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WEST MICHIGAN’S ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE FOR 32 YEARS » JANUARY 2020

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THE WEDDING GUIDE | FIVE BANDS TO WATCH IN 2020 IPAs WON’T GO AWAY: HERE’S HOW TO LIKE ‘EM

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WEST MICHIGAN’S ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE FOR 32 YEARS » JANUARY 2020

WHAT’S INSIDE

January 2020 |

Volume 32, Issue 1

SCENE:

EE!

14 Biz Beat 16 Potshots

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SOUNDS: 18 You Just Have to Get Out and Do It 20 Five Bands to Watch in 2020

STYLE: 24 Style Notes: The 2020 Edit

things to do

in 2020

REVUE ARTS: 1A Visual arts, classical and jazz music, theater, arts event previews, and more.

25

THE WEDDING GUIDE | FIVE BANDS TO WATCH IN 2020

(See the center of this issue)

SPECIAL SECTION: 25 50 Things to Do In 2020

IPA’S WON’T GO AWAY: HERE’S HOW TO LIKE ‘EM

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34 39 42 42

Setting the Mood Lean and Green Unconventional Planning Featured Vendors

DINING & DRINKING:

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44

44 IPAs Won’t Go Away 46 Wrap It Up

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/// LETTER FRO M TH E E D ITOR

President/Publisher, Kasie Smith

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ell, there’s no going back now. We’ve entered a new year — a new decade even — and the 2010s are behind us. I’ll be the first to make the obvious joke: Hindsight is 2020. But who could’ve ever expected to end up where we are now? As individuals, as a magazine, as a country, it’s been a wild ride. I went from confidently thinking I’d be a teacher, to becoming an aimless post-grad waiter, to writing for Revue and now leading the magazine. As a publication, we grew and grew, launched Revue Arts, recently hit 30 years old, and were purchased by Serendipity Media. There’s a good chance you personally went through big changes in the past decade — maybe you moved here, or got married, or started a family, and none of it happened how you expected. So, what’s next? There’s no way to know for sure, but here are my predictions: • I’ll win the lottery and maintain a full head of hair. • Revue will become a household name across the state. • West Michigan will be known as THE cultural hotspot of the Midwest. • People, just in general, will become more kind and more compassionate. • The ice caps will stop melting and everything will be fine. A boy can dream! While we can’t exactly see the future, we can at least make plans for the year ahead. In this issue, we rounded up 50 of our favorite events, festivals, concerts, restaurants, parks, trails and experiences for 2020. In January, we’re always motivated to turn a new leaf and try new things. Yet that feeling can fade, which is why you should make a bucket list for the year now! Let’s kick the 2020s off with a bang. Really quick, though, as long as we’re looking back, I’d like to make a note: In the last issue’s big Year-End Biz Beat, we accidentally stated that Kelvin & Co. BBQ’s Kalamazoo location had closed. If your heart sunk at that news, fear not — it was actually their Grand Rapids store that closed. The Kalamazoo spot is waiting with open arms, as is their new Portage location!

EDITORIAL Editorial Director, Amy L Charles Managing Editor, Josh Veal josh@revuewm.com

DESIGN Art Director, Courtney Van Hagen

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Abi Safago John Kissane Andy Balaskovitz Marla R. Miller Dana Casadei Megan Sarnacki Eric Mitts Michaela Stock Elma Talundzic Missy Black Jack Raymond

ADVERTISING / (616) 458-8371 Media Sales Manager, Kelli Belanger kelli@revuewm.com Media Sales Coordinator, Haleigh Beasley haleigh@revuewm.com

DIGITAL EDITOR: Josh Veal INTERN: Amy McNeel

’Til next time, FIND US ONLINE: revuewm.com/arts twitter.com/revuewm facebook.com/revuewm instagram.com/revuewm

Josh Veal, Managing Editor

UPCOMING ISSUES

Revue is published monthly by: Serendipity Media LLC 535 Cascade West Parkway SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (616) 458-8371

FEBRUARY: Sweet Issue

©2020 Serendipity Media LLC.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day and indulge your sweet tooth with a look at West Michigan’s bakeries, candy shops, restaurant desserts and more.

All rights reserved.

MARCH: Funny Issue We shine a spotlight on the growing local comedy scene, including the funniest people around, new comedy venues and the biggest comedy events.

ON THE COVER: WEST MICHIGAN’S ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE FOR 32 YEARS » JANUARY 2020

ON THE COVER:

FREE!

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50 Things to Do in 2020

things to do

in 2020

See more on page 25

THE WEDDING GUIDE | FIVE BANDS TO WATCH IN 2020

TO ADVERTISE: Call (616) 458-8371 or email sales@revuewm.com. Space reservation is the 17th of the month before publication. 12 | REVUEWM.COM | JANUARY 2020

IPA’S WON’T GO AWAY: HERE’S HOW TO LIKE ‘EM

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/// N EWS

WEST MICHIGAN

BIZ BEAT

A Roundup of Openings, Closings and Other Local Business News

OPENED You may have not seen it hidden behind all the construction, but Mosby’s Popcorn is now open at 15 Ionia Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids. The gourmet popcorn company is run by a local husband and wife team, selling more than 125 flavors of popcorn. There’s just about every flavor you can imagine, from Buffalo ranch to pineapple, perfect for offering an interesting variety at a special event or party. When one door closes, another opens: Kelvin and Co. BBQ opened a second location in Portage, shortly after their shop in Grand Rapids shuttered due to building issues. The new location at 7083 S. Westnedge Ave. offers the same smoked meats, sandwiches, and amazing mac ‘n’ cheese we’ve all come to know and love. You can also still visit their original location, at 5167 West Main in Kalamazoo! Your favorite nail salon has come to Grand Rapids, on the ground floor of 38 Commerce Ave. right next to Two Beards Deli. Posh Nails and Spa is now even more convenient to visit if you live near downtown. The salon is known for its upscale setting and professional staff. After 10 years of catering in West Michigan, the owners of YoChef’s decided to open a storefront. YoChef’s Café exists partially to support its staff when the catering season gets slow and primarily to provide Kentwood with an excellent breakfast, lunch, and coffee spot. The café at 34 44th St. SE offers a large menu of sandwiches, salads, smoothies, breakfast items and coffee drinks.

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Motu Viget Spirits. COURTESY PHOTO

Sometimes, a store is doing so well it can’t be contained by the internet. Oh, Hello Co. has been an online business since 2014, but owners Kayla and Alex Benda just opened a location in 40 Monroe Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Their specialty is unique planners, notebooks and stickers, making it the perfect place to get 2020 off to a creative, organized start. They also offer stationery, greeting cards and just about anything to do with paper. Motu Viget Spirits has arrived, currently offering a brut champagne created by St. Julian Winery. The brand’s goal is to create affordable, yet high-quality craft spirits and wines in partnership with local companies. So far, the brut is in 30 bars and restaurants around West Michigan, available to drink for any occasion. The name comes from Grand Rapids’ motto, which means “strength in activity” in Latin. The axe-throwing craze is spreading, with FlannelJax recently arriving in Grand Rapids, right by the downtown YMCA. Have any post-holiday rage to let out of your system? Maybe you’re just feeling competitive. Either way, don your plaid and gather your friends to go throw some sharp axes at big wooden bull’s-eyes. Sinking the edge into the wall is every bit as satisfying as you’d think. – Compiled by Josh Veal

If you have closings, openings or other business news for REVUE, e-mail josh@revuewm.com.


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/// N EWS

February 2020

THE SWEET ISSUE

With Valentine’s Day approaching, REVUE indulges its sweet tooth with an indepth look at West Michigan’s bakeries, candy shops, restaurant desserts and more. From ice cream and pie to cakes and crêpes, we’ll introduce you to the yummiest treats around.

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JANUARY 2020 |

A monthly roundup of marijuana news and notes.

“Unfortunately, I think Michigan is going to become the national model of HOW NOT to roll out an adult-use program.”

T

hese were the ominous and critical words of Robin Schneider, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, during a taping of W K A R’s Of f the Record T V show in early December. They also neatly characterize the response by some in the industry to the state’s early weeks of recreational marijuana. Earlier this year, the state decided to allow recreational cannabis sales on Dec. 1 instead of an earlier planned date in the spring. W hile this opened over-the-counter sales for adults, it has also strained supplies and spiked prices. Cannabis grown for recreational purposes won’t technically be available until after the f irst harvest cycle sometime this spring, so the state allowed a few dispensaries to set aside up to half of their medical marijuana supply for recreational sales. Prices for an ounce of f lower were reportedly north of $400 in the f irst week. State off icials have said they moved up the f irst date of sales — which drew crowds of hundreds of people and hourslong lines in A nn A rbor — as a sort of soft opening for the industry, and downplayed concerns. In the f irst two weeks, recreational marijuana netted $3.1 million in sales and $515,000 in tax revenue. As of press time, six recreational dispensaries were operating: four in Ann Arbor and one each in Evart and Morenci. Others in Lowell and Muskegon are expected to be operating in the coming months. Still, the rollout was met with high prices, quantity limits and shortages. Schneider rightly notes the early hiccups will simply send people to the “illicit market.” More broadly, she said the state should be further along at this point, telling Crain’s Detroit Business in an interview that state off icials “botched this rollout.” Many cities are taking a more cautious approach before allowing recreational sales. This includes Grand Rapids, where a delegation of city off icials recently traveled to Denver to study the do’s and

Arbors Wellness Dispensary. COURTESY PHOTO

don’ts of recreational marijuana. According to a report in Westword, GR off icials toured grow facilities, a social club, and a testing lab, while discussing zoning and land use issues with local off icials there. Though no medical facilities have opened in Michigan’s second-largest city and recreational sites can’t apply for licenses until April 20 (!), hands-on learning from off icials well-versed in recreational marijuana can only help. As for products available in stores, uncertainty still surrounds marijuana vaping cartridges. In late November, state off icials halted the sale of marijuana vaping products to expand testing for compounds that have been linked to fatal illnesses. In mid-December, off icials issued a warning and recalled products across the state containing Vitamin E Acetate during testing. Finally, in a move that caused Republicans and business groups to collectively lose their shit, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency proposed rules this past month that would require marijuana license-holders to secure a “labor peace agreement” with a union as a condition for a license. One state lawmaker called it “extortion,” while former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley

called it a “racket” in a Detroit Free Press oped. Such agreements typically mean businesses agree to stay neutral on workplace unionization efforts, and state officials underscore the point that it’s not a requirement for unionization. As a state official told Crain’s: “This is a unique industry in which we’re trying to turn a very established illicit market into a regulated market and we want to make sure there’s no disruption to that market.” – Compiled by Andy Balaskovitz

Michigan Supply & Provisions Dispensary. COURTESY PHOTO


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/// TOURIN G

YOU JUST HAVE TO GET OUT AND DO IT Tim Saxhaug of Trampled By Turtles talks life and luck in the music industry

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hen compared to the traditional suit-and-tie career, the life of a musician is a countercultural choice. This has no doubt been the case for Tim Saxhaug, bass player and backing vocals of the Billboard-charting bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles. “Music literally has been my whole life,” Saxhaug said. “Starting piano lessons early, being in musical plays early, being in choirs all through school, to finally learning my instruments at age 15, which I continue to this day, 25 years later.” The incessant questioning we all face in adolescence about what we’re going to do with our lives wasn’t quite as intimidating for Saxhaug. Because for him, being a musician was the only way to go. “I haven’t really strayed from that path at all, and I’m not necessarily meaning to.” Trampled By Turtles recently released an EP of cover songs on December 6, and from songwriting to the studio, the band has produced nine of the 10 albums released in their 14 years together. The best part? The members of Trampled By Turtles all still like each other. “We all just get along very well,” Saxhaug said. “I think we’ve been extremely lucky on that. From what I see, it doesn’t always work out that way for a lot of other people.” Every bunk on their 12-bed bus is full when touring. And despite living together in such tight quarters on the road, the band still chooses to hang out before and after shows. “To have that many people together and still have it work … It kind of shocks me sometimes.”

