NOVEMBER 2022 1 WEST MICHIGAN’S ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE FOR 34 YEARS » NOVEMBER 2022 FREE! HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2022
NOVEMBER 2022 3
6 NOVEMBER 2022 / revuewm.com
NOVEMBER 2022 9 FEATURED 34 2022 Holiday Gift Guide » Shop Your Way » 'Tis the Season to Stuff It » Cannabis Stocking Stuffers NEWS 12 What's Going On MUSIC 14 Jinjer: Fighting Back with Music 15 Bedroom Ceilings: What Dreams May Come COMEDY 16 Call Her Daddy: Beth Stelling DINING 18 JungleBird: A Slice of Paradise 20 Getting the Royals Treatment ATTRACTIONS 22 All In: Casinos in West Michigan ARTS 28 Renaissane Man: Jim Henson at the GRAM 30 How Theaters are Working to Get Their Audiences Back 31 Arts Calendar WHAT'S INSIDE NOVEMBER 2022 | VOLUME 34, ISSUE 11
Every year, I think, “I’m going to start shopping earlier this year. I mean it!” Then, suddenly, it’s the middle of December.
But that’s okay, because I know how to lastminute shop. I’ve had plenty of practice, after all. We all have our methods that work for us.
Maybe you already have a long list of gift ideas for everyone in your life. Maybe you have specific artist markets you plan to hit up, like the Uptown Shop Hop (arriving Dec. 1 this year). Or maybe you have no clue where to even begin.
If that’s the case, you may enjoy your annual local Holiday Gift Guide. This year, instead of catering to the recipient, we cater to you the shopper.
Do you prefer to get people experiences over things? Do you shop early or late? Do you value self-care or unforgettable memories? We have it all in our gift guide,
not to mention stocking stuffers—both the usual kind, and cannabis-themed.
This issue, we also look at two impressive new restaurants. JungleBird is now open in Kalamazoo, serving up tropical Caribbean and South American flavors. Royals recently reopened as a pizza spot and neighborhood sports bar. They’re both warm, welcoming and delicious. We also talk to comedian Beth Stelling, Ukrainian metal band Jinjer, and local musicians Bedroom Ceilings.
Finally, check out our dive into declining theater attendance; why it’s happening and how you can help. Let’s just say I very much understand becoming a homebody over the past two years, but every time I get out and experience something like a concert or play, I feel rejuvenated and reminded of why it’s worth getting off the couch. Give it a chance!
’Til next time,
The Crystal Ball Issue: We look forward to where the local restaurant, drinking and arts scenes are headed, alongside a last-minute gift guide.
JOSH VEAL Managing Editor
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10 NOVEMBER 2022 / revuewm.com
/// LETTER FROM THE EDITOR ON THE COVER THE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDES KICK OFF ON PAGE 34
WHAT’S GOING ON, NOV
JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR
Kalamazoo State Theatre
Nov. 2, 7 p.m. kazoostate.com
Join #1 Billboard Blues Artist Joanne Shaw Taylor and her amazing band as they perform her highly acclaimed new release, “The Blues Album” from start to finish, along with fan favorites. Taylor is a British blues rock singer and guitarist who was discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics at the age of 16. She has become one of the hottest live acts on the modern Blues scene, and soon you’ll see why.
BILL BURR (SLIGHT RETURN)
Van Andel Arena
Nov. 3, 7 p.m. vanandelarena.com
An Emmy and Grammy nominated comedian, Bill Burr is one of the top comedic voices of his generation achieving success in TV and film as well as on stage. You may know him from his many standup specials or from shows like Breaking Bad. Bill’s Monday Morning Podcast is one of the most downloaded comedy podcasts and his arena and amphitheater tour, Bill Burr (Slight Return), will tour North America throughout 2022.
FANGIRL FANTASYHARRY STYLES VS. TAYLOR SWIFT
The Intersection Nov. 5, 9 p.m. sectionlive.com
Dance all night to the best songs ever and make it a night to remember with Fangirl Fantasy. It’s a night where you can be yourself unapologetically, through dancing, singing, photo booths and much more. This night pits two of the fiercest fandoms against each other — except for the fact they actually have a ton of overlap. Calling all Haylor stans!
THE MITTEN TURNS 10!
The Mitten Brewing Co.
Nov. 5, 11:30 a.m.
Come celebrate The Mitten’s 10th Anniversary with a big party both indoors and out! Of course, you can
expect the can release of Imperial Peanuts and Crackerjack, the signature robust porter from the brewery. Enjoy live music from local bands. Play with a tee ball inflatable from the West Michigan Whitecaps. Head outside for a s’mores cookout in “The Outfield,” their back lot. Plus, of course, pizza!
GR HOLIDAY MARKET
Fulton Street Farmers Market Nov. 6, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. merchantsandmakers.com
Get excited to come back to the Fulton Street Market for a second annual holiday market from Merchants and Makers. Over 100 of the best makers around will line the covered market space with their highquality products, perfect to get a start on your holiday shopping! Smoke n Ash, Patty Matters, Voyage Bowls, and Stud Muffins Cupcakes will be there with their amazing food. Rae and Mae will be singing. It’s only $3 to get in and kids are free. If you can’t make it to this one, hit up Holland Holiday Shoppe on the 19th and 20th!
collectively built a digital thumbprint of over 2.5 billion views across his social media channels with a following of over 16 million fans collectively.
NATURE MAKERS MARKET
Blandford Nature Center Nov. 12, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. blandfordnaturecenter.org
Join at Blandford Nature Center for the annual fall Nature Makers Market! This market features gifts and goods inspired by nature and created with natural materials. Vendors will be selling a variety of handcrafted goods including jewelry, textiles, art prints and illustrations, stickers, and more. This is the perfect opportunity to shop for the holidays (or for yourself) while supporting local artists and Blandford Nature Center.
WHOSE LIVE ANYWAY?
Kalamazoo State Theatre Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m. kazoostate.com
GRAND RAPIDS COMIC-CON
DeVos Place Nov. 11-13 grcomiccon.com
The Grand Rapids Comic-Con is back once again, and this time it’s a big one, hosted in DeVos Place. Time to get out of our doomsday bunker and see some other people with similar interests! Come for three days of cosplay, films, gaming, comics, art and presentations with special guests. Those guests include actors in nerdy media, voice actors, YouTube stars, comic writers, artists and more.
TREVOR WALLACE: ARE YOU THAT GUY? TOUR GLC Live at 20 Monroe Nov. 11, 6 p.m. livenation.com
Trevor Wallace is a 29-year-old standup comedian, writer and actor known for his many skits online, from “How moms went through your room in high school” to “F*ckbois at the doctor”. Wallace can be seen just about everywhere on the internet and has
Prepare to laugh until you cry when four of the world’s most masterful improv artists take you on the high wire act of comedic acrobatics. Featuring Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops, both seen on ABC’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” as well as Jeff B. Davis and Joel Murray, their rapid-fire wit and non-stop jokes will have your sides splitting and begging for mercy, and also begging for more. If you are a “Whose Line?” fan, get ready for the same relentless laughter that you grew to love, but without the commercial breaks!
WOMEN AND WHISKEY 2022 Margaux Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
Whether you’re a connoisseur or looking to learn, bring your curiosity and join as Margaux continues to celebrate the world of whiskey and complimentary spirits! Happy Hour begins at the Lounge at Margaux at 5 p.m. The private mixology class featuring Greta Harper from Maker’s Mark kicks off by 7 p.m. Join for a lively, educational class, using varieties of whiskeys and spirits while enjoying the company of other whiskeyloving ladies (and gentlemen).
15TH ANNUAL GRAND RAPIDS INTERNATIONAL WINE, BEER & FOOD FEST DeVos Place Nov. 18-19 showspan.com
Now in its 15th year, this Festival has established itself as Michigan’s annual tasting event, measured by more than 1,200 wines, beers, ciders and spirits from around the world, along with creations from the area’s finest restaurants. From the connoisseur who lives and breathes for the finer things in life to the novice looking for an introduction to the world of food and spirits, this Festival will deliver a grand experience that is sure to please every palate.
CANDLELIGHT: FEATURING VIVALDI’S FOUR SEASONS Fountain Street Church Nov. 19, 6 p.m. feverup.com
Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in Grand Rapids. The historic, beautiful Fountain Street Church is the perfect place for it! Come through for a 65-minute performance with pieces like The Four Seasons from Vivaldi and Libertango from Astor Piazzolla, all lit by gorgeous candelight.
STRAIGHT NO CHASER DeVos Performance Hall Nov. 26, 8 p.m. devosperformancehall.com
Straight No Chaser is a male a cappella group that is neither straitlaced nor straight-faced. They have emerged as a phenomenon with a massive fanbase and a long list of accomplishments, not to mention a large catalogue of music that heavily features holiday favorites. Straight No Chaser is the real deal, the captivating sound of nine unadulterated human voices coming together to make extraordinary music that is moving people in a fundamental sense, and with a sense of humor.
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'22 /// NEWS
NOVEMBER 2022 13
FIGHTING BACK WITH MUSIC
Just days after the widespread Russian attacks across Ukraine in response to the destruction of the only bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, Revue had the opportunity to speak with drummer Vladislav Ulasevich of the Ukrainian metalcore band Jinjer.
