WEST MICHIGAN’S ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE FOR 30 YEARS » JUNE 2018
The The Music Music Issue Issue
Also Inside: Summer Festival Guide The Front Bottoms Cider Tasting
Lady Ace Boogie
Chris Young & Kane Brown Outdoor Event | 8PM Tickets start at $30 JUL 7
Little Big Town & Gavin Degraw
Outdoor Event | 8PM Tickets start at $30 JUL 20
Nickelback & Pop Evil Outdoor Event | 8PM Tickets start at $30 AUG 5
Jeff Dunham Outdoor Event | 8PM Tickets start at $20
John Fogerty, ZZ Top & Willie Nelson Outdoor Event | 7PM Tickets start at $36 JUL 12
Disturbed & Three Days Grace Outdoor Event | 8PM Tickets start at $25 JUL 25
Godsmack & Shinedown Outdoor Event | 8PM Tickets start at $25 AUG 25
Deep Purple & Judas Priest Outdoor Event | 7PM Tickets start at $29
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Entertainment subject to cancellation. Management reserves all rights.
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June 2018 | Volume 30, Issue 6
10 What’s Going On 12 Biz Beat
14 On Tour: The Front Bottoms
16 Comedy: Grand Rapids’ Funniest Person 17 Movies on Monroe 48 Style Notes: Festival Fashion
THE MUSIC ISSUE
20 24 28 31 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Lady Ace Boogie raps outside the box Vestigial set to unleash first full-length LP 10 local bands to listen to Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish thrives as a duo Watching for Foxes changes name to Winnow, pivots toward alt-country The War & Treaty’s gospel sound goes national Q&A: David Abbot, GR Festival of the Arts West Michigan Festival Guide Olivia Mainville’s journey from orchestra to stage Jukebox Hero: Where to karaoke around town Kuzzins Lounge continues live music revival with new name Anthony Norkus documents GR’s music scene
1A Visual arts, classical and jazz music, theater, arts event previews and more. (See the center of this issue)
DINING & DRINKING
50 54 56 58
Special Advertorial Section: Ice Cream & Summer Treats Drinking: Michigan-made cider taste-off Dining: Little Bird Last Call: The Sovengard
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
hether you know it or not, West Michigan is practically overflowing with music. I don’t just mean the venues like 20 Monroe Live and Frederik Meijer Gardens bringing in huge national acts — I mean the local bands, of which we have hundreds, all pumping out music for their own reasons.
For some, the dream is to travel the nation, playing for a country-wide fanbase. For others,
W E S T M I C H I G A N ’ S E N T E RTA I N M E N T G U I D E
EDITORIAL Publisher Brian Edwards Associate Publisher Rich Tupica / email@example.com Editor Joe Boomgaard / firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Josh Veal / email@example.com Copy Editor Claire Boomgaard
it’s a creative outlet, a need to put some sort of art out into the world. And for others still, it’s just about getting up onstage, having fun and entertaining a bar with covers of classic jams. Even as our music scene has shifted — the days of Skelletones (R.I.P.) are long past — the community has only grown larger and more diverse. We have killer hip-hop, folk, post-rock, indie, metal, electronic and so much more playing at venues of all sizes, all over the state. All that to say, if you somehow didn’t know all this was going on in your own backyard, it’s high time you found out. Of course, that’s where we come in! In this issue, you’ll find profiles of local musicians from all over West Michigan, including Lady Ace Boogie, Winnow, War & Treaty and more. We also have 10 artists you should be listening to right now, spanning the gamut of genres. Plus, check out our hard cider tasting, an interview with The Front Bottoms, and a guide to this summer’s local festivals, including an interview with David Abbott, the new executive director of The Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Just remember, if you don’t find your new favorite local band in the pages ahead, keep looking — there are hundreds more.
DESIGN Kristi Kortman / firstname.lastname@example.org Kaylee Van Tuinen / email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Missy Black Eric Mitts Kelly Brown Jack Raymond Dana Casadei Jane Simons Nick Macksood Dwayne Hoover Marla R. Miller Kayla Tucker CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Katy Batdorff ADVERTISING / 616.608.6170 / firstname.lastname@example.org Kelli Belanger / email@example.com DIGITAL EDITOR Josh Veal
’Til next time,
FIND US ONLINE! Josh Veal, Managing Editor
UP COMING IS SUE S JULY: Summer Fun
AUGUST: Best of the West Winners Issue
Summer flies by, so it’s easy to let the days slip past all too fast. With our Summer Fun Guide, we’ll help you spend your time wisely, pointing you to the most fun beaches, festivals, patios and other outdoor activities.
Results from our third-annual reader poll to crown the best of West Michigan — music venues, restaurants, bars, shops, people and more.
TO ADVERTISE: Call (616) 608-6170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Space reservation is the 15th of the month before publication.
Website: revuewm.com Twitter: twitter.com/revuewm Facebook: facebook.com/revuewm Instagram: instagram.com/revuewm REVUE is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. P.O. Box 1629, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1629 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182 ©2018, Revue Holding Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part granted only by written permission of the publisher in accordance with our legal statement, fools.
ON THE COVER: Lady Ace Boogie. Photo by Katy Batdorff See more on page 20.
TIME TO TURN
UP THE VOLUME
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Must be 21 or older. Tickets based on availability. Schedule subject to change.
REVUEWM.COM | 5/14/18 JUNE 2018 9 12:00 |PM
/// BEST BETS
WHAT’S GOING ON THIS MONTH | Compiled by Revue Staff
6/2 Hard Cider Run
Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill 8540 2 Mile Rd. NE, Ada June 2, 9 a.m. -1 p.m., $40+ thehardciderrun.com Dash around apples destined to become cider someday as you make your way through this 5K. The picturesque run has a prize at the finish line worth racing to: a delicious glass of hard cider. And you don’t have to be the first to finish to get this prize — all participants get a free glass of cider, a T-shirt and some other commemorative goodies.
Food Trucks With A Twist
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE
Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids June 6, 4-7 p.m. downtownmarketgr.com Food trucks have become increasingly popular over the past few years, especially as the Grand Rapids food scene has continued to develop. The Downtown Market decided the best way to celebrate these food trucks and all they have to offer is bringing them all together, complete with a full bar and outdoor games. Some of the food trucks during this event include What The Truck, Blue Spoon, Patty Matters, and Doughrunts, among others.
raising three daughters together while performing in tours and releasing new music. People who love country music undoubtedly love McGraw, Hill, or both, so fans were thrilled when they announced another leg of their collaborative Soul2Soul tour, which showcases both of their musical talents.
Rock the Block
Linc Up 1167 Madison Ave. SE, Grand Rapids June 9, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. lincup.org Rock the Block is a celebration of Grand Rapids and the people who live here, but more specifically, it’s a celebration of diversity, community and equity. With more than 10,000 attendees, the annual event connects residents to local resources, entertainment, art and food. More than 100 vendors come together to make this the ultimate block party.
Pianos Become The Teeth & The World Is
The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids June 10, 6:30 p.m., $17 pyramidschemebar.com
Unruly Brewing 360 W. Western Ave., Muskegon June 15, 8:30 p.m., $3 unrulybrewing.com
Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids June 7, 7:30 p.m., $67+ vanandelarena.com
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It’s incredibly lucky to see two post-rock, post-hardcore icons playing the same show, right in our backyard. Pianos Become The Teeth was part of a generation of artists including Touche Amore, Defeater and La Dispute who pioneered an emotional hardcore sound, but the band has since dropped the screams and gone more mellow. Meanwhile, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is a large band with a long name and emotional music that addresses today’s issues — xenophobia, racism and abuse.
6/7 Soul2Soul World Tour
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are a power couple in the country music industry, having been married since 1996 and
Arrested Development at 20 Monroe Live. COURTESY PHOTO
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at Van Andel Arena. COURTESY PHOTO
The seven-member Melophobix bends genres and explores the broad spectrum of music, playing both reimagined cov-
ers and original music. The masters of “cage-free funk” are in the process of finishing up their debut full-length, but need some help recording and releasing it without a label or management. To get the word out about the album’s Kickstarter, they’re playing four shows this month: June 1 at Shakespeare’s, June 8 at Rockford Brewing Co., June 15 at Unruly Brewing and June 16 at Founder’s Fest After Party.
Can’d Aid Music Gathering
Perrin Brewing Co. 5910 Comstock Park Dr., Comstock Park June 15, 5 p.m. perrinbrewing.com
Proceeds go to Can’d Aid, a nonprofit based in Colorado that raises funds to “spread people-powered do-goodery” and has already helped in several efforts in Michigan. The gathering also offers a silent auction, raffle, outdoor games and food trucks.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids June 20, 7 p.m., $91-$96 meijergardens.org
Award-winning English singer-songwriter Find more events Seal is one of many famous musicians in Revue Arts, and This charitable conset to perform in at revuewm.com! cert features music the Meijer Gardens from Seth Bernard, Concert Series this Mark Lavengood and summer. Expect to hear Steep Canyon Rangers, but timeless tunes from his it isn’t all about the music. new album, Standards, where
he leaves his mark on songs that have defined generations. His voice was meant to sing these songs, just as your ears are meant to hear them.
The Intersection 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids June 22, 6:30 p.m., $9.37-$20 sectionlive.com The country band hasn’t been around for too long, but that hasn’t stopped LANCO’s success from going through the roof. With songs like Born to Love You and Greatest Love Story topping charts, it’s clear to see how they’ve risen to fame so quickly. LANCO is playing in support of its debut album, Hallelujah Nights, released earlier this year.
Ballpark Cornhole Tournament
Homer Stryker Field 251 Mills St., Kalamazoo June 23, 1-5 p.m., $25 kalamazoo-growlers.northwoodsleague.tv
If you’ve ever been to a summer campout or Fourth of July party, you are probably aware of how competitive a game of cornhole can become. For all the folks who seek to prove they’re the best at tossing a bean bag into a hole, now’s the time to prove it. First-place winners take home $100 and a 10-person Miller Lite Party Zone outing. Right after the tournament, the Kalamazoo Growlers take on the Madison Mallards.
Burger Battle Grand Rapids 2018
Everyone loves an amazing, juicy burger — it’s just in our DNA — which means any restaurant that respects pub fare has invented its own version of the delicious American classic. More than 25 of the best restaurants in Grand Rapids are allowing you to try some of the best burgers they have to offer, but only one can be crowned the Grand Rapids 2018 Burger Battle
Champion — and there are five celebrity judges who will be, well, the judge of that. Refreshments will be offered, including a full bar, and there will be a cornhole tournament as well as a playground for the kids to enjoy.
20 Monroe Live 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids June 30, 9 p.m., $10+ 20monroelive.com
Arrested Development, an alternative hip-hop group formed in Atlanta in the late ’80s, creates afrocentric music that many have jammed along to for decades. Tackling issues like gentrification and spirituality in their music sets them apart. n
LANCO at the intersection. COURTESY PHOTO REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
SCENE SOUNDS | SIGHTS | DINING
Fifth Third Ballpark 4500 West River Dr. NE, Comstock Park June 23, 1-5 p.m., $15-$25 theburgerbattle.com
Hard Cider Run at Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill. PHOTO: GAMEFACE MEDIA
A Roundup of Openings, Closings and other Local Business News | by Josh Veal
NOW OPEN: Gravel Bottom Brewery’s new location in Ada. COURTESY PHOTO
Pulp & Stem, from the owner of The Paper Studio, has opened in the Downtown Market (435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids). The store focuses on gift items, such as fresh floral arrangements, potted plants, cards, stationery, kitchen items, garden items and more. Owner Abbey Fowler also will create custom stationery and invites for special events like weddings. Birch Lodge (732 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids) finally has reopened after much trial and tribulation. Last July, an electrical fire tore through the kitchen, forcing the bar to close for nearly a year. Most of the historic building was salvaged however, and now the
“lodge” is back with food, drinks and Church at Birch (free tacos on Sunday). After operating as an Etsy store for some time, TENDEN (19 N. 7th St., Grand Haven) now has a physical location open on the lakeshore, featuring a large line of products made by one man, Todd Hancock. The store offers pants, totes, aprons, hats, belts, lanyards, rolls, duffels and more, all handmade in the shop. Linear Restaurant (1001 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids) is now open on the Grand River, on the ground floor of Homes at River’s Edge. The restaurant is serving up experimental, modern, seasonal American cuisine, such as the vegan farro risotto with adzuki beans, black barley, pistou and grain-ola, or
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE
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Fruition (1405 Lake Dr., Grand Rapids) opened its doors next to E.A. Brady’s in Eastown, featuring green juices, fresh smoothies, bagels, wraps and acai bowls. Acai is a palm fruit, which is then frozen, mashed and topped with granola and other ingredients to make the bowl.
Construction is complete and Gravel Bottom Brewery’s (452 Ada Dr. SE Suite #100, Ada) new location is open for business. The new bar has 20 taps, a larger production facility, more room for
customers and a new kitchen with locally sourced, seasonal dishes. Gravel Bottom also plans to acquire a vintner’s license, bringing wine, mead and cider to the taproom. Ridge Cider (351 W. 136th St., Grant) has begun canning ciders, including Porch Sittin’, with whole bean vanilla and cinnamon; Berries, with strawberries and blueberries; and Raspberry. The 12 oz. cans will be available in stores and at the Frederik Meijer Gardens Summer Concerts. n If you have any closings, openings or other business news for REVUE, e-mail email@example.com.