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But when the music starts to play, it’s no surprise to listeners that Trampled By Turtles’ sound is built around honest community. After all, their songs are all collaboratively written, starting with a base melody from lead David Simonett and subsequently arranged together to form a live feel. “People feel like when we’re playing it, we’re being true, and when we’re writing it, we’re being true,” Saxhaug said. “I think we’re putting forward a true performance, and that’s where the connection is.” Though Trampled By Turtles is dubbed a bluegrass group, each member comes from a separate musical background, from speed metal, hip-hop and jam bands to rock and punk. “All of that experience, no matter the genres or whatever, just made us all good listeners. We’re all used to throwing something together, and pretty fast we come up with the arrangement that ends up being the song.” The band’s melting pot of musical backgrounds make them better listeners and technically stronger, and keeps the group open-minded to new inf luences — even when it goes against their personal preferences in a writing session. “You’re not always nitpicking at what somebody else is doing that you might not like right away,” Saxhaug said. “If you decide to stay open to it, you might end up liking it, or it’s going to change the way you play.” With years of experience in the music industry songwriting, recording and performing, Saxhaug and Trampled By Turtles know they’re riding a lucky wave when it comes to being professional musicians today. With

| by Michaela Stock

an uptick in the usage of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, it’s not only hard to make a buck off of a song, it’s also a challenge to get heard through the noise of everyone else’s music on a now easily accessible market. “The amount of music out there because of all these different platforms is a lot different from when I was growing up, which was just my local radio stations and MTV,” Saxhaug said. “It’s really crazy. We definitely feel lucky to have caught onto a wave somewhere, at some point, before it got to be so chaotic.” With the perfect storm of talent, luck and persistence, this wave Trampled By Turtles is riding has taken them all over the world, including to Grand Rapids a few times, where they’ll return this month to play a show at The Intersection. “It just seems to have gotten cooler and cooler over the last decade or so,” Saxhaug said. “That’s one of the reasons why we like Grand Rapids, but we just like Michigan in general. It’s hard to beat.” When Trampled By Turtles isn’t touring from city to city or recording their next release, each member lives on their own in a different place in the U.S. Because of their separate locations, their atypical lifestyle as artists gets even more countercultural, as they don’t rely on traditional musician hotspots like New York or Nashville to garner success. In fact, they don’t rely on just one place at all. When it comes to making music, they make it everywhere. “We can build these things in the cities we live in. You’ve just got to get out and do it.” ■

Trampled by Turtles. PHOTO BY DAVID McCLISTER

Trampled by Turtles. PHOTO BY KIMBERLY MOCK

Trampled by Turtles. PHOTO BY DAVID McCLISTER

TR AMPLED BY TURTLES The Intersection 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Jan. 26, 7 p.m., $25 sectionlive.com


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/// LOCAL

FIVE BANDS TO WATCH IN 2020

Manhattan, Samil, Lana Chalfoun, Modern Adventures. COURTESY PHOTOS Patty Pershayla. PHOTO BY SAM COOPER PHOTOGRAPHY

MANNHATTAN Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Rock, pop

Revue breaks down the top bands and musicians to look out for in the new year

Made up of four former Calvin University students, Mannhattan has its sights set on bright lights and big cities heading into the new year. Fronted by lead vocalist Sam Mann, the band has channeled all the best elements of good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll into a post-millennial update that emphasizes exuberance over excess. Following the release of its debut album, Think Twice, in 2018 and an EP last spring, the band promises to continue shaking up its fun sound with a new single early this year, as well as a new music video and lots more live shows to follow.

| by Eric Mitts

» For Fans of: Walk The Moon, The Struts

PATTY PERSHAYLA Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Indie-folk, blues

From ukulele covers of meta l songs to blues-drenched acoustic ba llads, Patt y PerShayla (other wise k nown as Patt y Pierzcha la) has become a f ixture of the live music scene at loca l breweries a ll over town. Following the disbanding of her previous band, Ta lk R adio, the singer-song writer stepped fully into her own with the release of her outstanding debut EP, Oracle Bones, just in time for Ha lloween. Setting the stage for the next chapter in her career, PerShayla will k ick off 2020 right with a great gig at the new Listening Room on Jan. 3 a head of recording a fulllength a lbum with her band, Patt y PerShayla & the Mayhaps, later this month. » For Fans of: Brandi Carlile, KT Tunstall

SAMIL Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Hip-hop, R&B

Founder of the independent label Loop Fiction and a member of the A lmighty Foot Clan hip-hop collective, Samil has largely worked behind the scenes crafting some the best beats in the business for artists across genres. His deft mix of samples and styles, leaning heavily on ’70s funk grooves and ’90s vibes, creates a chill backdrop for some of the most talented MCs and vocalists in our area. Check out his work on Wuzee’s upcoming album, Like Food Stamps for Liquor, as well as his own beat tape Diaspora Blues and his new electronic project Flashover, later this year. » For Fans of: Flying Lotus, DJ Shadow

LANA CHALFOUN Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Acoustic, pop

A true prodig y by any def inition of the word, teenage star-inthe-making Lana Chalfoun isn’t waiting around to be what’s next — she’s ready to be what’s now. With an amazing voice sounding far stronger than her years, her debut album Aware!, made up of seven singles, showcases her indisputable talent both as a vocalist and a promising song writer. She’s already been recognized locally, appearing on Wood T V’s eightWest and Fox 17’s Morning Mix, as well as receiving attention and accolades from New York to L A. With new music on the way this year and plans to perform at Festival of the Arts this summer, catch Chalfoun in town while you still can! » For Fans of: Taylor Swift, Halsey

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MODERN ADVENTURES Hometown: Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Genre: Indie/alt-rock

Formed just over two years ago, this band’s self-described “feel good” sound has matured into its own mix of high-energ y dance rhythms and driving guitar riffs that is somehow both contemporary and classic in the catchiest ways possible. Fresh off a triumphant showcase as part of Bell’s Brewery’s Locals on Draught series last month, the band’s soaring aural journey will continue in 2020 with a seasonally centered new single this winter, leading into a string of new songs and even more live shows as the band treks even further into its bright future. » For Fans of: Young the Giant, COIN ■


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/// STYLE

PHOTOS BY MICHELLE KRICK STYLE

Style Notes:

The 2020 Edit | by Missy Black The new year means a new way of thinking. You can buy new clothes, but what about letting a professional update your closet? A few tips and tricks from fashion expert, wardrobe stylist, and personal shopper Michelle Krick are the hope we need heading into the unknown. The new year is the time for a check and balance. Are you clear on your personal style? From organizing your closet so you can easily see items to regrouping and asking what really matters in your inner clothing circle, taking stock of what you have and being able to shop your own closet is when the magic begins. “Think about each piece and three different ways you can wear it,” Krick said. It’s great advice to stretch your wardrobe and you start to realize what you’re working with. “A lso, unexpected pairings bring a new appeal, and a new handbag or piece of jewelry can make garments fresh again.” Want more? Krick offers a few pointers in the following categories:

STYLE Never wear your good shoes to drive or in the rain or snow! A lways wear a pair of sneakers or f lip-f lops or boots for driving; when you arrive at your destination, change your shoes. The backs of your shoes get scuffed when you wear them driving. Treat them like gold and they will last. The cut is more important than the color. People naturally move to black because it’s slimming, but if you have the wrong cut, even black isn’t f lattering.

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ORGANIZATION Fill your handbags with tissue or paper, so the leather stays crisp and doesn’t wrinkle when not in use. Edit, edit, edit. If something doesn’t f it right or you never wear the item, get rid of it. Those items take up room in your closet, meaning you have to shuff le through them to f ind a piece you love to wear.

MONEY SAVING Buy what you love! Figure out the value of a garment based on how much you love it. If it’s a little expensive but you’ll wear it a ton, the cost per wear is low. An item can be $100, but if you wear it 10 times, it comes out to $10 per wear. If you buy a $10 item and you only wear it once due to bad quality, poor f it, or another reason, the price per wear is the same. Buy the item you love. Return what you don’t wear. W hen you buy a new item, hang it up on a doorknob. DO NOT put it in the closet. If you haven’t worn it in a week or so, ask yourself why? If you aren’t wearing something, return it. Never be afraid to call a stylist and talk or come to a workshop and learn. Everyone has a dentist, tax accountant or hair stylist, so why not invest in a fashion professional? Reach out to Michelle Krick at michellekrickstyle.com to learn more. ■


JANUARY 2020 REVUEWM.COM/ARTS

FREE

WEST MICHIGAN'S CULTURAL ARTS GUIDE GRAM’s Winter Exhibition Shows Off the Beauty of a Versatile Material

GALLERY OF GLASS Story on page 10A

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PAGE DOWN IN THE VALLI Celebrating Four Seasons with ‘Jersey Boys’

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PAGE HIGHS AND LOWS Actors’ Theatre copes with ‘Mary Jane’

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MINI-SYMPHONY Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | JANUARY 2020 | goes pint-sized

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[Theater] President /Publisher Kasie Smith EDITORIAL Editorial Director  Amy L Charles Managing Editor  Josh Veal DESIGN Art Director Courtney Van Hagen Jersey Boys. COURTESY PHOTOS. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Amy McNeel Dana Casadei John Kissane Marla Miller Megan Sarnacki

FIND US ONLINE:

PEAKS & VALLI’S ‘Jersey Boys’ celebrates the journey of the Four Seasons

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For advertising, subscription and distribution inquiries, e-mail: sales@revuewm.com Revue is published monthly by: Serendipity Media LLC 535 Cascade West Parkway SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (616) 458-8371 ©2019 Serendipity Media LLC. All rights reserved.

ON THE COVER:

BY AMY McNEEL After a nearly two-year hiatus, Jersey Boys once again hits the road to share the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The Tony- and Grammy-winning musical visits Miller Auditorium this month, bringing New Jersey rock ‘n’ roll all the way to West Michigan. The musical is basically about four guys from the streets of New Jersey coming up in the 1960s, and they want to become a rock ‘n’ roll group, Jersey Boys actor Jon Hacker notes. “It’s their trials and tribulations of how they got the group together, were one of the best-selling groups of all time, made rock ‘n’ roll history, and were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.” Hacker, who plays Frankie Valli in the production, said the group’s story and music are what really drew him to the role. “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is such an iconic rock ‘n’ roll group, and Frankie Valli is such an iconic singer. I think that’s what really drew me to the role in the first place, because the music

is just some of the most amazing music. “I mean, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ is one of the most iconic songs of all time. Just the thrill of getting to sing that was enough for me. I was sold at that point.” The musical consists of the Four Seasons’ greatest hits, among them “Sherry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Walk Like a Man.” While the prospect of playing the renowned musician is a bit daunting for Hacker, it’s ultimately a dream come true. Since starring in Jersey Boys, he’s had the pleasure of meeting Valli twice. “I’m playing someone who is walking around and at any moment could come see me portray their life,” Hacker said. “It’s intimidating, but it’s humbling at the same time because I love him. He’s such an amazing man and he’s been through so much. Just being able to live that is incredible, knowing that he was actually there and living that is crazy to me.” Since its opening in 2005, the musical has been largely successful, winning the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Mu-

sical Show Album, and the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Musical. The show has been enjoyed by audiences all over the country — in fact, it’s not the first time Jersey Boys has come to Kalamazoo. For Miller Auditorium, this return show is a kickstart for the new year. “We always try to look for a well-rounded season and Jersey Boys has been off the road and now it’s just coming back out,” said Thom Cooper, Miller Auditorium’s associate marketing director. “We were happy to be able to get it because our audiences love the show. We’ve had it here before and it’s always been a crowd favorite.” Both Hacker and Cooper believe the popularity of the show is due to its celebrated music. “I think the music is timeless, and the music in the show just keeps bringing people back to it, because every single song brings back a memory to people,” Hacker said. “I think that ends up being why people love the show and people keep coming back. “Not only is it a great story about a rock ‘n’ roll group, but the songs bring you back to a time in your life of falling in love or going to a school dance.” ■

JERSEY BOYS

GALLERY OF GLASS GRAM’s Winter Exhibition Shows Off the Beauty of a Versatile Material

Miller Auditorium 1341 Theatre Dr., Kalamazoo Jan. 15-16, $33+ millerauditorium.com

SEE PAGE 12A.

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[Theater] GR Civic brings a timeless Tennessee Williams classic back to the stage

NEW DESIRES BY JOHN KISSANE Late in the year 1992, a theatrical group in Springfield put on a show called Oh, Streetcar! The show, a musical version of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, opened with a warning about New Orleans (“If you want to go to Hell, you should take a trip/To the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Mississippi”) and ended with a rousing, upbeat number about the kindness of strangers. Not every play merits a Simpsons parody. But then, not every play lasts more than 70 years. It’s a long journey from enfant terrible to venerable elder. Most never make it that far. A Streetcar Named Desire has inspired a hugely successful, highly lauded 1951 film; an opera; multiple ballets; a short prequel, directed by Gillian Anderson; and countless productions. It is an icon. “There are parts of the play that feel like a permanent part of the American psyche,” said Jean Bahle, who is directing Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s upcoming production. She cites Blanche Dubois “in her faded finery” as one example. Another is Stanley Kowalski, drunkenly shouting “Stella,” the name of his wife. The trick is to make them new. Sherryl Despres plays Dubois. She had auditioned years ago, but wasn’t selected. Recently, she has moved into film and television work, which she enjoys and which has the incidental benefit of generating a paycheck. The chance to play such an iconic role, as well as to prove something to herself, brought her to try again. And the clock was ticking. “If I didn’t do it now, I’d never get the opportunity. I’d be too old.” Blanche Dubois, the fading Southern belle, is as res-

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onant as the play itself. Casting about for someone to prop up her slanting life, she moves in with her sister. She has her charm and her clothing and not much else; she’s losing her beauty, or thinks she is, and substituting alcohol and bald flirtation in its place. “She’s very charming,” Despres said. “She tries to be sweet. Also, she’s very smart — remember that she was a schoolteacher. But she wants magic. She kind of spins her own stories about what the world should be, not what the world is.” Dubois sees herself as rich, if temporarily without money, and looks down on the poor people around her, including Stanley, her sister’s brutal, life-filled, darkly sexual husband. John Vesbit, who plays Stanley, sees him as a rigid, insecure man whose outward confidence lies over deep insecurity. He first became aware of Marlon Brando’s film performance as a child and doesn’t brush aside Brando’s influence. “This minimalist performance is influential,” he said, “not only in my own portrayal — but as an actor.” Vesbit’s hope is to distill his various influences into something new. Stella, Stanley’s long-suffering wife, is played by

