, she says. 26 | ENCORE JUNE 2019

“My advice to anyone interested in trying disc golf is to just get out and give it a shot,” Sawyer says. “We all started somewhere, so don’t be worried about your skill level. Disc golfers are some of the nicest people, and most will gladly help out beginners.” There are 36 disc golf courses within a 25-mile radius of Kalamazoo. Some are stand-alone courses, and others make use of spaces in public parks and on college campuses. You can learn about these courses at such websites as, discgolfcoursereview. com or Sawyer prefers the course at Oshtemo Township Park, 7275 W. Main St. “It’s a beautiful and technical course through the woods, with both long and short tee pads,” she says. If you are interested in joining a league, K’Aces Disc Golf leagues play weekly in Vicksburg, Oshtemo and Kalamazoo. More information can be found on the organization’s facebook page: KACES-DISC-GOLF-209931286845/.

Climb something If you were one of those kids constantly yelled at to “get down from that tree before you break your neck,” this one’s for you. Climb Kalamazoo, at 136 S. Kalamazoo Mall, has been taking people daring enough to strap into a harness to new heights since 1997. With more than 10,500 square feet of climbing surface, Climb Kalamazoo has routes that will challenge climbers whether they are new to the sport or have been climbing for years. “Climbing has always been a place where I can come to find focus and clarity,” says Climb Kalamazoo’s owner, Philip Grimm. “There are so many distractions, stresses and anxieties that we all bear. When you're on a climb, you are truly living in the moment — not only physically focused, but also mentally and emotionally fully present in that moment. And that's true whether indoors or outdoors.”

Grimm, who bought the climbing gym in 2008 with his wife, Kristin, is an avid climber and practices both indoor and outdoor climbing, he says. The pair used to meet up for climbing dates at the gym, and his wife eventually became a climb instructor and manager of Climb before they had children. “We started to raise our kids in here,” Grimm says. When the gym went up for sale, they jumped at the opportunity. Climbers are encouraged to bring a partner to use one of the more than 30 top rope stations, which allow a person to belay, standing below on the ground attached to the cord that keeps the climber from falling in the event of a slip and helps them return safely to the gym’s padded floors once they’ve completed the route. Both climber and belayer are connected to the rope with safety harnesses. Belaying keeps a climber safe when done correctly, but if a belayer is careless, both climber and belayer could be injured, so the staff at Climb give each new guest — and those who just need a refresher — a thorough lesson and supervise a test run before climbers are allowed to scale the wall. Participants also must be 14 years or older to belay. However, if you decide to give it a go alone, Climb Kalamazoo also has seven auto-belay stations, a bouldering wall with sections that can be climbed up and over onto the upper level and a lead cave, inside which a handful of routes start with a climber on their back, hanging by the route grips. You won’t need a harness for the bouldering wall or for the lead cave, but you will need climbing shoes (which you can rent at Climb) since outdoor shoes are not permitted on the gym floor. Indoor rock climbing started in the 1960s as a way for rock climbers to keep in shape during the winter and avoid injuries when the weather turned more favorable in the spring. As the indoor version of the sport gained popularity, people who had never climbed outdoors took it up as a way to exercise and meet new people. “Climbing indoors has also brought me close to some of the most outstanding people you will ever meet,” says Grimm. “It has been an excellent way to connect with my community, and I'm very thankful for

those people in my life.” And there’s air conditioning as an added perk! Climb Kalamazoo offers a two-week unlimited trial that includes gear rental for $49 that is available only on your first visit. It also offers many other membership options. Equipment is available for rent at the gym.

Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day): noon–10 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Saturday and noon–8 p.m. Sunday More info: or 385-9891

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How to experience the area’s eclectic music festival scene

Brian Powers


28 | ENCORE JUNE 2019



ummer music festivals in western Michigan are as varied and eclectic as the musicians who play them. Someone looking to get lost in a crowd listening to jam bands in a psychedelic lighted forest full of surprises would feel right at home at Electric Forest, in Rothbury, June 27–30. A different someone — or maybe even the same someone on a different day — wanting to learn to square dance (or belly dance or play an instrument) and listen to Michigan-bred bands would dig June’s Buttermilk Jamboree, in Delton. And if someone is looking for a quick-fix experience, festivals like Leilapalooza in July in Battle Creek or Harmony Fest in September in Three Rivers offer music-packed single-day events. So how does someone new to the festival circuit jump in on the musical festival madness? We talked with local festivalgoers and festival organizers to find out how to get the most enjoyment out of a festival experience.

Be prepared There are two ways to experience a music festival: day-tripping or camping. Kylie Ferguson, a Kalamazoo resident and frequent attendee of Electric Forest, has this advice about attending that festival: “Take it as if you’re going on, like, an extremely rustic camping trip.” Electric Forest is western Michigan’s largest music festival, with an average of 40,000 attendees over a four-day period. Ferguson has attended Electric Forest for the past five years. With art installations everywhere, surprises around every corner (like a secret bar called the Captain's Lounge that you can find by completing a scavenger hunt), and internationally recognized electronic dance musicians and jam bands on multiple stages, Electric Forest offers an out-of-this-world immersive experience. Hosted by Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, the sprawling festival includes luxury cabins, RV and tent camping spaces, food and art vendors, secret bars, five stages and the iconic Sherwood Forest, decked out in light-based art. A large-scale festival like Electric Forest sells out quickly and doesn’t come cheap. The

ticket for a basic general admission/lodging pass, which includes your bracelet/wristband (which allows you to come and go from the stages and the forest) and a tent campsite and parking space for the weekend, costs $350–$400. RV camping and luxury cabins cost even more but have the advantages of running water and electricity. You will want to be prepared to cook some of your meals. Although Ferguson says there’s always good food at festivals, eating at food trucks and vendors can get expensive quickly. On the smaller side of the festival scale is the Buttermilk Jamboree. This weekend festival, set for June 14-16 this year, has an average attendance of 2,000 people and is geared toward families. Hosted by Circle Pines Center, a co-op campground with the goal of teaching peace, social justice, environmental stewardship and cooperation, Buttermilk aims to educate while it entertains. The festival features four stages, including one designated for kid-friendly performances and an open-mic area. The festival lineup includes an eclectic selection of Michigan musicians and bands, such as May Erlewine and Red Tail Ring. Also on the festival grounds are a beer tent and a Folk School, with workshops on topics like dancing, writing and drawing. Attendees can swim in the camp’s lake and hike its nature trails. “I love Electric Forest,” says Circle Pines Center Director Sasha Ospina, “but it’s so