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/// ON TOUR
ROCKING FOR GRANDMA
The Front Bottoms to play two unique sets during GR stop
| by Eric Mitts
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
OST ROCK STARS DON’T NAME THEIR records after their grandmothers — let alone a series of records. Then again, Brian Sella, lead vocalist and guitarist of The Front Bottoms, isn’t most rock stars. Late last month, Sella and his longtime bandmate/ drummer Matt Uychich released The Front Bottoms’ latest EP, Ann. Named after Sella’s own late grandmother, it’s the second part in the band’s grandma series, following 2014’s Rose. That EP was named after Uychich’s grandmother, who passed away during its recording. “As a band, we have a catalog of about 30-40 songs that we never officially released, but it’s songs that we toured off of for our first three years,” Sella told Revue about the origin of the grandma series. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we re-record some of these?’ That was always the plan, to give them more of an official release.” Made up of some of the band’s oldest, most-beloved live staples, the songs on the EPs go back to The Front Bottoms’
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but she has supported his music career right from the start, when she bought the band studio time to record its firstever release back in 2008. “I had never really had an experience like that with my mother before... other than the fact that she raised me and taught me everything I know,” Sella joked. “It’s so crazy at this point in my career to be able to even have the opportunity to do creative stuff like that.” Now a bonafide rock star, Sella has toured the world with The Front Bottoms. Building a fan base the oldfashioned way, he says his visits to Grand Rapids over the years perfectly chronicle his band’s rise — from selling out The Pyramid Scheme in 2013 to playing The Intersection and later opening for Brand New at the Deltaplex in 2016, to now headlining 20 Monroe Live on June 7. On this run, The Front Bottoms will start the show off by playing both the Rose and Ann EPs in order. The band will then take a short intermission before returning to play its latest full-length LP, last year’s Going Grey, in its entirety. The show will feature an expanded lineup, with Sella and Uychich joined by longtime bandmate Tom Warren on guitar, Jenn Fantaccione on violin/trumpet, Roshane Karunaratne on keyboards and Erik Kase Romero on bass. “It will be an emotional experience,” Sella said. “These were Matt’s grandmother’s favorite songs, and I had a very good relationship with Matt’s grandmother before she passed. She was part of the family. We’d hang out with her and stuff. So playing those songs will be kind of intense, and then playing the Ann songs, those will be just as intense, especially because there’s a lot of history to those songs. There’s like 20 different versions. We’ve always played The Front Bottoms. PHOTO: MARK JAWORSKI them live, so it’s going to be interesting. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll break down in tears.” On Going Grey, Sella faces down turning 30 and finally growing up – even if it means that being an adult comes punk rock beginnings, more than a decade ago, when the down to accepting you don’t really know anything. duo would record songs in their friend’s bedroom and release “It doesn’t get any clearer,” Sella said of speaking to a them online the same night. generation of millennials who share his lyrical anxieties. “It’s “I love those old songs,” Sella said. “It’s so interesting to just like, ‘Oh shit, now there’s just more to worry about.’ go back and listen to a song you wrote 10 years ago and try to Somebody did say to me one time (that) reimagine it, and have other people involved, Going Grey sounds like your saddest album, and actually record it nicely.” and it’s such an interesting experience to Initially inspired by the folk-punk sound THE FRONT BOTTOMS see what other people get out of the music.” and acoustic guitar punch of bands like wsg. An Horse Currently busy touring, writing and Defiance, Ohio and Against Me!, Sella and 20 Monroe Live recording, Sella also has started a producUychich have been playing together since 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids June 7, 7 p.m., $25-45 tion company called Screwball and has a the sixth grade. The band has released six 20monroelive.com, (844) 678-5483 movie idea in the works. full-length albums — two on its own, two “I’m not really trying to be like a big with indie label Bar/None, and its two latest rockstar type of guy,” he said. “It’s not really with hit-making label Fueled By Ramen. Sella’s mother designed the cover for the new EP, my prerogative to sign autographs and do all that type of stuff, so when someone does say that the music affects them, which features a collage and black-and-white photo of his it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you!’ I’m genuinely appreciative grandmother as a young girl. It’s the first time Sella and his mother have collaborated on a Front Bottoms project, of the journey people are going on with this album.” n
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HEATING UP FAST Teen comedian becomes Funniest Person in Grand Rapids before high-school diploma
T O N LY 18 , C O M E D I A N DA LTON CL I F F OR D H A S already made a name for himself. In April, he won the title of Funniest Person in Grand Rapids at Dr. Grins Comedy Club, besting a field of more than 80 contestants throughout the 10-week competition, and taking home the $1,500 grand prize. So it’s not surprising that he’s conf ident enough to try to get a nickname going for himself. Just call him Mr. Fahrenheit. “I’m a huge Queen fan. One of the biggest,” he told Revue, singing the classic rock band’s hit Don’t Stop Me Now in his best Freddie Mercury. The uplifting anthem would serve well as the intro to a triumphant comedy special someday — or as a positive affirmation for himself when things get tough. He’s ready for both. Just last month, Clifford graduated from Coopersville High School, and in lieu of college he's decided to head to Chicago to try his hand at the larger comedy market there. “I’m not going in there with like a big head,” Clifford said of the move. “I know it’s going to be a long journey, because most of the people that are really good stand-ups right now, like Bill Burr, they spent like 15 or 20 years not getting paid anything to just go up every night and do their set until they finally got noticed by somebody. So I know that it’s going to be a long road, but it’s one that I’m definitely willing to take on.” He already has hit some hurdles in his own three-year comedy career. Starting out at 15, he found it hard to work his way into the open-mic night scene, as most bars and emcees wouldn’t let anyone under 18 perform. Finally, Brian Borbet, host of the Sunday Night Funnies at Woody’s Press Box in Wyoming, gave him a shot. “All these people were saying, ‘No kid, you can’t come in. This is a bar.’ And he was the only person that said, ‘OK, you can come up and I’ll put you on first, and you can do five minutes, but you’ve got to leave
Dalton Clifford. COURTESY PHOTO right after that,’” Clifford said. “So that was my first experience with it.” Immediately hooked, even if the bar crowds weren’t paying attention, Clifford looked for more opportunities and put in his name for the open mic at Dr. Grins. “I just did it for the experience,” he said. “Like, maybe I’ll get past the first round. I just thought it would be a really good thing to get me into Dr. Grins, which is probably the best room for comedy in West Michigan.” Inspired by comics like Bo Burnham, Jim Carrey and Chris Farley, Clifford first got into stand-up through his dad, who would watch hours of comedy specials. “At first I tried to mimic or do what they were doing,” he said. “Definitely when I started out, I absolutely sucked. But after
doing it as much as I could, fortunately I got to be a little bit better.” Coming from what he calls a “funny line of people,” including his dad and uncles, Clifford has learned to turn down the volume on his family’s style of comedy, and focus more on telling stories onstage. “Just mellow. I don’t get too loud or anything. It’s pretty lax,” he said of his stand-up style. While everyone at his high school was talking about his big win, Clifford said he’s trying not to let all the excitement go to his head. “It’s like, ‘Wow, now I’ve got to live up to it,’” he said of holding the title. “I think that winning was the highest point I’m going to get to at least for a while here, so I just tried to savor it.” n
YOUR ENTERTAINMENT ESCAPE
MOVIES IN THE PARK(ING LOT)
YES JUNE 8
AIR SUPPLY JUNE 22
JETHRO TULL JUNE 30
MELISSA ETHERIDGE JULY 3
GET THE LED OUT JULY 6
UNCORK AND UNWIND JULY 8
BOZ SCAGGS JULY 14
JOHNNY MATHIS JULY 20
THE BEACH BOYS JULY 27
HAPPY TOGETHER AUGUST 10
KENNY WAYNE SHEPPARD BAND AUGUST 24
THERESA CAPUTO SEPTEMBER 1 & 2
Why movies are on the move to Monroe North | by Kelly Brown
The transition is an exciting time for arly this summer, Downtown Grand the Monroe North neighborhood, which Rapids Inc. announced that Movies has seen continued growth over the past year. in the Park would become Movies “Monroe North features 3,600-plus pubon Monroe. This sixth season of the free summer film series is tak- licly available parking spaces on movie nights. Beyond that, the DASH drops off and picks ing place at 555 Monroe Ave. NW, located along Monroe just north of the interstate. up right at the entrance,” Schumacher said. Previously held at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, the “DGRI looks forward to the energy the move is part of the city’s acquisition of the community brings to Movies and seeing how that will positively impact the growing sizeable riverfront property. neighborhood.” Jennie Schumacher, DGRI communicaMovies on Monroe is free and open tions specialist, explained the transition as a to the public, which makes it a great kids way to provide a new place for people to play activity or date night. Arrive early (gates in Grand Rapids. open at 6:30 p.m.) and grab a bite at one “While Ah-Nab-Awen park capably of the many local restaurants — Garage Bar, hosted Movies for five years, the city’s recent SpeakEZ, Zoko822, City Built Brewing, J.D. acquisition of the riverfront property in the Reardon’s, Rocky’s or Linear, a new addition Monroe North neighborhood gives us lots of to the neighborhood. n room to work with,” Schumacher said. “The new location offers multiple advantages, including better proximity to neighborhood bars and restaurants, and greater accessibility.” While public transportation and parking are enticing, it’s really the river that pulled June 8, The Greatest Showman (PG) DGRI to transition to the new location. and Big (PG) “Movies on Monroe is a great way to June 22, The Princess Bride (PG) begin experimenting with fun riverfront and The Big Lebowski (R) activities before the rapids are put back in the river,” Schumacher said. July 6, Major Payne (PG-13) As usual, Movies on Monroe is BYOB, and Saving Private Ryan (R) but food vendors also will be available onJuly 20, West Side Story (G) site. A tip for the transition this year: BYOC and The Shape of Water (R) – Bring Your Own Chair. While the grassy August 3, Shrek (PG) knoll of Ah-Nab-Awen provided natural and Hidden Figures (PG) cushioning under blankets, the new public August 17, Wonder Woman (PG-13) space is asphalt, so chairs are probably a betand Black Panther (PG-13) ter idea (you can rent one for cheap on-site).
SMOKEY ROBINSON OCTOBER 5
REO SPEEDWAGON NOVEMBER 9
2018 MOVIES ON MONROE
SUNDAY, JULY 8 4PM - 8PM EASTERN
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THE DECEMBERISTS ..........................MON, JUN 4 HERBIE HANCOCK ........................... WED, JUN 27 PATTI LABELLE......................................FRI, JUL 13 JOE JACKSON .......................................FRI, JUL 20 AIR SUPPLY ........................................ SUN, JUL 29 LYLE LOVETT AND HIS LARGE BAND .................. MON, AUG 27 +LIVE+ ................................................. MON, SEPT 3
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ALABAMA SPECIAL FUNDRAISING CONCERT
Join us for a special fundraising concert in support of the Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love capital campaign. Spend an evening with ALABAMA in the beautiful Meijer Gardens Amphitheater.
5/21/18 10:21 AM
The Music Issue West Michigan’s music scene is ever-shifting — not so much ebbing and flowing as it is constantly growing, with new faces arriving onstage every year as older bands evolve, reconfigure into new projects, and/ or move away to larger cities. This month, we look at some of those new faces along with the old guard, including Lady
Ace Boogie, Winnow, War & Treaty and more. We also have 10 artists you should be listening to right now, from rap to post-rock, folk and metal. Plus, check out our guide to this summer’s local festivals, including an interview with David Abbott, the new executive director of Festival of the Arts.
Photo: Anthony Norkus
THE MUSIC ISSUE
Rapping Outside Outside the the Box Box Rapping When Tellis first moved to Grand Rapids about seven years ago, she didn’t know anyone. Born in Atlanta and raised in West Virginia, she admits to having spent several years of her youth caught up in the gang culture of Dayton, Ohio, where she first started rapping with a decidedly more “gangster” edge during her late teens and early 20s. Ultimately leaving that life behind, she moved to Grand Rapids, hoping to find her true voice. Little did she know she had just stepped foot into a supportive music community that would help her do just that. “I didn’t truly feel like I belonged to this scene until my first open mic at Billy’s Lounge (for) ‘The Come Up’ put on by GR Promoter Lisa Downie,” Tellis said of her start here. “From there, I connected with so many dope and respected artists like Suport, Rick Chyme, Venson Dix, Sir Manley, Mike G and a few others. If it wasn’t for artists like them, I would not have been inspired to make the impact that I have.” She soon started getting shows left and right, particularly at The Pyramid Scheme, where she had the opportunity to open for nationally known artists like Killa Mike, The Pharcyde, Slum Village, Lady Ace Boogie sporting a hoodie from Green Mitten. Photo: Katy Batdorff Jean Grae, Lizzo and many others. Her career then took off in its own right three years ago, following the release of her first LP, Feel Good Music, on local label Hot Capicola Records. The album earned widespread acclaim, landing her even more gigs all around the city and scoring three Jammie Awards at community radio station 88.1 FM WYCE’s annual local music showcase. | by Eric Mitts “I am still very grateful for how well it was received,” Tellis said about Feel Good Music. “It is still “QUEEN OF THE CITY, BUT YOU ALREADY KNOW/I’M GONNA very common for perfect strangers to approach me KEEP ON ROCKIN’, TIL I CAN’T ROCK NO MORE.” and have nothing but great things to say about it. I As an artist, activist and human being, Grand Rapids emcee am happy so many people connected with it.” Lady Ace Boogie defies expectations. The album’s powerful sense of positivity hit Lyrically, she spurns comparisons. She rejects categorization deep with many. Tellis took the opportunity to and won’t let anyone deny her verbal supremacy. engage with the community and empower others But it’s more than carefully crafted wordplay and a fearless apas an activist and organizer. Outside of her music, she proach to collaboration that has made her the queen of the city’s teamed with several nonprofit groups and has worked emerging hip-hop scene. to give a greater voice to minorities and members of the It’s her heart. LGBT community here in West Michigan. “Honestly, I never really thought I would be the artist I am today,” Still, as an artist she felt creatively stifled, both by said Lady Ace, whose real name is Linda Tellis. “I didn’t think the prevailing social bias of many in West Michigan and my words would have such an impact on people’s lives.” the musical limitations of hip-hop.
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
Lady Ace Boogie continues her quest to reshape hip-hop – and West Michigan
20 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018
So for her follow-up, she decided to rewrite the script on her story once again, and this past April released her second album, Don’t Box Me In. “This album really shows a different side of me,” Tellis said. “The melodies, the content, the beat selection — it is all completely different from Feel Good Music. Overall though, the message is that no one should be boxed in based on genre, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race, et cetera. It’s a hindrance to our growth.” Openly collaborating with nearly a dozen different artists across the musical spectrum, Lady Ace expanded her positive vibes and powerful rhymes into even more genres. Released entirely independently by Lady Ace Boogie herself, the new album took more than a year and a half to complete, working with local producers. “I almost didn’t put it out because I am so vulnerable with the content and didn’t know how people would take it,” Tellis said. “But I have heard nothing but great things, and I am happy I put it out.” Leading up to the album’s release, Lady Ace shot a video for the lead single, Love Me For Me, directed by Grand Rapids’ laFEM collectif. Speaking to the gift of true acceptance, the video features different pairs of people exemplifying love in all its forms. Lady Ace also went down to Austin, Texas this past March, where she performed as part of the Michigan House Music Showcase at the SXSW Music Festival. “I would really like to do more shows outside of West Michigan, so that’s my focus (now),” Tellis said, adding that she’s working on developing a team to help take her career to the next level. “All I can do in the meantime is stay true to the music, and continue to try and be a strong voice on topics that aren’t talked about enough.” n
Upcoming Shows Up North Pride Festival Traverse City, Mich., June 23 Cowpie Music Festival Alaska, Mich., Aug. 11
St.Cecilia Music Center PRESENTS
CHAMBERJAZZFOLK 2018-19 SEASON
Extraordinary one-of-a-kind performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Experience some of the world’s most incredible musicians with this year’s Spectacular Jazz Series
The Acoustic Cafe series delivers a diverse mix of outstanding folk artists from across the country
THE TROUT QUINTET
THE LONE BELLOW ACOUSTIC TRIIIO TOUR
KENNY BARRON QUINTET
NOVEMBER 15, 2018 MARCH 14, 2019 APRIL 25, 2019
OCTOBER 11, 2018
NOVEMBER 1, 2018 FEBRUARY 7, 2019
NOVEMBER 29, 2018
Stay tuned... Additional folk concerts to be announced soon!
BENNY GREEN TRIO + VERONICA SWIFT MARCH 7, 2019
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* june 15 ZOSO
june 16 POUYA
Krizz Kaliko, Just Juice, Joey Cool, King Iso
june 9 MAGIC MEN LIVE!
Celebrating 50 Years of Led Zeppelin
w/ Wifisfuneral, Shakewell
june 23 AL DI MEOLA
june 30 ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
JULY 1 KALEO
JULY 7 JANELLE MONÁE
JUly 11 PRETENDERS
JUly 13 OUR LADY PEACE
* june 29 YES 50th Anniversary
w/ Dan Mangan
w/ St. Beauty
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SEPTEMBER 22 MC50
JUly 20 FERG
SEPTEMBER 30 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE w/ special guests
* JULY 18 BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
w/ The Rails
JULY 25 ERASURE
w/ Reed and Caroline
august 10 JONNY LANG
OCTOBER 6 LIL XAN
OCTOBER 24 GOO GOO DOLLS
SEPTEMBER 10 GARY CLARK JR.
SEPTEMBER 15 MASTODON w/ Dinosaur Jr., Netherlands
* SEATED SHOW
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THE MUSIC ISSUE
Vestigial. Photo: Leah Kacel
DESTRUCTION Vestigial set to unleash first full-length LP Fallen Skies | by Eric Mitts
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
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he O urob oros — in ancient mythology, it’s often depicted as a serpent devouring its own tail. The iconic image symbolized the infinite cycle of life and death, and came to define the work of medieval alchemists forging together new life from cast-off materials. For Grand Rapids metalcore band Vestigial, who uses the Ouroboros as its official logo, the symbol embodies the band’s resurgent sound, defiant experience and rising place within West Michigan’s immortal, if temporarily undead, heavy music scene. “The name essentially means, ‘the remnants or formation of something that was once greater,’” Vestigial lead guitarist/backing vocalist Michael Stellema told Revue. “In this sense, (it) applies to our attempt to bring back an old-school sound with many modern twists. … Pure heavy metal from the past few generations modernized into a brand new sound.” The riff-heavy band began back in spring 2016. Made up of Stellema and his older brother lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Tyler Stellema, alongside bassist Joey Barnett and drummer Thomas Mercer, the band met through their shared friendships at Newaygo and Lakeview High Schools. Taking influence from bands like Lamb of God, Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage,
Sylosis, Gojira and others, Vestigial selfreleased its first EP, The Void, last spring. “The thing that made (the EP release) show so special was that all of the hard work we put into the event paid off tenfold,” Barnett said, recalling the chaos surrounding the disc’s release last year. “I’ve never heard a crowd cheer for us so loudly, and the energy in the room was surreal. People
Fallen Skies Album Release Party Wsg. Amoura, Mandayla, Recorruptor The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids June 9, 7 p.m., $10-12 pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758
were flying everywhere and banging their heads, getting onstage and screaming our lyrics with us. Since then, we’ve grown so much and learned so many things that I can only imagine what The Pyramid Scheme will be like (when we return) on June 9.” Written almost entirely by the Stellemas, The Void presented an early version of what Vestigial’s growing capabilities, and led directly into the creation of the new single,
Shipwrecker, released last summer, and the band’s forthcoming full-length LP, Falling Skies, due out this month. Working on Falling Skies last fall with recording engineer Lee Albrecht at his home studio in Grand Rapids, Vestigial finished the album in January and has signed on with management agency Nightfall Management ahead of its release. Currently, Vestigial has plans to play at the Music Made Me Do It Fest in Stanton on July 15, and the Michigan Metal Fest in Battle Creek on Aug. 11. The band has new merch, new videos and additional tour dates in the works, and hopes to expand to the east side of the state for weekend shows soon. “Our heavy music scene is starting to take off due to the hard work our bands are putting in,” Stellema said. “I believe (fellow Grand Rapids metalcore band) Sleep Waker is one band that is sort of leading our scene towards success with their own career, and with their members making up some key players in the art and video side of things in the city. Lee Albrecht has also given a lot to our community and jump started the current chapter of our scene with his production talents. I have a lot of faith in our city’s artistic talents.” n
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THE MUSIC ISSUE
10 Local Bands To Listen To
Super Future Future Dayz. Courtesy photo
Super Future. Photo: Sarah Ford
Rapper/singer/producer Dayz (real name Devon Watson) has earned his place in the West Michigan music scene by doing it all. From self-releasing his Solitify Vol. 1 EP late last year, to guesting on Lady Ace Boogie’s latest, to representing Michigan at the Stay Gold showcase at SXSW in Austin, his time has officially come. Look out for his latest video, Sofa, coming this month, with a run of singles to follow this summer.
Tomorrow has come today for one of West Michigan’s hottest DJs. With slots at Electric Forest, Spring Awakening and Breakaway music festivals this summer, and gigs as far away as Colorado, California and Atlanta, Super Future (real name Nick Rowland) will take his fusion of dance-ready EDM and live instrumentation to bigger and bigger stages in the coming months. Don’t miss the party — give his latest track, Endless Love, a spin right now.
Hometown: Holland Genre: Alternative R&B/hip-hop
Listen: soundcloud.com/dayz-music For Fans of: Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
Hands In Safe Hands
Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Vibrant beat/world trap
Listen: soundcloud.com/superxfuture For Fans of: What So Not, San Holo
MossJaw Jaw Moss In Safe Hands. Courtesy photo
Moss Jaw. Courtesy photo
Only a group for about a year, this young band has a strong grip on the resilient heavy music scene right now. The five-piece immediately draws attention, with the combined vocals of frontwoman Brieonna Frierson and guitarist/vocalist Suong Pham powering its daring mix of dizzying guitars and devastating breakdowns. Catch the band live when it joins the madness of Carnival of Chaos’s Music Made Me Do It Festival in Stanton July 12-14.
Fresh off the road with friends and fellow local band Vines, this emerging four-piece will head into the studio this month to begin recording its first full-length album, tentatively due out later this year. The introspective yet instrumentally exploratory band generated some strong buzz when it emerged from the Kalamazoo house show scene to rock this year’s Battle of the Bands, hosted by Western Michigan University’s campus radio station 89.1 FM WIDR.
Hometown: Muskegon/Grand Rapids Genre: Post-hardcore/metal
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Listen: insafehands.bandcamp.com For Fans of: Eyes Set To Kill, Butcher Babies
Hometown: Kalamazoo Genre: Emo/post-rock
Listen: mossjaw.bandcamp.com For Fans of: Waxahatchee, Julien Baker
Absolutely overflowing with talent, West Michigan’s local music scene has something for everyone. Once again, we’ve compiled our list of 10 bands across all genres who we think deserve your time this year. by Eric Mitts
Book of of Symbols Symbols Book
Red Rio Rio Red Red Rio. Courtesy photo
Book of Symbols. Photo: Lauren McClurken
The solo project of singer/songwriter Alexis Brooke, Red Rio expands to a rocking four-piece on occasion, adding real live bite to her already gritty songs. Kicking off this summer by gaining some international exposure as part of Founders’ Madrid Beer & Music Fest in Spain, Brooke will rejoin her band for a show at Mulligans on June 28, before focusing more on playing solo and recording her hotly anticipated first release.
