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WEST MICHIGAN’S ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE FOR 30 YEARS » DECEMBER 2018

FREE!

FREE!

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WE LEGALIZED IT. WHAT’S NEXT?

LO A OK LS O I N ST HOL G B INS -M ID AC ID E IN AY K UT EV AT E G EN 20 IF TS 18 TG UI DE

MICHIGAN’S GIFT TO VOTERS


Close out the year with these great shows in the Entertainment Hall!

DEC

DEC

27

28

STYX

Tickets start at $35

DEC

NELLY, CHINGY & MURPHY LEE Tickets start at $49

DEC

29

30

AARON TIPPIN & SAMMY KERSHAW Tickets start at $24

DL HUGHLEY & EDDIE GRIFFIN Tickets start at $49

Get your tickets at Soaring Eagle Casino or Saganing Eagles Landing Casino Box Offices, ETIX.COM or call 1.800.514.ETIX. Stay Connected with Soaring Eagle: Performances held at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Mt. Pleasant, MI • 1.888.7.EAGLE.7 • SoaringEagleCasino.com 2 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

Entertainment subject to cancellation. Management reserves all rights.


AROUND THE WORLD NEW YEAR’S EVE 2018 NEW YEAR’S EVE 2019

PARTY ‘TIL DAWN SLEEP ‘TIL NOON. Get ready for Grand Rapids’ most lavish New Year’s Eve party! Spend the night at the Amway Grand Plaza and get access to an epic, multi-ballroom party for the ages. Travel from Iceland to Paris to Morocco in each of our extravagant ballrooms. After the ball drops, crash in a luxurious room and receive late check-out at 2pm!

To book or learn more, visit amwaygrand.com. Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton

@AMWAYGRANDPLAZA

REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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* DECEMBER 1 CODY JINKS

* december 4 EXTREME MIDGET WRESTLING

december 2 GREG GUTFELD

w/ The Steel Woods, Tennessee Jets

w/ Tom Shillue

DECEMBER 22 AN 'OLD SCHOOL' HOLIDAY PARTY

w/ Jimmie Allen, Heather Morgan

DECEMBER 6 EVE 6

The Holiday Show

DECEMBER 8 YULE BALL

w/ Somme, Party Nails

featuring Harry & The Potters

january 11 THE PRINCE EXPERIENCE

JANUARY 24 SUBLIME

18+

18+

DECEMBER 15 SCOTTY MCCREERY

december 5 MELISSA ETHERIDGE

december 28 TRIPPIN BILLIES Dave Matthews Tribute Band

featuring The Dan Band

december 29 POP EVIL w/ Wayland, Handsome Pete

w/ Rome, Melophobix

* january 25 WALK THE MOON

january 26 JESSE MCCARTNEY

w/ Bear Hands

FEBRUARY 15 CANDLEBOX

FEBRUARY 21 THE WALL LIVE EXTRAVAGANZA

FEBRUARY 19 DROPKICK MURPHYS

w/ Booze and Glory, Lenny Lashley, Amigo The Devil

The Greatest Floyd Show on Earth

* *

* march 6 NOTHING MORE

MARCH 2 SWITCHFOOT

w/ Colony House, Tyson Motsenbocker

*

*

MARCH 14 QUINN XCII

w/ Of Mice & Men, Badflower, Palisades

MARCH 30 DEMETRI MARTIN

w/ Ashe, Christian French

* APRIL 13 ROBIN TROWER

APRIL 20 ILIZA

march 15 THE PUMP & DUMP SHOW

march 20 THE MUSICAL BOX A Genesis Extravaganza

MAY 3 MIDLAND

* SEATED SHOW

11 OTTAWA AVE NW • DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS • 20MONROELIVE.COM 4 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

MARCH 1 RUSSELL DICKERSON & CARLY PEARCE

MARCH 28 TAPE FACE


TIME TO RAISE THE CURTAIN

CLIEN

FireK Casin

PROJ

Dec. JOB

FK-32

COLO

4/c

SIZE

9.25”

BLEE

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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13

ANN WILSON

OF HEART FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28

PARTY TO THE

s

NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY MONDAY, DECEMBER 31 DOORS: 9 PM

Tickets available now at the FireKeepers Box Office or FireKeepersCasino.com.

Must be 21 or older. Tickets based on availability. Schedule subject to change.

FK-32626_Dec_RevueMag_9.25x10.indd 1

REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 | 5 11/14/18 5:07 PM


Save the Date: Feb. 14 - 17 Updates at Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Facebook


PERRIN BREWING

12 OF

Barrel-Aged Beers, Sours, And More!

G S N I Y P A D TAP G N TI

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0 1 C.

R A T

S

Each day Perrin Brewing will feature Limited Library Tappings and Special Holiday Sales

more details at perrinbrewing.com/events 616.551.1957 | PERRINBREWING.COM

PERRIN BREWING REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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AROUND THE WORLD NEW YEAR’S EVE 2019

HAVANA NIGHTS

ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Get ready for Grand Rapids’ most lavish New Year’s Eve party! Spend the night at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids and get access to an epic, multi-ballroom party for the ages. Travel from Havana to Iceland, Paris, and Morocco. After the ball drops,

crash in a luxurious room, and receive late check-out at 2pm the next day!

To book or learn more, visit ilovethejw.com. JW Marriott Grand Rapids

@ILOVETHEJW

8 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018


WHAT’S INSIDE

December 2018 | Volume 30, Issue 12

SCENE: 12 14 18 24 40

What’s Going on Style Notes: Coat Check Michigan’s Gift to Voters Local Artist Markets Holiday Events

SOUNDS: 22

Touring: Harry and the Potters

SIGHTS:

40

16

Comedy: Tom Green

REVUE ARTS: 1A Visual arts, classical and jazz music, theater, arts event previews and more. (See the center of this issue)

REARVIEW MIRROR 25 26 28 31

Introduction Top 5 Albums of 2018 2018 Biz Beat Top 9 Beers of 2018

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 33 35 37 39

Last Minute Gift Guide Fashionista Beer Geek Granola Mom

DINING & DRINKING: 42 44 46

14

44

Dining: Danzon Cubano Drinks: Beaver Island Last Call: MeXo GR

REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

L

ike it or not, weed is about to become a regular part of society in Michigan.

Depending on when you’re reading this, the plant may already be legal. And at some point over the next year or two, legal dispensaries will dot the landscape, serving anyone 21 or older. You may even see more stories and ads around weed in this very magazine. That being said, if you’re a teetotaller, your daily life likely won’t change a bit. It’s still illegal to blaze up a fat joint out in public, or even hit a smooth vape indoors. Also, despite your worst fears, the schools simply won’t be overrun with the Devil’s Leaf — trust me, the teens have been smoking for years. Still, people on both sides have a lot of questions. In order to make sense of it all, we brought on reporter Andy Balaskovitz to ask around the state and figure out exactly what comes next. With a three-page spread starting on page 18, there’s a good chance your question is answered. It’s the first part in our new effort to cover more news and issues that affect all of us, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, we’re not at all straying away from covering entertainment, arts and culture. This month, we also looked back on 2018, a year that has stretched on for an eternity and then snapped to a close like a rubberband. In our Rearview Mirror section, we highlight some of the best bands and beers from the year past, while also remembering the dozens of new restaurants, breweries and shops that opened. In just about every industry, West Michigan continues to grow. You’ll also find a Last-minute Gift Guide for those of you who either didn’t find everything you need in last month’s issue or just decided to put it off. No worries, we’re not here to judge.

’Til next time,

W E S T M I C H I G A N ’ S E N T E RTA I N M E N T G U I D E

EDITORIAL Publisher Brian Edwards Associate Publisher Rich Tupica / rich@revueholding.com Editor Joe Boomgaard / joe@revuewm.com Managing Editor Josh Veal / josh@revuewm.com Copy Editor Claire Boomgaard DESIGN Kristi Kortman / kristi@revuewm.com Kaylee Van Tuinen / kaylee@revuewm.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Missy Black Jane Simons Kayla Sosa Nick Macksood Eric Mitts Andy Balaskovitz

Kelly Brown Dana Casadei Marla R. Miller Michaela Stock Elma Talundzic

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Katy Batdorff ADVERTISING / 616.608.6170 Rich Tupica / sales@revuewm.com Kelli Belanger / kelli@revuewm.com DIGITAL EDITOR Josh Veal

FIND US ONLINE! Josh Veal, Managing Editor Website: revuewm.com Twitter: twitter.com/revuewm Facebook: facebook.com/revuewm Instagram: instagram.com/revuewm

UP COMING IS SUE S JANUARY:

FEBUARY:

We’re looking forward to the future, helping you make plans early and fill out your calendar now with dozens of the year’s best events.

We readily recognize that many of our readers love a good deal. With food and drink costs on the rise, we’re taking a month to put a spotlight on the best bargains around West Michigan.

50 Things to Do in 2019

The Cheap Issue

REVUE is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. P.O. Box 1629, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1629 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182 ©2018, Revue Holding Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part granted only by written permission of the publisher in accordance with our legal statement, fools.

ON THE COVER: Michigan's Gift to Voters Photo by: Katy Batdorff Illustration by: Kaylee Van Tuinen See more on page 18

TO ADVERTISE: Call (616) 608-6170 or email sales@revuewm.com. Space reservation is the 15th of the month before publication.

10 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018


REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

11


WHAT’S GOING ON THIS MONTH |  Compiled by Revue Staff

12/4 Straight No Chaser

DeVos Performance Hall 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., $37+ devosperformancehall.com If you’ve seen Pitch Perfect, you know what professional a cappella groups can bring to the stage. Straight No Chaser has a massive fanbase, with nine men bringing pop hits and holiday classics to another level. They have a real sense of humor, amazing voices and spot-on harmonies, making this one unforgettable live show.

12/5 Winter Wonderland

Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 5, 4-8 p.m. downtownmarketgr.com

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

Downtown Market is already a great place to stop and pick up some gifts for your loved ones, but Winter Wonderland takes it to another level. This event means special offers from the market’s merchants alongside a holiday artisan market, featuring more than 20 vendors bringing handcrafted goods. You can shop for jewelry, clothing, soap, art, cutting boards and so much more.

12/6 Moxie Strings

Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., $30 adults, $10 students grcmc.org Moxie Strings gathers influences from all over the world, bringing to-

12 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

BEST BET

A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL!

gether ear-catching melodies and foot-stomping rhythms with songs that completely change how we see string instruments. Alison and Diana use an electric cello and violin, respectively, running both through effects pedals backed by percussion. The two also teach clinics across the country, so you know they know their stuff.

Join in the holiday spirit and song with budding actors at Holland High School’s production of A Christmas Story: The Musical! The wintertime Christmas classic follows young Ralphie and his misadventures during the holiday season in 1940s Indiana. Often at odds with his dad and a school bully, Ralphie makes his way with his younger brother trailing behind.

12/9

Holland High Performing Arts Center | 600 Van Raalte Avenue, Holland Nov. 29-Dec. 9, $15 adults | grkids.com

Whoville 5K

Riverside Park 2001 Monroe Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Dec. 9, 1-3 p.m. whoville5k.com Whoville is back again, with the Grinch, Mayor, Santa, Thing 1 and Thing 2 all ready to cheer you on in this 5K. It’s easily the best way to get your blood moving in the snow, while learning to not take running (or walking, up to you) so seriously. Dressing up is highly encouraged — in fact, there’s a costume contest! Kids and dogs are free to join in on the fun as well.

12/13 BYOB Christmas Light Tour

Boatyard Brewing Company 432 E. Paterson St., Kalamazoo Dec. 13, 7 p.m.-midnight, $25 facebook.com/kalamazoobrewbus

NEW YEAR’S EVE It’s not hard to find a way to celebrate the new year in West Michigan. Here’s a quick list of spots to check out:

Whoville 5K. COURTESY PHOTO hands. Grab your favorite six-pack and prepare to get jolly on this BYOB tour.

and Slipknot, and their live shows are a great place to earn some bruises .

12/15

12/29 Fake NYE with

The Devil Wears Prada

The Intersection 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 15, 7 p.m., $19.50 sectionlive.com

Driving around and looking at No, this isn’t a screening of the 2006 Christmas displays is a magical hit dramedy starring Anne Hathaway tradition, transforming ordinary suburban homes into life-size — though you should see that too. dioramas of a more festive world. The Devil Wears Prada is one of the Still, now that we’ve all grown up, longest running, most influential metalcore bands around, hailing it’s hard to convince your friends to drive around and look for lights. from Dayton, Ohio. They’ve frequently toured with some of the biggest playThat’s why the Kalamazoo Brew ers in the metal game, such as Slayer Bus is throwing beer into the mix and taking all the work out of your

Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo Dec. 29, 8 p.m., $25 kazoostate.com

It’s always good to have a dry run. Practice partying for New Year’s Eve with Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, a spectacularly energetic, groovy, colorful band that takes listeners across the country and through time. It’s not exactly New Year’s Eve, but then again, time is a construct and dates are arbitrary, so it might as well be. Who needs an excuse to dance anyway? n

NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE B.O.B. The B.O.B. 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids 5 p.m.-2 a.m.

BALLROOM BASHES Amway Grand Plaza 187 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

NEW YEAR’S AT THE KNICK New Holland’s The Knickerbocker 417 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

MURDER MYSTERY PARTY The Henderson Castle 100 Monroe St., Kalamazoo 6 p.m.- 1 a.m.

UNRULY NEW YEARS EVE BASH Unruly Brewing 360 W. Western Ave., Muskegon 9 p.m.-1 a.m.


SPONSORED CONTENT

TIMES SQUARE IN WEST MICHIGAN Ludington New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

C

an’t make it to Times Square for New Year’s Eve? Hop in your car and enjoy one of West Michigan’s biggest ball drops only 90 minutes f rom Gra nd Rapids i n stead—t he Ludington New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. Celebrating 10 years of lighting up the night on New Year’s Eve, Ludington packs a punch for its most famous annual event and one of its biggest annual celebrations. This is your quintessential New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with outdoor beer garden, live music, fireworks and the ball drop with 6,000 LED lights— all set against the charming backdrop of downtown Ludington. Think of it as one giant street party, as Ludington’s main intersection of James Street and Ludington Avenue is open only to pedestrians that night after 9 p.m.

LUDINGTON NEW YEAR’S EVE BALL DROP December 31, 2018 9 P.M. - 12:30 A.M. Downtown Ludington North James Street Plaza FREE Pureludington.com/NYE

SHOPPING, DINING & ENTERTAINMENT Book dinner earlier in the evening at one of Ludington’s many unique downtown eateries—from brewpubs like Jamesport Brewing and Ludington Bay Brewing, to fine dining standouts like P.M. Steamers and Table 14. (See dining options at PureLudington.com/ Dining.) Many stores are open until midnight, so peruse the downtown and pop in for some shopping and a warm-up.

At 9 p.m., head toward the large, heated entertainment tent and beer garden at James Street Plaza, featuring live music by local band White Ra bbit. Domest ic a nd cra ft beer, wine and champagne are available for purchase, along with commemorative light-up drink glasses. Since Ludington’s main street shuts down to car traffic at that time, thousands of pedestrians will spill onto the street to get a good view of the New Year’s Eve Ball—one of the largest in West Michigan. At the stroke of midnight, look skyward and watch the ball drop, followed by confetti and a dazzling fireworks display over the rooftops of downtown. The event is free though drinks are available for purchase.

FOR THE KIDS Got kids in tow? Check out Ludington’s nearby family-friendly New Year’s Eve events earlier in the evening, before the ball drop. The New Year’s Eve “Balloon Drop and Stomp,” which runs 5 to 8 p.m. at Sandcastles Children’s Museum, lets families with young children ring in the New Year a few hours early with an indoor balloon drop featuring more than 500 balloons plus live music, food, favors, ice cream sundaes, crafts and a photo booth ($10 per person or $40 per family). Mason County District Library also hosts its free “Light up the Lake Family Party” from 7 to 11:30 p.m. with crafts, games and activities for partygoers of all ages.

LODGING & TRANSPORTATION Make a safe, walkable evening of it and book lodging within walking distance of downtown Ludington such as Stearn’s Hotel, Ludington Beach House, or one of the historic bed and breakfasts lining Ludington Avenue.