Currently touring across the U.S. on their latest headlining tour in support of the 2021 album Wallflowers (coming to GLC Live at 20 Monroe on Nov. 10), Ulasevich spoke about how hard it has been for the band to be away from their homeland and their loved ones during such a difficult time.
“It’s still a real war,” Ulasevich said when asked what he’d like Americans to know about what’s happening in Ukraine. “Two days ago, Russia bombed all Ukrainian cities. The center of Kiev was bombed. Bombed very hard. 13 people died. And it’s terrible. I just have no words to explain how hard people live now in Ukraine.”
Upon the start of the war in Ukraine back in February, Jinjer put their music careers on pause, to help focus on the relief effort. By June they had gotten special permission from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to leave the country and serve as ambassadors for the nation while they toured worldwide.
“It’s a big honor for us to be this kind of ambassadors,” Ulasevich said. “It’s a big honor, and we do our best. We are a Ukrainian band and we are proud to be a Ukrainian band.”
Even before Russia invaded Ukraine this year, Jinjer had long spoken out about the conflict between the two countries in their music.
The band first formed in Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine back in 2008, before going through some lineup changes and solidifying around virtuoso vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk and guitarist Roman Ibramkhaliov in 2010. Bassist Eugene Abdukhanov joined in 2011 before the band later relocated to Kiev, where Ulasevich joined in 2016.
“I worked in a musical instrument shop, and Eugene just came to me and told me like, ‘Hey, man, we need a drummer,’” Ulasevich said. “And I just said, ‘OK, I want to be Jinjer’s drummer.’ It was easy. And I think in one month we started playing shows. So I learned like 10-15 songs with Roman.”
All his life Ulasevich had wanted to tour and play music professionally. He grew up playing the piano, and actually studied the instrument at university before switching to guitar in his band prior to Jinjer, and then ultimately drums.
Citing bands like Meshuggah and The Acacia Strain as influences, Ulasevich said he likes the extremely heavy side of the genre, and both his writing and technical playing reflect his preference for progressive, low-tuning, downtempo, groovy metal.
“I couldn’t even dream about (touring across the world) because bands from Ukraine, and especially metal bands from Ukraine – it’s underground music in Ukraine,” Ulasevich said about how surprised he is by Jinjer’s international success. “It’s very difficult to be a huge band from Ukraine. And even now, we need a lot of visas. We can’t travel around the world as easy as every European citizen or U.S. citizen. It’s a
lot of paperwork, so it’s difficult, and metal bands in Ukraine; they have to work a lot harder.”
Jinjer has released four studio albums, three EPs, and a live record, the latter of which they issued after having their international tour stopped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The band has amassed over 250 million streams worldwide, and has toured everywhere from Europe to the U.S., Japan to Latin America, Israel to Australia.
“(We’re) the closest as it can be; we are like family,” Ulasevich said about the bond the band has travelling together, living together, and seeing each other more than he sees his girlfriend or his mother, who still lives in Kiev.
During the first weeks of the war this year, while the band was buckled down back home, Ulasevich actually wrote five new songs in spite of the onslaught around them.
“That time it was very scary,” he said. “We are sitting home, and I know that Eugene and Roman, they just couldn’t do anything. They were sitting at home scratching on Instagram, Facebook, and
sometimes bombs were falling in our streets. And the only thing that I can do is sit with a guitar and just try to do something, not thinking about the war like every minute, every second. It’s helped me a lot.”
Touring the U.S. through December, and then heading back out on the road with Bullet for My Valentine in Europe in February and March, Ulasevich said he anticipates the band won’t go into the studio to record any of their new songs until late summer of next year.
“I think that the music that I created in that time, it’s good,” he said. “I hope once when we will release it, I hope everybody will like that. But it will be heavy and depressive.” ■
JINJER USA TOUR
Wsg. P.O.D. GLC Live at 20 Monroe, 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Nov. 10, 6 p.m., $37+ Glcliveat20monroe.com
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Jinjer. PHOTO BY ANNIE ATLASMAN
Ukrainian heavy metal band returns to U.S. for massive headlining tour while war rages back home | by Eric Mitts
WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
| by Eric Mitts
With their third album, local indie rock duo Bedroom Ceilings take listeners to a place that’s strangely familiar.
“On the album cover, it looks like Grand Rapids, but like a dream Grand Rapids,” multi-instrumentalist Ben Steer told Revue about the band’s forthcoming new album, “Buildings Outline Their Own Kind of Poetry” (due out Nov. 18).
He explained how the record is like one of those dreams where things feel just off, where the river somehow flows the opposite way, and that recognizable skyline now seems mirrored in the most surreal way.
“It’s a loose concept,” lead vocalist and primary lyricist/ songwriter Dean Chittenden added. “It’s an anthology of stories of people in the same spot going through possibly similar things, but having very different perspectives on those things. And it’s supposed to be like, we’re all sort of the same, living different lives, different intricacies.”
If that unnerved feeling of detached disconnection in
Chittenden’s description of these new songs sounds like a result of the pandemic, that’s because it is. A large batch of the songs came together during that uncertain time, including the song that ultimately became the album’s lengthy title.
“I think it put a lot more meaning to the album for both of us, just because it’s like you’re trying to find the poetry, the happiness within the pause,” Chittenden said about creating during the pandemic. “So that title sort of came to me. It’s the opening lyric to the second to last song, so it just seemed to fit. Like we’re all going through something, and we’re trying to get to the other side to feel better, or be happy again.”
Chittenden explained how he hopes that his songs help people process or grapple with their feelings of anxiety, in any way they can.
“If someone has gone through anything remotely similar to what I write about, and they feel like it’s helpful, that it’s relatable, it’s relieving, or they find some something that they really enjoy, that’s all I really want for people,
truthfully,” he said.
“I think that from what I’ve heard from the fans, a lot of what people appreciate about Bedroom Ceilings is the tenderness of it,” Steer added. “We have a lot of attention to detail in the studio and we try to make it a beautiful experience. And sometimes there will be a rock song that is like very visceral that will perhaps induce some anxiety. But then we also have moments in the album that are really stripped back and bittersweet, like just gentle and mellow. There’s a healthy contrast between I guess helping people with anxiety, and then kind of challenging it.”
That sort of confrontation is something Chittenden experienced himself, as he’s recently overcome his own crippling anxiety when it comes to live performance.
Originally starting Bedroom Ceilings as a strictly studio project back in 2016, Chittenden described how his songwriting process is so private and intimate that he only trusted Steer at first to help bring those ideas to life.
“Bands like The Microphones and Bright Eyes are a huge influence on me,” Chittenden said, as his personal songs often go from acoustic singer-songwriter, to ‘90s indie-pop, to more folkpunk inflected.
Evolving from recording in a friend’s closet, to now frequently working with producer/engineer Alex Tobin and Maggie Heeren at La Luna Recording & Sound in Kalamazoo – as well as cast of bandmates that includes drummer Alec Klinefelter (also of former West Michigan band Patty PerShayla & the Mayhaps) – Bedroom Ceilings hasn’t played
live much yet, despite having already released two full-length albums, and several standalone singles.
When they do play live, they often get a strong turnout, having racked up tens of thousands of plays on Spotify and other streaming services, so they hope to solidify a stable live lineup for more shows next year.
“We have an idea to do an album that’s like a live record, that’s more like a folk record, where it’s five musicians playing in the same room, and then maybe we overdub the vocals,” Steer said of a rawer side of Bedroom Ceilings’ sound they want to explore in the future.
“And then we also have an idea for an album that is much more piece by piece, one at a time, like work on a song for a couple of hours, go to the studio, record it, save, and then go to the next song.” ■
NOVEMBER 2022 15
Outline Their Own Kind of Poetry” Album Release Wsg. August
Brewing Co. Taproom, 235 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Nov. 18, 9 p.m., Free, All-ages Foundersbrewing.com, (616) 776-1195
Ceilings. PHOTO BY TESS EILEEN
CALL HER DADDY:
Comedian Beth Stelling challenges patriarchy, breaks down barriers in comedy industry | by Eric Mitts
Before the pandemic changed everyone’s lives, standup comedian Beth Stelling had her own lifechanging moment, when she recorded her first hour-long comedy special, “Girl Daddy,” now streaming on HBO Max.
Taped on March 7, 2020, just days before lockdowns started, the special showcased Stelling’s scathing signature style, not shying away from difficult subjects like sexual harassment, rape culture, and abortion.
“I’ve been telling abortion jokes since before I had one,” Stelling said. “It’s thanks to comics like Lizz Winstead and others who came before me that gave me the idea, and chutzpah, to even say it into a microphone. The words people don’t like to hear are deemed ‘off limits’ for a reason, and that reason is to silence and shame.”
Stelling started developing her distinct voice here in the Midwest, growing up in Ohio, and attending Miami University. Graduating with a degree in theater, she relocated to Chicago where she began doing standup for the next five years, and was named “Best Standup Comedian” by the “Chicago Reader.” She then moved to Los Angeles after the release of her first comedy album, “Sweet Beth,” in 2012, and made her television debut there on “Conan” in 2014.