Electric Forest is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the ears.

overwhelming and there’s so many people. This (Buttermilk) is like chill, happy time.” A ticket for a weekend camping space and access to all Buttermilk Jamboree activities is $120 at the gate per adult and $30 per child. As at Electric Forest, Buttermilk RV spaces and cabin rentals cost extra but offer electricity. Shower passes are available for $20 and include access to flush toilets for the weekend. There are also local food vendors on site who sell a variety of locally sourced, organic food. “We try to get a lot of options, ranging from vegan all the way to the omnivore,” says Mike Evans, Circle Pines' public relations coordinator. Though some guests choose to buy all their meals from food vendors, most festival-goers choose to cook at least two meals of their own, Evans says. For non-camping types, a day pass to Buttermilk Jamboree is also an option. For Leilapalooza, on July 27, there’s no need to bring camping gear, but lawn chairs are a good idea, says Dan Barry, a sound engineer for the festival. From 10 a.m. until midnight in Leila Arboretum, an average of 7,000 guests are able to choose between three stages featuring acts that span many genres, including (but not limited to) country, R&B and rock. Admission to Leilapalooza is free, but parking costs $10. Food trucks and a beer tent are on site as well. w w | 29

No matter what festival experience you choose, be prepared to walk by wearing good shoes. Be aware that you will be subject to UV rays and Michigan’s state bird, the mosquito, so apply sunscreen and bug repellent. If you forget, these necessities (except the shoes) are typically available for purchase at

festivals but will cost you a little extra, and supplies are limited. Before you go, be sure to check the event’s guidelines on items allowed on festival grounds. “Don’t bring in any kind of contraband or anything that you wouldn’t take to church,” Below: May Erlwine performs at the Buttermilk Jamboree.


UNCORK Volunteers Make Music Fests Possible


30 | ENCORE JUNE 2019

While music is what draws people to music festivals, it’s the hundreds of dedicated volunteers that make the events happen. Buttermilk Jamboree volunteers, for example, start working as early as November of the previous year to secure equipment rentals, musical acts, and grants and sponsorships. Festivals like Buttermilk and Leilapalooza can cost up to $100,000 to put on, but a good chunk of that cost is pared away by volunteers who donate their time and efforts to make the events sustainable. Brett Meyers, director of the Leila Arboretum, estimates that between $35,000 and $40,000 in volunteer hours go into planning and executing Leilapalooza. Meyers bases his estimate on the going rate for volunteer time at nearly $25 an hour, as established by The Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization.

“So when you calculate all these meetings and planning and the 150 or so volunteers that are there over a 16- to 18-hour window, all the bands that donate their time … if we had to pay everybody at that rate, that’s what it would cost,” he says. Volunteers donate their time because they want to see the communities that host the festivals thrive and enjoy themselves, says Leilapalooza Manager J.J. Ramone. As another way to keep costs down, Leilapalooza doesn’t pay musicians for their performances; instead these bands trade pay for the opportunity to be heard by a wider audience and to support the community, says Meyers. “All of us like music and like going to festivals,” Ramone says, “so that’s kind of what we’re trying to do: keep this thing going so that people don’t have to leave town and don’t have to spend a lot of money.”

Find a Music Festival Near You Here are some of the area's upcoming music festivals: • Buttermilk Jamboree, June 14–16, Circle Pines Center, 8650 Mullens Road, Delton, • Charlotte Bluegrass Festival, June 20–22, Eaton County Fairgrounds, 1025 Cochran Ave., Charlotte, • Kalamazoo Irish Fest, June 21–22, Old Dog Tavern, 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, kalamazooirishfest • Electric Forest, June 27–30, Double JJ Ranch, 5900 S. Water Road, Rothbury, • Kalamazoo Blues Festival, July 12–13, Arcadia Creek Festival Place, 145 E. Water St., Kalamazoo, or pg/KalamazooBluesFestival Leilapalooza Manager J.J. Ramone advises with a laugh. “But this is a music church.” Also, pets aren’t typically allowed at most festivals, but many events comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and allow registered service animals with the appropriate paperwork.

Be mindful With so many unfamiliar people at festivals, limited access to amenities such as showers

•R  hythm on the River, July 19–20, Dyckman Park, 536 Phoenix St., South Haven, rhythmontheriversouthhaven

• The Sparta Celtic Festival, Aug. 9–10, Rogers Park, 75 N. Union St., Sparta, or SpartaCelticFestival

•B  attle Creek Caribbean Fest, July 20, Festival Market Square, 25 McCamly St. S., Battle Creek, BCBattleCreekCarribeanFest

• Shoreline Jazz Festival, Aug. 22–25, Heritage Landing, 1050 Seventh St., Muskegon,

•M  arshall Bluegrass Festival, July 21–27, Calhoun County Fairgrounds, 720 Fair St., Marshall,

•HarmonyFest, Sept. 1, downtown Three Rivers, Main Street and Portage Avenue, or HarmonyFest

• L eilapalooza, July 27, Leila Arboretum, 928 W. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, or