(See lodging options at PureLudington. com/Accommodations.) While Uber isn’t in Ludington yet, area businesses are sponsoring free rides and towing services that evening. Ludington Mass Transportation Authority also provides free rides to-and-from downtown from 8 p.m. Dec. 31 through 4 a.m. Jan. 1 by reservation at 231-845-6218.

THE NEXT DAY Start the New Year on the right foot (and burn off those partying calories) Jan. 1 with Ludington’s Resolution 5K at 11 a.m. through downtown. The $25 entry fee includes a custom die-cast finisher’s medal and a #RunLudington Fandana. Register online at downtownludington.org/runludington or on race day at Ludington Pub from 10 to 11 a.m. For more information on planning a perfect New Year’s Eve getaway in Ludington, visit PureLudington.com and DowntownLudington.org/nye.

NEED A RIDE, OR YOUR CAR TOWED HOME, ON NYE? Both services are available in Ludington city limits!

TAXIS LUDINGTON TAXI: (231) 845-9693

JUDY’S LAKESIDE RIDES: (231) 233-7200

TOWING ABRAHAMSON TOWING: (231) 843-2990

QUINN’S TIRES & TOWS: (231) 757-9262 OCEANA AUTO: (231) 843-6500 FIERS TOWING: (231) 757-4479

REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

13


by Missy Black

STYLE NOTES

COAT CHECK GANG, WE LIVE IN MICHIGAN AND THAT MEANS we own an obscene number of coats, but you can feel bad about it or you can feel the bitter cold — which is it going to be? You might as well make the endless days of gray skies and slush and snow look good on you. It’s going to take a lot of mental preparation, a slew of hot toddies and as many outerwear pieces as your budget allows and then some. Lolë in Grand Rapids isn’t messing around. They want to do you a solid and offer two coats in one. The Kora reversible jacket ($139) turns inside out for two completely different looks. It’s light as a feather but highly effective against the harshest weather and the two-for-one deal stretches your style possibilities. Another great option is the slim-fit Emmy Original ($410) that hugs your curves, hits just above the knee and is the perfect length for any body type. It morphs into your wardrobe for career or casual wear and the removable belt is great when you want to accentuate your waist or forget that area entirely. n Kora reversible jacket

CURRENT MOOD COVERAGE

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

Here are two more styles for popping in and out of stores, wearing in the car or going on a fancy night out. GLAM coverage is here with the Dusty jacket from Piper & Jane. The color, cozy factor and quilted detailing give us the chills (the good kind), $198 at Lee & Birch in Grand Rapids, Rockford and Grand Haven. GIRLY layering pieces like this flower- trimmed, striped, fleece bomber jacket is great when you want lighter outerwear. Wear it with trendy bibs, skinny jeans, dresses and athleisure pieces, $49.99 at Feather and Birch in Byron Center.

14 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

Slim-fit Emmy Original


REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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by Eric Mitts

COMEDY At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000 thebob.com

ORIGINAL PRANKSTER Former MTV star Tom Green continues to push comedic boundaries onstage and onscreen

H NATHAN MACINTOS December 6-8

JOSH SNEE

December D 13-15

FRANK ROCHE

DINING |SIGHTS SOUNDS | SCENE

December 20-22

F

EW COMEDIANS HAVE EXPERIENCED THE STAGGERI NG

highs and crushing lows that Tom Green has in his near 30-year career. A roller coaster ride filled with A-list celebrities, outrageous stunts and a brush with a fatal disease — his life has had it all. From the very first time he decided to get onstage at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club at age 16, Green has made his own way. Now 47, he still embraces the immediacy of live stand-up, even after years of working in Hollywood, and he still looks back on that first moment as the impetus for his wildly unlikely path to stardom. “(Stand-up) really opened my eyes to the whole idea of doing comedy as a career,” Green said. “I saw all these comedians coming through town and many of them went off to become big in the United States, which was very inspiring to me. I was growing up in Ottawa, which wasn’t a very show-business community, and it really inspired to me become a comedian and not get a real job.” A year after getting his start in stand-up, Green began The Tom Green Show on the radio. The show evolved into a local-access TV program, which then moved to The Comedy Network, landing at MTV in 1999. An almost overnight smash with the music network’s younger audience, The Tom Green Show quickly gained notoriety for its blend of shock comedy, bizarre antics and controversial gags, including several sketches where Green harassed and humiliated his real-life parents. Aired during the infancy of the internet, an era that just pre-dated the culture of viral videos and the widespread popularity of

TOM GREEN

CHRIS PORTER

December 27-3

1

#drgrins

16 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

Back Alley Comedy Club 1531 W. Sherman Blvd., Muskegon Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. $27 shermanbowlingcenter.com/back-alley-comedy-club

AND Shakespeare’s Lower Level 241 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo Dec. 2, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., $25 shakespearespub.com/eventsinthelowerlevel

Tom Green. COURTESY PHOTO

comedy podcasts, Green became something of a pioneer. Always pushing the limits of technology and taste, he didn’t care if he took things too far, and it was his fearlessness that skyrocketed him onto a series of successes that even he could’ve never imagined. “The only time it felt surreal was when the show really took off on MTV and I was hosting Saturday Night Live or I was guest hosting the Letterman show,” Green said. “I just wanted to be able to work in television. That was my primary goal in life, was to get paid to make television.” Following the show’s success, Green was briefly married to actress Drew Barrymore, starred in popular movies like Road Trip, and was namechecked in Eminem’s hit The Real Slim Shady. The Tom Green Show ended in 2000, following Green being diagnosed with testicular cancer. Rather than let the devastating news sideline his sense of humor, Green aired one of his show’s most beloved episodes with a one-hour special documenting his experiences during surgery and recovery. “I had the choice of not telling anybody what was happening, but that was the reason why the show went off the air,” he said. “I knew I was going to have to give everyone an explanation of why I wasn’t doing this number-one show on MTV anymore, and I figured that if we document this, we’ll help raise awareness about testicular cancer and it will be sort of a good thing all around.

“What ended up happening is almost every week (now), I’ll have someone coming up to me who diagnosed their cancer because of that special.” Still an innovator, Green has revived his show in various forms, including Tom Green’s House Tonight. One of the very-first internet-based talk shows, he hosted the show live from his living room. In 2013, a revamped studio version of the show titled Tom Green Live aired on AXS TV, where he took live Skype calls from fans and interviewed comedians and other guests. “I definitely turn on the energy a little bit more when I’m onstage or when I’m doing a TV show,” Green said. “(I’m) just trying to capture the absurd instances in life. When I was doing it on the TV show, we were doing it in the form of run-ups and getting reactions from people and creating hilarious moments on the street. But doing it in a comedy club is actually even more direct. You’ve got that audience right there. Anybody who likes the old TV shows or the movies that I did, they’re going to love the stand-up.” Currently, he’s working on developing a new version of The Tom Green Show for a network he can’t yet divulge. “Just know that it’s something that’s definitely going to be a lot of fun,” Green said. “It’s going to take some technology that exists today that people haven’t really used yet in television, and create some really fun new ways of doing comedy.” n


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REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

17


/// NEWS

BEGINNING THE BEAT Revue has covered arts and entertainment for 30 years, but in a world where today’s issues are increasingly urgent and prominent, we’ve decided to get some answers. Reporter Andy Balaskovitz will be joining the team to cover the topics that affect West Michigan, from politics to economics, news, gentrification, community relations and more. Arts, culture and entertainment aren’t divorced from all of this — they’re shaped on every level by these issues. This story on legalized marijuana, which is likely to affect everything we cover in one way or another, is just the beginning. Keep an eye out.

MICHIGAN’S GIFT TO VOTERS Michigan legalized it. What’s next?

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

| by Andy Balaskovitz

A

f u n ny t h i ng about lega li zi ng marijuana: For most of us, day-today life will move on. Sidewalks won’t be littered with pot smokers. Contrary to what prosecutors and sheriffs have claimed, the sky will not fall. Then again, as the f irst state in the Midwest to free the weed, Michigan voters sent a powerful message that will likely push other states to follow suit. A green business rush will come, and out-of-staters will take part. Potentially hundreds of misdemeanor

18 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

charges will vanish as some of those same prosecutors choose to dismiss them. “Legalizing marijuana doesn’t change a state’s character,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director with the Marijuana Policy Project who helped lead the Proposal 1 campaign. “Really, it just recognizes what people already believed on the matter.” After the law takes effect Dec. 6 and the initial high wears off, a series of questions remain, including for medical marijuana (remember that?) patients. Here’s a look at what’s next:

BUT FIRST, MEDICAL As of Nov. 8, the state’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Board had approved licenses for just 13 percent of the 500 applications received from growers, processors, provisioning centers, transporters and safety compliance facilities, according to state data. Of the 67 licenses approved, 40 are for provisioning centers and 12 went to grow facilities. This is a problem, according to Matthew Abel, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Essentially, there aren’t enough growers to supply dispensaries, which have a 30-day window from being licensed until they can receive marijuana from licensed growers. “It has not been a smooth roll out on the part of the state,” Abel said. “You’d think Michigan would learn from other states — simple things, like license growers first.” The problem will get worse as permanent state rules take effect that will no longer allow caregivers to sell their overages to provisioning centers, said Abel, who is also an attorney at Detroit-based Cannabis Counsel. Dispensaries will have to rely on licensed growers, with at least one company charging $3,000 a pound on top of an $18 per mile transportation fee, he said. That’s more than $1,000 more per pound than it’s typically sold for. “It looks like dispensaries — the legal ones that have been licensed — will be pretty well out of business on Dec. 1,” he said. “Or the product will be incredibly expensive. The state needs to rethink this.” The Michigan Court of Claims has allowed existing dispensaries to stay open beyond state-imposed deadlines. More rulings are expected this month. Abel said the problem — namely higher prices for patients — could last for months. Additionally, he said the state licensing board is penalizing dispensary applicants


/// NEWS

HOW WEST MICHIGAN VOTED ON PROP 1 for buying overages from caregivers while being “wishy washy” in explaining license denials. Of the 819 applications for pre-qualification, 82 have been denied, while 31 of 500 license applications have been denied. All of this signals barriers to overcome on the medical side before the state even begins to shift its focus to recreational marijuana. “Personally, as a lawyer, I’m looking forward to one consistent set of rules that don’t change,” Abel said. “It’s very difficult to advise clients when the rules keep changing.” Andrew Brisbo, director of the state’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, reportedly said recently that the state is also “somewhat frustrated” with the roll-out of the licensing process. Depa r t ment of L icensi ng a nd Regulator y Affairs (LAR A) spokesperson David Harns said the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board “will continue to meet and issue licenses or deny them as they work through the applications before them.”

OK, WHEN CAN WE GET HIGH? AND HOW?

CHANGE IN ADMINISTRATION Not only did pot advocates celebrate the passing of Proposal 1, they also gave a sigh of relief with the election of Gretchen Whitmer for Michigan

Governor and Dana Nessel as the next state Attorney General. Both Democrats supported Prop 1, and Whitmer has said publicly that she’ll explore expunging certain marijuana convictions. The new off icials may also shift priorities in how the recreational and medical laws are administered. “We could have a robust recreational system in six months if there was the will to do it, or remove people who don’t have the will to do it,” Abel said. “It should be quite helpful to have executives who support and endorsed the proposal who understand the issues and are willing to work toward proper implementation. We’re excited for the opportunity.” Harns said the department will wait on directions from the new administration to develop “adult use” rules. But LARA has been meeting with stakeholders “to see what of our systems can be scaled up to accommodate the adult-use side of things.” “We’re more the implementers than anything else,” Harns said. Before the new administration and Legislature (with more Democrats in the House and Senate) take over, some have speculated about legislative attempts to change the law. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, has said he is concerned about the home growing portion of the law and whether the state would be able to inspect whether someone is growing 12 plants. While the issue may come up this month during lame duck, changing the law requires a three-fourths majority of the Legislature. Advocates are skeptical there is that much support for making

ALLEGAN Yes: 48% No: 52%

MONTCALM* Yes: 50.1% No: 49.9% * Difference of 50 votes

BARRY Yes: 51% No: 49%

MUSKEGON Yes: 57% No: 43%

IONIA Yes: 52% No: 48% KALAMAZOO Yes: 60% No: 40% KENT Yes: 55% No: 45% MECOSTA* Yes: 50.1% No: 49.9% * Difference of 37 votes

NEWAYGO Yes: 49% No: 51% OCEANA Yes: 48% No: 52% OTTAWA Yes: 42% No: 58% VAN BUREN Yes: 55% No: 45%

Continued On Page 20 REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

SCENE SOUNDS | SIGHTS | DINING

Dec. 6 is the big day. That’s 10 days after the Board of State Canvassers is expected to certify the election results. Unfortunately, you can’t just go to a dispensary and buy it. The law allows anyone including medical marijuana patients and caregivers over the age of 21 to gift it to someone, so start making friends. For the more self-sufficient, dust off your mom’s horticulture books and buy some grow equipment (if you’re allowed to grow at home; consult your

landlord if necessary) to cultivate your own cannabis. “Or you could buy it on the street like all of us have been doing for the past 50 years,” Abel joked. That’s still illegal, though. “R ig ht now, probably t he only reliable way is for someone to start a garden,” Abel said. The law allows adults to grow up to 12 plants and possess up to 10 ounces at home. It’ll take some time before it’s legal for non-medical marijuana patients to purchase pot at a store. The law gives LAR A a year to start issuing retail licenses, a deadline Harns said LARA intends to meet. Ben Wrigley, an attorney with the Cannalex law firm in Grand Rapids, said getting a medical marijuana license now is crucial. Under the law, only businesses that have a medical license can get a recreational license for the first two years, in most cases. “The challenge is for people who want to be in this industry need to get in (the medical) part of the industry now,” he said. He believes LARA will resolve its licensing problems in time. “We’re all learning together,” he said. “I think the process is evolutionary and will get a lot smoother and easier as we move forward.” In the short term, though, anything under the law’s framework that was illegal before it takes effect will be legal overnight.

According to a Bridge Magazine analysis, Prop 1 passed in 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties. West Michigan was split on the issue, with support in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Kalamazoo, where 60 percent of voters approved. Here’s a countywide breakdown of the votes based on unofficial results from the Secretary of State:

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changes, considering 50 of the state’s 83 counties passed Prop 1. “It would be a particularly unpopular move for the Legislature to make changes to this law,” said the Marijuana Policy Project’s Schweich. “The people have spoken, it’s time to execute the policy they chose. We have given the state government a great deal of authority in Prop 1 to regulate this industry very tightly.”

MUNICIPALITIES HAVE OPTIONS The recreational system will have the same basic structure as medical marijuana with growers, processors, dispensaries, transport-

ers and testing facilities. However, instead of opting in to allow medical facilities, municipalities will have to opt-out of allowing recreational ones. The law basically presumes the various types of businesses are allowed. The recreational law also allows “microbusinesses,” defined as “a person licensed to cultivate not more than 150 marihuana plants, process and package marihuana, and sell or otherwise transfer marihuana” to those over 21 or to a safety compliance facility, “but not to other marihuana establishments.” Similarly to the medical framework, the majority of municipalities likely will choose to ban marijuana businesses. In the

KEY PROVISIONS IN THE MICHIGAN REGULATION AND TAXATION OF MARIHUANA ACT Adults 21 and over can possess, purchase and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home. Anything at home beyond 2.5 ounces must be stored under lock and key. Adults can also group up to 12 plants. Public consumption is not allowed.

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

Violations of the law could be civil infractions or criminal charges, depending on the offense. Marijuana sales will have a 10 percent excise tax in addition to the 6 percent state sales tax. Revenues are directed to a marijuana regulation fund, which will disperse money to veterans treatment, municipalities, counties, schools and the state transportation fund. The law is expected to generate $738 million in tax revenue by 2023. Licenses will be issued for marijuana “retailers,” safety compliance facilities, secure transporters, processors, “microbusinesses” and growers. Municipalities must opt-out if they don’t want marijuana businesses. However, voters in a municipality can petition for an ordinance that would allow them, which would be voted on by the public.