“I remember a comic in Chicago named Steve O’Harvey who used to say you could taste the Ohio in my set, which I always liked,” Stelling said about how the Midwest has stuck with her. “No matter where I am, I stay me. And that means saying ‘pop’ instead of ‘soda.’”
Touring constantly, Stelling went on to have half-hour spots on Netflix’s “The Standups,” and Comedy Central’s “The Half Hour,” where she recorded her 2015 special, “Simply The Beth.”
She later went on to work as a writer on Judd Apatow and Pete Holmes’ acclaimed series “Crashing” for HBO, and Hulu’s “I Love You, America,” with Sarah Silverman, as well as appearing in the Amazon Prime Video Series “Red Oaks.”
Currently she has a recurring role as Ms. Fish on Peacock’s original series “Rutherford Falls,” alongside Ed Helms, although she added that standup scratches her former theater-major itch for acting most of the time.
“It takes acting chops to deliver written jokes like it’s the first time, every time,” she said. “And yet not all standup comedians are good actors. I sometimes get in my head about that since I don’t act super often, but I still audition when I can. I love playing Ms. Fish on ‘Rutherford Falls’ so much, and I’m grateful for the chance to improvise on set thanks to Sierra Teller Ornelas, the creator.”
Stelling had her own TV show in the works that she said didn’t get picked up, but she continues to write, working on movies like “The Man From Toronto,” “Puss In Boots 2,” and “Good Boys,” as well as shows like TBS’s “The Last O.G.” and the upcoming eighth season of Cartoon Network’s “Rick and Morty.”
“I think (writing) made me less driven in standup because I had a steadier source of income from writing and it has pulled my focus, but hey, I love both,” Stelling said. “Thankfully shows that hire me are very considerate of my standup schedule and allow me to keep touring. All I ever wanted to do was make money being funny.”
Collaborating with one of her closest sources of inspiration, Stelling co-hosted the podcast “We Called Your Mom,” with her own mom, Diane Stelling, where they would talk with the mothers of famous comedians and artists. The weekly podcast ran throughout 2020 before coming to an end in early 2021.
Stelling added that her mom has supported her standup career all along the way, and it was actually her family who inspired the title of latest special, “Girl Daddy.”
“She wanted me to be nicer to myself in my early standup years,” Stelling said about her mom. “Now I think she loves it, I mean she claims to be my biggest fan. She likes the title of my last special, ‘Girl Daddy,’ because her grandson made it up. He said his dad was his dad and my sister was his girl dad. And that made me think of the joke about being a male comic versus a female comic.”
Continuing to use her comedy to push back in her own way, including confronting her own past physical and sexual abuse, Stelling said her standup is therapeutic for her, and she hopes it is for others too.
“Nothing better than taking words said to me or experiences that hurt me and making a joke that makes people laugh about it,” she said. “Takes the poison right out.” ■
The Petty Betty Tour The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Dr. SW, Grand Rapids Nov. 18, 7 p.m. $29.50, All Ages Pyramidschemebar.com
Beth Stelling. PHOTO BY ROBYN VON SWANK
NOVEMBER 2022 17
A SLICE OF PARADISE
| by Josh Veal
In the heart of Kalamazoo, right on the bustling Michigan Avenue, you can escape to the tropics. Even in the dead of winter, it’s always sunny in JungleBird.
A few years ago, the building’s owner approached Mark Sellers to see if he’d be willing to provide their ground floor space with an exciting new restaurant. Having seen recent success with the two-story tiki wonderland in downtown Grand Rapids, Max’s South Seas Hideaway, Sellers was inspired to create another urban escape.
While the two are sort of sister restaurants, they’re far from identical experiences. Max’s is a windowless oasis “bathed in
perpetual twilight” and filled with hundreds of tiki carvings, mugs and a massive aquarium. JungleBird, meanwhile, has huge floor-to-ceiling windows bathing the space in light, alongside beautiful tropical art featuring a variety of tropical birds.
An upper mezzanine with about 50 seats overlooks the main dining space, and a side bar called the Miami Room provides a unique, separate experience. Each space has its own bar, giving you three different spots to saddle up for a drink. Overall, the space seats around 225. It’s a tropical vibe, kept warm year-round, not to mention “warm colors and warm people,” Sellers told Revue.
As he created the general
concept, Sellers drew on his many travels to the Caribbean and Miami. Much of the inspiration comes from Cuba, one of his favorite destinations of alltime. Sellers has had incredible experiences there, such as being led by a young local who barely spoke English to a concert held by the renowned Buena Vista Social Club in an area largely ignored by tourists. When he arrived, the band was playing right on the floor, mere feet away from the audience. Now, of course, Buena Vista Social Club is part of JungleBird’s tropical soundtrack, alongside all kinds of Latin jazz, Spanish music, Son Cubano and much more.
The food draws inspirations
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from the Caribbean, South America and South Florida as well. There’s a lot of spice and savory flavors, alongside sweet options. Start with a popular appetizer like Croquetas de Jamon, potato croquettes stuffed with ham and smoked gouda, ancho chile ranch, corn and black bean salsa. Then Sellers recommends the Ribs, slow roasted and grilled to order, with chipotle pineapple BBQ, pineapple salsa, and goat cheese polenta.
Guests have been loving the Paladar Platter, a big sampler with croquetas, Caribbean sticky wings, jicama slaw, coconut shrimp, flautas and ribs. You’ll also find great vegan and
vegetarian options like the Tacos de Champinones, with a local wild mushroom blend, citrus, pastor spice, cucumber salsa, pickled onion, chard scallion, micro cilantro, black beans and rice. That’s a mouthful in more ways than one!
While Max’s is known for dozens of tiki drinks, JungleBird again leans toward South America. For instance, check out Caipirinha, “Brazil’s national cocktail,” with cachaca (a spirit made from sugarcane juice), sugar, and lots of fresh lime. Or go for the Michigan Ave Cubanita, which is essentially a Bloody Mary made with rum—it comes highly recommended by Sellers.
JungleBird’s name comes from a famous, yet classic tiki cocktail, also on their menu. The namesake drink features Jamaican rum, pineapple, lime, and Campari (the signature ingredient of negronis).
Despite nearly a year of delays involving supply chain issues, kitchen equipment, staffing and a certain pandemic, JungleBird has arrived on the scene. Whether you want a quick tropical cocktail and croquettes or a full Caribbean dining experience, this is your new, warm, urban oasis in Kalamazoo. ■
NOVEMBER 2022 19
JUNGLEBIRD 155 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo junglebirdkzoo.com
JungleBird. COURTESY PHOTOS
| by Josh Veal
From hot dogs to breakfast to pizza, neighborhood eatery Royals has been on a long and winding journey to arrive where they are today.
The story goes back to an old local favorite, Jonny B’z. What started as an affordable hot dog joint with late-night options changed drastically when they moved across the street to a larger location for a more typical restaurant experience.
Unfortunately, not everyone loved the new hours and changed atmosphere—and owner Bob Graham never really meant to be a restaurateur anyway, essentially inheriting the business from his former partner.
That’s when Paul and Jess Lee stepped up to help, in 2018. As co-owners of All-In Hospitality Group, they’d seen great success with spots like The Winchester, Donkey and Hancock. After a
year or so of listening to customer feedback, they knew something had to change, but also felt a third iteration of Jonny B’z would be confusing.
So, the concept of Royals emerged: a modern neighborhood diner with a focus on breakfast and lunch. Paul Lee said they wanted it to feel like it had been there forever. “We kind of had this vision of when you travel, you grab breakfast someplace, and you see the same group of guys that are sitting in the corner, drinking coffee and talking about how great things used to be. They do it every single day.”
After months of preparation and renovation, Royals was ready to open to the public on March 16, 2020. In fact, they did open — for a couple hours. Then Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced all restaurants needed to close their doors immediately due to a
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certain global pandemic. It was an uphill battle from there.
Being forced to launch a neighborhood gathering space as a take-out joint isn’t ideal, and even when 2021 arrived, things were hardly back to normal. Fast forward to spring of 2022 and Royals still wasn’t bringing people in the way they hoped, Lee said, not to mention the incredible struggle of staffing three meal services right now. Once again, it was time to reimagine things.
Royals closed for a few months, allowing the staff to help fill gaps at the other All-In Hospitality restaurants. Meanwhile, Lee and team went back to the drawing board. “As we looked at concepts, we started thinking about, in some of these cities that we love to travel to, like Chicago, there are these neighborhood pizza places slash sports bars and they work within that neighborhood. And that’s something that isn’t really being met here.”
Even though there are plenty of quality take-out pizza spots in town, not to mention a few breweries with stellar pies, there was nothing like this: A modern yet welcoming sports bar with a focus on excellent pizza.
The new Royals is a bit more cozy than the last iteration, with
more decorations, a nice walnut wall, antiques, etc. The TVs are certainly there and easy to see, but not overwhelming like certain big chain sports bars. It just feels like walking into the home of a big sports fan, who also happens to be a great cook.
As any sports fan knows, it can be a huge pain and expense to make sure you have all the different cable packages to watch all the games you want. Well, Royals has done that for you, so now all you have to do is come in and saddle up to the bar.