• Michigan Irish Fest, Sept. 12–15, Heritage Landing, 1050 Seventh St., Muskegon, or facebook. com/michiganirish

•C  owpie Music Festival, Aug. 8–10, Shagbark Farm, 7525 Alaska Ave. SE, Caledonia, or

and flushable toilets and so much good music being performed on multiple stages, it’s easy for a festival-goer to get overwhelmed. Festival-goers say being mindful of yourself, others and your surroundings goes a long way toward reducing stress. Over the years, Ferguson and her friends have turned attending a large-scale music festival like Electric Forest into a science. Because cell phone service at music festivals is notoriously lacking, she and her friends use

the buddy system religiously and designate a meeting spot at each stage in the event they become separated. At events like Buttermilk and Leilapalooza, it’s practical to stick with the friends or family you arrived with, and the chances of losing touch or getting lost are far fewer. “Your kids can play and you can enjoy music and you can kind of all be together as a family, and move around the whole site without a lot of effort,” says Buttermilk’s Evans.

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Beyond your wildest


June 7 - 15

Attendees bring their own lawn chairs and blankets to Leilapalooza.

Staying hydrated at a music festival should be a top priority. At larger festivals, guests often camp in fields that have very little shade. The campgrounds and venue spaces at Electric Forest have free water filling stations scattered throughout. Guests are welcome to bring as much water as they like to the campground, but are allowed only one bottle of water within the venue spaces. Ferguson swears by her CamelBak, a backpack that stores water and has pockets to hold important items like keys, a wallet and a phone. “You want something to keep your stuff safe and have a water supply,” she says, “especially if you get into a crowd deep of, like, 20,000 people. It can take 20 to 30 minutes to get out of that.” Hydration is something to consider at the smaller venues as well. While the entirety of Buttermilk’s festival is contained within a five-acre area, a lot of which is shaded, and guests have access to the camp’s lake and many hiking trails, they should still be sure to hydrate. Circle Pines offers access to well water at no extra charge, and festival workers and volunteers encourage guests to take advantage of that, says Ospina.

Be adventurous

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Festival organizers and volunteers dedicate their time to creating a space where people can connect with new and favorite music, artists and each other. A fledgling festival-goer might try to attack a music festival with a detailed plan or strategy, but to have the best experience at any music festival is much more simple: Be open to surprises and new connections. “I go to these festivals to be surprised," says Evans, who is on the committee that selects performers for the Buttermilk Jamboree, "so I always want the music to surprise me in some way. I want to hear something that I haven't heard someone else do." Music committees begin scouting for musicians and taking submissions as soon as the planning convenes for any festival. The committee at Buttermilk starts in September and stops by January. To give guests the best musical experience, the committee looks for

Festival Necessities Your admission pass


Many festivals give out wristbands or bracelets as admission passes. Guard these with your life because you lose your ticket and you lose out.

Good shoes Consider bringing those not-so-fashionable but comfortable and supportive shoes. Not only for walking from stage to stage or exploring the venue grounds, but if you are dancing in a group of other folks, it’s very possible your toes could get stepped on (not fun if you are wearing flip-flops or sandals). Also, with all those people and a little rain, festival grounds can become muddy messes. Do you want mud between your toes?

Cash Credit cards seem more convenient, but when it comes to ease of use and time, cash is king. Processing credit cards can take time, and if there’s spotty internet or cell coverage, vendors could have difficulties processing your card.

Sunscreen and bug repellent You know what’s worse than having a sunburn or multitudes of itchy bug bites? Having itchy bug bites on your sunburned skin. A little prevention goes a long way.

Your sense of adventure From new experiences to new people, festivals are full of opportunities to encounter the unexpected, the unusual and the uncomfortable. Spread your wings a little and enjoy them all.

a selection of new acts that are doing something interesting and new and a group of returning favorites from previous years. “I think that people who have never been to a music festival don’t understand that there’s this element of trust that’s involved,” says Evans. “We sell hundreds of tickets before people ever know what bands are going to play, because they just trust us to bring the goods.” With multiple performances happening at different stages throughout any festival, you can narrow down what you want to see and hear by noting that stages typically will have a specific sound, says Leilapalooza’s Barry. Attendees who like more folk and country can hang around one stage, while those who prefer rock or electronica can get what they want at another, he says. No matter what festival you choose, it’s bound to be an adventure. “You’re going to come out and you’re going to have a fun adventure with your friends and you’re going to see and experience things that you don’t get to experience if you just stay at home and watch television,” says Buttermilk’s Evans.



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STREET Art and More

Art exhibit one of many outcomes of afterschool program GREYSON STEELE

Brian Powers



rowing up on the north side of Kalamazoo, Charlene Taylor experienced firsthand the many challenges facing the neighborhood, although she did not know these were neighborhood challenges at the time. Taylor simply knew how hard her mother worked to support her and her four siblings as a single parent. “There was so much love and cohesiveness in the family that we didn’t even realize that we were the underserved,” Taylor says. “I mean there are some things, when we look back now, we knew that we were struggling, but we survived it.” This month boys from Taylor’s old neighborhood as well as the Edison

34 | ENCORE JUNE 2019

neighborhood will have their artwork featured during Art Hop, when it will be on display at Mercantile Bank, 107 W. Michigan Ave. It’s an opportunity Taylor never had as a child, but one of many she now works to provide through the STREET Afterschool Program, a nonprofit she co-founded that offers mental, emotional and academic support to boys ages 10-17. It is the second year the kids have participated in Art Hop, and their works this year revolve around the theme of hip-hop music. According to Taylor, the theme for the art was chosen because “the boys love music, and it’s another way for them to express themselves. It’s like therapy.”

Ramone Johnson (second from left) uses a hot glue gun on artwork as, from left, Myrome Johnson, staff member JaNequa Walker and Aquarius Johnson assist.