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Grand Rapids area, officials in Kentwood, Cedar Springs and Hudsonville have already signaled they won’t participate. Under Prop 1, however, voters in municipalities that opt out will have recourse. They can petition to initiate an ordinance that allows for businesses if approved at the ballot. Meanwhile, Grand Rapids continues to refine zoning specifics on its medical marijuana ordinance, including granting waivers for businesses in certain areas and creating a policy on community benefits. The city also will have to adopt an administrative policy on how it processes applications and grants licenses. “We’re looking to put to bed all of the medical marijuana items before we get into recreational,” said Suzanne Schulz, the city’s director of design, development, and community engagement. The city may not take up recreational marijuana until June or July, after the city budget process is finished. She added that it’s too early to tell whether it would have to at least temporarily opt out of allowing recreational businesses, and retail stores and micro businesses will be “another discussion with the commission.” “It’s a refinement of the work we’ve been doing,” Schulz said of recreational rules. “We want to be clear and consistent for the industry. We’re being very intentional to do that and be as timely as possible. We’ll take action before the state starts licensing for recreational.” Wrigley says for applicants, “the challenge always is understanding the (local) ordinances and planning ahead, because every ordinance is different.”

CRIMINAL JUSTICE IMPACTS Perhaps the earliest impact of the recreational law affects those who have been charged with marijuana crimes that would be legal under the new Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. Following the vote, prosecutors across the state started reviewing cases that could be dismissed. Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker — who spoke out publicly against Prop 1 — identified 40 cases that will be dismissed involving possession and use. That was just the “first batch” reviewed, “I’m sure the number is going to go up,” he added. “If it’s legal under the new law, we’re not proceeding on them,” Becker said. Others reportedly looking at dismissing marijuana charges include Ingham, Isabella, Gratiot, Muskegon, Oakland and Clare

counties. In most cases, marijuana charges will be reviewed individually by prosecutors and judges. However, colleges and universities across the state say they will comply with federal law. Particularly, they fear that running afoul of federal law could jeopardize their federal funding. Officials at Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University all have issued statements saying marijuana will remain illegal on campus. In a statement, the two U.S. attorneys in Michigan, Andrew Birge and Matthew Schneider, said: “We will not unilaterally immunize anyone from prosecution for violating federal laws simply because of the passage of Proposal One. “We will continue to approach the investigation and prosecution of marijuana crimes as we do with any other crime. … As we weigh the interests in enforcing a law, we must also consider our ability to prosecute with our limited resources.” So should residents be concerned about marijuana still being illegal federally? According to Wrigley: “99.9 percent of the answer is no. Clients assess risk. They can look at other states and see what has happened.” While illegal growing operations run a higher risk of getting prosecuted, dispensaries in other states where marijuana is legal haven’t been closed by the feds, he added. Becker said the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan is providing guidance on the new law and was scheduled to hold a training on Dec. 1. He predicts Prop 1 is going to increase the office’s workload “and lead to more problems in terms of enforcement.” “Marijuana was not a big issue for our office; now I think it’s going to be,” Becker said, including dealing with “black market issues” and marijuana driving offenses, which remain in question without a streamlined process to test for marijuana in someone’s system. Abel says concerns from marijuana opponents are overblown. The system may not be perfect, but it’s also not going to drastically change the character of Michigan. Just look at other states that have legalized, he and others say. “We realize that less than half of the population is going to try cannabis or use it,” Abel said. “It will integrate seamlessly into society and become normalized. It’s really not that big of a deal. The sky is not falling.” n


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/// ON TOUR

WELL-MANNERED FRIVOLITY Harry and the Potters. COURTESY PHOTO

Talking with the Yule Ball’s headliners, Harry and the Potters | by Eric Mitts

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE

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22 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

HE SECOND ANNUAL Y ULE Year Seven and Joe as Year Four. Together, And so carving out those pathways for fans they harness the power of rock ‘n’ roll as the and fanworks really flourished because of the BAL L IS HER E TO BR ING time in which the Harry Potter fandom was ultimate weapon against evil. together all area Potterheads for a “We started the band kind of on a lark, taking shape.” triumphant holiday celebration of With the support of the Potter fan base the wonders of the wizarding world. thinking, ‘Maybe it would be fun to play at kids’ birthday parties or something,’ not real- and the legal blessing of Rowling herself, the Inspired by a scene from Harry Potter band has continued to perform its wizard izing there was potentially a very active and and the Goblet of Fire, the Yule Ball features a themed dinner for VIP guests alongside vibrant Harry Potter fandom out there that rock for more than a decade, hosting their trivia from Quizzo Detroit, world champion would become our most active supporters,” own annual Yule Ball events in Boston, New Paul DeGeorge said. “We knew it was a phe- York and Washington, D.C. magician Rick Merrill, dance lessons from The band also founded The Harr y the Grand Rapids Swing Society, and more. nomenon, but we didn’t have a perception of Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization how dedicated fans were to it. In hindsight, it’s Specialty themed cocktails and mocktails are served, including copious amounts of truly ignorant that I wouldn’t have realized that. looking to expand some of the moral lessons from the books into the real world “I was so dedicated to all the bands I loved Butterbeer. Live owls from the Blanchard with campaigns focusing on literacy, imNature Center will be on hand, alongside Vault when I was in high school. Those bands migration reform, gay rights, of Midnight selling Harry Potter merchandise. were so important to me. So economic justice and more. Organized by Sue Barsoum and Amber it makes a lot of sense that “Part of the point of Harry people reading Harry Potter Stokosa for 20 Monroe Live — two huge YULE BALL 2018 Potter is that he’s a teenager, Potter fans themselves — the event proves — that was their Nirvana.” FEAT. HARRY AND THE but he’s out there fighting the T h e b a n d ’s s u c c e s s the lasting power of the Harry Potter fan fight,” Paul DeGeorge said. base, even now, more than a decade after quickly snowballed from play- POTTERS wsg. desmond jones “And the Alliance was about ing all-ages events at libraries the series’ seventh and final book. 20 Monroe Live making a productive outlet “It’s clearly a universal story that reso- and bookstores to touring all 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids for that desire to change the nates with the young and old,” Barsoum said over the country, including a Dec. 8, 8:30 p.m., $25+ world for the better.” memorably sweaty, early show of Potterdom’s lasting appeal. “It blends 20monroelive.com, (844) 678-548 In the current political magic and myth into a world that audiences at Grand Rapids’ legendary climate, DeGeorge said he’s relate to. Literature and entertainment like venue The DAAC. Indie tastehad fans going back and pullthis provide an escape and an opportunity makers Pitchfork even went so far as to call the band’s 2005 summer tour the ing out certain songs with heavier political for people to enjoy themselves.” overtones and telling him about how that As per tradition, dress robes are en- greatest rock tour of year. Inspired by punk rock’s DIY subculture, has given them hope. That reaction inspired couraged, while Barsoum added that new attendees need only bring an open mind the band has crafted three albums from the the band to write and record its first new Potter books, while helping inspire a slew record in 12 years. and imagination, and be ready to make lots of other independent artists working within of new, like-minded friends. “We’ve never written an album about the Of course, the night also will include the expansive Harry Potter fan community. last book,” he said. “So early next year, we’ll “I might be a little biased, but I’d probably live music, starting off with local jam band be putting out a new record. It’s very politiDesmond Jones, then featuring the “quintes- say that Harry Potter fandom has had the cal and I would say there’s a lot of parallels sential wizard rock” band Harry and the Potters. most impact on contemporary fandom as a because in the seventh Harry Potter book, A Boston-based band of brothers, Paul whole,” Paul DeGeorge said. “Harry Potter you have a fascist government takeover was sort of the first modern fandom. Because doing ethnic purges. It’s a way for parents and Joe DeGeorge coined the term “wizard it grew up online and didn’t have a pre-online and kids to talk about wizard supremacy, rock” when they started Harry and the Potters back in 2002. Both perform as Harry life, it was really great at harnessing all those pureblood supremacy and how there might tools and finding new ways to connect online. be correlations in our current culture.” n Potter, with Paul portraying him onstage as


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Made Market. COURTESY PHOTO

/// HOLIDAY

GRAND RAPIDS

HANDMADE HOLIDAYS Where to find locally crafted gifts | by Hanna Price There are some gifts you just can’t find on Amazon Prime. The best gift is a homemade gift, but let’s be honest, you’re no expert. Luckily, West Michigan has plenty of quality artists, crafters and chefs creating one-of-a-kind gifts for you to take home this holiday season. Here are just a few of the many markets around town where you can find the perfect present.

GRAND RAPIDS HOLIDAY MARKET Goei Center 818 Butterworth St. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. made-market.co Come prepared to find some of the most unique, high-quality handmade goods from a variety of makers featured at this year’s GR Holiday Market. The event is hosted by Made Market, whose goal is to connect makers with the surrounding community. Expect one-of-a-kind gifts ranging from metalsmith, plants, prints, personal care and home dÊcor that you won’t find at your local Target. Check out this year’s makers on the website!

UPTOWN HOLIDAY SHOP HOP Grand Rapids Dec. 6, 4-10 p.m. facebook.com/uptowngr Grab some of your best pals and head over to Uptown to snag some awesome holiday gifts! This event spans four districts: East Fulton, East Hills, Eastown and Wealthy Street. There’s even a shuttle to help you get to each and every one of your shopping destinations. Make holiday shopping unique and fun this year by supporting the local businesses of Uptown.

INDIE FLEA MARKET

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. facebook.com/indiefleagrandrapids Every month, the Indie Flea Market brings together several small business vendors for a true connection with the community. It’s not just a place to shop, it’s an opportunity for businesses to focus on having a positive local impact, and only the highest quality vendors are allowed. At the December event, more than 40 vendors will be present, along with face painting, a kids’ treasure hunt, live music, spoken word, vendor demonstrations and more.

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The Hot Spot Gallery is a public space where metalsmiths and jewelers can perfect their craft with a range of tools and equipment. It’s a place where artists can meet other artists and connect with their surrounding community. The grand opening event offers the chance to shop members’ and local metalsmiths’ work, as well as food, drinks, the chance to win free stuff and discounted workshops at The Hot Shop.

Indie Flea Market. COURTESY PHOTO

HOLLAND HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW Holland Civic Center 150 W. 8th St., Holland Dec. 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. downtownholland.com With 100 different vendors selling their unique, handmade crafts, this isn’t your average holiday craft show. There’s everything you can imagine, from hair accessories and custom apparel to candles, baked goods and much more. Skip the online shopping and spoil your friends and family with one-of-a-kind gifts they’ll treasure forever.

HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW Holland Doubletree 650 E. 24th St., Holland Dec. 15, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. facebook.com/hollandcraftshows Holland is the place to be when it comes to the holiday season — holiday arts and craft shows are wildly popular. With more than 120 vendors, you won’t be leaving this show empty-handed. Find jewelry, body scrubs, hand-sewn baby clothes, glasswork, endless varieties of food and so much more. There is a $1 admission fee that will be donated to Kids Food Basket.

KALAMAZOO BUY LOCAL ART AND GIFT FAIR Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo Dec. 8, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. naturecenter.org Buying local always feels better, and Kalamazoo Nature Center is giving you the opportunity to do just that. There will be more than 50 artists and vendors at this year’s Buy Local Art and Gift Fair, featuring gifts like pottery, jewelry, glassworks, woodworking, photography and more. Don’t miss your chance to support local artists and explore nature’s wintery trails. n


DECEMBER 2018 REVUEWM.COM/ARTS

FREE

STANDING OUT Scott Mellema elevates the local theater community

SEE PAGE 18A. STORY BY KAYLA SOSA

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PAGE SEASONAL SOUNDS Holland Symphony gets festive

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PAGE STARING CONTEST Art with a view at Kendall College

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SORELY MISSED John Hyatt’s beloved legacy


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[Music]

Penning a Classic

Publisher Brian Edwards

Holland Symphony Orchestra welcomes the holidays with acclaimed soloist

Associate Publisher Rich Tupica Editor Joe Boomgaard / joe@revuewm.com Managing Editor Josh Veal / josh@revuewm.com

BY MARLA R. MILLER

Design Kristi Kortman / kristi@revuewm.com Kaylee Van Tuinen / kaylee@revuewm.com Rachel Harper / rharper@revuewm.com

Growing up, singer Diane Penning recalls two experiences that made the excitement of the holidays come alive in her house: The arrival of the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog, and listening to holiday records like the Firestone Tires Longines Symphonette albums. The holidays remain a favorite time of year for Penning, who enjoys singing classic carols and sacred hymns, and regularly performs with symphonies around the country. She is staying close to home this year as featured soloist for Holland Symphony Orchestra’s Sounds of the Season concert. “I tend to be an eclectic singer — crossing over from classical to pops — so holiday concerts are right up my alley and really fun for me,” she said. “The holiday favorites that we perform connect us with memories of loved ones and with each other like only music can.” The local soprano star is a Grand Rapids native who now lives in Grand Haven. She fondly remembers her family celebrating the season with the Firestone records and more mainstream albums by Nat King Cole, Barbra Streisand and Julie Andrews. “I think I truly fell in love with all kinds of music — classical and popular — listening to these records as a little girl,” she said. “They were so good. These records had these beautiful choral pieces with orchestra, more sacred holiday music but very often classical.” Led by Music Director Johannes Müller Stosch, the Dec. 8 holiday concert covers light seasonal classics, traditional carols and a variety of symphonic holiday pops. The concert opens with the charming Parade of the Wooden Soldiers by Leon Jessel. “It is always a family and community favorite; this traditional concert held in the beauty of the space at Dimnent Chapel as well as the musical holiday favorites,

Contributing Writers: Jane Simons Kayla Sosa Dana Casadei Marla Miller  

FIND US ONLINE:

Diane Penning. COURTESY PHOTO

carols and of course a sing-a-long,” said Kay Walvoord, HSO president and CEO. Penning joins in on vocals for Nicholas Palmer’s arrangement of Ave Maria, Mel Torme’s Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, Irving Berlin’s classic White Christmas, and Adolphe Adam’s iconic O Holy Night, among others. One of her favorites is the spiritual acapella Sweet Little Jesus Boy, which she performs with no musical accompaniment. She said she fell in love with it as a 13-year-old, after hearing it on Andy Williams’ Christmas album. Stosch also asked her to sing a “stunningly gorgeous” Swedish song, Jul, jul, strålande jul by Gustav Nordqvist.

SOUNDS OF THE SEASON HOLLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Dimnent Chapel, Hope College 277 College Ave., Holland Dec. 8, 3:30 & 7:30 p.m., $22 adults hollandsymphony.org, (616) 796-6780

Along with these vocal works, the program features other winter-inspired repertoire including movements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, and Silvestri’s Polar Express Concert Suite among others. Penning previously performed with the HSO in two summer pops shows and always looks forward to the uplifting feel of holiday concerts. There’s seasonal décor, plus children in the audience and festive songs that people know and love — it’s all part of the fun. “Every time I go do a holiday concert with a new community, it’s like I am being invited to their Christmas dinner,” she said. “It’s really special. Christmas pops concerts are so rife with memories and emotions and a real feeling of excitement.” Penning has an impressive resume that includes appearances with more than 30 orchestras, many musical theater and opera credits, and multiple professional recordings. She is an adjunct voice instructor for Hope College, so it’s also a treat to sing in the chapel there. “I hope that hearing these holiday favorites will be like the excitement of opening a whole bunch of wonderful presents,” she said. “I am so looking forward to joining Johannes, the Holland Symphony orchestra and the audience for this joyful and heartwarming concert.” ■

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For advertising, subscription, and distribution inquiries, e-mail: Rich Tupica sales@revuewm.com REVUE is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. P.O. Box 1629, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1629 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182 ©2018 Revue Holding Company. All rights reserved.

ON THE COVER: Standing out Scott Mellema elevates the local theater community

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[Music]

Merry Melodies Grand Rapids Symphony pulls out all the stops for the holidays BY JANE SIMONS

The holiday season serves as a counterpoint to the fast-paced nature of the lives people lead, and the typical desire to find what’s new and different before boredom sets in. The Grand Rapids Symphony’s Holiday Pops is a perfect example of this. It is perhaps one of the few times when audiences are more than happy to sit back and listen to the familiar holiday music they’ve been enjoying for years. “A big, big part of the holiday season is connected with music. It has very important religious significance for people,” said John Varineau, associate conductor for the Grand Rapids Symphony. “The holiday season always kind of plucks the nostalgia side of our souls and a lot of our fondest memories are connected with music.