Describing its complex sound as a “collective vision of orchestrated sound,” Book of Symbols has taken a page or two from ’90s shoegaze, while bringing its eyes up to the new millennium’s shimmering horizon. Carefully lost in layers of distortion, the band’s visceral live shows reverberate long after they’re over, leaving fans new and old awoken to the moment. The band will write its next chapter this summer as it begins work on its first full-length LP.
Listen: redrio.bandcamp.com For Fans of: Joanne Shaw Taylor, Hurray For The Riff Raff
Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Blues/Americana
Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Post-punk/atmospheric rock
Listen: bookofsymbols.bandcamp.com For Fans of: The Life and Times, Explosions in the Sky
Frankie & & Myrrh Myrrh Frankie Frankie and Myrrh. Photo: Jaimie Skriba
An all-female ensemble made up of four very talented women from around the local music scene, this groovy, psychedelic group has only been playing together for just over a year, but already has made real waves. The band will open for fellow all-female psych/surf group La Luz at The Pyramid Scheme on June 2, before spending most of the summer focusing on recording its first release, tentatively due out this fall.
Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Future soul/space funk
Listen: earthradiomusic.com For Fans of: Hiatus Kaiyote, Thundercat
Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Indie-pop/psychedelic-surf
Listen: frankieandmyrrh.bandcamp.com For Fans of: Beach House, Warpaint
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
SCENE | SOUNDS | SIGHTS | DINING
Earth Radio. Photo: Psychedelic Eyes Photography
Exploring the outer reaches of rhythm and groove, this five-piece fronted by vocalist/ keyboardist Hannah Laine keeps its head in the stratosphere and its beats on the ground. Equal parts spirit-nourishing and mind-blowing, the group has really started hitting the rounds this year, with shows lined up this summer at Creston Brewery on June 1, Fountain Point Resort in Lake Leelanau on July 29, and Founders on Aug. 23.
THE MUSIC ISSUE
10 Local Bands To Listen To
Fe s t i v a l
www.michiganirish.org Heritage Landing, Downtown Muskegon
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Buy online EARLY and SAVE - Get In FREE Early Friday, 5 - 6 pm only Experience Irish culture, live music on seven covered stages, Irish Pub, shopping, craft beer, the Highland Games, the Celtic Kitchen and a Whiskey Snug.
Y-Not YNot. Courtesy photo
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Free-spirited and freeform, this vibrant new band asks the simple question: Why not let the music just move you? An open blend of styles, the band aims to tap into a deeper sense of community and consciousness with vibes that sound perfect for a hot sunny day, or an evening at a craft brewery. Be sure to catch them at Festival of the Arts on June 2, or at the Great Lakes Flow Festival in Lake Orion on Aug. 23-26.
Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Jam-funk/progressive-folk
Listen: ynot.bandcamp.com For Fans of: Nahko & Medicine For The People, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers
El Brandino Brandino El DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
El Brandino. Courtesy photo
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Another act appearing as part of the first-ever Founders Madrid Fest, one-man-band El Brandino will bring his sometimes-silly, all-out-amazing multi-instrument extravaganza overseas. A member of Foundersâ€™ own FBC All Stars, and local cover outfit Funkle Jesse, Brandino (real name Brandon Proch) has moved from his start as part of the ska/punk scene in bands like Three Cents Short onto incorporating bluegrass, funk, soul and more into his one of a kind loop-pedal stylings.
Hometown: Grand Rapids Genre: Acoustic jam/comedy folk
Listen: elbrandino.bandcamp.com For Fans of: Keller Williams, Reggie Watts
REUSE, REUSE, REUSE SCA’s Industrial Nature saves common objects from the landfill SEE PAGE 10A. BY MARLA R. MILLER
PLAYING FAIR Art and craft fairs on the lakeshore
IN REMEMBRANCE Feast or Famine honors with music
PERFORMANCE PLUS Meet America’s Music Company
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Musical Monument Feast or Famine remembers the victims of avarice BY JANE SIMONS
This month’s Kalamazoo Philharmonia and the Bach Festival Chorus performance is personal for Andrew Koehler. Koehler is the music director for the Philharmonia, associate professor of music at Kalamazoo College, and the child of Ukrainian immigrants. This month, he’s directing a performance of Yevhen Stankovych’s Requiem for Those Who Died of Famine to commemorate the 85th anniversary of a Russian-backed campaign to systematically starve millions of Ukrainians.
FEAST OR FAMINE Chenery Auditorium 714 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo June 2, 8 p.m., $15-$29 kalamazoobachfestival.org
The Requiem is being paired with Belshazzar’s Feast, a cantata by British composer William Walton, that tells the story of the Babylonian King Belshazzar who commits sacrilege by using sacred vessels of the Jews to praise the heathen gods. The title of the joint performance is Feast or Famine, because of the juxtaposition between decadence and starvation.
While Koehler directs the Requiem, the cantata will be led by Bach Festival Director Chris Ludwa. “It’s an interesting parallel,” Koehler said. “We are presenting one (piece) of a more ancient nature and one that is more modern. There’s a beautiful balance between Belshazzar’s decadence as he’s enjoying all manner of delicious things and you contrast that with not having anything for those not in power.” Prior to the Kalamazoo performance, members of the Philharmonia and the Bach Festival traveled to Chicago for a May 19 show at the Harris Theatre. Koehler said leaders of the Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation - USA, Inc., based in Chicago, invited his musicians and members of the Bach Festival to perform there. A monument dedicated to the memory of the estimated 10 million victims of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 is located nearby at a cemetery in Bloomingdale, Ill. “It was a truly horrifying and vicious event,” Koehler said. As a prelude to the concert, Koehler is leading a discussion and lecture about the Ukrainian Genocide on June 1 at the downtown branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library. He is sharing his personal and familial relationship to this atrocity. A collection of new pieces created by Kalamazoo Public High School students expressing hunger in the present time is being displayed locally, while a similar collection will be on display in the town of Konotop in Eastern Ukraine. Through the music of the 95-member Philharmonia and the vocals of the 70-member Bach Festival Chorus, this story will be told in a way unlike any other. The Philharmonia bills itself as The Orchestra of Kalamazoo College & Community, and its members are a testament to that, representing a broad range of
Above: Andrew Koehler. Below: Bach Festival Chorus. COURTESY PHOTOS ages and backgrounds. This includes a high school student; an individual in their 80s who has been with the group since its inception in 1994; a retired university professor; and a chemist who works for Pfizer. A quick audition helps Koehler understand whether the musician in front of him is playing at a level where they can engage with the music played by the Philharmonia, which practices weekly to prepare for its three yearly performances. “Playing music and playing with others is a source of great joy for these musicians,” Koehler said. “It really enriches their lives and it’s an important creative outlet for them.”
When selecting the music to be played, Koehler looks for excellent pieces that will help his orchestra be appropriately challenged and grow. “I also look for pieces that will communicate something to our audience and deliver some emotional content that we want to share,” he said. “Sometimes it’s more intellectual or more emotional.” This is definitely the case with the Stankovych requiem. “This is an exciting thing for us,” Koehler said. “This collaboration with the Bach Festival Chorus, with whom we have performed many times, opens up new possibilities.” ■
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
[MUSIC] A UNIQUE & ARTFUL EXPERIENCE FEATURING
Fine Art Handcrafted Goods Entertainment Children’s Lane Wine & Beer Garden
While most seasons have wrapped up for the summer, there are still multiple chances to spend an evening outside in the (hopefully) nice weather. Two returning series also come back: the University Musical Society’s Summer Sings, and West Michigan Jazz Society’s Monday Jazz in the Park. BY DANA CASADEI
HOLLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 96 W. 15th St., Suite 201, Holland hollandsymphony.org (616) 796-6780
JULY 6 & 7, 2018 | Downtown Muskegon lakeshoreartfestival.org
FIDDLE CAMP, June 18-22, 9:30 a.m., $100 POPS AT THE PIER: THE MOXIE STRINGS, June 21, 7 p.m., $25 The Moxie Strings play with the HSO for an evening of music, food and community, right off the shore of Lake Macatawa. Described as an “instrumental fusion trio” the Moxie Strings was formed in 2007 and lets listeners experience well-known instruments — think cello and violin — through a young, progressive lens. The trio also composes most of its own music and melodies, resulting in a genre-blurring blend of sounds.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY 881 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor ums.org, (734) 764-2538
SUMMER SINGS BEETHOVEN’S MASS IN C, June 25, 7 p.m., $5 UMS’ 25th season of Summer Sings begins this month. All singers are welcome to this popular choral reading session, where no one has to audition to take part. These sessions get rather large — as many as 250 singers from Michigan, Ohio and even Canada have come together to participate. How does it work? They rehearse portions of the score during the first half, break for refreshments, and then re-convene to sing through the entire work. Make those harmonies! And if you don’t have a copy of the score, don’t worry, they’ll provide one for you.
WEST MICHIGAN JAZZ SOCIETY PO Box 150307, Grand Rapids wmichjazz.org, (616) 490-9506
MONDAY JAZZ IN THE PARK WITH BYRON CENTER HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND, June 11, 6:30 p.m Considered a traditional summer event in the area, the 18th season of Monday Jazz in the
| REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018
Behn Gillece for the West Michigan Jazz Society. COURTESY PHOTO Park kicks off this month. First up is the Byron Center High School Jazz Band. Attendance for each concert ranges from 1,500-3,000 people, so maybe think about getting there early.
MONDAY JAZZ IN THE PARK WITH KATHY LAMAR, June 18, 6:30 p.m The following Monday has Kathy Lamar and Friends performing. Fun fact: Lamar grew up in Grand Rapids before leaving for Las Vegas in 1980 to sing with her friend, pianist Tex Richardson. During her 30-year career there, she sang backup and duos with musicians like Wayne Newton, Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, Lola Falana and Robert Guillaume. Now, Lamar is living back in her hometown and performing with other local musicians as part of a duet, trio and quartet.
MONDAY JAZZ IN THE PARK WITH BEHN GILLECE, June 25, 6:30 p.m The final Monday, Behn Gillece will perform. Gillece plays the vibraphone, which is similar to a xylophone made of metal. Just Google it. The New Yorker is considered a virtuosic instrumentalist and prolific composer. Walk of Fire, his third album as leader, was just released on the Posi-Tone Label, and he has performed all over the country, including the Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center.
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
All's Fair in Art and Crafts Time to hit the lakeshore for fine art fairs throughout the summer BY MARLA R. MILLER
Grand Haven Art Festival. COURTESY PHOTO
Every summer, set along boardwalks, in waterfront parks and on closed-off city blocks, art fairs take over the lakeshore with handcrafted jewelry, paintings, pottery, photography, sculpture and much more. Going back as far as 60 years, these fine art and craft shows are a fixture of the community drawing tourists, local residents and art aficionados alike. They offer an eclectic mix of art — whether you want to wear it, hang it on the wall or display it in the yard. Many of West Michigan’s art fairs annually rank among Sunshine Artist magazine’s “200 Best Fine Art and Fine Craft Fairs.” They also help support working artists, many of whom travel across the country to sell their work during the summer. The festivals double as juried shows with cash prizes, and organizers continue to revamp the application and selection process to bring high-quality exhibitors to the region. Plus, they provide fun for all ages and include food vendors, children’s activities and live entertainment.
West Shore Art Fair ludingtonartscenter.org Ludington’s West Shore Art Fair is celebrating a milestone — 50 years — and attracts large crowds thanks to people vacationing over the July 4th holiday. The fine art fair takes place July 7-8 in
Lakeshore Art Festival. COURTESY PHOTO
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Rotary Park, featuring more than 100 jury-selected fine artists working with clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, paint, photography, sculpture and more. Ludington’s population swells in the summer and it has one of the state’s busiest parks, but it’s also a fun day trip for people in surrounding communities. “There is a group of people who truly appreciate the arts and want to support the artists,” said Sheila Preston, West Shore Art Fair event coordinator. “And there’s something special about meeting the person who made it.” Though the art fair was originally started by Ludington Art League, Ludington Area Center for the Arts took it over in 2012 and maintains strict guidelines for accepting artists, Preston said. It’s the major fundraiser for the art center, and organizers this year are awarding first-place prizes of $200 each in 10 categories. Besides applying to attend, artists are then judged during the event. “We thought it was a good year to give more money back to the artists and appreciate their individual talents, and judge against their category peers rather than every artist there,” she said. The art fair includes art demonstrations, live entertainment, food vendors and a children’s art area.
Lakeshore Art Festival lakeshoreartfestival.org Lakeshore Art Festival, held for many years in conjunction with Muskegon Summer Celebration, was revamped and rebranded in 2013 by Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. With more than 300 exhibitors, the July 6-7 art festival encompasses several blocks in downtown Muskegon and is expanding due to increased interest.
“Part of it is tradition,” said Carla Flanders, Lakeshore Art Festival director. “People plan their vacations around that week, especially in our market because we are on the lakeshore, and because people just love to get that one unique piece they say they got at a fine art and craft show.” A record number of nearly 450 exhibitors applied for this year’s festival. All of the artists go through a juried application process and all items must be handcrafted. Half are from Michigan and the other half come from throughout the country. “We had 122 more applicants, which was pretty cool,” she said. “We like to have our favorites, but we also like to intermingle new people so we get something fresh and new every year.” The fine art exhibitors set up in Hackley Park for the judged show held during the event, with awards ranging from $200 to $1,000. “Inside Hackley Park, we have really kind of raised the bar for the fine art, fine craft category and we are really pleased we are bringing artists from all over the country to this event,” Flanders said. During the fair, the park has a craft beer and wine garden and a stage with live music. In the blocks surrounding, along Western and Clay and connecting to Muskegon Farmers Market, patrons can find specialty craft and yard items, food vendors, children’s activities, a tent with Michigan authors, street performers and interactive art stations. The festival aims to be a celebration of the arts and includes two new community components. The Door Project — a collaborative effort of festival organizers, Muskegon Area Intermediate School District and Nuveen Center — has 15 local schools decorating and painting refurbished doors on display at various locations during the festival. Attendees can help paint a door at stations near Third and Western, and they will be sold to help benefit local art programs. The Kayak Sculpture Public Art Project is set for unveiling July 5, the night before the festival opens. KL Outdoor — the world’s largest kayak manufacturer, headquartered in Muskegon — donated the kayaks, which seven area artists used to create sculptures. Visitors can spot them throughout downtown until early September.
art exhibitors and talking to artists set up for several blocks. The weekend festivities include entertainment, free family fun and children’s craft activities, or visit the beach, walk the boardwalk and stay for the musical fountain.
South Haven Art Fair southhavenarts.org Commemorating its 60th year, South Haven Art Fair is the longest-running event in the region. This year’s fine arts fair runs June 30-July 1 in Stanley Johnston Park, a wooded park setting near Lake Michigan, and features 120 artists, Michigan food, the Casco Band and 40,000 attendees. In 1958, the South Haven Art League held its first outdoor show. Today, the fair is organized by the South Haven Center for the Arts and kicks off South Haven’s Fourth of July festivities.
Krasl Art Fair krasl.org/art-fair ■ For art fair faithfuls, it’s worth the drive to St. Joseph for Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff. The 57th annual festival, held July 14-15, attracts fine art and craft artists from across the country and Canada. One of the most popular events in southwest Michigan, the art fair draws an estimated 50,000 attendees and has been in the Top 20 art fairs in Sunshine Artist Magazine for five years running. Shoppers can explore the work of 200 of the nation’s top artists in scenic Lake Bluff Park, enjoy outdoor sculpture and exhibitors, gourmet food trucks, a beer and wine garden, live music, and a kids zone and take in a summer afternoon along the waterfront. ■
Crafts at West Shore Art Fair. COURTESY PHOTO
White Lake Arts & Crafts Festival whitelake.org Kicking off the art fair schedule from June 16-17, White Lake's Arts & Crafts Festival is celebrating 40 years and annually draws thousands to the White Lake area over Father’s Day weekend. More than 75 artists are setting up in Whitehall’s Goodrich Park. Exhibitors feature a variety of handmade art and crafts, such as jewelry, wood furniture, birdhouses, ceramics, items for the garden, paintings and prints, folk art, stained glass, signs, and children’s toys. When not shopping, attendees can listen to live music, enjoy root beer floats, kettle corn and crepes, and relax under the trees at Goodrich Park.
Grand Haven Art Festival grandhavenchamber.org Grand Haven Art Festival ushers in the official start of summer as Washington Avenue closes to traffic and becomes an outdoor art gallery. Held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on June 23-24, shoppers can visit downtown stores while exploring the fine
Street Performance at Lakeshore Art Festival. COURTESY PHOTO REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
Glass From the Past Global Glass explores the art form over the years BY JANE SIMONS
Half a century later, the contemporary glass movement continues to gain momentum with competitions, exhibits and college programs. With Global Glass: A Survey of Form & Function, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is diving into this unique art movement.
