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Pr emi er d e st i n at i o n gu i de to w e st Mich ig an

Fall & Winter 2 011– 2 012


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Grand Rapids | 616.776.6426 | Inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel | ruthschris.com


Exceptional Shopping, Dining and Entertainment! Shop over 100 stores: Apple The North Face Williams-Sonoma Ann Taylor Swarovski Brookstone J. Crew Barnes & Noble Fossil Banana Republic

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Not just health care, but healthier communities

A New Era in Children’s Health Care. At Spectrum Health, our commitment to children holds 212 beds, stands 14 stories tall and features nearly 200 specially trained pediatric physicians. It provides the knowledge and expertise of more than 50 advanced pediatric specialties. It includes Michigan’s largest neonatal intensive care unit and the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. The new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is our commitment to all kids, all the time. And no commitment is bigger than caring for the smallest among us. To learn more about our commitment to helping kids get healthier, visit helendevoschildrens.org.


Co nt ents

40

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On the cover: Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Garrett Borns, born January 7, 1992, in Muskegon, and a 2010 graduate of Grand Haven High School. Instruments Ukelele, guitar, voice Style Indie acoustic rock Turning point Performing at the May 2011 TEDx conference in Grand Rapids

Every Issue

Albums First EP being released fall 2011

10 54 72 80 88

Guest Editorial 36 Hours in Grand Rapids Savor: A Guide to Hotel Dining Calendar of Events Solace Scene

Quote My music is a lullaby, it’s a dance party, it’s a whisper, it’s a scream, it’s pleasure, it’s frustration, it’s right on the money, it’s confusion. It’s going to be different to every set of ears that takes it in. garrettborns.com

Life 14 16 18 28 30 36

Hit It Music as Medicine Carving Out Sound The Garden That Grows Music Cultural Collisions Learning to Master Sound

Vo lu m e 5 N u m b e r 2 music An Amway Hotel Corporation Publication

Editorial Director Dottie Rhodes

Features

Creative Director Gwen O’Brien Editor Kristin Tennant

40 The Real Deals 48 Staying (A)Live 62 Big Names, Michigan Roots

Design Plenty Creative

A m way H ot e l C o r p o r at i o n Corporate Director of Marketing Chad LeRoux Marketing Programs Manager Ryan Slusarzyk

Solace ™ magazine is published two times per year by Plenty Creative on behalf of the Amway Hotel Corporation. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of Amway Hotel Corporation. For advertising information, please call 616.776.6980 or visit us online at solacemag.com. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/solacemagazine and Twitter at @solacemag.

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o n t h e c ov e r Photography Mitch Ranger Artist Garrett Borns Makeup and Hair Kathy Price Wardrobe Courtesy of A.K. Rikk's


let’s go. DoWntoWn GRAnD RApiDS

play. shop. eat. walk. dance. explore. bike. live. chill. Explore. Shop. Dine. Enjoy. With so much to do and see in downtown Grand Rapids, going out means having fun. From the Grand Rapids Art Museum to the fabulous shopping just outside your room to the rich and inviting nightlife, one thing is certain. When you’re here, boredom is just not in the picture.

➺ downtowngr.org


L e t t er from Josep h Tom asell i

Dear guest, Welcome to West Michigan! Welcome to West Michigan! The theme for this issue of SOLACE is music. Known for being a universal language, music seems like the perfect way to welcome and bring together many different people in our community. As president of Amway Hotel Corporation—the operator of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, and the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott—my goal regarding your stay here reaches beyond our comfortable beds, delicious food, and friendly service. My hope is that by the time you leave our wonderful city, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the people, places, and sounds that characterize our region. That’s why I’m particularly excited about this issue of SOLACE, which highlights both our city’s amazing talent and its diversity. There’s something here for every type of music lover. If you’re a fan of classical music, you’ll be fascinated to learn more about how string instruments are made, in an article featuring a local father-son team (p. 18). If you love immersing yourself in other cultures, an article about two bands—one Polish and the other Latin American—will leave you eager to hear

their music for yourself (p. 30). And if various types of pop, rock, and hip-hop are more your style, there is a handful of locally based bands ready to break out into the larger music scene (p. 40). Be sure to catch a show if they’re playing while you’re in town. Speaking of shows, getting out and hearing music live will always be the best way to immerse yourself in a city’s music culture. Here in Grand Rapids, we have a growing number of venues featuring live shows—local and touring musicians alike—nightly. Read our feature article about six favorite local music venues to find out what makes each setting unique (p. 48). While you’re out and about, don’t miss a personal take on how you might want to spend 36 hours in the area, from where to eat breakfast to where to go to beef up your vinyl record collection (and what radio station to check out while you’re resting in your hotel room) (p. 54).