“I also think the holiday season hearkens back to families and being together with friends.” Under the direction of Grand Rapids Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt, the symphony will perform holiday standards such as O Come All Ye Faithful and Sing We Now Christmas alongside new arrangements of traditional songs. The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Pearl Shangkuan, and the Youth Chorus, led by Sean Ivory, will join the symphony for a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah and music from the movie Home Alone. The program also will feature an original piece by Ivory, titled Maoz Tzur. He is a local composer and conductor, in addition to being the director of the Youth Chorus. They’re also performing an original piece by Ivory’s wife, Leah, titled The Star. Adding to the richness of the concert will be a performance by Justin Hopkins, a bass-baritone who was a special guest artist at the 2016 Holiday Pops. He’s singing You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch, as well as some other holiday favorites. Varineau said Hopkins is well-known throughout the opera world, recently joining the Bos-

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Reeths-Puffer High School Choirs • WMS Children’s Choir Featuring holiday favorites: • The Nutcracker • The Christmas Song • African Noel • • White Christmas • and more! westmichigansymphony.org 231.727.8001 $28-$64 • Student tickets $10

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018

Left: Justin Hopkins with GR Symphony Holiday Pops 2016. Right: Cirque De Noel . COURTESY PHOTOS

ton Pops for a Midwest tour. You’ll also see a performance with the Embellish Handbell Ensemble, a West Michigan group directed by Stephanie Wiltse that’s ringing holiday favorites, such as the Coventry Carol. “The Grand Rapids Symphony has a wonderful reputation around the world,” Varineau said. “In addition, Bob Bernhardt is a well-connected person and Justin came at Bob’s suggestion. We just got lucky.” The mix of artists and music is key to the success of the holiday program,

HOLIDAY POPS Dec. 6-9

CIRQUE DE NOEL Dec. 19-20 Grand Rapids Symphony DeVos Performance Hall 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids grsymphony.org

Varineau said. “We make sure we’re getting enough familiar tunes on program. When you have too many things that are totally unfamiliar, the audience will go away,” he said. “We work a lot with pacing and balancing and making sure we have as many secular as well as sacred songs. “It’s a great big balancing act. We have the choir and the soloist, but we’ve got to make sure the orchestra is heard.” The same will be true when Varineau leads the orchestra in selections from the Nutcracker Suite during the 10th Annual Cirque de Noel. Since 2009, Cirque de la Symphonie has spent part of each Christmas season in Grand Rapids. The group’s company of acrobats, jugglers, contortionists and aerial artists makes merry with amazing feats of agility and strength, accompanied by beloved Christmas songs and classical favorites. Every year, both holiday offerings pack in the audiences. “We have people who just keep coming back and bringing their families,” Varineau said. “It is very much a tradition.” ■

Matt Beck, two pianos & percussion Saturday, January 19, 7:30 pm Doors open at 7pm

WMS principal percussionist Matt Beck is joined by Andrew Spencer, percussion, Patrick Johnson, piano and Alexandra Mascolo-David, piano, in a concert featuring Bartók’s gripping Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. theblockwestmichigan.org • 231.726.3231 $25-$35 • Student tickets $10

360 W. Western Ave 2nd Floor Muskegon, MI


Cristian Măcelaru, Conductor Andrei Ioniţ ă, Cello,

January 13

Anastasia, January 15-20

The Best of Bernstein’s Broadway with Teddy Abrams & Morgan James,

February 16

Miss Saigon, March 12-17

Emily Bautista & Anthony Festa. Photo: Matthew Murphy

National Symphony of Romania

T I C K E T S M A K E G R E AT G I F T S ! WHARTO N CENTER.CO M • 1-800-WHARTO N

REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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[MUSIC]

PREVIEW Hope you're ready for some sounds of the season. Not only is that the title for three of this month’s shows, but it’s the theme of most of the performances. And if you aren’t quite ready to get in to the holiday spirit, there’s also one concert paying homage to The Beatles. Put down the wrapping paper and give yourself a break at any of the following performances. BY DANA CASADEI

FONTANA CHAMBER ARTS

KALAMAZOO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 200, Kalamazoo fontanachamberarts.org, (269) 382-7774

359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 100, Kalamazoo kalamazoosymphony.com, (269) 349-7759

CYRUS CHESTNUT & FRIENDS,

REVOLUTION: THE BEATLES, Dec. 1, $12+

Dec. 8, $30+ A Charlie Brown Christmas music? Check. An acclaimed composer and jazz pianist? Double check. You may not see any actual Peanuts characters, but during this holiday concert, Cyrus Chestnut — called “the best jazz pianist of his generation” by Time — will bring the beloved 1965 Vince Guaraldi Trio holiday album to life.

Presented with Schirmer Theatrical LLC and Greenberg Artists, Revolution is making its world premiere in Kalamazoo. Paying homage to The Beatles (you probably figured that out from the title), the evening will feature never-before-seen photos of one of the most famous bands ever, as well as video designer Charles Yurick’s new video and animation. Jeff Tyzik, Grammy

Cirque Dreams Holidaze. COURTESY PHOTO

Award-winner and Revolution co-producer, will conduct vocalists and the KSO as they perform his restorative arrangements of more than 25 top hits that were recreated from the original Abbey Road master recordings.

GRAND RAPIDS SYMPHONY

SOUNDS OF THE SEASON, Dec. 15, $12+

LA SINFONÍA NAVIDEÑA, Dec. 1, Free

MILLER AUDITORIUM

WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE HOLIDAY POPS, Dec. 6-9, $18+

CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE,

GRAND RAPIDS SYMPHONY YOUTH CHORUS CONCERT AT BASILICA OF SAINT ADALBERT, Dec. 16

2200 Auditorium Dr., Kalamazoo millerauditorium.com, (269) 387-2300

Dec. 21-23, $31+ Featuring more than 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, singers, original music and seasonal favorites, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is a new cirque adventure, Broadway musical and family holiday spectacular. Naturally, it’s all wrapped up in one really big and pretty box. The two-hour production celebrates the best time of year, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. (Yes, Hanukkah and Christmas are also included.)

GREAT LAKES CHORUS & SWEET ADELINES CHORUS

Grandville High School, 4700 Canal Ave. SW, Grandville, greatlakeschorus.org, grsa.net

300 Ottawa NW Ste. 100, Grand Rapids grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451 ext. 4

OLD NATIONAL BANK CIRQUE DE NOËL, Dec. 19-20, $32+

HOLLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 96 W. 15th St., Suite 201, Holland hollandsymphony.org, (616) 796-6780

HOLIDAY CONCERT: SOUNDS OF THE SEASON, Dec. 8, $5+

WEST MICHIGAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 360 W. Western Ave. #200, Muskegon, westmichigansymphony.org, (231) 726-3231

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, Dec. 14, $28+ SOUNDS OF THE SEASON, Dec. 15, $15 The Great Lakes Chorus and the Grand Rapids Sweet Adelines Chorus are teaming up once again for their annual holiday concert. Each choir brings some epic harmonizing with them and longevity. The all-male Great Lakes Chorus has been around since 1938, giving men a chance to release their inner barbershop singer, while the Grand Rapids Sweet Adelines Chorus is all women and has been singing all over the world since 1951.

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018

During a program of seasonal favorites, guest conductor Teresa Cheung is returning to the WMS stage. Youngsters from age 8 to 18 — coming from the WMS Children’s Choir and Reeths Puffer High School Choir — will join the full WMS for an evening of classical holiday songs and beloved carols to get you and your family in the Yuletide spirit.


Books . Toys . Gifts . Cards . Café

There’s no place like Schuler Books for the Holidays Small Business Saturday Specials Holiday Promotions l Gift Cards Something for everyone on your list Shop, Refuel, Relax!

We make holiday shopping fun! 2660 28th Street NE l 616.942.2561 l schulerbooks.com

REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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[VISUAL ARTS]

Left: Maria Maria Acha-Kutscher - Maria, Middle: Laura Callaghan - Microphobia, Right: Lalla Essaydi - Les femmes du Maroc 22B

Eye Contact She Stares Back shifts the perspective BY DANA CASADEI

The jewel-toned colors of the walls — in hues of dark purple, blue and magenta — will probably be what catches your eye first. Once inside the gallery though, you’ll find a lot of eyes looking back at you. She Stares Back, which opened in early November, is the Kendall College of Art and Design’s latest exhibition, curated by Michele Bosak, KCAD Curator of Exhibitions. It couldn’t have a more appropriate title, given the works selected. “All of these pieces in the exhibit are displaying women,” Bosak said. “They are asserting their voice — they are showing women as both the subject and the object.” Spread throughout the gallery are

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nearly 30 pieces from women artists hand-selected by Bosak, each of which takes a deeper look into how women are represented, and those who are often underrepresented. “Depending on how society frames the (male) gaze and focuses on certain areas, there are always a lot of people who are obscured; they aren’t visible,” Bosak said. “I think that visibility and looking at a variety of experiences and backgrounds is really important.” She Stares Back does just that through the work of all eight artists from across the globe: María María Acha-Kutscher, Laura Callaghan, Sara Cwynar, Mira Dancy, Lalla Essaydi, Maja Malou Lyse, Shelley Newman Stevens, and Iiu Susiraja. Their works are as diverse as where the women live, in mediums like digital prints on tarps, interactive video, i l l u s t r a t i o n , p a i n t i n g s a n d p o e t r y. Each deals with themes ranging from self-image and beauty ideals to feminism and activism. Given today’s political climate, She Stares Back is timely, with some pieces looking at issues like climate change, the

| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018

2017 Women’s March on Washington, and the Black Lives Matter movement. “You can look at the show as a feminist perspective, you can look at the show as an all-women show, or you can look at this show as representation and experience specific artists,” Bosak said. “I think so often there’s a lot of stereotypes, or we make a lot of assumptions when we look at others, and there are so many facets and components and characteristics that make us the people that we are.” In order to help break down those stereotypes, the exhibition represents women from all backgrounds. Bosak deliberately searched for women of color and older women. For example, Michigan artist Shelley Newman Stevens has three paintings in the exhibition. “As an older artist myself, I’m keenly interested in, and always have been, women’s issues and life from a feminine perspective,” Stevens said. She described her pieces as figurative works, using the word “portrait” in a very loose sense to describe her paintings of the three very real, older women. Her intent was to bring more visibility to older women in particular. These three pieces come from her ongoing series, An Army of Women. With an exhibit like this, one full of women starting a conversation about a multitude of women’s issues, Stevens said it’s very empowering. She said she

was just happy to be a part of an exhibition that really matters. “To help, even in a small way, is to be a little bit of a force of change,” Stevens said. Her point connects with a question Bosak asked each of the artists and is part of the show’s description: “Does the artist/designer’s ability to shape the worldview of future generations come with a responsibility?” For artists like Stevens, it sure seems to, with their works helping to continue the conversation of how women are represented in the world and how to change that focus on the male gaze. “People should be prepared to see women in a light which perhaps they’ve never encountered before,” Stevens said. “The women who are portrayed in this exhibition, whether they are the artist or the subjects, they are not typical. They are staring, but they are also talking back.” ■

SHE STARES BACK

Kendall College of Art and Design 17 Fountain St. NW, Grand Rapids Through Jan. 26 kcad.edu, (616) 451-2787


COUNTDOWN TO 2019 IN PURE LUDINGTON COUNTDOWN PARTY NYE BALL DROP AT MIDNIGHT FIREWORKS, MUSIC AND MORE! FREE EVENT & FAMILY FRIENDLY

PURELUDINGTON.COM/NYE REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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[VISUAL ARTS]

PREVIEW

This month’s list of new exhibitions opening is short and sweet. There may only be a few — one about Japanese printmaking, the other focusing on black men in the Muskegon community — but it just gives you more time to check out shows that opened last month and you didn’t get to see yet. Make sure to stop by all the holiday exhibits before they close! BY DANA CASADEI

SAUGATUCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS

KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS

400 Culver St., Saugatuck sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399

314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kiarts.org, (269) 349-7775

EL SUEÑO AMERICANO: THE AMERICAN DREAM, Through Dec. 22

THE WAY FORWARD: NEW ACQUISITIONS AT THE KIA, Through Dec. 2

CITY OF LOST THINGS, Through Dec. 22

INKA ESSENHIGH: A FINE LINE,

LAFONTSEE GALLERIES

DO IT, Through March 3

833 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, 410 W. Center St., Douglas, Lafontsee.us

COALESCE, Through Dec. 29

Through Jan. 6

WATANABE: JAPANESE PRINT ENVOY, Dec. 15-March 10

Time for a brief history lesson. Back in the early 20th century, Japanese publisher Shozaburo Watanabe decided to start a business where he would hire printers who could master the old techniques and traditions of Japanese woodcuts by artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige. To make his business stand out though — because the last thing he wanted was a runof-the-mill printmaking business — he coined the term “shin hanga," or new prints, and began hiring designers who could mix the old with the new. The images produced were full of color like those of the previous century but his depictions of the Japanese people and land also had a western-influenced style, making him a success all over the world. This exhibit will display early prints as well as later pieces, telling a fuller story of the workshop, which set the new standard for printmaking.

CALVIN COLLEGE CENTER ART GALLERY 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids calvin.edu/centerartgallery/studio, (616) 526-6271

PRINTS FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTION, Through Jan. 23 TIA WIERENGA AND ELIZABETH BRANDT, Through Dec.15

FREDERIK MEIJER GARDENS & SCULPTURE PARK 1000 East Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids meijergardens.org, (888) 957-1580

PROCESS AND PRESENCE: CONTEMPORARY DISABILITY SCULPTURE, Through Jan. 6

CHRISTMAS AND HOLIDAY TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD, Through Jan. 6

GRAND RAPIDS ART MUSEUM

Considered both a timely and relevant exhibit, photographer/artist Jerry Taliaferro took 94 portraits of black men from the Muskegon community for Sons. The men range across ages, backgrounds, occupations and interests. Each one was nominated from the greater Muskegon area by a committee of their peers. Taliaferro did this in hopes of representing the black men of the community and mirroring the day-to-day experiences of their fellow Americans. Everyone involved — which includes Taliaferro, the Sons Committee and the staff and board of trustees of the Muskegon Museum of Art — hopes this exhibit will spark much-needed conversation to better understand black men in the community and allow them to tell their stories. This exhibition is much more than just photos however: It also has a variety of special programming, including the premier of Jon Covington’s documentary Black Man, which was created in partnership with the Muskegon Museum of Art.

KENDALL COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN 17 Fountain St. NW, Grand Rapids, kcad.edu, (616) 451-2787

WHO SHOT SPORTS: A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY, 1843 TO THE PRESENT,

SHE STARES BACK, Through Jan. 26

Through Jan. 13

LOWELLARTS!

MUSKEGON MUSEUM OF ART

223 W. Main St., Lowell, lowellartsmi.org, (616) 897-8545

HOLIDAY ARTISTS MARKET, Through Dec. 23

296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon muskegonartmuseum.org, (231) 720-2570

URBAN INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS

ARMAND MERIZON: HIS LIFE AND ART,

2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids uica.org, (616) 454-7000

Through Jan. 6

FANTASMENAGERIE: THE SCULPTURE OF NAT ROSALES, Through Jan. 13 FESTIVAL OF TREES, Through Dec. 2 | REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018

SONS: SEEING THE MODERN AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE, Dec. 13-March 10

101 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids artmuseumgr.org, (616) 831-1000

DYLAN MINER: WATER IS SACRED // TREES ARE RELATIVES, Through March 3

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Sons Seeing the Modern African American Male. COURTESY PHOTO

MICHIGAN EMERGING GRADUATE ARTISTS 2018, Through Dec. 2 COMING HOME, Through Jan. 25


EXPERIENCE IT ALL!

The Accidentals

The Frauenthal Center presents

The Frauenthal Center and the West Michigan Youth Ballet present

and friends

TICKETS ON SALE

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2018 | 7:30PM FRAUENTHAL THEATER TICKETS:  $20 ADULTS; $10 STUDENTS WITH ID $45 VIP PRESHOW MEET AND GREET AT 6:30PM

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Saturday, December 15, 2018 3:00pm Frauenthal Theater $23 Adults

$12 Children under 12 Silver Season Sponsor

Production Sponsor

FREE FAMILY MOVIE DAYS CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS

The Frauenthal Center presents

EDUCATION DIVISION

presents

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FRIDAY, DEC. 7

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December 27, 2018 | 3 pm No ticket required.