Why STREET? For 17 years, Taylor has worked as a substance abuse prevention specialist for the Community Healing Centers (CHC). Four days a week, she works with kids in the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home, many of them coming from Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood, where drugs, alcohol and violence often lie right outside their doorsteps. To address the mental health disparities among Kalamazoo’s underserved youth, Taylor, along with the Community Healing Centers,


“If you don’t treat the whole person, then they cannot become successful. They can’t become the best they can be, because they are still struggling,” Taylor says. In order to help young men survive, STREET offers an on-site therapist. STREET kids are also eligible for additional CHC and CMH services, pending an assessment. In order for STREET to be successful, Taylor says, the kids must be able to identify with its one full-time and five part-time staff members. During the hiring process for staff, she strongly considered candidates’ personal backgrounds, she says. “The kids know if you are for real or not. They know if you care or not,” Taylor says. “Almost everybody who works at the program, whether it was in Kalamazoo or some other underserved population group, came from the same type of environment and have become successful as an adult.” Below: Completed artwork created by STREET participants.

Brian Powers

partnered with the Kalamazoo Community Mental Health department (CMH) to found the STREET Afterschool Program in December 2013. The concept and implementation of the program were heavily influenced by the kids in the juvenile home, according to Taylor. “I saw too many kids coming in at a young age ending up in a grown-up prison or dying,” Taylor says. “When I got the opportunity to do this, I had the thought of the kids that touched my life at the juvenile home who didn’t make it.” The organization’s name, STREET, is an acronym for Survival-TrustResources-Education-Empowerment-They, and those components serve as an outline for the services and goals of the program. Survival of young people, according to Taylor, means providing them with immediate support on three levels: physically, mentally and emotionally. Many high-risk factors lie in the city’s Northside and Edison neighborhoods, including the availability of drugs and alcohol, which she says can ultimately lead to substance abuse, mental illness and domestic violence.

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The STREET program runs from 3:30–7:30 p.m. Monday–Friday, serving more than 55 young men throughout the year. Kids are shuttled to and from the program, which is located in the Northside neighborhood, via Metro Transit. There is a strong educational focus, as STREET staff have relationships with area schools to monitor grades to know if a child is falling behind. When they arrive, the boys set a goal for their time there that day. They are required to do homework from school. If a child forgets to bring homework, they must read, and if they refuse, their scheduled recreational time is taken away. “We have recreation, but it’s in its place,” Taylor says. “Our program is very structured. The kids have a routine, and they know as soon as they walk through that door what they are supposed to do.” The rest of the night includes rec time, a full-course meal provided by an on-staff cook, chores and evaluations. The boys rate


Brian Powers

Education is key

themselves on whether they have achieved their goal for that day, with peer evaluation to ensure honesty, and staff keep notebooks on each child to track progress. Taylor says an important goal of the program is to empower young men by helping them increase their skills and exposing them to new experiences. The annual Art Hop








36 | ENCORE JUNE 2019


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STREET participants Kendall Moore, left, and Xavion Williams, right, explain their ideas to staff member Jodi Glover.

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Come see STREET art What: Exhibit of artwork by STREET Afterschool Program participants When: 5–8 p.m. June 7, as part of Art Hop Where: Mercantile Bank, 107 W. Michigan Ave. STREET’s director Charlene Taylor, center, listens as Marcus Payten, left, and Steven Singleton, right, show their design plan for their Art Hop artwork.

“It’s a fun way for the kids to express themselves while developing socio-emotional skills,” Taylor says. “Basically, we sit back and let them do their thing. Whenever they see someone go up to their picture, they know it’s their responsibility to go and tell them about the picture, what it means, and why they did it. They are the hosts.” In addition to participating in Art Hop, STREET kids speak annually at CMH Board of Directors meetings, volunteer at Roof Sit and Serve for Kids fundraising events, and take field trips to Full Blast and Michigan’s Adventure. The ultimate goal of STREET is that the boys become positive role models for their peers and their community. When they demonstrate behavioral change through the program, they graduate to the role of youth ambassador. Youth ambassadors receive a $50 stipend from STREET every two weeks for staying positive role models for the younger boys. The program sees the participants through to high school graduation. “Overall, what I hope the kids take away from the program is a sense of pride and self-respect,” Taylor says. “To know who they are and that as (an African-American) culture we came from kings and queens. To be proud and know that it’s OK to be different.”

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Disaster — Songs of the '70s take center stage in this comedic homage to classic disaster films, June 4–9, Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96, Augusta, 731-4121. PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays

The Brothers Grimm: Snow-White and Rose-Red — All Ears Theatre radio theater production, 6 p.m. June 1, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 342-5059. Step Three — A gay man faces a battle between his fear and his faith, 7:30 p.m. June 6–8, 14–15; 2:30 p.m. June 9, Queer Theatre Kalamazoo, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 929-6781. Shirley Valentine — A one-character play about a working-class housewife’s life before and after a transforming holiday abroad, 8 p.m. June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328. Love, Lies and the Doctor’s Dilemma — A hilarious farce about how one little white lie leads to another, June 11–16, Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96, Augusta, 731-4121. 2019 Queer Shorts Play Festival — Queer original or experimental shorts, 7:30 p.m. June 20–22, 2:30 p.m. June 23, Queer Theatre Kalamazoo, 929-6781.

