Page 1

December 2017

Music / Arts / Dining / Beer / Free!

Get Festive! Revue’s guide to the holidays: Where to shop, party, skate and more

Also Inside: Making Art Accessible Rockford Brewing Q&A GR Ballet’s A Christmas Carol Top Local Beers and Albums of the Year 2017's Restaurant Openings and Closings

Straight No Chaser

Terry Fator

Tickets start at $39

Tickets start at $37


DEC 15

Brenda Lee

Rodney Carrington

Tickets start at $27

Tickets start at $24

DEC 17

Rick SpringďŹ eld

Tickets start at $24

DEC 28

DEC 27

Theory of a Deadman

Tickets start at $37

DEC 29

Boys II Men

Tickets start at $30

DEC 30

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |






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8 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |













The Ultimate Michael Jackson



w/ Corrosion of Conformity, Eyehategod


















The Exclusive Re-creation of Genesis

w/ Emo Philips


10 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

JANUARY 28 BØRNS w/ Charlotte Cardin, Mikky Ekko



What’s Inside

December 2017 | Volume 29, Issue 12


What’s Going On this Month

16 Biz Beat: 2017 Business Happenings

SoundS 19

Local/On Tour: Greta Van Fleet


On Tour: Matisyahu


Top Local Albums of the Year



Grand Rapids Ballet presents A Christmas Carol


Style Notes: Uptown Gift-giving Edition


Comedy: Todd Barry


Film: Funny Laugh Productions

Revue Arts: 1A

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

Special Section: Holiday Guide 34

Ice Skating & Sledding


Holiday 5Ks


Holiday Event Guide


New Year's Eve Events


Holiday Entertaining at Home


Christmas Lights






Restaurant Guide


Top Beers of the Year


Q&A: Rockford Brewing Co.


New Brewery: North Channel


Last Call: Harmony Brewing Co.

Letter from the Editor


Meanwhile, local bands and venues keep

’m convinced 2016 was five years ago. Who knows how it happened, but

raising the bar for our music scene; boutiques

there is just no way 2017 was 365 days

and clothing stores are opening and expanding

long, not with everything we’ve gone

all over; and our arts scene continues to impress,

through. I think I have five years worth of new

while putting an increased focus on equity and

wrinkles and grey hairs to prove it.


Then again, maybe it’s because every day

The point is, 2017 has been full of ups and

provides enough breaking news for a week — or

downs. For now, maybe it’s best to just focus

I might just spend too much time on Twitter.

on the holidays. They can be stressful at times,

That’s not to say 2017 hasn’t been without

sure, but that’s why we’ve put together a holiday

its upsides. For one thing, the Grim Reaper took

guide to help you out. You’ll find out where to

a year off from collecting widely beloved musi-

shop, skate, sled, find Christmas lights and party

cians and actors. Instead, Lady Justice has come

for New Year's Eve, along with some direction

out swinging on all kinds of nasty men.

for hosting parties. Whatever kind of year (or five) you’ve had,

On a more local level, the restaurant and brewery scenes have continued to grow, giving

we hope you find it helpful.

small towns a much-needed boost while bigger cities like Grand Rapids rapidly develop, for better or worse. That growth has allowed for more ’Til next time,

unique experiences, like Happy Cat Cafe and

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 / Editor Joe Boomgaard / Managing Editor Josh Veal / Copy Editor Claire Boomgaard Design Creative Director Kim Kibby / Contributing Writers Missy Black Eric Mitts Kelly Brown Samara Napolitan Dana Casadei Jane Simons Dwayne Hoover Elma Talundzic Kara Toay Nick Macksood Kayla Tucker Marla R. Miller Cover illustration Anthony Carpenter Contributing Photographers Katy Batdorff, Stacey Clack, Seth Thompson Advertising / 616.608.6170 / Kelli Belanger / Joe Langlois / Digital EditorS Kim Kibby, Josh Veal

Kava Kasa, along with a forthcoming poke bowl shop (Wiki Wiki) and phlot, a sensory depriva-

Find us online!

tion tank service. We may even see the return of Gaia Cafe if its Kickstarter does well enough.

Josh Veal, Managing Editor

(Head to Facebook for a link.) Website: Twitter: Facebook: Instagram:

Upcoming is sue s January: 30th Anniversary Issue

February: Wintertime Blues

We take a look back on 30 years of Revue, how it began and how it's changed since. We'll also help you out with that New Year's resolution as we dive into fitness in West Michigan.

In February, we're really in the thick of it. We'll help you escape the doldrums and appreciate winter for what it has to offer with activities inside and out.

To AdvertisE: Call (616) 608-6170 or email Space reservation is the 10th of the month before publication.

12 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Revue is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. 65 Monroe Center, Ste. 5, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182 ©2017, 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: Our guide to the holidays is filled with activies and ideas. Illustration by Anthony Carpenter. See page 33.



Live bands begin at 2PM and don’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. We hope to see you on the dance floor!

2PM – 5PM | A Mays & Blue | R&B 6PM – 10PM | CP2 | Top 40s 11PM – 4AM | Brena | ‘70s to Current Hits


Reserve your spot. Tables are $200 for up to 4 people, and booths start at $400 for 8 to 12 people. To reserve call 269.792.7631 or email Must be 21+ and have a Passport card and valid photo ID. Must be present to play. See Rewards Center or for complete details. ©2017 Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority. All rights reserved.

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


/// best bets

what’s Going on this month |  Compiled by Revue Staff

12/1 1997 Tribute Show

The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 1, 7 p.m., $10 It’s impressive enough to see one album performed in its entirety, but Pyramid Scheme is taking throwback to the next level with local artists performing five iconic 1997 albums from front to back: Spiceworld by Spice Girls, Third Eye Blind by Third Eye Blind, Homogenic by Bjork, OK Computer by Radiohead, and Dude Ranch by Blink 182. Proceeds will benefit Heart of West Michigan United Way.

Tommy Emmanuel Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo Dec. 1, 7 p.m., $39.50

Tommy Emmanuel is an award-winning guitarist, songwriter and singer who plays the melody, supporting chords and bass all at once. At this special performance, Emmanuel is playing one full set of solo acoustic songs, followed by a full set of Christmas favorites with Pat Bergeson, John Knowles and Annie Sellick.

Found Footage Fest

Dining | sights | Sounds Scene

UICA 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids Dec. 1, 8 p.m., $12

When Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett went on local news as a fake strongman duo, they probably didn’t expect to get sued for fraud and copyright infringement. But now, to help support the legal battle, the duo is going on tour with a show focused on VHS tapes gathered from garage sales, thrift stores, warehouses and dumpsters around North America. The hosts will take you on a guided tour, complete with commentary and some where-are-they-now updates. Some highlights include: a collection of satanic panic videos from the ’80s, on-air bloopers from local news, and exclusive

14 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

selections from David Letterman’s VHS Collection.

the show is experimental electronic pop duo Purity Ring.

12/6 Night of Native

Cats and Canvas

12/7 & 12/21


Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Dec. 6, 7 p.m., free

Happy Cat Cafe 447 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids Dec. 7 & 21, $30

It’s rare to see life from indigenous peoples’ perspective on the big screen, so Cinema Lab is providing that opportunity with a night of short films by Native American filmmakers from all over Turtle Island (a.k.a. North America). This includes the local premier of Mino Bimaadiziwin, the new short film from Anishinaabe filmmaker Shane McSauby.

Is there any artistic subject more elegant, more divine, more adorable than the not-so-humble housecat? No. Add your work to the long and impressive canon of feline masterpieces while drinking coffee and surrounded by the critters themselves at either one of these events. Happy Cat Cafe will supply a beverage, an apron and materials.

12/7 Katy Perry w/ Purity Ring

Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids Dec. 7, 7 p.m., $50+ Katy Perry has had her ups and downs, going four years without releasing an album until 2017’s Witness. It’s a wild ride, with goofy anthems like Swish Swish (feat. Nicki Minaj) and futuristic pop like Bon Appetit (feat. Migos). If past tours are any indication, this show will be full of wild costumes, huge sets and big choreography. Opening


Cardboard Sleigh Race

Downtown Grand Rapids Dec. 16, 11 a.m., $30 entry fee

Here’s your chance to get crafty, putting together a sleigh from just cardboard, glue, tape and paint. Deck out your ride in the most creative way possible and try to wear a costume to go with it, as you’ll have a shot at prizes, photos and bragging rights. The race will take over Ionia Avenue, which you might notice is flat. This means the race is more dogsled than bobsled, with one person in the sleigh and two pushing or pulling.

12/12-16 Rockford Brewing Co.

5th Anniversary Party

Rockford Brewing Co. 12 E. Bridge St., Rockford Dec. 12-16

Tom Petty Tribute at The Pyramid Scheme, Dec. 30

Everyone knows it takes five days to properly celebrate a fifth birthday, which means

Katy Perry w/ Purity Ring at Van Andel Arena, Dec. 7 Rockford Brewing Co. is doing it right this month. Day one is half off pints, day two is 55.5 percent off howler and growler fills, day three is 23 percent off the total bill, day four is half off gift cards and day five is half off merchandise. That’s not to mention performances from bands like An Dro and Hazy Past, along with two beer releases: Shanty Warmer, a Russian imperial stout, and Complete Nutter Madness, an imperial porter with vanilla, coffee and peanut butter.

12/15 Emo Night Brooklyn

The Intersection 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 15, 9 p.m., $10 If you’re looking for a place to unabashedly dance, sing and scream along to Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard and every other band you fell in love with during the late 2000s, Emo Night is for you. This traveling party is all about community, nostalgia and absolute bangers. Don’t be afraid to bust out the black nail polish and eyeshadow.


A Tribute to Tom Petty

The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 30, 8 p.m., $10 While 2017 didn’t see as many tragic musical deaths as 2016, we didn’t escape completely unscathed — Tom Petty was taken in October, for instance. The Pyramid Scheme is closing out the year with a tribute to the singer-songwriter, featuring local artists like May Erlewine, Karisa Wilson, Max Lockwood and Lucas Wilson. It’s also for a good cause, as all proceeds are going to Safe Haven Ministries, a nonprofit helping women and children find freedom from domestic violence. n

Find more events in the holiday section, Revue Arts, and at!

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


/// news

Russo's Internat

ional Market

New Hotel Mertens

west Michigan

2017 biz beat

A Roundup of Openings & Closings Over the Past Year | by Josh Veal Over the past year, dozens of businesses have come and gone, but on the whole, they’re mostly coming. At least 30 restaurants have opened doors this year, from sandwich shops to whiskey bars with $22 entrees and a brewery with Puerto Rican food. West Michigan’s capacity for great food may reach a ceiling at some point, but we don’t seem to be anywhere near it yet. Here’s our look back on 2017.

OPENED THIS MONTH: New Hotel Mertens (35 Oakes St. SW, Grand Rapids) offers high-end French food at an affordable price, along with cocktails, spirits and wine.

Brown Butter Creperie and

The Peoples Cider Co. (539 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids) is now open on Leonard, providing the perfect place to wait for your table at Long Road Distillers or Mitten Brewing, but it also makes an excellent standalone visit. Stop inside for oak- and bourbonaged cider, perry and more.


16 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Kayla Rae Cellars (31 Courtland St., Rockford) has introduced its own onsite brewery in the form of MI

Brewery, currently serving beers on tap alongside rotating, seasonal hard ciders and sangria.

focuses on specialty sushi, but also offers Chinese and Thai entrees.

After 10 years of serving homemade chocolate at the Holland Farmers Market, the married couple behind Marzec Chocolates has officially opened a spot at 453 Washington Ave., Holland. You’ll find chocolatecovered pretzels and fruits, toffee, cherry almond bark and much more.

Following the closing of Cult Pizza, Good Pizza Co. (10 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) shifted the space’s vibe away from alt and punk to colorful, playful and pun-heavy. Good Pizza also picked up a BYOB wine and cider license, and offers by-the-slice options.

OPENED THIS YEAR: Soho Sushi (58 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids) opened where XO Asian Cuisine once stood. Soho

Brown Butter Creperie and Cafe (1436 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids) has set up shop in the adorable windmill building that once held Cakabakery. Brown Butter brought sweet and savory from-scratch crepes to Grand Rapids.

. People’s Cider Co

tasting room

18th Amendment Spirits Co. Buffalo Lounge

Butcher’s Union (438 Bridge St., Grand Rapids) opened to much acclaim, regularly garnering two-hour wait times for its excellent food and craft cocktails, long whiskey list and transportative big-city atmosphere. One Bourbon (608 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids) made the second whiskey bar on Bridge Street, with more than 100 whiskeys on the menu, along with signature cocktails, beer, wine and high-end versions of classic American food. Craft Beer Cellar (404 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) became the first craft beer bottle shop in the city’s downtown area, with shelves full of West Michigan brews. But more than a store, it’s also a taproom, serving on draft some of the very beers that are available to take home. 7 Monks Taproom (740 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids) arrived with 51 craft beer taps and all kinds of gastropub delicacies, like Korean Nachos, the Bacon Jam Burger and a Sweet Potato Pizza. In Muskegon, 18th Amendment Spirits Co. (250 W. Western Ave.) debuted with whistle punk., a born-again pizzeria. Stop in for a wood-fired pizza and craft spirits made into top-notch cocktails.

Rower’s Club (616 Fulton St. SW) launched on Grand Rapids’ West Side. The new concept from Rowster Coffee is pretty similar to the original store, offering specialty coffee and some snacks.

Thornapple Brewing (6262 28th St., Cascade) was a hit out of the gate with a lineup of classic beer styles like Treyway, a Belgian Trippel, and Brown Eyed Girl, an English Brown. The seven-barrel brewery also offers cider, wine and mead, along with a kitchen serving up pizza made on spent-grain crust. Where Tre Cugini once stood, Mazzo Cucina D’Italia (122 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids) set up shop. Arrive at lunch for affordable sandwiches or make an evening of it with gourmet meat entrees. Either way, unique pizzas and pasta are available all day, along with some amazing brussels sprouts. Ando Asian Kitchen + Bar (415 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids) added its presence to the ever-developing Bridge Street. This new concept is run by three chefs with lifetimes of experience in Asian cuisine, bringing together Korean and Vietnamese influences to offer ramen, sushi, bibimbap and much more. Buffalo Traders Lounge (950 Fulton St. NE, Grand Rapids) opened next to Buffalo Tobacco Traders. You’ll find classic craft cocktails, a chill interior, beer from around the world, and an excellent happy hour. In Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market, Pho 616 (435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) set up shop, bringing the Vietnamese noodle soup to downtown. The family-owned joint has a fairly simple menu, with pho bo (beef noodle soup), banh mi, summer rolls and iced coffee. n

OTHER OPENINGS: The Candied Yam (2305 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids): Soul food restaurant. The Blue Moose Sports Pub (6240 28th St., Grand Rapids): Sports bar. Silver Star Cafe (250 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids): Affordable lunch food. Herb & Fire Pizzeria (2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids): Pizzeria, second location. Palio Ristorante (545 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids): Italian restaurant. Bostwick Bakery (4029 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids): Bakery and lunch food. Dokl’s Meat Market (4615 West River Dr., Comstock Park): Meat and cheese market. Riverside Lounge (5430 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids): Bar, with wide craft beer and whiskey selection. Brewery 4 Two 4 (321 Douglas Ave., Holland): Brewery, bring your own food. Big Boiler Brewing (318 E. Main St., Lowell): Brewery with burgers and American food. Noco Provisions (4609 Cascade Road, Grand Rapids): New American restaurant. Big Willy’s Italian Beef (1450 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids): Sandwich and sausage shop. Irie Kitchen (6630 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Kentwood): Jamaican restaurant. Kingma’s Market (444 Ada Dr. SE, Ada): Grocery store, second location. Rockford Cheese Shop (49 E. Bridge St. NE, Rockford): Cheese shop. The Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand (442 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids):

Coffee shop and roastery, second location. Rendezvous Lounge (187 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids): Breakfast in the morning, cocktails at night. 616 Mitten Market (1186 Walker Ave. NW, Grand Rapids): Michigan-made boutique. Green Well Gastropub (8 E. Bridge St., Rockford): Gastropub, second location. Russo’s International Market (241 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids): Market and bar/bistro, second location. North Channel Brewing Co. (86 Washington St., Manistee): Brewery, eclectic food menu.

CLOSINGS: Sip Organic Juice Bar (423 Norwood Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) Lazy Susan (411 Wilson Ave., Standale) LINC UP Soul Food Cafe (1167 Madison Ave. SE, Grand Rapids) Millgrove Brewing Co. (633 114th Ave., Allegan) Black Heron Kitchen & Bar (428 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids) Horseshoe Smokehouse (333 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids) Saburba (7277 Thornapple River Dr. Suite B, Ada) Duthler’s Family Foods (648 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids) Wealthy at Charles (738 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids) El Barrio Mexican Grill (545 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids)

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |

Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining

Pho On The Block (1301 Portage St., Kalamazoo) opened, bringing Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian cuisine to Kalamazoo. You can probably guess one of the menu items, but you’ll also find Banh Mi, bulgogi beef, Vietnamese chicken wings and Kimchi Fries.

At long last, City Built Brewing (820 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids) opened. The brewery hit the ground running with beers like Amore Estivo, a lemon basil saison; TKBY, a kettle sour saison; and Flower Power, a green tea chamomile pale ale. You’ll find tacos, tortas, bori balls and much more.


