Revue West Michigan November 2023

Page 1

W E S T M I C H I G AN ’ S E NTE RTAI N M E NT G U I D E FO R 3 5 YE AR S » N OVE M B E R 2 023

FREE!

2023 GIFT GUIDE

G I F T G U I D E PE RSO NALITI E S

STU FF FO R STOCKI N G S CAN NAB I S G I F T G U I D E

S E X & R E L ATI O N S H I PS S POTLI G HT | TH E H E AD AN D TH E H E ART | TH E WI N N E RS O F ARTPRI Z E NOVEMBER 2023

1


2 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


NOVEMBER 2023

3


4 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


NOVEMBER 2023

5


6 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


NOVEMBER 2023

7


BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY PARTIES NOW! CHECK OUT OUR NEW COCKTAIL & FOOD MENUS!

Proud Sponsor of USA & Premier League Soccer

» 40 Craft Beers on Tap » Voted Best Brunch » Private Space Available » Live Entertainment on Sunday during Brunch » Weekly Food Specials

1223 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids | (616) 726-8260 | www.graydonscrossing.com

$2 DRAFTS | $3 WELLS | $4 SELTZERS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! NEW SUMMER MENU • VOTED BEST CHICKEN TENDERS • SUNDAY BRUNCH FREE PARKING

819 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids | (616) 454-0321 | www.garagebargr.com 518 Ada Dr SE, Ada | (616) 682-3002 | www.adagaragebar.com

8 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


WHAT 'S I NS I DE NOVEMB ER 2023 | VOLUME 35, ISSUE 11

NEWS 12 What's Going On

MUSIC 14 The American Hotel System: 'Here' to Stay 16 Susto: Finding Intention 18 On the Other Side of Therapy: The Head and the Heart

COMEDY 20 Fortune Feimster: Soldier of Fortune 22 Dulcé Sloan: Multitasking on Strike

DINING 24 Taste of Chicago: Italian Beef in Grand Rapids

THE GIFT GUIDE ISSUE 28 Gift Guide Personalities 34 Stuff for Stockings 36 Cannabis Gift Guide

SEX & RELATIONSHIPS SPOTLIGHT 38 Get Ready for Your Closeup: A Boudoir Q&A 40 From First Date to Forever: Date Ideas in West Michigan

ARTS 42 Harmony and Togetherness: The Winners of Artprize 44 Every Dog Has Its Day: Dog Story Theater Returns 46 Arts Calendar O N T H E C OV E R : T H E G I F T G U I D E I S S U E S TA R T S O N PA G E 2 8 !

NOVEMBER 2023

9


/// LET TE R FRO M TH E E D ITO R

T

hat’s right, the holidays are upon us. It is time once again for our annual Local Gift Guide, helping you get started early so you can find truly unique gifts. The more you shop with Amazon’s algorithmically driven guides that push the same 10 overpriced products, the more likely you are to get someone a duplicate gift. Sorry to be such a purist, but every year, I find incredible options (at least, in my opinion) for friends, family and Secret Santa just by browsing gift shops across Grand Rapids. Rebel, Commune, Oh, Hello Co., Periwinkle Fog, Gemini Handmade, Natural Order— these are just a few of my favorites, not to mention the annual makers markets (check out What’s Going On This Month) that have even more unique offerings. In this year’s gift guide, you’ll find great local shops to peruse like the ones above, specific ideas for the various personalities in your life, special events, stocking stuffers, cannabis gift ideas, and more. This yea r a lso ha s our f irst ever Sex a nd Relationships spotlight, giving you some of our top

PUBLISHER

date ideas in town, along with a Boudoir Q&A with Mod Bettie’s Elise Kutt, who has done a lot of work to help normalize boudoir in West Michigan and show how empowering it can be. Check out our in-depth interview with The Head and the Heart, talking about how they overcame their internal struggles with group therapy. We also talk with iconic comedians Fortune Feimster and Dulce Sloan, coming to West Michigan this month. Speaking of icons, Italian beef has arrived in Grand Rapids with two new spots doing it right, so check out my piece on Chicago Beef Joint and Jack Danger’s. Finally, don’t miss our chat with the top winners of ArtPrize, diving into their inspiring stories, as well as a look at the return of Dog Story Theatre. As we head into the chaos of the holiday season, I’d urge you once again to get started early, so you can move through the rest of the year with patience, grace, and a lot less stress. Heck, maybe this year, I’ll even follow my own advice. 'Til next time,

Serendipity Media, LLC President, Kasie Smith www.serendipity-media.com

EDITORIAL Managing Editor, Josh Veal josh@serendipity-media.com

LAYOUT Art Director, Courtney Van Hagen

MARKETING Marketing Director, Loren Eisenlohr Marketing Coordinator, Rachel Syrba

DISTRIBUTION Kelli Belanger

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Zachary Avery Allison Kay Bannister John Kissane Michaela Stock Eric Mitts

ADVERTISING / (616) 458-8371 Media Sales Manager, Kelli Belanger kelli@revuewm.com Media Sales Consultant, Maggie Mutch maggie@serendipity-media.com

FIND US ONLINE: revuewm.com

@revuewm

Revue is published monthly by:

JOSH VEAL Managing Editor josh@serendipity-media.com

Serendipity Media LLC 535 Cascade West Parkway SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (616) 458-8371

@2023 Serendipity Media LLC All rights reserved.

DEC

COMING UP

SORRY, NOT SORRY FOR INTERRUPTING...

EXPERIENCE THE HOLIDAYS

You may not be getting the best eNewsletter in West Michigan. Visit RevueWM.Com/Subscribe to sign up and confirm that you have great decision-making skills.

O ur exploration of ever y thing holidays in D ecember. We cover all the par ties and festivities around West Michigan and dive into local traditions . Plus , New Year's Eve!

Email

Name

Subscribe to our eNewsletter!

10 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

Spotlight Section: Last-Minute Gift Guide

$

ADVERTISE

Call (616) 458-8371 Email sales@revuewm.com SPACE RESERVATION: November 14, 2023


NOVEMBER 2023

11


/// N E WS

WHAT’S GOING ON, NOV '23

11/3 GRAND RAPIDS COMIC-CON DeVos Place 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Nov. 3-5 grcomiccon.com Returning to The DeVos Place for its 10th anniversary, Comic Con is the ultimate culmination of all things gamer and geek in one wonderful place. Whether you’re visiting their local artists alley, professional cosplayer booths or boardgame library, you can bet there’s something new to see or do each day. Some especially exciting media guest appearances include George Takei (Star Trek), Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants, Adventure Time) and Bill Farmer (the voice of Goofy). This only scratches the surface of what the weekend will entail, so be sure to check their website to see which events you won’t want to miss.

ANCIENT ALIENS LIVE: PROJECT EARTH Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick, Kalamazoo Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. kazoostate.com Ancient Aliens LIVE: Project Earth is an experiential extension of Ancient Aliens that explores the theory that extraterrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years. The ninety-minute live experience celebrates the longrunning program Ancient Aliens on The

holiday season by joining on Bridge Street in Grand Rapids to shop 30 local vendors with a drink in hand. Locations include One Bourbon, Bridge St Market and Küsterer Brauhaus. Products will be a wide variety of handmade goods such as jewelry, knit goods, home decor, metal working, prints, soap, paintings, candles and so much more!

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 delivers a grand experience that is sure to please every palate.

GRAND RAGGIDY ROLLER DERBY JAM SPORTS GRAND RAPIDS 3125 28th St. SW, Grandville Nov. 11, 4 p.m. grandraggidy.com

TOM SANDOVAL AND THE MOST EXTRAS The Intersection Nov. 16, 7 p.m. sectionlive.com

Founded in 2005, Grand Raggidy Roller Derby is proud to be one of only 30 founding member leagues Gentex Santa Parade. COURTESY PHOTO of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Anyone and everyone is HISTORY Channel and features leading welcome to come see their games, Ancient Astronaut theorist Giorgio A. where women showcase their speed, Tsoukalos, investigative mythologist agility and strategic prowess. Watch William Henry, UFO investigator Nick skaters with names like “Marzi Pain” Pope, and “real-life Indiana Jones” and “Scary Magdalene” slam into each David Childress, as they discuss other, slip past each other and race thought-provoking extraterrestrial around the track. It’s fun for everyone! theories on fan-favorite topics from Ancient Egypt to the moon.

11/14

11/11 SOUNDS LIKE HOPE FT. YOUNG THE GIANT GLC Live at 20 Monroe 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Nov. 11, 6 p.m. hopenetwork.org The Hope Network Foundation is continuing to support the lifechanging work of Hope Network, this time by gathering with the community for a night of great music to celebrate 60 years of Hope. That’s right, six decades! Performing is Young the Giant, an American rock band known for their captivating melodies and introspective lyrics. With their dynamic sound and charismatic performances, they’ve become a prominent fixture in the modern alternative music scene.

BRIDGE STREET MAKERS MARKET & BAR HOP Bridge St. Neighborhood Nov. 11, 1-6 p.m. Shop local artists and makers this

12 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

VINES & VERSES Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Nov. 14, 5:30-8 p.m. meijergardens.org Enjoy a night out complete with jazz, specialty food, and drinks highlighting features grown on vines! The James & Shirley Balk Café will offer food and drink specials to enjoy, while music and poetry will be showcased in the Garden Pavilion throughout the evening, featuring the renowned sculpture “Utopia” by Jaume Plensa.

11/16 GRAND RAPIDS INTERNATIONAL WINE, BEER, AND FOOD FESTIVAL DeVos Place 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Nov. 16-18 showspan.com/GRW Now in its 16th year, this Festival has established itself as Michigan’s annual tasting event for everyone who loves craft beverages and food,

Love him or hate him, and most likely the latter, you have to admit Tom Sandoval is a big personality. Ever since the Scandoval that rocked Vanderpump Nation, more people than ever before know who Tom is, which makes for the perfect time to see him with his band, The Most Extras, at The Intersection. Expect covers of everything from Take On Me to I Write Sins Not Tragedies.

11/17 CHRISTKINDL MARKET Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Nov. 17-Dec. 23 christkindlmarketgr.com This year, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market is hosting its very first Christkindl Market starting November 17 and running right up to Christmas Eve. Heavily inspired by traditional European Christmas markets, the event will feature an illuminated winter wonderland with holiday retailers and experiences including uniquely decorated vendor booths with handmade gifts, German Style beverage hall, live entertainment, curling experiences, holiday lights, caroling, Santa, children’s activities, and much more.