Presented with the Community Foundation for Muskegon County

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OFFICE LEASING REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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GIFT GIVING FROM THE KIA HOLIDAY ART SALE Friday, November 30, 5-8p Saturday, December 1, 9a-5p

GALLERY SHOP

Open 7 days a week in December

GIFT MEMBERSHIPS Start at $35

GIVE AN ART CLASS OR WORKSHOP Classes start in January

GIFT CERTIFICATES

In any amount, good throughout the KIA

SEASONAL WORKSHOPS Thursday, December 6, 6-8 pm: Bird-Lover’s Wreath Design Tuesday, December 11, 6-8 pm: Holiday Arrangement Design

CLASSES FOR ALL AGES START IN JANUARY

Registration opens November 19 Apply for scholarships by December 5

ADMISSION: $5 / Students $2 / children through age 12 free HOURS: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 11a-5p / Thursday-Friday 11a-8p / Sunday 12-5p

KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 435 W. South Street 269/349-7775 kiarts.org

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018


Triple Threats

[THEATER]

Farmers Alley’s Marvelous Wonderettes do it all BY JANE SIMONS

This holiday season, Farmers Alley Theatre’s giving a big gift to fans of music from the ’60s and ’70s. Under the direction of Sandra Bremer, the theater’s director of education and theater for young audiences, a cast of four women will transport audiences from 1969 to 1978 in two acts and 27 different musical numbers in Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On. The first act, set in 1969, finds the quartet performing at a retirement party for one of their teachers and the second act is set in 1978 at the women’s 20th class reunion. Bremer calls the production the “bubblegum” or “cotton candy” version of Sex in the City, in that many subjects are discussed, but sex is not one of them. “It starts off with the retirement for this teacher and as the show goes on, different aspects of their friendship and personalities come through and what’s happening in their lives starts to weave throughout the storyline,” Bremer said. “It’s really about their friendship and what happens to all of us as we grow and get older and things change.” The musical selections in the show reflect the time period the women are in and what is happening in their lives. The actors sing in four-part harmony throughout the whole show under the direction of Jeremiah Downes. Songs include Gimme Some Lovin’, It’s Your Thing, We Are Family and I Will Survive. Bremer said the show is described as a “jukebox musical” because there is very little actual dialog. In addition to the songs, the actors had to master the choreography that is so much a part of the production and shows the way people danced in the ’60s and ’70s. Although working with four new actors was a challenge, Bremer is very familiar with the musical, having directed it eight years ago. The following year, she directed a sequel called The Winter Wonderettes. The learning

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES: DREAM ON Farmers Alley Theatre 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo Dec. 7-30, $39 farmersalleytheatre.com

The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On. COURTESY PHOTOS

curve for the second production was not as steep, because the same cast performed in each one. “The first time I did this, I was taking these four women who had never worked together before, putting them together as an ensemble and putting them through the grueling process of getting all of this information,” Bremer said. “It was very popular eight years ago when we did it. You can relate to these women. You can see yourself or someone else you know in these women.” Of that original cast, Denene Mulay Koch, one of the founders of Farmer’s Alley, has become more involved in directing, while one actress is performing on Broadway in Frozen, another is living on the west coast and just became a mom, and one is working in Pittsburgh as a professional actor. Despite moving on and up, Bremer said when they learned of the show’s reprisal at Farmer’s Alley, they all wished they were coming back to be a part of it. The December production features Whitney Weiner, the wife of Robert Weiner, another Farmer’s Alley founder; Mallory King, a graduate of Western Michigan University’s theatre program, who lives and performs in New York City; Missy Karle, who was in a Farmer’s Alley production of It Shoulda Been You; and Julia Burrows, a professional actor

who also lives in New York City and will be performing at Farmer’s Alley for the first time. “This is a real diverse group of women. I’m really excited to put them all together and to see them work as an ensemble,” Bremer said. “It’s always fun to see what the actors are going to bring. It’s a real collaborative effort.” While she doesn’t know exactly how many women auditioned for the four parts available, Bremer said it was “a lot.” Some of these auditions were done in person and others were done via video submissions. “We are always looking for a certain type and sound,” she said. Where it used to be common to have actors who acted, singers who sang and dancers who danced, Bremer, who was a professional actor for about 30 years, said this is no longer the case. “You’ve got to be a triple threat anymore in this wonderful world of performing,” she said. “I may not look for someone who’s the best singer in whole wide world, but they better be able to act. “This (show) is a piece of fluff and it’s my job as the director and those four women to take you out of the stuff happening in world for two hours. Our responsibility is to take you someplace you’ve never been before.” ■ REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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“ANDREWLLOYD WEBBER HASBROADWAYROCKING!” –REUTERS

“ANEXUBERANT FEEL-GOOD MUSICAL. ROCKON!” –VARIETY

JANUARY8 –13

at DeVos Performance Hall

BROADWAYGRANDRAPIDS.COM Grand Rapids engagement is sponsored by Calder Investment Advisors; Crowe; Fox Motors; Lacks Enterprises, Inc.; Miller Johnson; and PNC Bank.

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018


[THEATER]

Curtain Call

Central Park Players carries on long tradition of enriching lives through theater BY MARLA R. MILLER

Longtime Central Park Players volunteer and actor Peter Drost remembers being an eighth-grader in English class, listening to the morning announcements, when he first learned about the local theater group.

From top to bottom: 1) Sweet Charity 1982 2) Rumors 1993 3,4,5) Anne of Green Gables 2014. COURTESY PHOTOS

“There was something on the announcements about needing a 13- or 14-year-old for a (role),” he said. “My English teacher said, ‘you should go do that,’ and here I am 30-some years later.” The camaraderie among dedicated volunteers, ranging from newbie actors in elementary school to adults with theater degrees, is what keeps Central Park raising the curtain on community theater. Celebrating its 60th season, Central Park Players presents It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play this December. For this version, picture a 1940s radio station with actors telling the story as if it was a radio broadcast. They use voice inflection and facial expressions to play multiple characters, along with a foley table to make sound effects. The season continues with A Delicate Ship in March and Sylvia, directed by Drost, in May. “I think the biggest thing, we’re a very inclusive group,” said CPP Board President Trudi Kerkstra. “We try to offer two to three shows a year that are fairly well-known and we do one more artistic kind of play. The community is very receptive to that.” Kerkstra started volunteering 12 years ago when her children participated in CPP’s summer children’s theater program. They went off to college and she stayed involved. She didn’t have a theater background, but has done nearly every job on the stage and backstage. “It just became a fun creative outlet and like a family,” she said. “It’s a great way to meet new people and it’s a great

passion to bring art in this way to the community at large.” Drost, who serves on the board, acts, directs and does lighting and sound for many shows, went on to study theater at the University of Michigan. He said it can be stressful trying to bring a production together, but also exciting and rewarding. “You make great friends while doing it, lifelong friends,” Drost said. “And one thing I like about this particular group, we will take more chances than you would think a fairly conservative group in Ottawa County would.” CPP carries on a long history of community theater in the Grand Haven community. Local performers entertained Civil War soldiers at the Ottawa County Courthouse in the 1860s. The tradition continued with traveling troupes and the Grand Haven Dramatic Club putting on plays at the Music Hall into the 1930s. The theater remains essentially an all-volunteer effort, with board members and a core group of 30 volunteers serving as producers, directors, and set designers and working the back and front of the house. There is no paid staff and only a small stipend for a few technology and creative positions. “People give up countless hours to work on things,” Kerkstra said. “We’re lucky because we have people from various backgrounds that can do all the things that need to be done.” CPP presents four main season shows a year, and one in the summer featuring children under 18 years old. The organization offers paid summer day camps for ages 4 to 12, which gives younger actors the chance to work with experienced thespians. Participants learn theater basics, including teamwork, character development, staging and music memorization. The workshop also covers drama, dance, blocking and technical skills. “They learn and put together an entire production, but they do all of that in two weeks,” Kerkstra said. “It’s pretty amazing.” Now raising teenagers, Drost said theater teaches children a variety of skills such as working together, public speaking and honoring commitments and deadlines.

“Theater, especially at a young age, is one of the few things where there is absolutely a drop-dead deadline,” he said. “It teaches them the importance of honoring your obligations. There’s really no way out.” The troupe is sometimes limited on what it can present, based on budget and the limited size of the stage. But Drost would put CPP’s smaller, dramatic plays up against surrounding theater organizations when it comes to the quality of acting and poignant issues it chooses to tackle. Last year, CPP presented August: Osage County, which confronts opioid addiction, infidelity, incest and a dysfunctional family. Despite the changes and moves over the decades, CPP has maintained solid support from the community. The organization became a nonprofit in 1986 and offers memberships for $15 a year or $25 for a family. Membership has its perks, including a free ticket to a show, voting privileges at the annual summer membership meeting, and advance notice of special events. The fall musical Annie was a big hit and sold out six of seven performances. With numerous demands on people’s time and money, CPP also keeps ticket prices at $10 or $15 in an effort to make it affordable for families. “The amount of talent in the Tri-Cities area is phenomenal, from kids through adults,” Kerkstra said. “We do quality productions that would rival any other theater groups in the area. It’s just a great night out, at about what it would cost to go to a movie.” ■

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY Central Park Players Grand Haven Community Center 421 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven Dec. 13-16, $15 centralparkplayers.org

REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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[THEATER]

Remembering John Hyatt

The man who set the stage for the Grand Rapids theater community BY KAYLA SOSA

When John S. Hyatt passed away in April, Grand Rapids lost a man who truly lived his life for others.

COURTESY PHOTOS

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018

Hyatt grew up in Madison, Wis., not entirely sure what he wanted to do with his life. He decided to go to Luther College for pre-med, but that didn’t last long. “And then one day he walked into the basement of one of the buildings and there was a black box theater in there. What he says is he never came back up,” said Mary Hyatt, his wife. “He just fell in love with it. … He quit and totally switched his major to theater.” Right after college, at 24 years old, Hyatt enlisted himself in the military. He wasn’t drafted, which meant he had some choice in what he wanted to do. He chose to go to the Defense Information School, and eventually became a photographer and editor of the base newspaper. Mary and John met at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where there was a reputable local theater. Mary was a high school choral music teacher in the area. When asked what first drew her to him, she referred to a show they did together, Celebration. “Singing together,” Mary said with a smile. “You know how you just click with people? That was kind of the start of it. It was a lot of fun singing with him.” Mary said John had a nice, “crystal clear” singing voice. In a tribute to John, Jean Bahle wrote, “John, you could grow a beard, your beard could go gray, but you never lost your boyish enthusiasm or your silvery tenor voice, a young person’s voice.” Eventually, the two were married and after John was out of the military, they moved around before ending up in Grand Rapids. He began doing contract work for Grand Rapids Ballet, Actors’ Theatre and Grand Rapids Community College, eventually making theater

design his full-time job. Fred Sebulske, founder of Actors’ Theatre, let his friend set up shop in his space. “It was this little church backed up to the hospital,” said Mary, describing the first Actors’ Theatre. “It was just heaven. We were all stuffed in the basement, there was a dressing room and no amenities worth talking about. But we just absolutely adored the building.” That was when John started to become part of what came to be a close-knit theater family in Grand Rapids.

HIT THE GROUND RUNNING Sebulske remembered one of the first sets John designed for Actors’ Theatre for The Fifth of July. “In the space of a sliver of a stage, he conjured an entire summer cottage in Missouri, with green wicker chairs, a white clapboard multi-roomed home and garden and a screen door that banged shut just the way every cottage door bangs shut to keep the mosquitoes at bay,” Sebulske described in a written tribute. “Those of us who were in the show or even just saw it will never forget the evocative nature of the set, or the care that John poured into his work on that set.” He became known as one of the most talented scenic and lighting designers in the city. He was kind, honest and knew exactly what he was doing. Friend Maureen Fahey Dreher said John would “give the shirt off his back” for someone without blinking an eye. “He didn’t know he was doing that, that’s the weird thing,” Mary said. “He didn’t have a shred of vanity. Nothing. He just did what he did.” Eventually, John started his own business: John S. Hyatt and Associates, which is still being run by Mary today. Through this, John and a team did renovations and new-installs of lighting equipment, reading equipment, curtains, control systems, — basically everything technological in a theater. Looking around Grand Rapids, John has had his hand in every theater, and even installed all-new lighting in every single Meijer location in the Midwest.

He was proud to have done work in the local museums, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Spectrum Theater and even to have gone back to his alma mater, Luther College, to redo its theaters.

MAKING AN IMPACT At East Kentwood High School, John installed the lighting in its black box theater. Now, there is a young girl who has a passion for lighting, and is learning off the tools John put in place. “John installing that and having that in our school, now I’ve got students that want to do things because of how beautiful that space is,” said Scott Mellema, theater and English teacher at East Kentwood. “That space is beautiful because of John.” Fahey Dreher said John kept himself busy, always doing work or a favor to help out a friend. “It was always with a smile on his face,” Fahey Dreher said, adding that if he ever was angry with someone, no one ever saw it. “Seriously. His loss will be felt for a long time.” When John married Mary, he got two young kids in the deal as well. Trey and Kai Li were just toddlers when they met John, and he became a father to them. “He raised them, even my ex-husband says that,” Mary said. Mary said even as adults, the kids still called John to talk life through. Trey took on John’s last name in his honor. “John was with me, and was a father figure to me, pretty much my whole life,” Trey Fouts-Hyatt said. “He doesn’t have any brothers or sisters, and I don’t have any brothers, and he doesn’t have any children of his own, so I decided to take on his name to honor him as my stepfather.” Trey and his sister grew up as “theater kids,” spending their weekends in the theater with John and Mary, helping out and getting involved in local productions. “He was always there for me,” Fouts-Hyatt remembered. “He taught me a lot about carpentry, about lighting, about technical things.” Fouts-Hyatt said he can’t help but think of John whenever he goes to


somewhere like Home Depot. “I go in thinking about John, and how John would be proud of me for doing this,” he said. Fouts-Hyatt is also a stepfather, and he looks to John as an example. “John was always an example of what to do right,” he said. “that’s what I’m trying to do with my own stepson, not necessarily be this person who’s like this dictator to them or tell them everything they do wrong, but just be a source of encouragement for them.” Kai Li, meanwhile, said John always had a story or a joke to tell. “He had a pun for every word, just to sit there and make us laugh,” she said. “He loved my mom, and that’s what was important to Trey and I. He loved my mom more than anything, and he also drove her crazy, but he respected my mother’s talents. There’s nobody that loved to hear my mother sing more than John.”

PLANTING ROOTS John was known at one time for having multiple buildings around the country, but he settled in Grand Rapids and ended up with a giant “warehouse full of solutions,” as Fouts-Hyatt described it. He loved theater so much, he ended up buying and living in the old Civic Theatre. “John has always been there, not just

for me, but for the effort,” said John Bivins, friend and member of the art community. “He would help where he could and he would loan me whatever we needed.” Bivins would go to John’s warehouse and get to listening to his friend tell stories, and then realize hours had passed just talking and listening. “He’d be in the middle of a job and he would just stop and talk about this or that,” Bivins said. “And that was always the wonderful thing about spending time with John, there was always a story.” Tom Kaechele, GRCC theater professor and local director, looked up to John as a mentor after working with him as an 18-year-old. When John’s business was just starting in the early ’80s, Kaechele was often hanging around the warehouse, helping where he could. “When I needed a little extra cash, John would always try to find something productive for me to do,” Kaechele said. “As it went on, we just kind of bonded. Working past five, I’d wind up having dinner with them and eventually I was like, this is my second family.” Kaechele said John was an “utter optimist” and one of his greatest mentors. “John was about solutions,” he said. “He was about finding the way to get something done, and I admired that incredibly.”