18 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

/// Local Music

Greta Van Fleet Photo:Michael Lavine

Year On Fire

Michigan rockers Greta Van Fleet celebrate sudden success with sold-out Intersection show |  by Eric Mitts


expression, with Jake quickly gravitating to the guitar. “I knew early on that (the guitar) was a tool that I could use to speak with spiritually,” Kiszka said. Jake was the first to start what would become Greta Van Fleet, and soon wrangled both of his brothers into the project, where they continued to grow and explore their shared influences together. “I think we really egg each other on musically and try to push each other to the next level,” Kiszka said. “In the household that we grew up in, it wasn’t just music. There was literature and film and different forms of art, and we all sort of took different angles. I was always the musician early on, and Josh was always cinema-oriented, and Sam was always into literature, and that sort of bleeds over (into the music) now.” Last month, the band followed up the success of Black Smoke Rising with the doubleEP release From The Fires, its name inspired by summer nights around the bonfire on family trips to Yankee Springs. The new release combines the band’s four already released songs

Greta Van Fleet (Sold out)

The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 30, 7:30 p.m., (616) 451-8232

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |

Scene | Sounds | Sights | Dining

his time last year, Jak e K iszk a h ad no ide a w h at was a bou t t o h a p p e n for him or h i s b a nd , G r e t a Va n F le e t . Yet, in just the past 12 months, the band went from the relative obscurity of its Michigan hometown of Frankenmuth to one of the hottest acts in the country — selling out two headlining tours in advance and having its debut single, Highway Tune, top both the Billboard Mainstream and Active Rock charts. “I don’t think that in any of our minds we expected to garner such immediate attention like we have over the last year,” Kiszka told Revue. “I don’t think any of us were expecting that.” The buzz came in early and often for Greta Van Fleet this year. Upon releasing its debut EP Black Smoke Rising back in April, the band was named Artist of the Week by Apple

Music. Online music sites and major media outlets soon followed, with some calling the young band the face of rock ‘n’ roll for a new generation, while others compared them to the legendary Led Zeppelin. Not bad for a band who still had two of its members in high school at the time. “It’s difficult to perceive how much has happened, because it’s so constant,” Kiszka said of the band’s rapid acclaim, growing popularity and hectic schedule. “It’s sort of like being in the eye of a storm, where there’s so much going on around you, but right in the center it’s very calm.” Made up of Jake Kiszka, 21, on lead guitar, his twin brother Josh on vocals, his younger brother Sam, 18, on bass/keyboards, and longtime friend Danny Wagner, 18, on drums, Greta Van Fleet first started in 2012. The Kiszka brothers grew up in a musical household, where their father exposed them to all the classic rock greats, from The Who to Jimi Hendrix, with dad’s extensive vinyl collection in near constant rotation. Encouraged at an early age to be artistic and creative, the brothers all sought different forms of

with two new original tracks and two covers. It’s also just a hint at the massive quantity of new material the band has already written and recorded, and is eager to release in the near future. Greta Van Fleet takes its name from one of Frankenmuth’s town elders — an octogenarian named Gretna Van Fleet — who has given the band her blessing, and even attended one of its shows. That close connection to home hasn’t left the band either, even as the brothers have sold out concerts in nearly every city they’ve gone to this year. “I didn’t particularly think that living in this environment had too much to do with contributing to my influences,” Kiszka said of growing up in Frankenmuth. “But now that we’ve been away from home for so long, and seen how (other cities) work and how there’s large scenes of bands in a lot of areas, and how heavily amalgamated that is … being from Frankenmuth, a small town sort of in the middle of nowhere, where there weren’t too many influences, really is what gave birth to the influences that came naturally to us and that weren’t forced on us by anyone.” Already following in the footsteps of many Michigan-born-and-bred rockers, Kiszka said he’s honored to add to that legacy in any way that he can. “If we can even just stand a bit close to some of the legends that have come out of here, like Bob Seger and MC5 — it’s overwhelmingly cool to be able to rub shoulders with those guys,” Kiszka said. Greta Van Fleet had the chance to open for Seger at the Dow Events Center in Saginaw, ahead of its first trip to Europe this fall. After all its travels, the band is eager to come home to Michigan this month for two triumphant shows at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit and a sold-out night at The Intersection. “Hopefully, I think in the coming years, (we’ll) be able to be graced with the ability to play for larger audiences and I think doing that would make it easier to convey the messages and the meanings that we have in our music and be able to spread love, peace and unity,” Kiszka said. “I think (playing) on a larger scale would be ideal, and that’s what we’d all love to do.” n


/// On Tour

Bottle Shop & Bar

Living, Writing, Playing Together Matisyahu explains his band’s approach to the new album

n Downtow


eR e B t s e LaRG ion seLect over 800 Beers 20 Drafts Growler Fills Weekly events Free tastings Happy Hour: Mon.–Fri, 12–6 pm

Free 30-minute parking across the street

404 IonIa ave. SW (616) 350.9170

|  by Dwayne Hoover


at i s ya h u h a s de vo t e d h i s m usic a l c a r e e r t o deliver ing highly introspective messages in a style that’s all his own. Fusing reggae with hip-hop and layering it over a jam band style of indie rock, he has released a number of albums — including two Gold Certified records and the Top 40 hit King Without a Crown — that touch not just on personal themes, but on his religious views on Hasidic Judaism as well. His latest record, Undercurrent, is described by Matisyahu (whose real name is Matthew Miller) as what he imagines Abraham’s walk back down the mountain was like after being instructed by God to kill his own son. “I think you come back from dramatic or intense experiences, or a series of experiences, during a certain part of your life,” Matisyahu said. “And then there’s the next period of coming to terms with who you are and who you are becoming, where you are and the next phase after that.” It picks up where his previous record, Akeda, left off, a time when Matisyahu was undergoing an extremely transitional period in his own life. “I’ve definitely written some songs that are more inspirational or two-dimensional, but this music I feel definitely conveys more of the full human experience,” Matisyahu said. “I feel the two records come and go together — at this phase in my life, they belong together.” The entire band’s approach to songwriting also sets Undercurrent apart from previous work. A deliberate focus was placed on capturing the group’s live performances, specifically the improvisations, which resulted

Matisyahu in eight tracks that average around eight minutes in length each. “A lot of the music was written on tour already, written during live improvisations,” Matisyahu said. “Then we brought those improvisations back into a studio space and tried to craft them into songs. It was all born out of the live experience on this record for sure. … I wanted each song to traverse into the many different styles, genres and feels that we go into, just like in a live show.” This latest album was also the band’s first self-produced endeavor, which allowed more creative exploration, something the

Photo: Nechama Leitner

band found it does just as well in the studio as it does on stage. “We work together really well, we write together well, we play together and we live together,” Matisyahu said. “We do so many things together, so it was very natural to be writing and recording together.” n

Matisyahu The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 13, 7 p.m., $27.50, (616) 451-8232



FireK Casin


Dec. JOB














PARTY EVER SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31 • DOORS: 9 PM Tickets available now at the FireKeepers Box Office, or 877.FKC.8777.



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

FK-29960_Dec_RevueMag_9.25x10.indd 1

REVUEWM.COM | December 20173:57| PM 21 11/14/17

/// local music At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000

Year In Revue

West Michigan’s Best Local Albums of 2017 |  by Eric Mitts


Nov. 30 - Dec. 2


DecemDbAerNIELS 7-9

ALONZO BODDEN December 14-16

Every year, West Michigan seems to overflow with great releases from homegrown musical talents, and 2017 has been no exception. Rising regional stars like Traverse City’s The Accidentals, Albion’s Jake Kershaw and recent Nashville-transplant Billy Strings all marked huge milestones in their young careers this year, while longtime hard-rocking favorite Wayland continued to put its small West Michigan hometown on the musical map with its latest high-volume LP. The year also saw our music community say goodbye to one of its most promising bands, Vox Vidorra, as the winner of Revue’s annual Best of the West readers’ poll parted ways before releasing its long-awaited second album. Headlines and heartache aside, the triumphs far outweighed the challenges and this list is just a taste of some of the absolutely fantastic and wildly diverse records that make our home one of the best places for original music.

Last Gasp Collective, Agape Completely incomparable, Kalamazoo’s Last Gasp Collective emerged early in 2017 with its debut full-length. The LP beautifully blends the sometimes disparate worlds of hip-hop and classical, indie rock and jazz with an absolutely masterful touch and open mind. Like nothing else, the group’s collaborative spirit gives the record a freeform feel without losing its focus on making individual voices heard and their dreams known. In a year when unique voices and daring dreams meant more than ever, Agape was a refreshing breath of fresh air.

Lipstick Jodi, self-titled

Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene


DecemberSH2A1-R2T 3 Poised with promise for years, Lipstick Jodi made a lasting impression on the Grand Rapids music scene with the release of its full-length debut this fall. Easily exceeding even the most extravagant expectations, the album brilliantly captures all of the band’s indie-rock intricacies, alt-rock appeal and pop-punk power. Lead vocalist/ guitarist Karli Moorhouse has grown into a captivating voice, both for the indie scene and the LGBT community, and her genuine songwriting here has pushed her band into the forefront of West Michigan’s future.

The Fever Haze, Slouch


8 December 2

22 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 Sometimes passion burns so hot from within, it consumes everything. Those are the stakes behind the latest — and last — LP from Holland’s The Fever Haze. A true grit rock

‘n’ roll band through and through, the band’s swansong stands tall against its gigantic influences, emerging from the shadows of Bruce Springsteen, Wilco and Built To Spill with a determination and yearning that are unyielding on the record. The band will celebrate the staggering strength of its final album with one last hurrah in its hometown on Dec. 2 at the Park Theatre.

Mark Lavengood, We’ve Come Along For more than six years, Mark Lavengood toured the country and recorded bluegrass gold with Michigan roots outfit Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys. But by the end of 2017, he decided to part ways with his musical brothers and sister to raise his own family and double down on the projects he’s helped foster in Grand Rapids. As one of the most likeable and awe-inspiring players in our area, Lavengood couldn’t have released a better solo record to serve as the start of his new chapter or showcase his immense talent.

Lokella, Shedding Skin West Michigan’s once gigantic metal and hardcore music scene has undergone one metamorphosis after another over the last decade, and no band embodied those visceral growing pains in 2017 more than Lokella. The group rose from the ashes of post-hardcore juggernauts Fine Fine Titans last year, but with a more melodic and nuanced sound. Led by frontwoman Jennifer Bartlett, the band has grown into its own, casting off the past while adding layers of haunting atmosphere that hint at a fascinating future. n



LIVE IN CONCERT with Jim Alfredson & Lawrence Barris

December 11 - 7pm • Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St Grand Rapids MI • 616-459-4788 Tickets $20 / $15 Advanced / $10 student

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decemBER SHOWS 12/2

Electric Tunas 12/7

The Willeys 12/9

Serita's Black Rose 12/14

Kathy Lamar 12/16

Natchez Trace

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Scene | Sounds | Sights | Dining


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Gift Ideas


f you’re on the lookout for a unique Christmas shopping experience, Grand Rapids has a day for you, offering ultracreative gifts from more than 150 businesses and a shuttle service to get you there. On Dec. 7, from 4-10 p.m., hit up the Uptown Holiday Shop Hop event that spans four business districts: East Fulton, East Hills, Eastown and Wealthy Street. “The evening draws a huge crowd,” said Uptown Corridor Manager Christine Helms-Maletic, “It feels neighborly and community-oriented, with people listening to carolers and drinking hot cocoa.” New to the scene are relocating businesses Woosah Outfitters and Dime & Regal, while regulars like City Antiques put on a party with a band and outstanding décor spectacles. Also make sure to visit Gallery 154 (that place with the big “UNPREDICTABLE GIFTS” banner), where the entire first floor currently is filled with ornaments.



EAST FULTON 1. You can never have too many purses and you can’t go wrong with this chic brown Coach cross body bag, $111.74 at Urban Exchange.


EAST HILLS 2. It’s the season for warm, cute and cozy, so snag this fur-pom ribbed hat in gold, $85 at Iris Boutique.





3. From an artisan cooperative in Nepal, these handknit and fair-trade wool mittens keep hands toasty, $20 at Global Infusion. 4. Nora Faber’s abstract paintings won’t disappoint. The set pictured here is $165 (others available) at Richard App Gallery.

WEALTHY 6. Wine flight chocolates featuring two caramels and four truffles each made with a different wine, $18.50 at Mokaya. 7. Cousin Oscar is a medium-bodied, thirst quenching, organic red sure to impress the wine connoisseur, $15 at Art of the Table.

Mokaya Photo: Leigh Ann Cobb

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |

Scene | Sounds |Sights Dining

EASTOWN 5. 5 Sens enhancing dry oil is a multi-purpose hair and body oil that protects, nourishes and moisturizers, $52 at Capelli Salon.


by Eric Mitts


Crowd Control

Longtime stand-up Todd Barry returns to Pyramid Scheme for night of audience interaction

Dining |Sights Sounds | Scene


“I’ve had comics talk to me, and they say ver his 30-year career, things like, ‘This inspired me. I should work sta n d - u p c o m e d i a n on my crowd work,’” Barry said. “But you Todd Barry has become don’t really have to do crowd work. I do it a master of working a room. With because I want to. In certain circumstances, his signature dry wit, he can turn I don’t even like it when comics do crowd everyday small talk into hilarious work. I guess there are some times when you banter that keeps an entire crowd rolling with need some skills when there’s some trouble laughter. in the crowd, but I don’t think it’s something Naturally, he’s decided to celebrate 30 you set out to practice. A lot of my favorite years of telling jokes by going out on tour and comics go out and tell jokes and don’t do a not telling any jokes — as he so frankly puts it. second of crowd work.” Anyone expecting to just sit back and Adding that he doesn’t want to become laugh at an ordinary stand-up show might known solely for doing crowd work, Barry want to be ready to suddenly become part said he has a new special tentatively slated of the act. for release sometime “I get excited not next year, when he plans knowing what’s about to hit the road again to to happen as opposed tell jokes. to knowing an order or “There’s people who “It’s a little narcisa set list of jokes,” Barry think there’s only four si st ic to t h i n k t h at said of doing crowd-work people are sitting at shows. “I love doing that cities in the world home thinking about me also, but (this is) just a where smart people and whether I’m a crowd break from that.” live, and it’s just work comic or not,” he For those who said. “No one really haven’t seen his 2014 not true. I can get a gives a shit other than special, Todd Barry: The workable size crowd me. But for my own self, Crowd Work Tour, these in any city I go to, I was thinking about doshows consist simply of ing another crowd work him picking out memregardless of where it special, but I thought, bers of the audience to is, or whether it’s a red ‘Why don’t we just make talk to, and finding the state or a blue state this a one-time thing as humor that comes from far as a special and not having a conversation on or anything like that.” beat it to death?’ At the the spot. live shows, I will beat it P roduced by h is death.” good friend and fellow Looking back on his comedy career, comedian Louis C.K., the Crowd Work Tour Barry said he never imagined he’d end up special drew a spotlight onto an aspect of doing stand-up for more than 30 years. stand-up that Barry readily admits he didn’t “I just did it as a goof, and I just didn’t invent, though it has gone underrated for a stop really,” he said of getting his start in long time. comedy at an open mic night.

26 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Todd Barry

Since then, he’s travelled the country countless times, performing in cities big and small. He’s also recorded four comedy albums, hosts his own podcast, and has appeared — often as himself — on everything from FX’s Louie and Netflix’s Master of None to animated shows like Fox’s Bob’s Burgers. Most recently, he wrote his first book, Thank You For Coming To Hattiesburg, where he chronicled some of his mundane misadventures in some of America’s lesser-known cities. “A lot of touring is not interesting. A lot of it is I’m looking for some Thai food in Lansing, or somewhere,” he said. “It’s not like being on the road with Guns N’ Roses in 1985.” Part tour diary, part travel log and part memoir, the book captures Barry’s sardonic voice perfectly while using his own ordinary experience as a way to explain how everyone is even more connected than they realize.

“There’s a point to the book, and it’s that even people who fancy themselves as progressive, a lot of them have prejudices that aren’t as spoken about as much as other prejudices,” Barry said. “People think, ‘How can you do a show in Little Rock? Or how can you do a show in Birmingham, Alabama, or the Midwest?’ There’s people who think there’s only four cities in the world where smart people live, and it’s just not true. I can get a workable size crowd in any city I go to, regardless of where it is, or whether it’s a red state or a blue state or anything like that.” n

Todd Barry: 30th Anniversary Crowd Work Tour The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 7, 8 p.m., $18, (616) 272-3758

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Scene | Sounds |Sights Dining REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


indie film

by Kara Toay

Short and Sweet

Funny Laugh Productions’ new ‘microfilms’ hit home


Dining |Sights Sounds | Scene

u n n y L augh P roduc tions makes films that people can both laugh at and relate to, whether they’re about struggling to take a good selfie, feeling afraid of a big move (to space), or whatever else we all go through. This month, the company is releasing two more of its “microfilms,” movies that are even shorter than your typical short. First off: Anchored by Gravity, a film that aired at ArtPrize and was created for CineSpace Festival, a contest held in association with Houston Cinema Arts Festival. Jackie Jorgenson said the goal of the contest was for filmmakers to make short films that incorporate actual NASA footage. “It was such a cool opportunity where we’ve been given permission to use their footage and we just could not pass that up,” Jorgenson said. Anchored by Gravity follows an astronaut who is about to blast off into space the next day. She doesn’t know what to expect and is having a hard time saying goodbye to the emotional and physical support system available to her on Earth, along with gravity. It comes out on Dec. 9. The second film, scheduled for release on Dec. 16, is Headstrong. This film also competed in a contest, this one through a

28 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

company called Film Riot. The company paired up with Filmstro, a film-scoring software. For the contest, filmmakers just had to use the software in creating whatever story they wanted. Jorgenson chose a storyline about a girl who just wants to take a selfie, but when she does, she feels like her forehead is too big

for the picture. As she takes more selfies, her forehead continues to get bigger. Haley Simpson said this was easily one of her favorite acting pieces that Jorgenson has done. “The timing is perfect and the looks are so genuine,” Simpson said. The story is based on Jorgenson herself and how no matter what angle she turns her phone camera, it makes her forehead look big, but when she runs to the mirror, her forehead looks normal. “I just wanted to make something that was kind of fun, but also a commentary on how — especially women — but people in general can really beat themselves up on these silly little insecurities,” Jorgenson said. Simpson said she hopes these pieces show how microfilms can be a great form of expression for smaller companies. “They can be just as impactful as the bigger films,” Simpson said. Jorgenson added that a full crew is not needed to make a film, explaining how she directed Anchored by Gravity herself and filmed it on her phone. “It can be really intimidating, especially for people in communities like Grand Rapids, when you crave to perform, but you feel like to a certain extent it isn’t in your hands to create these opportunities,” Jorgenson said.