11/18 GRAND RAPIDS SANTA PARADE Downtown Grand Rapids Nov. 18, 10:00am Kick off the holiday season with the Santa Claus Parade, starting from the corner of Lyon Street and Monroe and traveling through downtown. Parade


Jonas Brothers. COURTESY PHOTO

events conclude at approximately 11 a.m. in the parking lot of First United Methodist Church, where organizers will host a party for kids and families. The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and Family Promise of West Michigan will be on-hand to provide fun activities. Santa also will stop by to visit with families!

HOLIDAY ARTS & CRAFTS MARKET 8th Street Marketplace 3330 Highland Drive, Hudsonville Weekends, starting Nov. 18 holland.org Experience a delightful outdoor European-style market with holiday items, delicious food and artisan demonstrations in Holland, Michigan. Located at the 8th Street Marketplace at the corner of 8th Street and Pine Avenue, weekends from November 18-December 16. “Kerstmarkt” in the Dutch language means “Christmas market.” Such markets pop up all over the Netherlands during the Christmas season, offering a venue for local artisans and specialty shops to sell their wares while shoppers gather, enjoying traditional food, drink and entertainment.

process to sell at their markets, so you can always expect to find the highest quality, unique, on-trend items when you shop at Made Market. But on top of that: It’s fun! There’ll be snacks and drinks to enjoy while shopping dozens of local, curated makers.

11/21 JONAS BROTHERS: FIVE ALBUMS. ONE NIGHT. Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids Nov. 21, 7 p.m. vanandelarena.com The Jonas Brothers are undertaking their most ambitious outing yet, their own spin on the Eras Tour: FIVE ALBUMS. ONE NIGHT. Come hear over 35 hits and medleys each of their five incredible albums, from the early pop-rock days of “It’s About Time” to the chart-topping success of “Happiness Begins,” and many more—not to mention songs from the brothers’ side projects. With special guest Lawrence.

11/22 FESTIVAL OF TREES Muskegon Museum of Art 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon Nov. 22-Dec. 30 muskegonartmuseum.org Festival of Trees is back inside the museum this year AND it will be extended through the holiday season due to popular demand! Take a trip down memory lane with nostalgic vintage holiday collections at the Muskegon Museum of Art this holiday season. From iconic Christmas cards and ornaments to a large collection of nutcrackers and glowing blow molds, these displays will spark all the jolliest memories of the past.

MERCHANTS AND MAKERS HOLIDAY SHOPPE Holland Civic Center 150 W. 8th St., Holland Nov. 18, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. merchantsandmakers.com Merchants and Makers are BACK at the Holland Civic Center for the 5th annual Holiday Shoppe, featuring over 100 of the most amazing local makers for you to shop local from for your holiday gifting. Plus, the Holland Civic Center, Voyage Bowls, Crazy Good Crepes and Righteous Cuisine will be serving yummy food. We will be collecting canned goods for Community Action House and donating a portion of the door fees to them as well. Please bring your non-perishables to donate!

MADE MARKET Goei Center 818 Butterworth St. SW, Grand Rapids Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. mademkt.com Made Market is proud to feature local vendors who produce unique, handmade items. All vendors must apply and pass through a jury

NOVEMBER 2023

13


/// LOCAL M US I C

The American Hotel Systesm. PHOTO BY JAKE ORR

The American Hotel System:

'HERE' TO STAY

| by Eric Mitts

A

lthough they are eager to get out on the road to support the release of their brand new EP, Can You Hear It? (due out Nov. 17), Grand Rapids band The American Hotel System doesn’t plan on ever moving away from West Michigan. “We have many friends who have gone to Nashville or L.A. or New York because those are the music hubs, but we love Grand Rapids,” American Hotel System lead singer/ guitarist Jacob Betts told Revue. “We want to call Grand Rapids home for the rest of our lives, and the scene here is thriving.” Arguably the biggest moment in what is already an ascendant music career, the release of Can You Hear It? through major label Sono Music Group – with distribution by Universal – caps off a string of successes for The American Hotel System that includes opening for Bon Jovi on tour last year, and winning the 2022 Music Prize, the largest independent band competition in the country, drawing in entries from over 1,000 bands. “We were so fortunate to win f irst place, which is such an honor,” Betts said about winning Music Prize. “I’m still mindblown by it.” The band still has the comically large check for $10,000 they were awarded onstage as the grand prize winners, but what Betts said is the real reward is all the strong connections they made with other bands and within the music industry.

The band had submitted a song to the competition in 2021 more or less on a whim, and then months later found out that they were in the Top 50, and then later finalists in the competition after sending in live footage they shot together with Grand Rapids own Dogtown Studios. That year Betts said they struggled to make it down to Louisiana to compete after their f light got canceled and they had to take a bus from Dallas to Shreveport. But they made it, and ultimately took fourth place that year, soaking in the experience, and coming back again last year to take home the title. “That was the cap of what was the craziest year of our lives as a band,” Betts said. “We opened for Bon Jovi, and then my grandma died nine days later. And then my son was born five days after that. And then we signed with a record label right after winning Music Prize. It’s just been crazy.” The American Hotel System’s whole history has had rollercoaster moments. Formed six years ago while all of the members – Betts, bassist Jake LaMotte, lead guitarist C.T. McCallister, drummer Hailey Petty, and guitarist/violinist Samuel Overman – were seniors at Grace Bible College (now Grace Christian University) here in West Michigan, the band originally intended to play together only once. “Our f irst show ever was my last day of college,” Betts said. “I had been working on a solo record for a while at that point,

14 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

and planned on recording that once I graduated… I was getting married, and so we got home from the honeymoon, built a studio at my house, and I was going to work on just the solo album. And that turned into our f irst record called The Sunken Truth, which came out in 2019. And we’ve just been kind of going ever since.” With their f irst album out in 2019, the COV ID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, hit the band hard, forcing them to really contemplate what they wanted, and ultimately recording the EP Postcards during that time. “We’re a rock band, and this was a more folk-oriented, stripped-away project, but it still holds a special place in my heart,” Betts said. “I think a few of those songs are still some of our top songs ever on streaming services. So I think it struck a chord, and I’m grateful that we were able to take all the anxiety we had and pour it into those songs.” Immediately following the release of their next full-length album Interrobang

last year, which had gotten delayed due to the pandemic, The American Hotel System started working on pre-production with producer Jake Rye for what is now the Can You Hear It?. “Some of these songs have taken years to f inish,” Betts said. “And I think we’ve been able to distill what makes us unique as a group, and really highlight each and every band member’s unique sound in a way that comes together, and it sounds like us. It’s, in my opinion, the best version of us.” Having faced down loss, grief, and some serious neurological and mental health issues, Betts chronicles it all lyrically on the seven-song EP. From opening with the existential soaring title track, to closing with “Not The End,” a song he penned entirely in one sitting while at The Stray after the passing of his grandmother. “It’s a whole journey over the last few years of emotional growth, physical growth, mental growth,” Betts said. “A ll these new ways of stretching and becoming more ref ined people.” ■

KICKSTAND PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS THE AMERICAN HOTEL SYSTEM: CAN YOU HEAR IT? EP RELEASE Wsg. Low Phase, Feeding Grizzlies, Bedroom Ceilings The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Nov. 17, 7 p.m., $15 , All-ages Americanhotelsystem.com, pyramidschemebar.com


NOVEMBER 2023

15


/// TOURING M US I C

Susto. COURTESY PHOTOS

HOW DID YOU MEET OSBORNE, AND HOW DID SUSTO BECOME A BAND? I honestly don’t remember the exact f irst time I met Justin. I think it was at the pizza shop on the corner of our neighborhood. The f irst Susto show ever was right across the street from there, and the f irst two records were made one block from the pizza shop. So the band really, really has its roots in this one neighborhood of Charleston where everybody lived, worked, and recorded the two records that got Susto on the map. THOSE ROOTS AND RECORDS HAVE TAKEN YOU FAR. WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE THAT SUSTO WAS STARTING TO GARNER ATTENTION OUTSIDE OF SOUTH CAROLINA? We toured with The Lumineers off our second record, which we made in an eight-by-12 foot storage unit at A A A in downtown Charleston. That was an incredible feeling, when you’re putting out your second record, that’s the level you’re at, and then you get called up to play arenas for a month.

SUSTO: FINDING INTENTION | by Michaela Stock

F

rom gothic rock riffs to vibrant folk jams, Charleston-based band Susto has a sound that can’t be pigeonholed. Drummer Marshall Hudson has leaned into the music’s varied creative scenery as an artist and bandmate, having developed a deep relationship with Susto’s lead singer-songwriter, Justin Osborne. Together, Hudson and Osborne have released five studio albums, and they will be performing tracks off these records live at The Pyramid Scheme this month.

HAVING BEEN WITH SUSTO AS A DRUMMER FOR ALMOST A DECADE, HOW HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BAND AND OSBORNE GROWN OVER THE YEARS? Life’s had a lot of ups and downs. Justin has had two marriages, and he’s got two kids. He’s moved a million times from South Carolina, to North Carolina, to Texas. During that time, I lived in the same house in downtown Charleston for 15 years straight, and I just recently moved. I’m a much more stable force in this band, and in Justin’s life. I’ve watched Justin change a lot from album to album, and over the years in his personal life. It’s been great to see that, and it’s cool to have been doing this for this long and still feel real about it. YOU AND OSBORNE RELEASED A RECORD CALLED MY ENTIRE LIFE THIS PAST JULY. WHAT DOES THIS ALBUM MEAN TO YOU? Our f ifth album just came out, called My Entire Life. It’s doing really well, and it’s my favorite Susto album by far, no question. Some of the songs are a little more stripped down, and the production is just a bit more intentional. That’s a big thing for me, is the intention. I can jam all night with the best of ‘em, or I try to, but when it comes to making a record, you want to always air towards less. In this record, there’s some very poignant moments that aren’t oversold too hard. Things are just allowed to be there and f ill their space. YOU’RE SOON COMING OUT WITH A LIVE RECORD AS WELL . WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PART OF CREATING THIS TYPE OF ALBUM, AS OPPOSED TO BEING IN A STUDIO? The people singing along is my favorite. It’s the ultimate sign of success, if you’re getting thousands of people to sing. They’re not just watching, they’re using their very breath and their whole being to participate in this thing with you. That’s why I do this. That’s really what it’s all about. ■

SUSTO + BROTHER ELSEY The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Nov. 2, 7 p.m. pyramidschemebar.com

16 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


NOVEMBER 2023

17


/// TOURING M US I C

On the Other Side of Therapy:

THE HEAD & THE HEART | by Michaela Stock

I

got started playing drums when I was eight or nine,” said Tyler Williams, drummer of the indie-folk band The Head and the Heart. “My dad introduced me to music. He was a bass player, so he was like, ‘W hy don’t you play drums and your brother will play guitar, and we’ll have a family band.’” Though Williams’ family didn’t end up forming a band, that didn’t stop him from joining one. In 2009, Williams moved to Seattle from his home state of Virginia to become a founding member of The Head and the Heart, a six-piece band globally known for their earthy instrumentation and folkpop melodies. Holding only a demo of the band’s now-hit track “R ivers and Roads” in his hands, Williams rocketed across the country with the dream of being signed to Sub Pop Records. One year later, the Head and the Heart released their self-titled debut album with Sub Pop Records, which soared to number three on the Billboard U.S. Folk A lbums chart–and fulf illed Williams’ dream. Selling more than half a million copies, the certif ied-gold record became the band’s framework for their prosperous career. “[Sub Pop] was the Seattle label at the

time,” Williams. said “They signed the Shins, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, and going back to Nirvana, which is something that really inf luenced my drumming early on. It’s kind of legendary.” However, nearly a decade later, The Head and the Heart’s six members could no longer ignore the strain that this early success put on their relationships with each other. “It’s the same thing as in a relationship with anyone, whether it’s your family or your spouse or whoever it is. After a few years of being together, you start to say like, ‘Hey, what do you mean by that?’ And the baggage kind of piles up. “W hen the band was starting, it was just a lot of go, go, go and chaos. You unintentionally hurt people or you say things that you don’t mean.” Williams and the band decided to see a therapist in 2019 to help them resolve some of these interpersonal issues together. “The first group session was pretty difficult. We were talking about stuff that we hadn’t really talked about, ever,” Williams said. “It was uncovering a lot of old misunderstandings or resentments and then bringing them into the light, talking about ‘em, letting ‘em go.”

18 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

Since beginning therapy, the members of The Head and The Heart have learned how to better communicate with one another and access deeper, more vulnerable parts of their creative process. This has strengthened their relationship as a band and, perhaps unexpectedly, with their fans. “Everyone has misunderstandings. Everyone feels slighted from time to time by people in their lives that they def initely love and care about,” said Williams. “Getting to the bottom of that and kind of unlocking your ability to be vulnerable with each other is the goal for what we’re trying to do with music, it’s to be as vulnerable with each other as possible so we can kind of be that same way with our audience.” W hen the pandemic hit, The Head and the Heart continued to attend group therapy online, which kept Williams and his bandmates in touch when they couldn’t see each other physically. Today, the band still uses online therapy. “It feels like, as we do more sessions, it’s becoming more of a way for us to structure our thoughts as one organism, where we’re not so much focused on the past,” said Williams. W hile The Head and the Heart may be the only band within their peer group to

attend therapy, Williams says it’s a choice he wishes more musicians would partake in–especially today. “It’s tougher out there than it ever has been for artists and costs have gone up exponentially. You’re leaving your family for less and less, and the take home is less and less,” said Williams. “I think [group therapy] is a really important thing after going through it ourselves…To get to the bottom of things, it sometimes takes a mediator.” Through their rebuilt relationships, The Head and the Heart was able to highlight all six member’s creative viewpoints on their latest record, Every Shade of Blue. The album is composed of 16 songs, which is an unusually long tracklist for today’s popular short-form album release strateg y. “We didn’t want to put out two records. We didn’t want to chop it down,” said Williams. “We were like, ‘Let’s just put everything out there and give [fans] the whole perspective.’” Every Shade of Blue pulses on pop melodies for the entity of its tracklist; veritably, it’s the album’s production that distinguishes each song. From slightly distorted vocals in the opening verse of


The Head and the Heart. COURTESY PHOTOS

Starstruck, to reverberant vapor-pop falsettos in Same Hurt, The Head and the Heart nod to genres outside of their folk aesthetic. “As a drummer, the whole genre hopping thing that we do on that record is cool. I think that allows me to sort of step out of maybe what I would traditionally do, or maybe what you would hear on our earlier records,” Williams said. “We kind of pushed all of our musical boundaries and comfort zones to be able to f ind a new place.” Performing new songs before their release has historically been a crucial part of The Head and the Heart’s song writing. But since shows were shut down while creating Every Shade of Blue, Williams played the album live after it had been recorded, which gave him a new perspective on the process. “There are songs that maybe I didn’t even feel were my favorite when we put the record up that have now become my favorite, just because I get to see it through the audience’s eyes,” said Williams. “I think it’s been cool for fans to realize that when they hear Virginia next to Down in the Valley, it’s like, ‘Oh, hey, that’s same song. It’s the same band.’” The Head and the Heart will be performing songs off of Every Shade of Blue and more during their show at GLC Live in Grand

Rapids on November 7. With only a dream and a demo, Williams’ courageous decision to move across the country to form The Head and the Heart has unfurled f ive albums and a chart-topping career. As they soon celebrate 16 years as a band, The Head and the Heart remain committed to walking on this musical journey together–and with their therapist. “We have a lot of kids in our band now, so it’s tough when you see the expenses and you’re also away from them for so long. So that’s kind of the next thing that we’re focused on, is how do we work on that?” said Williams. “We don’t really know yet.” However, it’s this struggle between listening to logic and emotion that f irst named The Head and the Heart. As their music captures a loyal fanbase that continues to crescendo, Williams and the rest of the band are glad they chose to become musicians, having listened to their hearts all those years ago. “That’s still the ethos of this band,” said Williams. “For better or for worse, honestly, I think it’s impossible for us to do something that doesn’t come from our guts, and from the heart.” ■

THE HEAD AND THE HEART GLC Live at 20 Monroe 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Nov. 7, 7-11 p.m.

NOVEMBER 2023

19


/// CO M E DY

Fortune Feimster. COURTESY PHOTO

FORTUNE FEIMSTER: Soldier of Fortune

| by Eric Mitts

FORTUNE FEIMSTER: LIVE LAUGH LOVE! DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Nov. 24, 7 p.m., $25+ (616) 742-6500, devosperformancehall.com, fortunefeimster.com

W

hen comedian Fortune Feimster’s father went in for open heart surgery earlier this fall, her family got support from one of the biggest celebrities on the planet, her new friend, action movie icon Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I got a FaceTime from Arnold saying, ‘Why didn’t you tell me your dad was having open heart surgery?’ Feimster told Revue. “I was like well you’re a very busy guy. But Arnold had also gone through that, so he wanted to FaceTime my dad to give him some tips from his own experience. So when I visited my dad, I called Arnold and they got to FaceTime for about five minutes. It was a really cool experience that meant a lot to me and my dad. My dad was definitely a fan. Arnold was like in every hit movie my dad watched.” Having The Terminator in your corner can help give anyone strength when they’re pulling through a diff icult ordeal, so it was a highlight that came during an otherwise hard time for the comedian, who had shared on social media how challenging her

father’s recovery was after having an aortic valve replacement and double bypass. “He’s doing better,” she said. “It’s still a long road to recovery ahead. But he was in the hospital for a month due to some complications, but he’s at least out of there and now in a rehab facility to work on his walking and swallowing. I was able to go visit him while he was in the hospital and it was nice to be there. He wasn’t in the laughing mood, but I was able to make the nurses laugh. I’ve always used laughter to get through hard times. I def initely think it helps, especially when you’re not feeling your best.” Feimster last performed in Grand Rapids as part of last year’s LaughFest, and she def initely shares that organization’s mission statement that laughter is often the best medicine. Her current Live Laugh Love! Tour (coming to DeVos Performance Hall Nov. 24) has a similar ethos, reclaiming the long cliché expression, and reemphasizing the importance of the simplicity of those three

20 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

words – with jokes of course. But when it comes to Grand Rapids, Feimster said she will never forget performing at Dr. Grins years ago, as it’s an important place to her then f iancé now wife Jacquelyn “Jax” Smith (who she married in 2020 during the pandemic). “I always think of Jax’s grandmother, Beverly, when I come to Grand Rapids,” Feimster said. “She was from Hastings, which is about 45 minutes away. And the f irst time I met her was when I was doing the comedy club in Grand Rapids. I was nervous about impressing her because Jax loved her so much. And she came and hung out with just the two of us on the top f loor of the JW Marriott, and loved looking out and seeing all of Grand Rapids. We ended up having the best weekend with her.” Clearly family in all its forms is at the heart of Feimster’s life and comedy, so to see it expand to include someone like Schwarzenegger becoming a friend has been surreal. From breaking out on NBC’s

“Last Comic Standing” back in 2010, to landing her latest special “Fortune Feimster: Good Fortune” on Netf lix, the native North Carolinian has taken her uniquely Southern charm and heartfelt comedy into the acting world. Most recently, she became an unlikely action star alongside Schwarzenegger earlier this year, and has appeared in numerous movies and T V shows, which she couldn’t discuss because of the ongoing SAG-A FTR A strike. “It’s never easy going on strike because it’s something that affects thousands of people,” Feimster said. “It affects the local economy. No one wants to be out of work. But actors and writers have to have a living wage. The people you see making a butt load of money represent such a small fraction of our business. Most live paycheck to paycheck. Plus technology is changing at a rapid pace and our union leaders have to do what they can to preserve our business and protect the people who work in it; not just for now, but for the generations to come.” Having worked hard for over a

decade for her success, Feimster firmly showed her solidarity in the strike for all her fellow actors, but also gladly shared that she’s kept busy, with both her own podcast “Sincerely Fortune,” where she more personally shares with her fans like family, and her latest podcast, “Handsome,” with fellow comedians Tig Notaro and Mae Martin launched this past summer. “This was a very unexpected venture,” Feimster said. “Tig called me up and had this idea. We weren’t sure exactly what the podcast would be, but all three of us were excited just at the prospect of working together. We taped a couple of episodes before we honed in on what it was, and every episode we just kept laughing more and more. So we’re really proud of it. I love that we all come from similar worlds, but with very different perspectives. And it’s so cool it’s resonating with people. We already have over a million downloads and we’re only seven episodes in, so I look forward to seeing where this goes, and I know we’ll be laughing a lot.” ■


NOVEMBER 2023

21


/// CO M E DY

Dulcé Sloan. COURTESY PHOTO

DULCÉ SLOAN: Multitasking On Strike | by Eric Mitts

A

nyone who has seen comedian Dulcé Sloan on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” knows she doesn’t hold anything back. The standup has made a name for herself onstage and on T V for not pulling any punches, and landing absolutely scathing punchlines all as part of her natural storytelling style. So when Revue caught up with her via phone ahead of her run at Dr. Grins Comedy Club later this month (Nov. 30 –