Fun Home — Musical about a woman's growing understanding of her lesbian sexuality and of her parents, 8 p.m. June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22; 2 p.m. June 9, 15 & 23; 7:30 p.m. June 13 & 20, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — An eclectic group of mid-pubescents vie for a spelling championship, June 18–30, Barn Theatre, 731-4121. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Lettuce — Funk/jazz/fusion band, 9 p.m. June 1, Bell's Beer Garden, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Sunday Funday — Free all-day, all-ages event starting at 11:30 a.m. June 2, with music by Uncle Kooky, DJ House of Boogie, Barn on Fire and evening performance by Grand Rapids folk band The Crane Wives, Bell's Beer Garden, 382-2332. Dj Disobedience and Lilly Mazzone, DC, Jessica Ivey, and Abbie Maikoski — Eclectic music set, 5–8 p.m. June 5, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley. River Whyless — Folk-rock band, 8:30 p.m. June 5, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 382-2332. Locals on Draught Show — Performances by Basic Comfort, Dawning and Pink Sky, 8:30 p.m. June 6, 14, 21 & 28, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 382-2332.

The Tamburitzans — Performing songs and dances from more than a dozen countries, 7:30 p.m. June 8, Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St., 345-8556. Sarah & Em — Indie folk duo, 8:30 p.m. June 8, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 382-2332. Kari Lynch Band — Country and Americana, 4 p.m. June 9, Concerts in the Park, Bronson Park. Jazz & Creative Institute — Jazz music, 5–8 p.m. June 12, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley. Life in Vacuum — Toronto-based rock trio, 8:30 p.m. June 13, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 382-2332. RDGLDGRN — Virginia-based hip-hop, alternative rock band, 9 p.m. June 14, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 3822332. Trampled by Turtles — Bluegrass, folk and Americana band, 8 p.m. June 15, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 382-2332. Armand & Angelina — Songs of peace, healing and social justice, 6:30 p.m. June 17, Unity of Kalamazoo, 1204 Whites Road, 385-2239. So Long Belladonna — Singer/songwriter, 5–8 p.m. June 19, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley. Guitar Up! Album Release Show — Instrumental surf-rock band, 8 p.m. June 21, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 382-2332. The Gotobeds — Punk-rock band, 9 p.m. June 22, Bell's Eccentric CafÊ, 382-2332.

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ENCORE EVENTS Yolonda Lavender — Soul, R&B and jazz, 6 p.m. June 23, Flesher Field, Oshtemo.

Kalamazoo Concert Band — 4 p.m. June 16, Bronson Park, 342-5059.

Joey Harkum — Americana, folk, rock singer/ songwriter, 8:30 p.m. June 26, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332.

Lake Effect Jazz Band — Jazz music, 4 p.m. June 30, Concerts in the Park, Bronson Park.

Shout! Beatles Tribute Band — 6:30 p.m. June 23, The Stage at Kindleberger Park, Parchment. Black Arts & Cultural Center — 5–8 p.m. June 26, Beats on Bates, Bates Alley. Summer Concert Series: The Boy Band — Boy band tribute concert, 7 p.m. June 27, Overlander Bandshell, 800 Shaver Road, Portage, 329-4271. Jon Stickley Trio — Jazz and bluegrass instrumental group, 8:30 p.m. June 27, Bell's Eccentric Café, 3822332. Project 90 — West Michigan ‘90s rock band, 9 p.m. June 28, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Built to Spill — Idaho indie-rock band, 9 p.m. June 29, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More Kalamazoo Singers — Choral music, 4 p.m. June 2, Concerts in the Park, Bronson Park. Angelus — Michigan Festival of Sacred Music presents this women's vocal ensemble performing sacred music, 7 p.m. June 5, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1747 W. Milham Ave., Portage, 382-2910, Burdick-Thorne String Quartet — Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra musicians perform works by Debussy, noon June 10, Atrium Lobby, Borgess Medical Center, 1521 Gull Road, 349-7759. Burdick-Thorne String Quartet — KSO musicians perform works by Debussy, noon June 12, Garden Atrium, Bronson Methodist Hospital, 601 John St., 349-7759. The Red Sea Pedestrians, The Corn Fed Girls: Abbey Road – Live! — Two bands perform the Beatles' Abbey Road album in Bach Festival's seasonend celebration, 8 p.m. June 14, Dalton Theatre, Kalamazoo College, 337-7407.

COMEDY All-Play Improv Jam — Try your hand at performing improv comedy, 4–6 p.m. June 1, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 599-7390. Fun Dumpster — Graduates of Crawlspace Theatre Productions classes present improv comedy, 8 p.m. June 7, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 599-7390. Family Secret — This local improv group presents short- and long-form improv comedy, 8 p.m. June 8, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 599-7390. Crawlspace Theatre Productions: Gazpacho — Improv and sketch comedy show inspired by soup, 8 p.m. June 21 & 22, Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 599-7390. VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits

The Feeling is Mutual: New Work by Maya Freelong — Tissue paper sculptures, through June 2. Rewards of Wisdom: Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting — Distinguished artists and rising stars express virtue, peace, wisdom, beauty, meditation, science, knowledge and philosophy through their brushwork, through June 16. West Michigan Area Show — A juried exhibition showcasing work in all media from artists in 14 West Michigan counties, through Aug. 25. Orna Ben-Ami: Entire Life in a Package — An exhibition blending welded iron works with photography that brings attention to the global refugee crisis, June 8–Aug. 18. L'esprit: Exploring Wit and Beauty in French Prints — An exhibition of the KIA's French prints and photographs that celebrate the joys and foibles of French society and culture, June 15–Aug. 25.

