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/// Special Feature

t Ho The e u s Is

If we’ve gotten to the point where we’re all sick of the heat wave going on in West Michigan, perhaps it’s time for a different kind of hot. Enter: our Hot Issue, where we highlight the hottest trends in fashion, entertainment and topics in West Michigan.

Our cover gal Jasinya Sanchez got her start in drag nine years ago, but with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” bringing the art of drag mainstream, her combination of glamour, natural talent (homegirl can sing) and onstage confidence makes her our Hot Performer. But Miss Sanchez isn’t the only thing that’s hot in this issue. We find out what’s hot in the fashion world, get the scoop (haha, get it?) on the frozen yogurt craze and learn about Kalamazoo’s first Audiotree Music Festival. Read on for more.

by REVUE Staff and Minions

e u s s I t The Ho HOT FESTIVAL:

Audiotree Music Festival Tis’ the season for music festivals, and Summer Santa is still delivering presents. West Michigan is home to many diverse and top-notch music festivals every summer, including Electric Forest, B 93 Birthday Bash and City Lights. Despite the vast amount of festivals coming to this side of the state, bands of the West Michigan alternative and indie underground scene have remained off the lineups this summer. Enter Audiotree Music Festival. Known for its in-studio concert series, Audiotree has had the opportunity to film and record some of the best up-and-coming local and national bands. On Aug. 31, the Chicago-based, artist-centric music company is picking some of its favorite bands to play outside of Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo for its first-ever

music festival. Bands like Blues Traveler, Valient Thorr and Into It. Over It. “We started doing live recordings at festivals like SXSW, and thought it’d be cool to set up our own festival in West Michigan,” said Michael Johnston, Audiotree’s business manager and festival organizer. Johnston is a founder of Audiotree, along with associate Adam Thurston, both Kalamazoo natives. “We’ve put on little shows at Bell’s and The Strutt when it was open, but we wanted to do something more in West Michigan. So this is just taking it to a whole new level,” Johnston said. Johnston says the goal is to start an annual festival where Audiotree can bring in fans from all over Chicago, Indiana and Michigan for years to come. Since it’s their first-ever festival, they hope to take what they learn this year and host an even bigger and better festival next year. “We really tried to get the local music scene behind it, so we’re excited to have Greensky Bluegrass,” Johnston said. “There are also a few bands that a lot of people probably haven’t heard of, but who I can guarantee are phenomenal bands that put on a great show.” But what really makes Audiotree Festival stand out from other festivals is its ticket costs. “We didn’t want to gouge our fans like other music festivals. We’re much less focused on making money than putting together quality bands that anyone can come see, and will come back next year.” —Jordan Brasko Wings Stadium, Kalamazoo / Aug. 31, noon / $40 /

Spoonlickers frozen yogurt. Photo: elyse wild

Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene

Hot Food:

Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt

Blues Traveler

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If the recent weather is making it near impossible to keep from indulging in a sweet treat, at least now you can find something a more agreeable to your mid-section. Frozen yogurt has become the hot food trend of the summer and is proving to last well into our chilly season. And, because most are self-serve, you can be as wholesome or as devious as you like. Spoonlickers in Ada was one of first yogurt shops leading the way for the newfound craze. “We wanted to make something for ourselves and friends, but stay true to what we believe in,” co-owner Dianna Darling said of the all-natural, locally made frozen yogurt.

“There are literally four things in our yogurt. That’s the difference between having it real and natural versus something that just tastes good and is low calorie.” Equally healthy and fun is Sweet Yo’s Premium Frozen Yogurt in downtown Grand Rapids and Gaslight Village in East Grand Rapids. Sweet Yo’s offers more than 50 rotating flavors, multiple toppings and have started creating smoothies as well. “Customers can experience a family fun atmosphere,” said owner Rosa Piccione. “We’ve seen lots of different combinations. The best part is you can make your own creation.” As the name suggests, Let’s Swirl in Kalamazoo offers unique flavor swirls to its soft-serve. Go a little crazy with tastes like Euro-tart swirled with Georgia Peach or Fudge Brownie Swirled with Very Strawberry. If you’re on the lakeshore and need something refreshing, try Orange Leaf in Holland. Want to make sure your

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Hot Performer:

Queen Sanchez

Q&A with Jasinya Sanchez, local performer and drag queen


hen did you become interested in performing? I’ve been a little performer ever since I was a child. My dad used to pay me a dollar to sing “We Are the World” to his friends. It was embarassing, but I got a dollar. What were you listening to in your house growing up? A lot. My music tastes are very eclectic. My father likes a lot of ‘70s rock and soul. But there was also a lot of country in the house. My mother is from Cuba, so there was a lot of salsa in the house, but she’d listen to a lot of adult contemporary. My brother was very into rap, my sister was very into punk and rock. I was an 11 year old that listened to ABBA. So when the family all piled into the car did you fight over the radio? No, my dad turned on [country station] B93. You either listen or plug your ears. How did you get involved performing as a drag queen? I came out as gay at 15, came out as transgender at 16, started coming down here (Grand Rapids gay bar Rumors) at 18 and started performing at 19 ... I came here (Rumors) and saw all these girls doing this fun s**t and said ‘I could do this better.’

I started living my life as a woman at 16 and stopped at 24 because it was getting very difficult. I’m 6’4”, I’m 280 pounds, it’s difficult shaving every day and it’s difficult trying to be the woman you want to be and looking in the mirror and not being that woman. So I’ve just been playing around with the duality of my life and embracing this body, embracing this masculine curse and making the woman and the man coexist for a piece of mind. What’s the drag scene like now in West Michigan? I think it’s fun, I think it’s growing. There are a lot of young girls that are coming in and taking control and taking over. ... It’s very much like a family.

“The entertainer has to have a smile on her face and a pep in her step and, of course, the glamorous hair and jewels… it’s all about the show.”

What’s a drag show like for someone not familiar? More times than not, it’s just a show, but it depends. ... There’s a host, there’s booze, there’s fun. What makes for a good drag show? Number one: entertainment. The entertainer has to have a smile on her face and a pep in her step and of course, the glamorous hair and jewels and nails and shoes and costumes; it’s all about the show. What are some misconceptions people have about drag shows? It’s not a total misconception, because some drag queens are big f***ing bitches. But I like to squash that because most of us aren’t. We’re down-to-earth, cool people. Yeah, we have a little bit of a diva complex because nine years of people coming to see you, telling you how awesome you are and seeing your face on buttons, you get a little Whitney Houston. You said you came out as trangendered at 16. Do you still identify as transgendered? Kids ask me if I’m a woman or a man all the time. It’s difficult. It’s very complicated. I’m transgendered.

Do you think “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has helped give drag more attention? It’s brought the art of drag entertainment to the forefront, definitely. Nothing overt, but I do believe on the whole, it’s helping all of us. I don’t necessarily want to go on the show, but RuPaul is making it possible for us to really make a living on this. Can you make a living on it? Oh, yeah. Right now I don’t have another job. In the back of my head I keep thinking, ‘Bitch, you gotta get a day job.’ But I don’t want to. n Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Lindsay Patton-Carson. Photo: Terry Johnston

e u s s I t Ho e h T Hot Topic:

Marijuana By Nick Manes


n early-June, American music and cultural magazine Rolling Stone devoted a whole issue to marijuana. While historically a counter-cultural bastion and a magazine that often writes about weed, a whole issue devoted to the subject seems significant. The issue hit on a number of central topics and conversations happening on a national level, as marijuana’s legal status continues to liberalize, opening up lots of business opportunities and significant confusion for all the stakeholders. However, there is a central takeaway. Not just from the magazine, but from conversations not only happening on a national level, but right here in West Michigan: marijuana is hot right now. In November 2012 — after a long battle to collect signatures — an initiative called DecriminalizeGR was introduced to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana within the city of Grand Rapids. Fifty-eight percent of residents voted for the charter amendment. However, the Kent County prosecutor, William Forsythe, filed a last minute injunction to keep the DecriminalizeGR amendment from being implemented. On May 1, that legal infighting between cops, judges and attorneys came to an end and marijuana in Grand Rapids was decriminalized. Protest after Kent County Prosecutor Forsythe’s Since that May 1 implementation, there have been 150 charter injunction. Photo: Ryan Hagerman / The Rapidian amendment violations (people busted with less than two ounces of weed) as of June 19, according to Kent County 61st District law enforcement agencies,” Hoffman said. “Nationwide, police and Court records. corrections unions have been vocal opponents of drug law reform Gary Secor, court administrator for the 61st District Court told and have supported their opposition with financial contributions to REVUE that while the first-time offender ticket is $25, after other defeat reform initiatives. I believe it is also generally acknowledged fines and court costs, it comes out to about $80. Secor said that that marijuana arrests are a simple and convenient way to exert to his knowledge, all of those civil infractions were to first-time police control when evidence of other crime is lacking.” offenders. It is not just the legal status of pot that is changing locally Much of the work behind DecriminalizeGR came from local and nationally, however. Its stigma as something to be hidden or community activist — and now candidate for Third Ward City ashamed of using is largely disappearing as well. Many musicians Commissioner — Michael Tuffelmire. Tuffelmire views the issue and artists have long advocated the use of weed as a stimulator of marijuana criminalization as more of a civil rights issue than in of creativity. Certainly that has not changed, but the stereotype of terms of simple legality. the faded hippie listening to Pink Floyd and being lazy all day is “I grew up in the inner city. I had a few friends every year disappearing. It is quickly becoming accepted that one can smoke who had been busted on petty, non-violent marijuana crimes,” weed and still be a productive member of society. Tuffelmire said, adding he does not want to continue to see this “[Marijuana smoking] hasn’t ever been that big of a deal in happen in the inner city. A map that shows the breakdown of how each of the 77 —Jack Hoffman, attorney my adult life,” said Mike Saunders, a Grand Rapids resident who favored the decriminalization law and a regular smoker of nearly precincts in Grand Rapids voted at least anecdotally supports 20 years. “I’ve never worked for a place that drug tested and ... no Tuffelmire’s insinuation. The areas with the lowest percentage of ‘no’ votes — roughly 40 percent — were in the more outlying areas of the city and are one has ever made me feel that it was unacceptable that I am a smoker.” A married homeowner with a steady job, Saunders said he simply views weed as more middle-class. Inversely, the areas with the highest percentage of ‘yes’ votes were in something he does. the inner city and tend to have lower incomes. “For me it’s ... a great way to enjoy music and art. Having a smoke and playing any It is this reason that compelled Grand Rapids-based attorney Jack Hoffman — who is instrument, putting on a record, looking at any type of photography, painting, sculpture also Tuffelmire’s uncle — to serve as the lawyer for DecriminalizeGR. “Drug-related cases bring in significant amounts of income to law enforcement agen- is just great,” Saunders said. “These people are not criminals any more than the person cies through federal grants and forfeitures, thus enhancing the power and influence of having a beer after work.” n

“Drug-related cases bring in significant amounts of income to law enforcement agencies through federal grants and forfeitures, thus enhancing the power and influence of law enforcement agencies.”

28 | REVUEWM.COM | August 2013

fave flave is available before making the trek? Download the mobile app for current store flavors like Root Beer Float and Wedding Cake. —Jamie Linari

Hot Bibliosoph:

Kent District Library Director Lance Werner Lance Werner knows that the future of the library lies in innovation, and with the Kent District Library fresh from winning the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC award for excellence in business earlier this year, his organization has shown it can lead the way in connecting with 21st century patrons. “We want the library to be your home away from home, a community hub,” Werner said. “We’re committed to evolving to meet the needs of our communities in the hope that the services we are providing are replicated by other communities.”

KDL boasts the largest e-book collection of any library in Michigan, an advanced reader advisory database that connects patrons with new materials, a re-organized, user-friendly cataloguing system that lets patrons browse non-fiction books by category, and a bevy of other electronic materials that can be accessed anywhere, anytime for free. Consider this: of the approximately 148,000 households in KDL’s jurisdiction, the average household receives $1000 worth of service for a $70 investment via property taxes, a pretty fantastic deal for the community if you do the math. “Libraries run like businesses as much as they can” Werner said. “I challenge any organization to beat that return on investment.” —Kyle Austin



Double Phelix OK, maybe we should call it a collective rather than a record label, but nevertheless, the Kalamazoobased Double Phelix family puts out some ah-mazing music. Consider them the folk all-stars of Michigan, if you will, with names like Graham Parsons, Fiona Dickinson, The Go Rounds, Elk Welcome, Lasso and others in the mix. For information on the artists and Double Phelix’s mission, check out doublephelix. com. —Jayson Bussa