Dec. 3) it was surprising to hear how much she’s actually left unsaid. Thankfully, she’s got a book coming out on Feb. 6, 2024, titled Hello, Friends!, where she candidly lays out all of her comedic journey. Just don’t call it a memoir. “It’s not a memoir,” Sloan said. “I just turned 40. How dare I write a memoir? I mean, I really wanted to call the book, Don’t Call This A Memoir, I’m Only 39. But yeah, it’s a collection of stories that I

22 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

didn’t get a chance to tell on stage, or some of them are too long to tell on stage.” Beginning with her childhood growing up between Miami and Atlanta, being a black kid at a predominantly white school, to taking on comedy clubs, and breaking into television with her work on “The Daily Show,” her stories cut to the heart of the truth with her razor-sharp wit. Her favorite and most frequent targets: her dating life and her job history. But as far as which is worse, she’s got a clear winner. Or loser. “Dating is way worse because I can always get another job, but I don’t have a husband,” Sloan said. “It’s much easier to get a job. I can tell you that damn much.” Sloan just resumed work on her job as a correspondent on “The Daily Show,” following the resolution of the WGA strike earlier this fall. However due to the SAGA FTR A strike ongoing as of the time of our interview, she couldn’t talk much about that, or her popular off icial “Daily Show” podcast “Hold Up,” with writer Josh Johnson, which is also on hiatus. “I mean, my life has always been at the mercy of white men,” Sloan said about the strike stopping two of her projects. “So this is just truly par for the course. Things always change after a strike for the better or for the worse. You don’t know what opportunities are going to come back. You don’t know what they’re going to decide.” Sloan’s career got hit particularly hard when the WGA strike started back in May. She had just hosted what was intended to be the f irst show in her week as guest host of “The Daily Show,” and 30 minutes after it aired the strike shut down everything. But that didn’t stop her, as Sloan had already started hosting “The Great American Joke Off ” on The CW, which began airing in March. A panel comedy show, “The Great American Joke Off ” pits two teams of three comedians against each other, with Sloan declaring the winner at the end of every episode. “It was a lot of fun,” Sloan said. “We f ilmed it in England, which was interesting because it was ‘The Great American Joke Off,’ so the audience was confused. We were confused. But it’s the same people who do ‘W hose Line Is It Any way?’ So since they have such a great format for that show, it was really fun to be able to come into that format.

“A lso, to be able to host that show and not be a contestant on that show was really great, because we were taping one day and I was just like, ‘Man, I’m so glad I didn’t have to write all these jokes. This is really diff icult. I’m so glad I don’t have to do this…’ But it was a really fun experience. (As) the host, you’re coordinating everything because you’re coordinating with the onstage talent, and coordinating with production. So you’re really conducting the whole symphony.” A trained singer and actor, Sloan has a growing list of those credits in her resume as well, including voicing the character of Honeybee, on FOX’s animated series “The Great North.” “I helped design her character,” Sloan said. “I’m the one who said, give her an afro. And the reason there is a f lower in her hair is because there’s a f lower in my hair on my headshot.” Her signature style plays a big part in her latest endeavor as well, as she and fellow comedian Lace Larrabee have launched their own lip gloss company Giggle Gloss. “Every comic likes to sell merch on the road,” Sloan said. “It just helps supplement things. And so this was my mom’s idea because selling T-shirts is too much. I’m not that person. I’m not checking the bag. I get to the airport soon enough. Launched on April Fool’s Day this year, Sloan said Giggle Gloss are getting their fall collection together, and hope to partner with other comics in the future. “It’s been rea lly great to not only have merch t hat’s self-suf f icient a nd to be able to have somet hing t hat’s f un, but a lso t he na mes of t he colors a re a ll jokes,” she sa id. “So our top selling colors a re ‘No More Broke Dick,’ ‘Purse Vod k a,’ a nd ‘L aughia Majora,’ a re our top-selling colors. So a ll t he colors a re jokes t hat we’ve come up. But it’s been rea lly great bec ause a nybody c a n sell T-shir ts a nd cozies, but to be able to sta r t your own business t hat’s fema le-owned, minorit yowned, it’s so a ma zing.” ■

DULCÉ SLOAN Dr. Grins Comedy Club 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 grinstix.com, dulcesloan.com


NOVEMBER 2023

23


/// D I N I N G

Chicago Beef Joint, Jack Danger's Chicago Style Italian Beef. COURTESY PHOTOS

TASTE OF CHICAGO:

| by Josh Veal

Italian Beef in Grand Rapids

I

talian beef sandwiches are the past, the present, and the future. W hile this iconic dish has been a household name in Chicago for nearly a century, the popularity exploded with the success of The Bear, a Hulu show centered on an Italian beef shop. Even before the show, fans of the sandwich were frequently passionate enough to spread the love by opening up their own spots in other cities. At its most basic, an Italian beef has very thin slices of seasoned roast beef, served on a French roll, often topped with peppers—but it’s not exactly that simple. The f irst choice everyone has to make when getting Italian beef: Sweet or hot? This refers to the types of peppers you can add, sweet being green bell peppers roasted until soft, while hot is giardiniera, a spicy mix of pickled vegetables, typically including jalapenos, carrots, celery, onion, and caulif lower, marinated in oil. Then: Dry, wet, or dipped? On one end of the spectrum is dipped, which means your entire sandwich is dunked into beef au jus with tongs, which gets the bread nice and soft. Like, insanely soft, practically melting in your hands. On the other end is dry, with no additional liquid at all. The middle-ground is wet, where the meat gets some extra au jus right before being put in the bread. It’s no surprise that Italian beef has taken the short journey from the Windy City, and Grand Rapids now has two spots focused on giving Italian beef the appreciation it deserves (though their menus have plenty of other options). Of course, we had to stop in and give them a taste.

CHICAGO BEEF JOINT 822 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids cbjgr.com

W hat was once CDK I Dining’s Sandy Point Beach House, and Zoko822 before that, is now Chicago Beef Joint (CBJ). It seems to be the perfect f it for the shipping container-housed restaurant, which also has a large outdoor patio, which frequently hosts live music, food trucks and other events in the summer. Opened by Peter Krupp, a managing partner at CDK I, the spot is largely run by the sociable, enthusiastic general manager Bobby Martin, with Chef Steve Bunch bringing the f lavors over from his former eatery, Chicago Hood Spot. For my f irst visit, I went ahead and ordered wet here, as it had been a while since my last Italian beef, and I wasn’t ready to dive into the au jus head f irst. And I went hot, partly because it seems the most popular way to order, partly because I love the kick and zest of pickled peppers. The combination was beautiful. Wide, thin slices of beef dripped with juice, soaking the bread just a bit without disintegrating the entire structure. The hot giardiniera was loaded on, practically spilling out with every bite, which I’m more than okay with. The modest crunch of the peppers and celery adds texture to a juicy, soft sandwich, not to mention the pops of spice and vinegar. It’s a beautiful combination of f lavors and structure, warming you from the inside out and quickly becoming a new craving for me personally. W hile there, I also felt the need to try CBJ’s Chicago dog, and they nailed it. Vienna beef on a poppy seed bun with mustard, neon green relish, sport peppers, pickle wedges, tomato slices, onions and celery salt. Tastes like you’re on the other side of Lake Michigan. JACK DANGER’S CHICAGO STYLE ITALIAN BEEF 1499 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids jdchicagostyle.com

In Eastown on Wealthy, it’s easy to spot the neon blue Jack Danger’s sign against a shiny metallic wall. The face you see there is a caricature drawn in the ‘80s of owner Steve Lowenthal, a former DJ, restaurant veteran and native Chicagoan. He wanted to bring a taste of home to Grand Rapids, where he now lives with his wife Cathleen, and Italian beef is the perfect opportunity to do so. The interior has more neon, Chicago-related decorations, ‘80s music videos, an old-school Centipede cabinet, and plenty of tables for dining in. At Jack Danger’s, the default for any Italian beef is dipped, and I don’t mind having the choice made for me. In fact, I’ll likely order it dipped every time going forward, no matter where I am. The Turano French roll is perfect for absorbing all that au jus, resulting in a ridiculously juicy, soft sandwich that is practically falling apart as you eat it. The beef itself here was cut into thin shreds, as opposed to the slices at CBJ, which is ultimately a persona l preference, and both preparations were equa lly delicious to me! The hot giardiniera was a lso more spicy, with just a tad less piled on, but the difference is negligible. A ltogether, it's a craveworthy symphony of ingredients. Plus: Their Chicago dog is nice and pick ley, and tota lly authentic to the Windy Cit y. The f lavors, textures and in-store friendliness were all just as big at both shops, and I don’t think you can go wrong here. Italian beef is a phenomenon for a reason, and we’re very lucky to have two new spots doing it more than right. ■

OTHER ITALIAN BEEF JOINTS RAY RAYS ITALIAN BEEF & SAUSAGE

PAPA’S ITALIAN SAUSAGE

STACK’S CHICAGO STYLE EATS

1715 Miller Road, Kalamazoo facebook.com/rayrayskzoo

543 E. Ransom St., Kalamazoo papasitaliansausage.com

1050 Jackson St., Grand Haven stackschicagostyleeats.com

24 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


NOVEMBER 2023

25


26 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


NOVEMBER 2023

27


Gift Guide | by Josh Veal

Audiophile The audiophile may be a musician themselves or may just love listening to music, but one thing’s for sure: They appreciate quality sounds. W hether that means live experiences in incredible venues or putting on a record with their $1,500 sound system at home, any one of these gifts will be music to their ears.

VERTIGO 129 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids | vertigomusic.gr

Support local, buy vinyl. Vertigo has been one of Grand Rapids’ favorite independent record shops for two decades and counting, with upwards of 25,000 new LPs in stock proudly priced below retail, around 10,000 used records of all genres and styles, and new arrivals added regularly. Not to mention new and used gear, as well as DVDs, books, and apparel. It’s everything the audiophile could ever hope for, and the staff can lead you to the best gifts for your friend. FIREHOUSE GUITARS 4611 Ivanrest Ave. SW, Grandville | firehouseguitars.com

If you want music gear, your options aren’t limited to Guitar Center. In fact, Firehouse Guitars has been around for over 25 years and is now a family operation after starting as a tiny gear shop in Grand Rapids. Head here for one of the largest acoustic guitar rooms and electric guitar walls in the entire country, along with pedals, amps and much more.