DEARLY MISSED When John died at 69 years old, everyone said it was too early for him and everyone else that was lucky enough to have him in their lives. Mary said she and her husband — who she described as “cute as a button” — were “always together.” “The hard thing for me is my desk is feet away from his, and it was that way for (a long time),” Mary said. “He’s everywhere.” Mary said there are a lot of couples who would think they’re crazy for spending so much time together, being married and then working together every day. But that’s how they liked it, and they just clicked. Many friends said it wasn’t just Mary or John, it was “John and Mary.” “It worked,” she said. “I could just totally trust him and he could totally trust me.” Although she says they had “retirement dreams,” Mary didn’t think John would ever quit working. Over the past few years, the Hyatts spent a lot of time traveling and visiting the children and grandchildren. John is survived by his wife Mary, her two children and six grandchildren. Additionally, many, many friends that still miss him dearly. “He was just John,” Mary said. “And I was lucky.” ■

REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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[THEATER]

Scott Mellema as Shrek. COURTESY PHOTOS

Standing Out Scott Mellema elevates the local theater community

BY KAYLA SOSA

After more than 25 years in the theater community, Scott Mellema got to play a dream role earlier this year: Shrek. Months later at the Grand Awards, Mellema took home Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his role in Shrek, the Musical at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. A number of his castmates won awards as well, and the entire cast was honored as the Outstanding Musical. But this is just one of the many roles Mellema plays within the theater community, onstage and off. While he loves to act, he also directs and is a theater teacher at East Kentwood High School. To date, Mellema has been in countless shows, acting and directing, has starred in a couple of movies — national and international — and has inspired many students to pursue theater and follow their passions. For Mellema, though, theater was not something he knew he wanted to do from a young age. “Growing up, I had some stuff going

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on in my house,” he said. “Because of that, I missed a lot of school in elementary. … And that snowballed, because I was missing very big chunks of my basic education in elementary school.” After that, Mellema was constantly trying to catch up with his peers. In ninth grade, Mellema said he was really upset with his life and realized, “I gotta do something.” So he joined the choir. “I was like, ‘Well, that’s totally different, I’ll try that,” Mellema said. Being in choir led him to join the school musicals, gaining a strong interest in theater — so much so that he pursued a theater degree at Hope College after his high school counselor recommended he go into the military because of his low grades. But Mellema earned his bachelor’s degree in theater performance and theater direction, and learned a lot of what he teaches today from his professors at Hope. After college, Mellema lived the traveling actor life and performed all around the country at various regional companies and tours. He didn’t make a lot of money and was always traveling. “I did it long enough to realize that’s not the life I wanted to have,” he said. “This is what I want to do, but I didn’t want to do it like that. You’re always going to

| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018

be on the road, you’re always going to be looking for that next job, and that’s it.” Mellema wanted to have roots and a family. So he settled back in his hometown of Grand Rapids. This year he’s celebrating 15 years of teaching. As someone who’s passionate about teaching the theater arts, Mellema is bothered by the lack of financial support from the government around arts programs. “When you see the government trying to choke out the arts programs, it’s because they’re trying to choke out that voice,” he said. “They don’t want that voice to exist, because that voice often challenges. Artistic people see the things going wrong in the world, and we speak up.” In the future, Mellema would like to open a children’s theater in Grand Rapids. “It would be specifically to bring kids in and open up their imaginations and minds to the world of theater,” he said. “The whole idea of creativity and imagination, it’s a muscle; it needs to be worked and it needs to be nurtured.” Mellema said imagination is our “greatest asset” and that creativity makes the world a better place. In the future, he plans to focus on his role as a teacher and family man and he hopes to do more

Scott Mellema. COURTESY PHOTO

directing in the Grand Rapids community theater scene. “You’ve got to cultivate that in your society,” he said. “You have got to cultivate that appreciation of the arts and that appreciation for creativity and imagination, and I think that we are in dire need of that in our country.” ■


[theater]

preview With the holiday season fully upon us, there are only a few new shows opening this month, most of which are holiday related. There’s one based off the beloved children’s book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and it wouldn’t be a proper holiday season without someone doing It’s A Wonderful Life. The odd man out is the Broadway masterpiece, Fiddler on the Roof, which also opens this month. BY DANA CASADEI

WHARTON CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS

NEW VIC THEATRE

134 E. Vine St., Kalamazoo thenewvictheatre.org, (269) 381-3328

750 E. Shaw Ln., East Lansing whartoncenter.com, (517) 353-1982

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Through Dec. 28, $25

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Dec. 4-9, $43+

AT THIS SPECIAL TIME, Dec. 3-4, $10 New Vic’s chorus is performing Christmas music and readings under the direction of Ted Kistler. The program is a surprise, but it’s sure to be festive. If you’re a season ticket holder, you can see the show for free, but you must make a reservation first. Everyone else should buy tickets to enjoy the holiday production.

FARMERS ALLEY THEATRE KALAMAZOO 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo farmersalleytheatre.com, (269) 343-2727

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES: DREAM ON, Dec. 7-30, $39

CENTRAL PARK PLAYERS 421 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven centralparkplayers.org, (616) 843-3906

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, Dec. 13-16, $15

DEC. 6-9 DeVos Hall

L’Chaim! In this brand new production of the beloved Broadway classic, Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher brings some fresh and authentic vision to the 1964 musical. Originally created by Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler centers on Tevye, a Jewish milkman in early 1900s Russia. Throughout the show, he watches as three of his daughters marry and move farther from the traditions he once knew, all while anti-Jewish sentiment in his country grows. Come for the fun, flashy numbers like “Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and “If I Were A Rich Man,” but stay for the powerhouse ballads like “Do You Love Me?" Good luck not crying during that last one.

GILMORE THEATRE/ WMU THEATRE 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo wmich.edu/theatre, (269) 387-3227

NEXT STOP, BROADWAY, Through Dec. 1

WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE

GRAND RAPIDS CIVIC THEATRE

KALAMAZOO CIVIC THEATRE

30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids grct.org, (616) 222-6650

329 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kazoocivic.com, (269) 343-1313

THE LITTLE MERMAID,

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG,

Through Dec. 16, $18+

Through Dec. 9, $25

DOG STORY THEATRE

BROADWAY GRAND RAPIDS

7 Jefferson Ave., Grand Rapids dogstorytheater.com, (616) 425-9234

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, Dec. 6-8, $12+ You may have read Barbara Robinson’s 1971 beloved children’s book. Or watched it when it became a TV film with Loretta Swit in 1983. Or seen the play, which premiered in 1981. For those who haven’t seen one of the adaptations — which Robinson wrote herself — the story follows six youths who are constantly up to no good: Imogene, Claude, Ralph, Leroy, Ollie and Gladys Herdman. In between their shenanigans of smoking, drinking jug wine, shoplifting and cursing, the Herdmans show up to church for the first time, because they were told there would be snacks. Soon, the six kids find themselves cast in the church’s Christmas play, despite protests from the more regular churchgoers. Will one of them try to steal the baby Jesus? Only one way to find out.

122 Lyon St. NW, Grand Rapids broadwaygrandrapids.com, (616) 235-6285

JERSEY BOYS, Through Dec. 2, $42+

MUSKEGON CIVIC THEATRE

425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon muskegoncivictheatre.org, (231) 722-3852

BECKY’S NEW CAR, Through Dec. 2, $22

HOLLAND CIVIC THEATRE

50 W. 9th St., Holland hollandcivictheatre.org, (616) 396-2021

A CHRISTMAS STORY, Through Dec. 8

CALVIN COLLEGE PRESENTS 15 DAYS OF FREE LECTURES

January 3–23, 2019 | 12:30–1:30 p.m. calvin.edu/january

DEC. 19-20 DeVo

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ORDER TICKETS AT 616.454.9451 x 4 OR GRSymphony.org REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | DECEMBER 2018 |

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Dec. 21–23 For more information visit us online at millerauditorium.com or call (269) 387-2300 | (800) 228-9858


2018 REARVIEW MIRROR I

t’s never good to live in the past, but it always helps to reflect on past triumphs and mistakes. At year’s end, we think it’s worth looking back at West Michigan’s accomplishments, from music to food and beer. In the pages ahead, we gathered up some of our favorite albums and brews from 2018 — if you missed

them the first time around, here’s your chance to circle back. We also rounded up all the new restaurants, breweries and shops we could find that opened in the past year. The list never seems to stop growing. As time moves forward, don’t forget to look back. - by Josh Veal

BEER FOR ALL

BIERGARTEN HOLIDAY MARKET 12/15

crestonbrewery.com 1504 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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///REARVIEW MIRROR

REVUE’S BEST ALBUMS OF 2018 | by Eric Mitts

A

s 2018 drew to a close, one of the hottest headlines in all of music was whether Michigan’s own Greta Van Fleet deserves the charttopping attention it’s getting as the second coming of Led Zeppelin. Regardless of the polarizing opinions of publications like Pitchfork, the healthy discourse drew overdue attention to the truly original sounds emanating from our state. Artists with longstanding ties to West Michigan in particular, like Nashville transplants Nathan Kalish and Lindsay Lou, both released outstanding LPs this year to widespread acclaim.

Meanwhile, Albion folk-gospel duo The War and Treaty issued one of the most emotionally moving records in recent memory. Here in West Michigan, unity and strength rang through the depth and diversity of our local music community. The year found different music scenes collaborating in new and defiant ways, while long-time artists released career-defining masterworks that elevated and inspired others. Here’s some of the best of what we heard this year.

Cabildo

Major Murphy

Sojii

Lady Ace Boogie

Southpaw

SIN FRONTERAS

NO. 1

SOJII

DON’T BOX ME IN

WHITE LIGHTER MYTH

cabildomusic.com

majormurphy.bandcamp.com

sojii.bandcamp.com

ladyaceboogie.com

southpawpunks.bandcamp.com

In a year when the idea of borders weighed heavily on everyone’s minds, veteran Latin alternative ensemble Cabildo returned with a much-needed set of boundary-blurring, globally conscious music. The collective’s first LP in 12 years translates to “Without Borders,” and it dares to defy all of them. A rallying call for the resistance, the record effortlessly shifts between genres and rhythms, driven by a renewed spirit and the band’s virtuosic playing.

Perfectly capturing the uneasy chill masking many millennials’ ever-present anxiety, the jangle-pop style of Grand Rapids trio Major Murphy sounds simultaneously modern yet retro. Admittedly pulling from some of the great soft-rock bands of ’70s radio, the group has made a debut all its own, with refreshingly light harmonies that comfort like the memory of a warm summer breeze — even when winter is coming.

Although technically released in late 2017, this debut from frontwoman Valerie Salerno and company roared through the year with the sort of fuzzed-out fury that never stops reverberating in your chest. Self-described as “trench-funk,” the band enlisted the legendary Steve Albini (of Nirvana fame) to record this seven-song blast, and his expert touch channels the band’s unbridled energy into a seamless but sludgy package.

Having already defined her own sound on her fantastic 2015 debut, Feel Good Music, Grand Rapids MC Lady Ace Boogie returned with this genre-defying triumph that should forever cement her as one of the absolute best rappers to come out of West Michigan. Effortlessly changing up styles and bringing in a host of other top local talent — from rising vocalists like Dayz, Alexander Lynch and Callab to fellow GR icon Rick Chyme — she continued to reshape the game and break down every barrier put in front of her. Long live the Queen!

Named after the ominous urban legend associated with the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and other legends who died too young, this follow-up from Muskegon pop-punk trio Southpaw shakes off any bad luck vibes with a blast of pure bliss rock ‘n’ roll. The record bristles with the urgency of Warped Tour-era emo, and has catapulted the band onto tour dates across the country. n

26 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018


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REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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///REARVIEW MIRROR

12 MONTHS OF

BIZ BEAT

Openings and closings across West Michigan | by Josh Veal

Even with businesses closing here and there, we have more dining, drinking and shopping options than ever. Restaurants are opening so fast, they’re having trouble finding workers, but it’s all to the diner’s benefit. The food scene here is increasingly diverse, with cuisine from all around the world finding a home in West Michigan. Here’s a look back at all the restaurants, breweries and other shops that have arrived or shuttered in 2018.

OPENED: Wikiwiki Poke Shop (1146 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids) brought a unique dish to Wealthy Street, serving up poke and Rap Snacks. The Hawaiian dish has been described as “deconstructed sushi,” with raw fish being the key ingredient. The Basque-inspired Zoko 822 incorporated its address, 822 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, into its name. Offering more than 30 varieties of gin, the restaurant also has small plates ranging from patatas bravas to Spanish sandwiches and empanadas.

with a couple pool tables. The tap list has more than 10 beers spanning a variety of styles, and the menu features burgers, salad and authentic tacos. . Westside Social Tavern (2802 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids) brought a new food experience to Standale, with the goal of celebrating the community via beer, craft cocktails, food and a warm atmosphere.

Georgina’s Fusion Cuisine (724 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids) arrived from Traverse City. The Asian and Latin restaurant has garnered a following up north for its unique and delicious menu, and the Grand Rapids location looks no different.

Jolly Pumpkin (428 Bridge St. SW, Grand Rapids) joined the Bridge Street renaissance, opening with plenty of its signature wild, farmhouse and sour beers, along with some North Peak taps for the more guarded palate. The Dexter-based brewery took over Black Heron’s previous space, converting the modern space to a comfortable taproom.

DeHop’s Brewing Co. (363 Cummings Ave. NW, Walker) opened in Standale, bringing more craft beer and food to the area, along

What once was Crooked Goose became Stan Diego (355 Wilson Ave. NW, Grand Rapids), a new “Baja taco kitchen” in

Top to bottom: Coppercraft Distillery, Wikiwiki Poke Shop, DeHop's Brewing Co. COURTESY PHOTOS

28 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

Standale. The a-la-carte menu offers a wide variety of tacos, along with tamales, flautas, tlayudas and much more. You’ll find margaritas and cocktails as well, along with a repurposed 1973 orange Volkswagen bus and a foosball table. The owners of Zoko 822 have followed up the Basque-inspired hit with another unique concept: MeXo (118 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids), a restaurant combining modern Mexican and pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cuisine. It’s like nothing else in West Michigan, plus: tequila craft cocktails. ROAM by San Chez (250 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids) opened doors across the street from DeVos Performance Hall. ROAM offers “street food” from all over the world, including India, Mexico, Netherlands, China, Canada, New Zealand and more. The restaurant offers takeout, but also has a


Musicians gather to perform, while local food trucks offer food for the laid-back taproom out in Allegan.

full-service dining room, where you’ll find craft cocktails, beer, wine and board games. The Intersection (133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) opened two new venues: Elevation and The Mint. The former is in the building’s basement and can hold up to 800 people, twice that of The Stache. Meanwhile, The Mint is the venue’s VIP area, designed for after-parties, meet-and-greet events and intimate performances for about 150 people.

Rad Dads’ Tacos and Tequila Bar (470 W. Western Ave., Muskegon) joined the party, offering unique tacos like the Cracklin Me Up, with smoked pulled chicken, house verde sauce and chicken cracklins. The full bar is stocked with tequila, moonshine, beer and more.

Linear Restaurant (1001 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids) arrived with a patio overlooking the Grand River. The restaurant is serving up experimental, modern, seasonal American cuisine. You’ll also find a large beer, wine and cocktail menu.

Waypost Brewing Co. (1630 Blue Star Highway, Fennville), founded by a brewer and winemaker couple, has joined the beverage scene out in Fennville. The small brewery is based on a farm, which provides some of the beer’s ingredients, much like a winery.

Coppercraft Distillery and Ridge Cider (both owned by Windquest Group) opened a joint satellite tasting room and restaurant at 340 Water St., Saugatuck, right on the Kalamazoo River. The two brands are in one segmented tasting room, in the same building as Mermaid Bar & Grill, which provides small plates for the space.

Juju Bird opened in Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market (435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids). Owners Blon Hang and Yang Hang also own Rak Thai, but Juju’s food is entirely different, focusing on buttermilk fried chicken. The menu has chicken sandwiches, wings, mashed potatoes and more.

Harmony Brewing (1551 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids) expanded into the former Subway location next door, providing a second kitchen, more than double the seating and an indoor/outdoor beer garden. The expansion also brought delivery for pizza, merchandise and beer-filled growlers. The long-awaited Bridge Street Market (405 Seward Ave. NW, Grand Rapids) arrived. Owned by Meijer, the new grocery store is part of a larger development that also contains apartments, parking, the new West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology office and more.