For the pizza, Lee says they consulted with a friend who’s a Michelin and James Beard winning chef. He helped them create the recipe for the dough, deal with dough management, and build a solid foundation for great stone-baked pizza. For instance, the crust is meant to be a bit charred and crispy so the pizza doesn’t flop around.
As a big fan of Brick Road Pizza (R.I.P.), Lee wanted to bring some innovation and vegetarian/ vegan options to the menu. But his personal favorite is the Roni, which features natural casing pepperoni that cups up in the oven. It also has banana peppers, fresh oregano and hot honey. I loved it as well. The cupped
pepperonis create little bowls of flavor, and despite the peppers/ honey, it’s not too spicy at all.
Another crowd pleaser is the Garlic Bites. Picture bite-sized breadsticks tossed with garlic herb butter and grated parmesan, served with marinara and ranch. They’re fluffy little pillows of doughy heaven, and I don’t know what Royals puts in their ranch, but it’s out of this world. Not to sound too Midwestern, but you might just want to ask for extra.
Other interesting options include Fried Calamari appetizer, Impossible Meatballs, and hoagies baked in an oven. For drinks, you’re looking at a variety of wine, house cocktails and beer.
All in all, Royals is meant to be a casual place where anyone can come hang out, grab a bite and watch the game together. It’s the perfect place to cheer for your favorite team and meet new people while doing so. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a regular! ■
Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids royalsgr.com
NOVEMBER 2022 21 ROYALS 701
Royals. COURTESY PHOTOS
You don’t have to go to Vegas to let the good times roll — West Michigan is home to multiple top-tier casinos and resorts.
There are tons of reasons to visit a casino beyond just hitting the slots. Most casinos also have luxury resorts and hotels, spas, signature restaurants, live entertainment and more. It can be an afternoon visit, a night on the town or an exciting weekend away. Best of all, if you get lucky, all the fun pays for itself!
So let’s take a look at what the local casinos have to offer, from gambling to fine dining and beyond.
GUN LAKE CASINO
1123 129th Ave., Wayland | gunlakecasino.com
Placed very conveniently on the route from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo, Gun Lake Casino is a true gem of West Michigan. When it comes to the games, they have more than 2,500 slot machines, video poker, all the table games you could ask for (across 47 tables), and the Bonanza Bucks jackpot.
Gun Lake has also ramped up the entertainment with the enhanced 131 Sportsbar & Lounge, featuring massive LED video walls with over 1,000 square foot of HD viewing. The menu has everything you’d expect from a sports bar, including wings, burgers, nachos and pizza.
Not a sports fan? Just head to the new CBK, Craft Beer Kitchen. Home to Michigan’s only self-serving beer wall, it’s the perfect spot for beer drinkers who love to try something different. Choose from dozens of taps and then order some brewpub food, from an array of sandwiches to unique tacos.
If you’re in the mood for something just a tad more fine dining, the new Shokdé Chophouse (named after the Pottawatomi word for fire) is the place for you. Quality wines and craft cocktails pair with steak, seafood and salads. On the flipside of that is the Harvest Buffet, a massive eatery with options ranging from Asian specialties to Mexican classics and traditional Italian.
ALL IN: CASINOS IN WEST MICHIGAN
FIREKEEPERS CASINO AND HOTEL 11177 E. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek | firekeeperscasino.com
Just outside of Battle Creek, FireKeepers is a casino with a big focus on live entertainment and a luxury hotel. “Get your Vegas on” with this eight-story, four diamond rated hotel with all the amenities you could ask for, including a newly refinished, multi-level indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam room.
FireKeepers is also the kind of place you want to keep tabs on the entertainment calendar. In November, two big shows are coming through: 3 Doors Down and Tyler Henry, The Hollywood Medium. Both shows are sold out already, but look ahead to December for Cirque Musica Holiday Wonderland.
As for dining, FireKeepers recently upgraded and reopened their Smoke ‘n Fire restaurant with new décor and a fresh menu. Burgers, steaks, classic BBQ options and smoked meats — they have it all. Or check out Café 24/7, which is open as often as the name suggests. Or for the signature restaurant experience, visit the contemporary Nibi. Finally, if you’re a sports and/or beer lover, check out Dacey’s Sportsbook & Taphouse.
That’s not to mention the games, with over 2,900 slots, 70 table games and a 26-table nonsmoking poker room — plus, of course, sports betting!
FOUR WINDS CASINOS Multiple locations | fourwindscasino.com
With multiple locations across West Michigan, Four Winds has slightly smaller locations offering different experiences. Head to the primary property at New Buffalo for a big 130,000-square-foot space with over 3,000 slot machines and over 60 table games, plus a 416-room hotel. The Hartford location is about half that, while the Dowagiac location is nice and cozy at 12,000 square feet.
SOARING EAGLE CASINO AND RESORT 6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd, Mt Pleasant | soaringeaglecasino.com
Out in Mount Pleasant, Soaring Eagle features 210,000 square feet of gaming floor, with thousands of the latest slot machines, a huge variety of table games, a poker room, and the largest spot for Bingo in Michigan (with both traditional and electronic options).
Then there’s the live entertainment, which Soaring Eagle has in spades. November features old school cool like Jodeci and Babyface, sexy fun like Hunks: The Show, and holiday happenings like Cocktails, Carving and Candy Canes. Check out the calendar to see what shows are for you.
For dining fun, visit the recently opened Ascend. This is the place to be for watching and betting on sports, not to mention craft beer, burgers and sandwiches. Or check out Siniikaung Steak and Chop House for an elevated experience featuring the mouthwatering Signature Filet. If you need a more laidback experience, visit Legends Diner for all the classics.
Of course, the resort side of Soaring Eagle is first-class. Premium suites feature impressive amenities like a fire place or an air jet tub, along with access to a 2,400-square-foot free form pool, underwater music and lights, an indoor and outdoor jacuzzi, and a full-service spa. ■
Firekeepers Casino and Hotel, Gun Lake Casino, Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. COURTESY PHOTOS
Savor the largest and finest culinary experiences in the Midwest during this annual pre-holiday celebration. From the novice looking for an introduction to the world of epicurean culture to the connoisseur who appreciates the finer things in life—this is the weekend to gather with family and friends for a night on the town. Last month we focused on Beer City Station and Cider Row, this month we would like you to know what beverages can be sampled in the Vineyard as well as share details about the wonderful food you can expect to find at the Festival!
THE VINEYARD: Wineries from around the world provide samples of assorted wines – something for every palate, including hard to find, top shelf vintages. Whether you’re looking for dry or sweet red, white, rose or sparkling wines, they’re all here from six continents for your sampling pleasure. Unique regional wines from Michigan are sure to impress and prompt further travel around our state. Located in the Steelcase ballroom.
THE ELITE COLLECTION: Located in the heart of The Vineyard, this area features nearly 50 wines hand-selected by our consulting sommeliers and importing specialists as the “best of the best” – like Opus 1, Robert Mondavi Reserve, Cakebread and Dom Perignon – with at least a 90-point value in a recognized wine rating system. Samples require a minimum of 10 tasting tickets due to the price point of the wines.
THE BARREL ROOM: Michigan distillers will be gathered in the Welsh Lobby serving up samples of their award-winning spirits. Whether you prefer vodka, gin, rum, whiskey or other hard to find spirits, you’re sure to find something worth sipping here. You’ll find a handful of mixers featured as well.
THE PAIRINGS: One of the most unique experiences of the Festival each year are the one-hour, seated, multi-course meals
that are paired with wine, beer or spirits. This year, Chefs and sommeliers are working together to prepare, present and serve this intimate meal. Guests are even provided the unique opportunity to talk with the chefs about the menu and their decisions in selecting the beverage pairings. Several seatings are offered each day by featured restaurants, with a limit of 20 people per seating. Digital tickets may be purchased in advance online or via the Festival App.
THE ULTIMATE DINING OPPORTUNITIES: Chefs from more than a dozen area restaurants prepare and serve small plates of their culinary specialties to enjoy while you stroll around DeVos Place. These restaurants are staged throughout the Festival and can be found beneath the banners adorned with a knife and fork. These mouthwatering offerings allow for an unparalleled progressive dining experience. With so many options, you won’t leave the Festival hungry!
THE MEIJER FOOD STAGE: Leading culinary experts are back on the Meijer Food Stage to share insider tips for preparing mouth-watering dishes at home. These sessions are not only educational but entertaining as well. So, grab a seat in the audience and get inspired by one of these unique food demonstrations.