Allison Russell, GRNoir. COURTESY PHOTOS

ALLISON RUSSELL St. Cecilia Music Center | Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m.

St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids is known for its stunning acoustics, the perfect venue to see any performer show off their nuance, talent and skill. Just one option coming up is A llison Russell, poet, singer, song writer, multi-instrumentalist, activist, and co-founder of Our Native Daughters and Birds of Chicago, who recently collaborated with legends like Brandi Carlile and Hozier. BRADLEY SINCLAIR CHRISTMAS SHOW The Midtown | Dec. 22

Any audiophile loves a great voice, and Bradley Sinclair certainly has that. Get your friend a ticket to this annual, one-night-only Christmas show. After selling out 3 shows in the past 2 years, the show is bound to be a hit. The Corey Sound is an award winning 10 piece big band led by saxophone player Sam Corey. Meanwhile, Bradley Sinclair’s “serious range,” as described by John Legend, is sure to give you an amazing night of Christmas tunes! From songs by Vince Guaraldi all the way to bossanova versions of W H A M!’s hit song Last Christmas.

THE INTERSECTION MERCH 133 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW, Grand Rapids | sectionlive.com

If course, you could always buy the audiophile some tickets to a show at The Intersection, but an even better gift is merch so they can show off their love for a local venue. The Intersection has tons of apparel for sale with various logos, not to mention pint glasses, pins, koozies and even guitar picks. And it doesn’t hurt that it all looks great. GRNOIR

Craft connoisseur The lover of all things “craft” isn’t a snob, they just appreciate the f iner things in life, and more than that, they love to support local. It’s not about pure luxury or opulence, but about thought and intention being put into what they enjoy. Lucky for you, West Michigan has plenty of that.

35 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids | grnoir.com

With live jazz performances 3-4 times per week, every week, along with monthly spoken word, Brunch With a Beat, and a live DJ set, GR Noir is the place to be for music af icionados. Get a gift card for your audiophile friend to kick back and enjoy talented musicians play jazz while enjoying a menu of delicious bites to eat, and a massive selection of quality wines.

28 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

LOCAL EPICUREAN 1440 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids | thelocalepicurean.com

We often suggest the cooking classes at Local Epicurean—casual, fun, illuminating—as a great gift for just about anybody in your life, especially if you can join them. But it’s also an amazing shop selling high quality food products, with a focus on handmade, small-batch pastas infused with only the finest ingredients. And they even come with recipes!


Gift Certificate Dat e:

Issu ed By:

Pres ente d To:

Th e Pa sta Kitch en & Co ok ing Cl

as se s

To purchase, call (616) 206-5175 or visit www.thelocalepicurean.com

#TheLocalEpicurean

@localepicureangr

NOVEMBER 2023

29


Craft Connoisseur APERITIVO 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids | aperitivogr.com

For a stunning charcuterie board that will impress anyone with any amount of taste, head to Aperitivo. The full-service cheese and charcuterie counter will help you pick out the perfect treats for your connoisseur friend, not to mention wine and sweets. Or, just get them a gift card so they can pick it all out themselves! LONG ROAD DISTILLERS 537 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids | longroaddistillers.com

Frequently voted as having the Best Cocktails in our annual Best of the West poll, Long Road gets their name from a lack of shortcuts, doing things the right way. Any craft connoisseur would be more than happy to receive a bottle of MICHIGIN, whose ingredients are all entirely sourced from the Mitten state, including wild juniper handpicked by staff on Beaver Island. And that’s just one option of many! A NIGHT IN BORDEAUX: BERNARD MAGREZ WINE DINNER

HOPCAT Multiple locations | hopcat.com

For a more affordable option that still appeals to connoisseurs, HopCat is the place to be. Each location has dozens of taps pouring beer from all around the world, across every style there is. Wild beer, stouts, saisons, wheat ales, IPAs, even ciders and mead—there’s a whole world to explore.

Reserve Wine & Food | Nov. 15 , 6 p.m.

This nearly 5-hour event is a big one for true connoisseurs of the nicest things in love, with tickets going for $280. If you can swing it, this is an evening your loved one will never ever forget, taking a deep dive into Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux, paired with a handcrafted, sixcourse seasonal menu created by Chef Luek VerHulst.

PRINCIPLE FOOD & DRINK 230 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo | principlekzoo.com

Having a restaurant upstairs and cocktail lounge downstairs will always be a good idea, especially if the food and drinks are as excellent as Principle’s, widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in Kalamazoo. The cocktails here are next-level, mostly based on century-old recipes that have been remixed for modern times. Plus, the prices are reasonable and the staff is incredibly friendly, always there to educate and help you f ind the perfect drink.

HOUSE RULES LOUNGE 404 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids | houseruleslounge.com

Open seven days a week, this premier boardgame lounge has brought together beer enthusiasts, gamers and trivia fans together for over two years now. Its extensive games library is impressive, and large groups are always encouraged to book reservations ahead of time so they can sit down with friends and try one or two new party games from off the wall. Come through for their euchre and Magic The Gathering tournament nights or the incredibly fun “Trivi-Yah!” with BetkaPope Productions every first and third Monday. The best gift to give at House Rules? Quality time with your friends! Or a gift card works, too. Aperitivo, Principle Food & Drink. COURTESY PHOTOS

STELLA’S LOUNGE 53 Commerce Ave SW, Grand Rapids | stellaslounge.com

Gamer by Zachary Avery Everyone has hobbies, but none are quite as enthusiastic about roping in newcomers as the Gamer. These Grand Rapids experiences and shops revolve around groups of friend enjoying each other’s company over some arcade joysticks or a new boardgame. Welcome to the table.

30 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

Want Grand Rapids’ best offering for delicious food, tasty cocktails, incredible atmosphere and plenty of fun arcade games available to play? If this sounds like your kind of place, chances are you’ve already been to Stella’s Lounge. Their wonderfully creative stuffed burgers have earned Stella’s time and time again our coveted “Best Burger” spot in Best Of The West, and a variety of vegan/vegetarian options means that none are exempt from eating during your friend group’s next night out. There’s nothing quite like Stella’s in Grand Rapids. Where else can you take a bite out of a Krabby Patty and then run over to play the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles four-player arcade cabinet? Dibs on Michelangelo. BLUE BRIDGE GAMES 954 Fulton St E, Grand Rapids | bluebridgegames.com

Operating from Fulton’s popular uptown shopping district for four years now, Blue Bridge Games may already be a regular stop for the gamer in your life. Owner Margaret Kleist prides herself on curating a selective shopping experience for patrons, D&D superfans and party game newbies alike. No matter what you may be interested in for your next game or puzzle night, you can be sure that Kleist and her team at Blue Bridge have just what you need. Perfect gifts here might be a gift card, a brand-new release, or possibly even their annual memberships which grant in-store discounts and overnight rentals so you can try before you buy.


Influencer It’s important to keep “aesthetic” top of mind when gifting anything to you inf luencer friend—especially if you want to end up in their stories, or better yet, their grid. Food, drinks, houseware, as long as it’s pleasing to the eye, you’re good to go.

Stella's Lounge. COURTESY PHOTO K-Pocha. COURTESY PHOTO

AMPED VIRTUAL REALITY 2923 28th St SE, Grand Rapids | ampedrealityvr.com

Looking for something new and unexpected to gift to your gamer? How about a virtual reality experience at Amped V R in Grand Rapids! Here, you and a group can participate in one of several different virtual gaming experiences, ranging from high-speed kitchen mayhem in Cook ’d Up to magical and mysterious escape rooms. Reserving time in advance for your group is encouraged, and packages start for party sizes under 10 people and for one hour each with food and soda provided! You can also pop-in for an hour just yourself, which makes gift cards an easy option to share. VAULT OF MIDNIGHT 95A Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids | vaultofmidnight.com

And, f inally, the crème de la crème of nerdy shopping: Vault of Midnight. Covering all things from new manga releases to brand-new boardgames and TTR PGs, Vault offers a highquality store experience with a small-business feel. As a regular visitor myself, I can attest that shopping for goodies and new books to discover isn’t quite as exhilarating (or addictive) any where else. Perfect gifts for your gamer include recent releases from the game wall, merchandise featuring all corners of geek culture, or even a subscription to their Book of the Month series, where the staff members themselves hand-select a new graphic novel to be featured each month.

K-POCHA 5751 Byron Center Ave. SW, Wyoming | kpocha.us

K-Pocha Korean Street Food makes the kind of food you can’t help but post a picture of. The taternado is a long skewer of spiraled potato, deep-fried in a storm of crispiness. Or there’s the corn dogs, available with Hot Cheeto, crunchy ramen and potato coatings, all of which make for bold visual statements, and you can even get it f illed with mozz for a beautiful cheese pull. A gift card here will give your inf luencer friend plenty to work with. EVERYWEAR 51 1/2 E. Bridge St. NE, Rockford | everywearonline.com

Nowadays, many inf luencers are leaning toward neutrals and basics over bold patterns and bright colors. This menswear store in Rockford might not be what you typically think of as inf luencer, but the highquality sweaters, hats, duffels and accessories are solid staples perfect for fall. They’ll have your friend’s followers asking, “Link?” COMMUNE 954 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids | instagram.com/commune_gr

Originally a spin-off of Rebel gift shop, Commune is the absolute queen of quality, neutral, home goods. From gorgeous vases and candlesticks to coasters, pottery, plates, blankets, dried f lowers and much more, this shop is totally aesthetic-worthy. You might have a hard time leaving without picking up something for your own living room or kitchen.

NOVEMBER 2023

31


Influencer STOFFER HOME

FOX NATURALS

714 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids | stofferhome.com

619 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids | fox-naturals.com

Run by the beloved Jean Stoffer Design, this shop focuses on “classic beauty” with beautiful and functional things for the home. The offerings here typically boast unique design without being too outlandish, and they have everything you could ever need to make a home picture perfect, going beyond dishes and throws to full-on cabinetry, lighting and furniture, so you’re bound to f ind a great gift.

An inf luencer needs to keep their skin fresh and clean, and one of the best ways to do that is to shop local, high-quality skincare. Fox Naturals is a local shop making lab-crafted products with licensed aestheticians using organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. Facial serums, body butters, hair spray, body scrub, bath soaks, they have it all.

A DRAG QUEEN CHRISTMAS DeVos Performance Hall | Nov. 28, 8 p.m.

Some of the greatest inf luencers alive are drag queens, and their performances make for great content as well. Get your friend a ticket (plus one for yourself ) to see some of their biggest idols at A Drag Queen Christmas, running its 9th consecutive year. Get ready for Host Miz Cracker plus their favorite queens performing live on stage, and very special guest Todrick Hall!