GLOBAL GLASS: A SURVEY OF FORM & FUNCTION
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo June 23-Oct. 14 | kiarts.org
The exhibit includes 65 functional and sculptural glass works of art from the mid-1960s to the present day, all part of the 500-piece Alfred Berkowitz Collection housed at the University of Michigan Dearborn. Among the 56 artists represented are glass giants Harvey Littleton, Howard Ben Tré, Dale Chihuly, Ann Robinson and Kate Vogel. The Kalamazoo exhibit will be representative of pieces early in the movement. “In the beginning, (glass) leaned more toward functional objects, because a lot of artists came out of the ceramic movement where they were taught the forms and function of ceramic-ware,” said Don Desmett, curator of the exhibit. “The KIA
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exhibit will be loosely divided between function and sculptural elements.” In the glass world, function is defined as any piece that holds something else. Although there is still a lot of functionality in contemporary glass, it all leans toward sculptural connections. Desmett said the contemporary glass movement had its beginnings in the 1960s when Harvey Littleton and Dominic Labino, a chemist, presented a workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art. Together, they showcased the possibilities for glass artists to create works of art as opposed to strictly designing glass objects for companies, such as Libby Inc. and Corning Inc. The pair developed small-capacity kilns and demonstrated the effect that different temperatures could have in the creative process. Littleton went on to develop the United States’ first glass program, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As the interest level rose, studios became larger and more technically advanced, and artists are able to experiment and create in many more ways. Students of the glass arts learn about the impact of gravity and heat as well as chemistry and physics, while also gaining a better historical perspective. “Before this movement began, glass artists were designing things that could be mass-produced,” Desmett said. Although some companies would have artists create limited-series pieces, the majority of those who worked for these companies designed more functional pieces that could be mass-produced, including plates, mugs and bowls. The contemporary glass movement filled a void created by a period of minimalism, pop art and optical abstraction in the art world that was not necessarily connecting with a larger audience, Desmett said. “The danger for glass is that it has to be beautiful,” he said. “If you look at any glass object, it’s going to catch light. The objects themselves became very beautiful and artists took advantage of that.” Contemporary glass collectors — such as Berkowitz, whose collection comprises the show — contributed early on to the
Global Glass: A Survey of Form & Function. COURTESY PHOTOS resurgence of the movement. Galleries, including some in the Detroit area, fed the appetites of these collectors with glass exhibits showing the works of American artists. Desmett said glass artist Dale Chihuly also deserves a fair amount of credit for the resurgence. “Chihuly sort of broke out of the boundaries of doing museum shows and worked with botanical gardens like Meijer Gardens that helped bring in a larger public who maybe hadn’t looked at this art form before,” Desmett said. As with any artistic medium, some glass artists are able to work themselves into a position to make a living based solely on their craft. They may teach or open their own programs. “A number of them form really good connections around the world,” Desmett said. However, as with anything, the lower the values go for pieces, the harder it is for
artists to break out and continue to make a living. Still, Desmett has a personal connection to two glass artists who were able to make a living pursuing their passions. His late brother Ron taught at Carnegie Mellon University and co-founded the Pittsburgh Glass Center with his wife, Kathleen Mulcahy. She was the first woman in the United States to teach glass art at the university level when she joined the faculty of Carnegie Mellon. Ron Desmett’s work is displayed in important collections around the country, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. “He was the anti-Chihuly. He did these black, super-opaque, organic works,” Desmett said of his brother. “I was fairly close to what was going on through osmosis. I met a number of artists through him whose work was socially and politically motivated.” ■
35 years as your local, independent bookstore!
Join us for our June author events! Monday, June 4 @ 7pm
Social Justice Educator, Author, and Activist Melanie S. Morrison presents Murder on Shades Mountain
Meet Melanie S. Morrison – founder and executive director of Allies for Change, and author of The Grace of Coming Home – as she presents her newest book, Murder on Shades Mountain: The Legal Lynching of Willie Peterson and the Struggle for Justice in Jim Crow Birmingham. The recipient of a starred review from Publishers Weekly, this important, riveting narrative is a testament to the courageous predecessors of present-day movements that demand an end to racial profiling, police brutality, and the criminalization of black men.
Friday, June 8 @ 7pm
Acclaimed author Marisha Pessl presents her YA debut, Neverworld Wake
We are huge fans of Marisha Pessl, so we are very excited to welcome her for the tour of her debut young adult book Neverworld Wake. Neverworld Wake draws you into a realm where fears are physical and memories come alive in an absorbing psychological suspense thriller, from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film. Publishers Weekly declared it
“thought-provoking and suspenseful,” while Kirkus Reviews calls it “an eloquent and haunting tale.”
Saturday, June 9 @ 4pm
#1 NYT Bestselling Author David Sedaris presents Calypso
We are beyond delighted that one of our favorite authors will be coming back to our flagship store, as David Sedaris hits the road for an exclusive bookstore tour celebrating the release of Calypso, his first collection in five years! Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, calling it a “hilarious yet tender volume” while Kirkus’ starred review said it is “Sedaris at his darkest--and his best.” This will be a ticketed event.
Please visit SchulerBooks.com for details.
Thursday, June 14 @ 7pm
Gina Ferwerde presents Meals From the Mitten
Award-winning recipe developer and photographer, Gina Ferwerda, a TODAY show food contributor who has also been featured by Good Morning America and ABC’s The Chew, will talk about her debut cookbook! Meals from the Mitten: Celebrating the Seasons in Michigan, shares 80+ seasonal recipes from Michigan along with beautiful photography from some of the state’s most scenic landscapes including
Sleeping Bear Dunes and Old Mission Peninsula wine county.
Thursday, June 28 @ 7pm
Forks Over Knives chef Del Sroufe presents The China Study Family Cookbook
Meet Chef Del Sroufe, co-owner and executive chef of Wellness Forum Foods, and author of Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook and Better Than Vegan. As he presents his newest cookbook, The China Study Family Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Bring Your Family to the Plant-Based Table! The China Study Family Cookbook is the family-friendly cookbook and guide you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to make plant-based eating easier and even more rewarding for your family—no matter your lifestyle.
Visit www.SchulerBooks.com for a complete list of events. All events are subject to change.
2660 28th Street SE | 616.942.2561 REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
Reuse, Reuse, Reuse Industrial Nature saves common objects from a lifetime in the landfill
BY MARLA R. MILLER
At first glance, the largescale wall installations and sculptures look like succulents and flowers, multi-colored woven rugs, moths and butterflies. But look closer, and an array of disc arde d and re purp ose d mate rial s , carefully pieced together by shape and color, come into focus, stirring questions and reflections about nature, the environment and consumerism.
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Ohio artist Michelle Stitzlein creates large mixed-media pieces from otherwise ordinary and mass-produced materials destined for the landfill — garden hoses, piano keys, phone and computer cords, electrical wire, bottle caps, license plates, pots and pans, and other plastic pieces and parts salvaged from the junk drawer. Her work, shown in solo exhibitions in galleries and museums nationwide, is the focus of Saugatuck Center for the Arts’ Industrial Nature exhibition, on display through Sept. 7. She plans to show several pieces from her Fynbos, Moth and Lichen series at the SCA. The Fynbos Series, named after the shrubland ecological zone in the Western Cape region of South Africa, includes large and colorful works inspired by the
exotic, spiky flower heads of the protea and common house plants and succulents. She started working with garden hoses in 2013 and now has 10 or 11 largescale works in the series. “I have never seen anybody work with garden hoses in this format,” she said. “I am pretty excited about it — this is a whole process that I have created from the very start. Basically, each piece I make, I learn something or I get a new idea that takes me to the next piece.” In part, the pieces speak to the drought currently plaguing that area of South Africa, and the importance of water to our environment. Viewers can interpret that message through her creative use of garden hoses that artificially bring water to areas we should or should not be watering, she said.
Stitzlein explains: “This tension between the object’s former industrial life and its transformation into a work inspired by the natural world provides a valuable dialogue about consumerism, industrial production and the sublimity of nature.” Some of her pieces are 30 feet long and invite viewers to look closer at all of the individual parts that are put together to make one continuous visual piece. They encourage viewers to consider all the items people throw away, between what it used to be and what it is now, and how those items can be repurposed. “We’re excited to be able to share her unique process with all kinds of viewers and we hope that it will encourage viewers to stop and look closer and ask themselves how they’re impacting the world
Industrial Nature Works by Michelle Stitzlein. COURTESY PHOTOS
and taking care of the world we live in,” said Whitney Valentine, SCA’s education and exhibitions manager. “She’s not altering any of the objects. All the wire and hoses are in their natural color, she is just cutting and repositioning them.” Stitzlein grew up around art, visiting museums with her artist mother, and married into a family of artists. After graduating from Columbus College of Art & Design, she worked in interior design and then marketed the work of Ohio craftspeople and managed two retail stores for Ohio Designer Craftsmen. Marrying artist Nathaniel Stitzlein, who also owns Crow Home Inspection, in 2000 allowed her to pursue her own art and travel the world. Her husband helps run arts and crafts tours across the globe, allowing them to visit South Africa, India, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico and Bolivia. She also worked as a freelance consultant and helped artists in Peru and Columbia market their work. On those trips, she met artists working with a variety of recycled materials — oil drums, plastic bags, car tires — to make shoes, crafts and other useful items to sell and make a living. “Sometimes, those materials are found on the street. Sometimes, they’re found in the landfills,” she said. “I was really inspired by a lot of what we were seeing, really clever incarnations of recycled materials.”
Those experiences prompted her to see what she could do with plastic and other mass-produced items back at home. Stitzlein and her husband bought a former grange hall in Baltimore, Ohio and converted it into a home with a large studio on the second floor. Today, her vehicle and studio overflow with water hoses. Stitzlein and her friends and family stop in traffic and jump out to collect them. Everything in her house is also reused, recycled or salvaged from a landfill. “I’m an artist at heart and I do believe strongly in trying to utilize materials that are not going to affect the planet any more than we already have, and in trying to be
INDUSTRIAL NATURE: WORKS BY MICHELLE STITZLEIN Saugatuck Center for the Arts 400 Culver St., Saugatuck June 8-Sept. 7 sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399
more resourceful in our daily life,” she said. “I hope that my work, when people see it in public, that they are inspired to be more resourceful in their own lives.” In addition to Stitzlein’s work in the gallery and garden, the SCA has programming planned throughout the summer related to her show, with themes of nature and recycling and consumerism. She has exhibited in museums and galleries across the country, but Stitzlein doesn’t rely on selling her work to make a living. There isn’t much of a collectors market for huge works made out of garden hoses and discarded plastic. “I am primarily creating work for myself
OPENING RECEPTION June 8, 5:30-9:30 p.m., free Featuring nationally acclaimed ensemble Bash the Trash, community parade, instrument building and art activities, a collection of local food trucks, and craft beers.
and to share with the public,” she said. “I do hope they realize our resources are limited and that especially single-use products are pretty detrimental to our environment. That is why I have chosen to work with themes around nature. There are really simple things that we can do to help.” Besides helping her husband with his business, she travels the country teaching workshops at elementary schools, art camps and arts festivals. In August, she heads to Denali National Park & Preserve for an artist residency. Since 2003, she has worked with more than 100 elementary schools and thousands of students as an artist-in-residence. She encourages environmental awareness and recycling using the plastic bottle cap — something that is not recyclable — as her medium and as a teachable moment to illustrate how much plastic ends up in a landfill. The workshops also allow the students to use drills and other tools, showing they can use something as simple as a bottle cap to make colorful murals and whimsical outdoor sculptures. “The entire community is saving caps and they pile up at the schools,” she said. “It’s a good visual, ‘Look at all of these caps, piles and boxes of caps that were going to serve no purpose.’” ■
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Even though the sun is finally out, don’t forget about taking a trip in that sun to your local art galleries. You can be lazy by a pool any day this summer, but these exhibits won’t be around forever. There’s sculpture, photography and wax castings of circus peanuts. Yes, circus peanuts. BY DANA CASADEI GRAND RAPIDS ARTSHOW MUSEUM WEST MICHIGAN AREA
Monroe May 101 26-Sept. 2 Center, Grand Rapids artmuseumgr.org, (616) 831-1000
TONY MENDOZA: CATS AND DOGS, Through June 10
ANILA QUAYYUM AGHA: INTERSECTIONS, Through Aug. 26 MIRROR VARIATIONS: THE ART OF MONIR SHAHROUDY FARMANFARMAIAN, Through Aug. 26 SHOW AND TELL: GRAM STAFF SELECTIONS FROM THE PERMANENT
COLLECTION, Through Aug. 26 OSWALDO VIGAS: TRANSFORMATIONS, Through Sept. 2 AMERICAN SPECTACLE: PAINTINGS FROM THE MANOOGIAN COLLECTION, June 8-Aug. 5 Eleven paintings are being showcased at this exhibit, ranging from sweeping landscapes to still-lifes. These pieces reveal the variety of ways artists struggled to define the nation between 1855 and 1936, depicting images of places and events happening in that era. During the turn of the century, when life was changing like crazy, artists started to explore issues such as American culture and identity, among others.
SUMMER AT THE KIA ART CLASSES FOR YOU OR THE KIDS Adult classes start June 5 / Youth classes start June 16
ART CAMPS June 18-August 3 for ages 4-17: 1/2 and full-day camps
MASAYUKI KOORIDA: BEYOND EXISTENCE, Through Aug. 19 In one of his first exhibitions in the U.S., Masayuki Koorida is stopping in Michigan. Already well-known in Asia and Europe, Koorida is a major talent and dedicated figure in contemporary sculpture, and is often celebrated for partially carved and polished boulders. One example is Existence, which is permanently situated in the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. His repertoire also includes highly geometric pieces in a variety of materials and large-scale drawings, all of which will be on display.
ROSE SHOW, June 16-17 LOWELLARTS! 223 W. Main St., Lowell lowellartsmi.org, (616) 897-8545
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION, June 2-July 14 The name of LowellArts! upcoming exhibit kind of says it all. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION will display art depicting urban, suburban and rural environments in two- and three-dimensional pieces in a variety of mediums.
LAFONTSEE GALLERIES 833 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids lafontsee.us, (616) 451-9820
LET’S JUMP IN!, Through June 24 KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kiarts.org, (269) 349-7775
HIGH SCHOOL AREA SHOW,
Global Glass: A Survey of Form & Function
Through June 10
The evolution of glass as an art form came after World War II within the arts programs of American colleges and universities. This exhibition features work from the Collection of the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Opens June 23.
FRIDAY, JUNE 1
ART SALES 3-8p in Bronson Park BEER GARDEN 4-10p at the KIA
SATURDAY, JUNE 2
ART SALES 9a-5p / FAMILY FUN 12-4p
KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 435 W. South Street 269/349-7775 kiarts.org
FREDERIK MEIJER GARDENS & SCULPTURE PARK 1000 East Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Meijergardens.org, (888) 957-1580
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PASSION ON PAPER: MASTERLY PRINTS FROM THE KIA COLLECTION, Through July 15
independent curator and critic, the exhibition examines both functional glass objects and pure sculptural forms that have often taken cues from other fine arts media and movements in the U.S. and internationally.
MUSKEGON MUSEUM OF ART 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon muskegonartmuseum.org, (231) 720-2570
THE POETRY OF METAL: DAVID BARNHILL AND DAVID HUANG, Through June 10
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: THE ULTRA-REALISTIC SCULPTURE OF MARC SIJAN, Through Aug. 12 AMERICAN ICON & WHISKEY RIDGE, Through Aug. 12
THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF EDWARD CURTIS: 150 MASTERPIECES FROM THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN, Through Sept. 9 PERCHANCE TO DREAM: THE ART OF MICHAEL PEOPLES, June 21-Sept. 16 Created by Michael Peoples, this gallery installation will probably make you a little nostalgic and hungry, considering it features hundreds of cast-wax circus peanuts, an iconic (and super gross) childhood sweet. Peoples creates cast-wax sculptures of pop culture objects and icons, like honey bear bottles and rubber ducks. He lives in Grand Haven, works out of a studio in Grand Rapids, is self-taught and is a member of SiTE:LAB.
SAUGATUCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS 400 Culver St., Saugatuck sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399
INDUSTRIAL NATURE, June 8–Sept. 7 FIBER NATION, June 9–Sept. 22 URBAN INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids uica.org, (616) 454-7000
VIBRANT BOUNTY: CHINESE FOLK ART FROM THE SHAANXI REGION,
COLOR OF THE YEAR, Through July 29
Through Aug. 12
TRANSITIONS: NEW PHOTOGRAPHY FROM BANGLADESH, June 1-Aug. 26
WEST MICHIGAN AREA SHOW, Through Sept. 2
GLOBAL GLASS: A SURVEY OF FORM AND FUNCTION, June 23-Oct. 14 Drawn from the extensive glass collection at the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery at the University of Michigan, Global Glass has, well, a whole lot of glass. Fifty-six artists are represented as the exhibition surveys works made from the mid1960s to the present. Curated by Don Desmett,
Curated by the Bangladeshi American Creative Collective, Transitions is a traveling exhibition of new Bangladeshi photography. Featuring the works of nine Bangladeshi photographers, the exhibit represents how everything about the landscape of Bangladesh is changing — the people, the economy and the land itself. The exhibit aims to initiate important discussions around changes, shifts and transitions across generations and communities.
CLASSICAL FIREWORKS AND THE 3 MAESTROS July 12-13
80s REWIND! July 19-20
BEETHOVEN v. COLDPLAY July 26-27
3 CONCERT PACKAGE $42 CHILD PACKAGE (2-18) $15 Excludes special events.
Special Event! BEN FOLDS August 3
TICKETS AS LOW AS
Special Event! TITO PUENTE JR.
Summer 2018 Cannonsburg Ski Area
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ORDER YOUR PACKAGE TODAY!
PicnicPops.org | 616.454.9451 x 4 REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
America's Music Company. COURTESY PHOTO
More Than a Show
America’s Music Company provides a unique blend of theater, music and pop culture BY KAYLA TUCKER
A new performing arts company has manifested in Grand Rapids, with a mission to bring entertainment as well as empowerment to the people and performers of West Michigan. The charge is being led by Mark Jackson, artistic director and founder of America’s Music Company. “This is meant to be more or less a professional repertory company that does different shows throughout the year as a unit and does community engagement — tutoring and mentoring and workshops and things,” Jackson said. He has put together an ensemble of 12 performers — six singers and a rock band — who stage all originally arranged music. “We use tunes that people know, but we arrange them in unique ways that are musical variety shows, theme-based shows,” Jackson said. “So it’s not story-driven, like traditional musical theater.” AMC’s next upcoming performance is TV Land: A Musical Adventure, set for June 2 at Wealthy Theatre.
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“The show itself is like a television show taping, so the audience there watching the show live is watching a television show being taped,” Jackson said. Normally, a live audience doesn’t see the commercial breaks, but at this show, those also are performed live. Jackson said it’s not a real story, but more of a compilation of TV show medleys and comedy bits. Some of the TV shows featured include Friends, How I Met Your Mother and Cheers, ranging from the 1960s until now. “You might not know every single song, but it’s composed of popular music that’s out there,” Jackson said. When starting this new nonprofit performance group, Jackson said he was just trying to do something different that wasn’t being done much in Grand Rapids. He wanted something more than just musical theater or just a concert. So, he pulled together some musician friends to make the ensemble and put together a board. Reginald Kapteyn and Jackson met as music majors at Grand Rapids Community College 25 years ago, and recently reconnected working on an Opera Grand Rapids show. Kapteyn is now the AMC board president, and is excited to give artistic opportunities to the community. “The goal is to present a new musical format that emphasizes popular music, which can include vocal jazz, rock, country, R&B, hip hop, anything that has a tradition in popular music,” Kapteyn said. “It’s also intended
to be historical and educational, bringing out fun facts, featuring certain performers such as Ella Fitzgerald or great American composers and performers like Prince and Stevie Wonder. The emphasis is on community involvement, but we have the artistic talent and integrity to help individuals perform at a high level. The goal is professional quality without necessarily having professional musicians — we will mentor along the way.” Kapteyn said the challenge for AMC is that the idea is unique and somewhat hard to describe, but both he and Jackson plan to spread the word the best they can and reach all different factions of the community. “The dream is to have summer workshops, or even year-round workshops, in different communities — like Sparta, Lowell, Wayland, the inner city — where we would have trained professionals guiding community members creating these types of shows for themselves,” Jackson said.