Alamo Drafthouse The days of sneaking alcohol into the movies are over! While question marks remain on when it will open, Kalamazoo readies for the coming of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which will take the place of The Rave on the corner of Portage and South Streets. At Alamo, you can grab dinner and even some adult beverages while you watch Tyler Perry and his cohorts get into all sorts of shenanigans. Alamo will feature 10 screens and its team is keeping local residents updated via its Twitter feed: —Jayson Bussa


Food Trucks Some of the savviest chefs in West Michigan are taking advantage of the low overhead tied in with selling their tasty vittles out of a truck, and the idea is continually growing in Kalamazoo. You can credit trucks like Gorilla Gourmet (sta-

Hot Band:

Red Tail Ring Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

Laurel Pemo and Michael Beauchamp of the Kalamazoo folk duo Red Tail Ring have been turning heads and enticing listeners all over the world with their brand of chilling, harmonious folk music. The duo’s third and latest full-length album, The Heart’s Swift Foot, has even been getting the attention of some national radio outlets. “We have taken steps to get our music out there. We sent the new album to a lot of DJs and bloggers and reviewers,” Beauchamp said. Getting their music out there seems to be paying off. Pemo and Beauchamp play an average of 110 shows per year from coast to coast, playing anything from folk festivals to square dances. “We are delivering our music in many different ways,” Pemo said. The duo embarks to Europe in November for a three-week tour. This marks their second tour overseas. In 2011 they were invited by The State Department to act as cultural ambassadors in Denmark, performing and teaching workshops on old folk music. “It is really interesting to see how people respond to the music. We think of Michigan as our home base. When we play out of Michigan, even if we are playing far away, we get really good crowds,” Beauchamp said. —Elyse Wild

REVUEWM.COM | August 2013 |


e u s s I t Ho e h T tioned at 305 Oakland Dr.) for really warming the area up to the idea. Now, there is a new truck on the block: Pig Out Take Out. Parked on the corner of Stadium Drive and Drake Road, Guy Ferry’s rig deals out mouth-watering barbecue. He didn’t spring for one of the 10 licenses to roam the area, but he said he’s going to see how this year goes parked at his current location. “Early on [the response] has been very positive, considering the fact that you just kind of show up and people have to find you,” Ferry said. —Jayson Bussa

Hot Cause:

Pride Grows in West Michigan You’ve seen the profile pictures. You may have had one. But you know what they are and what they represent. The little red squares with the pink rectangles (a modification of the Human Rights Campaign logo) took over Facebook and Twitter this past March, proving to the world that equality is hot and it’s not going anywhere. More specifically, LGBT equality is not just an issue specific to the LGBT community. The day after the Holland City Council voted against an anti-discrimination ordinance in July 2011, the Until Love Is Equal campaign formed as a response, bringing the LGBT community together with striaght allies to fight for equal rights. In June, Holland Area PRIDE expanded to an outdoor festival and the largest Holland has seen thus far, showing residents in the area that they have support. Similarly, other local and national pride festivals continue to get bigger. This past summer, Kalamazoo Pride celebrated its fourth year at Arcadia Creek Festival Place and brought in more than 10,000 people, as well as Manila Luzon from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” “I had no idea who she is, and my straight dad watches “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and was educating me, and my stepmom chimed in ... so I’m getting outgayed by my dad,” said Jay

Kalamazoo Pride Festival. Photo: Terry Johnston

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Maddock, program director for the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center. For its 25th anniversary, West Michigan Pride Festival moved back to its origins at Calder Plaza and added its firstever parade. According to Christina Wade, executive director for The LGBT Network of West Michigan, straight allies are key to Pride’s growth and success every year. “Allies all the way,” she said. “Allies are our volunteer base and just our community support overall is tremendous.” —Lindsay Patton-Carson

Hot Competition:

Facial Hair Second Great Lakes Regional Beard & Mustache Championship / The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids / Aug. 24, 7 p.m. / $10 in advance/$15 day of show, 18+ /, (616) 272-3758