“What we’re trying to show is you absolutely can.” She heard about the contests and immediately pounced on them. “I’m just the kind of person where, I know if I don’t do it right away, I’m going to totally forget it and then regret that I forgot it,” Jorgenson said. Writing varied for the projects, with the script for Anchored by Gravity taking a few weeks to complete. “For me, I had to kind of do some rewrites to make that concept anchored in something real that people could relate to,” Jorgenson said. For Headstrong, Jorgenson already had a vague idea that could be turned into something before she even heard of the contest. “I wanted to do something where it starts off and you may not really know what you’re getting into,” Jorgenson said. “The ending is something you’re not really going to see coming.” Simpson added, “it’s a beautiful ending, you might say.” Other releases from Funny Laugh Productions in November included Queen West Woman and Lucky, which also aired at ArtPrize. Queen West Woman is a fashion film/ad about an Etsy shop and was released on Nov. 1. As for Lucky, the company released the script itself on Nov. 19, which is the first time the company has done so. “We wanted to show that we also focus on that kind of script. We also focus on story, not just the film, but story itself,” Simpson said. n To view these flicks, visit Funny Laugh Productions’ YouTube and Vimeo channels.



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30 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

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December 2017

Christmas Present GR Ballet’s A Christmas Carol weaves together original choreography and score. SEE PAGE 12A. Story by Kayla Tucker. Photo by Seth Thompson.



ART FOR ALL Working to make art accessible



TEST OF TIME How holiday classics become classics



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[BEST BETS] A Celtic Christmas Putting a Celtic twist on one of West Michigan Symphony’s most popular concerts, Irish vocalist Cathie Ryan and her band are joining the symphony for A Celtic Christmas featuring a wide variety of holiday favorites. Ryan has chosen Muskegon for the world premiere of a new seasonal program that reflects her Celtic roots and includes traditional holiday music such as On Christmas Morn, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear and Angels We Have Heard on High, plus traditional Irish music and a set featuring the Irish Uilleann Pipes. “Cathie is an intimate force of nature, and when she sings, you feel that she’s singing only to you,” said Music Director Scott Speck. “She can hold an audience in the palm of her hand.” The holiday pops concert also brings West Michigan Symphony’s Children’s Choir to the stage. Speck called the group “our greatest pride and joy — a top-notch, home-grown musical institution.” ­—Marla Miller


A Celtic Christmas West Michigan Symphony / Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., $25-$57, (231) 726-3231

Photo: Tim Motley

The Nutcracker The annual performance of The Nutcracker by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company is a must-see during the holiday season. The show has been reimagined by Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express, with live music by the Grand Rapids Symphony, choreography by Val Caniparoli and set design by Tony Award winner Eugene Lee. This year will have Dawnell Dryja dancing for the last time as the Sugar Plum Fairy. “The role was created on me,” Dawnell said, explaining that Caniparoli made her


Noël, Noël, Joyeux Noël the first “mold” of the role when he created the choreography for the Sugar Plum Fairy. This last performance is to be her “farewell to Grand Rapids” as a dancer, though she is continuing with the company as artistic coordinator. The show features 38 professional dancers and more than 50 students. “Every year it’s a little bit of a different energy,” Dryja said. “We have quite a few new dancers in the company, so each night is an exciting experience.” —Kayla Tucker

The Nutcracker Grand Rapids Ballet DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Dec. 1-10, $40+, (616) 454-4771

Francophiles, rejoice! The Grand Valley State University Symphony Orchestra is teaming up with the University Arts Chorale, the Grand Rapids Symphony Junior Youth Chorus and two local high school choirs to present a festive collection of French music. The conclusion to the annual Fall Arts Celebration offers an opportunity to explore a rich musical tradition, from beautiful Renaissance-era chants to the soaring sounds of Francis Poulenc’s (pictured above) Gloria. Appearances by guest soprano soloist Ashley Neuman and GVSU dancers add to the charming celebration. —Samara Napolitan


Noël, Noël, Joyeux Noël: A Celebration of French Music for the Holiday Season Fountain Street Church 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., free REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |



Spreading Roots Winfred Rembert’s art tells the story of a fascinating life

by Marla R. Miller

A self-taught artist who grew up in the rural south during the civil rights era, folk artist Winfred Rembert draws and speaks from experience, weaving together leather, color and real-life injustices to make meaning of painful memories.

Winfred Rembert, Chain Gang Picking Cotton #2, 2004, dye on carved and tooled leather. photo courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

His 2015 visit to Muskegon Museum of Art was so riveting, curators and staff knew they had to bring him back for a solo show. “When he was here, he was just incredibly dynamic and insightful and challenging,” said Art Martin, senior curator and director of collections and exhibitions. “He is a survivor of some of the real ugliness of the 1960s civil rights movement. With so many tensions dealing with issues of race and class, it’s just an opportunity to have that dialogue in our space.” Rembert’s biography includes being given away to a relative as an infant; working in the cotton and peanut fields as a child; growing up in poverty with no formal education; and surviving a near-lynching, discrimination and hard prison time. He learned to hand-tool leather while serving prison time for stealing a car during a civil rights demonstration, and later transformed those talents into mixed-media fine art paintings. Art became an outlet for his anger and to share the African-American experience in the pre-civil rights South. Now, the MMA has curated its own exhibition of Rembert’s works on loan from Adelson Galleries and a few new pieces from the artist, and is devoting its main Walker Gallery to Southern Roots: The Art of Winfred Rembert throughout the winter. In 2015, the museum’s former senior curator, E. Jane Connell, discovered Rembert and immediately took to the style of his work, Martin said. In 2015, the MMA bought one of his paintings from Adelson Galleries for the permanent collection: Chain Gang Picking Cotton #2, a mixed-media work featuring dye on carved and tooled leather. It depicts colorful, repeating patterns and rhythmic imagery of life on a chain gang. Some of his most notable works are

Southern Roots: The Art of Winfred Rembert

Muskegon Museum of Art 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon Dec. 14-March 18, special artist lecture Feb. 8., (231) 720-2570

of prisoners dressed in black-and-white jumpsuits in the cotton fields, a life he once lived. His work also captures his Southern roots and joyous scenes of black life, jazz and dancing, pool hustlers and preachers, and playing baseball with a doll’s head. Then there’s the cotton fields, where women would give birth and immediately go back to work, and prisoners lost all dignity. Born in 1945 in Americus, Ga., Rembert experienced racism, segregation and injustice as a poor, black male. He got involved in the civil rights movement, and police arrested him for car theft after he fled a civil rights sit-in. He escaped from jail but was eventually caught and sentenced to 27 years, serving a total of seven. “His paintings and stories, they’re both celebratory of the life he had and at the same time they reveal the injustices and harsh realities of life,” Martin said. His wife, whom he met while working on a chain gang, encouraged him to put his stories onto leather. Rembert didn’t start painting until he was in his 50s, but used his (Continued on page 6)

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


Succession and Success

(Rembert, continued)

MMA’s director discusses her retirement and successor by Marla R. Miller

“We had four years to get ready for that,” she said. “In 2010, we drafted a memo of understanding of how all that was going to work — that was the secret sauce and that Confident that Muskegon Museum of Art is what made this a stellar example of true community is in capable hands, retiring Executive leadership.” She also retired soon after the successful run of EdDirector Judith Hayner said her replaceward Curtis: The North American Indian, which proved to ment, Kirk Hallman, has a connection to be the summer blockbuster everyone was hoping for and broke attendance records. Hayner recently received the just about everything and everybody. Visit Muskegon 2017 Tourism Champion Award. “What an amazing experience that has been for all of After a national search that garnered 54 applicants, the us,” she said. “It’s been so satisfying. For me, it’s a culminaMMA’s Foundation Board of Trustees decided on a hometion of 14 and a half years of engaging the community in town pick who moved away for more than 20 years and the life of the museum.” wore many hats as the former executive director of the Creating an environment that welcomes everyone with Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering Inc. in Lafayette, Ind. Hayner unique programs and exhibits and forging community brought Hallman on as development officer in 2013. partnerships has been another highlight. “He was part of an incredible staff I have been able “We have developed very strong reto work with, and this makes for a very lationships with the rest of the arts and smooth transition,” Hayner said. “He’ll put cultural infrastructure of the community,” his own stamp on it and for me, that will be she said. “I think what Curtis did, the bigfun to watch.” gest benefit, was demonstrate to the entire The opportunity at the MMA lured Hallcommunity what the value is of this instituman back to his home, Muskegon, in July tion. It did that in a way we have never been 2013. Since then, Hallman has broadened able to do.” the MMA’s donor base along with buildAfter 33 years in a leadership position, ing new community relationships, leading Hayner said it was time to pass the torch marketing and fundraising projects, and and take some time for herself. She plans developing exhibition and educational proto stay in Muskegon and start consulting grams in collaboration with museum staff. for arts nonprofits. In his former job at Indiana Fiddlers’ Hayner “I’m excited to see what happens next,” Gathering, he was a jack-of-all-trades, she said. “I am proud of the museum. We handling administration, fundraising, marhave a phenomenal board and they made keting, programming and curating a small a great choice in Kirk Hallman.” museum. Similar to Hayner, Hallman doesn’t Around the time Hallman joined the come from a visual arts background, but century-old institution, the MMA’s INhe quickly got an education in his developSPIRE capital campaign was coming to a ment role. He is both excited and humbled close. The largest such campaign in Musto lead the museum through new civic enkegon County’s history, INSPIRE topped gagement, audience development, and more than $7.5 million for the operational membership and visitor growth. endowment, facility upgrades and pro“We have a huge foundation to work on, gramming. The campaign was necessary, so we are starting this new era with a real as the MMA was less than a year away from position of strength,” he said. “The bottom separating from Muskegon Public Schools. Hallman line is, when I met the staff here, they are so Reflecting on her 14-year tenure, profoundly good and professional, it really Hayner said helping the museum become went beyond the institution.” a fully sustainable, independent 501(c)(3) organization is Hallman thought it might be a gamble moving back, one of her proudest accomplishments. but he sees the development and excitement in down“When I got there in 2003, I think that was in the back of town and a new positivity in the city. His goal is to continue my head and in the background,” Hayner said of the septo elevate the MMA as a community gem and a tourist aration from Muskegon Public Schools, which provided draw. financial, administrative and personnel support since the “It’s a fantastic time to be back,” he said. “This town museum’s founding in 1912. has had a rough time of it for a long time, especially in the “I think we have come through an awful lot,” she said. 1960s and ’70s. I think it’s reaching critical mass. There’s “I thought I could be the bridge between the district and lots of buildings going up. There’s a new energy here, a the museum.” young energy here.” ■ Hayner credits both the school district and the MMA’s board of trustees with creating a plan that helped ease the burden on the museum.


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Winfred Rembert, Untitled (Chain Gang with Shovels), dye on carved and tooled leather. photo courtesy of Muskegon Museum of Art

leather skills as a creative outlet to share his life story, which led to an exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery in 2000. Although he relocated to New Haven, Conn., he continues to bring his art to life — and his life to art — through saturated colors and the lively imagery, cultural vibrancy, family bonds and traditions woven into the black community. Rembert carves into large pieces of tanned leather, then paints them with leather dye to bring out what he has drawn. “The result is just these incredibly colorful and rhythmic paintings,” Martin said. “Even though he moved to the Northeast, his work continues to be about his life in the South, about cotton, about culture, about the town and the people he knew growing up. That’s why we called it Southern Roots.” The MMA actively collects contemporary African-American artwork and regularly features living artists, so this exhibit fits well with the museum’s broader mission to reach new audiences and engage with the African-American community, Martin said. As part of the programming, the museum also plans to host Vivian Ducat and show her documentary, All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert. Also, in the Walker B gallery, a unique installation by Sarah Wagner, Vegetable Lamb of America, explores how the rise of cotton impacted the rise of industrialism and capitalism. And then there’s Rembert’s upcoming lecture visit, as well. “It’s a not-to-be-missed kind of program, just phenomenally engaging,” Martin said. “It’s very raw and I think it’s good for people to hear that perspective. It makes it all real. That legacy is still there, certainly the positives, but also the negatives and he lays it all out in a really raw way.” ■






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photo: Jeen Na

that brought in an artist to work with children who created their own works of art, now on display at SCA. In addition, there is a Growing Young Artists program for the children of migrant workers living in surrounding communities such as Fennville and South Haven. Armstrong said the arts is a huge umbrella that includes dance, live music and exhibitions. “What we see at SCA, especially with children, are the soft skills they learn like problem solving, collaboration, teamwork, empathy and communication skills. All of those things are crucial now for employment in today’s innovation economy,” she said. “Soft skills are taught really well through the arts.” Many of the SCA programs are a collaborative effort with area schools. “With the children’s film festival, we survey teachers and ask what topics or subjects they want to have in that film mix,” Armstrong said. “We’re also building curriculum to use pre- or post- festival.” About 75 percent of the SCA’s children’s programming is free. “By and large, we’re talking about schools and families that are economically challenged. We need to raise money from foundations and businesses that will invest, so children can have those opportunities,” Armstrong said. “The more we can do to eliminate any barriers, (that) benefits all of us. The desire is that we invite people to attached to any form of entertainment participate and not have them worry about or experience, and for people who have whether they can afford it.” to choose between paying a utility bill or Krajniak said she knows firsthand about buying food, the cost of admisthe importance of leveling the sion to an event or activity is well playing field. She said access beyond their reach. When this to the arts enhances problemhappens, it puts a whole group solving skills and increases of children at a disadvantage. empathy, and access to venues “Ultimately, those children like the UICA raises the comfort grow up to be potential emlevel for children and adults who ployees or members of the may have never been in a mucommunity,” Armstrong said. seum before. “If we as a community can find She especially likes the idea ways to make those opportuthat a person with an EBT card nities available to our children can present that card just like a Miranda and ourselves, we are doing a UICA member, which removes Krajniak service.” any stigma about financial cirphoto: ©2016 Two Throughout the year, SCA cumstances, something she Eagles Marcus / Women’s offers free programs to chilexperienced waiting in a sepaLifeStyle dren — particularly those living rate free lunch line at school. in rural areas who come from “Your financial circumstancfinancially challenged circumstances — es should not distinguish who you are,” she including a free film festival that last year said. “I think it’s important to provide these served about 2,800 children, as well as an opportunities and not let your financial exhibition focusing on Potawatomi culture situation define opportunities in your life.” ■

Breaking Ceilings, Opening Doors How and why local institutions are making art accessible by Jane Simons

UICA Executive Director Miranda Krajniak is giving the community an early Christmas present with new admission fees that will make the venue accessible to lowincome adults and children. On Nov. 1, the UICA began offering $1 admission prices to anyone who could present an EBT card. Krajniak said this initiative has a very personal meaning for her. “I come from a lower-class background and I did not have access to the arts when I was growing up,” she said. “I see kids come into UICA and see these kids experience art. It was never something that was available to me.


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

“I didn’t take my first art class until I was in high school. I just really took to it and loved the freedom of expression and I knew right away I would be an artist. I knew the arts was something I could use to better myself and make a career.” The UICA initiative is part of a national program called Museums for All, which was originally started at children’s museums throughout the United States, including the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. It has now expanded to include the Flint Museum of Art. “We are now in our 40th year and we are looking to expand our audience and bring in new people,” Krajniak said. “We wanted to find ways to make the UICA more accessible for people with financial difficulties. It is costing us something with overhead, but it’s worth it.” Investments in the arts need to be looked at as just that, said Kristin Armstrong, executive director of the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Armstrong said there are price tags






PREVIEW Most museums tried to get their fall installations in already, so December is a slow month for openings — still, we got ’em! One focuses on the most influential paragraph ever written about the art of Chinese painting, and the other two feature pieces by artists working in carved and dyed leather, and wood and fabric sculptures. Keep an eye out for the exhibits closing this month, too. Their time is nigh. by Dana Casadei

(106) Gallery and Studio (Calvin College) 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids, (616) 526-6271

West of the Imagination - Frank Speyers

printmakers of the past, Wilson reinterprets the graphic linocut style to create a striking visual chronicle of his memories and imagination.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo, (269) 349-7775

Through Dec. 20

Kirk Newman Faculty Review Through Dec. 31

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, (888) 957-1580

Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition Through Jan. 7

Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World Through Jan. 7

Grand Rapids Art Museum 101 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids, (616) 831-1000

Christian Marclay: Video Quartet Through Jan. 14 Andy Warhol’s American Icons Through Feb. 11

Carl Wilson: Her Purse Smelled Like Juicyfruit and Other Tales Nov. 3-Feb. 11 Carl Wilson, a former auto worker and Detroit native, will open his first solo museum exhibit this month. Her Purse Smelled Like Juicyfruit and Other Tales is a series of linoleum prints with narrative text that tells the life story of Wilson’s mother. Influenced by expressionist


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Circular Abstractions: Bull’s Eye Quilts Through Jan. 21 Round & Round: The Circle at Center Stage Through March 4 Rhythmic Vitality: Six Principles of Chinese Painting Dec. 9-March 25 Artist Xie He’s six principles have persisted over 1500 years as criteria for creating, examining and evaluating art in China, and comprise what is considered to be the most influential paragraph ever written on the art of Chinese painting. (That is one powerful paragraph.) This exhibit will examine those principles — which have caused debates over translation well into the 20th century and a broad array of interpretations.

Kirk Newman Faculty Review at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, through Dec. 31

LowellArts! 223 W. Main St., Lowell, (616) 897-8545

LowellArts Holiday Artists Market Through Dec. 23 The holiday market features art by 50 area artists. Artwork and other handmade items — ranging from pottery and paintings to soaps and mittens — will be available for purchase if you’re trying to get some holiday shopping done before the last-minute panic shop. No judgment, we’ve all been there.