Danzon Cubano (1 Carlton Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) joined the ranks of Eastown, presenting “a tribute to the Cuban people, their history, their culture.” The menu features authentic Cuban food like Spicy Oxtail Stew and Pargo Entero Al Horno, an entire roasted snapper. Speciation Artisan Ales (3721 Laramie Dr. NE, Comstock Park) was finally able to open up its taproom for good. The brewery is open Thursday through Sunday, offering up its unique tap list of complex sour and wild ales. n

Hopland Brewstillery (977 Butternut Dr., Holland) is now offering original beer and spirits, including Blue Waves, a blueberry brandy, and Boat Bouncer, a spiced rum. Hopland plans to add alcoholic kombucha, cold brew nitro coffee and more. The taproom has 40 taps for beer and six flatscreen TVs. Tantrick Brewing Co. (633 Hooker Dr., Allegan) opened with a solid selection of classic brews, like the Tilted Kolsch, Golden Mosaic Smash and Hopademic IPA. Juju Bird. COURTESY PHOTO

Waverly Stone. COURTESY PHOTO

OTHER OPENINGS: HopCat Knapp’s Corner 2183 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Citizen 2115 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Closed for renovation

Railtown Brewing Company (3595 68th St. SE, Dutton) expanded Three Blondes Brewing 1875 Phoenix St., South Haven TENDEN 19 N. 7th St., Grand Haven Schaendorf Brewing Co. 412 Water St., Allegan

Brass Ring Brewing 2404 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids

Gouleese 1635 Beidler St., Muskegon

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit 380 E. Division St. NE, Rockford

Fruition 1405 Lake Dr., Grand Rapids

Fox Naturals 619 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Big Lake Brewing’s new spot at 13 W. 7th St., Holland

CLOSED: Crooked Goose 355 Wilson Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

Pulp & Stem, from the owner of The Paper Studio, has opened in the Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

Firehouse Guitars 1032 E. Sternberg Rd., Muskegon

Escape Allegan 264 Western Ave., Allegan

Mazzo Cucina D’Italia 122 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids

Go Java 442 Bridge St., Grand Rapids

IRON 25 Ottawa Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

Sapporo Ramen & Noodle Bar 5570 28th St. SE, Cascade

Gallery Brewery 143 Kent St., Portland

Forty Pearl 40 Pearl St., Grand Rapids

Balinski’s 4255 Alpine, Comstock Park

Fowling Warehouse 6797 Cascade Rd. SE, Grand Rapids

Marie Catrib’s 1001 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids

Garage Bar & Grill opened a second location down in Godwin Heights at 3766 Division Ave., Grand Rapids

Hemingway Lounge 15 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

Waverly Stone Gastropub 20 W. 8th St., Holland

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NINE BEERS THAT SHINE Looking back on some of 2018’s best brews | by Jack Raymond

A

s we look back on the year behind us, some beers stand out more than the others. Whether they’re complex and creative or balanced and refined, it’s hard to forget those brews that shine. Here are some of our favorites.

MAGIC TRAIT

Speciation Artisan Ales Fruited Sour / 7.6% ABV With a 2018 lineup strong enough to give any sour freak jelly knees, it wasn’t easy selecting only one Speciation release this year. Still, one did rise above the pack. Building off a blend released in 2017, Magic Trait is a fruited sour with blackberries, black currant and blueberries. It represents both an evolution and perfection of an acclaimed recipe. Visually, it’s goopy as primordial ooze with a flavor like blackberry smoothie zapped by an electric eel. It’s arresting and a sure sign of more fantastic beer to come from this brewery on the rise.

DRAGON’S MILK RESERVE BANANA COCONUT

New Holland Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout / 11% ABV

seems to be the best way to stick out. Enter Moon Boots, an IPA from Watermark that isn’t shy about its bitterness. Fresh grass aromatics plus hints of grapefruit rind and pine reminded my palate of Heady Topper more so than most of the hazy simulacra clogging the market. While imitation is flattering, Moon Boots shows that Michigan can do better than copy Boston’s homework.

GOLDEN PARTAGER

Barrel + Beam Golden Strong Ale / 7.5% ABV Without even a year under its belt, Barrel + Beam impresses. Effervescent, pillowy, with a splash of funk, Golden Partager exemplifies the remarkable liquid coming from this Yooper brewery. Scents of ripe pear and grain leak out the glass while the brett and oak-aging add a rustic nuance. This farmhouse ale harkens back to Belgian method. The flavors aren’t brash, but delicate, proving that the loudest voices in the room aren’t always the best. These new kids on the peninsula are quietly and quickly growing their reputation.

BOURBON BARREL AGED IMPERIAL NEAPOLITAN MILK STOUT

I get the feeling this addition to the Dragon’s Milk catalog was inspired by a tale of Curious George gone wrong — George raids the Man in the Yellow Hat’s liquor cabinet, spikes a banana split, then battles a tummy ache for 20 pages. Fortunately for us apes of age, this beer makes for an excellent dessert. The bourbon warmth hits a familiar note, but really, this is banana’s time to shine. Banana runt on the nose, banana bread on the tongue, banana love on the mind.

Saugatuck Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel-Aged Milk Stout / 10.5% ABV

MOON BOOTS

Founders Brewing Company Maple Syrup Barrel-Aged Old Ale / 12.7% ABV

Like the namesake ice cream, BBA Neopolitan manages to pack several distinct flavors in one bottle. Sips alternate between flavors of bourbonmacerated strawberries, dark chocolate and vanilla bean. If Ben and Jerry ever went on a craft beer bender, this would be their downfall.

CURMUDGEON'S BETTER HALF

Watermark Brewing Company Imperial IPA / 8% ABV In a year saturated by more New England styles than you can shuck an oyster at, bucking the trend

They say behind every successful man is a strong woman. In Curmudgeon’s case, the feminine touch comes from maple bourbon barrels and molasses. Back by popular demand after hibernating in the

Grand Rapids gypsum mines, this resurrection is a blessing to taste. Better Half drips with enough sweetness to woo Aunt Jemima. Sure, it’s sticky, but in a messy s’mores way: half the fun’s in licking up the residue.

MELISANDRE

City Built Brewing Company Red IPA / 7.1% ABV It looks like first time’s the charm for City Built Brewing Company, coming out of the canning gates with this Red IPA. Bipartisanship in a glass, Melisandre reaches across the aisle between hop and malt camps. The caramel malt throws a biscuit to amber fans and the Mackinac hops scratch that bitter itch. Everybody walks away happy. If only Congress could accomplish as much.

BEES DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK IS IMPOSSIBLE

Brewery Vivant Bourbon Barrel-Aged Honey Ale / 8.9% ABV

it full of royal jelly, a high-protein goo that readies the pupa for the crown. Vivant’s Contemplation underwent similar treatment in bourbon barrels, resulting in an equally regal beer. A concentrated blast of sugar, Bees Don’t Care tastes like sucking on a bar of honeycomb. It’s smooth as mead, almost too easy to toss back. Hopefully the bees don’t go extinct any time soon.

PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS PINEAPPLE FRUITSICLE

Odd Side Ales Fruit Beer / 4.5% ABV

Odd Side Ales, the Wonka Factory of Michigan breweries, dominated last summer with its fruitsicle series. While each variation showed no shortage of imagination, we ruled in favor of Prickly Pear Cactus Pineapple for its evocative take on a poolside marg. In color, it looks a little like a Gobstopper — its sweetness isn’t too far off from candy either — but the lactose and hop additions add depth. Garnish with cocktail umbrella and curly straw for full tropical effect. n

When a queen bee dies, the hive must go on. Drones anoint a new larvae to the throne and then pump REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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GIFT GUIDE

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SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST

REVUE’S LAST-MINUTE GIFT GUIDE | by Missy Black

3

4

5

6

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1) Sister Bee's Worker Bee 2) The Mitten Dog Collar 3) "Girl Boss" Necklace 4) Heaven Creek glass tumblers 5) Ardent Ink weather-proof stickers 6) Daydreamers Graphic Rock Tee 7) Michi-gummies.

32 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

O

UR LAST-MINUTE GIFT GUIDE will help you come in strong with that 11th-hour gift. You know you waited too long, but don’t let anyone else catch on. Just for you, we’ve gathered some crowd pleasers that work in a pinch. If Bag Balm and Young Living had a child, it would be Worker Bee. This all-natural yet intense beeswax balm made by West Michigan-based Sister Bees is perfect for a man’s dry, overworked hands. Best of all, this earthysmelling product is made with cedar wood and frankincense essential oils, $12 at Michigan Pantry in Holland and sisterbees.com. Made in the USA, with pets and their owners in mind, The Mitten Dog Collar features a handy bottle opener and the waterproof, no-stink upcycled backing is both sustainable and ecofriendly, $24.50-$26.50 at The Mitten State in Grand Rapids. Jewelry for your queen or something sparkly to distract — you can’t go wrong with the 14k gold-plated “Girl Boss” necklace that will go with everything she wears, $26 at Sparrow Boutique in Muskegon. Here’s one for the cocktail-hour crowd. Enjoy your favorite beverage in these 16 oz. glass tumblers. Choose from “I Give in to BEER Pressure” or “SMART PEOPLE Drink Good Beer,” $16 at Haven Creek in Rockford. Our inner child wants to cover every surface with these weather-

proof stickers from Ardent Ink. Show your love for Michigan all over your laptop, vehicle, travel mugs and any surface that’s asking for it, $6 at Made in Michigan in Grandville and ardent.ink.

HERE’S YOUR SURE THING Still struggling with what to give and the clock is ticking? Save the day with a graphic tee and candy, because people are vain and, well, sugar. Graphic Rock Tee Saves Christmas — I can see that headline. From the Daydreamers line out of Los Angeles, these T-shirts look like a wornin vintage piece found thrifting. Pair with denim jackets and show the world why the look never gets old, $69 at DENYM in Grand Rapids. Gummy aficionados (me) will appreciate the strong flavors of cherry, blue raspberry, grape and strawberry candies (apple and watermelon are the best). You get quite a lot in the 8 oz. bag filled with adorable lower and upper peninsula Michigan shapes. Plus, the cheery packaging will look great peeking out of a stocking, in a snack bowl or placed atop a gift for extra presentation. Besides, when it comes to your sweet tooth and gummies, the bear is square, $4.99 at Russo’s International Market in Grand Rapids, the Made in Michigan Store in Grandville and Saugatuck and the Spirit of Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo. n


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34 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

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GIFT GUIDE

FASHIONISTA | by Missy Black

The look? It’s called Front Row at Every Fashion Show. Not everyone can pull it off, but the Fashionista is a committed expert, a bastion of style and what’s hot.

One of the fashionista’s favorite accessories is her man, and he needs to dress the part. Outfitting him with madein-house Selvedge denim jeans and buttonup shirts (often made of vintage fabrics) is a must. Stock up on men’s accessories, including U.S.A.-made hats, gloves, socks, colognes, grooming supplies and Tenden brand products such as Dopp kits, log carriers, utility rolls, totes and weekender bags.

SHOP

Tenden 19 N. 7th St., Grand Haven tenden.us Clothing is art. It’s all about colors, textures and moods. DO Sign the fashionista up for the Floral Painting workshop with local artist Shelby Kregel. The evening offers stepby-step instruction on how to paint florals on canvas using acrylics. You’ll learn why a specific stroke is best or how to mix paint colors to create the perfect hue. Take home your gorgeous artwork and hang it right in your walk-in closet. Floral Painting Haven Creek 52 Courtland St., Rockford - Dec. 6, 7 p.m. havencreekrockford.com Lavish Lady is not just the name of a specialty rolled EAT ice cream selection; it’s what the Fashionista aspires to be. This dessert features a lavender and lemon ice cream base, along with a lemon cookie. It’s all topped with lavender sprinkles and drizzle. It’s sumptuously rich (another aspiration — to afford all the designer clothing). Flavors on the Promenade 8 E. Bridge St., Rockford flavorsonthepromenade.com ILLUSTRATED BY SHI BRIGGS

When you create your own style, you win. Mixing hip-hop and classical music, violinist Kevin Sylvester and violist Wilner Baptiste have built an original musical style described as “classical boom.” Stylesavvy folk will appreciate that this duo has shared the stage with fashionable artists such as Kanye West, Aerosmith and Alicia Keys. The artists join the symphony to bridge infectious beats and lyrical melodies with classical instrumentation and searing technique in a unique blend that defies expectations and shatters stereotypes.

LISTEN

Symphony with Soul featuring Black Violin DeVos Performance Hall - Feb. 16 grsymphony.org Ever look at a cocktail and want to wear it? The Moxie is a pinky/peach color made with rum, fresh pink guava, fresh lime and drops of chili oil that create a dot pattern. Seriously, it could be a killer fabric print. Fashion is everywhere — even in your booze.

DRINK

18th Amendment Spirits Co. 350 W. Western Ave., Muskegon 18thamendmentspirits.com Figurative artists Julie Liger-Belair and Jessica Calderwood (also a jewelry designer) draw upon surrealist motifs and folklore exploring gender, identity and fantasy. Both artists play with simultaneously revealing and concealing the female figure, a flirtatious dance between invitation and denial. Fashion lovers will be intrigued by the high-collared garb, heel-clad figures and Calderwood’s embellished and brightly colored baubles. . Absurd Imaginaries Saugatuck Center for the Arts 400 Culver St., Saugatuck - Jan. 11-March 1 sc4a.org

VISIT

REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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36 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018


GIFT GUIDE

BEER GEEK | by Jack Raymond

The Beer Geek has somehow transformed alcohol into a fashionable hobby a-la, “It’s OK Mom, I’m drinking art.” They chase the cutting edge of beer trends, lapping up any barrelaged beet gose they can get their hands on. Still, a good Beer Geek knows a good time is simple: put some friends and a few pints in the same room, and voila, fun.

With all the perks of being a trappist monk and none of the Gregorian chanting, Brewery Vivant offers a sacred membership that should please any Beer Geek. Monk Club incentives include discounted pours and growler fills, but the kicker is a personal chalice kept behind the bar, embossed with whatever alias you so choose. It’s like a vanity plate for your mouth! Enrollment opens Dec. 1 — fingers crossed for a silk robe in next year’s package.

BUY

Brewery Vivant Monk Club 925 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids $60 annual fee breweryvivant.com

This year, Rockford Brewing Company hosts a rockabilly Christmas, and they’ve invited Delilah DeWylde to mutate holiday melodies into something punk. Pair the tunes with Beer Geek-approved drafts like Sheehan’s Irish Stout and Rouge River Brown, and you’ve got a subversive alternative to Saturday night mass. Given the venue, maybe she’ll even cater some classics to the craft enthusiast. We’re holding out for Grandma Got Run Over By a Beer Truck.

LISTEN

Delilah DeWylde Christmas Show Rockford Brewing Company 12 E. Bridge St., Rockford Dec. 22, 8:30-11:30 p.m. rockfordbrewing.com Santa upgraded his sleigh, and he got some sick insurance for it too. This is a four-hour drinking trolley, headed from New Holland’s Knickerbocker to the ballpark of lights and back. BYOB suits the Beer Geek — a mixed six-pack of curated

DO

favorites can reignite the magic lost from the bumper-to-bumper procession. Plus, they’ve decked the vessel out to feel like an adult Polar Express. All aboard! Christmas Lights Tour on the Grand Rapids Beer Trolley $65 tickets, dates throughout December holidaylightsgr.eventbrite.com A beer geek is a Beer Geek’s best friend, and there’s no more discerning a pal than Allison Hoekstra, resident cicerone at Craft Beer Cellar. A festive riff on her Tuesday Tasting series, this course revolves around the holiday ale. The Beer Geek will delight in winter warmers, Christmas ales, stouts — all the styles that can make any Grinch warm and fuzzy. With seven guided tastings, each paired with the spices that inspired the brew, this is a perfect Beer Geek gift: a palate exam that doubles as a palate party.

DRINK

Tuesday Tastings - Holiday Beers Craft Beer Cellar 404 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $20 grandrapids.craftbeercellar.com King of the skosh, master of the flight board, Zoko 822 indulges the Beer Geek’s try-it-all mentality with a menu of adventurous tapas. Confit octopus and grilled head-on prawns excite taste buds in the same way a bonkers sour does. In the spirit of a bottle trade, share everything you can and maybe steal some bites off your friend’s plate.