NOVEMBER 2022 23
NOV. 18 & 19, 2022 | DEVOS PLACE
Justin’s Jose & Justin’s Jose &
VINEYARD, MARKET & RENDEZBREW EXHIBITOR LIST
1924 14 Hands Winery 19 Crimes
A to Z Absolut Albarmar Allegrini Alliance Beverage American Vintners Ant Moore Antinori Apaltagua Aplatagua Envero Apothic Argiano
Armand De Brignac Artel Brands Athenee Athenee Hiro Atomic Avalon
Babich Family Vineyards Bacardi Banfi
Bay Pointe Bar & Grille BeatBox Beverages BeeFree
Bieler Sabine Winery
Big O’ Smokehouse
Bodega Norton Bogle
Bogle Family Vineyards Bogle Family Wine Collection Borne of Fire Bota
Bota Rita Brancott
Brizzy Cocktail Seltzer Broconess Wine
Brothers Ridge Brown Forman Brunello di Montalcino B-Side
Buckeye Chocolate Butternut Buzzballz
California Landscape Camarena Silver Cambria
Canopy Grand Rapids Downtown Caposaldo Family Winery Capriccio Caricature Cask & Barrel Caymus Vineyards Cazadores
Chandon Garden Spritz Charles Krug
Charlotte Touchette Coffee Cakes Chateau Grand Traverse Chateau Ste. Michelle Cheers and Happiness Chimney Rock
Chloe Wine Collection Ciroc
Clever Clos Du Bois CoCo Original Col Solare
Columbia Crest Constellation Cooper & Thief Copper Cane Winery Coppola Diamond Wines Crown Royal Crusher Cupcake Vineyards
Cupcake Vineyards Signature Sweets
Daddy’s Dough Cookies Daou Decoy DelGrosso Foods
Delicato Family Vineyards Dhos
Domaine Ste. Michelle
Don Sebastian Dona Paula Estate Duckhorn
Duckhorn Vineyards E & J Gallo Spirits E & J Gallo Winery Echo Bay
Emme’s Plantain Chips Erath
Farm Fresh Wine Co. Federalist
Fenn Valley Vineyards Fit Vine
Flat Top Hills Florida Distillery Flybird
Folie a deux Winery
Francis Ford Coppola Winery Franciscan FRE
Freemark Abbey Freixenet
French Blue Fruit Farms Gabbiano Gaslighter Rose Gazela Giesen
Grand Rapids Cheesecake Company Grand Traverse Distillery Great Lakes Wine & Spirits
Great Mead Hall & Brewing Greenwing
24 NOVEMBER 2022 / revuewm.com
Henry A. Fox Sales
Hess Persson Estates
High Noon Wild Card
Highlands 41 Hiro
IL Palagio Roxanne
Iron and Sand Winery
Iron Fish Distillery
Joel Gott Winery
Jose’s Pig Gig
Jura 10 yr.
Jura 12 yr.
Jura 7 wood
Katherine’s Vineyard Kendall-Jackson
Kim Crawford Kinky Kobrand Korbel
La Dolce Vita
Lakeshore Farms Trading Co.
Le Grand Courtage
Love Cork Screw Loyal 9
Luigi Bosca Maddalena
Maison AIX Provence Malibu
Mark West MASI
Mateus Matua Meijer Meiomi Menage a Trois Mendocino Wine Company Merican Mule
Michigan Ag Council
Michigan Moonshine Distillery Mind & Body
Mom Water Monaco
Monsoon Vietnamese Cuisine Montes
Mosby’s Popcorn Moxy Eats
Mullan Road Cellars Mumm Napa
Napa Cellars winery
New Amsterdam Gin
New Amsterdam Pink Witney
New Amsterdam Watermelon
Nickel & Nickel
Northern Spice Company
Nothing Bundt Cakes Onda Optik
Patz & Hall
Phantom Phenomenal Events Piattelli
Placido Poema Prestige
Rebel Ahard Coffee
Red Water Restaurants
Republic National Distributing Co.
Ricardo Santos Riondo Risata
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rockfall ROCO
Rodney Strong Wine Estates
Round Barn Winery Sand Point
Santa Cristina SANTA MARGHERITA
Seaglass Winery Segura Viudas
Shannon Ridge Family of Wines Silk and Spice SM Wing GROUP
Spiced Up Seasonings
Spring Valley Vineyard
St Francis Family Winery Ste Michelle Stella Rosa
Stock DA Bar Premium Vodka Stone House Bread Stoneleigh
Sutter Home Svedka Swoon Brands
Tabor Hill Winery Tanqueray
Taylor Fladgate Partnership Terlato
Terra D Oro winery
The Dalamore 12 yr.
The E&J Gallo Winery
The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck
The Long Drink
The Melting Pot
The Only Bean
The Simple Grape
Three Finger Jack Thymiopoulos
Thymiopoulos ATMA Tia Feast
Traverse Bay Treasury Trinchero Tutto Mio Unshackled
Uptown Cocktails Villa Antinori
Virgil’s Soda Wagner
Wairau River Whitehaven
Willamette Valley Vineyards Wonderland Distlling Co Woodbridge Fruitful Blend Wx Brands
Yes Way Rose Zac Brown Zini
THE RENDEZBREW CAFÉ:
Located at the river end of the Grand Gallery, this is the perfect place to start or end your Festival experience –perhaps, even both! You’ll find decadent desserts, signature coffees, creamy nightcaps and tasty cordials, sponsored by Meijer.
NOVEMBER 2022 25
NOVEMBER 18 & 19, 2022 DEVOS PLACE | GRWINEFESTIVAL.COM
Distillers Lifevine Liquid Death Liquid Light Liquid Opportunities
FRIDAY: John Shea Trio
PM - 6 PM
Lisa Knight Band
PM - 9:30 PM
Joe Oprea Trio
PM - 5:30 PM
PM - 9 PM
The Chris Corey Band 4 PM - 6 PM Max Gage
PM - 9:15 PM
SATURDAY: Jeremy Verwys
PM - 4 PM
PM - 6:15 PM
FRIDAY: The Bootstrap Boys 4 PM - 6 PM Mark Lavengood 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
SATURDAY: The Jake and Jimmy Band 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM
PM - 9 PM
26 NOVEMBER 2022 / revuewm.com GRWINEFESTIVAL.COM THE
NOV. 18 & 19, 2022 | DEVOS PLACE THE GRAND GALLERY BEER CITY
Third Coast Swing Band 6
Stovepipe 6:15 PM
SPONSORED BY: SPONSORED BY: SPONSORED BY:
JIM HENSON at the GRAM
Opening its featured gallery doors to the public in early October, the Grand Rapids Art Museum is proud to display The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited , as shared by the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in New York City. The collection of more than 170 historical artifacts includes puppets and costumes from all your favorite Jim Henson productions, from The Muppet Show to The Dark Crystal . Even for the Henson newbie, there’s still plenty to love.
“The exhibition is set up for a whole spectrum of interests and engagements,” said Dana FriisHansen, director and CEO of the GRAM. “If you didn’t know who Jim Henson was, you’d be able to look.”
Beginning your tour at The Jim Henson Exhibit means first taking a stop in Jim’s early years, when he worked on blackand-white puppet shows like Sam & Friends for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.. It was on this program where Henson first
experimented with those fuzzy, felt puppets we’ve loved for over seventy years, including an early iteration of Kermit the Frog. Even during those first projects, the Muppets became television celebrities themselves, making regular appearances on programs like Today, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show.
“We are finding that it’s really inspiring to both kids as well as adults, different generations,”
Friis-Hansen said. “Henson’s works influenced kids from the 70s, 80s, 90s and on up, and then parents and grandparents are introducing Henson’s broad range of works to new generations.”
One aspect of Henson’s career that may surprise some museum attendees is the amount of experimental film and documentary projects he had worked on throughout his early life, including an entry in NBC’s Experiment in Television anthology series called Youth 68 , which aimed to capture the counterculture and rebellion of the time. Inclusions like these
paint the picture of a young creative who was “interested in the visual image for its own sake.”
“He is a great example of how some of the most creative artists can combine disciplines and cut across fields,” Friis-Hansen said. “He’s kind of like a modern-day Leonardo DaVinci.”
Nowhere in the exhibit is Henson’s genius more on-display than in the sections dedicated to Fraggle Rock and The Dark Crystal , where development concept drawings and puppeteering behind-the-scenes photos and blueprints detail the extensive know-how and intention Henson had toward his various mediums. He was a pioneering artist in an already pioneering field.
“Jim Henson epitomizes someone who is an artist, and a creator, and a designer,” Friis-Hansen said. “So, there’s innovation in terms of how he made the puppets, how he developed the puppets.”
Through experiencing Henson’s creativity and art up-close in one singular exhibit, Friis-Hansen
and his team hope that visitors take more from their museum experience than they possibly would have before, especially for GRAM newcomers. While the museum’s rotating collection and beautiful facilities are enough for most to enjoy themselves, FriisHansen aims to introduce fine art and museum interactivity to as many folks as possible, especially with international events like ArtPrize continuing to introduce art lovers from around the world to Grand Rapids.
“I like to say that we put people first, in front of the art and interacting with the art,” FriisHansen said. “And not only art, but design and creativity. We hope to make their lives better.”
Perfect for all ages, The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is brimming with magic at each and every turn. Many of the gallery’s best surprises are cleverly hidden around a particularly tight corner or corridor, so as to guarantee that “Whoa!” moment from all. From a certain goblin king’s ballroom
tux to an assortment of Muppet Babies, there are plenty of Easter eggs for every longtime fan.
“Museums should be fun,” Friis-Hansen said. “It’s about curiosity, exchange of ideas and openness to different points of view. But also, the fun aspect is a nice draw and should be part of everyone’s museum experience.”