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE Grand Rapids Civic Theatre 30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids Jan. 10-26 grct.org

A Streetcar Named Desire. PHOTOS BY ASHLEY WIERENGA

Rachel Varley. “Stella is grounded, protective and brave,” Varley said. She acknowledges the cycles of abuse her character experiences but will not consign her to a stereotypical victim. Varley finds that few plays of the era “capture women as fully formed, three-dimensional characters.” Due to that, she rarely acts in plays from that time. “But I love Tennessee Williams. And I think he captures women in a complex and satisfying way.” If Williams’ portrayal of women holds up, so does the shock of the play; those who only know the clichés — or who know nothing at all of the play — will likely be astonished by how dark things get. “You don’t want to bring kids to it,” Despres said. After learning she was to play Dubois, she was warned by other actresses to take care of herself. “It’s what did Vivian Leigh in,” she said. “You have to go there ... As an actress, you have to put yourself in that place.” The role is known for taking an emotional and physical toll. Women of the time were expected to be charming, Bahle said. “Cultured, deferential, not too smart,” and, more than anything, married. “We may have moved away from some of those expectations, but perhaps only incrementally. I think audiences could very much identify with Blanche’s loss of status, means of support, loss of her youth and beauty, certainly her pain and guilt, and her great fear of loneliness.” The grim joke of the Simpsons parody is that you can’t always depend on the kindness of strangers. Tennessee Williams, who must have watched others with sympathetic but clear eyes, knew that. And knowing that, he wrote a sad masterpiece. Early this year, Civic Theatre will present it anew. ■


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[Theater] Actors’ Theatre’s ‘Mary Jane’ is highly emotional, yet decidedly unsentimental

LAUGHING THROUGH THE TEARS BY JOHN KISSANE

“If you want Disney,” said Daina Robins, “you should go to Disney. This isn’t some saccharine fairy tale. This play is truthful.” She’s referring to Mary Jane, which A c to r s’ T h e a t re G r a n d R a p i d s w i l l stage between Jan. 30 and Feb. 8, with Robins as director. Maggie Hinckley stars as the play’s titular character, a funny, optimistic woman in a situation that will t ake all the funniness and optimism she can throw at it: She’s a single mother raising a mortally ill son. Playwright Amy Herzog, who herself has dealt with the illness of a child, tell s the stor y with understatement and grace. Mary Jane’s son is never seen, but his presence — conveyed through the lights and sounds of medical devices — is a constant. He was born at 25 weeks, so early that his mother had

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just begun to wear maternity clothes. Faced with a devastating situation, she has decided, or was forced to decide, to do ever ything she could, without self-pity. When drains clog, you get someone to unclog them; when your child gets sick, you navigate the worlds of insurance and hospitals. “It’s not a sentimental play,” Robins said. “That appeals to me. You have to find the ability to laugh about your circumstances as well as cry, and that’s w h at s h e d o e s , a n d w h at t h e p l ay does.” Hinckley is grateful for that laughter. “I don’t want to come cry onstage for two hours. Yes, there are heavy scenes, but there’s also a lot of comedy. Otherwise, God, it would be overwhelming.” A challenge in staging the play is how little spectacle or action occurs. It takes place in the kind of spaces often inhabited by the sick or their caregivers: a living room, a hospital room, a kitchen. No one picks up a sword or performs a musical number. What action takes place is contained in the dialogue. Al so, the characters wear not costumes but clothing, the kind of thing we all wear. As designer Jessica Luiz said, “There won’t be sparkles all over the stage.” The pain and the power of the play will be unadorned. The show, which runs without an intermission, consists of two parts: The relatively calm opening (it begins with

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Ruthie, the superintendent of Mar y Jane’s building, unclogging a drain) and the stormier closing, in which Mary Jane’s son has been operated on after a grand mal seizure. While Mar y Jane may be a single mother, she’s far from facing all this alone. She spends time with several women; indeed, all the characters seen onstage are women. A particularly memorable character is Ruthie, who in her obliviousness can’t help but say awful things. “Actually, no one is cancer-free. You have cancers in your body right now, springing up all the time,” Ruthie says. She means well. Other characters include Sherry, a nurse; Brianne, an online friend; and Tenkei, a Buddhist nun. To Hinckley, the fact that the actors are all women does bring a different energy and helps underscore one of the play’s themes: the way in which women create communities. “It’s really about women supporting women, which is a very timely story. It’s good for your heart.” Jessica Luiz, costume designer and member of the play selection committee, was an early advocate for Actors’ staging the play. “I loved it,” she said of her first reading. “I can’t be objective.” Luiz’ own daughter spent days in NICU at Helen Devos’ Children Hospi-

tal. She said that “something about the play really spoke to me as a mother,” and when reading it, she found herself laughing and crying in equal measure. Ac to r s’ T h e a t re G r a n d R a p i d s i s known for putting on innovative, challenging, even edgy works. If Mary Jane fits the remit, it’s not because of any icon smashing, it’s because of how rarely such subjects are dealt with in entertainment. Who will see Mary Jane? Not everyone; for some, the prospect of a play about illness and mortality, however lightened by humor, will be too heavy to bear. For those who want to laugh and cry in equal measure, though, the play awaits. “It will appeal to someone who is interested in life,” Robins said. “Someone who is compassionate and can identify or empathize with people in difficult circumstances.” ■

MARY JANE Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids 160 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids Jan. 30-Feb. 8 actorstheatregrandrapids.org


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[theater]

PREVIEW

With a new year comes plenty of new productions for you to go see. There are musicals written by two of the most legendary composers of our time, a few autobiographical pieces and some straight plays, too. Take a look! BY DANA CASADEI Les Misérables. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY

ACTORS’ THEATRE, GRAND RAPIDS 160 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids actorstheatregrandrapids.org, (616) 234-3946

MARY JANE, Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, Feb. 6 – 8, $24+

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

HAMILTON, Jan. 21 – Feb. 9, $129+ How did the man on the $10 bill — the founding father without a father — go from West Indies immigrant to George Washington’s right-hand man and the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary? Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning, Pulit zer Prize-winning musical masterpiece won just about every award it could by answering those questions. Hamilton seamlessly blends a score of hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway showstoppers, making it unlike anything to have been on the stage before. If you haven’t gotten an opportunity to see this yet, do whatever it takes.

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

BLOOD AT THE ROOT, Jan. 24 – Feb. 9, $20 Fro m D et ro it n at ive a n d M a c A r t h u r Fo u n d at i o n G e n i u s G r a nt re c i p i e nt Dominique Morisseau comes this amazing drama, Blood at the Root. The play is based on the true story of the Jena Six, a group of six black students who were initially charged with attempted murder after a school fight — which began after they were provoked by nooses hanging from a tree on campus. Much like Morisseau’s other works, this play will definitely make you think.

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

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Jan. 10 – 26, $18+

GRCC PLAYERS – SPECTRUM THEATER 160 Fountain St NE, Grand Rapids grcc.edu/theater, (616) 234-3946

CONSTELLATIONS, Jan. 9 – 11, $12 Nick Payne’s two-character drama begins with a simple encounter between a beekeeper, Roland, and a cosmologist, Marianne. Over the course of the play, their relationship is explored. Naturally, it isn’t as simple as boy meets girl and lives happily ever after. But no spoilers here: You’ll have to see it yourself to figure out if they end up together or not.

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

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

JERSEY BOYS, Jan. 15 and 16, $33+

SYLVIA, Jan. 30 – Feb. 15, $18 There’s Greg, Kate and the bane of Kate’s life: their new dog, Sylvia, who Greg brought home after finding her in the park. In this A.R. Guerney play, the duo has recently moved to Manhattan after spending the past 22 years in the suburbs. While Kate’s career is finally taking off, Greg’s is winding down, hence his newfound need for a dog. Will Sylvia break them up? Will they get more dogs? Will Kate eventually just pet Sylvia and discover she actually loves dogs? There’s only one way to find out.

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

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MILLER AUDITORIUM

HOLLAND CIVIC THEATER

KALAMAZOO CIVIC THEATRE

Hamilton. PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS

BORN YESTERDAY, Jan. 31 – Feb. 15, $27.50 A Broadway hit in 1946 — don’t worry, it’s still relevant today — Garson Kanin’s play has three main characters to look out for. There’s Harry, a millionaire junk dealer who is one shady dude; his girlfriend, Billie, an ex-chorus girl who isn’t the brightest bulb in the box; and Paul, a young reporter who Harry has hired to smarten Billie up. What Harry doesn’t see coming is Billie and Paul falling for each other and teaming up to turn the tables on Harry.

TICK, TICK...BOOM, Jan. 10 – 26, $27.50 Written by Jonathan Larson, who won a Pulitzer Prize and three Tony Awards for his musical Rent, the semiautobiographical Tick, Tick...Boom follows a man named Jon in 1990. The story takes a look at the inspiring composer as he’s about to turn 30 and what sacrifices he’ll make to get his big break in the theater and write the next great American musical. Fun fact: This rock musical is going to become a movie directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, another Broadway legend.

LES MISÉRABLES, Jan. 28 – Feb. 2, $48+ To ld a c ro s s m u lt i p le d e c a d e s , Le s Misérables mainly focuses on policeman Javert and the escaped convict Jean Valjean, who the former chases for years. He’s committed to this even after Jean Valjean — yes, you have to say his whole name every time — gets his life together, becomes mayor and raises a young orphaned girl. Based on the epic novel by Victor Hugo, this Tony Award-winning sung-through musical (no dialogue is simply spoken) has all the classics you’ve probably heard time and time again, such as ““I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own” and “One Day More.”

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

FUN HOME, Jan. 17 – 25, $26.50 B a s e d o n Al i s o n B e c h d e l’s a uto b i ographic al graphic novel , this 201 5 Tony Award winner for Best Musical takes place after the show’s lead, Alison, has just lost her father. She then does a deep dive of the man’s past and learns he had more secrets than meets the eye. Most of the musical numbers are going to make you feel some feelings, especially “Ring of Keys.”


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[Visual Arts]

GALLERY OF GLASS BY MEGAN SARNACKI While glass is often described as a delicate property, its metamorphic nature allows artists to explore not only fragility and transparency through their work, but also resiliency and strength. Examining the innovative ways glass can be styled is A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass, Grand Rapids Art Museum’s latest exhibition. Organized by the Boise Art Museum, the exhibition features 19 artists and is running through April 26 alongside Looking (at•into•through) Glass, a selection of glass art from GRAM’s permanent collection. Jennifer Wcisel, assistant curator for GRAM, notes with its transformative quality, glass is a unique matter that can be designed through a wide assortment of techniques, including glass blowing, kiln casting and flame working. “Glass is a material that we’re all familiar with in our daily lives, but we don’t really think of it as a material for art that people can make something out of like paint or clay,” Wcisel said. “The scientific qualities of glass make it such an interesting medium for artists to explore and work with because it can be a liquid, it can be a solid, and it can actually even be a gas.” As glass can be translucent, transparent and opaque, it empowers artists to

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GRAM’s winter exhibition shows off the beauty of a versatile material

Photos (Top: LtoR) Hope. COURTESY OF TALI GRINSHPAN (Artist) / Steffen Dam-Specimen Cabinet. COURTESY PHOTO / Jeffrey Stenbom-To Those Who Have. COURTESY OF BULLSEYE PROJECTS / Norwood Viviano-Recasting Detroit. COURTESY OF TIM THAYER AND ROBERT HENSLEIGH

Photos (Bottom: LtoR) Amber Cowan-Rosette in Milk and Ivory. COURTESY OF HELLER GALLERY / What Would the Earth Look Like if All the Shadows Disappeared. COURTESY OF ALLISON DEAN (Artist)


showcase their metaphorical themes through inventive measures. “A lot of people will be surprised by their expectations of what glass art is,” Wcisel said. “There’s artists that are tackling issues related to veterans and PTSD all through the medium of glass. It’s not just looking at beautiful objects and seeing how light works within the art, but it’s really delving into some deeper metaphors and ideas.” Upon returning from the military, Midwesterner Jeffrey Stenbom found glass artistry after signing up at a local community college. One of his featured GRAM exhibit pieces includes a kiln casting of frosty, yet transparent military identification tags suspended from the ceiling. “If you get close to the military ID tags, you’ll see that there’s actually nothing on them — no personal identifying information,” Wcisel said. “Since his piece represents a universal experience that veterans in war go through, Stenbom created those tags as sort of a memorial to every veteran. There’s no name, because they could belong to anyone.” The exhibition includes work by Grand Rapids artist Norwood Viviano, who has been working with glass for more than 25 years. “Glass is one of the most humbling materials to work with because you can be certain that it’s going to work, but then it doesn’t,” Viviano told Revue. And because working with glass presents challenging obstacles, factoring in time and working on self-improvement are important steps for Viviano. Within the kiln casting process, glass needs time to cool slowly and, depending on how thick the glass is, that can take anywhere from three to 12 weeks. But outside factors can play a big role. “Sometimes there’s a power outage and you’ve got a nine-week cycle in the kiln, so you have to start all over,” said