TV LAND: A MUSICAL ADVENTURE
Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids June 2, 8 p.m., $18 americasmusiccompany.org
“Writing them, arranging them, selling the tickets, booking the venues, the rehearsal spaces. They would really do the whole entire thing, guided by professionals.” Jackson teaches voice lessons at Triumph Music Academy, high-school workshops and jazz at Kalamazoo College, as well as performing solo and in his band Hey Marko. He has a master’s in jazz performance from Western Michigan University, where he also got his bachelor’s in music. Uniquely, he played Tom Collins in RENT on Broadway from ’97 to ’02. He worked with people like Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Martin and Idina Menzel, and performed in New York, London, and more. Performing in this classic show gave Jackson an even deeper appreciation for the arts and those who create it. “People are dignified, no matter who they are and what their situation is,” Jackson said. “It taught me to see people as human beings first, period.” Jackson graduated from Creston High School, and one of his biggest influences was Duane Davis, who directed his high school choir and is now a well-known musical director in the GR theater community. Now, Jackson wants to stay in his hometown and build up his new project. “I want America’s Music Company to become a community asset,” he said. “Something that the community feels like they can’t be without, once it’s established.” ■
A New Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Epic History of the Wars of the Roses
10 Books & 28 Events JUNE EVENTS Whence and Whither: The Literary and Mortuary Arts Monday, June 18, 2018, 7:00 pm Main Library – 111 Library St NE
Dog Story Theater
GR Reads: The Movies – Blade Runner
7 Jefferson SE June 15, 16, 22, and 23 at 8 p.m. June 17 and 24 at 3 p.m. Tickets at www.dogstorytheater.com
Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 8:00 pm Wealthy Street Theatre – 1130 Wealthy St SE
An Evening with Stephen Mack Jones Thursday, June 21, 2018, 7:00 pm Main Library – 111 Library St NE
Birdwatching at Huff Park Visit www.pcshakespeare.com for More Information About the Company.
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 8:00 am Huff Park – 2399 Ball Ave NE – Park in the Aberdeen lot
Unplug Party: Disconnect to Connect Monday, June 25, 2018, 7:00 pm Pyramid Scheme – 68 Commerce Ave SW
Great Lakes Anishinaabek Storytelling Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 7:00 pm Main Library – 111 Library St NE
News of the Weird with Free Beer and Hot Wings Thursday, June 28, 2018, 7:00 pm Wealthy Street Theatre – 1130 Wealthy St SE
Bug’s Eye View Saturday, June 30, 2018, 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm Main Library – 111 Library St NE To see the ten book selections, more events, and details, visit www.grpl.org/GRReads.
by Charles Busch
A comedic portrait of an over-the-hill actress—a classic New York curmudgeon, at war with the world. Shaken by the sight of a ghost and a series of outrageous coincidences, she learns that it’s never too late to change one’s life. Spectrum Theater - 160 Fountain NE to be Jeweish Thurs & Sat. June 14, 16, 21 & 23 @ 8 p.m. e v a h t ’ n atr You doove Jewish The Sun. June 17 & 24 @ 3 p.m. to L
WWW.GRPL.ORG/GRREADS 616.988.5400 SPONSOR:
Tickets: 616-234-3946 or Online: jtgr.org REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
Sitcom Onstage Olive and the Bitter Herbs is more than a rerun BY KAYLA TUCKER
Golden Girls, Mary Tyler Moore, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Cheers, The Jeffersons — if you’re suddenly feeling nostalgic, Olive and the Bitter Herbs is the show for you. “It’s like all of your favorite sitcoms put on stage,” said Director Darius Colquitt. The Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids play centers around an aging former actress, Olive, who faces an internal battle about who she is years after the peak of her career. “She’s this curmudgeon character,” Colquitt said. “She used to be a New York actress and now she’s up in age and she’s
OLIVE AND THE BITTER HERBS
Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids Spectrum Theater 160 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids June 14-24, $25 jtgr.org, (616) 234-3595
not working as much anymore and the only thing she’s ever been iconic for were these commercials from the ’80s, and people know her as the ‘Gimme sausage’ lady. “There’s a man who lives in her mirror that she sees. All the people in her life are somehow connected to that man in the mirror.” The play reads and moves like a sitcom as Olive interacts with her friends and neighbors, constantly torn between wanting to talk with others and wanting to stow away and be alone. “There’s a lot of stuff that she’s dealing with and then you get to see it play out with all the other characters that enter,” Colquitt said. “It’s laugh-out-loud funny for me, because I get the humor. I would definitely tell people, if you’re coming in to get some existential meaning of life, don’t come to Olive and the Bitter Herbs. … It’s a show that’s meant to make you laugh — it’s meant to make you get away for a second.” While the target audience for this show could be anyone, it’s geared toward fans of old-timey shows like Golden Girls, Good Times or All in the Family. For those not familiar with Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids, it’s open to people of all (or no) religions, but all the shows have some connection to Jewish culture. One scene in this show stands out specifically not only for its historical significance, but its educational aspect, focusing on Seder, a dinner celebrating the Jews escaping slavery in Egypt. “It’s the Jewish passover celebration. And during this particular scene, the writer Charles Busch said himself that of all the shows he’s written in his 30-year
Olive and the Bitter Herbs Cast. COURTESY PHOTO career, that Passover Seder scene has gotten the biggest laughs,” Colquitt said. “It symbolizes coming out of bondage into a new light, a new era, a new day. That is something in the show Olive is dealing with, coming out of her muck into a new era, meeting new people, expanding her wings and actually stepping out of what she’s been stuck in for so long; the rut that she’s kind of allowed herself to be in.” Lori Jacobs is playing the role of Olive, and said one of the biggest challenges is showing both sides of the character. “What I think will challenge me with the character … is to let her be her (abrasive) self but at the same time reveal a nice person under there to the audience so they are a little bit on her side and a little bit understanding of
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her and what made her that way,” Jacobs said. Jewish herself, Jacobs moved to Grand Rapids from Detroit to be closer to family about 20 years ago. Before she could even unpack all her belongings, she was involved with the Jewish Theatre within a month of moving. “I didn’t really know anybody,” she said. “It’s an identity and it’s … kind of like our unique place in Grand Rapids.” Jacobs has years of experience acting and singing but, interestingly enough, this show will feature her first onstage kiss. She said she’s excited for the new experience, and excited for the audience to come and be entertained. “I hope they’ll just walk out saying, ‘That was so much fun,’” Jacobs said. ■
Stories of Power ATGR holds local playwriting festival BY KAYLA TUCKER
Actors’ Theatre’s Living on the Edge playwriting festival is wrapping up this month with a final showcase of the top five scripts, written by local playwrights here in West Michigan. Each play, once fully staged, will last 8-15 minutes and they’re all written under one theme: (un)breakable. On top of the five winners, a sixth play commissioned by ATGR will be performed. “Truly, we hope to discover a group of scripts that are all different stories with common threads,” said Executive Director Kyle Los. “One of the beautiful things about it is reading a story that you wouldn't naturally dream up and feeling connected to it. The performances, although separate pieces, end up making one stunning show when put together.” Some of the themes that came in this year included discovering oneself post-divorce, facing fears and finding one’s voice and using it to empower others. “The hope, certainly, is that plays end up emphasizing our mission as an organization to be producing thought-provoking works,” Los said. K r i s t i n H i r s c h , l o c a l p l ay w r i g h t a n d m e m b e r of Fu n ny G i r l s , w rote her play Blue Renewal for this festival and was pleased to make it to the
final round after not making it last year. “Blue Renewal is a story of sadness, secrets and redemption,” Hirsch said. “As two sisters, Meg and Erin, work to clean out their recently deceased Grandma’s attic, a revelation is discovered that allows Erin to find a new perspective, as well as the courage to embrace her own truths and move forward.” Hirsch said her play is based on some personal experiences and stories of people in her life. “I’m excited for the audience to hear this story because the ultimate message is one of hope and family, specifically the love of a family that connects us through generations,” Hirsch said. “My background in comedy writing allowed me to inject enough humor for levity to balance out the seriousness of the characters’ situations and create an overall feel-good story that hopefully the audience will be able to relate to in their own way.” Los said there will be at least one show that each audience member can relate to, and every show will send a different message under the same theme. The total program will move quickly, taking about 90 minutes. Community members are invited to come experience some of the best performers and playwrights in town for a night of fun, local productions. ■
June 15 Denise Davis and the Motor City Sensations Sponsored by Spectrum Health Pennock
June 22 The Accidentals Sponsored by Hastings City Bank
July 20 Brena
July 27 Alan Turner
June 29 May Erlewine Trio
July 6 The Blue Leaf's
July 13 Olivia Mainville
LIVING ON THE EDGE Actor's Theatre Grand Rapids Spectrum Theater Black Box 160 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids June 6-9, $10 actorstheatregrandrapids.org
August 3 The Outer Vibe
August 10 Luke Winslow King
August 17 Kari Homes
Hastings LIVE is a free concert series brought to you by: Baum Family Foundation
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
West Michigan in June has two play festivals, a whole bunch of musicals, some classic fairy tales and one musical that will definitely make you sob most of the way through it. Go grab your calendar and find some time for live theater in between your summer travels or simply sitting outside time. BY DANA CASADEI affections of Link Larkin, and integrate a TV network. The Tony-award winning musical takes place in 1962, and yes, there is a lot of hairspray.
THE BARN THEATRE 13351 M-96, Augusta barntheatreschool.org (269) 731-4121
BROADWAY GRAND RAPIDS 122 Lyon St. NW, Grand Rapids broadwaygrandrapids.com (616) 235-6285
THE CIVIL WAR, June 5-10, $39+ NOISES OFF, June 12-17, $39+ HAIRSPRAY, June 19-July 1. $39+ Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad only has one dream: dance on the popular Corny Collins Show. When that dream comes true (slight spoiler), she goes from an anonymous teen to super star, and like the best of stars, she uses her new fame for good. On her agenda is to vanquish the reigning Teen Queen, win the
THE KING AND I, June 5-10, $38+ Based on Margaret Landon's novel, "Anna and the King of Siam" — which was derived from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s — The King and I marked the fifth musical Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammer-
stein II created together. Featuring classics like Getting To Know You and Shall We Dance, the musical is set in 1860s Bangkok and tells the story of Anna, a Welsh schoolteacher, who travels there to serve as governess to the king's many children and wives.
HENRYFARMERS VI, June 15-24, $8+ ALLEY THEATRE 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo farmersalleytheatre.com (269) 343-2727
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY
June 8-24, $30+ Jason Robert Brown — who is well-known for writing rhythmically dynamic and harmonically unconventional pieces — wrote the music and lyrics for this Tony Award-winning musical. Based on Robert James Waller's 1992 novel, the musical takes place in Iowa, 1965, and follows a forbidden love affair between a lonely housewife and a National Geographic photographer. After you’ve seen it, be sure to watch Kelli O’Hara’s stunning acapella version of the show’s song, To Build A Home.
GRAND RAPIDS CIVIC THEATRE 30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids grct.org, (616) 222-6650
SHREK THE MUSICAL, June 1-17, $18+
The musical retelling of The Wizard of Oz — created by Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown — follows the same story but with a phenomenal mix of rock, gospel and soul music to accompany. It starts with Kansas farm girl Dorothy being transported in a tornado to the magical land of Oz, where she finds some interesting characters who help her get back home and help themselves as well. June 29-30; July 3-18; $26+
DRAGON PACK SNACK ATTACK – THE MUSICAL, June 13-28; July 2-30;
Aug. 3-8; $15
SEPT. 22, 2018 • 4-8 PM • DOWNTOWN
Meet me in
stjoetoday.com/rootsbrews | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018
TAKE MY WIFE...PLEASE!, June 15-July 28, $25
QUEER THEATRE KALAMAZOO 315 W. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo qtkalamazoo.com, (269) 929-6781
June 7-10, Pay-What-You-Can Hey look, another play festival! This one will feature seven different productions, and seats can be reserved on the theater’s website.
ACTORS’ THEATRE, GRAND RAPIDS 160 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids actorstheatregrandrapids.org (616) 234-3946
LIVING ON THE EDGE 2018: [UN]BREAKABLE, June 6-9, $10 CIRCLE THEATRE 1703 Robinson Road SE, Grand Rapids circletheatre.org, (616) 456-6656
A FEW GOOD MEN, Through June 16, $26+ SNOW WHITE, June 27-30, $12
THE ODD COUPLE,
LIVE MUSIC LOCAL TASTES LAKE MICHIGAN
YOUNG AT HEART, THE NEW VIC THEATRE YOUTH TALENT SHOWCASE, June 22-July 21
THE WIZ, June 22-27; July 2-28; Aug. 3-10; $35+
ROOTS & BREWS
Explore all 4 Seasons
NEW VIC THEATRE 2200 A134 E. Vine St., Kalamazoo thenewvictheatre.org (269) 381-3328
2018 QUEER SHORTS PLAY FESTIVAL,
HOPE SUMMER REPERTORY THEATRE 141 E. 12th St., Holland hope.edu, (616) 395-7600
though, there are three possible choices for who her father might be. This leads to three men from her mother’s past coming back to an island they haven’t been to in 20 years. If you are an ABBA fan, you’re in luck, as the musical features more than 20 of the Swedish band’s tunes.
MASON STREET WAREHOUSE 400 Culver St., Saugatuck sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399
MAMMA MIA, June 22-July 15, $44+ Become one of the 54 million people all over the world who have seen this musical! Taking place on a Greek island paradise, Mamma Mia follows a young woman who wants to have her dad — whom she has never known — walk her down the aisle for her wedding. Tiny problem
DOG STORY THEATRE 7 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids dogstorytheater.com (616) 425-9234
JEFFREY, June 1-10, $10+ Written by Paul Rudnick, this classic and hilarious LGBTQ comedy focuses on a guy named Jeffrey, a previously promiscuous gay actor/ waiter who has sworn off sex after too many spats with his partners about what is “safe” and what is not. Naturally, after he becomes celibate, his friends introduce him to the man of his dreams, who happens to be HIV positive. From there, the romantic comedy follows their quest for love even when tragedy might be just around the corner.
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92223 / FULL PAGE / REVUE19A RUN DATE: MAY & JUNE ISSUE REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
THE MUSIC ISSUE At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000 thebob.com
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Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish. Nathan Purchase of Psychedelic Eyes Photography
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
For now, Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish thrives as a duo | by Dwayne Hoover “That was the first year we were together,” Ray said. “I had been on the road a couple of times before that. We had a bass player at the time and it was a full car with a videographer and my girlfriend at the time. It was quite a f**king blast to be very honest. The crowd was awesome, too.” The group no longer has a bass player, something that’s both limiting and freeing at the same time. “I’ve been in smaller bands before, and it gets really limited because there’s fewer people to bring things to the table,” Hopp said. “But it’s almost easier to improvise, to make up a little six-minute jam or whatever.”