On Aug. 24, The Pyramid Scheme hosts the Second Great Lakes Regional Beard & Mustache Championship. And since Grand Rapids was named Beer City of 2013, this year’s championship has been dubbed “Beer City Edition.” Drink beer and bask in all the bearded glory of some of the area’s fiercest and furriest competitors as they compete for the title of Beard & Mustache Champion. These guys (and gals!) are way ahead of the game as far as “No-Shave November” or even “Christmustache” are concerned. Categories of the event include “Ladies Realistic,” “Mustache Natural,” “Full beard Supernatural” and many more. These otherworldly facial hair masterpieces will surely boggle the minds of Grand Rapids for years to come … or at least until they compete again. —T Stastny n

Second Great Lakes Regional Beard & Mustache Championship, Pyramid Scheme, Aug. 24

Hot Fashion S

ometimes things get so hot they combust. Like a phoenix, BlackLamb rises from the ashes where Lamb in Grand Rapids closes its doors. The reincarnation is part store/part studio with emphasis on owner Ryann Lambay’s jewelry line, candles and selections that are, “a lot more intentional with fewer categories but better items,” according to Manager Marissa Kulha. Imagine a more polished venue with a lot of black and white, minimalist touches and pops of texture and color. Fawn over the new airy studio packed with flowers, good-smelling things, jewelry and displays that will also be for sale (finally!). “We want it to resemble a more curated museum sort-of feel,” says Kulha, who teases and tempts with promises of new bag and skincare lines and loads of jewelry. A gnarly new website debuts around the same week the store opens on Aug. 7. A party is in the works for the grand opening so check the Facebook page and get giddy. Another spot reaching scorcher status is Blu Veranda in Holland. Selling women’s clothing and accessories and men’s and women’s swimwear, the new “it” store has already hosted a Girls Night Out event and will soon be everyone’s favorite shop for bikinis, shorts and dresses. Say you knew it before… It’s the kind of thing you read about and think other, super fabulous people do. It’s called Grand Night in White and it’s an elegant chic picnic/pop-up dinner in a heavily guarded secret location created to help raise funds for The Junior League of Grand

Blacklamb Rapids. Held Aug. 17 from 6 to 10 p.m., at a location that will only be revealed three hours before the event, this magical evening asks guests to get in the spirit of things by dressing all in white, bringing white chairs, a table, a white table cloth and food items for a white-out of super stylish proportions. “From flowers in their hair to white pants, white dresses, white ties and jewelry, people will really get into it,” says Amy Steketee, chair of the Fund Development Committee. When the surprise location is announced, hundreds will gather in a unique public space for an elegant picnic loaded with spontaneity. Tickets are available for purchase at for $30 per couple, which reserves a table for you and a guest to enjoy another hush-hush entertainment opportunity at a venue that “you wouldn’t necessarily ever be able to have dinner at.” A little bit of mystery looks good on everyone. —Missy Black


Hollywood Fashions

REVUEWM.COM | August 2013 |

Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule

London, Milan, New York and Paris... and Grand Rapids. Just three years ago, one of those wouldn’t have belonged. Today, ultra-trendy boutique, Hollywood Fashions brings the haute couture extravagance of Rodeo Drive to West Michigan. Located in the heart of Creston’s fashion district between an abandoned junkheap the hottest club in GR and an alley you might find a former starlet’s corpse in, Hollywood Fashions houses the newest designs by fashion’s hottest houses! Be the it girl at your next cotillion with a new twist on a classic look; the little red riding hood nipple-less jumpsuit with optional cape is the perfect way to make an “I’m here, boys! Give me your singles” statement. Looking for power-player office attire? Pair a sensible 10-inch clear platform slide with a micro v-back thong for a look that will gain the approval of the dad we all clamour for! By opting for minimal coverage, owner Theresa is able to advertise most of Hollywood Fashions’ garments at “Mostly $9.99 or less.” In other words, “For the cost of your first customer of the night, or less... Probably.” Though the Facebook page hasn’t been updated in eight months, be “Like” number nine and delight in the possibility of one day seeing a busty goddess modeling exotic dancewear showing up in your newsfeed. This store is so exclusive that it doesn’t abide by normal (poorly advertised) business hours, have a website, or answer the phone, so count yourself privileged if you somehow manage to grace the showroom. —Joe Gasmann


The Hot Issue, August 2013  

What's on our radar in West Michigan

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