Viviano. “You have to build enough time in and learn from your mistakes because often, I have to make something twice. No matter how much knowledge you have in the material, you still have to trust that you are making a series of choices that are going to work.” Focusing on the relationship between past and present local industries, two of Viviano’s exhibition pieces will center on the cities of Grand Rapids and Detroit. “It’s a lot about the juxtaposition of looking at the current landscape and thinking about the things that influence the landscape.” Through the lens of a camera, this exhibit offers viewers an inside look at the process of how each piece was crafted. By providing videos of the artists in their studios, GRAM hopes attendees can understand how much problem-solving goes into glass artistry. To help you learn even more about these ar tist s’ creative techniques, GRAM is including interactive components, giving attendees hands-on experience with glass objects. A s a lo c a l a r t i s t , V i v i a n o fe e l s honored to be recognized by his community and is eager to learn from the imaginative minds of internationally and nationally recognized artists. “There’s a lot of different ways of solving problems with the material, but it also gives you opportunities to think about how the artist is approaching ideas,” said Viviano. “As an artist, I get really excited about being in the show because not only am I learning about how other artists are approaching material and technical information, but I’m also seeing how artists are thinking about the possibilities of the material and how their ideas play out through the material.” Whether you come by yourself for some “me time” or bring the whole family along, Viviano hopes this exhibition sparks questions and initiates conversations about the meaning behind the work, and shows people that no matter what you want to do in life, the hardest part is just taking that first step. “Experiencing art can challenge you to think in new ways,” Viviano said. “I couldn’t tell you how many people tell me that they could never do this type of art or don’t know how to do it. The thing is, though, most of the artists in this show didn’t know how to do it before they started, but they just started anyway. “It’s an important connection for people to make because this idea crosses over in so many other parts of their lives.” ■

A NEW STATE OF MATTER: CONTEMPORARY GLASS Grand Rapids Art Museum 101 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids Jan. 25-Apr. 26 artmuseumgr.org

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[visual arts]

PREVIEW

Let’s be real: It is not warm outside. So, you know the perfect way to get out of the house and still stay warm? Looking at all the new art in museums across the area! Check out the list below and get your art on. BY DANA CASADEI

BROAD ART MUSEUM 547 E. Circle Drive, East Lansing broadmuseum.msu.edu, (517) 884-4800

THE EDGE OF THINGS: DISSIDENT ART UNDER REPRESSIVE REGIMES, Through Jan. 5

WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: STORYTELLING WITH GRAM’S COLLECTION, Through Jan. 12 RELEVANT: ABSTRACTION FROM GRAM’S COLLECTION, Through Jan. 5 Humanæ. COURTESY PHOTO

FIELD STATION: BEATRIZ SANTIAGO MUÑOZ, Through Jan. 26

DAVID WIESNER & THE ART OF WORDLESS STORYTELLING, Through Jan. 12

THE SCHOLAR’S GARDEN, Through Feb. 9

BILLY MAYER: THE SHAPE OF THINGS, Through Feb. 2

KATRÍN SIGURÐARDÓTTIR, Through March 1

A NEW STATE OF MATTER: CONTEMPORARY GLASS, Jan. 25 and 26

NEVER SPOKEN AGAIN: ROGUE STORIES OF SCIENCE AND COLLECTIONS, Jan. 25 – Aug. 23

CALVIN UNIVERSITY CENTER ART GALLERY 1795 Knollcrest Circle SE, Grand Rapids calvin.edu/centerartgallery/studio, (616) 526-6271

JOHN JAMES AUDUBON: SELECTIONS FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTION, Through Jan. 28 SELECTIONS FROM THE DONNA SPAAN COLLECTION, Jan. 28 – July 31 NAGEL INSTITUTE: SPIRIT AND MATTER EXHIBITION, Jan. 6 – Feb. 22

KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS

WEST MICHIGAN ARTIST SERIES, Through May 10 UNDYING TRADITIONS: MEMENTO MORI, Through Jan. 5 EXCELLENCE IN FIBERS V, Through Mar. 15 THE ART OF MAKING: SCULPTURE AND FIBER FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTION, Through March 29

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

NATURAL FORMS: CONTEMPORARY ART BY JAPANESE WOMEN, Through March 22

URBAN INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS

DAVID PARK: A RETROSPECTIVE, Through March 15 KIRK NEWMAN ART SCHOOL FACULTY REVIEW, Through March 8

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

2 Fulton W., Grand Rapids uica.org, (616) 454-7000 Celebrating Michigan Illustrators. COURTESY PHOTO

REBECCA LOUISE LAW: THE WOMB, Through March 1

THE ART OF CHANGE, Jan. 6 – Feb. 10 Some of the best art makes sure to say something imp or t ant ab out today’s world. The Art of Change aims to do just that through an exhibition focused on pieces that address global issues of today, including human rights, social j u s t i ce, g e n d e r e q u a l i t y, a n d e nv i ronment al s tewardship. Each pie ce encourages you to st ar t a dialogue about the issue discussed within it or serves as a call to action.

20 FOR 20: CELEBRATING MICHIGAN ILLUSTRATORS, Jan. 16 – May 10 This exhibition is a curated view of children’s illustrators from across Michigan, both internationally recognized and just emerging in the field. The artists’ works are as diverse and unique as they are. While some create their illustrations through paintings and drawings, others work in collages and digitally rendered pieces, all which will be displayed in the exhibition. Among the illustrators included are Jeffrey Brown, Rebecca Howe, Patricia Polacco, Robert Sabuda and Amy Young.

GRAND RAPIDS ART MUSEUM

MUSKEGON MUSEUM OF ART

SAUGATUCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS

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

METRO HEALTH CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY TRADITIONS, Through Jan. 5

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

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

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HUMANÆ, Jan. 10 – March 7 Making its Midwest debut this month is the internationally acclaimed Humanæ project. Created in 2006 by photographer Angelica Dass, the project is a chromatic range of the various different human skin colors, portrayed through portraits. Dass traveled to more than 30 countries across six continents to promote dialogue that challenges how we think about skin color and ethnic identity. Each participant was a volunteer and is matched with a Pantone Guide number that best reflects their skin color. There are more than 4,000 portraits so far, captured in 33 cities across 19 countries.

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

LARRY COOK: ON THE SCENE, Through Jan. 26 MARK RUMSEY: MEMORY MAP: ROOF LINE - STATE STREET, Through Jan. 26 KENNEDY YANKO: BEFORE WORDS, Through Jan. 26 TRANSLATING VALENCE, Jan. 17 – May 3 Featuring the work of six black male artists, Translating Valence focuses on redefining black male identity. Each artist used figurative abstraction to not only manipulate visual aspects of black masculinity, but to also question and deconstruct ideas and ideologies around the subject. The work deals with personal experiences for each artist and also raises questions for guests to consider in hopes of beginning to dismantle long-held beliefs and forced definitions of black masculinity.


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[music]

KSO Craft Concert. PHOTOS BY COLIN HOWE

CRAFTING A PINT-SIZED PERFORMANCE KSO’s Craft Music series shrinks the symphony down for an intimate performance BY MEGAN SARNACKI In the dead of winter, your soul may be yearning for some early springtime weather; with Michigan, you never know what will come. So instead of shutting yourself in and binge-watching the latest television series, join the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for a special pint-sized concert at Bell’s Eccentric Café on January 15. “Music brings warmth into people’s hearts, which you need in January,” said Daniel Brier, resident conductor for the KSO. “It helps you experience joy, sorrow and all the other human feelings. This is a chance to escape the daily grind, forget about all the daily worries and enjoy an experience where you are given the opportunity to play.” In harmony with West Michigan’s craft beer scene, the symphony has concocted a coz y evening at Bell’s Eccentric Café by tailoring each musical arrangement to the strengths of its eight artists-in-residence. But being there to listen to the musicians doesn’t mean you’re not an equal part of the process, according to Julie White, KSO’s director of marketing. “Concert experiences are co-created by everyone involved. Audience members are just as essential to crafting the experience as the musicians, which is especially true in a small, intimate setting like the Bell’s Back Room,” White said. Modeled after salon orchestras in the early 1900s, the “Spring” Craft Music series will be a more casual performance than traditional concerts produced by the KSO. The smaller format enables Brier and the ensemble to talk to the audience between each musical piece, which allows for a deeper understanding of the stories behind the music and is not normally offered for settings consisting of larger audiences.

With most pieces ranging from 3 to 5 minutes in length, the symphony will play a few waltzes and polkas in addition to a wide assortment of compositions from Gershwin, Joplin, Bach, Ravel, and Strauss. “You’ll hear some old favorites and maybe some new ones you haven’t heard before,” Brier said. “There’s also a lot of those favorite light classical pieces that they used to play all the time in the resorts in Europe back in the early 1900s, before recorded music was readily available.” Brier notes Bell’s Eccentric Café is an ideal place to hold the symphony’s Craft Music series, designed for adults 21 and older—not only because you can grab a pint at your seats, but also because the environment allows for a relaxing evening for both audience and musicians. “Bell’s is such a unique place to hold a concert, because you can grab a drink and make yourself comfortable,” Brier said. “It’s a more informal event where we can play music that is lighter and have a lot of fun on a weeknight. We also have a ton of fun onstage, playing music we love and seeing people dance in the aisles.” Amid the early stages of development for next season, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is planning future craft music series dates for fall. While Brier assures it will be an enjoyable night, White adds that listening to classical music can be beneficial to the audience’s emotional health and physical well-being. “There is nothing like a live musical experience,” White said. “Every note touches you. You can feel the rhythms. You can see how physical the performances are and you can hear reactions along with the music. “Ever yone responds dif ferently, but that’s what makes it special.” ■

‘SPRING’ CRAFT MUSIC: PINT-SIZED KSO Bell’s Eccentric Café / 355 East Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo Jan. 15, 8pm, $30 / 269.349.7759 / kalamazoosymphony.com

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[Music] Pops 2: Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo. COURTESY PHOTOS.

NOT A SNOOZER BY MARLA R. MILLER Two guitar virtuosos who first perfo r m e d at T h e B lo c k i n M u s ke g o n return to warm up a January weekend an d pl ay a l ively an d re co gnizable p o ps p ro g r a m wit h We s t M i ch i g a n Symphony. Pops 2: Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo features “two short Italian guys from New York who play some amazing guitars together.” They’re ready to light up the Frauenthal Theater stage on the last day of January and take the audience on a musical journey. “ We have so much fun  playing together—and I think audiences usually leave our concerts feeling better than when they arrived,” Vignola said. M u s i c D i re c to r S cot t S p e c k s a i d the West Michigan Symphony has not featured a guitar duo for well over a decade, but Vignola and Raniolo are more than great guitar virtuosos: They are highly accomplished entertainers. “Their banter is alive with humor and they really involve the audience,” Speck said. “Adding them to the full s y m p h o ny o rc h e s t r a , t h e w h o le i s more than the sum of its parts. I can’t wait for this explosive cocktail of Frank,

Vinny and the great artists of the West Michigan Symphony.” Vignola and Raniolo are solid guitarists in their own right, with extensive résumés and busy per formance schedules. Together, they display interlocking rhythms, expressive range, and impressive guitar virtuosity, covering a diverse repertoire from Bizet and Rimsky-Korsakov to Led Zeppelin and The Police. T h e p o p s p ro g r a m b le n d s t h re e k i n d s of wo r k s: p i e ce s fo r V i g n o l a and Raniolo with orchestra, a couple that they play as a duo, and orchestra s t a n d a rd s t h at t h e s y m p h o ny p e rforms alone. They’ll open each half of the concer t with Rimsk y-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol and Bizet’s Suite No. 1 from Carmen respectively. V i g n o l a a n d Ra n i o lo g ave “a dynamite duo concert” at The Block in March 2017, which prompted an invitation from Speck to play with the full symphony. “ T h ey we re a m a zi n g , s e p a r ate ly and together, and the audience just roared,” Speck said. “As soon as we heard them, we thought, ‘ Wow! We have to get them together with our symphony!’”