Upcoming Shows: Music on the Commons Hart, June 28 Long Road Distillers Grand Rapids, June 29 Ruthmere Museum Elkhart, Ind., June 30 J.W. Marriott Grand Rapids, July 1
For now, the duo prefers the two-piece setup as it seems to work best for them. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely against the idea of adding a member, or that they haven’t gone out seeking it. “We think it would be an option, but at the same time we also just like having the duo,” Ray said. “If we had a bass player, he could at least be in the band and luckily we wouldn’t have to change the name. What we’d be looking for is a young, hungry, handsome, 23 or 24 year old. We’ve tried. We tried Christian Mingle and everything.” Most recently, the band has been working on its fourth full-length album, due out before the end of the year. Hopp and Ray have taken some more time in the studio to experiment, creating a newer sound that they’re sure fans will appreciate. “I’m excited for this new record, because it doesn’t sound particularly like what you’d expect from us,” Ray said. “It always makes me nervous, though, recording a new record. What if everybody hates it? ‘I like the first one better!’ You know? Because I know how many times I’ve said that, and here I am eating my own words now.” n
BRAD WENZEL June 14-16
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With each of Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish’s three full-length albums earning a WYCE Jammies Award, as well as snagging the number-three spot for Best Original Band on Revue’s very own Best of the West readers’ poll, there is little doubt that the group has captured the attention of West Michigan. And this duo consistently delivers their heavy-hitting brand of blues and country rock with the energy of a badass punk band, something singer and guitarist Jesse Ray and drummer Brandon Hopp said fans truly appreciate. “You really feel like part of the community when people embrace you, and you feel a commitment to them,” Hopp said. “They expect a certain level of performance, and I think that’s why people like us, because we try to bring the best live performance to every show we play.” That hard work and dedication has paid off, not only in recognition within the music scene, but to the point that it has made them completely self-employed. There’s no day job to contend with when opportunity knocks and they need to travel out of state to play, like they did two years ago upon receiving an invitation to perform at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
THE MUSIC ISSUE
Winds of Change
Now a duo, Watching for Foxes changes name to Winnow and pivots toward alt-country | by Eric Mitts
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ight from the very beginning, Watching For Foxes has always kept an eye on the next horizon. We l c om i n g c h a n ge a n d following its instincts, the Grand Rapids indie-folk group grew from just three old high-school friends into an expansive sevenmember ensemble touring the country in support of a full-length record. With that much excitement and activity in only four years’ time, some things could no longer bend, and the band found that it had to make a clean break to get a strong start this summer. “The really beautiful and really difficult thing about being in a band that starts really grassroots (is) it kind of took off in ways that I don’t think any of us could really have expected,” lead vocalist and co-songwriter Joey Frendo told Revue. Started in 2014 in the small town of Fremont, Watching For Foxes dashed onto the local music scene. The trio of Frendo, co-songwriter/guitarist Jared Meeuwenberg and drummer Brandon Hanes relocated to Grand Rapids, and by the end of that same year had already recorded their first EP, won Grand Haven’s first-ever Walk The Beat music celebration, and returned to the studio for a follow-up release. Over the next two years, the group release d a se cond EP and gradually
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expanded into a seven-member behemoth, featuring local musicians Conner Brogan on guitar/mandolin, Geoff Kartes on cello, Ricky Olmos on keyboards and Cameron Barber on bass/banjo. “We were very lucky early on to get a lot of opportunities that were maybe a bit out of our league, and the project moved forward because we did enough positive things to keep getting chances,” Frendo said. Inspired by the likes of Ray LaMontagne, The Avett Brothers, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and others early on, the strong storytelling songcraft that Frendo and Meeuwenberg shared struck a chord with audiences. Following the release of its 2016 full-length LP Undone Bird, Watching For Foxes embarked on its own month-long nationwide tour with Texas-based band Folk Family Revival last spring. The experience proved to be a turning point for the band, in more ways than one. “Not only did it really solidify our itch to be out on the road, it showed Jared and I that we could do this and that people from all over the country could find merit in our songs,” Frendo said. “It also served to galvanize our want to make music that was squarely in the roots music world.” Taking feedback from the fans made by playing six nights per week across the country, Frendo and Meeuwenberg found
their biggest strengths as songwriters came more from their influences in the Americana vein, and have adjusted their direction to work with more of an alt-country bend. Casting off the self-described “sadboyfolk” and “flannel-rock” terms they’ve used to describe their sound, and parting ways with several members after the stresses of touring and other creative crossroads, Frendo and Meeuwenberg felt it was time to make a change and let Watching for Foxes end its run. “(Being in a band is) like a marriage but between five or six or seven people, instead of just two,” Frendo said. “Every person who was ever a part of the many incarnations of Watching for Foxes brought something unique and interesting to the project at one point or another. They helped move it forward, big or small. We’re appreciative of
Upcoming Shows Relax at Rosa, Rosa Park Circle, Grand Rapids – July 12 Bell’s Brewery Beer Garden (opening for Drive-By Truckers) Kalamazoo – July 19 Hoxeyville Music Festival Wellston – Aug. 17-19 Frederik Meijer Gardens Tuesday Evening Music Club – Aug. 21
the time we spent cutting our teeth, learning what works but also, just as importantly, what doesn’t work too.” Now focused as a songwriting duo, Frendo and Meeuwenberg have turned more toward storytelling songwriters like Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson as influences, and have renamed their project Winnow. From the old English, “winnow” means to separate grain from chaff by allowing the wind to blow away impurities, or to pursue a course, by flying in the air with flapping wings. Both definitions seem perfectly apt for where the duo is right now, as they’re completely open to the idea of collaborating with many of Michigan’s talented musicians in the roots music scene. “The definition of the word ‘winnow’ that we’ve attached to is ‘of the wind,’” Frendo explained. “The idea of the wind, as a character in a story or as a part of our narrative, was very intriguing. … We grew up in a rural place and always have been (and) continue to be patrons of nature, so it was important to still include those motifs when choosing a new moniker. It almost feels like paying homage to what we created in Watching for Foxes, and now we get to take the parts that worked and shed some that didn’t, and give its core a real shot.” n
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
THE MUSIC ISSUE
The War & Treaty. Courtesy photos
Albion duo The War & Treaty takes its gospel-inspired sound to the national stage | by Eric Mitts
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ven as he’s living the dream of every working musician — out on the road playing packed venues and massive festival stages all across the country — organist/vocalist Michael Trotter Jr. admits he could have never written the script for his life right now. And it’s easy to understand why. The story of how he went from Iraq to Albion to Bonnaroo is one-of-a-kind, and carries with it the true power of music. Back in 2004, Trotter was a scared soldier encamped in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces, where he found an upright piano. He’d spend hours there learning to play, and later wrote his first song after his captain was killed. Over the next three years, he used his voice to
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help other soldiers heal with music and went on to win Military Idol, the army’s version of American Idol. But that was only the beginning. After returning to the U.S., Trotter met his soon-to-be wife, Tanya Blount, while performing. An accomplished vocalist, Blount had earned a record deal as a teenager, worked with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Entertainment, and even appeared alongside Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2. But after more than a decade of writing and performing, she was still blown away by Michael’s music and voice. The couple collaborated and fell in love, getting married not long after and releasing their first album as a duo in 2016. Then, a chance encounter took them to
the unexpected place that would change everything: Albion, Mich. “We were travelling from Indiana late one night and we got lost,” Michael Trotter told Revue. “Our phones weren’t working properly, and we decided to ask the gas attendant what’s the nearest hotel and what town we were in and he said, ‘Albion.’” Based out of the Baltimore at the time, the duo immediately fell in love with the community and its charm. Originally from the Midwest, Trotter felt like it was the perfect place to raise his own family, and just over two years ago they moved to the town together with their son. Renaming their project The War & Treaty, the duo soon assembled a live
band from players around Michigan and recorded their seven-song EP, Down To The River, right in Albion. “I think that everybody involved in that whole experience will be the first to tell you that they weren’t considered real musicians,” Trotter said of the recording. “Most of those guys were looking for work. They had been laid off from being scientists and having what I’d call real
Upcoming Shows Otus Supply 345 E. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale June 2-3, $25-30 otussupply.com, (248) 291-6160
jobs, and they were pretty much looking for something to get into, and Tanya and I, we have this ability to see what others can’t. “Although they didn’t see themselves as top-notch musicians, Tanya and I saw them as having top-notch hearts, and that was what spoke to us more than anything, was their hearts and how they loved their families and their community and how they just wanted to help us.” Released last year, the EP has earned a nationwide following, including legendary musician Buddy Miller, who invited the duo to perform with his band at Americana Fest last year. Since then, life has only continued to heat up for The War & Treaty. The duo has lined up gigs everywhere from Telluride to Pickathon, packing in a summer full of shows that includes opening dates for the Indigo Girls and a triumphant return to Michigan this month at Otus Supply in Ferndale on June 2 and 3. “Music didn’t get us here. Honesty did. Truth d id. Love d id,” Trot ter said of the band’s recent and rapid success. “Music doesn’t own humanity. Humanity owns music. And music isn’t doing this — it’s the person’s heart that’s doing it. And in my case, it was my wife. She used music and love to drive the message across, and the message that she broke to me was, ‘It’s not over for you yet. You don’t have to be stuck in the war. You don’t have to be stuck back in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Turkey, or wherever you are. Love can move you forward.’” Inspired by the high-energy traditions of old-fashioned gospel revivals, classic R&B, blues and old-time folk music, The War & Treaty raise the roof to the heavens and shout down their demons together, their
powerful voices reverberating with emotion, passion and grit. Working through Trotter’s PTSD, depression and anxiety with lyric and song, the couple hopes to share its message of love and togetherness with as many people as they can. “When I went to war, my goal was not to kill an enemy,” Trotter said. “My goal was to unify. It was to meet as many people as I can, Iraqi or American, and let them know, ‘You know what, I don’t fight you. I don’t. You’re a human being just like me.’ And when I got out, I wrote these songs with my wife. And we sing these songs with our multicultural band, and our goal is to remind America not just what makes us great, but what makes the human spirit great.” This spring, The War & Treaty took the next big step in their journey, inking a deal with Nashville-based entertainment company Thirty Tigers, who will par tner with the duo’s own label Strong World Entertainment for the upcoming release of their first full-length album, which they just finished recording with their musical “godfather” Buddy Miller as producer. “Our country is in a rift right now,” Trotter said. “And I’ll get political. That rift has nothing to do with our president. That rift has everything to do with the hearts of mankind. And we’re in trouble. And if you come to The War & Treaty show, our job is to be truthful and to say we cannot blame one another. “We’re not going to preach to you. We’re not going to bash you over the head with what we ain’t doing, or what we should be doing. We’re going to remind you of what it is to feel again.” n
“We’re not going to bash you over the head with what we (as a society) ain’t doing, or what we should be doing. We’re going to remind you of what it is to feel again.”
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THE MUSIC ISSUE
49 Going On 50 Festival of the Arts. Courtesy Photo
Festival of the Arts’ first-ever director is preparing for the semicentennial | by Josh Veal
en years ago, David Abbott had moved back to his hometown of Grand Rapids, unsure of what to do next. He began work at ArtPrize, which slowly but surely led him on the path to April of 2018, when he became the firstever executive director of Festival of the Arts. In conversation, it’s immediately clear that Abbott is passionate about his community and the festival itself. We talked with Abbott about his memories of the festival, and where his team plans to take it all in 2018 and beyond.
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We’re excited about having you around. Well, I’m certainly excited about being around. This is, gosh, a unique opportunity and a tremendous giveback to the community. I’ve grown up here. Born and raised in Southeast Grand Rapids and I’m 54 years old this year, so I am only five years older than the first festival. That’s wild. I would’ve been here for the very first festival. What do you remember thinking about the festival at the time? Growing up, I didn’t have a chance to experience food that was very different from what my mother and grandmother were aware of. I grew up in a time where dad didn’t cook much in the kitchen. It was my mother and my grandmother, and their recipes weren’t culturally different. But the
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first time I came to Festival, I had souvlaki and it was my first taste of something that was different than what would be served at my family table. I think Festival has offered a lot to this community that many people don’t really think about unless they intentionally reflect upon all the changes that have happened in these last 49 years. It's changed a lot. There was no DeVos Hall. There was no Frederik Meijer Gardens. There wasn’t a UICA. All of the things that we now have as arts in this community — at the time, when the Calder was installed, the downtown area was a desolate space with no landmark or anything to rally around. So, to have this opportunity to work on this event is a great thing. This year, is there anything you’re particularly excited about? Well, gosh, you know, just getting the chance to experience the festival again. And, on the inside, really watching this unbelievable dedication of people and what they give to this event. It’s the amount of their time and their energy, and they’re away from their families. It’s truly a labor of love on behalf of hundreds of people. That alone has been an amazing thing for me to witness. What’s new this year? We have comic arts. I know we’ve had Grand Rapids Comic Con for the last few years, and
that’s grown significantly, and we’ve never purposefully showcased that within Festival of the Arts. So there’s a very specific platform, both on Friday and Saturday night of festival in Rosa Parks Circle. There’s a special part of the regional arts festival this year that was a photography contest, photographing the Sixth Street Bridge. We have a number of photographic artists who have entered pieces just of that landmark of Grand Rapids. And there’s always some new food. There’s a booth this year that’s doing grilled pineapple. Considering my diet, I probably should be in the line with grilled pineapple instead of the line for something ... less grilled pineapple. We brought the demonstration tent back this year, so we have a number of artists who will be showing what they’re capable of doing and what their practice is within the arts.
What has the reaction been to your new position? When I was growing up, I worked at Mary Anne’s chocolate in Brenton Village when I was 16 years old. Mary Anne, bless her, is still around. Her message to me was, ‘I am so grateful that you’re gonna do this with Festival, because sometimes older things get forgotten.’ What I’m hopeful is our team can show the community that Festival still has tremendous value, and still has that opportunity for reaching the next generation without losing the connection to the generation that started it. n
What do you have in mind for the 50th? I’m not certain what everybody’s going to bring to the party for a 50th celebration, and yet, we know we want to intentionally invite all of the arts platforms in this community from dance studios all the way to the ballet. We want to make sure everyone feels like there’s that invitation for collaboration on our 50th. If your parents make it all the way to 50 years of marriage, or if you make it 50 years of life, that absolutely deserves a bigger event than what happened on the 49th. David Abbott. Courtesy photo
From GRAMMY winners to legends to emerging artists, no other venue in the area can match the intimacy and beauty of SEVEN STEPS UP
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THE MUSIC ISSUE
West Michigan Summer Festivals
Art Art on the Mall Kalamazoo | June 1-2 kalamazooarts.org/page/ artonthemall
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Fair
Kalamazoo | June 1-2 kiarts.org
This annual start to summer in Kalamazoo is back for its 67th year, feauturing the work of nearly 200 jury-selected artists, music and a Bell’s beer garden filling Bronson Park.
Festival of the Arts Grand Rapids | June 1-3 festivalgr.org
Grand Rapids’ biggest celebration of local art, music and food is one of the longest-running festivals in the state. Completely free to the public, it features six music stages, plus theater, poetry, dance and much more.
West Michigan Chalk Art Festival Byron Center | June 15-16 wmcaf.com
Reeds Lake Arts Fest
Grand Rapids | June 16 grandvalleyartists.com/reedslake
Grand Haven Art Festival
Grand Haven | June 23-24 grandhavenchamber.org/ grand-haven-art-festival
Lakeshore Art Festival
Muskegon | July 6-7 lakeshoreartfestival.org
South Haven Art Fair
South Haven | June 30-July 1 southhavenarts.org
West Shore Art Fair Ludington | July 7-8 ludingtonartscenter.org
Sand Sculpture Contest
Grand Haven | August 11 grandhavenchamber.org/ sand-sculpture-contest
Art on the Riverfront
Grand Haven | August 18 galleryuptown.net
Grand Rapids | Sept. 19-Oct. 7 artprize.org
One of the biggest art events in the world, with nearly half a million visitors and more than 1,500 entries every year, ArtPrize has revolutionized art in West Michigan and is now in its 10th year. The fall event awards more than $500,000 in grants and prizes, while welcoming artists and art lovers from around the globe to our community.
Beer & Wine Brews, BBQ and Bourbon
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE
Grand Rapids | June 29-July 1 brewsbbqbourbongr.com
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There’s a new holy trinity in town. Beer, barbecue and bourbon? Honestly, what more could you ask for. How about bands, games (lawn Jenga, cornhole, arcade basketball, etc.) and moscow mules galore? It’s all taking over Ah-Nab-Awen Park.
Hatter Days Street Party
Holland| June 9 newhollandbrew.com
Lizzo at Audio Tree Music Festival New Holland Brewing is celebrating with yet another street party in downtown Holland. Expect music, food, a daredevil circus, and of course kegs and kegs of beer, including some throwback brews from years past. Admission is free!
stomping to fireworks, classic cars to carnival rides, and so much more.
Lowell | June 2 b93.com
20th Lemon Creek Winery Harvest Fest
Berrien Springs | Sept. 9 lemoncreekwinery.com
Grand Rapids | June 16 foundersbrewing.com
Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival
Sawyer | June 16 lakemichiganwinefest.com
Suds on the Shore
Ludington | August 19 sudsontheshore.com
Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival
Paw Paw | Sept. 8-10 wineandharvestfestival.com
This three-day wine fest has something for everyone, from grape
Delton | June 15-17 buttermilkjamboree.org
A three-day showcase of regional musicians, Buttermilk benefits the Circle Pines Center, a nonprofit working toward peace, social justice and environmental cooperation. This year’s lineup includes such local favorites as Megan Dooley, The Accidentals, Last Gasp Collective, Mustard Plug and more, all performing across four stages, with food and libations to boot.
B-93 Birthday Bash
Rothbury | June 21-24 June 28-July 1 electricforestfestival.com Heralded across the country as a festival experience unlike any other, this massively popular event sprawls across two weekends. The four-day (times two) mecca for electronic music fans features the likes of Bassnectar, Marshmello, Chromeo, Cut Copy and more.
Common Ground Music Festival Lansing | July 5-8 commongroundfest.com
Striving for diversity, Lansing’s Common Ground brings several major-label acts to the stage over four days. This year’s lineup includes Hunter Hayes, Judah & The Lion, Halsey, Logic, Gucci Mane and more.
Comstock Park l | June 29-June 30 wmbma.org
Bangor | June 15-16 hoodilidoo.com
Lansing Jazzfest Lansing | August 4-5 jazzlansing.com
Lansing | Sept. 15-16 michiganbluesfest.com
Kalamazoo Blues Fest
Kalamazoo | July 14-16 kalamazoobluesfestival.com
D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops
Belmont | July 12-August 3 grsymphony.org
Held at Cannonsburg Ski Area on Thursdays and Fridays, this concert series by the Grand Rapids Symphony features its popular classical fireworks show, as well as Ben Folds and Beethoven vs. Coldplay.
Detroit | July 28-29 mopopfestival.com
grandjazzfest.org The only free weekend-long jazz fest in West Michigan. GRand fills downtown Grand Rapids with big band, Latin, and contemporary jazz from its centralized location at Rosa Parks Circle.
Audiotree Music Festival Kalamazoo | Sept. 22-23 audiotreemusicfestival.com
This fast-growing alternative music festival is returning for its fifth year. Look out for its lineup announcement coming this summer. Past artists have included Lizzo, Twin Peaks, BADBADNOTGOOD, Ra Ra Riot and more.
Shoreline Jazz Festival
Muskegon | August 25-26 shorelinejazzfestival.com
Wheatland Music Festival Remus | Sept. 7-9 wheatlandmusic.org
Suppor t black ar t, literature, businesses and people with this celebration full of music, dancing, food and much more.
Yassou! Greek Cultural Festival Grand Rapids | August 17-19 grgreekfest.com
Michigan Irish Music Festival
Muskegon | Sept. 13-16 michiganirish.org
Ever yone and ever y thing is a little bit Irish here. Indulge in Irish cuisine, shop Irish goods and learn about the culture. Performers this year include: Scythian, Moya Brennan, Aofie Scott and more.
Food National Asparagus Festival Hart | June 8-10 nationalasparagusfestival.org
Cereal Festival Battle Creek | June 9 bcfestivals.com
Set in Detroit’s West Riverfront Park, directly across the river from Canada, this festival brings some of the biggest names in indie, alternative and hip-hop to Michigan. This year, Bon Iver, The National, St. Vincent, Portugal. The Man and Vince Staples are playing (among many others). There’s also plenty of food, drinks and free arcade games.
Walk The Beat
All the best food and family fun will fill Muskegon’s Hackley Park, including a petting zoo, beer, yoga, luge and more.