Muskegon Museum of Art 296 W. Webster. Ave., Muskegon, (231) 720-2570

Points of Resonance: The Museum Project Gift Through Jan. 14

Perception & Intention Through Jan. 1 This month, LaFontsee is opening a large group show with the work of more than 30 area artists. There is no specific theme and the media will encompass a wide range as well, from paintings to sculpture, illustration, mixed media, etc. Perception & Intention will run into the new year, without a set end date as of yet.

Saugatuck Center for the Arts 400 Culver St., Saugatuck, (269) 857-2399

Art ‘a Loan Through Dec. 29 Featuring works by Saugatuck Public School students — selected by a jury of art professionals — the award-winning Art ‘a Loan art lease program creates a positive impact by displaying students’ artwork to the public. The exhibit will feature a variety of works created by students ranging from kindergarteners to high school seniors.

Shift: Daniel Clayman Through Jan. 21

Festival of Trees Through Dec. 3

LaFontsee Galleries 833 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids, (616) 451-9820

Creating animals and environments out of wood and fabric sculptures, Sarah Wagner uses her art to address the fragility and resilience of nature and humanity’s impact on its surroundings. For this exhibit, Wagner produced a new work inspired by the history of the cultivation of cotton, and its impact on the development of capitalism and industrialism around the world.

Winfred Rembert Dec. 14-March 18 Winfred Rembert works in the very unique medium of carved and dyed leather, creating images of his life in 1950s Georgia. Rembert learned the leather trade in prison, after getting arrested during a 1960s civil rights march while escaping from the threat of a lynching. His pieces often use intense colors and repeating patterns.

Sarah Wagner: Vegetable Lamb of America Dec. 14-March 18

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, (616) 454-7000

ArtPrize Nine: Cultivate Through Dec. 10

Coming Home Through Jan. 28

Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of SelfDetermination Movements Through Dec. 17


Kirk Newman Art School Faculty Review Circular Abstractions: Bull’s Eye Quilts


Dawoud Bey: Harlem, USA and Harlem Redux opens January 13 My Hero! Contemporary Art and Superhero Action opens February 3


Children through age 12 are always free, and love the hands-on gallery (our “please touch” space) Jerry Harty, Open Heart to Little Birds, 2017 mosaic with kiln-fused glass.

Art Hop: Friday, December 1 5-8 pm Saturday, December 2 9 am-3 pm KIRK NEWMAN ART SCHOOL


Holiday-themed workshops: ◆ Thursday, 12/7 Wreath Design 6-8 pm ◆ Monday, 12/11 Holiday Arrangement 6-8 pm Classes for all ages and abilities begin in January Scholarship applications welcome by December 5

KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 435 W. South St. 269/349-7775 Open Tuesday-Sunday. $5 admission, free through age 12 Free parking lots & entrances on South & Lovell streets

Building a Beer City with Pat Evans Tuesday, December 5 7:00 pm Main Library 111 Library St NE

Grand Rapids Grassroots: A Panel Discussion Thursday, December 7 7:00 pm Main Library 111 Library St NE

De-Stress for the Holidays: An Introduction to Mindfulness Saturday, December 9 1:00 pm Main Library 111 Library St NE

THE BOOTSTRAP BOYS Thursday, December 21 7:00 pm Main Library 111 Library St NE




The New Song and Dance GR Ballet’s A Christmas Carol weaves together original choreography and score


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

by Kayla Tucker / photos by Seth Thompson

A Christmas Carol has taken many forms, but a two-day run with Grand Rapids Ballet will be one of the most unique by far. Brian Enos, artistic director of The Big Muddy Dance Company, is choreographing the show, and described it as a mixture of classic ballet and contemporary dance. Twenty dancers will share the stage with the Grand Rapids Symphony playing music arranged specifically for this performance. Enos said that in creating the choreography, he started with the characters and built from there. “That sort of drove everything,” Enos said. “Exploring who the characters were, what their backstory was, making that up so I can use that to draw on as I’m creating movements. And all that kind of stuff is information that might never leave the depths of my brain, but it helps to build more layers of character to each of the cast members.” The music composition itself is one of the most interesting and organic parts of the show, as composer Brendan Hollins is arranging the score himself based on Tchaikovsky's music. “He’s taking bits and pieces from all different Tchaikovsky things and putting them all together, so he’s essentially scoring the ballet from scratch,” Enos said. This gives Enos more flexibility in working with Hollins to adjust the length of the scenes and speed of the music together. Hollins and Enos have developed a rapport, having first worked together on Alice in Wonderland last year. “Generally, I offer a scene to him and we decide if it works and trim or extend it as necessary,” Hollins said. “After Alice, it’s been really refreshing to get back to the romantic and lush orchestration of Tchaikovsky. Since A Christmas Carol has much smaller scenes than his popular works like Swan Lake or The Nutcracker, I have focused on his miniatures and chamber music. “So much of (Tchaikovsky’s) music is overshadowed by his most famous works, and there are truly exquisite pieces largely unheard by the concert-going public. The string quartets, for example, contain some beautiful themes which fit this ballet very well. In addition, the piano quintet is a

beautifully versatile ensemble perfectly suited to tell this story, and I look forward to performing with these gifted musicians.” As the story moves along, a light will follow the dancers to show a difference in scene onstage, while the symphony will stay in a corner stage left. “From a dancer’s perspective, it’s nice

A Christmas Carol

Grand Rapids Ballet Peter Martin Wege Theatre 341 Ellsworth Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 22-23, $46, (616) 454-4771

to have the energy of live musicians,” Enos said. “It’s something that a lot of companies don’t do.” As for the costumes and set, the company is sticking to the Victorian-era traditions of the story. “They’re repurposing a lot of costumes that were from an older, retired production of Nutcracker,” Enos said. “So they’re taking a bunch of existing costumes and giving them new life and gussying them up for this production. Because it’s placed in the Victorian era, having costumes that sort have a ‘lived-in’ feel already — I think it’s going to work really well.” However, it can be a shocking difference dancing in a leotard versus a full-fledged Victorian costume. Enos said there’s always a challenging period where dancers have to get used to the extra weight of costumes, and sometimes he has to make adjustments for them as well.

“One of the characters has a massive coat that he wears, but the dance that he does is all really fast. … So some things needed to be adjusted to make it a bit more manageable,” Enos said. “We try as much as possible — like if the women are going to be in long skirts, they will have long rehearsal skirts so that it’s not too big of a jump when they get their actual costumes.” Enos said the show is definitely warm and Christmasy, and one for the whole family. “The story is kind of the reason we celebrate Christmas,” Enos said. “It’s a great story to bring people together and to just show the good in humanity and getting over yourself, and getting over whatever your hangups are and just coming together as a family over a special occasion. That sense of togetherness, it’s a really special story.” ■ REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


[classical MUSIC]


So. Many. Holiday. Shows. There are quartets, duos and large groups performing just about every type of holiday music you could imagine, and The Nutcracker is being performed at multiple venues. Take a look below. by Dana Casadei

Star Series. Tyson — who made his orchestral debut at just 15 — has appeared in recital and concerto performances throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia, including The Kennedy Center in 2013. The Juilliard alumni’s performance will include pieces by Scarlatti, Ravel and Liszt.

Grand Rapids Symphony 300 Ottawa Ave. NW Ste. 100, Grand Rapids, (616) 454-9451

University Musical Society

Grand Rapids Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker Dec. 1-3 & 8-10

Fontana Chamber Arts 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 200, Kalamazoo, (269) 382-7774

New York Polyphony Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., $28+ If variety is what you’re looking for in a classical music performance, this show’s for you. The vocal chamber ensemble is performing Christmas songs spanning across seven centuries. Pieces range from traditional medieval and Renaissance carols to new works composed for the ensemble

by Michael McGlynn, Andrew Smith and John Scott. The quartet has earned two Grammy nominations since forming in 2006.

The Gilmore, Wellspring Theater 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 101, Kalamazoo, (269) 342-1166

Grand Rapids Youth Chorus Holiday Concerts Dec. 10

Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops Dec. 14-17, $18+

Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops Spectacular Dec. 16, 1 p.m., $20

Andrew Tyson Dec. 3, 4 p.m., $25 The North Carolina native will tickle the ivories this month as part of The Gilmore’s Rising

Old National Bank Cirque de Noël Dec. 21-22, $32+ Cirque de Noël combines the magic of Christmas, the wonder of Cirque and the sounds of a live orchestra. The multi-sensory show will feature some pretty awesome performances from aerialists, acrobats, contortionists and jugglers, all choreographed to your favorite holiday music. Because nothing screams the holidays like acrobats and jugglers.

Holland Symphony Orchestra 96 W. 15th St., Suite 201, Holland,, (616) 796-6780

Martha Guth, soprano

Dec. 16, 8 p.m., $12+ The KSO will be joined by internationally acclaimed flutist Sara Andon, the Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus, 2017 Youth Soloist Competition Winner, Sava Velkoff, and 2017 Youth Soloist Competition Runner-Up, Alex Smith. This concert puts a twist on the traditional holiday show, performing music from some excellent holiday movies, including The Polar Express, Frozen, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life and others.

Ricardo Lugo, bass

Holiday Concert

881 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, (734) 764-2538

Handel’s Messiah, Dec. 2-3, $12+ Bach Collegium Japan Dec. 8, 8 p.m., $14+ This month, the Bach Collegium Japan is performing J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, an oratorio split into six parts, each celebrating one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. That might sound like a big undertaking, but the Bach Collegium Japan loves Bach, who wrote more than 200 church cantatas during his lifetime. In fact, the group played every cantata, in chronological order, from 1995-2013, resulting in a 55-disc recording.

West Michigan Symphony Orchestra 360 W. Western Ave. #200, Muskegon, (231) 726-3231

A Celtic Christmas Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., $25+ Returning to the WMS stage this month are Irish vocalist Cathie Ryan and her band, performing a program of Ryan’s design, reflecting her Celtic roots in a wide array of holiday works. The West Michigan Symphony Children’s Choir also is joining the concert as they perform traditional, popular, Irishthemed music.

Dec. 9, 3:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., $5+ Hey look, another holiday concert! This one features husband and wife duo Ricardo Lugo and Martha Guth singing holiday classics — including both traditional carols and holiday pops — with the HSO.

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra 359 Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 100, Kalamazoo, (269) 349-7759

Nutcracker 2017 Dec. 9-10, $15+ Tickets, Times, Locations & Other Information: 616-796-6780 |


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Sounds of the Season

Bob Bernhardt conducting Grand Rapids Symphony. Photo by Terry Johnston/courtesy of Grand Rapids Symphony






Did you know?


Roll in the Dough. Pasta: it dates back to antiquity and remains a modern staple. Join friends from The Local Epicurean to learn how to make pasta from scratch. Enjoy spirits, premade ravioli and take home the pasta you make with your own hands.

Revue Arts critics regularly review classical and jazz music, theater and dance performances all over West Michigan. All reviews are posted online the next day.

Sight and Sound: Featuring MusArte Duo. Join MuseArte Duo for a unique performance combining live painting and music. Paint a Monet-inspired nature scene along with artist Marlene Boonstra, while listening to the sounds of Gail Saldatori on the violin. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and libations will be provided. All tickets include admission to the event, food, and drinks. Visit for Tuesday dates and times.

Read them at

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11/17/17 4:55 PM REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 | 15A


Performances of A Christmas Carol at New Vic Theatre over the years. Courtesy Photos

Crafting A Classic How holiday gems thrive on nostalgia

by Jane Simons

When they were first released, some holiday classics could hardly be considered successes, said James Sanford, a film critic and former creative manager of Kalamazoo’s Alamo Drafthouse. Despite lukewarm reviews and poor audience attendance, A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life are among a number of works that eventually managed to secure a coveted spot among the most sought-after holiday entertainment options. “It’s very interesting how that evolution t akes pl ace, when you lo ok


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

back on a lot of the books and plays and films we now hold up as cherished classics and find out that when they were originally released, they didn’t make that much of an impression or they were a flop,” Sanford said. “If you go back and read the reviews of The Wizard of Oz, which was released in 1939, it was not well-liked and had some pretty nasty reviews and lost money.” In fact, It’s A Wonderful Life wiped out Frank Capra’s production company after its release in 1946. “For many, many years, you couldn’t even see It’s A Wonderful Life because Capra had locked it up,” Sanford said. “The first time I saw it was in a class during the 1980s at Western Michigan University. We watched it in two parts and when part one ended, we all went bananas because we wanted to see the rest.” Like so many holiday movies, plays and musicals that draw people in, the appeal of It’s A Wonderful Life lies in the idea of stepping back from where you are and

seeing the bigger picture, Sanford said. “This includes the realization that each of us plays a crucial part in keeping the world the way it is and that if you take one person out of the equation, all sorts of scenarios can develop,” he said. “For a lot of people, they don’t think about that on a daily basis.” The ability to draw out those emotions relies on a well-written story as much as good acting, said David Kiley, editor and publisher of EncoreMichigan, which focuses on the state’s theater scene. He said Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

New Vic Theatre 134 E. Vine St., Kalamazoo Nov. 17-Dec. 28, $25

and Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story are examples of well-written stories that have become holiday classics. But when A Christmas Story first premiered, it did so with the words, “From the director who gave you Porky’s,” and people ignored the 1983 film. It wasn’t until several years later when the movie was on cable television and video that people finally discovered it, Sanford said. “My dad said this was exactly what his childhood was like. There’s a lot of family tradition that plays into it,” Sanford said. “We want to watch something that represents an old-time classic, that you kind of hope is what Christmas will be and then here’s what it turns out to be,” said Jennifer Furney, managing director of Kalamazoo’s New Vic Theatre, founded by her parents 50 years ago. In 1980, the New Vic began an annual staging of A Christmas Carol. Every year since its debut, the show has been a sellout, Furney said. “My parents were both nuts for Christmas. My dad had a love of Charles Dickens and he created a script and we did it as a regular performance,” Furney said. “We did a five-week run and it sold out, so the next week we added some shows and we had people coming to make reservations for the next year before they left. “We didn’t intend for it to become a tradition, but it just kind of snowballed.” People who saw the show when they were younger are now bringing their children and grandchildren and have made it part of the holiday celebrations. Sanford was a cast member in a 1997 performance of A Christmas Carol at the New Vic, and said cast members joked that if they ever forgot their lines, they could count on the audience to provide them, because so many people were silently mouthing along. Kiley said these holiday entertainment staples provide a predictability that audiences gravitate to. For many people, attending a performance of The Nutcracker Ballet or a staging of a holiday-themed show may be the one time of the year they watch a live production. “Christmas shows are money in the bank,” Kiley said. “It’s these kinds of shows that are the cultural moorings for us. We know what’s going to happen with Scrooge, but we still want to see that. I would expect those kinds of shows to do even better this year, because the economy is good and so many of us don’t know what’s up or down anymore. It’s a known thing.” ■

January 6 DeVos Hall




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I DREAM The inspiring story of the famous preacher and iconic civil rights leader from Atlanta FREE COMMUNITY EVENT JANUARY 15 | FOUNTAIN STREET CHURCH MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY CELEBRATION in collaboration with Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University and Davenport University 6:00–7:00 PM MLK Day Celebration Program 7:30 PM I DREAM Performance

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |



Dancing in the Wings

Talking ‘Torreography’ with Torrey Thomas by Kayla Tucker

Torrey Thomas has been teaching dance — or what he calls “Torreography” — for more than 20 years. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids and loves his roots here in West Michigan. He is known around the community for his eccentric personality, talented dance moves and teaching abilities, working with theater productions and giving lessons. Recently, Thomas received a Grand Award for best choreography for his work on Ragtime at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. We talked with Thomas about where his passion to teach, dance and work comes from. What does dancing mean to you? I am a person who loves and exudes dance. It is who I am. When I’m not dancing, I’m still dancing. For me, dance is the one thing that, besides music, brings everyone together. It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s a gift I believe God has given me to share with other people. I’ve had projects where I’ve worked with people who are not as confident in themselves or are somewhat shy, and my goal, my drive and passion, is to help them get to that potential of being a better dancer, a better person. I’m a person who loves the arts, inclusivity, diversity — those are the things that speak to me, and dance helps me with that.

choreographed Michael Jackson’s Thriller for some of my friends. During that time, Thriller was really big and there was a man by the name of Michael Peters who had choreographed the video, and I wanted to be him. And everybody said, ‘You should be Michael Jackson, you’re the best dancer, you should be in the front,’ but I didn’t want to be in the front. I wanted to be behind the scenes. I wanted to be the person who taught the dance. So we did the talent show. The person who played Michael Jackson ended up dropping out, so I had to actually be Michael Jackson and dance. We won first place, which was great, but for me it was that whole experience.

How did you get into dancing? Dance started when I was a young boy, watching Solid Gold, Soul Train and American Bandstand. When I was younger, my parents would have parties and there’d always be music playing and people dancing. It was a type of fellowship that my family was a part of.