Moments of Peace: Watercolors by Sunghyun Moon — Large-scale watercolor works painted in the style of mid-20th century American Action painters, June 29–Sept. 22. Events ARTbreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Blurred Lines, Inside the Art World, video, Part 1, June 4, Part 2, June 11; A Stupid Brilliance, talk by photographer Heather Briggs on her photography series and living with severe dyslexia, June 18; The Age of Disenchantments, talk by author Aaron Shulman and clips from the Spanish cult film The Disenchantment, June 25; sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Sunday Guided Tours — 2 p.m. June 9 & 23. Film Screening: Refusing to be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story — This film profiles a group of Arab and Jewish women to show how personal transformation can lead to socio-political transformation, 6:30 p.m. June 13; discussion follows with filmmaker Laurie White. Artist's Talk: Orna Ben-Ami — The Israeli artist speaks about her exhibition Entire Life in a Package, 6:30 p.m., with reception at 5:30 p.m. June 20. Other Venues Honeycomb Veils — Etchings by Ladislav Hanka Jr., enhanced with bee-created honeycomb formations, through September, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990. Art on the Mall — Outdoor juried art show, including jewelry, pottery, sculptures and garden art, noon–8 p.m. June 7, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 8, Kalamazoo Mall and South Street, downtown Kalamazoo, 342-5059. KIA Arts Fair — Juried art fair and children's activities, 3–8 p.m. June 7, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. June 8, Bronson Park, 349-7775. Art Hop — Art at locations around Kalamazoo, 5–8 p.m. June 7, 342-5059. Guest Artist: Pamela Paulsrud — Exhibit by the papermaker, calligrapher and book artist, June 7– July 26, with opening reception 6–9 p.m. June 7, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, 373-4938.

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Painting in the Parks — Create a masterpiece, 6–9 p.m. June 13, Schrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave., Portage, 329-4522; registration required. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library Page Turners Book Club — Discussion of The Wangs vs. the World, by Jade Chang, 6:30 p.m. June 3, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. Movement for the Movement — Accessible somatic (body-based) practices to help rebalance the nervous system and gain resiliency to transform the world, 5:30 p.m. June 11, Oshtemo Branch, 553-7980.

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Aishah Gulam Poetry Reading — The poet shares her poems and thoughts on themes of gender inequality, colorism and revolution, 6 p.m. June 25, Oshtemo Branch, 553-7980. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Parchment Book Group — Discussion of Carry On, by Lisa Fenn, 6:30 p.m. June 3. Yum’s the Word: Eatin' in Season with Early Summer Garden Goodies — Michael Hoag and Kim Willis from Lillie House Permaculture demonstrate garden delights, with veggies and foraged foods, 6:30 p.m. June 5; registration required. Mystery Book Club — Discussion of You Only Die Twice, by Edna Buchanan, 6:30 p.m. June 17. Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544 Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. June 1.

Your legacy and your wealth are about more than money. They empower and protect the people and causes you love.

Share Your History: An Oral History Experience — Residents and historians demonstrate the importance of recording oral histories, 2 p.m. June 8. Tech Café: Go VR — Explore virtual reality, 2–4 p.m. June 12. Paint Along with Bob Ross Again — An episode of The Joy of Painting on painting little trees, 6–8 p.m. June 19. Aquatic Invasive Species: Identification, Management and How You Can Help — Tips for identifying invasive species and what to do when you find them, 6:30–8 p.m. June 20. Tech Café: That Computer Thing — A virtual computer class tailored to your interests and skill level, 2–4 p.m. June 26. Texas Corners Brewing Co. 6970 Texas Drive Book Launch Party — Kalamazoo poet Jennifer Clark celebrates the publication of her new book, A Beginner's Guide To Heaven, 4:30-6 p.m. June 10. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555

Game Changers — Interactive exhibit exploring how innovation has shaped gameplay, through July. Memories and Milestones: Forty Years of the Air Zoo — A celebration of four decades of flight, spacecraft, science and education, through December. 259 E. Michigan Avenue, Suite 307 Kalamazoo, MI • (269) 385-0001


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Gilmore Car Museum 6865 Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, 671-5089

Hidden Treasures: Barn Finds and Their Stories — Vintage automobiles found in old garages and barns, through July. Duesenberg: Celebrating an American Classic — This exhibition showcases up to 20 rare Duesenbergs in rotation, through September. Classic Car Club of America Grand Classic & The Experience — Restored classic automobiles, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 1 and 2. Vintage Motorcycle Weekend: Saturday Ride, Swap Meet & Sunday Show — Vintage motorcycles 25 years and older, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. June 8 & 9; swap meet, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 8. H.H. Franklin Collection All Air-Cooled Gathering — Rare air-cooled cars, from early examples to modern cars, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 15. Ultimate All-Years Truck Show & Swap Meet — All types of trucks and utility, military and emergency vehicles, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 22. Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990 Math Moves: Experiencing Ratio and Proportion — A multi-sensory interactive exhibit to set up, measure, describe and compare ratios and proportions in a fun approach to problem solving, through June 2. The Secrets of Bees — An interactive exhibit about the threatened bee population, through September. Amusement Park Science with Team Up! — Explore how favorite amusement park rides work and test your skills in sports while learning math and physics, June 15–Sept. 8. NATURE Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510 Wild Edibles Workshop — Danielle Zoellner and sanctuary staff lead a hike to explore the Lake Loop trail for edible plants, 9 a.m.–noon June 8. Children's Day — Storybook hike, games and children's activities, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. June 9. Birds and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. June 12. Father's Day at KBS — Dads get in free with families, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. June 16. Plants for Pollinators Workshop — Learn what plants create a haven for native pollinators, 10 a.m.–noon June 22. Other Venues Garden Luncheon: How to Raise Monarch Butterflies and Milkweed — Learn how to increase the butterfly population in your yard, noon–2 p.m. June 20, W.K. Kellogg Manor House, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-2160; registration required. MISCELLANEOUS Portage Farmers Market — 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays, through October 13, City Hall, 7900 S. Westnedge Ave., 329-4522. Kalamazoo Farmers Market — 8 a.m.–1 p.m. Tuesdays, 2–6 p.m. Thursdays, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays, through October; night market, 5–10 p.m. June 20, 1204 Bank St., 359-6727.