POPS 2: FRANK VIGNOLA & VINNY RANIOLO West Michigan Symphony, Frauenthal Theater 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon Jan. 31, 7:30pm, $29-$66, $12 for students westmichigansymphony.org

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Vignola said it was an immediate yes. And then they got to work developing the pops program with Speck. “I think the audience will recognize just about every song we play.” Malaguena is a guitar show piece. Tico Tico is a famous Brazilian piece f ro m 1916 . O t h e r n u m b e r s i n c lu d e Walking on the Moon, Edvard G rieg Medley, and a Les Paul Tribute, with many of the pieces arranged by Vignola. A Rimsky-Korsakov Medley closes the program. “ I think my favorite piece and arrangement is the Rimsk y- Kors akov Medley, which features Scheherazade and Flight of The Bumblebee,” Vignola said. “I also have always loved the song ‘Stardust’ by Hoagy Carmichael. You can’t go wrong with that song.” As far as featuring the guitar with the symphony, like in any band, dynamics are everything. “I am sure we will mesh just beautifully,” Vignola said. Speck notes it does take the right balance and acoustics to get the guitars to pair with the symphony and not have one overpower the other. “In our case, in a big hall like the Frauenthal, we will lightly amplify the guitars, so bal ance is a breeze,” he said. “The furiously fast fingers of our soloists can be easily heard alongside the powerful musicians of the WMS.” The guitar duo teamed up 15 years ago, when Raniolo auditioned for Vignola, who has performed with many of the world’s top musicians. Vignola’s style is steeped in traditional jazz and swing guitar. He grew

Electrifying guitar duo returns for pops program with West Michigan Symphony up listening to and playing along with records by Django Reinhardt, Charlie Chris tian, B uck y Piz zarell i an d Les Paul, whom he worked with for many years in NYC. “Because my style of playing was rather unique and not too many guitar players were playing in this swing jazz style, I was able to get the calls on many pop stars jazz recordings,” Vignol a said . “ Madonna recorded a record of 1920s songs for a film and she called me to play the rhythm guitar parts. That was pretty cool.” As a rhythm guitarist, Raniolo boasts a global travel schedule that has taken him to 14 countries on three continents. He’s a performer, educator and familiar figure on public television. I n t h e p a s t d e c a d e, t h e d u o h a s performed well over 1,500 shows together in more than 15 countries and continues to remain busy. Music and the arts are important for any community, and supporters are encouraged to come out for an evening of music that might change your opinion of the symphony. “This is our job and mission, to spread some musical joy so folks can get lost in music for a little while,” said Vignola. “That’s always a good feeling.” ■


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[music]

PREVIEW

Classical music is arriving in droves this month, as winter comes to Michigan in full force. There are plenty of options for you classical music lovers out there, including a few pianists who have accomplished far more in their young lives than most do by 40. There are also multiple performances that will play along to movie scores and one focused on Cuban jazz. BY DANA CASADEI

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

ANNA POLONSKY, DAVID SHIFRIN AND PETER WILEY, Jan. 31, $30 These three began performing together in 2018, after clarinet player David Shifrin put out the musical equivalent of the B at S ignal and forme d a trio with pianist Anna Polonsky and cellist Peter Wiley. Appropriately, the three musicians will perform three pieces: Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 38, Brahms’ Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114 and Zemlinksy’s Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 3. This show is best enjoyed with two good friends by your side.

the evening, including works by Schuber t, Mozar t and Chopin. She’ll a l s o b e p e r fo r m i n g P o e m s , a wo r k s h e c o m m i s s i o n e d s p e c i f i c a l ly fo r her by contemporary American composer and pianist Marc Neikrug. Luo, who released her self-titled debut album last year, has performed all over the world after making her orchestra debut at age 11 with the Shanghai Philharmonic. BORDER CROSSING IN CONCERT, Jan. 22 and 23, free

GRAND RAPIDS SYMPHONY 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, Grand Rapids grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451, ext. 4

THE SNOWMAN, Jan. 4, $15+ SHOSTAKOVICH & MOZART, Jan. 10 – 11, $18+ As the title suggests, two of the evening’s pieces were composed by Shostakovich and Mozart. The third is by R. Strauss. Canadian violinist and conductor Peter Oundjian will conduct while Jeffery Kahane will be featured on the piano. Kahane will perform Mozart’s delightful Piano Concerto No. 22 and Oundjian will lead the symphony for the Shostakovich selection.

Wei Luo. COURTESY PHOTO

THE GILMORE, WELLSPRING THEATER 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 101, Kalamazoo thegilmore.org, (269) 342-1166

Hope College Great Performance Series JACK H. MILLER CENTER FOR MUSICAL ARTS

Emmet Cohen. PHOTO BY JOHN ABBOTT

221 Columbia Ave., Holland hope.edu/arts/great-performance-series, (616) 395-7222

ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ AND PEDRITO MARTINEZ DUO, Jan. 24, $23 This duo is coming together for a lively performance of the Cuban jazz they’re well known for. Percussionist Pedrito Ma r tin ez, wh o ha s a G ra mmy-n om inate d al bum of his own, b e gan his musical career at age 11, performing a s vo c a l i s t a n d p e rc u s s i o n i s t w i t h some major Cuban legends. He’s been fe atu re d o n m o re t h a n 10 0 re co rd s and is in demand by all kinds of ar tists, among them Bruce Springsteen. G ra mmy-n ominate d p ia nis t Alfre do Rodriguez was discovered by Q uincy Jones and has toured all over the world . This stop is par t of the pair’s tour in honor of their new album and first recording together, Duologue.

KALAMAZOO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 359 Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 100, Kalamazoo kalamazoosymphony.com, (269) 349-7759

“SPRING” CRAFT MUSIC: PINT-SIZED KSO, Jan. 15, $30 SARKOZY BRUNCH CONCERT, Jan. 19, Free HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON IN CONCERT, Jan. 25, $15+ Come and se e a dragon on the big screen, in full HD while the KSO plays a l o n g t o t h e 2 0 10 f i l m’s A c a d e my Award-nominated musical score, created by John Powell. For those who don’t k n ow t h e p lot to H ow to Tra i n Yo u r Drago n, i t fo c u s e s o n yo u n g V i k i n g Hiccup. He desperately want s to

HOLLYWOOD HITS, Jan. 17 – 19, $18+ If your favorite par t of the movies is l i s te n i n g to t h e s o n g s t h a t s e t t h e mood, Holly wood Hit s is something you should tot ally che ck out this m o n t h . T h e eve n i n g w i l l h ave B o b Bernhardt, Principal Pops Conductor, conducting the GRS as they perform m ov i e t h e m e s f ro m G o n e W i t h T h e Wind, Dr. Zhivago, James Bond, Rocky, The Pink Panther, Dances With Wolves and loads more. To add to the experience, the music will be accompanied by film clips, video montages and vintage still images. PETER AND THE WOLF, Jan. 25, $5

WEI LUO, Jan. 19, $25 Th e 2018 G il m ore Youn g Ar tis t p ia nis t will pl ay six p i e ces through out

THE GLORY OF THE BAROQUE, Jan. 31, $26 Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez. PHOTO BY ANNA WEBBER

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hunt dragons, but accidentally becomes friends with one instead. The duo then teams up to save both the human and the dragon world.

ST. CECILIA MUSIC CENTER 24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids scmc-online.org, (616) 459-2224

EMMET COHEN’S MASTER LEGACY SERIES FEATURING BENNY GOLSON, Jan. 16, $40+ FRENCH ENTERTAINMENT, Jan. 23, $40+ The evening’s quar tet consists of Wu Han, piano; Paul Huang, violin; Matthew Lipman, viola; and Clive G reensmith, cello. They’ll take the evening’s guests to France with early work s by S aint-S aëns and Fauré that r e - c r e a t e t h e e l e g a n t a tm o s p h e re o f 1 9 t h - c e n t u r y Parisian salons. They’ll al so p e r fo rm Rave l’s S o n at a fo r Violin and Cello, which was written soon after World War I a n d o n ly u s e s t wo s t r i n g instruments.

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

FRANK VIGNOLA & VINNY RANIOLO, Jan. 31, $29+

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| by Allison Kay Bannister, Kelly Brown, Amy McNeel, Abi Safago, Elma Talundzic, Josh Veal

50 things to do

in 2020

Having an entire year ahead of you can be daunting. There are 12 months to fill, 52 weeks, 365 days ... If you’re feeling a little aimless, we’re here to help. A new year is actually a great time to commit to trying things, whether it’s learning a new hobby, going to a festival for the first time or visiting that restaurant you’ve always been scared of. Whatever’s been holding you back, let it go so you can get out there and make some memories this year. While West Michigan has far, far more than 50 things to do in one year, these are some of our favorites. At minimum, let this act as guiding inspiration. If you’re not a fan of our dining suggestion, that’s fine! But at least commit to trying one new restaurant this year. It might change your life.

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Hippie Fest, Waypost Brewing Co., Harlem Globetrotters. COURTESY PHOTOS

Impractical Jokers: Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. vanandelarena.com

Hippie Fest Kalamazoo County Fairground 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo May 30, 12 – 7 p.m., $12 hippiefest.org

This rain or shine event celebrates peace and love. Hippie Fest welcomes free-spirited people from all over the country for a day f illed with live music, bohemian shopping, a vintage hippie car show, tie-dye, a giant bubble garden, cirque performers, tasty food and a whole lot more. Break out your favorite tie-dye attire, leave your worries behind and celebrate all things groov y.

Gypsy Goddess Festival Allegan County Fairgrounds 150 Allegan Co. Fair Drive, Allegan June 5 – 7, $5-$60 gypsygoddesssummerfest.com

The Gypsy Goddess Festiva l is a celebration of women through music, art and the mystica l. A ll are welcome to this three-day event that supports and encourages conscious living, sustainabilit y, holistic wellness, spiritua l awareness and compassion for a ll. Spend the weekend vibing to live music, dance, food, free yoga, top psychics, gong meditation, henna and glow body paint.

Hamilton DeVos Performance Hall 303 Monroe Ave. NW Jan. 21 – Feb. 9 devosperformancehall.com

Don’t m i s s t he mu sic a l t hat no one ha s stopped t a l k i ng about si nc e it s prem ier i n 2015. Hamilton fol low s t he stor y of A meric a’s fou nd i ng f at her w it hout a f at her, A le x a nder Ha m i lton. T he sc ore e xper t ly blend s h ip -hop, ja z z , blue s, rap, R& B a nd show t u ne s i nto a n i n novat ive emot iona l spec t acle.

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55th Annual Reeds Lake Art Festival Gaslight Village Wealthy Street, East Grand Rapids June 20, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. eastgr.org

This one-day art festival has been a hit for the past 54 years, attracting thousands of art lovers and craft enthusiasts. Browse and shop more than a hundred booths filled with paintings, pottery, jewelry, wood furnishings, and other handmade, one-of-a-kind works of art.

A Festival of Oddities Courthouse Square Museum 100 W. Lawrence Ave., Charlotte Sept. 5, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. screamqueen517.com

Get creeped out and celebrate all things weird and macabre. This all-day event boasts vendors, food trucks and special attractions. Shop creepy wares from makers from across the state, snag a photo with the Lansing Ghostbusters and Ecto-1, play vintage carnival games and don’t forget to stop by the kitten tent. Inside the Courthouse Square Museum, you’ll find a Living Library featuring true crime, paranormal and fictional horror writers from all over Michigan.

Harlem Globetrotters Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids Jan. 26, 3 p.m.

harlemgobetrotters.com If you’re from the Midwest, there’s a good chance you’ve seen these guys in action. If you haven’t, the Harlem Globetrotters are making their way around the court and you can see them here at the Van Andel. The traveling basketball troupe pulls out all the stops with insane trick shots, flips, dunks and other amazing feats of athleticism, all mixed in with a bit of humor. Don’t try it at home.

The name of this show is definitely a mouthful, and the people behind it are more than a handful. This comedy tour features four guys everyone knows and loves from the truTV series Impractical Jokers. Without these guys pulling weird pranks (including their “loser round”) in their show, life would be a lot less fun. Catch them onstage as they bring a collection of stories, improv comedy, pranks and never-before-seen clips to Van Andel Arena.

bucket list. There’s also live music, ice sculpting and other entertainment, which you can watch with a beer in hand while warming up by a fire pit.

Learn to Cook at the Downtown Market Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids downtownmarketgr.com

If you obsessively watch cooking shows but don’t know where to start in your own kitchen, head to the Downtown Market, which hosts cooking classes of all sorts year-round. For instance, on Feb. 21 at Rustic French Cooking, you’ll learn how to cook classic dishes from France, such as poulet roti aux légume racines, and end the meal deliciously with a mini tarte de pomme à la normande. Bon appetit!

Paws, Claws, and Corks DeVos Place 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids March 16 hswestmi.org

This is paws-down one of the cutest events you’ll go to. Paws, Claws, and Corks lets you do wine-tasting and enjoy food from some of West Michigan’s best restaurants, while raising money for the Humane Society of West Michigan. In one night, you get fine wine and delicious food and help animals in need. Two paws up for that.

Drink a Beer with a Chicken 15th Annual Winter Beer Festival Fifth Third Ballpark 4500 West River Drive NE, Comstock Park Feb. 22, 1 – 6 p.m. mibeer.com

The Winter Beer Festival is of course returning to Fifth Third Ballpark for its 15th year, once again featuring more than 1,100 beers from around 150 Michigan breweries! It’s safe to say you’re going to leave knowing you found a few new brews to love, along with new taprooms to add to your brewery

Waypost Brewing Co. 1630 Blue Star Highway, Fennville waypostbeer.com

Across West Michigan, you’ll find a plethora of breweries with beer made from pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. But there’s only one brewery in the area where you can enjoy beer crafted from local ingredients and inspired by local flora, while sitting outside hanging with a flock of chickens. Waypost Brewery in Fennville is relatively new to the craft beer scene, but the beverage selection and location do not disappoint. Head over in the summer and enjoy the peaceful beer garden. Chances are, you’ll make a feathered friend while you’re there.