Fox Naturals, Sacred Springs Micro Taproom. COURTESY PHOTOS

BIOFUSE 1059 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

Using IV therapy is on the rise for “better health, faster recovery and peak performance.” BioFuse offers personalized integrative wellness, or you can simply set your friend up with an IV treatment for various needs like Recovery (after workouts), Wellness (vitamins and antioxidants) and Good Mood (reducing stress levels), plus many more options. It’s an easy way to get great things into your body. THE NATURAL ORDER 1519 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids | Instagram.com/thenaturalorder.store

Potted houseplants, exotic herbs, rare succulents, antiques, botanicals, skulls and more—Natural Order has it all. Nature is great for your wellness, and any guru will appreciate a lovely plant to brighten up their home or office. However, Natural Order also has antique oddities, rugs, furniture, incense and herbs, all great gifts for just about anyone.

Wellness Guru

SAWALL HEALTH FOODS 2965 Oakland Dr., Kalamazoo | sawallhf.com

More and more, people are turning to the wellness, naturopath and holistic lens to deal with their mental and physical health needs, along with how they simply live everyday life. You probably have a friend who swears by essential oils, crystals and organic food, and there are plenty of local gifts for them.

BLACK CAT BODEGA 2458 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids | theblackcatbodega.com

Voted a top gift shop in our annual Best of the West poll, Black Cat Bodega bills itself as an “artisan witchcraft shop,” but you don’t have to practice divination to shop here. They have spooky jewelry, mugs, umbrellas, perfume, magnets, and even handcarved wands. Or, get your friend a ticket to one of the workshops, like learning how to distill hydrosols in a copper alquitar on November 11th.

32 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

Opened in 1936, Sawall Health Foods is allegedly the oldest family-owned and operated natural foods store in the United States. With more than 22,000-square-feet of locally produced, natural, organic, and gluten-free foods, not to mention vitamins, herbal remedies, supplements and beverages, Sawall is a dream come true for any wellness guru. Get your friend a gift card and they come check it out, then grab kombucha on tap at the bar. SACRED SPRINGS MICRO TAPROOM 1059 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids | sacred-springs.com

Speaking of kombucha, Sacred Springs is West Michigan’s very own kombucha taproom, and it’s basically heaven for anyone interested in wellness. The co-creators don’t just make mead and kombucha, they do it along with singing bowls, didgeridoos, “and intention,” infusing every drop of liquid with sound and intention. Head on in for a taproom full of kombucha, mead, kombucha beer and more, or gift your friend a full growler. GUIDED SHINRIN-YOKU Blandford Nature Center | 1715 Hillburn Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Blandford Nature Center has tons of great events for families, hikers and nature lovers, but they also have regular programming very clearly geared toward the wellness crowd. In November is Guided Shinrin-Yoku, which translates to “forest bathing,” a form of therapy that takes place in the woods. Get your wellness friend a pack of three shinrinyoku programs at one time for $64. Or, check out Yoga at Blandford, a class that takes advantage of the site’s natural beauty while working on posture, breathwork and meditation. ■


Shop Local Shop Small Shop Downtown

PERIWINKLE

FOG

G L O B A L LY I N S P I R E D | LOCALLY DISCOVERED

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY - NOV. 25

125 Ottawa NW Ste #160, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 www.periwinklefog.com | 616.805.5725

NOVEMBER 2023

33


Stuff for STockings | by Allison Kay Bannister

Y

ou need gifts that are compact, but meaningful. You want to support local and independent retailers. Not a problem! Here’s your guide for shopping small—and shopping small—for whoever’s on your list.

FOR YOUR PARTNER 706 Curve St SW | naughtybettie.com You’re adults. W hy not go for something a little spicy? Naughty Bettie has tons of small gifts to surprise your signif icant other. We like the Dating Cards deck to spark conversation and get a little playful. Or, if you want to get a lotta playful, opt for R ianne’s Kit D’Amour or Classique Vibe. Both come in a compact cosmetic bag for easy gifting.

FOR THE FAM The Ledyard Building, 125 Ottawa Ave NW | periwinklefog.com

FOR YOUR COWORKER 2660 28th St SE | schulerbooks.com

You think you know them, but shopping for those closest to you can be the hardest. Pop into Periwinkle Fog, where there’s truly something for everyone—even your tween nephew who isn’t sure you’re all that cool. You will be now! Look for card games, oneof-a-kind jewelry, and tons of small trinkets that feel personal and unique.

W hether you’re playing Secret Santa or just want to say thanks to your cubicle comrade, hit up Schuler Books for something totally safe for work. From notepads to small puzzles to local candles, they have it all—and nothing says how you really feel like Pencils for The Off ice by W hiskey R iver Soap Co. Or, you can’t go wrong with a pair of fun novelty socks. After all, there is always a dress code to consider!

FOR YOUR BOHO ROOMMATE 8 Jefferson Ave SE the12thhousegr.com

FOR THE WINE LOVER 15900 Rue Devin, Traverse City chateauchantal.com

If you’re not afraid to dominate the stocking, you can easily stuff it with a bottle for your friend who wants nothing more than to enjoy a great glass with dinner after a long day of work. Consider the Naughty & Nice gift pack from Chateau Chantal, offering both a dry red and a sweet white, so the wine lover in your life can pair their drink with their mood.

COURTESY PHOTOS

We all have that person in our lives who leads their own marching band. W hether they’re witchy, trippy, or goddess-y, you’ll f ind a gift that matches their free-spirited personality at The 12th House. Pick up a crystal and herb infused candle, some dreamy incense, or a make-your-own-spell jar. They’re also pride friendly!

FOR YOUR BFF 831 Wealthy St SW pharmhousewellness.com

Your bestie will thank you for being a friend if you slip them some recreationals. Head over to locally owned and operated Pharmhouse Wellness, where you can pick up a Beach Bum Bundle kit, a bag of gummies, or a pack of pre-rolls to light up their life. Bonus… they might just share some of your gift with you.

FOR THE LITTLES 1405A Lake Drive SE | yourstrulygr.com Seeing kids open their stockings can be one of the highlights of the season. Tuck something in there to make them smile, such as a mini hand-knit or crocheted stuffed animal from Yours Truly. The shop also carries oodles of other small toys and games, including magnetic dress-up and playtime boxes in a number of different themes.

FOR ANYONE 638 Wealthy SE | mokayagr.com It is really hard to go wrong with chocolate. But, let’s make sure it’s thoughtful and doesn’t look like you picked it up a the convenience store on the way home from work the day before the holiday. Instead, go for some gorgeous truff les and bonbons at Mokaya. Their two-, four-, and six-piece boxes will f it perfectly in a stocking and they come in an array of f lavors. There’s even a vegan option. ■

34NNOOVVEEMMBBEERR 22002233 //revuewm.com revuewm.com 34


NOVEMBER 2023

35


Cannabis Gift Guide | by Josh Veal

C

hances are, at this point, you have at least one person in your life who would love to get anything cannabis related as a gift. You could go the traditional route of buying some high-quality f lower—let’s be honest, your friend might be going for the cheap stuff—but there are a dozen other ways to enjoy cannabis nowadays, not to mention the fun accessories and apparel that come with the hobby. Need some help? Here are just a few possibilities for the “tree hugger” in your life: ROSIE 420 ROLLING TRAY | Available at: Fluresh

W hether it’s for ash or rolling joints, every smoker needs a stylish tray in their life. This one from Fluresh has a modern version of Rosie the R iveter on it, offering words of encouragement whenever you look her way. “You can smoke it!” Yes, you certainly can. OG BLACK STASH JAR | Available at: House of Dank Cannabis is notoriously smelly, and the packaging isn’t always the most aesthetically pleasing, so it’s good to have a place to keep your stash. This jar from House of Dank is classic, simple, and solid, fitting in with just about any home décor. FAST ACTING THC CHEESEBALLS | Available at: Pharmhouse Wellness Pharmhouse is perhaps most known for being entirely local and growing some high quality f lower for a very affordable price. However, you might be looking for something especially fun and unique for your gift, in which case we recommend these baked THC CheeseBalls, which also come in Flaming Hot, of course. FUNKY-UNS | Available at: Pincanna For another snack food option, check out these Funyun-inspired onion snack rings from Funky Extracts. Crunchy, savory, and infused with 200 mg of THC throughout the pack. Now that’s how you get a party started without any smoke. LOVE SUPREME CRAFT CANNABIS | 1925 Century Ave. SW, Grand Rapids If you want to gift the smoker in your life some high-quality f lower, it’s hard to do better than a microbusiness—growers who produce everything on the same site as the storefront, and don’t sell anyone else’s products. Head into Love Supreme for a deli-style experience will budtenders will guide you to the perfect gift. INDIGROW | 639 W. Clay Ave., Muskegon If you’re out on the lakeshore, you’ll f ind another great microbusiness: IndiGrow. With a huge focus on supporting and growing the community, IndiGrow offers tours through the facility, a space to smoke outside, and most of all: Premium products at a reasonable price, from f lower to vape carts, edibles and concentrates. ESCAPE ARTISTS THC RELIEF CREAM | Available at: JARS Cannabis Maybe your giftee is just looking to dip their toes into the world of cannabis. If so, consider a topical that won’t get them high, like this THC Relief Cream from Escape Artists. Each jar has 800 mg of CBD and 40 mg of THC, along with the restorative properties of camphor and menthol. Everyone has muscle and joint pains, so this is a sure bet. PINEAPPLE WAKE AND BAKE MUG | Available at: Ascend For the stoner who has everything, get them something extra fun and one-ofa-kind. There are plenty of huge, wacky bongs out there (the R ick and Morty market is massive), but you might want to keep it simple with this mug that also acts as a functioning bowl, so you friend can get their coffee and cannabis buzzes at the same time. ■ COURTESY PHOTOS

36NNOOVVEEMMBBEERR 22002233 //revuewm.com revuewm.com 36


NOVEMBER 2023

37


/// S E X & R E L ATI O N S H I PS

Elise Kutt. COURTESY PHOTOS

GET READY FOR YOUR CLOSEUP: A Boudoir Q&A

E

verything you want to know about boudoir from local powerhouse Elise Kutt, owner of Mod Bettie Portrait Boutique and Naughty Bettie intimates boutique.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO DO A BOUDOIR PHOTOSHOOT? SO many reasons! To try something new, for one. There’s a lot to be said for doing something to shake things up a bit. Doing a shoot is also a way to get over the fear of being photographed. I think the #1 thing I hear is: “I’m not photogenic.” I truly believe everyone is with the right coach to guide them through. And, when someone does a photoshoot, they get to see themselves the way their loved ones do! We’re usually so much harder on ourselves, so to be documented in a way that allows us to see what our favorite people see in us is really beautiful. Finally, my favorite reason is just to be seen in general. I feel like in today’s world, often we feel unseen in different parts of our lives. To exist in a space where we see you, we feel your energ y, and we get to know you—that’s pretty powerful! WHAT KINDS OF SHOOTS DO YOU OFFER AND HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT? The term boudoir can really exist across styles, wardrobes, and genres. For our studio’s purposes, we bucket them into categories like modern boudoir, retro pinup, glam, and couples sessions. Different things empower different women! So, for some, it’s taking off more clothes and, for others, it’s putting on more clothes. I like to call our studio an empowerment experience— because it doesn’t matter to me if you want to wear clothes or if you want to document your body totally nude. IS BOUDOIR FOR MEN, TOO? Yes! Very recently there’s been an uptick, and this year I have photographed more men in boudoir than I ever have in the past. I’m f inding, especially with regard to the couples sessions we do, that there isn’t as much conversation around body insecurities that men have. But they have just as many as women do, they’re just not talking about them. So, it’s been really incredible to see men showing up for this experience too! This work is for everybody—and every body.