Unity Christian Music Festival
Restaurant Week GR
Muskegon | August 8-11 unitymusicfestival.com
Hoxeyville Music Festival Wellston | August 17-19 hoxeyville.com
Cowpie Music Fest Caledonia | August 9-11 cowpiemusicfestival.com
GRand Jazz Fest Grand Rapids | August 18-19
GRAM on the Green
Grand Rapids | TBD artmuseumgr.org
Grand Rapids | June 9 grasianfestival.com
The Asian-Pacific Festival celebrates as much Asian and Pacific-Islander culture as it possibly can in one day. You’ll find traditional attires, martial arts demonstrations, fashion shows, sumo champions, Luau and much more, including (of course) all kinds of Asian-Pacific food.
Kalamazoo | June 22-23 kalamazooirish.org
Greenville | August 16-19 danishfestival.org
Black Arts Festival Kalamazoo | July 13-14 blackartskalamazoo.org
Taste of Muskegon Muskegon | June 15-16 tasteofmuskegon.org
Grand Rapids | August 8-19 experiencegr.com
Try a new taste with special deals at area restaurants during this week-long celebration of the art of fine dining.
National Cherry Festival
Traverse City | July 1-8 cherryfestival.org
National Baby Food Festival Fremont | July 19-22 babyfoodfestival.com
National Blueberry Festival South Haven | August 10-13 blueberryfestival.com
Kalamazoo Ribfest Kalamazoo | August 2-4 kalamazooribfest.com
Grand Haven Salmon Festival
Grand Haven | September 14-16 ghsalmonfest.com
sports competition, this three-day event takes it all to the limit. Watch drift track and other racers duel by day, and rage all night with highprofile DJs and rappers like Waka Flocka Flame and The Cool Kids.
Kalamazoo | June 8-9 pride.outfrontkzoo.org
Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival
Grand Haven | July 27-August 5 coastguardfest.org
Honoring the men and women of the United States Coast Guard, this festival celebrates with ship tours, live music, food, a carnival and street dancing throughout Grand Haven.
Greater Grand Rapids Pride Festival
Michigan Pirate Festival
Grand Rapids | June 8-August 17 downtowngr.org
Grand Rapids | June 16 grpride.org
Grand Haven | August 6-9 facebook.com/michiganpiratefestival
Japanese Animation Film and Art Expo
Celebrating the LGBTQ community, this year’s 30th Pride Festival will have all the music, performers, rainbows and other fun of years prior, with bands like EnVogue performing.
The largest event of its kind in the state, this all-ages swashbuckling soiree puts visitors face-to-face with buccaneers, mermaids, minstrels, merchants, and even hidden treasure.
Red Barns Spectacular
Movies on Monroe
Grand Rapids | June 29-July 1 jafax.org
JAFAX is back this year with cosplaying, board games, guest artists from the fantastical worlds of anime and manga, and more.
Traverse City Film Festival
South Haven | June 15-16 southhavenharborfest.com
Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival
Hickory Corners | August 4 gilmorecarmuseum.org
Michigan Fiber Festival
Traverse City | July 31-August 5 traversecityfilmfest.org
Battle Creek | June 28-July 4 bcballoons.com
Allegan | August 17-19 michiganfiberfestival.info
Dozens of hot air balloons from around the world join forces with hypersonic jets, food, fair rides, and other family fun.
Arts and Drafts Festival
South Haven June 8-10 grid.life/midwest-tickets
A hybrid evolution of electronic music fest, car show and full-blown motor-
Riverwalk Fest Lowell | July 12-14 riverwalkfestival.org
Norton Shores | August 17-18 shoresartsanddrafts.com
Hastings | August 24-26 hastingssummerfest.com
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
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Sprawling across 150 acres of farmland surrounded by Manistee National Forest, this naturally tranquil fest in Northern Michigan boasts some of the best roots music around, including Dawes, Billy Strings, Luke Winslow-King, Leftover Salmon and more.
Grand Haven | TBD walkthebeat.org
Grand Haven Coast Gaurd Festival
THE MUSIC ISSUE
Olivia Mainville. Courtesy Photo
More Than OK Olivia Mainville’s journey from orchestra to the stage
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
| by Dwayne Hoover
40 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018
Olivia Mainville was not brought up in a musical family, per se. Her parents love music and listen to it constantly — her father even collects instruments. But as far as playing any of those instruments goes, that’s another story entirely. “My dad wanted to play music,” Mainville said. “He says he was in a bad garage cover band when he was younger and that they were terrible.” Mainville took more of a hands-on approach from a very young age, joining orchestra in fifth grade. And while her passion for music itself was always there, she admits that mastering the craft of creating it was a little slower coming. “I started off on the viola and I was terrible at it,” Mainville said. “I did it for two years, then I switched to upright bass, which is a very big difference. I was OK at it — not very good, but OK.” But you wouldn’t know that now, as Mainville and her Aquatic Troupe have been electrifying audiences not only here in West Michigan, but wherever they go. Fusing elements of multiple genres, the group boasts an impactful sound that can be at equal times folk, gypsy and rock, delivered with a modern feel and a vintage vibe. The band’s debut album, Maybe the Saddest Thing, won the 2016 WYCE Jammies Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, ensuring the troupe’s place as a respected group in the local
music scene. And on that very record, Mainville recruited a surprising special guest, thanks in part to her parents’ love for music. “My dad brought me to a Suzanne Vegas concert a while back and Gerry Leonard was playing (because) he was on tour with them,” Mainville said. “I saw Gerry Leonard and I said, ‘I like your pants.’ He had these purple skinny jeans on. He was really nice, so I emailed him when I finally started working on my album and I asked him to record a song.” Now, Olivia & The Aquatic Troupe is poised to take another major step in recording its new album. In May, the band announced it would be traveling to Los Angeles to record at EastWest Studios, where many famous musicians have laid down tracks over the years. “(It’s) where The Beach Boys did Pet Sounds,” Mainville said. “We’ll be in that particular room. It’s where The Mamas & the Papas recorded, Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra … all of the big guys from the ’60s.” n
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THE MUSIC ISSUE
Jukebox Hero The art of an A+ karaoke performance | by Jack Raymond
hen the robots inevitably become sentient, walking about with our day jobs, tossing back cold motor oil at the bar after a long shift, will they sing for each other? Will they plug in an old jukebox, croon Sinatra on a Saturday night and wonder why humanity ever felt so blue? I sure hope so, but for now, all we have is ourselves and our karaoke machines to entertain one another with the magic of song. But it’s no easy feat to take the stage and sing. The word “karaoke” has Japanese origins, “oke” meaning orchestra and “kara” meaning empty or void, and really there’s no better way to describe it — alone, mic in hand, staring into the abyss, the abyss staring back. From the sidelines, the confident karaoke performer is bewildering. Poised yet goofy. Heartwarming. They have the chutzpah to risk meme-levels of shame, and when they succeed, they inspire. For the firsttimer looking to enter the limelight, here are a few tips to help soften the nerves.
Choose the Right Song
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
This seems obvious enough, but flipping through the song selection book can prove equal parts confusing and frustrating. Why, for example, would a jockey keep every deep cut from Chumbawamba’s discography without including a single Beach Boys hit? You can spend all night searching for the right tune, so it’s not a bad idea to come to the table with a couple songs in mind. There are some who might suggest reading the room to determine whether a crowd is more Carrie Underwood or Sir Mix-A-Lot. I disagree. A good audience can smell a brown-noser from a mile away, so steer clear of pandering. There’s an x-factor in choosing a song that’ll truly wow. Classics are fun, but sometimes stale. On the other hand, if you pick something too
Wants to Rule the World, sputtering like a balloon running out of air. So take a moment to run through the lyrics in your head or look them up quick on your phone, because I know I’d rather face the guillotine than another few seconds of silence while forgetting words mid-song.
Have a Shot
Belting out tunes at Lake Michigan Sports Bar. Photo by Jon Reeder
left-field, everyone will just tune out. Tap deep into your pop culture subconscious to unearth a gem — a song you forgot existed but are delighted to remember. Genderbending can produce great results too. I recently watched a gal do Limp Bizkit’s Break Stuff and she was an off-the-rails dynamo, delivering a performance to rival Mr. Chocolate Starfish himself.
Know the Words Try to consider the karaoke screen a last resort, not a teleprompter. Swaying to and fro, eyes glued to the lyrics is about as engaging as a piece of seaweed blowing in the wind. It’s important to love a song to truly inhabit it. I thought I knew Tears for Fears a lot better than I did until I mumbled through the bridge of Everybody
Teetotallers beware. Without proper lubrication, karaoke can feel a lot like a bad dream. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but you should feel loose before taking the stage, right in that sweet spot where your brain feels like it’s bathing in a hot tub. Keep an eye on your position in the queue, and once you hear your name on deck, it’s time. A healthy pour of Rumple Minze usually does the trick. At a higher proof, it dulls the inhibitions with a minty fresh sensation. That said, exercise caution — there’s a fine line between liquid courage and slurring your way through Celine Dion in front of a bunch of strangers.
Commit Like any good cover, it’s not so much how well you replicate a song, but more what original spin you bring to it. Theatrics and flair go a long way when there’s a tough note you can’t reach. No one can out-Janis Ms. Joplin, but I once saw a guy sing Take Another Little Piece of My Heart like Donald Duck and I will never forget it. Also, if you find yourself lost wondering what to do during a 36-measure musical break, people will always appreciate a little jig.
Where to Find a Mic Karaoke abounds in West Michigan. Here’s a (not-at-all definitive) list of sing-along nights around town, but be sure to call first, as these schedules can change anytime. THURSDAY Z’s Bar Playstation Pub Fulton St. Pub 5 Lakes Brewing FRIDAY Playstation Pub Cheers SATURDAY Kale’s Korner Playstation Pub Fulton St. Pub JD Reardon’s Bar & Grill The Web Bar Lake Michigan Sports Bar Last Chance Tavern SUNDAY Stella’s Lounge
Take a Bow It’s not easy work belting out Don’t Stop Believin’, but the world will be a better place if you do. n
VOTE FOR US
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WEST MICHIGAN MUSIC DIRECTORY These local music resources will keep you rockin’
North Coast Guitars. For People Who Play. At North Coast Guitars we’re about making sure your gear works. Whether it’s a basic setup, wiring up electronics, or a structural repair, We’re there for all of your fretted instrument repair needs.
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VOTING ENDS FRIDAY, JUNE 15 WINNERS ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1 Vote at revuewm.com/bestofthewest REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
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THE MUSIC ISSUE
Fahrenheit 741 Kuzzins Lounge continues its live music revival with new name | by Eric Mitts
lthough it’s one of the oldest bars in the city, Grand Rapids’ Kuzzins Lounge has really cranked up the volume over the past six months. Now under new ownership, management and booking, the late-night hotspot has emerged as a loud part of West Michigan’s ever-expanding live music scene. The venue began hosting live music on Friday and Saturday nights back in January, with local punk outfits The Westside Rebellion, Bloody Lips, Feral Frankensteins and Maggie May christening the stage. “It was a punk rock show for the books, and came complete with mosh pits and crowd surfing,” said booking/stage manager Joseph Henry.
The venue made the decision earlier this year to change its name from Kuzzins Lounge to 741 to begin disconnecting itself from its recent past. It plans to officially operate as 741 starting this month. Known for its characteristic domed ceilings, Kuzzins Lounge has a long history, going back to its days as the Silver Cloud Bar. Blues music had a longtime home there, from the 1950s all the way until the ’90s, when the bar changed ownership. Last summer, following an IRS audit that resulted in the conviction of longtime owners Michael and Brian Farah, the bar changed hands again, with Kevin Farhat and Third Coast Development taking over at the location, as well as Drake’s (now
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metal scene, and want to build a place where they can have great shows, along with attracting the attention of working-class touring bands as a place they can feel is a destination where they’re excited to perform, and people are excited to see them,” Henry said. In addition to hosting live music on Friday and Saturday nights, the 180-person capacity bar also has four Diamond pool tables and happy hour drink specials, Tuesday through Saturday, as well as specials all day Monday and Tuesday. “We want 741 to be a place where you can get a drink that doesn’t break the bank,” Henry said. “Grand Rapids is full of fancy bars. It feels like there’s a brewery on every corner. We are something different from that. We hope to be a venue that brings a talented mixture of local and touring bands together on the same stage, where they can build relationships that allow them to take their talent further. “This should be a place where every neighbor, be they punks and metalheads or anyone else, feels like they can come have a drink, see a show and know that we are just like them.” n
MONDAY FRIDAY THRU
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
4 HOURS OF
Garage Bar South, 819 Ottawa Ave. NW) and Graydon’s Crossing (1223 Plainfield Ave. NE). Having helped reinvent the old Teazer’s Bar into Garage Bar & Grill (819 Ottawa NW), Farhat took on the challenge of remaking Kuzzins, and less than six months into the project, brought on general manager Adam Jones, who began assembling a team. “When Adam took the position, the intention was to host local bands from the start,” Henry said. “We shook the place up a little bit, but we feel like it’s been for the better. There are folks who have been stopping into this bar since before we were born, and truth be told, I think quite a few of them like seeing us breathe new life into the place.” Putting together his first show in less than two weeks, Henry worked with Nait Mainerd in building the venue’s sound booth and finding the right gear for their budget. Along with Aimee Warren, who Henry describes as their resident “bar mom,” the team came over together, having previously worked together at Mulligan’s Pub (1518 Wealthy St. SE). “There is an incredible local music culture in Grand Rapids, in all genres, but we really have a passion for the punk rock and heavy
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44 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018
Twin Flame at Kuzzins Lounge. Photo by Katy Batdorff
Wellston, MI • hoxeyville.com
Dawes Leftover Salmon
THe Infamous Stringdusters
One Night Stand Band
feat. phoffman + Dave Bruzza
Billy Strings x2
Steppin In It • Larry Keel • Luke Winslow-King Lindsay Lou • The Sweet Water Warblers Jon Stickley Trio • The Crane Wives Airborne or Aquatic • Richie & Rosie The Insiders: A Tribute to Tom Petty Artist at Large: Michael Arlen Bont
Granny Devito w/ Seth Bernard & Scott Pellegrom The Whistle stop Revue • Breathe Owl Breathe • Full Cord Jake Allen Band • BigFoot Buffalo • Jen Sygit • Soul Patch Brotha James • Watching for Foxes • Gifts or Creatures Cousin Curtiss • Herb & Hanson • Deep Fried Pickle Project
Summer is better in the Beer Garden Visit Bellsbeer.com/events for a full concert lineup and to purchase your tickets. REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
THE MUSIC ISSUE
Anthony Norkus documents the raw energy of GRâ€™s music scene | by Rich Tupica
20 Monroe Live (11 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids) brings in A-list stars, but it also regularly brings in local artists as openers. Here is just a sample of those homegrown musicians â€” as seen through the lens of Anthony Norkus.
Photos courtesy of Anthony Norkus/20 Monroe Live
46 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018
Sneak peak at our new
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t a slender 6’7” tall, local photographer Anthony “Tony” Norkus is hard to miss — especially since he’s often at the front of the stage, Canon camera in hand, at concerts across West Michigan.
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From local bands to the biggest music stars in the world, Norkus has captured countless vibrant, energetic shots from the “photo pit” since his start in 2011. Today, the Grand Rapids native is one of the area’s busiest concert photogs. Luckily for him, he enjoys his work. “A favorite show was shooting the Pixies at 20 Monroe last year,” Norkus said. “They’re one of my all-time favorites and I never thought I’d get the chance to shoot them live, especially in my hometown. Same goes for the Descendents.” Of course, it was his love of music that drew him toward the stage. Unfortunately for Norkus, he was far from a guitar hero, so he pursued the next best option. “I always wanted to be in a band but had no musical talent,” Norkus said. “I figured by taking photos of bands, I could be close to them and the action without actually having to sing or play an instrument.”
Since February 2017, he has kept busy working as a house photographer for 20 Monroe Live in downtown Grand Rapids. Last year, 20 Monroe hosted 154 events (24 were sold-out shows). “I feel very lucky to have a venue like 20 Monroe in Grand Rapids,” Norkus said. “It brings a lot of amazing shows here that’d normally skip over us and I’d have to travel to Detroit or Chicago to see them play. Like Jack White, it still blows my mind that he came to Grand Rapids.” As for local bands Norkus shot over the years, he said a couple stick out as the best. “It’s hard to nail down one,” he said. “I’ve seen Mustard Plug dozens of times, but shooting them never gets old. They always have lots of energy and put on a great show. Jesse Ray is great too — he’s so intense live.” And for those who don’t frequent concerts too often, keep an eye out and you might run into Norkus working on his other passion: snapping candid shots on old-school film. “I love street photography,” he said. “I can spend hours walking around downtown GR looking for interesting people to shoot — especially on weekend nights.” n
by Missy Black
FESTIVAL FASHION Providing the right gear, Ivy Castle makes you feel like the headliner of the show.
Photo: Sommer Lee Photography
THE NEW STORE IN HUDSONVILLE HAS FESTIVAL SEASON IN ITS SIGHTS and is making it easy to pull off that musical traveler look. “Ivy Castle is a way to bring my boho life to West Michigan,” said owner Alex Snoeyink. “I’m bringing an edge to Hudsonville and for people who like to be trendy.” Starting out as an online shop, the store now has a physical location packed with tops, this season’s popular jumpsuits, jewelry, shoes and plenty of dresses. “I love the simplicity of dresses. They’re easy to wear and you always look pretty wearing a dress,” Snoeyink said. Assembling festival attire comes naturally to Snoeyink. The store carries an AC/DC cheetah muscle tank, a Pink Floyd bodysuit and an Old Soul statement tank. “My parents were big concertgoers and I’ve grown up listening to classic rock and going to shows,” Snoeyink said. From earthy, natural stone jewelry and bold, fringe earrings to embroidered slide sandals or Brixton hats — “perfect for a bad hair day” — the shop can outfit you for your next musical adventure. Try twirling in the festival favorite: kimono-style tops. “They’re great over tanks and shorts or a dress. It’s light and easy to wear if you get warm dancing around,” Snoeyink said. Want that untethered feeling? Ivy Castle has mobile cases in various colors that hold your phone, money and I.D. “It’s a nice accessory when you don’t want to carry everything,” she said. Take it up a notch to festival goddess status with the new Brunette label. “It comes from the West Coast and it’s women-empowering with shirts that say ‘Brunette,’ ‘Blonde’ and ‘Babes Supporting Babes,’” Snoeyink said. Check out the store at 3340 Prospect St. in Hudsonville and at shopivycastle.com. n
DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE
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Balance out the bright, aggressive festival fashion with basic, badass black duds from designer, musician and DJ Adrian “AB” Butler. He gets that black goes with everything, and in the evening, when the temps drop, you’re not only cool but covered. “It’ll look good on you the morning after too, and your friends will know where you are with that gold tiger standing out,” Butler said. Check out his fashion playlist at everythingab.com.