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Go to (a) Church with Whitney Fountain Street Church 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids Feb. 16, 8 p.m. fountainstreet.org

Indie favorite W hitney returns to Grand Rapids with CH A I on February 16 to promote their sophomore album, Forever Turned Around. The Chicago-based band is known for their casual, glowing soft rock hits, which you’ve likely heard while browsing through Madewell or drinking beer at a friend’s backyard barbecue over the summer. Must-listen-to tracks include “Valleys (My Love)” from their latest album and “Golden Days” from their debut.

Laugh Again with Jim Gaffigan Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids March 5, 8 p.m. vanandelarena.com

Jim Gaff igan has been ma k ing audiences the world over laugh for years now, and he’s nowhere near done yet! In March, LaughFest is presenting A merica’s favorite family comedian at the Van A ndel A rena. One of the top touring comedians today, Jim Gaff igan seamlessly blends together family humor with jokes and conversations about his stray obser vations regarding life, culture and food.

Kid for a Day at the Zoo John Ball Zoo 1300 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids jbzoo.org

Warehouse One, and Lost and Found Treasures of Old and New. The three shops work together as a one-stop shop for the most beautiful, unique antiques. W hether you’re looking for estate jewelry, one-ofa-kind furniture, or new-to-you sweaters, the 400 block has you covered — just be prepared to spend a few hours twisting and turning through the maze-like warehouse.  

W hen was the last time you went to the zoo, as an adult, without a kid in attendance? If the answer is never, you’re missing out on a relatively cheap, quirky, summer day date opportunity. John Ball Zoo is home to a variety of animals and exhibits and for around $10, you can spend the day walking the park, watching monkeys and tigers, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy being in nature in the city. Or, if you’re down South, head to Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek!

400 Century Ave., Grand Rapids

There is nothing quite like the dusty, moody charm of the 400 block of Century Avenue. This massive brick building now houses three antique stores: Century Antiques,

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For animal lovers, a day at the zoo is a day well-spent. Boulder R idge Animal Park adds a twist to the classic zoo experience. The privately owned park gives visitors a close-up, hands-on experience with some of the most interesting (not to mention cute) animals around. Hand-feed giraffes and camels, or climb on board the park ’s safari bus, where you will venture from West Michigan all the way to central Africa. The park shuts down for winter but will reopen in May!

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

1555 Marshall Ave. SE, Grand Rapids climbterrafirma.com

Blast to the Past with Antique Shopping

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park 8313 Pratt Lake Ave. SE, Alto bounderridgewap.com

Snowshoe Through the Woods

Climb to New Heights at Terra Firma

It’s 2020 and there are more than a hundred different ways you could exercise on any given day. Level up your f itness routine and reach new heights by dropping in for a bouldering session at Terra Firma — no experience needed! After a brief introduction to the routes and layout of the g ym, you’ll strap on your rental shoes, grab onto the holds, and start climbing to the top. Terra Firma is open late, features a fully equipped g ym space, and is a great spot to bring a couple of friends on a Sunday and climb over coffee.

Go on a Safari

Leave the Yellow Brick Road with Elton John Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids April 23, 8 p.m. vanandelarena.com

Attention earthlings: The Rocketman is once again landing in Grand Rapids. The Farewell Tour kicked off in 2018 and has been taking listeners on a magical journey through Elton John’s legendary career ever since. The famous eccentric will be performing hits such as “Tiny Dancer,” “Bennie and the Jets” and, of course, “Rocketman.” Put on your big glasses and bedazzled space suit, because the show is going to be out of this world.

Michigan has off icially turned into a snow globe, but the outdoor fun is far from over. For the next two months, Blandford Nature Center is hosting snowshoe hikes through the winter tundra. Bring your coats, hats, and gloves, and come ready to “f loat” over the snow in your very own snowshoes, provided by the center.

Cabin Fever Party: A Drag Benefit for Well House Atwater Brewery 201 Michigan St. NW., Grand Rapids Jan. 24, 9 p.m., $10 beauty-beyond-drag-productions.webnode.com

By the end of January, cabin fever is probably setting in. That’s why the queens at Beauty Beyond Drag Productions are putting on a performance to get you out of the house “and into the barstool.” This glamorous show will benef it Well House, an organization focused on bringing housing to those who need it most.

Jim Gaffigan, Elton John. PRESS PHOTOS | Whitney. PHOTO BY OLIVIA BEE | Terra Firma. PHOTO BY MOLLY ERICKSON


WORLD OF WINTER. PHOTOS BY ERIKA TOWNSLEY PHOTO

Experience the World of Winter Downtown Grand Rapids’ World of Winter is so robust this year, we’re counting it as four separate things to do — and honestly, we could do so much more. There’s free snowshoeing in Ah-Nab-Awen Park; Valent-ICE, with more than 50 ice sculptures spread throughout downtown; Valentine’s Day ice skating with an interactive ice wall; and Prismatica, a huge interactive light installation of colorful pivoting prisms coming to the lot at 555 Monroe Avenue. Head to downtowngr. org for all the details.

Silent Disco 555 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Jan. 18, 7 – 10 p.m., free

This event for adults is taking over the Monroe North lot, giving you the chance to choose between four different DJs for your dance soundtrack. Put on the wireless headphones and tune into whoever suits your fancy! There’ll also be ice beer pong, food trucks, LED furniture, f ire pits, and alcohol for sale.

Lunar New Year Celebration 555 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Jan. 25, 5 – 9 p.m., free

2020 is the year so nice, we’re partying twice! Just kidding: The Lunar New Year is based on the lunar calendar and celebrated by various East Asian countries. Amid a variety of cultures to enjoy you’ll f ind dragon dance performances, f irecrackers, lion dancers, prizes and more!

Movies on the Piazza Studio Park 123 Ionia Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Feb. 1, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Surprise! Movies on Monroe (formerly Movies in the Park) is moving once again. Studio Park has the perfect little outdoor theater set up in its piazza, complete with a big screen and comf y turf. To help you forget the cold, they’re showing summer-themed movies like Moana, The Sandlot, and What About Bob, alongside f ire pits, hot toddies, cocktails, popcorn, s’mores, and food trucks. That’s the power of cinema.

5th Annual St. Joe Winter Beer Fest St. Joseph Today 301 State St., St. Joseph Jan. 25, 12 – 4 p.m., $35 stjoetoday.com

Southwest Michigan beer enthusiasts, unite: St. Joseph’s Fifth Annual Winter Beer Fest is upon us. The festival is outside, so bring all your winter essentials. Attendees will try lots of samples, from both regional and local Michigan breweries. Bundle up, because even beer can only warm you so much.

Break the Ice in South Haven South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce 606 Phillips St., South Haven Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 5 p.m. southhavenmi.com

It’s nowhere near warm, but this spring brea k town is up and ready for business. The 2020 Ice Brea ker festiva l has something for ever yone — ice skating, curling, snow sculpting, wagon rides and frozen f ish throwing competitions are just the tip of the iceberg. Combined with warm chili and pub specia ls, this festiva l ma kes South Haven a rea l-life winter wonderland.

Afrofest, Nordic Fire Festival. COURTESY PHOTOS

Take the Chilly Challenge JW Marriott 235 Louis St. NW, Grand Rapids Jan. 9 – Feb. 20 facebook.com/grrunningtours

Embrace Mother Nature and everything she can whip up as you trek the streets of Grand Rapids during this free, seven-week series hosted by Grand Rapids Running Tours. With a different tour theme every Thursday, from landmarks and legends to architecture and African American history, participants will learn about our fair city while taking in the brisk fresh air. Complete the entire series and you’ll not only be a little wiser, you’ll also score a $25 JW gift card.

Stay in a Michigan Yurt Muskegon State Park 3560 Memorial Dr., North Muskegon midnrreservations.com

Located in that sweet spot between glamping and roughing it, yurts offer outdoorsy adventure with a few comforts of home. There are eight yurts in Michigan, the closest a short drive away in Muskegon State Park. The elevated, tent-like structure has a sturdy wood base and is covered in canvas, with a skylight for late-night stargazing. Amenities include beds, table and chairs, wood-burning stove, firepit, and outhouse. Book early if you want to stay in the summer months.

AfroFest: Michigan’s Largest Afro Party Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 435 West South St., Kalamazoo Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m. facebook.com/publicskool

Spend an evening celebrating Black History Month and African American culture at AfroFest. Grab a drink, dine on soul food, browse the art gallery, shop with vendors who support the black community and, most important: dance, dance, dance. DJ Conscious will be spinning R&B, hiphop, and reggae favorites all night long. Guests are encouraged — but not required — to wear natural hair and authentic African prints or retro hiphop and ’70s attire. Nothing costume-y, please!

Channel Your Inner Viking at the Nordic Fire Festival Lincoln Park 620 W. Shepherd Street, Charlotte Feb. 28-March 1, $10-30 michigannordicfirefestival.com

During the last weekend in February, as winter slowly winds down, Michiganders can channel their inner Viking with spear throwing, ale and mead guzzling, horn blowing, and more. At the Michigan Nordic Fire Festival, expect plenty of revelry, including belly dancing and fire performances, an open archery range, blacksmithing and mead-making classes, and hordes of demos from wire-weaving to nail-binding. Bring your weapons, as long as they’re “peace tied,” and bring the kids, too.

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Get Sad. PHOTO BY ERIC HEEMSTRA | Get RAD, Muskegon Ice Luge. COURTESY PHOTOS

Motor City Nightmares Horror Expo and International Film Festival

to work with all four of them while they were still alive. Not only that, but the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group is still around to this day with all its original members, nearly 30 years later. Now they’re coming to 20 Monroe Live to lay down classics like “1st of tha Month” and “Tha Crossroads.” This is your chance to get back to your roots.

Novi Sheraton 21111 Haggerty Road, Novi April 24 – 26, $20+ motorcitynightmares.com

Oh, the horror! Fans of all things frightful can gather at this annual April event to get their fear fix. This all-weekend party features celebrity guests, characters, workshops, roundtables, guest panels, vendors, contests and photo ops, plus afterparties and an international film festival showing flicks in the horror, fantasy, and sci-fi genres. Meet a favorite star and get their autograph or learn about the horror craft from the experts — and don’t forget to come in costume!

Enjoy Winter in Eastern Europe GROW Café + Bistro 302 Culver St., Saugatuck Feb. 14 – 16, $75 grow-food.com

In Saugatuck, GROW understands Michigan’s love/hate relationship with winter. We’re hardly the only ones who have to deal with the treacherous season, however: In Eastern Europe, they manage to make it through winter with vodka, cured meats, pickled vegetables, pierogi, soup and more. GROW will be highlighting — and elevating — those Russian and Polish staples with a five-course tasting menu featuring five wines and five house-infused vodkas.

Enter Night Vale Fountain Street Church 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids March 28, 7 p.m., $30 fountainstreet.org

Night Vale is a town where glowing clouds hypnotize the residents; where The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home runs for mayor; where radio interns die at an alarming rate. In short, it’s a town you probably don’t want to go to, except through the magic of podcasting. Welcome to Night Vale takes you there and now the show is coming here to Fountain Street Church, to tell you all the strange, spooky tales in person. You’ve been warned.

Get Sad The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Jan. 17, 9 p.m., $10 pyramidschemebar.com

Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up. Get Sad is a dance party that

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embraces Alfred Pennyworth’s wise words with a night of extremely cathartic emo music. A generation was changed by the emotional music of bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and American Football. Now, that generation is old enough to have a few drinks, get nostalgic and dance all night with strangers in a bar. This show also features a special set by local artist FADE.

Get RAD Epic Center 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo March 6 – 8 midwestradfest.org

Chances are, you’ve never seen moves like this before. The Midwest Regional A lternative Dance (R AD) Fest is an incredibly innovative dance festival that holds no equal in the area. At any given performance, you’ll see people move their bodies in ways you didn’t know were possible, while conveying powerful emotions and telling a story. The festival brings together more than 300 dancers from all over the world for live performances, screendances and master classes.

Achieve Terminal Velocity on a Luge Muskegon Winter Sports Complex 462 Scenic Drive, North Muskegon msports.org

“Created by an Olympian, open to mortals.” OK, you might not hit terminal velocity, but 30 mph ain’t bad! One of only four luge tracks to exist in the United States is actually in Muskegon — and the best part is, it’s safe for even you to use. Sign up for a 2½-hour session and you’ll receive all the training you need and plenty time to hit the hill. Then you can spend the rest of your day at the Winter Sports Complex skating through the woods, snowshoeing and sledding.

Time Travel at Ray’s Drive-In 20 N. Beacon Blvd., Grand Haven raysdrivein.com

When you’ve nailed it on the first go, there’s really no reason to ever change. Ray’s DriveIn was a smash when it opened in 1960 with a limited menu of signature “beef burgers,” crinkle fries, milkshakes, shrimp and fish. All they’ve added in the last 60 years is chicken, which is why we love it. Perfect for a pre-beach meal, eating at Ray’s is a jaw-droppingly affordable blast to the past and you don’t even need a DeLorean.