Don’t miss this wonderful exhibition at the GRAM, open until January 14. And if you’re looking to bring the kids along, why not stop by for one of the GRAM’s “PNC Family Days,” where hands-on arts activities and tour guides provide an insight on a particular theme of the exhibit. For example, “Worlds Imagined” will be presented on November 5, 12 and 19. ■
THE JIM HENSON EXHIBITION: IMAGINATION UNLIMITED
Grand Rapids Art Museum Through January 14 artmuseumgr.org
28 NOVEMBER 2022 / revuewm.com REVUEWM.COM/ARTS
| by Zachary Avery
Jim Henson operating Kermit the Frog. COURTESY PHOTO
Richard Hunt (left), Jim Henson (center), and Frank Oz (right) performing Ernie and Bert, on the set of Sesame Street, 1970s. © 2018, Sesame Workshop
COURTESY SESAME WORKSHOP/MOMI
NOVEMBER 2022 29
How Theaters are Working to get their Audiences Back
| by Marin Heinritz
entertain ourselves, and getting ourselves off the couch and away from the screen became a challenge,” Stamm said. “The more we accepted that, the harder it got. We got lazy and then we got sort of complacent.”
place, they don’t see these people. It was a huge hole in their lives. A lot of their lives are enriched by that,” said Penelope Alex, dean of the Barn Theatre-School and longtime leading lady on its stage.
more than responded in kind.
“There were moments during the pandemic we just weren’t sure we would make it. The support we received from the community has meant so much,” Weiner said.
RESPONDING WITH GRACE
Through lockdown, forced outdoor performances, changing recommendations regarding masking, social distancing, and vaccination, local theaters have safely welcomed back audiences with terrific anniversary seasons, and responded as gracefully as possible to the challenges the pandemic has brought this industry, raising the stakes and their own bar for excellence, ultimately serving the larger community in ways nothing else can.
“There’s something about being in that room with these professionals who are working at a high, high level and seeing that theater magic we talk about all the time come to fruition,” said Robert Weiner, executive director of Farmers Alley Theatre in Kalamazoo. “It’s unique and can’t be replicated except by going out to live theatre.”
But it hasn’t been easy, and it’s come at a cost. And the challenges local theaters have faced are not unique to this area.
According to the New York
Times ticket sales were down 40 percent in the 2021-22 season for the performing arts nationwide, compared to before the pandemic, and ticket revenues were down by 31 percent.
“As excited as we all were to come back,” said Kurt Stamm, artistic director of Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck, “in order for us to come back we need an audience.”
STRUGGLE TO RECOVER
Before COVID, Mason Street Warehouse was selling tickets to their big summer musicals anywhere from 95 to 98 percent capacity of their 410-seat house. After going dark in 2020, then experimenting with outdoor performances in 2021, things never fully recovered. Despite people raving about the shows, ticket sales were down roughly 30 percent for Mason Street’s 20th anniversary season in 2022.
“One piece of it is they’re fearful because of COVID; another piece of it is since March of 2020, we’ve taught ourselves other ways to
But nothing can replace the experience of live theater. “It creates community, it creates camaraderie, it brings however many people together for a shared experience, and whether you talk to the person next to you or not, or if you’re solitary in that experience, you’re still energetically and emotionally affected — and I think we need that,” Stamm said. “It’s a piece of our chemical make-up that you can’t replicate sitting in front of a screen. Even going to the movies doesn’t do that.”
That sense of community is a driving force at The Barn Theatre in Augusta, the only remaining summer stock theater in the area, a family-run business that celebrated their 75th Anniversary season in 2021 and has weathered the pandemic tremendously well, returning to full seasons that were well attended in both 2021 and 2022.
“Our patrons consider each other to be a community. It’s not only that they missed seeing the shows, they missed each other. If they don’t have this as a gathering
ON AND OFF THE STAGE
It wasn’t just seeing each other that they missed, but also seeing and connecting with the people who create the shows, many of whom they’ve known for years— performers who, in addition to putting on the shows, also park cars, serve food and drinks, sell tickets, and mow the grass. “That’s our thing—our brand,” Alex said. “They get to see us up close and personal. And they claim us.”
Farmers Alley Theatre is celebrating their 15th anniversary season and also takes seriously their role in the community.
Drawing audiences to a show in downtown Kalamazoo likely means dollars spent in local restaurants and bars, another industry hard hit by the pandemic. “Spending money on a night out is a major choice. It’s very meaningful when the audience comes out because they chose to come out at all. We want to give everyone an incredible experience,” Weiner said. “We love to work synergistically with our community.”
And the core community has
“Restaurants, businesses have closed all over. That could have been us without the support of our community.”
The support of loyal patrons and donors to local theaters has been universally generous and crucial for their survival. “The audiences aren’t there but our supporters are,” said
Lenny Banovez, artistic director of Hope Summer Repertory Theatre in Holland, which is remarkably close to reaching their ambitious goal of raising $500,000 in celebration of their 50th anniversary season this year.
This is also despite the fact that most theaters haven’t raised ticket prices since 2019, keeping costs to $40-$50 per ticket.
Banovez acknowledged the struggles nearly all theaters are facing to bring audiences back, saying “it’s a rock and a hard place and a fine line to walk to make sure everyone is safe so we’re not having a super spreader event.”
KEEPING EACH OTHER SAFE HSRT struggled with unpredictable lakeshore weather conditions with an outdoor season
30 NOVEMBER 2022 / revuewm.com
“THE SHOW MUST GO ON,” the saying goes, and despite nearly three years navigating the twists and turns of an unpredictable, disruptive pandemic, Southwest Michigan’s dedicated local theatre professionals have proven it to be true.
in 2021 and this past summer required masking indoors for their full regular season, a condition that was met, at times, with resistance if not rage. “Front of the house are like airline crew: they’re put in a situation where there could be conflict,” Banovez said, adding that his response to patrons who resented having to wear a mask was “it’s either you or the actors with masks; musicals are better without masks.”
Each theater followed CDC guidelines as they shifted and changed, as well as the rules mandated by Actor’s Equity Association, the governing union for professional actors, including regular COVID-19 testing for actors and revamped HVAC systems to ensure healthy ventilation systems. But last season masking and vaccination mandates were largely up to the theaters themselves to decide.
While HSRT did require masks, Mason Street Warehouse and The Barn did not, and Farmers Alley, with a black box theater onequarter of the size of the larger theatre spaces, continues to require proof of vaccination and masks. Each theater had minimal COVID outbreaks and disruptions.
For Banovez the choice is simply the unfortunate reality at the moment. “I see both sides of it. For me it’s not political; we’re stuck in the middle of it. Theatre is the one profession that hasn’t fully come back,” he said. “It’s an overused hashtag but theatre really is for all—and I do mean all. Not just the left but the right too. It’s a moment when we all come together and we shut up because someone else is talking. We sit. And we listen to a story, together. And then we walk out. It may not change you in the moment but it will change you.”
And part of that change is physical connection beyond proximity. “I love going to shows and hearing people breathe,” Banovez said. “Heartbeats will sync up. You can orchestrate the breath of an audience, it’s all part of the storytelling. That’s what’s palpable to me.”
And that connection, all politics aside, that indescribable effect of being in the room where the magic happens, is why, pandemic or not, live theatre enriches our lives and the show must go on. ■
| by Revue Staff
In 2022, arts organizations are ready and raring to go, with incredible lineups of concerts, symphonies, dance performances, art exhibitions, musicals, plays and more.
Heading into the new year, we have art from around the world, theater classics, and a smorgasbord of music.
Due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, we suggest checking websites or contacting organizations to learn about safety measures in place.