Hippie Fest — Bohemian shopping, family activities and live entertainment, noon–7 p.m. June 1, Kalamazoo County Expo Center South Lawn, 2900 Lake St.,

Interested in a real Barn find?

Haunted History of Kalamazoo Tours — Learn about Kalamazoo history mixed with the paranormal, walking tour, 8–10 p.m. June 1; bus tour, 8-10 p.m. June 22; both tours start and end at Bronson Park, 833-472-7264.

Ditch the typical “dinner and a movie” and have an experience you can’t wait to tell your friends about.

Join us for our 73rd Season

Lunchtime Live! — Live music, food trucks and vendors, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. June 6, 14, 21 & 28, Bronson Park, 337-8191. Parade of Homes — Homes with the latest trends in construction and design, June 7–15, various locations, 375-4225 or



Kalamazoo Pride Festival — LGBTQ pride festival presented by OutFront Kalamazoo, with live entertainment and information booths celebrating diversity, 6 p.m. June 7 to 12:30 a.m. June 8, 2 p.m. June 8 to 12:30 a.m. June 9, Arcadia Creek Festival Place, 145 E. Water St., 344-0795.



June 1, 2019

June 4-9

Kalamazoo Mud Run — 5K obstacle course race, 8 a.m.–noon June 8, 2435 N. 26th St., National Cereal Festival — World's longest breakfast table, parade, children's activities and entertainment, 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. June 8, with parade starting at 1 p.m., downtown Battle Creek,

June 11-16

Vicksburg Old Car Festival — Old car show, steam and gas engine show and crafts, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. June 8, with Cruise Night on June 7, downtown Vicksburg,

June 18-30

Tickets & Season Details at or call 269-731-4121 13351 M-96 AUGUSTA, MI 49012

THIS MONTH AT THE KIA Orna Ben-Ami: Entire Life in a Package opening June 8

Israeli sculptor Orna Ben-Ami’s welded iron and photographic works spotlight global refugees in an exhibition previously shown at the U.N. Exploring the physical and emotional weight of a journey far away from one’s home, Ben-Ami sculpts the precious, ordinary things people choose to take with them. Meet the artist Thursday, June 20, 6:30 pm Orna Ben-Ami, Memories, 2016, welded iron on photo. Original photo: REUTERS / Corinne Dufka

L’esprit: Exploring Wit and Beauty in French Prints opening June 15

Celebrate the joys and foibles of French society and culture between 1830-1930, when Paris was the world capital of artistic creativity, innovation, and opportunity. The daily life of all people—from the city and country, rich and poor, famous and anonymous—grew to become a popular subject. Meet the curator Tuesday, July 2, 12 noon Georges Rouault, Bittersweet, 1935, aquatint. Collection of the KIA, Director’s Fund Purchase



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Do-Dah Parade — Fun floats and whimsical costumes, 11 a.m. June 8, downtown Kalamazoo, 388-2830.

Past Times in Paw Paw: A History of Baseball in Our Hometown — This exhibit tells how and why baseball became known as the national pastime through the stories of hometown athletes, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. June 9 to Sept. 8, with grand opening ceremony 1–4 p.m. June 9, Carnegie Community Center, 129 S. Kalamazoo St., Paw Paw, 657-5674. Country Dancing in Kalamazoo — Contra and square dancing to live music, 7:30–10:30 p.m. June 8 & 22, with beginner's workshop at 7 p.m., Oshtemo Grange Hall, 3234 N. Third St., Vintage in the Zoo Market — Shop vintage and antique clothing, furniture and housewares, 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. June 9, Kalamazoo Farmers Market, 1204 Bank St., 773-319-4866. Buttermilk Jamboree — Music and arts festival with swimming, dancing and local food, June 14–16, Circle Pines Center, 8650 Mullen Road, Delton, 269623-5555 or Kzoo Parks Summer Cinema — Enjoy a movie under the stars: Bumblebee, June 14, Hays Park, 2001 Miller Road; Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse, June 28, Oakwood Neighborhood Association, 3320 Laird Ave.; activities at 6 p.m., movie at 7:30 p.m., 337-8191. Movies in the Park — View Smallfoot under the stars, 9 p.m. June 14, Celery Flats, 7328 Garden Lane, Portage, 329-4271. Juneteenth Celebration — Music, film, speakers, vendors and family activities to celebrate AfricanAmericans’ emancipation from slavery, 1–4 p.m. June 15, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, 230 N. Rose St. Autos & Eats on the Alley — Exotic vehicles, jazz and outdoor dining, 5–8 p.m. June 15, Bates Alley, 344-0795. Zoo Moto Vintage Motorcycle Series — Vintage and custom European, Japanese and American bikes, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. June 16, Bates Alley, 344-0795. Hops with Pops: Tap Takeover — Father's Day tap takeover event at Binder Park Zoo featuring six breweries, noon–6 p.m. June 16, 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, 269-979-1351. Six Starz Skate Jam — Celebrate National Go Skateboarding Day at Upjohn Park, 4–6 p.m. June 21, 1018 Walter St., 337-8191. Cheetah Chase — 5K run through Binder Park Zoo, 8–11 a.m. June 22, 269-979-1351. Urban Craft Fair — Local artists, crafters and vendors, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. June 22, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade reptiles, small mammals and exotic pets, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. June 22, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 779-9851. The Great American Campout — A family camping experience with a pig roast dinner, s'mores and breakfast, 3 p.m. June 22 to 10:30 a.m. June 23, Ramona Park, 8600 S. Sprinkle Road, Portage, 329-4522. Kalamazoo 4-H Open Horse Show — Classes for every riding discipline, starting at 8:30 a.m. June 29 and 9 a.m. June 30, Kalamazoo County Expo Center horse arenas,


Shimmer Waves of water rippling above the water the light glinting off the lake on the highways too rising from black asphalt as if the road simmered on a summer afternoon. They say it’s all mirage, you know, though closer you never arrive, the prism splitting into its rainbow the moon balanced inside a drop of dew. Cool blue lights the dark grass tiny lanterns in the night.