MOD BETTIE & NAUGHTY BETTIE 706 Curve St SW | Grand Rapids modbettie.com naughtybettie.com

38 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

WHAT IS YOUR PRE-PROCESS FOR GETTING SOMEONE READY FOR THEIR SHOOT? Because our studio takes more of an art therapy approach to our sessions, the prep is an especially important part of the process. We send out multiple emails before the session, so they feel cared for from start to finish—and beyond. They feel seen even before they get seen. That includes videos that my team has put together for every step, from hair and makeup to mindset to pose coaching to shopping for lingerie. There’s also a pre-shoot, virtual design experience where we go through the motivation for the shoot, the vibe the client wants,

| by Allison Kay Bannister

and how they want to present themselves in these images. We’ve tried to build an intentional experience that covers every aspect, so all they have to do is show up. WHAT IF SOMEONE IS NERVOUS ABOUT GETTING NAKED? DO THEY HAVE TO WEAR LINGERIE OR SOMETHING REALLY REVEALING? That’s a huge part of that virtual design session, where I get to ask them a million questions about their life and how they dream of being documented. It’s all up to the individual and their comfort level. A lot of people think when they book a shoot, they’re booking one genre, but often it’s multiple genres in one session. They may want to document all the ways they show up in their lives… their professional side; their sexy, spicy side; their casual, hanging out on a Saturday side. This experience is empowerment first; what is worn doesn’t really matter! WHAT DO YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT BOOKING A SHOOT? Do your research. Look for photography studios that take an intentional approach to every part of the process. This experience can be harmful if not done correctly. You want a photographer who is not only comfortable posing and coaching, but who is also trauma informed. The job of the photographer isn’t just to dress you up, pose you, and snap a photo; it is to create a space where you feel most comfortable giving your most authentic expressions. WHAT DIDN’T I ASK THAT YOU WISH I DID? What a lot of people want to know is how to find lingerie to wear for their shoot. I think it’s the number one question that my industry sees and, again, part of my intention in building this whole experience in an inclusive way was in noticing the anxieties that came up in the process before I opened the lingerie boutique, Naughty Bettie, inside the studio. I acknowledged that there was one part that was missing, and I wanted to solve those feels so that there was no point across the entire experience where they would feel insecure or stressed. They can come in and shop in the boutique with photographers who know how to fit and know what shoots the best. By having the onsite lingerie boutique, clients enter a space where the mission of creating a safe and supportive environment for self-expression is carried all the way through. As we talked about earlier, boudoir doesn’t always mean lingerie. It’s whatever someone wants it to be! It can look different ways for different people and I tried to curate a collection of size-inclusive options that can be accessible to all body types and all styles. This experience is one that every single body can utilize in their self-exploration journey. ■


NOVEMBER 2023

39


/// S E X & R E L ATI O N S H I PS

Frederik Meijer Garden & Sculpture Park. PHOTO BY DEAN VAN DIS / The Aroma Labs. COURTESY PHOTO Moveir Dance Studio. PHOTO BY SAMANTHA KUNZ PHOTOGRAPHY / Cirilla's. COURTESY PHOTO

From First DateDate to Forever Ideas in West Michigan I

| by Josh Veal

t’s cuff ing season, which means people every where are feeling the urge to link up with a partner and stay cozy through the winter months. W hile we may not be experts on actually meeting the love of your life, we are experts on the best things to do in West Michigan, and that includes dates. W hether it’s your f irst time out together, a 10-year anniversary or even just a good old date night, there’s plenty of great options. Here are just a few of our suggestions.

Early Dates

Romantic Dates

GREAT LAKES GLOW GOLF

CONCERTS UNDER THE STARS

3494 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids grpm.org, (616) 929-1700

W hen it’s too cold for outdoor mini golf, Glow Golf remains an easy breezy date for all ages. Don’t take it too seriously and just have a blast hitting glowing balls around in the dark! You might even be able to sneak a smooch when no one’s looking, thanks to the dim lighting. And make sure to get some ice cream and hit the free arcade once you’re done! WAX POETIC CANDLE BAR waxpoeticcandlebar.com

Candles are just plain romantic, and making them together is the perfect date. If you’re feeling good about how things are going with this special someone, reserve a time at Wax Poetic to create your own candles with their huge library of scents, then take that wax home, light it up, and think of them every time you inhale. FREDERIK MEIJER GARDENS & SCULPTURE PARK 1000 E. Beltline Ave., Grand Rapids meijergardens.org

Just about everyone has been to Frederik Meijer Gardens at some point in the sunny seasons, but you might not know they’re just as beautiful in fall and winter! Enjoy a nice warm time inside with cacti, big tropical plants and art galleries. Then head outside for sculptures and the Japanese Gardens, designed to be enjoyed in winter.

40 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com

Do you see stars every time you look at your extra special someone? Celebrate your love with an out-of-this-world date. Enjoy an evening relaxing under the stars at the Chaffee Planetarium, experiencing the stellar beauty of the cosmos and live visual art while listening to music by local artists like Earth Radio ( Jan. 26-27), Phabies (Feb. 23-24) and violinist Jordan Hamilton (March 2324). Refreshments, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase. SLEEPING BEAUTY Grand Rapids Ballet, 341 Ellsworth SW, Grand Rapids Feb. 23-25 | grballet.com

The ballet is inherently romantic, as far as we’re concerned, and love will def initely be in the air in February when the Grand Rapids Ballet puts on Sleeping Beauty, one of the most beloved fairytales and classical ballets of all time—with an exceptional score performed live by the Grand Rapids Symphony, gorgeous costumes, sumptuous sets, and breathtaking dancing. By the time the curtains close, you’ll be tempted to sweep your boo off their feet. If you’re looking for a closer date, try The Nutcracker in December! LEARN TO DANCE Moveir Dance Studio, 2483 Burlingame Ave. SW, Wyoming moveirdancestudio.com

Dancing with your loved one is a bit of a lost art, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to work and move together with a dance class at Moveir, teaching you whatever styles you want to learn, whether it’s a casual and social waltz to a more complex and physical swing dance. Bust out your new moves at the next dance party and all your friends will be jealous. THE AROMA LABS 76 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids thearomalabs.com

W hen you’ve lived together for years, you might lose that “love the way they smell” feeling. Spruce up your scent with Aroma Labs, a place for people of any gender to create their own custom fragrance! Instead of Old Spice, your spouse can associate you with chardonnay, cedarwood and green tea.

Intimate Dates BOOK A BOUDOIR SHOOT We have an incredible amount of quality photographers in West Michigan who are highly skilled at boudoir shoots—the perfect gift to spice things up with your significant other, or even just to help yourself feel empowered and sexy! A great boudoir photographer will help you pose, hype you up and do everything possible to make you comfortable. Boudoir X Alyssa, K. Suzanne Photography, and Mod Bettie Portrait are just a few local choices. CIRILLA’S/LOVER’S LANE Multiple locations

As they say at Lover’s lane, “the couples that play together, stay together.” And of course, they’re talking about playing in the bedroom. Both Cirilla’s and Lover’s Lane are two quality sex shops in the area that are a lot of fun to shop at with your signif icant other, offering everything from corsets and bodystockings to adult toys, lube, videos, games, and even edible body paints. Bon appetit! COUPLES MASSAGE Design 1 Salon Spa, Multiple locations design1.com

The only thing more relaxing than a massage is getting to see your partner relax along with you. There are a few places around West Michigan that offer side-by-side massages, and at Design 1 you can even ramp up the experience with special touches like hot stones, warm bamboo or cupping. Head home blissed out and cozy up! ■


NOVEMBER 2023

41


PHOTOS COURTESY OF ABDOULAYE CONDE AND REBECCA HUMES, WINNERS OF 2023 ARTPRIZE

REVUEWM.COM/ARTS

| by Zachary Avery

Harmony and Togetherness:

THE WINNERS OF ARTPRIZE T

he first thing you may notice when visiting Abdoulaye Conde’s “Raining Wisdom” mural at 45 Ottawa NW, besides its impressive size, is its intriguing use of bold, black lines to separate colors and create an unfolding mosaic pattern. In this way, it’s almost like stained glass—presenting colors in an enticing way that invites the viewer to see the piece from both up close and afar. Conde intended on this very effect. “If you look at the style, you can see more beautiful colors together in harmony,” Conde said. “It makes me and other people very happy.” Conde has loved art since he was very young, drawing with only pencil at first. Then, when he was 15 and could afford the materials, he began to paint. Each day he continued like this, sketching original pieces and teaching himself the basics. Eventually, a family friend (who happened to be an artist herself ) was able to see his work, and Conde’s raw talent came into clear view. She gave him a simple instruction: Find your style. Anyone should be able to see one of Conde’s pieces and immediately know who created it. Conde got to work. “In 2012, I started to draw on vinyl,” Conde said. “I thought, ‘If I put a head inside of it, the round black vinyl can be the hair.’ I did that for three years.” The logo for his website and online store, Boutique Gnabassan, is in this very medium. The image depicts a Black woman’s portrait overlayed with Conde’s iconic mosaic patterning, all painted on an old vinyl record.