EAT

Zoko 822 822 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids zoko822.com

ILLUSTRATED BY SHI BRIGGS

REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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a gift for you

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38 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018


GIFT GUIDE

GRANOLA MOM | by Josh Veal

The Granola Mom loves her children, nature and eating healthy — in that order. She wants to teach her kids about the wonders of the world, whether that be flora, fauna or natural formations. These gifts aren’t just for her — they’re for our future.

Granola Mom can relate heavily to Mother Nature. They’re both just trying to keep their offspring safe, but can show quite a bit of wrath when the kids don’t play nice. Help mom send the right message with a “Respect Your Mother” graphic tee at Woosah Outfitters. The shop is full of other nature-friendly apparel, like the Mister Bear crewneck and Wander Without Reason enamel pin.

WEAR

Woosah Outfitters 738 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids spreadingthewoosah.com Terra is named after the very Earth we live on, and that deference to the natural world shows in its approach. One of the first West Michigan restaurants to commit to sustainable, local sourcing, Terra’s menu is good for both you and the planet, and it’s kid-friendly, too! Granola Mom will love the risotto, made with squash, parsnip, sweet potato, celery root, turnip, apple butter and cranberries. Bonus: the happy hour is first-class.

EAT

Terra 1429 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids terragr.com Being a mom means someDRINK times — or maybe all the time — you could use a drink. With its European-style ciders and farmhouse taproom, Virtue Cider is the perfect watering hole for the Granola Mom. She’ll find outdoor campfires to drink by, trails to walk, games to play and animals to watch, all with a drink in hand. It’s the perfect place to ditch the kids or at least keep them entertained while she takes a load off outdoors. Virtue Cider 2170 62nd St., Fennville virtuecider.com

Whether there’s no time for meals or the young’uns are complaining about being hungry, having snacks on hand is an absolute must for the Granola Mom. Get her a big pack of the Gluten Free Bar and she’ll be thinking of you whenever she tosses a Cranberry Toasted Almond or Chocolate Peanut Butter bar to the kids in the backseat.

SNACK

Gluten Free Bar Sold in stores around West Michigan theglutenfreebar.com The ideal evening for the Granola Mom means bringing her kids somewhere they both can enjoy. A trip to Frederik Meijer Gardens fits the bill perfectly, and when you add on a performance from the Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company, it’s a home run. Better yet, this family-friendly show is all about butterflies blooming and exploring the natural world around it.

WATCH

Who Am I? A Butterfly Ballet Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids meijergardens.org Blandford Nature Center is a gift to the community — the perfect place for a family to explore the great outdoors, see some cute animals and learn about the world around us. Take your kids on a fall foliage tour or visit in winter, snowshoeing through the trails.

DO

Blandford Nature Center 1715 Hillburn Ave. NW, Grand Rapids blandfordnaturecenter.org

ILLUSTRATED BY SHI BRIGGS

REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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/// HOLIDAY

Left: Christmas Lite Show at Fifth Third Ballpark. COURTESY PHOTO Right: Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. PHOTO BY DEAN VANDIS

HANGIN’ WITH THE HOLIDAYS Where to go and what to see this holiday season |  by Elma Talundzic

December calls for an array of holiday events that will get you in the holly-jolly spirit of the season. With festive lights, crafts and music, these events are sure to spread the cheer. Light Up Downtown Winter Season Kickoff

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink 135 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids Dec. 1, 5-7 p.m., free Be there for the annual lighting of the breathtaking 47-foot Christmas tree, the beginning of downtown’s holiday lights, and the opening of the Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink. Along with the lights and skating, the Good Tidings Caroling Company will be spreading cheer with song throughout the evening. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for local food trucks, along with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be available for professional photos with the entire family.

Christmas Lite Show

Fifth Third Ballpark 4500 West River Dr. NE, Comstock Park Nov. 21-Dec. 31, 5:30-9:30 p.m., $22 per car christmasliteshow.com If sparkly lights are your favorite part of the winter season, head on down to the Christmas Lite Show at Fifth Third

40 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

Ballpark. Entering its 21st year, this all-ages event sends your car on a nearly two-mile ride with more than a million twinkling lights, animated displays, a lighted tunnel and more. Don’t forget to stop by the Santa house on your way out.

Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park 1000 East Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Nov. 20-Jan. 6, $14.50 meijergardens.org Celebrate the holidays with a visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens’ most popular winter exhibit. The annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibit is aglow with nearly 400,000 multi-color lights, carolers, visits from Santa, rooftop reindeer and 42 international trees on display.

America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree

Frauenthal Center 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon Dec. 1, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., $15 monashoressingingchristmastree.com

Chances are you’ve never sat around a tree quite like this. Entering its 34th anniversary, the Mona Shores Singing Christmas Tree is a musical way to kick off the holiday season. The 15-tier, 67-foot tree features

more than 280 singers accompanied by the 50 piece Mona Shores High School Orchestra. With 25,000 colored lights that dance perfectly to the singing, this event is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

light displays and then a final stop at Rosa Parks Circle to admire the Christmas tree and skating rink.

ZooLights

Grand Rapids Art Museum 101 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids Dec. 7, 6:45-9 p.m., $40 artmuseumgr.org

Binder Park Zoo 7400 Division Dr., Battle Creek Dec. 1-23, 5-8 p.m., $6 binderparkzoo.org Experience Binder Park Zoo transformed into a winter wonderland. Enjoy the holiday season with festive lights, decor and carousel rides. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the winter-friendly animals at the park.

BYOB Holiday Lights Trolley

New Holland Brewing - The Knickerbocker 417 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids Dec. 1-29, $65 holidaylightstrolley.com Grab your favorite seasonal six-pack and hop on the trolley ride that takes you to a few of the holiday hot spots in GR. Hosted by Events with BeneFitz, this five-hour tour starts at The Knickerbocker, where you begin the night with specialty pepperoni pinwheels. Once boarded on the vintage trolley, the stops include The Christmas Lite Show at Fifth Third Ballpark, residential displays in surrounding areas, downtown cruising to view the

Creativity Uncorked: Linocut Card

Ditch the store-bought greeting cards and send your friends and family a unique handmade card this holiday season. The Grand Rapids Art Museum is offering a class on the beauty of linocut relief printing. Once you’ve peeked at the GRAM’s collection of linocuts for a little inspiration, you’ll review basic linocut tools and methods to create your own cards. You’ll be taught how to print by press and hand so you can turn your homemade cards

into a holiday tradition. No experience is necessary and all supplies are provided. Two drinks are included with each ticket, so participants must be 21 and over.

Grand Rapids Symphony’s Cirque de Noel

DeVos Performance Hall 303 Monroe Ave., Grand Rapids Dec. 19-20, $32 devosperformancehall.com Every year since 2009, Cirque de la Symphonie has made a stop in Grand Rapids during the holiday season. Watch skilled acrobats, jugglers, contortionists and aerial artists perform astounding acts, all accompanied by the season’s best Christmas music and classical favorites. n ZooLights at Binder Park Zoo. COURTESY PHOTO


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breakfast REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

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by Nick Macksood

DINING

SABORES DE LA ISLA Danzon Cubano lifts the embargo

DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE

I

42 | REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018

N THE 1960S, WHEN TRADE OFFICIALLY HALTED between the U.S. and the new island republic, virtually all the sights, smells and sounds of Cuba remained unchanged. Visit Havana today and you will still see vintage Chevrolets rolling down the old streets, the buildings left squat and unchanged in the last 60 years compared to its capitalist neighbor. And all for the better, in my opinion. Missing out on the vast hyper consumerism during the ’80s and the ’90s in a sense protected Cuban culture and cuisine from the stale corporate landscape that has only recently pivoted in our own American farm-to-table revolution. All these years, Cuba was 60 years ahead of us. Which brings us to Danzon Cubano. Grand Rapids’ latest and only full-service Cuban restaurant opened last month in earnest and brings with it that little slice of culture and history. Cuban cuisine brings nothing wholly unfamiliar to West Michigan. Its roots run deep in Spanish, Caribbean, African, Creole and even Chinese influence. Rice, for instance, looms large in Cuban cuisine but is not native to the island. The Chinese immigrants who moved to the New World brought rice and its cultivation to the Caribbean. But that does not mean Cuban food does not have its own signature creations. For lunch, there is the ubiquitous favorite: the Cubano, otherwise known as the mixto. It’s a sweet, spicy, briny sandwich with mojo pulled pork, ham, swiss mustard and pickles, all pressed flat onto a crusty thin roll. Or go for the lesser-known Elena Ruz. Legend has it that a young socialite used to ask the chefs at the El Carmelo restaurant in Havana to make a special sandwich not on the menu, one on medianoche bread with cream cheese spread, strawberry preserves and roasted turkey slices. They complied, and Cuban sandwich stands have been offering the Elena Ruz ever since. But personally, a perfect day-off lunch for me may be the gambas (shrimp) drenched in garlic butter and some pastelitos (filled pastries) with a cafe cubano, the milky, espresso-strong coffee that keeps Cubans buzzing. After dark, however, is where Danzon Cubano really lets loose. On a recent Saturday night, we caught Kevin Jones and Tenth World, a local jazz ensemble with Afro-Caribbean vibes, as we took in a classic mojito and a Portuguese vihno verde (green wine). Fortunately for our heads, the drink menu was not fully explored that night, Danzon Cubano. COURTESY PHOTOS

although the wine list with mostly European and South American varieties was intriguing, as was the array of rumcentric cocktails. The dinner menu is stuffed full of mouth-watering options. Staples such as ropa vieja, a shredded beef dish stewed in white wine, tomatoes and spices, appears alongside stunners like a whole roasted red snapper with Cuban vegetables and white rice. We had our sights set on the Cuban paella, however. Paella is, of course, a Spanish dish of Valencian origin. According to Danzon, its Cuban cousin does not feature saffron, the highly aromatic — and highly expensive — spice painstakingly harvested from the stigma of the Crocus Sativus flower. Danzon Cubano offers a vegetarian version, with roasted garlic, avocado and chickpeas, another with chicken and Spanish chorizo, and finally, one with seared scallops, shrimp, sautéed calamari and charred octopus. Paella de mariscos it is. But first, we had the tostones stuffed with congri — twicefried plantains filled with black beans and rice — which ought to go swimming in the garlicky, bright herbal sofrito served with them. Paired with some crusty empanadas filled with a mango-guava mixture and served in a papaya glaze, the duo made a fine sweet and salty introduction to the main dish. Which was, like, bonkers good. Served blisteringly hot in a cute little paella pan, the aromatic tomato-garlic oils sending up savory S.O.S. signals, we dove spoons-first into the crunchy-bottomed rice, scooping up little shrimp and squid along the way. Each element of the sea-briny dish was cooked perfectly. The danger of a dish like this is to blast everything to pieces, rendering seafood chewy and rice mushy if not cared for properly. I’m proud to declare that Danzon Cubano paid great attention to the fruits of the sea: scallops and shrimp delicate and sweet, the calamari slight enough to dissolve, and the octopus tender on the interior and nice black char on the outside. It was something to box up and savor reheating in a cast-iron skillet the next morning. Unfortunately for us, as Kevin Jones and Tenth World made the rounds after their first set, we grabbed our keys, piled on our coats — my mind dizzy with spices, we walked into the cold November air, the paella box sadly forgotten on the table. n


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Visit thegilmorecollection.com for current offerings REVUEWM.COM | DECEMBER 2018 |

43


By Josh Veal

DRINKS

HUNTER GATHERERS Long Road Distillers takes no shortcuts with its MICHIGIN

DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE

T

ucked safely between the peninsulas, Beaver Island is a singular place, untethered from time and unburdened by the mainland’s concerns. When we traveled there with Jon O’Connor and Kyle Van Strien of Long Road Distillers to scout for juniper berries, it felt like entering another world. It’s a place where the cars are purely functional, running just well enough to move you through the heavily wooded, unpaved roads. A place where you wave, to everyone, always. But most importantly, it’s a place with rich history and an incredible sense of community, which is crucial to Long Road’s MICHIGIN, a spirit made entirely with Michigan ingredients. “We joke about getting a place on the island because we feel like we go there so often now,” Van Strien said. “We’re still outsiders coming in, but we definitely feel welcomed by the majority of folks we come in contact with. We always have someone we can call.” That much was clear from our first trip to the market. Van Strien knew practically everyone there, including the owner, and all of them knew others he could contact. Without the island’s residents, MICHIGIN wouldn’t be possible. Juniper “berries” are the crux of a good gin, and they only grow in the wild. The small blue orbs are actually cones that lend the spirit its strong pine flavor. Theoretically, if you wanted to simply drive around the countryside and start picking, you could do that, but you’d never know whose property you’re on. On Beaver Island, however, juniper runs rampant and Long Road’s network of contacts makes it easy to figure out who owns what. We drove around looking for thick patches in the confirmed you-won’t-get-shot areas as Van Strien dropped pins on a robust GPS app. The following week, they would return with staff in tow. The actual act of picking the berries is a far cry from visiting the orchard with your mom — Long Road’s staff gathered hundreds of pounds over the course of 15 hours, split between two days. The entire process is hard work from beginning to end, which Van Strien fully appreciates. He said it’s much easier to make an all-Michigan whiskey or vodka. Gin also means sourcing other botanicals locally, such as mint. This year, Long Road also added white

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pine, foraged from Byron Center Farm, which should dry out the finish a bit and bring the pine flavor up front. The new batch is on shelves now. All that hard work comes through in the finished products. MICHIGIN has won plenty of awards, including Revue’s own Best of the West readers poll. And in a way, getting to spend any time at all on Beaver Island is a reward of its own. “It’s so beautiful,” Van Strien said. “It’s one of the coolest places you can visit in the state.” n

Long Road staff harvesting on Beaver Island. COURTESY PHOTOS

WHISKEY POINT BREWING HOPES TO LURE CRAFT AFICIONADOS TO MICHIGAN’S EMERALD ISLE | by Joe Boomgaard Lake Michigan’s largest island may seem like a world away, but it’s about to join a revolution that’s been spreading like wildfire on the mainland. After years of planning, Whiskey Point Brewing Co. is nearing its opening day on the main drag in the tiny community and population center toward the north end of Beaver Island, which has an overall year-round population of about 650 people. A long-time homebrewer, Patrick McGinnity decided to take the leap into professional brewing in the hopes that it can turn into an economic stimulus for the remote island, located about 35 miles off Charlevoix. The Emerald Isle is only accessible from the mainland by ferry or airplane. “We want to promote the craft nature of the island,” said McGinnity, who grew up on Beaver Island and moved back five and a half years ago to run the island’s library. Whiskey Point, so named for the land mass and historical trading post at the north end of Saint James Harbor, expects to open this year with a 2-barrel brewing system and make beers that “lean more toward the British Isles styles,” McGinnity said, noting the taproom features a 12-foot section from the original bar at Short’s Brewing Co. in Bellaire. The brewery also plans to feature a small food menu. To start, McGinnity expects to have limited distribution to a couple of Charlevoix locations, but in the long term hopes to grow Whiskey Point to serve as a beacon to lure more people to Beaver Island. With the brewery, McGinnity hopes to convert the local population — “known for its consumption of alcohol” — to a local, craft-made product, as well as turn the company into an economic engine that creates more jobs for islanders. His long-term goal: “I’d like to see it so Beaver Island exports more beer than it imports.” n


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LAST CALL BY NICK MACKSOOD PHOTO BY KATY BATDORFF

NO MUERTO MeXo GR It must be getting cold, because the tiki drinks are out in full force. In this version of another Don the Beachcomber classic, MeXo brings its trademark Mesoamerican flavors to the typically rum-heavy cocktail. The Jalisco Zombie swaps tequila and Swedish Punsch — a fortified spirit with spices — for rum and, well, more rum. Add MeXo’s vanilla-nutmeg syrup and you’re left with a balanced, fruit-forward drink with some warm baking spice notes on the palate. INGREDIENTS: 3/4 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum 3/4 oz. Olmeca Altos Tequila Blanco 1/2 oz. Kronan Swedish Punsch 3/4 oz. pomegranate juice 1/2 oz. lemon juice 1 oz. vanilla-nutmeg simple syrup Pour all liquors, juice and simple syrup into an iced mixer. Shake well, then strain into an iced highball glass. Garnish with mint.

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Profile for Revue Magazine

Revue Magazine, December 2018  

Revue Magazine, December 2018  

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