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony 20 Monroe Live 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Feb. 8, 7 p.m. 20monroelive.com

W hat do Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Eazy-E and Big Pun all have in common? They’re all legendary rappers, yes. But also: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is the only group ever

Dinner IN a Movie Studio Park 123 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids studioparkgr.com

The movie starts at 7, but you get out of work at 6, which isn’t enough time to comfortably head to a restaurant. I guess it’s just fast food again, right? WRONG. At Studio Park, you can show up to the movie right before it starts, sit down in your giant heated reclining seat that’s basically a bed, open up the Celebration app and order food to be delivered directly to you. The most amazing part is that the food is actually great — I’ve had it! Scarf down a quesadilla while the trailers roll, and you’ll be satisfied before the movie even begins.

Game Night, For Adults Craft Beer Cellar 404 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids City Built Brewing 820 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Growing up, we all loved game night with the fam. Now that we’re adults, there are two problems: First, Monopoly just doesn’t hold the same appeal anymore. Second, it’s hard to convince friends to stay home when you could go out and grab a beer. Craft Beer Cellar and City Built Brewing both solve those problems, with game nights that let you drink at a discount while playing grown-up board games that immerse you in a different world and put your mind to the test. Head to their Facebooks, find a date, grab a pint and make new friends.


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Henderson Castle, Emonae Korean BBQ, TreeRunner Adventure Park. COURTESY PHOTOS

Surprise Yourself with Local Theater All it takes is one great local theater production to make you realize what you’ve been missing out on. There’s something about sitting in a smaller theater with incredibly passionate, talented and human actors that a huge Broadway show just can’t beat. From Barn Theatre’s whirlwind of a summer season to Actors’ Theatre’s incredibly poignant, relevant productions, we’re blessed with a bounty of amazing shows that will turn you into a theater junkie with a single trip. If you need help, check out Revue Arts and we’ll guide you to great upcoming shows.

Experience the Magic of Strings You may think you don’t like symphonic music, but you’re wrong. Every single one of us has at least been affected by a powerful soundtrack when watching one of our favorite movies — and going to see the symphony is no different. In fact, it’s better: When you’re in that auditorium with the instruments, hearing the music swell and watching the bows glide across the strings, you can’t help feeling it all. If you don’t believe us, start with an introductory show like Up, the movie scored live by Grand Rapids Symphony, or West Michigan Symphony’s Mardi Gras in Muskegon show.

Catch a Murderer Henderson Castle Inn 100 Monroe St., Kalamazoo hendersoncastle.com

The knives are coming out, the body has been found; now, it’s time to solve the mystery. Henderson Castle is a haunted historical estate whose murders are as frequent

as its dinner parties. You’re invited to take part in both with the castle’s monthly murder mystery dinners. Bring a big appetite for food and truth alike, because after the feast is over, it’s time to get to work solving a murder most foul. W ho knows? It might even be you who did it!

See How Smart You Really Are You may have used the black light to f ind the hidden code inside the book, which opened a combination lock, giving you a key that opens the safe, but there’s still a dozen clues to go and only 40 minutes left on the clock. Escape rooms aren’t a passing fad — they tap into our competitive nature and inherent curiosit y, giving you an hour to prove how smart you rea lly are. It may seem corny at f irst, but once the door locks behind you, it’s an exhilarating race against time that ever yone should experience once. Just head to any escape room near you.

Find A New Dive Bar Many of my most memorable nights of all time have come from simply saying, “Are there any bars around here we haven’t been to?” There are dozens of dives you’ve never heard of, tucked in corners all around the city, and they’re all amazing. Some have become our go-to on the weekend when we’re tired of the crowds and $15 cocktails. Just to be clear: Your goal is to blend in and be respectful, not barge in like a tourist. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders are honest, and the regulars will get used to you after an hour or so. Bring cash.

Float Along the Muskegon River Wisner Rents Canoes 25 W. Water St., Newaygo wisnercanoes.com

You do not know bliss until you’ve found yourself half way through a four-hour tubing trip, f loating down the Muskegon R iver with the sun beating down, tunes cranked and your friends nearby. This is the essence of summer, especially when you have a cheap beer in hand, and Wisner makes it inexpensive and easy.

Try the Many New Drinkeries in Holland Holland is having a moment, what with Tulip City Brewstillery, Poquito No. 1, Obstacle, Sperry’s Moviehouse and more all opening there recently. That alone makes the beachfront town worth a visit, not to mention the amazing Brewery 4 Two 4, the classic New Holland Brewing Co., the beloved Big Lake Brewing and many more. W herever you are in West Michigan, it’s a short drive for a perfect day trip full of beer, cocktails and food.

Warm Up in the Winter Woods One of the greatest joys I discovered last year was walking through incredibly quiet, serene woods with loved ones in winter — no snowshoes required. W hen the grey season starts to feel like it’s beating you down, simply taking time to get out and walk around in nature is a revelation. And barring a polar vortex, you will heat up, we promise! Provin Trails, Aman Park, Reeds Lake and Grand Ravines Dog Park are a few trails perfect for tromping through the woods, year-round.

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Cook Your Own Meat Emonae Korean BBQ 6246 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids facebook.com/emonaekoreanbbq

It might seem counterintuitive, but we actually love doing certain things ourselves at restaurants. We like to have control over the situation, along with the option to customize. That’s the appeal of the bloody mary bar as well as Korean barbecue. They’ll slice, season and marinate the meat, of course, then you can get to cook it to your liking right at your table. It’s a unique unlike any other, especially when you factor in all the amazing sides they give you! Just leave your “Kiss the Cook ” apron at home.

Climb Through the Treetops TreeRunner Adventure Park 2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids treerunnergrandrapids.com

There’s no better way to get close to nature than to climb, crawl, swing and zip right through it. At TreeRunner, you maneuver your way through the air up among the branches, like squirrels and monkeys. It’s a test of balance, dexterity and bravery, but more than all that, it’s just a dang good time. Tucked away in the woods behind Celebration! Cinema North, this is the ideal nature getaway for those looking to stick close to home. ■


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Venue 3Two (top pictures and bottom left). Ancestral Acres (middle right, three bottom right). PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE PARSHALL PHOTOGRAPHY

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The Wedding Guide


Setting the mood.

Professional tips from a florist and wedding planner

| by Kelly Brown

Trying to decide on a theme, mood or vibe for your wedding day is an overwhelming task that can lead you down a Pinterest rabbit hole. Should you go for an outdoor garden theme? What about the ballgown dress you’re considering wearing? How does that tie into your wedding day theme? With endless inspiration from websites like The Knot, Green Wedding Shoes and Instagram, it can be hard to narrow your focus on what really matters when it comes to setting your wedding-day vibe. Instead, turn to the professionals. Alyssa Ferguson, owner of Fleurology Designs, a floral design and wedding planning company in Grand Rapids, graciously provided Revue with some of her best tips for getting the mood just right on your big day. W hen you’re working with one of your clients, what are the big questions you ask them to help decide on a vibe or theme for their wedding day? For design, I ask a lot of questions because I want to know best what my clients are dreaming of ! Some clients know they want a fun vibe that ref lects them; others know the exact colors and feelings they want, but not what that would look like. Everything from food to music will share the feel and ambiance they are hoping to create. I also want them to share the inspiration ideas or images and want to know why they may want to include or create something specif ic — and the answer shouldn’t always be “Because I saw it on Pinterest or a magazine.” We work together to pull every detail and aspect out on the table with our couples.

W hat is your best advice for couples to help them f igure out their wedding day “style”? Be you! Don’t worry about trends. Stick to whatever is true to you and your partner.

How can you use food and cocktails to help set a mood for your wedding? So many people go basic or miss the mark with food and beverage, when there are real genuine opportunities to have fun. You can honor your heritage or the season with a unique and new menu idea. Many couples have the traditional beer and wine on their bar menu, but I am a sucker for couples having a signature cocktail, created just for them.

W hat is something all couples should consider when deciding on music for their wedding day? I wish more couples would ask for or require music for their ceremony rehearsal! Music can be tricky and hiring professionals makes all the difference. For the reception, do you want a live band or DJ? Consider how you want the evening to go and what fits best. I personally love a live band but having an awesome DJ — one that can read the crowd and bring dancers back to the dance floor — is always a hit.

W hat are some of the big gest wedding trends you expect to see in 2020? I personally love that greenery and vines are here to stay. They are one of my favorites to design and install ceremonies with. One floral trend is dried, bleached or painted foliage. Blush baby’s breath is making an appearance because of what we see being created in California, with fun color painted baby’s breath and grasses. A bridal party trend that I have really enjoyed is groomswomen or bridesmen. I love it when couples make their own rules and have co-ed bridal parties! ■

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WEST MICHIGAN’S PREMIERE BRIDAL SALON Providing you with an intimate backdrop, personable staff will indulge you and cater to helping you find that perfect gown. We take the time to get to know all of our brides, so your unique personalit y can be complimented with your dream gown.

AERIAL CHAMPAGNE SERVICE

Hire the Circus is proud to be the only company to offer this unique service in West Michigan! MAKE YOUR EVENT MEMORABLE! • WOW FACTOR Amaze your guests as they enter. • PERFORMANCES during cocktail hour and/or at the wedding reception. • 1-HOUR SERVICE includes pouring champagne with aerial acrobats. • CHOOSE to have solo or multiple aerialists perform. • VARIETY – Multiple costumes, colors and themes available.

1555 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids (616) 224-0092

reneeaustinwedding.com

www.aerialchampagne.com / hirethecircus@gmail.com

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Downtown Market. PHOTOS BY LEXI LAUREN PHOTOGRAPHY

The Wedding Guide

Green

Micro-weddings and going green on your big day

Lean &

| by Kelly Brown

One might not associate the word “small” with the word “wedding.” Yet more and more couples are choosing to go micro, instead of macro, when it comes to their big day. What really is a micro-wedding? It’s an abbreviated celebration of marriage involving anywhere from two to 20-ish people in a shorter duration; it’s simpler in format too. As the millennial generation continues to grow conscious of their impact on the planet and its people, micro-weddings are seeing a rise in popularity.

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Downtown Market. PHOTO BY NATHAN ENGLISH PHOTOGRAPHY

The Wedding Guide

Why Micro-Weddings? Micro-weddings differ from elopements in that they’re pre-planned — not spur of the moment or secret — and still feature many of the traditional values in a larger wedding. A micro-wedding, however, is not the type of occasion where couples should cut corners. These downsized weddings can still feature the grandeur of a larger wedding, though on a smaller scale. Micro-weddings will save you money and feature an intimate setting, one that often creates a more meaningful impact than a huge ceremony. With fewer people present, couples can spend more time with those select family and friends. Micro-weddings generally last two to three hours, reception included. The shorter time frame means fewer complications, fewer distractions and fewer things to worry about, ultimately leading to a less stressful wedding day. A smaller-scale wedding, still pre-planned, also allows for more f lexibility and creativity without having to focus on an overwhelming amount of detail.

Environmental Impact One of the biggest perks of micro-weddings: They generate less waste and environmental harm. These downsized weddings often feature a small cocktail bar and bites to eat, which results in less food waste and energ y usage. With a smaller wedding size, couples can choose to use their budget wisely to make other smart environmental decisions when planning. One main component of going green for your wedding is to consider the venue and hotel for your guests. “W hen looking for sustainable vendors, even if they aren’t labeled so, don’t be afraid to ask if there are ways you can make your event more sustainable,” suggests A lyssa Ferguson of Fleurolog y Designs. “Not everyone markets to sustainability, but many are just as passionate about it. For instance, maybe your caterer buys local meat and produce, and with a request can compost food scraps. Or f inding a venue that is LEED-certif ied already means the building functions sustainably.” The Grand Rapids Art Museum, Downtown Market and Meijer Gardens are all LEED-certif ied buildings that also offer their space as wedding venues. As for lodging, CityFlatsHotel in downtown Grand Rapids is LEED-certif ied and the Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown is an IHG Engage Hotel, implementing a wide range of green solutions to manage their environmental impact. Additionally, you can cut back on fuel emissions by hosting your ceremony and reception in the same location. For brides, one of the biggest decisions for their wedding is their dress. “Support and buy local for everything you possibly can,” Ferguson said. “Rent as much as possible; everything typically gets washed to be reused. Renting locally cuts down on the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.” Deciding to purchase second-hand is an easy way to lessen the environmental impact and waste of your wedding day. Businesses such as Second Dance on Division in Grand Rapids provide a wide selection of modern designer wedding dresses that are lightly used and ready for a second life. The best tip for being sustainable on your wedding day: Get creative. “Send out electronic invites to minimize paper use,” Ferguson said. “Seasonal f lowers are a lovely touch where you can honor the time of year. Or if you go all out, contact retirement or VA homes and donate everything after a wedding, so it’s not a one-time use and doesn’t immediately go to the trash. You use it for your wedding and then you can spread some joy to our local elderly or disabled community.” ■