studio academy for at-risk teens (p. 36), the power of music therapy at work in a local hospital (p. 16), and the satisfaction of learning to play an instrument—even as an adult (p. 14)—will broaden your understanding of how important music is in our community and world. Finally, we’re proud of the broader music heritage we’re a part of in the state of Michigan. From Aretha Franklin and Bob Seger to Madonna and Eminem, Michigan has produced a long line of musical giants worth celebrating. Read one music journalist’s take on what cultivated such a rich music culture in our state (p. 62). I truly hope you enjoy your stay with us and are able to take in some of the thriving music scene our city has to offer. Please use SOLACE as a guide to your time here, and be sure to take it home with you to enjoy after your visit.

Music also has a way of doing much more than simply entertaining people—it can also inspire, heal, and satisfy our need for creative expression. Our articles about a recording

Joseph Tomaselli Amway Hotel Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer

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Men who pursue life shop here!

BRETON VILLAGE

616-957-2220 I www.fitzs.com Visit the concierge desk for transportation or additional information.


Guest editori a l

Tam i Vand enBe rg Photography by Ryan Pavlovich

Setting the stage Tami VandenBerg and her brother Jeff are all about spaces that promote creative connections.

I’ve lived in West Michigan almost my whole life, so I’ve really seen the music culture evolve over the years. During my college years in Grand Rapids, in the 1990s, I became a pretty obsessive live-music fan, attending shows every week or even multiple times a week. Some of those shows were in Chicago or Detroit, so I was driving three hours each way to hear my favorite music. I love that you don’t need to leave town any more to catch great shows. A lot has changed in the music scene here! I’m constantly surprised by how rich and diverse it is for a small city. I can go see A.B! and Coconut Brown (hip-hop) one night, then Cabildo (Latin), Alexis (Europop), or the Icicles (an all girl band) the next weekend. Music can be a really powerful force in a community, so my brother Jeff and I have put a lot of effort into supporting the local music culture behind the scenes, booking shows for community events. I’m especially excited about the increase in outdoor festivals and music events in and around Grand Rapids. In addition

to the Mexican Festival, Hispanic Festival, Eastown Streetfair, and Bizarre Bazaar, we now have the Local First Streetfest, Founders Fest, and various smaller scale events, too. I also love facilitating connections between the nonprofit arena and local musicians, and watching how music brings people together and makes a community stronger. So many of the musicians in this area are solid people. They show up to benefits, will play for free for a good cause, and are loyal customers. If I can be involved in an event that is fun and wellattended, and funds are raised for a nonprofit I care about, that is about as good as it gets! Music has been at the core of our business ventures, too. Jeff and I, along with Mark Sellars, opened The Pyramid Scheme in 2011 because we saw a vacuum in the Grand Rapids market for the midsize touring bands and the local bands that draw big crowds. We thought it would be fun not just to launch a new venue, but also to provide some jobs and fill a vacant building downtown. Jeff books the shows and I oversee finances and human resources. We

also own The Meanwhile, a bar in the East Hills neighborhood that tends to gather together local musicians, artists and creative folks. Ultimately, there are several factors involved in cultivating a vibrant music culture like the one we have here in Grand Rapids. First, the artists and musicians need to have opportunities to build community. Any bar or café known for music and art can facilitate friendships between established artists and younger ones, as well as people who are new to town. When a lot of different people get together, the creativity and collaborations flow. With all of that creativity, it’s important to have a variety of places that bring together the people who play music and the people who love listening to it— clubs, arenas, festivals, basements, co-ops, wherever! It also takes a supportive fan base that gets out to see live music and buy CDs. We can’t all be musicians. I hope everyone visiting the city gets a chance to check out our local talent—they won’t be disappointed!

The Meanwhile 1005 Wealthy Street SE meanwhilebar.com A short drive from your hotel.

Tami VandenBerg grew up in Wyoming, Michigan and graduated from Calvin College in 1997. When it comes to music, Tami’s interests are broad, leaning toward world music, dance music, and hip-hop—especially when the bands are local. 10

The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave SW pyramidschemebar.com An 5-minute walk from your hotel.


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Addition, subtraction, transformation. Kendall MFA Drawing graduate Devin Slattery relies on a delicate process of brushing on graphite powder, penciling in fine lines, and gently erasing gestures. The positive and negative space slowly transform into a glimpse of an ethereal world. For more information on this or any of Kendall’s art and design programs, please call 1 800 676.2787 or visit www.kcad.edu.