BROADWAY GRAND RAPIDS
122 Lyon St. NW, Grand Rapids broadwaygrandrapids.com
COME FROM AWAY, Nov. 8-13
FARMERS ALLEY THEATRE KALAMAZOO
221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo farmersalleytheatre.com
A SWINGIN’ CHRISTMAS: THE TONY BENNETT MUSICAL, Nov. 18-Dec. 11
FESTIVAL PLAYHOUSE, KALAMAZOO COLLEGE
1200 Academy St., Kalamazoo festivalplayhouse.kzoo.edu
OTHELLO, Nov. 3-6
GILMORE THEATRE/ WMU THEATRE
1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo wmich.edu/theatre
THE THANKSGIVING PLAY, Oct 28-Nov. 9
101 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids artmuseumgr.org
THE JIM HENSON EXHIBITION: IMAGINATION UNLIMITED, Oct. 1-Jan. 14
GRAND RAPIDS SYMPHONY
300 Ottawa Ave. NW Ste. 100, Grand Rapids grsymphony.org
ORGAN SYMPHONY AND CAMERON CARPENTER, Nov. 4-5
THE POLAR EXPRESS IN CONCERT, Nov. 18-20
KALAMAZOO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
359 Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 100, Kalamazoo kalamazoosymphony.com
BRUCKNER: AN EPIC SYMPHONY, Nov 12
KALAMAZOO CIVIC THEATRE
329 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kazoocivic.com
PUFFS, Nov. 11-20
KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS
314 South Park St., Kalamazoo kiarts.org
CAPTIVE BEAUTIES: DEPICTIONS OF WOMEN IN LATE IMPERIAL CHINA, Through Jan. 15
UNVEILING AMERICAN GENIUS, Through Dec. 31
MUSKEGON MUSEUM OF ART
296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon muskegonartmuseum.org
JONATHAN THUNDER: MAAMAWI, Through Jan. 8
93RD MICHIGAN CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION, Through Nov. 30
3435 Rupprecht Way, Saugatuck
OX-BOW GOES TO HELL, Oct. 28-29
SAUGATUCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS
400 Culver St., Saugatuck sc4a.org
SCOTTY JACOBS, Through Dec. 31
LETTUCE GROW, Through Dec. 31
ST. CECILIA MUSIC CENTER
24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids scmc-online.org
BEETHOVEN TO BEACH, Nov. 17 MAT KEARNEY Nov. 18
WELLSPRING/ CORI TERRY & DANCERS
359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo wellspringdance.org
GRAND RAPIDS CIVIC THEATRE
30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids grct.org
MARY POPPINS, Nov. 18-Dec. 18
2200 Auditorium Dr, Kalamazoo millerauditorium.com
HAIRSPRAY, Nov. 4-5
MUSKEGON CIVIC THEATRE
425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon muskegoncivictheatre.org
INSPECTING CAROL, Nov. 18-Dec. 4
FALL CONCERT OF DANCE, Nov. 18-20
WEST MICHIGAN SYMPHONY
360 W. Western Ave. Ste. 200, Muskegon westmichigansymphony.org
RACHMANINOFF AND TCHAIKOVSKY, Nov. 4
NOVEMBER 2022 31
"Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" at Farmers Alley Theatre.
32 NOVEMBER 2022 / revuewm.com holidayWE HAVE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST! VISIT ONE OF OUR THREE WEST MICHIGAN LOCATIONS! ADA 460 Ada Dr. SE | (616) 682-5379 EAST GRAND RAPIDS 2249 Wealth St., Ste 140 | (616) 719-2877 HOLLAND 17 E. 8th St. | (616) 227-3436 laurelandjack.com Follow us on Instagram @laurelandjack616
SHOP YOUR WAY
| by Revue Staff
REVUE'S 2022 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
When it comes to holiday gift shopping, we suggest starting early and buying local. Of course, we also know everyone has their own approach to shopping that works for them. That’s why this year, our gift guide is catering to your needs.
Deep down, we all know gift shopping isn’t just for the recipient. It’s an excuse to stop by our favorite shops, maybe buy something for ourselves while we’re there. It’s also a way to share our favorite experiences with loved ones, and show off our own expertise.
For example, even if the person you’re buying for absolutely loves jewelry, you’re probably not going to head somewhere like Dime & Regal if you haven’t worn any accessories since your class ring fell off two decades ago. Your gifts should mesh with your own personality, and that’s why this year’s holiday gift guide helps you shop your way.
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936 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids geminihandmade.com
This family operated leathergoods studio and gift shop is run by Jake Vroon and Elyse Welcher, featuring handmade leather goods from wallets to plant cones to basic catch-alls. The shop also has clutch wallets, fanny packs, mug wraps and more, all handcrafted by various artisans.
BIRCH MICHIGAN & PENTWATER CANDLE COMPANY 119 S. Hancock, Pentwater birchmichigan.com
Two shops in one, Birch Michigan is a one-stop shop for everything home décor, and also houses Pentwater Candle Company. For a truly unique gift, you can work with the shop to create a custom gift basket within your budget!
738 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids spreadingthewoosah.com
Rae Lang’s Woosah is filled to the brim with handmade goods unique to West Michigan. Head here for woodblock prints, tons of apparel, and other nature-centric gifts, all in Lang’s signature woodcutinspired style.
OH, HELLO CO. 40 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids ohhelloco.com
What started as a greeting card company now also features planners, planner stickers, socks, mugs, notepads and much more. It’s not all handmade, of course, but many of their products have been personally designed by owner Kayla Benda.
125 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids periwinklefog.com
Periwinkle Fog is all about unique gifts that show friends and family you shopped with them in mind. Handmade paper goods, consignment art, home décor, fashion accessories — they have it all, and much of it is handmade by local artists. As Periwinkle Fog says, “You don’t want to show up to a party with a generic gift.”
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You’re the type of shopper who wants to buy something no one else (or close enough) has. You love the meaning behind unique handmade goods that have no duplicate out there.
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Wealthy St., Grand Rapids
Ada Dr. SE, Ada
East 8th St., Holland
While still a local boutique, Laurel & Jack just opened a third West Michigan location in East Grand Rapids. This shop is full of all kinds of great apparel, from cute and knitted kids’ clothing to stylish yet cozy jackets, sweaters and more for women. It’s the perfect place if you want style without too much trend.
E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
This new space at Knapp’s Crossing is a fun women’s boutique that really wants you to feel at home, whether you’re shopping in-person or online. Cozy hoodies, stylish dresses, graphic tees, accessories— they have it all.
Courtland St., Rockford
Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
Washington, Grand Haven
Revue readers love Lee & Birch’s multiple boutiques for a reason: They’re always up-to-date. If you’re a true fashionista who wants to buy something high quality and eyecatching for your loved one, this is the place to shop.
Some of us hate shopping for clothes, while others consider it their primary hobby. If you fall in the latter camp, why not add to your loved one’s wardrobe while having some fun?
1942 Breton Rd. SE, Grand Rapids leighsfashions.com
If you prefer to roam large luxury stores over mingling at small boutiques, Leigh’s is for you. From everything from designer to contemporary, basics to on-trend, this shop draws its inspiration from the greatest fashion from around the world. This is the luxury experience.
THE WAITING ROOM 235 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo twrnow.com
The Waiting Room is Kalamazoo’s “Head to Toe Outfitter.” The store has a full-service barber shop and a boutique that features brands like Pendelton, VANS, Herschel, and more. Head here for truly unique clothing like Roark’s On the Range Button-Up, featuring just a splash of Southwest style.
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LENNON & WILLOW
NOVEMBER 2022 39 BOOK BARBER APPOINTMENTS AND SHOP ONLINE AT TWRNOW.COM
You love to cook, and you think other people would love to cook too if they just had better resources. Help ramp up your loved one’s time in the kitchen with these gifts.
FUSTINI’S OILS & VINEGARS
24 E. 8th St., Holland fustinis.com
For the friend who thinks all oils are equal, head to Fustini’s and pick up a gift set. For example, the Sweet Italian set features Fustini’s 18year Traditional balsamic, Sicilian lemon balsamic, Tuscan Herb olive oil, Garlic olive oil, and a card with application ideas. They can use it in marinades, sautes, dressings, bread dipping — whatever they like!
The Local Epicurean 1440 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids thelocalepicurean.com
Give a man some pasta, you feed him for a day. Teach him to make his own pasta, you feed him for life, and a class at The Local Epicurean is a super fun way to do just that. Pasta, Asian noodles, gelato, steak — whatever your recipient loves, an expert chef will walk them through it alongside drink and food.
SPICE & TEA MERCHANTS
435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids 132 Mason St., Saugatuck spicemerchants.biz
ART OF THE TABLE
606 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids artofthetable.com
The sister store of Aperitivo is of course the perfect place to start a foodie journey. Pick from a predesigned gift box ranging from the fun More S’mores Please to the gourmet Paella Party. Or go for kitchen gifts like decorative towels, handmade wooden utensils, and much more.
CHATEAU CHANTAL WINES In stores
Dinner isn’t just about the food — great drinks are crucial too. Gift one of Michigan’s many local wines, such as their Naughty and Nice bottles, perfect for the holidays. Naughty Red is a dry red blend with no harsh or bitter tastes & full of deep fruit flavors. Throw the rules out the window – this red is even versatile enough to go well with fish – now that is naughty! Nice White is a sweet, luxurious, unoaked white wine blend that expresses a plush, fruitful charm. Pairs well with rich creamy cheeses & sweet fruit desserts. Enjoy chilled.
This specialty shop began in Saugatuck and is slowly spreading across the country, and it’s the perfect place to buy gifts for someone who barely knows how to cook. Grab a bag of Cherry BBQ for a nice, easy rub perfect on any meats. Or get them a soup mix — just add broth! It’s easy to cook when the flavors are done for you.
STONE HOUSE BREAD In stores
For decades, Stone House Bread has been baking hand-formed artisan loaves with organic flour, and they’re available online and in-stores. Get your loved one away from the processed white bread in stores and they’ll be hooked after one loaf of San Francisco Sourdough or North Country bread. Who knows, maybe they’ll even take up baking themselves!
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460 Ada Dr. SE Suite 140, Ada skincolab.com
“Skin care, injections, lasers and medical grade products delivered thoughtfully is our forte.” At Skin CoLAB, you’ll find real professionals working to give the best skin care treatments around. Get a gift card so your recipient can find the perfect service for them!
You know hygge. You know work/life balance. You know how to relax. Whether it’s kicking back and being pampered or going out and making something, these gifts are self-care experiences.