I’ve swum out into the lake toward the light that danced on the rim of where water meets sky there was nothing there to hold onto but I could feel the warmth of the light on my skin. — Robert Haight Haight, the author of the poetry collection Feeding Wild Birds (Mayapple Press, 2013), teaches writing and literature at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and directed the visiting writers series there for many years. When not in the classroom, he divides his time between the Lower and Upper peninsulas of Michigan.




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INDEX TO ADVERTISERS Arborist Services of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Barn Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Betzler Funeral Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Binder Park Zoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Bronson Healthcare Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Comstock Community Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Dave’s Glass Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 DeMent and Marquardt, PLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Susan Dennis, DDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 DeNooyer Chevrolet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Discover Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Elina Organics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Fence & Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 First National Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Foundation for Behavioral Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Friendship Village . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Gilmore Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Greenleaf Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Halls Closets & More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Heritage Community of Kalamazoo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Initial Attraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport . . . . . . . . 48 Kalamazoo Community Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Kalamazoo County Parks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Polish your image.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Kalamazoo Nature Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Kalamazoo Public Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Kalamazoo Public Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 LVM Capital Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Masonry Heater Design House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Mercantile Bank of Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Nature Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 North Woods Village . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Parade of Homes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Park Village Pines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Parkway Plastic Surgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services . . . . . . . . . . .13 Portage Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Reclaimed Home Décor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Rose Street Advisors + HRM Innovations . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Jeff K. Ross Financial Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 SummerTime Live . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Trust Shield Insurance Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Tulips Little Pop-up Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


1116 W Centre Ave

Varnum Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Village of Paw Paw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Willis Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Willow Day Spa & Skin Care Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 WMUK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

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BACK STORY (continued from page 46)

This is Gerken’s last season running the market. She is planning to move to Cincinnati in August to pursue a master’s degree in city planning. What do farmers market managers do? I wear a lot of hats. I organize the vendors, any events that happen. I do our marketing, social media stuff. Some days I'm the janitor, cleaning bathrooms and picking up trash. It's really quite a lot of different things, (with) every day sort of different. How did you become manager of the market? I am from Minnesota, so I moved here after doing a term with AmeriCorps working in conservation. During that time, my husband had moved to Kalamazoo to go to graduate school, and when I moved here in early 2016 I took some time to figure things out. I had worked at a (food) co-op before, the Mississippi Market in Saint Paul. I was paying attention to the People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo website, and the job came up. It just fit really perfectly, and I magically got it. I started off as assistant manager. The previous manager was thinking about taking off in a year or two. So, the idea was to hire someone and get them trained. It happened a little bit quicker than I thought it would. But just after my first season in 2016, he transitioned out and I turned into the manager. Is it hard to find vendors? Our market is actually quite old. You can trace it back to 1913, and we've been here on Bank Street since ‘47. There's a lot of history involved, and it's already a well-established market. There are a lot of families who sell their wares at the market who have been around for a long time. I don't want to say it's easy, but sellers know where to go and how to get their booths in the market. What is your favorite part of the market? I like connecting with the vendors, and I love knowing their stories. As the market manager, I get to visit the farms. I'd never seen a cherry tree until I moved here. And that was pretty funny when I went on that farm visit — I was just exclaiming and being so excited over these peach trees and

cherries and stuff. And I think the farmers thought I was ridiculous. So, I've been to a lot of those places, and it's pretty cool that I have that opportunity to literally see where everything is grown, hear the farmers’ stories, learn everything about them. I then get to come on Saturday and just watch them be happy and succeed in their life and live their dreams. Why do you think people like farmers markets? It's a community gathering space. I don't want to call it a special event. I kind of don't like it when people do that because I think it's more than that. It's a place where, like, literally a lot of people, including me, can come and do their entire grocery shopping. Everyone can shop here. We do surveys at the end of the year, kind of asking for shoppers’ ages, incomes, things like that, and when you look at, like, the income pie chart (from those surveys), it's, like, so dead-even between people making $10,000-$15,000 and people making well over $100,000. This is just a diverse space, and I think people enjoy that. It's also outdoors. … Who would not like to go grocery shopping outside? What do you buy from the market? I literally do most of my shopping here during the summer. I can buy my coffee here, I can buy wine, I can even find oils like sunflower oil — anything that's in season. Michigan is just so unique for its growing climate. What is your schedule like? Farmers market is every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. I get there at 5:30 a.m. Some people get there at, like, 4 a.m. I think a lot of people think that everyone just shows up at 7 a.m. and it's done. But there's so much work that goes on in the back end. (Starting) in June, we are also open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Weekday markets are smaller, but they're a really awesome time to get to meet people, because it's just a slower pace. There are night markets, too, on every third Thursday from June to September, and those are so popular. It's a lot of people, and, as an introvert, it's kind of difficult for me, but I can understand the appeal.

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Gaby Gerken Manager Kalamazoo Farmers Market


armers markets don’t just magically appear. There’s much that goes into putting together these outdoor shopping centers of delicious locally grown foods. Obviously, there is all the toil that the farmers do in their fields and gardens to stock their booths. But there is also meticulous planning, connection making and organizing that goes into ensuring that the booths are all in the right places, that shoppers know about the markets and that the markets are a great experience for all. That is where Gaby Gerken, the manager of the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, comes in. The People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo has been running the market since 2013, and Gerken was hired in 2016 to run the farmers market, which is three days a week and includes a monthly night market. It’s in her blood, she says. She grew up on a small farm and always wanted “to work around the food system.”

Brian Powers

(continued on page 45)

46 | ENCORE JUNE 2019

Kalamazoo Public Schools

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