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The Wedding Guide

Planning

Unconventional

Beer Hop Bridal Show

| by Kelly Brown

For brides who crave a change of pace and a break from tradition, West Michigan’s Beer Hop Bridal Show is here to break all the rules. The Beer Hop Bridal Show is an exhibition for engaged couples to meet wedding vendors while riding in party style between distilleries and breweries. The show brings together excellent vendors, who set up booths at the various stops, with the best food, beer, wine and spirits throughout the city. In 2020, the Beer Hop Brida l Show is tentatively planned for Oct. 28. “Conf irmed locations are New Holland Knickerbocker and Long Road Distillers, and our transportation sponsor is Affordable Limousine,” said Lisa Hammond, founder of the Beer Hop Bridal Show. The cost to attend is $15 per person or $25 per couple. At this time, Hammond and the Beer Hop crew are still booking vendor booths and hope to make 2020 even more successful than 2019. “Wedding vendors love our show, too, because with the ticket price — most other shows are free for attendees — it narrows down the crowd to those invested in actually planning a wedding” Hammond and her team work to curate a special list of vendors that represent the best of the best in West Michigan. They try to have three vendors in each of the main categories you’d have at a wedding, such as photo/video, f lorists, transportation, stationery and bakeries. W hat really makes the Beer Hop Bridal Show different from any run-of-the-mill bridal show is the party bus and relaxed atmosphere. “Our host venues usually provide some kind of drink special or discount, which is fun,” Hammond said. “Out of passion for the experience of our guests — and due to limited space — we also highly curate our list of vendors, making sure that we only allow the best in West Michigan to participate.” Living in Beer City, it made sense to create a more relaxing bridal show centered around West Michigan’s best beverage. “Grand Rapids is Beer City USA! People come from all around to try our beers. We really wanted to celebrate that,” Hammond said. “A lso, we wanted to create an experience-based show. We say weddings are fun: Planning them should be too! Our feedback has been awesome. The couples who attend have literally hunted me down to thank me for creating such a different experience. “My favorite part of the day … I love seeing couples interacting with the vendors! Because we stagger the start time and location, the couples get more time to talk and get to know vendors. It’s a win all around.” Hammond and the Beer Hop Bridal Show team hope to expand their shows beyond Grand Rapids, out to Traverse City, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Detroit in the future. For more information, and to inquire about being a vendor, visit beerhopbridalshow.com. ■

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FEATURED VENDORS: BEAUTY

Emma Elizabeth Jewelry emmaelizabethjewelry@gmail.com emmaelizabethjewelry.com

Waxology 1844 Breton Rd SE, Grand Rapids (616) 309-0561 ilovewaxology.com

BOUTIQUES

Renee Austin Wedding 1555 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids (616) 224-0092 reneeaustinwedding.com

CATERING

Distinctive Catering 4945 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids (616) 538-4384 distinctivecatering.com

FLORAL

Ludema’s Floral & Garden 3408 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids (616) 452-2961 ludemas.com

New Design Floral 973 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids (616) 356-2446 newdesignfloral@live.com

VENUES

CityFlatsHotel – Grand Rapids 83 Monroe Center St. NW 616) 451-1892 cityflatshotel.com

CityFlatsHotel – Holland 61 E. 7th St., Holland (616) 796-2100 cityflatshotel.com

DoubleTree By Hilton Grand Rapids Airport 4747 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids (616) 957-0100 grandrapidsairport.doubletree.com

Downtown Market Grand Rapids 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids (616) 805-5308 downtownmarketgr.com

Grand Rapids Public Museum 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids (616) 929-1713 grpm.org

RedWater Events Multiple Greater Grand Rapids & Lakeshore Locations (616) 719-4945 redwaterevents.com

The LIT 61 Sheldon Blvd. SE, Grand Rapids (616) 214-3120 thelitgr.com

MISC.

Hire the Circus aerialchampagne.com hirethecircus@gmail.com

Aerial 4 Me aerial4Me.com aerial4me@gmail.com


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IPas won’t go away Here’s how to like ‘em | by Jack Raymond

Our lizard brains weren’t designed to enjoy bitter flavors. In our hunter-gatherer heyday, if you found yourself chewing on a bitter leaf, it probably meant you were mere seconds from foaming at the mouth. Stick with the sweet berries, they said; they’re safe. In spite of this primal distaste, we persist, scouring for bitterness like masochists. Case in point: the IPA. The bitter style has endured as the industry’s bedrock for decades

and it shows no signs of receding. A 2019 Craft Beer & Brewing poll showed supply begetting demand — IPA was both the most popular beer to brew and the most popular to drink. Basically, if you’re going to drink craft, it’s in your interest to like the stuff. That said, your mileage largely depends on how friendly your tongue is toward hops. To ease any burn, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get better acquainted with IPA.

STEP 1: NEW ENGLAND IPA

STEP 2: AMERICAN IPA

STEP 3: DOUBLE IPA

STEP 4: BARREL-AGED IPA

STEP 5: PALE ALE

The Trojan horse of IPAs, the juiciest of their ranks could pass for a glass of OJ. Soft, citrusy and sweet, they’re a sensible entry point for newbies. The secret ingredient here is timing. Late addition hops in the boil boost f lavor and aromatics while tempering bitterness, letting you appreciate the essence of hops without all the astringency. Plus, the beer scene’s swimming in these, so you’ll have no trouble f inding examples to sample.

Now that you’ve got your sea legs, saddle up with a classic. Tried, trusty and true, the American IPA has staying power because of its adherence to the Goldilocks principle: Not too malty, not too hoppy, just right. Grapefruit and grassy notes are common, but with more than 80 varieties of commercial hops available, f lavor combinations are inf inite as any given brewer’s imagination.

As your palate grows callous, the best answer is to blast it. In brewing a double IPA, the equation is simple: More everything, please. You’ll notice a signif icant uptick in sweetness thanks to the huge malt bill. Keep your eye on ABV: At 8% and over, glug a few too quickly and the IPA acronym gains new meaning as Incapacitated Puking Adult.

Like the monstrosity that is a turducken, no one questioned whether we should barrel-age an IPA. They just asked, could we? Confound your mouth with one of these fringe experiments that def y the boundaries of booze. Bourbon barrels work best, the vanilla and caramel a suitable pair to a malty IPA, but there’s room for other cocktail-inspired concoctions. If you enjoy f lavor at its extreme, then you’ve discovered the holy grail.

After scorching your palate with IBUs, a return to restraint is most appreciated. Expect biscuit, f loral and herbal notes, but nothing overpowering. The equal malt-to-hop ratio doesn’t make for a f lashy beverage, but balance makes the style worth repeat pours. This is what Odysseus would sip after kicking off his sandals in Ithaca. Your IPA journey has come full-circle, weary traveler.

» Try: Bell’s Two Hearted, Dark Horse’s Crooked Tree

» Try: City Built Brewing Company’s Believe in Dinosaurs, Grand Armory Brewing’s Wheezin’ the Juice, Arvon Brewing Company’s Jurassic Haze

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» Try: The Mitten Brewing Company’s Dock’s No-No, New Holland Brewing Company’s Hoptronix

» Try: Founders’ Dankwood, Founders’ Barrel Runner, Founders’ Doom

» Try: Cedar Springs Brewing Company’s Blood Sweat & Tears, White Flame Brewing Company’s Eagle Eye Rye ■

COURTESY PHOTOS

offshoots

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IPL The missing link between IPA and lager, IPL fuses the crispness of a pilsner with the bitter nature of hoppy beer. Sessionable, but with considerably more oomph than your typical schwag. Try these: » Wolverine Brewing Company’s Gulo Gulo » Short’s Brewing Company’s Devil’s Lettuce

Sour IPA Inoculated with brett, lactobacillus or other bugs, the sour IPA remix swaps tart for bitter. Citra and Galaxy hops are fitting sour companions, imparting tropical vibes on the fruit-forward style. Try these:

Breathe in the aroma of our house made chai while exploring the selection of over 300 bulk herbs, spices and loose leaf teas. Always ethically sourced and responsibly grown, our handmade wares and goods for life are curated with care. Celebrating 15 years of community this year! 143 Diamond SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 616-776-9720 www.welovechai.com

» Speciation Artisan Ales’ Biomimicry » Brewery Vivant’s Space Queen Immortal

Milkshake IPA The Milkshake IPA doesn’t take itself seriously. Sweet as candy and smooth as milk, it’s what you’d find on draft at the circus. Drop a scoop of ice cream in your pint if you’re feeling particularly blasphemous. Try these: » Odd Side Ale’s Strawberry Hop Milk » Austin Brothers Beer Co. Tropical Smoothie IPA

Clamato IPA Not even once.

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wrap it up A guide to West Michigan’s edible little bundles of joy | by Josh Veal

One day, someone was eating a salad and said, “I love this so much, I just want to bundle it up in a little blanket and hold it tight.” That day, wraps were born. And thank God, because they’re a brilliant invention. If you want to eat healthy — or at least feel like you are — but a pile of leaves isn’t going to cut it, wraps are here for you. They’re versatile, working great for lunch or dinner. They’re easy to hold and eat on the go, thanks to innovative tortilla technolog y. They’re the perfect food to pair with beer, neither too filling nor too slight. The wrap is a reliable friend on the menu wherever you are, but there are some particularly excellent options out there in West Michigan. The next time you’re looking at a menu and thinking, “This wrap sounds weirdly good, but is it really going to satisfy me?” The answer is yes. Just follow our lead.

SUPPER CLUB WRAP

KYLE’S CHICKEN TENDER WRAP

HopCat Multiple locations hopcat.com

Studio Grill 312 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo studiogrillkalamazoo.com

The Supper Club may well be the perfect wrap. I think of it often, at all times of the day. A healthy amount of spinach sets the base, then add turkey and smoked bacon for protein, avocado for creaminess, tomato for a touch of brightness, garlic aioli to tie it altogether, and swiss and cheddar, because of course. It’s all swaddled in a cheddar-jalapeno wrap that has just enough of its own f lavor to lend a hand. They’ve taken texture into account as much as f lavor, so there’s never a dry bite. W hen you’re one snifter deep in the latest barrel-aged rye ale, this is the wrap you want by your side. Plus, you can have a little Cosmik Fries, as a treat.

Sometimes a wrap isn’t about being healthy: It’s about taking your chicken tenders to the next level. In fact, this is one of the most common styles of wrap I see (in the Midwest at least). Studio Grill is your friendly neighborhood Kalamazoo restaurant that does it well. Take those juicy chicken tenders and add lettuce, diced tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, cheddar cheese, and chipotle ranch. That’s how Kyle does it, with a side of fries to boot. THE WOODY HARRELSON Two Beards Deli & Catering 38 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids twobeardsgr.com

THE GAUCHO Bliss & Vinegar 888 Forest Hills Ave. SE, Grand Rapids Bliss & Vinegar, Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids blissandvinegar.net

At Bliss & Vinegar, wraps and sa lads abound. In fact, you can ma ke any thing in there into a wrap, but you should k now they’ve a lready dia led into something great with The Gaucho. This is a heart y one, with stea k, quinoa, arugula, corn sa lad, queso fresco and chimichurri vinaigrette. A s the venue name implies, the vinaigrettes are rea lly the star of the place — and this chimichurri is no exception. You get the light f luff iness of the quinoa mixed with the heart y bites of stea k, but the vinaigrette is the herba l, bright sauce that brings it a ll together.

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While “vegan” isn’t actually a synonym for “healthy,” you’ll usually feel pretty darn good after eating an entire dairy-free, meat-free meal. At Two Beards, your decision to step away from the cattle farm will reward you with flavor in spades. Check out their Woody Harrelson: vegan bacon, pickle shreds, red onion, jalapeño, cucumber, tomato, romaine, chipotle veganaise and avocado spread, all on a sundried tomato wrap. It’s an absolute whirlwind of textures and tastes you can eat in good conscience. THE OUTLAW The Toasted Pickle 112 Washington Ave., Grand Haven thetoastedpickle.com

You’re craving a big ol’ barbecue burger, but you know you’ll feel

too bloated to head to the beach after. Enter The Outlaw, a wrap at The Toasted Pickle that meets your needs and then some. Thinly shaved turkey meets with stout brew barbecue sauce, fried onion strings, tomato, smoked bacon, baby greens and sharp cheddar. It’s a perfectly flavorful little lunch, and the best part is you can have it delivered right to your seat — along with anything else from Toasted Pickle — at Odd Side Ales’ nearby taproom. AHI TUNA WRAP Brick and Porter 47 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids brickandportergr.com

Ahi tuna is a miracle of a protein, beautiful to see, delicious to eat, and never too heavy. Brick and Porter is smart to make it the star of this wrap, adding only a few complementary ingredients to bring it to life: mixed greens, wasabi ranch, cucumber and house-made boursin cheese, all in a garlic herb tortilla. It’s light and creamy, with the smallest little kick — like a baby in the womb — from the wasabi ranch. CHICKEN PARMESAN WRAP Nick Fink’s Tavern 3965 W. River Dr. NE, Comstock Park thegilmorecollection.com/nickfinks

Nick Fink’s is a rebellion against the form: a sort of Frankenstein’s monster of local dive bar, high-quality restaurant, private event space and haunted tavern. It only makes sense that the wrap would follow suit. The Chicken Parmesan Wrap throws a whole meal in a tortilla and calls it a day, with fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, marinara, red onions, and mozzarella. It’s a special luxury, meant to be savored thoughtfully. ■

Supper Club Wrap, The Gaucho, The Outlaw. COURTESY PHOTOS


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Profile for Revue Magazine

Revue West Michigan January 2020  

Revue West Michigan January 2020  

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