How did it continue from there? Throughout life, I always danced. In high school, I danced on the dance team, was captain of the dance team. My first formal performance in theater would have been at Circle Theatre. I was a swing dancer for Chicago. Tito Hernandez was the choreographer at the time … and he was a phenomenal choreographer, I remember just watching him create. We had gotten done with the actual run and he said to me, ‘Torrey, I have some more shows I want to

What was the first dance opportunity you had? Elementary. It was a talent show and I had


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Torrey Thomas. Photo: Stacey Clack do and I want you to be a part of those shows,’ and I said, ‘Tito, no. I want your job. I want to be a choreographer.’ Why would you rather stay behind the scenes? I really like working with individuals and helping them get to their potential. I love working with the director and music director and seeing their vision and helping that unfold. To me, to get a project and see the script, I see movement, I see costume changes, and I see lights. I see it all in my head and I love working with people who are going to let that happen. The bigger the cast, the bigger the vision for me. And I really do enjoy that. Let’s talk about Ragtime, the show you choreographed and won a Grand Award for. That cast was amazing. Of course with what’s going on in our world and politics, that show meant so much to the community. I’m so glad it resonated so well. My first

big project was Fiddler on the Roof at GR Civic Theatre, where the youngest person was 8 years old and the oldest was 65. So you’re talking about a cast of 35 people where I had to get them all onstage at one time and dancing together. You’ve got to use people’s strengths and weaknesses together to see what looks good. And the director, Bruce Tinker, he’s really allowed me to be creative. He’s given me that go ahead, that green light. He’s trusted me to come up with things, as I call, ‘Torreography.’ What is Torreography? It’s kind of my motto for now. I don’t say choreography, I say, ‘Torreography,’ where I’ll take a project and I’ll see what people have done and make it my own. I really challenge myself in doing that to be more creative, to do things differently, to have that T3 flavor or flair. So people see that and they say, ‘Oh, that’s definitely Mr. Torrey’s work there.’ ■

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Comedy Night


February 24th

Opener: Jake Kershaw Band 7:00PM

214 East Mansion Street Marshall, Michigan REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |



preview With your relatives and friends coming into town, now’s your chance to show off West Michigan’s thriving theater scene. This month, we have a musical with loads of fantastic country music, a few classic holiday tales, and another musical inspired by the guy inspired by a family to write Peter Pan. Going to the theater is a perfect excuse to not talk to your great-aunt about your love life and career for the 100th time. Save that stuff for dinner. by Dana Casadei Finding Neverland at Wharton Center, Dec. 12-17

Gilmore Theatre/ WMU Theatre

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

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Dec. 12, $33+ Over the last 30 years, the annual Mannheim Steamroller Christmas shows have become a tradition across the country. Created by Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis, the show combines Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics and compositions from Davis’ Fresh Aire series, which introduced the Mannheim sound. This show also features tons of special lighting effects and other multimedia happenings.

Farmers Alley Theatre 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo, (269) 343-2727

Honky Tonk Angels Dec. 1-17, $32+ Created by Ted Swindley — who also created the musical Always…Patsy Cline — this musical comedy combines more than 30 country tunes with three women trying to follow their dreams to Nashville. While they try to make their dreams a reality, audiences will get to tap their toes (really, good luck not dancing at this musical) along to songs by legends like Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn, including classic hits like 9 to 5 and Coal Miner’s Daughter.


| REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, (269) 387-3227

Next Stop, Broadway! Through Dec. 2, $20

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre 30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids, (616) 222-6650

Annie Nov. 17-Dec. 17, $18+ Taking place in the midst of the 1930s, spunky orphan Annie finds a home with millionaire Daddy Warbucks for the holidays, but will this be the family she’s always wanted? Or maybe the evil orphanage mistress, Miss Hannigan, will find a way to ruin it all for Annie in this Tony Award-winning musical. If you’ve never seen the 1982 movie, do yourself a favor and watch it, mostly for the perfection that is Carol Burnett.

HollandThis Civic Theater show altogether? is the family-friendly 50 W. 9th St., regional Hollandpremiere. musical’s West Michigan, (616) 396-2021

Nuncrackers, the Nunsense Christmas Musical Through Dec. 9, $20

Kalamazoo Civic Theatre 329 S. Park St., Kalamazoo, (269) 343-1313

The Little Mermaid Through Dec. 3, $25 Get ready to go under the sea in this Disney musical. A young mermaid, Ariel, hopes to leave her world for the one above, which her dad forbids. But after a chance encounter with Prince Eric, who lives above, Ariel wants more than ever to be a part of that world. Since her father won’t let her go, Ariel makes a deal with the evil Ursula, who transforms her into a human but takes her voice. The mermaid then has THREE DAYS to get her true love to kiss her before time runs out — relationships move fast these days, I suppose.

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

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical Dec. 8, $35+ The 1964 stop-motion holiday TV classic comes to the stage this month. The musical — which obviously features the red-nosed reindeer — will have appearances by the big guy in the red suit and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, and Yukon Cornelius. It may be a little corny, but this adventure will teach you how your differences are what make you special. Awww!

Sister’s Christmas Catechism Dec. 20, $28 From the author of Late Night Catechism comes Sister’s Christmas Catechism. This travelling Sister has a mystery to solve: What happened to the Magi’s gold? During this hilarious holiday production, Sister retells the

story of the nativity in her own special way while trying to solve the case. Heads up: There’s also some audience participation.

New Vic Theatre 134 E. Vine St., Kalamazoo, (269) 381-3328

A Christmas Carol Nov. 17-Dec. 28, $25 Continuing the theater’s annual holiday tradition, New Vic is bringing back A Christmas Carol this month. Ted Kistler’s adaptation of the Charles Dicken’s classic follows super grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. FYI: This show often sells out, so get your tickets ASAP.

Wharton Center 750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing, (517) 432-2000

Finding Neverland Dec. 12-17, $43+ Following the relationship between struggling playwright J. M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, Finding Neverland shows how the Lost Boy came to be. Yes, this is based on the 2004 movie of the same name and yes, you should bring some tissues with you, because the likelihood of you crying during this musical is very high.


Holiday Pops DEC 14-17 DeVos Hall

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JANUARY 18-20 | DeVos Performance Hall TICKETS ON SALE NOW! VISIT BROADWAYGRANDRAPIDS.COM OR 1-800-745-3000 • TICKETMASTER.COM Grand Rapids engagement is welcomed by Extend Your Reach; Fox Motors; PrepNet; and Universal Forest Products.

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


van der Westhuizen Q&A: Pierre Director, Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival by Samara Napolitan Last month, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival named Pierre van der Westhuizen as its next director. The South African pianist and arts administrator will take the helm this January following the retirement of Daniel Gustin, the current director of 18 years. Widely credited with boosting the visibility of the prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition, van der Westhuizen brings impressive administrative chops to The Gilmore — as well as the perspective of a renowned musician and passionate educator. Van der Westhuizen kindly took some time away from house-hunting with his family to chat about how his new role will bring his creative aspirations to a full circle.

What do you love the most about the piano? I love the fact that the piano can connect to anybody no matter their education, background or socioeconomic status. Anyone can walk up to a piano and produce a sound. The piano also can open up the sound of an entire orchestra. It’s a world within itself. What are some experiences that stand out to you as formative to your career? My interest in being more than a pianist started as undergrad student. I co-wrote and co-produced a musical with some other students, and then convinced the administration to put it on for us. Skipping forward, when my wife and I were finishing our doctorates in Cincinnati, we got our first jobs at Heidelberg University. There, we were launched into an effort to grow the piano department and we started a small keyboard festival with one or two concerts that grew into many events. I knew I had a passion for festivals when I started to enjoy those activities more than my faculty meetings (laughter).

What part of your work as executive director of the Cleveland International Piano Competition are you most proud of? When I took the position of director designate in 2011, I quickly realized the competition itself could be a really serious enterprise, and really stressful for young competitors. I wanted to create something that made them feel like they were a part of something larger … to celebrate the things they had in common rather than their differences. In 2012, I visited The Gilmore as an audience member and fell in love with the many ways they celebrated the piano. For the 2013 competition, I decided to invite some guest performers and lecturers, and screen some films. The community responded so well, and I’m very proud of the fact that I was able to start a similar program there. It sounds like you were inspired by The Gilmore in a way? Yes, very much so. I’d known about The Gilmore for a long time due to its fame in the piano world. One of my board members in Cleveland encouraged me to attend in 2012. I went and was in awe at how the community embraced The Gilmore. As a pianist, it was so exciting to see so many people coming out to be part of an event centered around the instrument. What is one of the first things you plan to do in your new role? I believe that in order to be the most successful as a leader, you need to be able to listen. I plan on spending a lot of time meeting people and hearing what the community has to say. I do have a lot of ideas about how we can implement technology to connect what The Gilmore does to the world at large. I also want to bring technology onto the concert stage. I’ve seen some amazing new advances and unique trends in Chicago and New York that I’d love to bring to Kalamazoo. It’s a joy knowing this is the type of organization that will allow me to really get creative. If you don’t mind giving them away, what are some of your ideas? What I’d like to achieve is a multi-sensory, immersive festival so that The Gilmore and Kalamazoo become a cultural destination. I want to see how we can connect what we do musically to the craft beer industry, the growing food

Pierre van der Westhuizen

courtesy photo

scene, the visual arts and dance that is happening in town. And then, for me as an educator, I’d love to create a ‘Gilmore Academy’ where we could bring in young people for an intensive seminar. There are similar programs going on at the Aspen and Tanglewood music festivals. So, something to that effect where we can be an incubator for the next generation. Any closing thoughts? My family and I are incredibly excited to be coming to Kalamazoo. We’ve already met so many warm and welcoming people. We look forward to taking our place as contributing citizens. ■

: FRIDAY • JANUARY 12 • 7:30 PM

Frauenthal Theater • 425 W Western Ave • Muskegon

GERMANIC CLASSICS Scott Speck conductor Paul Clifton horn

west michigan symphony SCOTT SPECK | MUSIC DIRECTOR


Sister to the famous Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C major begins this homage to German composers of the classical period. Then, WMS Principal horn Paul Clifton is featured on Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto no. 1. The concert closes with a work by classical music’s greatest child prodigy, Felix Mendelssohn, who poured his dramatic and harmonically adventurous gifts into his Symphony no. 1. • 231.726.3231 $22-$54 • Student tickets $10

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Saturday, January 13, 7:30 pm Doors open at 7pm

Arturo Ziraldo chamber music WMS principal violist Arturo Ziraldo welcomes his WMS colleagues, principal cellist Alicia Gregorian Sawyers and assistant principal second violin Mark Portolese as well as guest pianist Sookkyung Cho for a program of chamber music for strings and piano, including works by Schubert, Beethoven, Bowen and more. • 231.726.3231 $20-$30 • Student tickets $10

360 W. Western Ave 2nd Floor Muskegon, MI


REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |



REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |






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Holiday Guide


Illustration: Anthony Carpenter

hen the holidays arrive, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You’re suddenly juggling gifts, parties, family gatherings and decorations on top of your normal life, all while trying to squeeze in as many holiday events and traditions as possible. Fear not — this month, we made it our goal to help you plan it all out (as much as anyone can). We have a guide to holiday events of every kind, a cheat-sheet for where to find the biggest Christmas light displays, and a round-up of the best places to both ice skate and sled. We also put together a guide to holiday parties, whether you’re having people over or attending one. You’ll learn where to get an impressive cheese spread, what wine to pick up for any occasion, and which cocktails help keep large groups sociable. Lastly, as you plan for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you celebrate every year, New Year’s Eve is sure to sneak up on you. As such, we’ve put together a list of more than a dozen NYE celebrations around West Michigan. Just be sure to drive safe — or better yet, not drive at all!

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


/// Holidays

the ultimate sledding experience, head to Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (462 N. Scenic Dr., Muskegon) and try out the luge track, where participants slide down an 850-foot track reaching speeds up to 30 MPH. On the other hand, if you want to strap on some skates and practice your winter Olympic routines, West Michigan offers ample opportunity to skate indoor and out. Griff’s Icehouse (30 Coldbrook St. NE, Grand Rapids): Official practice facility of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Griff’s Icehouse offers learn-to-skate classes for all ages, youth and adult hockey lessons, drop-in hockey for ages 16 and up, and open skate hours. Georgetown Ice Center (8500 48th Ave., Hudsonville): A year-round facility offering open skate ($3 children, $5 adults), hockey instruction and learn-to-skate programs.

Skaters at Rosa Parks Circle. Photo: erin klema

Skate ’N Slide

by Kelly Brown

If you don’t ski, snowboard or snowmobile, then getting outdoors in the dead of winter is difficult. And if you’ve got kids, you’re likely ready to leave the house halfway through winter break. So get back to your childhood roots, head to your local sledding hill or ice skating rink, and enjoy a few hours experiencing the best parts of winter. We then suggest finishing off your trip with a cup of homemade hot chocolate, local coffee or a mulled wine.

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First, you can grab your toboggan and go for a ride on one of our top sledding hills:

natural. Excellent view of Lake Michigan. It’s a dune, but with snow.

Richmond Park (1101 Richmond St. NW, Grand Rapids): Long hill, beautiful woods, pond at the bottom.

Branstrom Park (Branstrom Drive, Fremont): Disc golf in summer, sledding in winter.

Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook St. NE, Grand Rapids): Massive, steep, powerful — maybe too big to handle. Provides beautiful city overlook. Johnson Park (2600 Wilson Ave. SW, Walker): Long and large. One YouTube video demonstrates an impressive 30-second long ride. Sugar Bowl Dune (near South Scenic Drive in Muskegon): Extreme, steep, completely

Provin Trails (2900 4 Mile Rd. NE, Grand Rapids): Deep in the woods, surrounded by trees. Big, steep, natural. For those looking to up their sledding game, try tubing! Cannonsburg Ski Area (6800 Cannonsburg Rd. NE, Belmont) offers fast and fun tubing lanes serviced by a stateof-the-art magic carpet, ensuring your group fits in maximum laps. To the south, Echo Valley (8495 E. H Ave., Kalamazoo) offers both tubing and tobogganing with a tow rope to pull you back to the top. For

Millennium Park (280 Romence Rd., Portage): Home to the first refrigerated outdoor ice rink in Southwest Michigan, Millennium Park is the perfect place to practice your skating tricks. Check the website for special events held each year, including the Valentine’s Skate Dance and Twilight Skate. Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (462 N. Scenic Dr., Muskegon): With two acres of outdoor ice skating, including a path through the woods, the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex offers some of the best ice skating opportunities in West Michigan. Skate rentals available. The rinks are weather dependent, so make sure you check conditions before going. Rosa Parks Circle (135 Monroe Center St., NW): Of course, we had to include Rosa Parks Circle, the iconic place to skate in West Michigan. If you never get out and Instagram an evening skate session at Rosa Parks, did you really even experience winter? (We kid … kind of.) This budget friendly rink ($3 for adults and $1 for youth, includes free skate rentals) is the perfect place for a family outing or romantic date night, and you can warm up first with a cup of coffee from one of the many shops within walking distance of the rink. n

The Whoville 5K Photo: Rudy Malmquist

Festive 5Ks Chase Away the Winter Blues by Kelly Brown


orking out in winter might seem like a total bummer, or it might be the only way you keep warm. Either way, staying motivated and on-track with your fitness plans during the winter months is difficult. Lighten up the mood and keep your festive spirits high with holiday 5Ks around West Michigan. Just keep safety in mind when running out there — head to any of the Gazelle Sports locations in West Michigan to get fitted with the perfect pair of cold-weather running shoes.

Allegan Ugly Sweater 5K Dec. 2, 3 p.m. For this run, all you need is a solid pair of running shoes, that one ugly sweater you own and some warm base layers. Head down to Allegan Riverfront for a run that awards different levels of runners, along with awards for “Ugliest” sweater. It’s a great family event with on-course entertainment. Allegan,

Run Through The Lights Dec. 7, 6 p.m. This untimed fun run takes crowds of people through downtown Kalamazoo to experience the Christmas lights throughout. The non-competitive, 2.4mile run/walk is for both adults and kids. Proceeds benefit Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes and the event is hosted by Gazelle Sports. Bronson Park, 200 S. Rose St., Kalamazoo, The Whoville 5K Dec. 10, 1 p.m. This fun run 5K — or close to that (they’re not sure of the exact distance) — is for everyone. The festive run is the happiest 5K this side of the mitten. No matter how you place, everyone receives a T-shirt, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. Returning this year, Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3, Thing 4, Thing 23, Thing 32 and the Grinch will all be there doing whatever they do, along with Santa and the infamous Mr. and Mrs. Mayor. The kids’ fun run features a snowball fight. Be sure to dress up in your Who-iest outfit. Riverside Park, 2001 Monroe Ave. NE, Grand Rapids,

Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining

St. Nick Kick Dec. 2, 10 a.m. If you’re serious about short distance runs, head to Newaygo for the St. Nick Kick. The seventh annual event is a friendly 5K and 10K run, as well as a 1-mile walk for all ages. St. Nick attracts some of the best competitive athletes from around West Michigan and other corners of the state to round out the field.

The event is sponsored by Choice One Bank. Newaygo High School, 200 East St., Newaygo

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Holiday Events |  Compiled by Josh Veal

12/1 Light Up Downtown

Rosa Parks Circle 135 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids 5-7 p.m., free

fine art, holiday cards, accessories and toys, alongside live music and local food and beverages.

12 Bars of Xmas Crawl Grand Rapids 12-8 p.m., $30

Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. is kicking off the holiday season with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree (and all of downtown’s holiday lights) and opening the Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink. At 5 p.m., the Good Tidings Carol Company will kick off the night, followed by Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Santa. Also look for food trucks, including Patty Matters, The Everyday Chef and Wife, Doughrunts and Ferris Coffee & Nut.

What better way to get festive than with an unholy amount of booze? One ticket to this massive bar crawl gets you a 16 oz. Bad Santa cup, a commemorative Santa hat, cover to every bar, and access to drink specials, including $3 craft beer pints at Kuzzin’s Lounge, $2 mystery shots at Steel Cat and much more. And don’t worry, four busses will be running a route from bar to bar. Happy Holidays!

12/1-10 GR Ballet’s The Nutcracker

12/4 Noël, Noël, Joyeux Noël: A

DeVos Performance Hall 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids $34+

The Nutcracker is the quintessential ballet program just about everywhere, and the Grand Rapids Ballet is no exception. Adapted for the stage from a story by Alexandre Dumas, this Tchaikovsky-scored show is essentially the Christmas version of Alice in Wonderland, following a young girl’s journey through a magical world with the titular Nutcracker, who saves her from the evil Mouse King.

Celebration of French Music for the Holiday Season Fountain Street Church 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids 7:30 p.m.

a 90-member chorus performing all of France’s holiday hits — Guillaume Du Fay’s Magnificat, Francis Poulenc’s Gloria, and Minuit, Chrétiens (O Holy Night). Meanwhile Grand Valley dance majors will dance in the aisles.