Curious if this artistic effect was somehow tied to his unique brand name, I asked Conde for a definition. “Gnabassan means ‘mixed,’ mixed in harmony and togetherness,” Conde said. “If we are together, then nothing can break us. That’s gnabassan.” Abdoulaye Conde was not the only audience favorite that made waves during this year’s ArtPrize—Rebecca Humes’ “Tale of Ten Dresses” is another. Humes has evolved her presentation each and every year, beginning with her primary medium of photography. This year’s piece was finally the showstopper she’d been aiming for, exhibiting modeled photos of 10 original dresses crafted from old children’s books, as well as the dresses themselves on display. In the process, friends and family volunteered to help cut paper as Humes glued the materials together in order to construct each new outfit. This was after an unfortunate accident nearly put her project on hold. “One of the biggest roadblocks that I hit was midway through this process I fell and broke my wrist,” Humes said. “So, I did have a small village come together and help me pull this off.” The result is an incredible feat that needs to be seen to be believed. Gazing deeper into any of these dresses reveals a mammothsized collage of old, worn book pages and illustrations. Humes’ dress dedicated to Beverly Cleary required 83 books alone. “If a thrift store or bookstore can’t sell them, most of the time they just end up in the

42 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com/arts

trash,” Humes said. “I’m trying to give these books a second chance at life and bring their magic back to life as a piece of art.” For Conde, the journey toward ArtPrize 2023 was less tried and true. Some of his family live in Grand Rapids, and so they encouraged him to submit a pitch. He figured he’d try it out, and early sketches of what eventually became “Raining Wisdom” were primarily centered around his own life story, growing up in Guinea, West Africa, where elephants (or syli) are so widely beloved. When he first started as an artist, elephants were some of his first subjects. So, it seemed right to depict them on a much grander scale. “My favorite times were going to the beach and swimming all day,” Conde said. “When I look at the piece, it reminds me of my story.” Even on occasions when he and his sister were meant to go to the water and perform

chores, like washing their clothes, young Conde couldn’t resist jumping into the water and playing. The girl and boy in “Raining Wisdom” are meant to represent childhood memories like these, showing siblings enjoying the idyllic landscape around them. Conde’s own father, who died when he was 10 years old, is depicted in the mural. In fact, the piece’s very title comes from a motto his father had repeated to him since a young age. In this way, “Raining Wisdom” is a living memorial, now to be immortalized as a part of our city. Perhaps Conde’s vision of a memory can offer some amazement and wonder to our own home here in West Michigan. And for our future. “ArtPrize is a good opportunity for all the artists in the world to share their beautiful ideas,” Conde said. “I’m so appreciative for ArtPrize here.” ■


NOVEMBER 2023

43


EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY: Dog Story Theater Returns

| by John Kissane

Dog Story Theater. COURTESY PHOTOS

O

n June 27th, 2020, Dog Story Theater closed its doors. COVID-19 had pushed the organization, which operated with thin margins at the best of times, past its breaking point. At the time, there was no clarity as to when live theater might resume or when audiences would feel safe returning. “We will feel its loss keenly,” the group announced. W hile the organization itself wasn’t dissolving, the physical space at 7 Jefferson Avenue was closed, effectively leaving Dog Story Theater nothing but a name. It was a mourned name. Commenters posted heartfelt messages of sadness and support. The words “heartbreak ” and “so very sorry” came up again and again. “I just want to cry,” one supporter wrote. So it went: another pandemic casualty. Or so it seemed; as the world recovered some sense of normalcy, Dog Story board members began looking for a new space. In May of 2023, they found it: 340 State

Street SE in Heritage Hill. The city has approved the usage, But in order to make it an effective theater space, and to make it ADA compliant, some modif ications to the building are required–and modif ications cost money. Help from the community would be needed. On August 15th, 2023, a Kickstarter campaign was launched. The goal was modest: $15,000, or 30% of the startup costs. The hope was to raise enough to open the doors. If successful, a second phase of the campaign would be launched, one that would provide more seating and allow for aesthetic changes to the stage; at this point, Dog Story hopes to complete its second phase within one to two years of reopening. As of this writing (October 15th, 2023), the campaign has raised $5,500, a little over one-third of its $15,000 goal. Dog Story opened its doors in 2008. The theater takes its name from a monologue in Edward A lbee’s Zoo Story; f ittingly, that

44 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com/arts

play would be the f irst production held in the theater. From the start, it was an affordable venue for theatrical (or theateradjacent) groups lacking a permanent stage of their own. Over the years, Dog Story hosted numerous events, including dance performances, live comedy, concerts,film debuts, live CD recordings, and theater. It served as the venue for Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, among others. Pigeon Creek, which bills itself as “Michigan’s only year-round, touring, professional Shakespeare company,” was a perfect fit for the venue; the group performs much as groups would have in Shakespeare’s time, without amplification and with minimal stage decor. In Dog Story’s functional, intimate space, audience members had a direct line to what was taking place onstage and were in close enough proximity to see every line in a furrowed brow. Another mainstay was Dice Tales. A live

roleplaying game helmed by GM Brooke Maier (née Heintz), Dice Tales originated as part of a small convention called Geekfest. Geekfest was intended to swell Dog Story’s coffers, or at least pay the rent; it was a one-off. But given the reception it received, the group decided to make it an ongoing monthly event. Dice Tales live proved to be warm and welcoming, something between a comic radio play and a good-naturedly profane roleplaying session with old friends. The loss of Dog Story’s Jefferson Ave location, and the pandemic itself, meant that Dice Tales went mostly virtual (the group does perform occasionally at conventions and other live venues). Given the reopening, Dice Tales will be able to return to Dog Story’s stage. Cari Scholten, a member of Dice Tales, said that Dog Story gave her “a peek into a new world. I’m so thrilled to see Dog Story making its comeback.” ■


NOVEMBER 2023

45


| by Revue Staff

NOVEMBERARTS

Calendar

In 2023, arts organizations are largely back on their feet and offering incredible seasons of art, conversations, fun and community involvement. Now that it’s fall, arts organizations are diving right back into their seasons with renewed gusto. This month, you can visit the theaters for big Broadway shows and intimate plays, listen to symphonies play the classics and modern pieces, and head to local museums for a variety of stunning art. Check it out.

BROADWAY GRAND RAPIDS

GRAND RAPIDS ART MUSEUM

122 Lyon St. NW, Grand Rapids broadwaygrandrapids.com

101 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids artmuseumgr.org

FUNNY GIRL, Sept. 19-24

EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IN ITS TIME: SIX CENTURIES OF PRINTS,

TINA, Nov. 7-12

FARMERS ALLEY THEATRE KALAMAZOO 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo farmersalleytheatre.com

ADDY & UNO, Oct. 27-Nov. 5

Through Dec. 3

UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING: HUMILITY AND GRANDEUR IN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, Through Jan. 14 EXPERIMENTAL FILM SELECTIONS FROM OPEN PROJECTOR NIGHT, Through Jan. 14

EVERY BRILLIANT THING, Nov. 30-Dec. 17

GRAND RAPIDS CIVIC THEATRE 30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids grct.org

FONTANA CHAMBER ARTS 359 Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 200, Kalamazoo fontanamusic.org

DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Nov. 17-Dec. 17

KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 314 South Park St., Kalamazoo kiarts.org

A BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: WORKS BY WU JIAN’AN, Through Dec. 31 C. C. WANG: LINES OF ABSTRACTION, Through Dec. 31 CELEBRATE!, Through Jan. 14

MATILDA: THE MUSICAL, Nov. 16-18

300 Ottawa Ave. NW Ste. 100, Grand Rapids grsymphony.org

HANDEL’S MESSIAH BY CANDLELIGHT, Nov. 17-18 COCO IN CONCERT, Nov. 3-4

FRAUENTHAL CENTER

HOPE COLLEGE GREAT PERFORMANCE SERIES

425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon frauenthal.org

100 E. Eighth St., Holland hope.gps

VETERAN’S DAY TRIBUTE, Nov. 12

BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO, Nov. 16

359 Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 100, Kalamazoo kalamazoosymphony.com

BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH SYMPHONY, Nov. 11 TCHAIKOVSKY’S THE NUTCRACKER, Nov. 18

LAFONTSEE GALLERIES & FARMING 833 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids lafontsee.us

CUT & PASTE, Through Nov. 4

1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo wmich.edu/theatre

NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812, Oct. 27-Nov. 5 CLUE, Nov. 10-19 NEXT STOP, BROADWAY!,

SAUGATUCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS 400 Culver St., Saugatuck sc4a.org Through Dec. 31

OF PLANTS AND PLACE, Ongoing NINGAASEG, Through Jan. 26

ST. CECILIA MUSIC CENTER 24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids scmc-online.org

KALAMAZOO CIVIC THEATRE 329 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kazoocivic.com

WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY?, Oct. 27-Nov. 5

MUSKEGON CIVIC THEATRE 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon muskegoncivictheatre.org

CALENDAR GIRLS, Nov. 17-Dec. 3

296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon muskegonartmuseum.org

ODDITIES & DELIGHTS, Through Feb. 25 TIFFANY LAMPS: THE RICHARD H. DRIEHAUS COLLECTION, Through Jan. 14

Nov. 30-Dec. 2

NEW VIC THEATRE 134 E. Vine St., Kalamazoo thenewvictheatre.org

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Nov. 17-Dec. 22

46 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com/arts

STULBERG INTERNATIONAL STRING COMPETITION AMELIA ZITOUN W/ WMU SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, Nov. 11 DANIEL BAE W/ BALTIMORE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, Nov. 19

THE GILMORE 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo thegilmore.org

RISING STAR: SEAN MASON TRIO, Dec. 3

WEST MICHIGAN SYMPHONY

BARBECUE, Nov. 10-19 THE SOUND OF MUSIC, Nov. 24-Dec. 17

JERRY DOUGLAS, Nov. 16

359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo stulberg.org

MUSKEGON MUSEUM OF ART GILMORE THEATRE/ WMU THEATRE

CHORUS CONCERT, Nov. 16

TRIOS TRANSFORMED, Nov. 9

GRAND RAPIDS SYMPHONY

600 Forest Hill Ave. SE, Grand Rapids fhfineartscenter.com

1320 E. Fulton St., Grand Rapids operagr.org

CREATIVE FELLOW MINDY TRAFMAN,

KALAMAZOO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

BEN GULLEY & PETER DUGAN, Nov. 5

FOREST HILLS FINE ARTS CENTER

OPERA GRAND RAPIDS

360 W. Western Ave. Ste. 200, Muskegon westmichigansymphony.org

SCHEHERAZADE AND MORE, Nov. 3


NOVEMBER 2023

47


48 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 / revuewm.com


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.