76 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids thearomalabs.com
For a very different type of lab, The Aroma Labs is a unique, creative, gender-neutral experience allowing anyone an opportunity to develop their own custom fragrances. We suggest going with your loved one and picking up the tab so you can both create the perfect perfume or cologne for you.
OASIS HOT TUB GARDENS
5041 Alpine Ave. NW, Comstock Park 4600 W KL Ave., Kalamazoo oasishottubs.com
THE MUD ROOM
1971 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
One of the first paint-your-own pottery studios in Michigan, The Mud Room now offers a variety of classes for adults and kids of all ages. The classes now include DIY wood signs, potter’s wheel classes and glass fusing as well. Get a gift card for your loved one to choose their own class!
The luxurious feeling of a spa, the exhilaration of a waterfall and the peacefulness of a lush green garden—that’s the promise of Oasis Hot Tub Gardens. Each location has a wide selection of themed rooms like Borneo Rain Forest, which features a waterfall. Perfect for keep warming and fighting off the grey weather.
KALAMAZOO CANDLE COMPANY
166 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo kalamazoocandle.com
Of course, this is a great place to walk in and pick up quality candles, but you can also get them a gift card so they can make their own. A small studio fee and vessel price let your loved one make their own custom-scented candle from dozens of fragrance oils with the help of experts.
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TREERUNNER ADVENTURE PARK
2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids treerunnerparks.com
There are ropes courses, and then there’s TreeRunner Adventure Park. This course among the trees in the woods behind Celebration! Cinema North is both beautiful and fun. There’s nothing like climbing around among the canopy of the aerial forest, then ziplining down to safety at the end.
136 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo climbkalamazoo.com
With 44 climbing walls reaching 25-30 feet high and spanning over 10,500 square feet, it’s safe to say Climb Kalamazoo is a climber’s paradise. Belay lessons, rope climbing, bouldering, a pro shop — they have it all.
In today’s world, there are so many unique ways to have fun while getting your body moving, whether it’s out in nature or in virtual reality. If you love active experiences, here are a few ideas.
2923 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids ampedrealityvr.com
For a slightly less intense but still active experience, send your friend to Amped! This VR spot has plenty of room to swing around like Spiderman, smash cubes in Beat Saber and walk out onto a plank 80 stories “high.” It might even be better than reality.
MOVEIR DANCE STUDIO
2485 Burlingame Ave. SW, Wyoming moveirdancestudio.com
Serving the Grand Rapids area since 2005, at Moveir, dancing is a fun, healthy, social, and stimulating respite from the usual demands of our day. Novices, social dancers, and performers are all welcome. Get your loved one a Beginner’s Package with four 50-minute lessons!
SKYDIVE GRAND HAVEN skydivegrandhaven.com
What could possibly be more exhilarating, unique and memorable than skydiving? Book them a jump and they’ll enjoy a scenic plane ride over Lake Michigan, then freefall at 120 mph before parachuting down to safety.
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Breathe in the aroma of our house made chai while
the selection of over 300 bulk herbs, spices and loose leaf teas. Always ethically sourced and responsibly grown, our handmade wares and goods for life are curated with care.
Celebrating 18 years of community this year!
143 Diamond SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 | 616-776-9720 www.welovechai.com
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4.9 STAR RATING ON GOOGLE! SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE! Perfect for fun with friends, dates, birthday parties, gift cards and corporate events! JUST WEST OF WOODLAND MALL www.ampedrealityvr.com
Honestly, sometimes it’s easy to forget you can buy a gift card for just about any business on earth, including restaurants, breweries and bars. Give your loved one a special night out at your favorite restaurant!
Uh-oh! You’ve run out of time. Now you just need something easy to pick up. Don’t panic.
We didn’t even get into the many, many great shows and concerts coming up. Gift your loved one tickets to see their favorite band and they’ll be thankful forever.
We’ve mentioned some great boutique gift shops already, but there are plenty more, like Rebel and Sticky Fingers, that make it easy to walk in and out with a great gift in minutes.
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RINGS & THINGS
Available at: Honey Jewelry Co. in Grand Rapids
Proceed with caution because slipping a ring in a stocking is a big move. Show your loved one that you want to share a life together and you want them to sparkle each day with a rose gold wedding band ($2,200.00).
MERRY MARKET FINDS
Available at: Good Judy’s in Grand Rapids
Spend a little time in the kitchen with a date dough mix that only requires water to make bitesize birthday cake balls ($13.99). For something a little more advanced, the Drizzle extra virgin olive oil will come in handy ($20).
| by Missy Black
GRAB A BIKE TO EAT
Available at: Remington in Grand Rapids
For both pizza lovers and those that spend a lot of time on bikes, this stainless-steel bicycle pizza cutter will fit in a stocking and is the ideal gift for the foodie in your life ($21.99).
BEAUTY: BRO EDITION
Available at: Everywear in Rockford
Unruly brand grooming items keep guys well-groomed with a shaving bar ($9), beard balm ($12), beard oil ($12) and mustache wax ($10). There’s room still for bracelets in the stocking so drop in one or two to create a fun stack ($16).
GLASS HALF FULL
Available at: The James Boutique in Ada Because someone has to hold down the Naughty List, this sarcastic drinking glass pretty much sums up everyone’s mood during the holiday frenzy. Fill with your favorite spirits to spread cheer ($18).
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We’re talking stockings and the tiny treasures we can fill them with. Need a few ideas? We’ve gathered some suggestions that you can grab locally (a great way to stay on the Nice List). STUFF IT 'TIS THE SEASON TO
NOVEMBER 2022 49 DISCOVER THE MYSTERIES OF YOUR OWN BACKYARD Tours Around Michigan takes locals and visitors alike on fun, informative, jam-packed tours of West Michigan. Bring a friend or book a group tour for these ever-evolving journeys diving into local history, ghost stories, art, tastings, the riverfront, churches and more! Even if you think you’ve seen it all, Tours Around Michigan will show you a brand new side of your own backyard — everywhere has a history, and our research never stops. CHURCHES | THE CITY | HISTORIC HOMES | & MORE! GHOST STORIES | ART | TASTINGS | THE RIVERFRONT www.ToursAroundMichigan.com GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE!
CANNABIS STOCKING STUFFERS
More and more people are hopping on the cannabis bandwagon, which makes this the perfect time to stuff your loved one’s stockings with gifts that will make them feel extra, extra special.
TREE HOUSE’S CBD BATH BOMB - $17
Available at: DOJA
Made with premium CBD and essential oils, this CBD bath bombs relaxes and soothes.
Each one has 250 mg of select CBD and coloring that doesn’t stain, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing experience any time of day.
CANNONYMOUS’ EXPLODING POT ROCKS - $15
Available at: Lake Effect
Cannonymous’ newest addition to their incredible edibles: Pot Rocks! Infused with 100mg of THC and available in 3 flavors, these sweet treats are perfect for taking a small dose and enjoying the popping experience.
RYBA’S ROOTS’ MACKINAC ISLAND FUDGE - $14
Available at: Fluresh
This chocolate fudge is loaded with the flavor and creaminess you know and love from Ryba’s fudge and infused with the therapeutic benefits from Classic Root’s premium cannabis. This melt-inyour-mouth classic will transport any consumer straight to the island.
NOBO’S SPICY JANE HOT SAUCE - $15
Available at: Lake Effect
Spice up your food in more ways than one with this THC-infused hot sauce. There’s 100mg of THC in a 30ml bottle, so just a dab will do ya! Great on wings and tacos.
GLORIOUS’S DIAMOND-INFUSED PRE-ROLLS - $20
Available at: Nature’s ReLeaf
Looking for something a little more high-octane? These pre-rolls are infused with pure TCH diamonds to ramp up the smoking experience to the next level. Get these for someone who needs a big escape.
ERRLKING’S DOSIDOS X COOKIES N CREAM - $70
Available at: Green Koi
High quality cannabis flower and premium live resin concentrate rolled into one. This pack comes with 10 prerolls, each with .75g flower and .25g live resin. More importantly, it all comes in a collectable, Green Koi branded tin!
MICHIGAN ORGANIC RUB’S COCONUT CHAPSTIX - $6
Available at: DOJA
This lip balm is fully medicated with 50 mg CBD, and 8 mg THC. You can both alleviate chapped lips and get some extra relief while you’re at it. “Go ahead, rub some MOR on it!”
PHARMHOUSE’S CHEMDOG D X TRIANGLE KUSH - $25
Available at: Pharmhouse Wellness
Grand Rapids only 100% locally owned and grown flower! Grown with love and intention in coco coir and mineral nutrients, under maximum efficiency LED, all plants were hand-watered and hand-crafted. And at $25 for 3.5g, it’s the best deal around.
DETROIT EDIBLES’ TOASTED PEANUT BUTTER - $20
Available at: Lake Effect
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? It’s the ultimate comfort food and they just made it more comfortable by infusing it with distillate from Cannalicious Labs. This is infused with 200mg THC.
1906’S GO DROPS - $25
Available at: Green Koi
These tiny little pills contain an optimal blend of plant medicines, caffeine, and cannabis to create an all-natural performance enhancer for brain and body. Go’s key ingredients increase blood flow to the brain and body in order to boost mental and physical energy and stamina.
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| by Josh Veal
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