Grand Valley State University’s Fall Arts is celebrating this holiday season with a large symphony orchestra and


Winter Wonderland Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids 4-7 p.m., free

Dining | sights | Sounds Scene

12/2 UICA’s 29th Annual Holiday

The Downtown Market will fill its halls with holiday magic, hosting carolers, special offers, food and beverage demos upstairs, Santa in the greenhouse, and the Holiday Artisan Market. All in all, it’s a great place to shop for gifts, or for yourself, while getting in the holiday spirit.

Artists Market

Steelcase Town Hall 901 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free

12/6 Breakfast with Santa

The more unique a gift is, the more your recipient is sure to love it (excluding brand new cars), and there’s no better way to assure a gift’s singularity than buying from a local artist. The UICA is bringing dozens of regional artists together, selling jewelry, home goods,

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Grand Rapids Ballet presents The Nutcracker, Dec. 1-3 and 8-10. Photo: Tim Motley

UICA’s 29th Annual Holiday Artists Market, Dec. 2

Grand Rapids Public Museum 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids 8:30 & 10 a.m., $30

If you’ve ever wanted to eat a holiday breakfast, visit a planetarium and sit on Santa’s lap in one day, this is your chance. This limited-availability event, broken into two sessions, includes a full breakfast, admission to the special Brain: The World Inside Your Head exhibit, time with Santa, and access to the rest of the museum for the entire day. You’ll also see a showing of the planetarium’s special show, Let It Snow, featuring classic Christmas music, animation, special effects and a stunning finale from Trans Siberian Orchestra.

12/7 Perrin Holiday Dinner

Perrin Brewing Co. 5910 Comstock Park Dr. NW, Comstock Park 7 p.m., $50 Beer dinners are one of the best ways to elevate your palette — not only are you taking the time to be intentional about your tasting, but you’ll be talked through the pairings of beer and food. This is Perrin’s last beer dinner of the year, and the dishes are heavily holidayinspired, from a clear soup with fennel-and-sausage dumpling to a duck confit with wild rice pilaf, green

beans, cranberry sauce and more. Buy your tickets ahead of time to ensure a spot.

Yule Ball

20 Monroe Live 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids 6:30 p.m., $20 A generation that grew up reading Harry Potter is finally old enough to drink, which means we should expect to see more and more events based on the world of The Boy Who Lived. This is Grand Rapids’ first Yule Ball, a magical event meant to recreate the same ball from Goblet of Fire. Our city’s version will have a photo booth, a magician, a horcrux hunt, trivia, a performance by Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, and more, all hosted by Dumbledore himself.

12/11-22 Twelve Days of Cocktails Wheelhouse Kitchen & Cocktails 67 Ottawa Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

Wheelhouse’s bar manager, Daren Palacios, is partnering with local distilleries to create a series of 12 unique craft cocktails just for the holiday season, and they’re only $8 each. And nestled within these 12 days is Brunch With Santa on Dec. 16 and 17. One visit gets you a delicious brunch buffet, a professional photo with Santa, cookie decorating, a visit from Grand Rapids Ballet dancers, activities for kids and more. Tickets are $29.95 for adults and $14.95 for the kids.

12/14-17 Grand Rapids Symphony’s Holiday Pops

DeVos Performance Hall 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids $18+ If you’ve never seen Santa conduct a professional orchestra, you’re missing out. Every year, the Grand Rapids Symphony puts on its hugely popular Holiday Pops show, featuring classics like Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Sleigh Ride, the Hallelujah Chorus and

so many more. Conductor Bob Bernhardt, the symphony, two choruses, a handbell choir and vocalist Leon Williams all come together to make this show an instant holiday classic.

12/19 Mix & Mingle Holiday Party Mendel Center 1100 Yore Ave., Benton Harbor 5:30 p.m., $25

If you’re tired of worrying about and planning your big holiday party, Mix & Mingle was designed just for you. Whether you’re a family, a business or just a group of friends, this event is meant to appeal to groups of all kinds with a lavish buffet, a cash bar, music, games and a few surprises throughout.

12/21 WYCE Bubble Bash 18 HOME at The B.O.B. 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

5-8:30 p.m., $30 Everyone’s favorite radio station (at least according to Revue’s Best of the West) and The Gilmore Collection are teaming to present yet another Bubble Bash, the holiday celebration that puts sparkling wines in the spotlight. This party acts as a fundraiser for WYCE. One ticket gets you access to more than 15 varieties of hard bubbly, plus a beautiful spread of food.

12/29-31 Learn to Luge Weekend Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex 462 Scenic Dr., Muskegon $49

There are not many places in the United States where you can learn to luge. In fact, there’s supposedly only four luge tracks in the entire country, and one of them is right here in Muskegon. This track was designed by an Olympic luger for novices, with speeds “only” reaching 30 mph. Head on out for a fully unique, two-and-a-half hour luging session, complete with lessons. n

Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


/// Holidays

NYE at The B.O.B. Courtesy Photos

New Year, New Parties Revue’s New Year’s Eve round-up |  by Kelly Brown

As December comes to an end, it’s time to say goodbye to your sins, mistakes and embarrassments of 2017 and ring in the New Year in style. Whether you enjoy a quiet evening with friends or dancing and drinking until the sun comes up, Revue has you covered for the best event to match your mood.

Dining | sights | Sounds Scene

The Family Guy:

each floor. The DJs will be spinning your favorites from the ’50s to now, all night long, across B.O.B’s Brewery, H.O.M.E., Gilly’s, Bobarino’s, L3vel and Eve. Make a dinner reservation now at one of the B.O.B.’s restaurants to be sure you get in. Or, 20 Monroe Live is throwing its inaugural NYE Resolution Ball this year, and 1,600 people are expected to show up to this massive party. One $75 ticket gets you access to the main floor, with complimentary coat check, midnight pizza and late night snack buffet, midnight blowout with balloon drop and confetti, live feed of the ball drop and more. That ticket will also get you seven drink tickets, valid for premium cocktails. The party runs from 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m.

The annual New Year’s Fest in Kalamazoo is happening once again. Bundle up your tiny humans and head to downtown Kalamazoo for an all-ages performing arts fest. Activities include music, magic, comedy, exhibitions, fireworks and great food. New Year’s Fest is from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, and the ball drop and fireworks are held at Bronson Park. Purchase your admission buttons ahead of time for just $5. Kids 3 and under are free.

The Standard:

The Early Nighter:

The Beer Geek:

Head to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for the annual New Year’s Early Eve, running 6-8 p.m. with a countdown and big ol’ balloon drop at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person, $10 for GRCM members. Or, skate for free under the stars at Rosa Parks Circle until 9:45 p.m. Then head to any one of the local bars near Monroe Center for a quick drink before snuggling into bed for the night.

The Party Animal:

New Year’s Eve at the B.O.B is a classic. Come here for a nice meal, followed by a place to party your way into the new year. Dance to your heart’s content and celebrate every decade on

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When you go to Flanagan’s, you already know it’s going to be a good time, but it’s even better with live music. Join local group Decades for live music, good drinks and great dancing. Decades is one of the most diverse, professional, occasionally controversial cover bands in West Michigan. If you’re looking to make a night of it, bar hop from Flanagan’s to Z’s Bar and down to HopCat.

Ring in the New Year with your fellow hopheads at Hops at 84 East in downtown Holland. You’ll find tons of food and drink specials, plus live music by Delilah DeWylde starting at 9 p.m. Head to Hops for dinner (brick oven pizza, sandwiches and more) and stay for the entertainment. Check the restaurant’s Facebook for more event details. Or, head to HopCat Kalamazoo for Poppin’ (Rare) Bottles on NYE. All day, the restaurant and beer bar will be raiding its cellar for deep cuts like B. Nektar Meadery’s Ancient Soul and #Dragonsarereal, Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes’ Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Bible Belt, a collab between Prairie Artisan Ales and Evil Twin Brewing. n

Other NYE Offerings WYCE 88.1 FM Presents: New Year’s Eve Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids 8 p.m.-1 a.m., $30

NYE at Shakespeare’s Lower Level 241 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m., free

New Year’s Eve Gatsby Style 18th Amendment Spirits Co. 350 W. Western Ave., Muskegon 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m., $75 (tix include dinner and cocktails)

Founders Two-night NYE Celebration 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Dec. 30-31, $10

Gr8est NYE Party Ever FireKeepers Casino 11177 E. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $40

Your path to Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining

perfect vision starts here

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Host for the Holidays Entertaining guests with wine, cheese and spirits by Josh Veal and Missy Black

With the holiday season, you’re bound to have some guests — and we don’t just mean the jolly, bearded home intruder. It’s the time of year when friends and family come from all over to visit, and they might just want you to be their benevolent host. If you’re feeling a little stressed about how best to impress, step one is to deep clean for the next three weeks, but step two is to prepare the most amazing snacks and drinks. We’ve talked to the experts and rounded up some of the best cheeses, wines and cocktails around so you can show off your palate for all to see. In fact, even if you’re just a guest, it wouldn’t hurt to bring these along — you might become the talk of the party.

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he allure of wine is strong, but the vast selection and information can overload. You need a breakdown in color, sparkling options, dessert wines and what to gift the hostess. Oh, and tannins — an important descriptor for wine tastings referring to the dryness, bitterness and astringency of a wine. Here’s some suggestions from Dave Russo of Russo’s International Market, all priced within the $15-$22 range.

ENTERING RED SEASON For red wine, look for a bottle with soft tannins, medium-bodied and gently fruity. “The Maison L’Envoyé Morgon from the Beaujolais region of France would be excellent.  Pinot Noir from Oregon is also a great choice,” Russo said. He also recommends the RouteStock Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. “It’s just as good as many $40-plus Pinots from the same region,” he said. For those who prefer a fuller-bodied red, you’ll want well-rounded tannins that don’t dominate a meal, so try a good Bordeaux. The Le HautMédoc de Pédesclaux is a food-friendly,

modestly priced Bordeaux that works well for the holidays.

WHITE CHRISTMAS White wines from Alsace and Germany are great for traditional Christmas meals. “The Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc from Alsace and the Grans-Fassian (dry) Riesling from Mosel, Germany would be great choices,” Russo said. Both selections have the crisp acid structure and assorted tree fruit flavors that complement turkey and ham.  

HOLIDAY SPARKLE Sparkling wines are a nice way to start the feast and welcome guests. If your friends prefer drier sparkling wines, try the Francois Montand Blanc de Blancs Brut. A not-so-dry option might be the Krone Night Nectar for its “hint of sweetness, but enough acidity to balance out the residual sugar nicely so it never becomes cloying,” Russo said.

ROOM FOR DESSERT You should always have a dessert wine on hand just in case your party wants to lounge about the table in discussion and appreciation of the meal. A good, versatile choice is the Losen-Bockstanz Riesling Auslese from Mosel, Germany. “This works well with pumpkin or apple pies,” Russo said.

GIFTING IT Secure the next invite by presenting the hostess with a bottle to keep or share. If you think the host will open your bottle for the party, purchase a sparkling wine that’s “festive and lightens the mood,” Russo said. If they seem the type to keep the bottle for later, Russo suggests a good red, soft in tannins, especially if you don’t know what their tastes are. Having wine with dinner “enhances the meal and makes a feast complete,” Russo said, “I think of that quote, ‘A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.’” n

Whine Not? Hundreds of stores sell wine, but here are a few spots who’ve made it their specialty:

Martha’s Vineyard 200 Union Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Bellavinos Fine Wine & Spirits 3920 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Siciliano’s Market 2840 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids Art of the Table 606 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids The Crushed Grape 2869 Knapp St. NE, Grand Rapids The Vineyard On Plainfield 3418 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Rishi’s International Beverage 3839 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids Wine Sellers of Saugatuck 247 Butler St., Saugatuck Tiffany’s Wine & Spirits 1714 W. Main St., Kalamazoo Salut Market 3112 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo

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/// Holidays

Batches for Your Bashes by Josh Veal

When you’re throwing a party, uncorking a great wine is a prime way to fill your guest’s glass, but a killer cocktail gives them something to remember. For large groups, you can easily fill a jug with a pre-made drink, offering ice on the side — you don’t want it melting and watering down your concoction. Or, if you trust your guests to be adults about it, just set out the ingredients so they can choose their own proportions. Of course, we prefer our cocktails to be made with as many local ingredients as possible. Here’s just a few ideas to keep your soiree sated.

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French 75 1 1/2 oz. Long Road MICHIGIN ¾ oz. lemon juice ½ oz. simple syrup 3 oz. sparkling wine Long Road Distillers’ MICHIGIN has quickly become a fan-favorite after launching this year — its red winter wheat comes from Heffron Farms and the juniper is hand-picked by Long Road staff on Beaver Island. Throw in some Michigan hops and botanicals and you’ve got yourself an all-Michigan gin. Meanwhile, the French 75 is a refreshing, classy, classic cocktail that’s easy to make, which is why we’ve borrowed Long Road’s very own recipe. You’ll have to leave the individual ingredients sitting out for this one, though — a premixed French 75 will go flat fast. Just pour the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a tin and give it a vigorous shake. Strain that into a glass (preferably doublestrained, but whatever) and top that with the sparkling wine. Feel free to throw a lemon twist in there too, and serve over ice. Voila!

Cider Rum Punch 8 oz. Gray Skies Spiced Rum 12 oz. apple cider 2 oz. lemon juice 4 oz. club soda 4 oz. thyme simple syrup (optional) 8 dashes Angostura bitters (optional) My go-to autumn drink is one-part fresh apple cider, one-part Sailor Jerry’s. For whatever reason, the combination tastes just like a caramel apple. This drink, however, uses some of the best rum I’ve ever had: Gray Skies Spiced Rum. Its vanilla-forward flavor is to die for, especially when balanced with its cinnamon, citrus and peppercorn notes. This punch plays up those flavors — fresh lemon juice complements the citrus, while the vanilla and cinnamon pair perfectly with apple cider. Just mix all the ingredients together and pour over ice. The bitters will add an extra layer of flavor, but they’re not for everyone, and the same goes for the thyme simple syrup, which you can make at home by boiling 2 cups of sugar, 1 ½ cups of water and 6 sprigs of thyme.

THE GOUDA LIFE by Missy Black

I Rad Madler 1 oz. New Holland Clockwork Orange Liqueur 2 oz. grapefruit juice New Holland Mad Hatter IPA As breweries venture into the land of distilling, beer-tails are becoming more and more common. This one is stolen straight from New Holland mixologist Kelly Parker. It features the Clockwork Orange Liqueur, a neutral grain spirit steeped with oranges, dried orange peel, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla beans. Usually liqueurs are on the weaker side, but Clockwork Orange clocks in at 80 proof, so you’re not doing too much damage with the grapefruit juice, which will add brightness and acidity. Mix the two together, then top it all off with the brewery’s signature Mad Hatter IPA to taste — that’s what makes it a radler. Serve in an iced pint glass. (Obviously, you’ll want to scale up the recipe quite a bit for larger groups.)

Old Fashioned 1 bottle Journeyman Last Feather Rye Whiskey 2 oz. simple syrup 14 dashes Angostura bitters 4 oz. water Cherries or orange peel (optional) This is the drink of choice if you want to appear classy, while also getting everyone drunk. An Old Fashioned, by design, puts the whiskey in the spotlight. Here, we’re using Journeyman Distillery’s Last Feather Rye, aged in white oak barrels. It’s an excellent fruit-forward whiskey, with notes of spice and pepper from the rye. The simple syrup lends some sweetness, the bitters some acidity, and the water some relief. Simply mix all ingredients together and pop it in the fridge to chill until guests arrive. For some extra flavor, set out cherries and orange twists as well. Should be served over ice.

Bloody Mary 1 part Bier Distillery Heart Cut Vodka 2 part McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix Accoutrements (optional) This one’s simple, and is easy to scale as small or large as your party can handle. A Bloody Mary is also a great way to keep your guests full, as they can (and should) take just about anything off the cheese platter you’ve so graciously provided, put it on a skewer and stick it in the glass. Bier Distillery’s Heart Cut Vodka is unique, using a special blend of beet and cane sugars as its base. Meanwhile, the McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix is bold, tangy and incredibly robust. The Detroit-made mix is absolutely full of flavor, and together, these two ingredients are a match made in heaven/Michigan.

Blueberry Citrus Fun Potion

f you’re heading to a party or throwing one at home, the hierarchy goes: booze first, then cheese. According to Heather Baehre, owner of the new Rockford Cheese Shop, cheddars and goudas are the two most popular cheeses and the shop carries some great aged varieties. “I’m a spicy fan, so we carry a spicy habanero ghost pepper cheese that a lot of guys seem to go for,” said Baehre, also mentioning the pricier, specialty truffle cheeses in three varieties (goat, sheep and cow) that will impress guests. Just as impressive is a mean cheese pairing. “Blue cheeses can be strong, but they go well with pears, grapes and apples, as well as honey and walnuts,” she said. “For a soft cheese like brie, pair that with cranberries or raspberries. We do have different cranberry cheeses like a cranberry brie that will be great for the holidays.” The shop specializes in more than 80 cheeses and “anything you’d want on a cheese board,” so foodies can load up on fresh olives from Greece, crackers, nuts, charcuterie, honey and jam, along with cheese accessories such as cutting boards, knives and spreaders. “Cheese is an easy appetizer for groups,” Baehre said, “There are wine connoisseurs and there are a ton of

cheeseheads or cheesemongers that love cheese and love to learn about it.” If you’re not up to the task of creating your own cheese appetizer, the shop can work up a platter for you. Ask about their party platters for your specific head count and try the Tour Through Europe selection featuring Beemster, XO Gouda, Manchego, Havarti and Grand Noir Blue. Just close your eyes and imagine a cheese platter for 50, complete with fruits, nuts, crackers and cured meats — you might be looking into the face of God.