Building a Better Business to Build a Better community. today’s amway is committed to building business and personal relationships in our community and around the world. Founded more than 50 years ago by two local high school friends, Jay Van andel and rich deVos, amway is now one of the world’s largest direct-selling companies, operating in more than 80 countries and territories. our commitment to people includes the amway one by one campaign for children, which has benefited more than 8 million children globally, including 196,000 right here in West michigan. you are invited to visit us at the amway Welcome center in nearby ada where we have more than 24 interactive exhibits and 160 videos to illustrate the future of nutrition, beauty and home care products. stop by for a tour and receive a free gift or call (616) 787-6701 to make an appointment. We encourage you to visit us anytime at amway.com.


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Li fe

li felo ng learni ng

By Juliet Bennett Rylah Photography by Andrew Maguire

Hit it When’s a good time to start learning an instrument? Now. Adults who have never touched an instrument and those who are returning to music after several years alike are finding joy in the art of song. Musician, songwriter, and instructor David Molinari, also of zydeco group Creolization, is one teacher who works with adults as well as children embarking on or revitalizing an interest in music. He says there really is no difference between a child student and an adult student—the difference depends on desire to learn and the willingness to commit. “So many [adults] come in with their tail between their legs, thinking that you have to start when you’re young to play, and I don’t think it’s true,” he says. “If you have a desire and some time to put into it, you can do it. I’ve been [teaching] for 17 years, and I’ve had good students at any age bracket.” Molinari primarily teaches guitar and piano, but has occasional students in percussion, beginning bass and songwriting. He takes his expertise to students’ homes and focuses on customizing his lessons to each student’s strengths. “I don’t impose a method on people,” he says. “I basically see where they’re at—what their strengths and weaknesses are and what inspires them to play.” What inspires an adult to come seeking lessons can be a myriad of things. An older couple who

inherits a family piano, an empty nester looking to pick up an instrument again after years of career and family. He cites a woman who was a mother of a former guitar student who took classical piano lessons for a decade, rigorously practicing and competing, before quitting to pursue other things. Using her classical background, Molinari knew he could talk about chords and theory with her and use this knowledge to work on improvisation and a free-form style. Molinari says a musician looking to switch styles—someone who plays by ear wanting to learn music theory, or a classically trained musician wanting to try improvising—is another reason an adult might seek him out.

While you are in town, check out these local shops. You can also schedule a free half-hour lesson at Grand River Music. Grand River Music 1533 Wealthy Street SE grandrivermusic.com A 10-minute drive from your hotel. Rainbow Music 1148 Leonard Street NW rainbowmusic.us A short drive from your hotel.

Singer/songwriter Karisa Wilson spent some time in the education system before becoming a musician fulltime, “but teaching is still a part of my life.” With a full roster of students in voice, guitar, and violin, several are adults. Wilson is a passionate performer, and “music is a universal language,” she says, one she hopes comes through in her performance, and one that can be translated to students of all ages. One example she mentions is a Harvardtrained lawyer who decided to switch gears and begin writing children’s books. With more time on her hands, she also decided to sign up for private violin lessons. Both instructors agree there is no wrong or right time to pick up an instrument. The desire is all you need.

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Life

therap eutic t un es By Paul Flower Illustration by Christy DeHoog Johnson

music as medicine Local patients are comforted and healed through a universal, age-old means.

Music is valued by millions around the world for its entertainment value, but it’s also something more than that. For centuries, human beings have sought its power to soothe the mind and calm the spirit. Today, in imaginative and exciting new ways, that power is being tapped to comfort the dying and help heal the sick. In Grand Rapids, Miranda Eden and two other board-certified music therapists use music as “medicine,” in work supported by the Wege Institute for Mind, Body and Spirit at Saint Mary’s Health Care. Patients are referred by physicians and nurses on a case-by-case basis to the therapists, who sing and play guitars, a harp, and other musical instruments to aid with everything from pain relief and physical therapy, to the care of dementia patients and those in hospice. Eden said the therapist’s work can involve teaching music instruments such as hand drums to patients undergoing physical therapy, singing along with patients to aid breathing and speech, motivating patients who may be struggling with treatment, or playing songs to soothe those with mental issues and terminal illnesses. Music, she said, also helps with socialization and cognitive awareness. Whatever the case, the treatment may be artistic, but the approach is all science. Eden and her coworkers are therapists first, musicians second. “If we need to motivate a patient, we choose songs proven to motivate,” she says. “We consider even the keys a song is played in; for example, we know a female who’s above a certain age is not receptive to songs above a 16