Photo: Ashley Wierenga
Circle Pines Center presents June 15-17
A UNIQUE & ARTFUL EXPERIENCE FEATURING
Fine Art Handcrafted Goods Entertainment Children’s Lane Wine & Beer Garden
JULY 6 & 7, 2018 | Downtown Muskegon lakeshoreartfestival.org
b uttermilk j amboree
Donna the Buffalo • Radio Free Honduras • Joshua Davis • The Accidentals • • Mustard Plug • May Erlewine Trio • • Fable the Poet • Last Gasp Collective • • Luke Winslow King • • AnDro • Andy Baker • Big Dudee Roo • Billy Davis • • Channing & Quinn • Chirp • Cold Mountain Child • • Covert Operations • Dede and the Dream • • Delilah DeWylde • E Minor • Fauxgrass • Hawks & Owls • • i.am.james • Jack & the Bear • Jive at Five • Kaitlin Rose • • Luna Blu • Madcat Midnight Blues Journey • • Megan Dooley • Micah McLaughlin • • Nadim Azzam • Pun Plamondon • Rachel Davis • • Schrock Brothers • Serita's Black Rose • • Slim Gypsy Baggage • The Change • • The Dacia Bridges Project • The Founding • • Zion Lion •
Beautiful Camping, Nature Trails & Swimming Four Stages of Music • Kid’s Commons • Folk School • Michigan Beer, Mead, & Wine • Delicious Food
buttermilkjamboree.org Circle Pines Center Delton, MI Photographs Courtesy of Jeff Baurs REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION ICE CREAM & COOL SUMMER TREATS
TotallySweet REVUE’S GUIDE TO DELICIOUS DESSERTS AND COOL SUMMER TREATS Desserts may not be synonymous with summer in West Michigan, but they should be. True dessert devotees have long considered summer the peak sweets season. Why? The Midwest is in bloom once again and you can taste the difference. Fresh, locally sourced berries can once again top our ice cream
letsswirlkzoo.com 5021 W. Main St., Kalamazoo (269) 903-2662 This mom-and-pop shop located just outside of downtown Kalamazoo offers a tasty rotating selection of homemade frozen yogurt with more than 40 fresh toppings to boot. Froyo, for the uninitiated, is a healthy alternative to ice cream. Packed with protein, calcium and beneficial probiotics, Let’s Swirl is a guilt-free way to indulge your sweet tooth. Let’s Swirls’ Facebook and Instagram pages are your best bets to finding daily specials and flavors, like Flat Rate days ($3.50 for a cup) and Progressive Saturdays (50-percent off your order from Noon-2 p.m., and then progressively lower discounts until close). College night extends into the summer, so bring your student ID for 40-percent off your order. And as always, you get a free 8 oz. on your birthday. Hours: Sunday-Monday: Noon-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday: Noon-11 p.m.
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and froyo. Of course, if you’d rather blanket your ice cream in graham cracker dust and rainbow sprinkles, we won’t judge. Summer is indeed here and with it comes more daylight time to visit go-to local dessert destinations. Here’s where to start:
SUGAR MAMMA’S BAKERY & CAFÉ
FURNITURE CITY CREAMERY
sugarmommaspastries.com 6504 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids (616) 957-2122
furniturecitycreamery.com 958 Cherry St., Grand Rapids (616) 920-0752
For nearly seven years now, certified pastry chef Haley McNeil has been serving up sweet and savory pastries, baked treats and a daily assortment of fresh breads on the South East side of Grand Rapids. McNeil, the owner of Sugar Mamma’s, and her team use only the freshest of ingredients, making everything from scratch. From cookies and quiches to cakes and tortes, the options are vast and delightful—the bakery even cooks up homemade pies made with fresh local fruits. For those looking to dine in, Sugar Momma’s boasts a sit-down café with an espresso bar and lunch options including fresh salads and sandwiches, all made to order. Whether you’re in the mood for a muffin, croissant or looking to bring one of Sugar Momma’s famous pies or tortes to your summer gathering, this place has it all.
Ice cream is arguably the king of summer desserts, and Furniture City does not disappoint. Located in the heart of the East Hills neighborhood, this ice cream parlor is the perfect spot to hit after dinner at one of Cherry Street’s many dining options. This year-round creamery churns out as much as 200 gallons (or more!) of ice cream onsite each week. The diverse menu goes way beyond your typical cone, offering a variety of creative flavors, floats, shakes, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, handmade novelty treats, vegan options and more. Looking ahead, be sure to watch out for the Christmas in July specials when wintertime flavors make their way back into the lineup. And don’t forget you can book their vintage ice cream truck for catering or events this season!
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Hours of operation: Monday-Sunday: Noon-9 p.m.
Flavor in spades Made from Scratch Daily in Grand Rapids
4060 Chicago Dr SW, Grandville, MI 49418 phone 616 531.1483
2255 Alpine Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544 phone 616 447 9045 email info@GRCheesecake.com
OVER 40 TOPPINGS TO CHOOSE FROM!
MONDAY - COLLEGE DAY
Students with a valid I.D. get 40% off
Ask Us About Our Fundraisers! Your organization can receive up to 25% of the proceeds.
WE MAKE EVERYTHING IN-HOUSE, FROM Scratch!
5021 W MAIN ST, KALAMAZOO, MI 49009 • (269) 903-2662 CHECK US OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MORE SPECIALS!
6504 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 • 616.957.2122
Come in on your birthday and get 8 oz FREE!
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
THE PUMP HOUSE
GRAND RAPIDS CHEESECAKE COMPANY
pumpjoy.com 2090 Celebration Dr. NE #120, Grand Rapids (616) 647-5481
grcheesecake.com Grandville Café: 4060 Chicago Dr. SW, Grandville (616) 531-1483
20 N. Harbor Dr., Grand Haven (616) 414-5575
Grand Rapids store: 2255 Alpine Ave. NW, Grand Rapids (616) 447-9045
30 N. Main St., Rockford (616) 951-7261
The Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company’s two locations boast the area’s finest cheesecakes and dessert specialties made in-house daily with local ingredients. There are more than 25 flavors to choose from, all of them rich and creamy and sublimely decorated — but not so much panache that it distracts you from the flavor. Ordering ahead of time isn’t necessary, as both locations offer a large selection of full cheesecakes and an assortment of grab-and-go slices, cheesecake bites and other handy treats. Custom cheesecakes and desserts for special occasions are available by order. And the Grandville location has a full café to enjoy a small selection of hot and cold beverages with your dessert. Pro-tip: Try the cannolis!
The Pump House locations are billed as “modern day soda shops,” that is, if soda shops were upgraded to feature artisanal frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet and custard. The shops are open year-round and offer endless combinations of flavors. Not to mention, the toppings are unrivaled. For those in need of some caffeine, the Grand Haven location also offers a gourmet coffee bar and other café options. The atmosphere at the Pump House is classic, complete with benches made from 100-year-old Michigan barn wood and old-fashioned porch swings. But, to be clear, the menu is far from outdated — these frozen desserts are updated for 21st century taste buds. Pro-tip: Keep adding toppings until your head spins.
Hours (both locations): Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hours vary depending on location, visit: pumpjoy.com
VINTAGE ICE CREAM TRUCK
ONE-OF-A-KIND, GOURMET AND FROM-SCRATCH ICE CREAMS
www.morepumpy.com 958 CHERRY ST SE, GRAND RAPIDS • (616) 920-0752 • FURNITURECITYCREAMERY.COM Downtown Grand Haven | Knapp’s Corner Grand Rapids | Downtown Rockford
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SAVING GRAND RAPIDS FROM AN ORDINARY
MONDAY–THURSDAY: HAPPY HOUR 4:30-6pm $5 Michigan Drafts, $3 Well, $3 House Wine THURSDAY NIGHT: INDUSTRY NIGHT 6pm-Close Show your badge or pay stub and receive 20% off. SATURDAY: SELFIE SATURDAY 11am-Midnight Take a selfie in Ganders, follow us, tag us and receive 20% off your bill. SUNDAY: AFTER-WORSHIP LUNCH OR DINNER Let us serve you!
616-957-1111 | 28th Street SE at Patterson Ave. | facebook.com/GandersGR
DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS / DOWNTOWN HOLLAND
STAY. RELAX. HOST. DINE. EXPLORE. AT WEST MICHIGAN’S BEST C I T Y F L AT S H O T E L . C O M
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
by Joe Boomgaard, Editor
Michigan-made traditional cider taste-off
DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
SK ANDY SIETSEMA WHAT MAKES A GOOD CIDER,
and he’ll tell you it comes down to selecting the best fruit and yeast before fermentation. He’ll also tell you it should be dry, as cider was intended to be before too many producers ruined it — and consumers’ palates — by adding in sugars to produce overly sweet beverages. Much like the craft beer industry started in rebellion to the sameness of domestic lagers, craft cider makers have taken aim at the bland alcoholic apple juice that passed for cider in the U.S. for decades. With the rise of artisan cider makers and their crusade to educate consumers about the complexity and interesting qualities of cider, drinkers are slowly coming around. They’re often lured in by flavored or hopped semi-sweet craft ciders, and develop into connoisseurs of dry funky varieties, much like beer fans have flocked to sours in recent years. “It’s good to see dry cider is starting to catch on,” Sietsema said. “Consumers are starting to shift and lean more to drier styles.” For Sietsema Cider’s Traditional Dry hard cider, which Revue rated as the top dry cider in a recent tasting, that means starting with a selection of MacIntosh and Northern Spy apples (when available) and also adding in some heirloom varieties. To the pressed juice, he adds a select German champagne yeast and lets the fermentation process work its magic. With his flagship dry cider, he expects it to have an aroma similar to white wine while also picking up some apple notes. “We try to make it as consistent as possible, but apples taste different based on the season,” Sietsema said. The Traditional Dry cider, available in signature yellow cans from retailers across the Lower Peninsula, is the company’s No. 1 or No. 2 seller, depending on the market, he added. Sietsema hopes to get his product in front of even more people with a planned satellite tasting room at 70 N. Main Street in Cedar Springs, across the street from the popular Cedar Springs Brewing Co. The expansion will provide more visibility for the company and play off the craft beverage destination appeal in the northern Kent County community, he said. The 1,350-square-foot tasting room will offer 12 taps to start, and a rustic ambiance that seats 25-35 people, plus possible outdoor seating. The company also will offer cider to-go in growlers and crowlers. The new location will feature a small kitchen for heavy appetizers and quick eats. Sietsema said he hopes to open the Cedar Springs location before the start of summer after securing all the pertinent permits. “We’ve been at this for about five years, and this will be a big change and a big boost for us,” Sietsema said. “We want to give people a reason to come in and drink good cider. We want to add something to Cedar Springs and give people another reason to enjoy the community.” n
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Five Revue staffers tasted these seven Michigan-made ciders and rated them loosely based on the Beer Judge Certification Program scoresheet for ciders. The brands were not hidden from the tasters during the sampling. Scores are an average. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Traditional Dry Sietsema Cider LLC, Ada 6.9% ABV Poured a slightly hazy, pale yellow color with a small burst of carbonation. The bouquet put the focus on apples, along with some white wine notes. The flavor featured a nice balance of farmhouse qualities and tartness, with a dry mouthfeel and medium body. We liked its refreshing qualities, drinkability and overall balance. Score: 92.4 Brut Virtue Cider, Fennville 6.7% ABV Pours very clear and pale with noticeable (and welcome) bubbles. The aroma explodes from the glass with a distinct whiff of white wine bordering
on champagne. That it’s barrel-aged shines through in its oaky characteristics. The cider finishes über dry with just the right amount of complexity. Score: 87.2 Trocken Farmhaus Cider Co., Hudsonville 6.9% ABV Another very clear cider, with a slight amount of carbonation. Nicely aromatic, featuring the apples and some acceptable buttery notes. The taste is equal parts tart, crisp and acidic, with some apple skin flavors and a dry finish. It features a medium bitterness and slight sour characteristic. Score: 86.4 Beard Bender Blake’s Hard Cider Co., Armada 6.5% ABV Features a clear, pale appearance with little carbonation. The highlight of the bouquet is an oaky aroma with some farmhouse funk, but not a ton of complexity. The mediumbodied cider showcases tart and buttery apple flavors along with a
dry finish. Smooth and crushable. Score: 85.2 RECOMMENDED Dry Vander Mill LLC, Grand Rapids & Spring Lake 6.8% ABV A totally acceptable, mostly-still, medium-bodied cider with balanced fruity flavors. It was wholly inoffensive, yet seemed sweeter than most of the others tasted. Score: 76 Jak Pux Cider Co., Conklin 7.8% ABV A nice amount of carbonation gives way to strong alcohol and barnyard flavors that divided our tasters. It’s very dry, leaving your tongue tingling. Although polarizing, try it if you like something unique. Score: 74.8 ALSO TASTED Traditional Painted Turtle Hard Cider, Lowell 6.9% ABV
NOW ON DRAFT AND IN CANS!
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THE B.O.B. • 20 MONROE AVE GRAND RAPIDS • 616.356.2000 THEBOBSBREWERY.COM
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740 MICHIGAN ST NE • GRAND RAPIDS 7MONKSTAP.COM • 616.265.5417
MONDAY-FRIDAY 3PM-12AM // SAT 11AM-12AM // SUN 11AM-10PM REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
by Nick Macksood
The Way We Eat Now
Little Bird exemplifies the modern dining experience
DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
N A RECENT WEEKNIGHT AT LITTLE BIRD, smack-dab in the heart of Monroe Center, I had the place virtually to myself. Having already solidified its reputation as a breakfast/brunch powerhouse with imaginative entrees like the kimchi hash and other flavorful dishes inspired by the world over, the little diner’s ambitious dinner program is still in its infancy, and so I sat at the gorgeous rosewood bar alone as the rest of the city emptied the streets for home. It’s not a bad way to take in dinner, like this. The decor at Little Bird is sparse but not minimalist, sort of a 21st-century edition of a bistro with its banquette seating and mostly natural lighting. In that sense, my dinner was really only a massage away from qualifying for some sort of spa treatment, curated with a pointed wine list. Which seems to be the thing at Little Bird. Everything is just so. All three menus — breakfast, lunch and dinner — hit pitch-perfect. It’s as if the Bon Appétit test kitchen airdropped a restaurant right next to the GRAM. And that’s not a knock. It’s simply what we eat now. Perfectly roasted cauliflower, smoked salmon platters, avocado everywhere: and that burger... The dish belongs in the GRAM, not next to it. It’s all very “now,” this menu. A local, seasonal restaurant that doesn’t gloat about it. Food just is fresh now — that’s the way restaurants are. Ramps appear on tonight’s halibut special. That’s what ramps do: in a matter of weeks, they’re here, and then they’re not. And of course the ramps are from West Michigan! What this menu also does spectacularly is take you places, most notably East. Chickpeas, sumac, dates, mint and cumin feature prominently on dishes like the lamb meatballs with its curried lentils and roasted eggplant. Meanwhile, the aforementioned cauliflower was charred to perfection with carrots and served with a cool cumin yogurt and tangy pickled golden raisins. Even further east takes you to heaven with the must-try kimchi hash. But the French toast, served with Japanese milk bread and sour cherries, is a fresh take on a dish we’re very familiar with. Or try the chicken and rice, a very humble, yet rich nod to a Korean staple. In a previous issue, I’ve written about the Untraditional Caesar salad, a kale and cauliflower
Photos courtesy of Little Bird.
56 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018
mixture with aged Gouda and potato chips. I’ll mention it again to add that it was basically all I was eating in the month of February — add the sardines, of course. The menu in full, here, deserves a few tables on the sidewalks of Monroe, an Aperol spritz or two (or three) and a glass of rosé during these lazy summer months. I said the dinner service here is still in its infancy, but I only mean in the number of days it’s existed, because this place clearly has legs already. I’m not sure when exactly we started to eat in the way we do now. Can you remember when you first started to see kimchi in supermarkets? I guess the whole deal started with foreign objects like quinoa and sriracha (not combined, necessarily) and snowballed into avocado toast, foraged vegetables, house-made tahini and tinned fish. Call it sustainability, call it local, farm-to-table. Whatever you call it, it’s here at Little Bird. Bright, bracing flavors and simple, unpretentious food. I can’t imagine eating this way growing up, but one thing is now for sure: we’re never going back. n
Every Wednesday Night and Sunday Brunch
REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
LAST CALL DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE
BY NICK MACKSOOD | PHOTO BY KATY BATDORFF
It’s biergarten season at the Sovengard again. Longer days, later nights, and spicier cocktails, like the Surf Mother, the Sovengard’s warm weather take on a margarita. And it’s smooth, too. The lime and grapefruit juices don’t overpower like many amateur margs might. Here, the floral quality of the tequila and the sweet, smooth burn of the ancho chile liqueur mellow into a sort of matte milk and honey color. Salud: to a beautiful evening and longer summer.
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INGREDIENTS 1 oz. Espolon blanco tequila 1 oz. Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur 1/2 oz. lime juice 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice Dash of simple syrup One or two eye drops of bitters Pour all ingredients into an iced shaker. Shake as thoroughly as Rick does in our video online. Rim glass with black sea salt and hibiscus. Pour cocktail into glass.
6/1 - THREE’s a CROWD 50% “In The Biz” Discount Free Juke Box after Trivia
6/2 - DJ JAY VEE
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THURSDAYS ALL DAY DRINK SPECIALS
6/15 - UNION GUNS 6/16
D a i l y $ 6/22 - BORROWED TIME 6/23 - KBS
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6/30 - DJ SLIM TIM
$ Well Drinks $ DJ ENTERTAINMENT 9PM
DISCOUNT LUNCH MENU $2 LUNCH LAGERS MONDAY - FRIDAY 11AM TO 2PM
12OZ BUD LIGHTS REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2018 |
REVUE is West Michigan's monthly arts & entertainment guide covering events, music, cultural arts, dining & drinking and more. Visit us at r...
Published on May 31, 2018
REVUE is West Michigan's monthly arts & entertainment guide covering events, music, cultural arts, dining & drinking and more. Visit us at r...