Say “Cheese!” Here are a few more places to get your culture fix: Cheese Lady (multiple locations) 315 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids 808 Terrace St., Muskegon 7035 W. Q Ave., Kalamazoo Martha’s Vineyard 200 Union Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Aperitivo 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Art of the Table 606 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

16 oz. Coppercraft Citrus Vodka 4 oz. orange liqueur 16 oz. Blueberry Haven Elixir 8 oz. mango juice (optional) Fresh blueberries (optional) Disclaimer: This one is a Revue original (in case the name didn’t tip you off), so we suggest adjusting the ratio to taste. Citrus and blueberry play well together, creating a combination of sweet, sour and acidic. The Citrus Vodka from Coppercraft is infused with orange, lemon and grapefruit — it’s refreshing and zesty. Meanwhile, the Blueberry Elixir from Grand Haven-based Blueberry Haven is a locally made concoction of blueberries, sugar, lime juice and salt. If you’re looking for a little more balance or just an extra layer of flavor, toss in that mango juice. Shake all the ingredients together over ice, then strain into your pitcher. Serve straight up in a chilled cocktail glass, with fresh blueberries skewered on a pick. n

Rockford Cheese Shop REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |

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/// Holidays Marshall's Merry Mile

Night Lights

Where to find Christmas lights in West Michigan by Elma Talundzic

Bring some cheer to those dark December nights with a visit to the best light shows in West Michigan. These events are great for all ages and a perfect way to celebrate the holiday season.

Christmas Lite Show 4500 West River Dr. NE, Comstock Park Nov. 22-Dec. 31, 5:30-9:30 p.m., $20 per car, (616) 745-9955 One of West Michigan’s largest drivethrough light shows is celebrating 20 years of entertaining people of all ages. This event was started by Bill Schrader and has grown through the years with the help of his family. Guests enjoy nearly two miles of more than a million lights arranged into animated displays, lighted tunnels and more. Don’t forget to stop at the Santa house and give him your holiday wish list. This year offers a new extended trail, an extra 10,000 lights and a few more updated displays. Climb on board and see the lights on the Memory Lane Train. Nite Lites Winter Wonderland Michigan International Speedway 12626 U.S. 12, Brooklyn Nov. 23-Dec. 30, $20 per car

44 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017, (517) 937-6426 Nite Lites Winter Wonderland has doubled in size at its new location at Michigan International Speedway. Enjoy three miles of brilliant lights with your loved ones without even having to step out of your car. This event features 65 different themes, a 250-foot lighted tunnel, six 30-foot trees and three 20-foot trees. Along with the spectacular lights on display, kids will have the chance to get their photo snapped with Santa and let him know their Christmas wishes. Santa’s reindeer make an appearance Dec. 8, 15 and 22 from 6-9 p.m. Also look for the puppet show, train rides and food/drink on special dates. Visit the website for more information. Marshall’s Merry Mile Calhoun County Fairgrounds 720 Fair St., Marshall Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 6-9 p.m., $6 per car, (269) 781-8161

Check out Calhoun County Fairgrounds for Marshall’s Merry Mile. The dazzling light display runs through Dec. 30 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6-9 p.m. All of the proceeds go to the fairgrounds. Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Nov. 21, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, $14.50, (616) 957-1580 The Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition at Frederick Meijer Garden is a mustsee. With more than 300,000 lights, carolers, rooftop reindeer and 42 international trees on display, it’s an event that will put anyone in the holiday spirit. Meijer Gardens honors holiday traditions around the world through its focus on authenticity. Get out of the cold and travel around the world with this event.

Lights Synchronized to Music

Some people love Christmas enough to broadcast their cheer all month, setting up massive light displays synced to music every year. Just drive up, turn your FM radio to the noted station and sing along to holiday tunes while you watch these lights dance.

Neighborhoods That Go All Out

Sometimes, a little friendly competition goes a long way. These neighborhoods aren’t afraid to bring out all the bells and whistles for the holiday season. Paramount Estates At intersection of Plainfield Avenue and Paramount Drive in Grand Rapids.

Loomanaries 13880 Ironwood Dr. NW, Grand Rapids

Princeton Estates Bound by 52nd Street, Kalamazoo Avenue and 60th Street in Kentwood.

Abby’s Lights 147 Sunset Hills Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Sun Meadow Lane At intersection of Sheldon Oak Drive and Sun Meadow Lane in Hudsonville.

Hughes Musical Christmas Show 10679 Deer Ridge Ct., Zeeland Dec. 1-31, 5:30-9 p.m.

West Ferney’s Avenue At intersection of West Ferney’s Avenue and North Main Street in Clarksville. n

Taproom restaurant (Lunch & Dinner) production facility 505 Ball Ave NE Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616-259-8828

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |


46 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Restaurant listings arranged by region

Grand Rapids Angel’s Thai Café 136 Monroe Center NW. 616-454-9801 THAI. This downtown restaurant makes your order fresh, fast, and hot. You can order your entree with your choice of meat and spice level, or create your own. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Thai Steak and Yum Talay. Anna’s House Multiple locations BREAKFAST/LUNCH. Anna’s House recently went through a dramatic makeover, going from an already-beloved breakfast hot spot and neighborhood staple to an ever-growing concept with five locations across West Michigan. Why all the success? The menu is unique, but accessible. The interior design is refreshing, and the service is great. » SERVING: Breakfast, Lunch OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Inventive breakfast specials. Bistro Bella Vita 44 Grandville Ave. SW. 616-222-4600 ITALIAN. One of Grand Rapids’ best dining experiences, featuring Mediterranean-inspired country cuisine, a swanky yet comfortable downtown atmopshere and personable service. BBV’s culinary team creates authentic, housemade recipes made with locally grown produce, fresh seafood and rotisserie roasted meats. Specialty gluten-free menu, and can prepare custom dishes for lactose intolerant, vegetarian, and vegan diets. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Mediterranean Country Cuisine and Martinis.

Butcher’s Union 438 Bridge St. NW 616-551-1323 AMERICAN. Butcher’s has its fortes — meat and whiskey — but it’s not exactly niche. Expertly-crafted cocktails (made with every kind of spirit) are here at a refreshingly affordable price, along with

a high-end food menu for carnivores and vegheads alike. The historic building sets the mood, giving off an “old fancy-bar in London” vibe. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Meat, whiskey, cocktails.

Thai cuisine, but also made to accommodate health conscious and special diets. Not too strong, not too weak, like harmony and melody. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Peanut Curry Noodles.

Brewery Vivant 925 Cherry St. SE. 616-719-1604 FRENCH/BELGIAN. Housed in a refurbished funeral chapel, this brewery won Best Ambiance in Revue’s Best of the West with its stained glass windows and European beer hall setup. Along with farmhouse style beers, the LEED-certified BV is known for its French-Belgian cuisine, from duck nachos to roasted bone marrow. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The Burger (2nd place Best of the West).

Founders Brewing Company 235 Grandville SW. 616-776-1195 BREWPUB. A beerlover’s paradise with a national reputation for flavorful, award-winning beers. Likewise, the brewpub’s menu consists mainly of flavorful handcrafted deli sandwiches that can stand up and complement the beers (or vice versa). » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Award-winning beer, handcrafted sandwiches.

Chapbook Café 2660 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids. 616-942-0595. CAFE. Take a break from browsing the shelves at Schuler Books with a homemade selection of soups, sandwiches and quiches. Soups are prepared in-house daily and served with fresh baked bread to accompany a small-but-elegant sandwich menu. Try a quiche or traditional Italian Panini grilled on fresh ciabatta bread, or for a quick bite, grab a bagel or scone from the dessert case. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days GO THERE FOR: Homemade soups and sandwiches CitySen Lounge 83 Monroe Center St. NW. 616-608-1720 AMERICAN. CitySen Lounge, located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, is a bar with a big-city feel, offering exciting options for lunch, dinner and breakfast on the weekends. The focus is on fresh ingredients and a full bar with local brews, wine and creative cocktails. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner (Breakfast on weekends). OPEN: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Daily happy hour The Cottage Bar 18 Lagrave Ave. SE. 616-454-9088 AMERICAN. The Cottage Bar is the oldest operating restaurant and bar in downtown Grand Rapids. Come in for the Cottage Burger, smothered with green olives, bacon, lettuce, tomato, hickory mayonnaise and Swiss and American cheeses. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sundays GO THERE FOR: The Cottage Burger. Erb Thai 950 Wealthy St. SE #1A. (616) 356-2573. Additional locations at 4160 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Suite B, and 820 Michigan St. NE. THAI. Food rooted in traditional

G.R.P.D. (Grand Rapids Pizza and Delivery) 340 State St. SE. 616-454-9204 ITALIAN. The current location opened in 2004 as the first established pizzeria in Heritage Hill A common meeting spot for local folks, business professionals and college students, a place where one could gather for a quick meal or a reflective lunch. It offers both hand-tossed pizza and Chicago-style stuffed pizza, as well as pasta, sandwiches, salads, and wings. Online ordering, too. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza.

root beer for the kiddos. Named one of the top-five brewpub menus in West Michigan by yours truly, Harmony offers 10” rustic wood-fired pizzas and great soups and sandwiches. Check out their new location, Harmony Hall, at 401 Stocking Ave. NW. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza and brews. Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano 1742 28th St. SW. 616-261-2280 MEXICAN. One of the less-discussed Mexican eateries is also one of the most popular, especially on the weekends. The atmosphere? Very communal, occasionally with excellent live music. The food? Full of flavor on the cheap. The service? Always friendly, always helpful. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Unique margaritas made fresh. One Trick Pony 136 E. Fulton. 616-235-7669 AMERICAN. One Trick Pony unveiled a new menu last April with the tagline “Fresh, Local Fare with a Beat.” The restaurant is a part of FarmLink and supports local growers and remains focused on sustainability. Connected to the Cottage Bar, the menu spans pizza, salads, homemade soups, smoked prime rib and more. Pair the food with live music, which OTP features weekly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Eclectic pizzas.

Grand Woods Lounge 77 Grandville Ave. SW. 616-451-4300 AMERICAN. The restaurant’s interior exudes a warm, casual ambiance reminiscent of the great eateries of the Pacific Northwest; the outdoor porch features two outdoor bars and a fireplace. Menu stocked with affordable appetizers great for sharing, plus salads, sandwiches, and entrées. Lots of domestics and microbrews, plus an array of martinis including the “Woodstini,” a tasty mix of Stoli Orange Vodka, mandarin oranges and raspberries. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Cocktails.

The Pita House 1450 Wealthy SE, 3730 28th Street, 4533 Ivanrest SW (Grandville). 616-454-1171 MEDITERRANEAN. Gyros so big you can club someone with them, the smoothest hummus in town and other Mediterranean fare, including kibbe, kafta and falafel. Additional locations on 28th Street and Kalamazoo SE. Sandwiches are made to order with fresh vegetables and ingredients. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh pita wraps.

Graydon’s Crossing 1223 Plainfield NE. 616-726-8260 TAVERN. An authentic take on the English Pub, with a huge selection of beers on tap and a menu that includes classic English dishes like Fish & Chips, Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Stew, as well as Indian specialties like Tandoori Chicken and Tikka Masala. A great casual atmosphere for drinking and dining. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer and authentic pub food.

Reserve Wine & Food 201 Monroe Ave. NW (616) 855-9463 ECLECTIC. With 102 wines available by the glass and more than 300 by the bottle, paired with an ever-changing food menu influenced by West Michigan grown foods, Reserve promises diners a unique experience. Cocktails and craft beers add depth to the primarily wine-centered menu. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: Closed on Sunday GO THERE FOR: Wine and food pairings, charcuterie, happy hour.

Harmony Brewing Company 1551 Lake Dr. SE (616) 233-0063 BREWPUB. Harmony features 12 craft-brewed beers in addition to signature

Rockwell-Republic 45 S. Division Ave. 616-551-3563 ECLECTIC. Menu offerings range from sushi to burgers and everything in

REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |

Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining

The B.O.B. 20 Monroe Ave. NW. (616) 356-2000 ECLECTIC. If you’re not sure what kind of dining you want, you can just head into The B.O.B., where you can choose from one of its several venues. Go into Gilly’s, where you can dine on seafood or B.O.B.’s Brewery, the restaurant’s in-house brewery. You can dress down for some pizza at Bobarino’s or dress it up for a steak at Judson’s Steakhouse. For after dinner, take in a show at Dr. Grins or enjoy live music at H.O.M.E. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer and numerous dining options.

REVUE’s dining listings are compiled by staff and minions. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of restaurants in the region. For an expanded list, be on the lookout for new and improved dining changes on our website, The listings are not intended to be reviews of West Michigan restaurants, although we will inject some opinions into the listings based on staff experiences and personal preferences. To submit or to correct information in a dining listing, e-mail editor@




between. The craft cocktail menu runs the gamut from classics like the Manhattan to more modern concoctions and the beer and wine menus are nicely curated. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Specialty cocktails, broad menu, lively atmosphere. The Sovengard 443 Bridge St. NW 616-214-7207 NEW NORDIC. There’s really nothing like The Sovengard. The menu changes with the seasons, but the quality doesn’t. Expect innovative, beautiful dishes in the Scandinavian tradition. It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for. The West Side restaurant also boasts an excellent taplist, perfect for sipping in the biergarten. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Something special.


Wolfgang’s Restaurant 1530 Wealthy St. SE. 616-454-5776 BREAKFAST. The bustling Eastown breakfast spot is home to some of the heartiest breakfast dishes and funniest menu descriptions. Courteous staff never fails to offer a cup of coffee to go after we’ve finished breakfast. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Breakfast all day.



Kalamazoo/Battle Creek

The dessert you’ll want to make the main course.

Arcadia Brewing Co. 103 Michigan Ave., Battle Creek. 269-963-9520 BREWPUB. You’ll find some of the usual suspects on the Battle Creek brewpub’s menu, including wood-fired pizzas and some of the best barbecue in the region. But you’ll also find some delightful surprises — Osso Bucco in a brewpub?! — on the menu, courtesy of award-winning Chef Sean Kelly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Handcrafted ales and barbecue. Central City Taphouse 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. (269) 492-0100 TAPHOUSE. If Central City doesn’t have the kind of beer you want on tap, you’ll probably find it with the 75+ bottles. OH, you say you’re not a beer drinker? Well, Central City offers 20 wine ‘taps’ and a full bar. If you’re not the drinking type, that’s cool too. There are a number of food options to pick from, including a raw menu, a pizza menu and the all-day menu, which features burgers, soups and entrees. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Diverse beverage selection.

Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene

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48 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

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Fieldstone Grille 3970 W. Centre St., Portage. 269-321-8480 AMERICAN. Lodge-retreat atmosphere overlooking the Moors Golf Club natural wetlands. The “field-to-plate” menu features burgers, pizzas, steaks and some eclectic items like quail. Try the FSG chips, a combination of potato, beet and sweet potato chips. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Blue Burger, Almond Crusted Walleye, FSG Chips. Food Dance 401 E. Michigan Ave. 269-382-1888 AMERICAN. Food Dance is committed to building a thriving and sustainable local food system, supporting artisans who practice craft food processes. It’s about the connection with people and places the food comes from. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, private dining space, catering and delivery, while

an on-site market offers humanely raised meats, artisan cheeses, fresh bread and pastries. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh Local Foods.

Old Dog Tavern 402 East Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo. 269-381-5677 AMERICAN. The food at Old Dog Tavern is just about as eclectic as the entertainment offered. The menu has so much on it that it might even bring some harmony between picky and adventurous eaters. » SERVING: Brunch Lunch Dinner. OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The eclectic menu options. Olde Peninsula 200 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo 269-343-2739 BREWPUB. Downtown brewpub serves up the expected (e.g., steaks, ribs), the authentic (e.g., London Broil) and some pleasant surprises (e.g., extensive vegetarian offerings, Italian food). Offers a range of beers brewed on the premises and served on tap, plus a full bar. Check out the seasonal porters on tap right now, including the Vanilla Porter (5.5% ABV) and Stout Chocula (5.25% ABV). » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer-B-Que Ribs, London Broil.

Union Cabaret & Grille 125 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo. 269-384-6756 AMERICAN. A partnership with WMU, Union features eclectic food and cocktails, plus live jazz music performed by WMU faculty and students. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Portabella Fries, Bloody Maries with infused vodkas.

Lakeshore 8th Street Grille 20 W. 8th St., Holland. 616-392-5888 AMERICAN. This eclectic grille offers a mix of draft and bottled craft beers and a variety of pub classics and new, American beerinspired dishes. Happy hour includes half-off appetizers and $1 off drafts. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: 28 taps of craft beer. CityVu Bistro 61 E 7th Street, Holland. 616-796-2114 AMERICAN. A distinctive rooftop dining experience in downtown Holland with fresh gourmet flatbreads and an array of seasonal entrees. The contemporary-yet-casual atmosphere, full bar and unique menus make it the ideal spot for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Flatbreads. Everyday People Cafe 11 Center St., Douglas. 269-857-4240 AMERICAN. REVUE Publisher Brian Edwards calls Everyday People Café his favorite restaurant along the lakeshore. The atmosphere is casual and upbeat, the staff knows its stuff about wine and food, and the seasonal menu is filled with meticulously prepared, eclectic comfort food like Butternut Squash Risotto, Braised Lamb Shank and Ahi Tuna. A great wine list and tremendous desserts. » SERVING: Brunch (Weekends) Lunch Dinner OPEN: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Gorgonzola Pork Chop, Greek Salad with Grandma Gigi’s Dressing (Edwards).

Celebrate the Holidays in Style AT THE DOUBLETREE AND GANDERS!

CALL TO ORDER YOUR HOLIDAY DINNER Includes Smoked Boneless Turkey Breast, Pork Tenderloin, Smoked Sausage and Apple Stuffing, Macaroni & Cheese, Sweet Potato Mash, Pit smoked Pork & Beans, House Salad w/Ranch & Honey Jalapeño Vinaigrette, Cranberry BBQ Sauce, Pecan Pie. FEEDS 6-8.

Celebrate the Holidays in Style at the DOUBLETREE GRAND RAPIDS

Join Us

at the Double Tree for a Holiday event to remember! When we handle the details and the trimming of your festive celebration, a truly magical experience awaits!

Event Locations

Grand Ballroom, Wolverine Room, or Ganders Restaurant.

Holiday Packages Wish Big Event Location

Grand Ballroom Call 616-957-0100 toEvent ask about our Holiday Party packages. Sign a contract for your 2017 Holiday Festively decorated, our Grand Ballroom can before 10/31/17 and select your choice from KRVWSDUWLHVRIXSWRSHRSOH the following incentives: 7$*LIW&HUWLÀFDWHIRUDFRPSOLPHQWDU\ QLJKWDWWKH'RXEOH7UHH*UDQG5DSLGV

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616-454-1588 435 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids |


Contact Us


6054 124th Avenue • Fennville, MI 49408 • 269.561.2297



6054 124th Avenue • Fennville, MI 49408 • 269.561.2297

Live Music and Dinner Specials Every Saturday Chef's Holiday Paring Dinner Saturday Dec. 9th | Call for tickets Family recipe Michigan fruit pies and desserts • Homemade sandwiches, salads and soups • Fresh pressed cider from Farm-fresh Food • Amazing Drinks • Unique Surroundings

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mily recipe Michigan fruit pies and desserts • Homemade sandwiches, salads and soups • Fresh pressed cider from 616-977-7200 | and Desserts - Unique Surroundings pples • Fresh fruit inFarm-fresh season • Local Meals preserves, honey, maple syrup and more! • Artisan, small batch hard cider and wine • Tasting barWine with samples, bottles and -growlers take home with you! Amazing and Hard Cider Call ustoat 269.561.2297


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any cookie package of 4 cookies or more, including gluten free. Offer includes gift boxes.


by Joe Boomgaard, Editor


Beer in Review: A Year in Beer


onfession time: I’ve fallen out of love with IPAs.

Call it palate fatigue, call it a reaction to too many bad/ unbalanced beers in the marketplace, but my beer of choice has shifted quite a bit in the last year. Now, I still like the style and I enjoy tasting the flavors of different hops, but the thought of drinking a hop bomb really turns me off. Which is strange, because perhaps my favorite new Michigan beer from 2017 — Blood Forge by Ludington’s Starving Artist Brewing Co. — is a double IPA. Starving Artist’s mad scientist and head brewer Andy Thomas managed to create a

world-class beer that happens to be a fruited IPA, typically a combination I loathe. In this case, however, the end product manages to be more than the sum of its parts. Blood Forge explodes with citrus aromas and flavors that are balanced out by just enough hop bitterness and a super soft mouthfeel that hides the beer’s 10-percent ABV. It’s a beer that fans of New England-style IPAs would appreciate because it’s focused more on flavor than bitterness. One could argue — and I will — that Starving Artist has really come into its own with Blood Forge, on top of the solid portfolio of top-notch brands that Thomas has already developed. In particular, Thomas has a knack for making IPAs that burst with f lavor while also featuring a comfortable

level of bitterness. That includes favorites like Hop Marley, a low-bitterness double IPA, and Conspiracy, which features Cascade, Centennial and Azacca hops in an effervescent beer. And with a solid ESB, milk stout and smoked porter, Starving Artist proves it’s no one-trick pony.


Speaking of NEIPAs — and forgive me for being curmudgeonly, but someone needs to say this: Many of them are terrible. There’s no denying NEIPAs are the beer of the minute, but the buzz behind the style has meant a lot of breweries are rushing to the market with turbid tipples that frankly are just bad beers.

Moreover, there seems to be a different definition of the style depending on the brewer. Some focus more on producing an overly hazy beer by adding oats or even flour, while others generate the haze through copious amounts of dry hopping intended to create soft juicy flavors rather than harsh bitterness. Having traveled to New England this year and consumed many a true NEIPA, I’d say brewers there seem to be focused more on the latter. Versions from West Michigan that stacked up well in my opinion included Brewery Vivant’s Dawn of Vim, Ellison Brewery’s You Can Get With That Juice, Greyline Brewing’s Green Jack a lope, Rockford Brewing’s Dogma Style, and Transient Artisan Ales’ The Juice Is Loose.

Speciation Artisan Ales

Cedar Springs Br

Starving Ar tist

50 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

ewing Co.


At this point, local beer fans might be asking: Does Speciation Artisan Ales really need any more press? After all, the tiny Comstock Park-based purveyors of wild and sour ales have made a major splash in just a few short months, earning seemingly dozens of nationwide accolades and mentions as one of the best new breweries in the country. The answer to the question is unequivocally yes. In less than a year, Mitch and Whitney Ermatinger have developed some of the most interesting beers to hit the local market in a long time. Even if you don’t think you like sours, give Speciation’s beers a try, particularly any of the Genetic Drift saisons or the fruited and/or barrel-aged versions of Incipient, a wild ale. The brewery’s beers can be found at a handful of the better beer bars around the state, but trying Speciation’s beers is about to get even easier, as the brewery plans to open a tasting room some time in 2018.


Maybe it goes back to palate fatigue or perhaps it’s a factor of getting older, but I’m finding more and more these days that I’m drawn to traditional and Old World-style beers. Give me a well-done pilsner, lager and weißbier any day of the week.

A look back into my Untappd check-ins shows a distinct appreciation for the Bavarian beers at Cedar Springs Brewing Co., including special offerings like the Holzweizenbock or even the brewery’s staples like the Küsterer Original Weißbier and Heller Weißbier. Founders also crept into the traditional territory with the taproom release of its Eisbock, a malt-bomb of epic proportions. (I’m also looking forward to trying the reformulated Solid Gold golden lager brewed with corn and lemondrop hops that’s set to be released in February.) The Pilz from Creston Brewery also deserves a mention here, as it’s become a go-to beer in recent months since the brewery is a mere couple blocks from our world headquarters.


Another factor in my palate’s evolution this year is a newfound love of ciders. Frankly, I never paid much attention to hard ciders, since largely I disliked the overly sweet varieties that were around when I started getting into the craft scene. But I’ve been developing an appreciation for super dry and funky varieties, as well as bourbon barrel-aged ciders. Some of the better ciders I’ve tried this year marry the complexity of a wild ale with the dryness of a brut champagne.

Standouts included Maggie’s Reserve and KBS Barrel Aged from Sietsema Cider, Barrel Johnny from The Peoples Cider Co., Ashmead’s Oaked from Vander Mill and Sidra de Nava from Virtue Cider in Fennville. These ciders offer more than a break from beer, and sometimes that’s just what is needed.


2017 was a relatively calm year in West Michigan’s craft beverage scene, especially when compared to the frenetic pace of the last few years. Here’s a look back on some highlights.

Openings: These companies opened during the course of 2017 • 18th Amendment Spirits Co., Muskegon • Arvon Brewing Co., Grandville • Bam Entertainment Center, Holland • Bee Ryder Meadery, Caledonia • Big Boiler Brewing, Lowell • Beer Church Brewing Co., New Buffalo • Brewery 4 Two 4, Holland • Cellar Brewing Co. (new location), Sparta • City Built Brewing, Grand Rapids • Earthen Ales, Traverse City

• Grande Mere Inn, Stevensville • Great Legs Winery, Brewery & Distillery, Holland • Great Mead Hall & Brewing Co., Bangor • Haymarket Brewery & Pub, Bridgman • Kalamazoo Stillhouse, Kalamazoo • Kelsey Block Brewing Co., Three Rivers • Ludington Bay Brewing Co., Ludington • Monkey Fist Brewing Co., Traverse City • North Channel Brewing Co., Manistee • Red Tail Brewing, Reed City • South Haven Brewpub, South Haven • Speciation Artisan Ales, Comstock Park • Thornapple Brewing, Grand Rapids • Zeeland Brewing Co., Zeeland

Closings: May these establishments R.I.P. • Arcadia Brewing Co., Battle Creek location • Cultivate Brewing Co., Berrien Springs • Dutch Girl Brewing Co., Spring Lake n

Virtue Cider


Greyline Brewing

Brewery Vivant


Q&A: Seth Rivard and Jeff Sheehan Co-owners, Rockford Brewing Co.

Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene

Rockford Brewing Co. scored big in the competition at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. The West Michigan microbrewery, which sold 687 barrels of beer in 2016, took home two medals: silver among 30 entries for Sheehan’s Stout in the Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout category, and bronze among 63 entries for Rogue River Brown in the English-Style Brown Ale category. (Astute readers will recall Sheehan’s Stout took third place in Revue’s Best of the West Awards this year, as well.) To cap it all off, Rockford also scored the Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year Awards at GABF — a big feat, considering more than 2,200 breweries entered 7,900-plus beers in 161 different style categories. Revue sat down with owners Seth Rivard and Jeff Sheehan to discuss the praise the brewery’s been receiving and how they’re not letting it get to their heads.

52 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

Congrats on all the awards at GABF. This is the second honor for Rogue River Brown, while Sheehan’s Stout is a first-time winner, right?

Jeff: Not so much. We haven’t really touched the Sheehan’s Stout recipe. The brown we have tweaked a handful of times (with a new yeast).

Jeff: Yep. With both of those, we get judges notes back every year. Both of those beers had made it to the medal round for the last three years in a row, so we knew there was a chance that they could both win, but they both won in the same year, which made it even more special.

Seth: But I think the flavor profile between those two yeasts is pretty minimal in that style. Jeff: Yeah, and anytime you tell people there’s a change, they exaggerate the (effect). But, of course, we would never make changes if it was going to be that drastic.

Then to top it all off, you won the Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year Awards at GABF. How did Rockford pull that off?

To have your beers held up on a national stage, what does that mean for the brewing operations? Does that give you guys a boost of confidence?

Jeff: There’s a stroke of luck that comes with the first two medals. In the end, there is a subjective element to that, but the icing on the cake is that Small Brewpub and Small Brewer of the Year Award. Of all the breweries in the nation that produce under 750 barrels, we won more medals than anybody, we got more points. That gave us the championship.

Jeff: Absolutely. I think you’re always looking for ways to improve, and you always wonder, ‘What are other brewers doing?’ … When you do win with a beer like that twice, and then also, two different beers in the same year, (it’s rewarding).

Were you surprised about the honor? Seth: Absolutely. Because it’s such a slim chance, that was a shocker. Almost 8,000 beers were judged, and we only entered four, and took two medals.

TOP: Seth Rivard and Jeff Sheehan. Photos: Steph Harding

Did you use the feedback over the last few years to help you refine the beers?

Seth: It’s validating that your process is good and you’re doing something right. It’s at the same time motivating, too. ‘What else can we do to make it even better?’ Jeff: As far as I know, we haven’t won any golds yet. There’s always next year! Have the honors been a good marketing tool for the brewery? Seth: We’ve definitely seen a lot of feedback and a lot of exposure on social media. The

bartenders and servers talk a lot about how much the customers are asking questions and talking about it, too. A lot of people are flat out saying they came in because of that. Looking ahead, what do you guys hope to do with all this positive recognition? Jeff: Take over the world. Seth: Take over Mars — the inner part of the solar system. (Laughter.) Really, there are a few different things we can do to expand. We started bottling six-packs of (flagship IPA) Hoplust, and the response to that has been overwhelming. The market is asking for a lot more than we can send, which is a good problem. We would love to bottle the brown and the stout and maybe Little George (an imperial IPA), but we don’t have those capabilities right now. So we’re talking about, ‘Hey, what can we do in the near/long-term future to potentially grow into some of these things.’ This has also been a big year for Rockford with the opening of your kitchen, which has been getting praise in its own right.

started — has always been my number one goal across the board. The kitchen is showcasing that pretty well right now, too, and hospitality — the front of the house. They do a great job tableside. What is Rockford Brewing planning for 2018? Seth: We’ve got our big anniversary coming up — five years. We just announced we’re bringing back Shanty Warmer and Complete Nutter Madness that people get really excited about. And the kitchen always is doing awesome things with the food for the events.

Now Booking for Holiday Gatherings. Catering Also Available.

Jeff: It’s going to be a year, I think, where we further identify who we are because we’ve got some demand for some products that we’re really having a tough time keeping up with — and those are just regular beers. To fit some new beers in is always challenging, but between responding to the demand and doing things that excite us and give us the opportunity to learn as well — that’s the balance here. n Interview conducted and condensed by Joe Boomgaard.

Jeff: It’s humbling to be surrounded by so many hardworking people. Quality — since we

Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining REVUEWM.COM | December 2017 |





Build your Own Bloody Bar Starting at $5 $7 L. Mawby Sex Mimosas All Barrel Aged Beers $2 OFF


North Channel Brewing opens in Manistee by Joe Boomgaard, Editor


Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene

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54 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017


Oskar Blues Brewery and Schlafly Brewing. he last major city without a brewery in The steam-powered brewery could make the western half of Michigan’s Lower up to 2,000 barrels of beer annually at the Peninsula can no longer claim that Manistee location, but the partners have no title. plans to distribute outside of possibly a few On Nov. 11, North Channel Brewing local accounts, at least to start. Co. opened its doors in the Victorian port Additionally, the brewery expects to city of Manistee, the first brewery to operate produce quality staples — IPAs, pale ales, in the city in 15 years. Out of the gate, the stouts, porters, and so on — not focus on brewery offered seven beers on tap — includchasing the fad of the next pastry stout or ing a Czech-style Pilsner (swoon!) dubbed adjunct-laden beer. Cap’n Piles. “I’m not going to say we’re never goNorth Channel is the culmination of ing to roll out a gimmick y years of preparation, said Erik beer — they do sell whether we May, partner and VP of brewing like it or not — but I’m proud operations. That included rehabNorth Channel that the first eight beers on tap bing a more than century-old Brewing all have four ingredients,� May industrial building on the city’s 86 Washington St., said. “That’s on purpose. We north side, which features a Manistee (231) 299-1020 opened with simple, hopefully dining area and a beer hall style approachable, beers.� setting that seats up to 160. Meanwhile, that approach “We saw Manistee as a city carries over to the scratch that needed a place that could kitchen, which focuses on barbecue, sausage become a local watering hole, that would and tacos, along with standard bar fare like also be a destination for people from the burgers and warm sandwiches. Grand Rapids area and Traverse City and the “It’s the kind of place that we’d want to southeast side of the state,� he said. “So we go,� he said of the partners’ concept. “Our invested heavily in the brewery equipment focus from day one is to be the locals’ place, to ensure that the beer was good.� where you go on a Thursday night when you Part of that investment was hiring want a beer and a good hearty meal.� n pedigreed brewer Bill Joslyn, who has previously manned the tanks for the likes of



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Fricano’s Pizza Tavern 1400 Fulton Ave., Grand Haven. 616-842-8640 ITALIAN. Claims to be the first pizzeria in Michigan, but customers care less about its longevity than the amazingly crispy thin crust and simple ingredients atop its much-lauded pies. Four other locations around West MI, including Comstock Park, Muskegon, Holland and Kalamazoo. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza.

Phil’s Bar & Grille 215 Butler St., Saugatuck. 269-857-1555 AMERICAN. This cozy (some would say “small”) bar and grille in downtown Saugatuck is one of those unassuming spots you might easily overlook, though locals in Saugatuck will tell you about their love affair with Phil’s. Eclectic menu is all over the place, but in a good way, and the staff is super-friendly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Portabella Mushroom Fries.

Kirby House 2 Washington, Grand Haven. 616-846-3299 AMERICAN. Formerly a historic hotel, The Kirby House retains its oldworld charm while providing all the pleasantries of new world fare, with a diverse but primarily American-influenced menu. Check out the new island bar with 5 HDTVs and walk to Lake Michigan right after. The Kirby House also hosts The Grill Room and a pizzeria (complete with pool tables) called K2. The lower level has also been renovated to include a wine cellar and a premier nightclub, Dark. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Nightlife.

Salt of the Earth 114 East Main St., Fennville. 269-561-7258 AMERICAN. Salt of the Earth is a farm-to-table-inspired restaurant, bar, and bakery located in the heart of SW Michigan farm country in Fennville. Focuses on fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients whenever possible. Also serves up live music on weekends. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: House made rustic cuisine.

New Holland Brewing Company 66 E. 8th St., Holland. 616-355-6422 BREWPUB. One of West MI’s premier microbreweries serves up better than average pub grub, including savory sandwiches chock full of Michigan ingredients, plus a seasonal entree menu. Also try their artisan spirits. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Mad Hatter IPA, Dragon’s Milk.



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Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene

Saugatuck Brewing Company 2948 Blue Star Highway. 269-857-7222 BREWPUB. Enjoy a traditional Irish-style pub that features quality beer, wine, food and service. Try one of 12 unique brews that are served in the pub and bottled and distributed throughout the Midwest. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer in a family friendly pub environment.



VENTURE UP NORTH E xplore Northern Michigan’s Winter Wonderland. Then Explore Our Extensive Tap List & Kitchen Menu! Whether Hitting The Slopes, The Trails, Snowmobiling, Or Pounding The Sidewalks Shopping For Holiday Sales, Beards Brewery Is The Perfect End To Any Winter Day! Beards Brewery / 215 E. Lake St. / Petoskey, MI /

56 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

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Last Call by Nick Macksood / photo by Katy Batdorff

Ginger Vertigo Harmony Eastown 1551 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids As winter creeps ever closer, it’s time to enjoy a memento of summer by way of candied ginger-infused gin. The Ginger Vertigo, found at Harmony Eastown, is a deceptively smooth summer cocktail that’s hanging around this winter like Johnny Tsunami. It's saccharine, mild and just a teensy bit zippy, with a pale yellow-silver hue to match. Add a wood-fired oven cranking out warmth and pizza in one of the cozier spots around town, and you’ll forget about the cold of winter. Ingredients

1 1/2 oz. candied ginger-infused gin 1 oz. lemonade 3/4 oz. soda 2 lemon wedges Pour ginger-infused gin into an iced shaker. Add a splash of lemonade and squeeze both lemon wedges into mixer. Shake vigorously, then strain into glass. Add soda to finish. ➤ See how it’s made: Check out for an exclusive video tutorial.

58 | REVUEWM.COM | December 2017

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Revue Magazine, December 2017  

Revue Magazine, December 2017