certain key. So we play in a lower key so she will sing along.” In Holland, another approach to music therapy is being administered by children, for children. Bobbie Kearns, a music teacher at West Ottawa Public Schools, leads “Kids Healing Kids,” a music-as-therapy program that is known internationally for helping ill children. The program features a growing and passionate choir of kids who volunteer their time to record videos and perform songs for children with cancer. Kearns started the program in 1993, after noticing a new oncology unit being built in Holland, and receiving what she calls one of her “God’s facts”—a thought out of the blue. At first, recorded performances of the children’s choir were mailed to ill children through requests at the group’s website, kidshealingkids. com. Now, the music can reach more kids in need, around the world, thanks to the website YouTube, says Kearns. “Once we post one of our videos, I know that within days it is seen worldwide,” Kearns says. Both women—Kearns and Eden—say their experience with music as therapy has led them to a greater understanding of its power. “I always had a gut feel about music, how it can resonate with the soul,” Kearns says. “Then I studied all this scientific information and discovered that our brains, hearts, and souls are hardwired to consume music—I never realized.” “I think music is so universal,” adds Eden. “Everyone has an association with music. We see proof of that in our work every day.”

The Wege Institute at Saint Mary's 260 Jefferson SE wegeinstitute.org A 5-minute drive from your hotel. West Ottawa Public Schools “Kids Healing Kids” westottawa.net


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Li fe

i nst rum ent craf t

By David LeMieux Photography by Andrew Maguire

Carving out sound A local father-son duo build a reputation as big as the string basses they craft. Almost anyone can learn the basic woodworking techniques needed to fashion a fiddle, but only a gifted craftsman with an artist’s touch and a scientist’s intellect can craft a fine stringed instrument worthy of the world’s greatest musicians.

again failed to win his first award. “I felt so bad for him,” said Steven. “I was wondering what I could say to encourage him when they announced he’d won a silver medal (the top prize) for his instrument’s tone. I was thrilled, then I was pissed that he beat me.”

While still a music student at the University of Michigan, Steven Reiley, once assistant principal bassist for the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, discovered he possessed that unique melding of talents which can transform a scientist’s precise measurements and acute observations into a work of art. It is a gift his son Aaron Reiley possesses as well (sometimes, it seems, to his father’s chagrin).

Luthiers use the same tools found in any woodworking or fine carpentry shop. “Chisels, gouges, and a whole series of hand planes and finger planes with really round bottoms to create the curves and flat ones to work on the finger boards,” Steven explained.

Both Reileys entered instruments in the recent International Society of Bassists’ double bass maker’s competition in San Francisco. Founded in 1967 by renowned virtuoso Gary Karr, the society boasts close to 3,000 members in 40 countries worldwide. A record 25 luthiers (makers of stringed instruments) from seven countries entered the San Francisco competition. As the awards ceremony drew to a close, it once again appeared the son would be eclipsed by the father. Steven had won yet another certificate and Aaron, it seemed, had once

Although the advent of electricity and power tools has shaved a tiny fraction off the 300 or so hours Steven estimates it takes to fashion a fine instrument, all the crucial carving is still painstakingly done by hand. Each maker’s tools become almost an intimate extension of his body, giving him a kind of sixth sense, so each maker has his own, jealously guarded set. “Each piece of wood is different,” Aaron says. “With your tools you can feel the difference. With power tools you can never make that connection with the wood. Working by hand, you can tell the wood is more dense here and you can carve it a little thinner. That’s what makes handmade instruments different than machine made ones.”

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Guarneri House 221 John Street NE guarnerihouse.com A short drive from your hotel. Aaron’s Instruments 5645 Balsam Drive, Suite 800, Hudsonville aaronsinstruments.com An 18-minute drive from your hotel.

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Stringed instruments are carved from three kinds of wood: pine or spruce for the sound board, denser maple for the hard outer shell and neck, and bulletproof ebony for the fingerboard and pegs. “Different woods give a different tone, even woods in the same species,” Aaron explains. Each instrument is unique—another variation on an experiment which began centuries ago. Steven learned the intricacies of his craft through close study of fine instruments collected by mentors Mark Schwartz and Dario d’Attili. Steven learned by close study of his father.

“Dad’s shop was in the basement of our house and he was something of a workaholic. If I wanted to see him, I had to hang out with him in the basement,” Aaron says. Steven makes bows, restores, repairs, and sells rare and quality instruments to students and professionals at Guarneri House. Aaron has opened his own business, Aaron’s Instruments where he rents and repairs instruments. Aaron also still works at Guarneri House with his father and master luthier Steven McCann, an expert maker of violins, violas, and cellos.

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Life

Garden gro ov e By Paul Flower Photography by Jill DeVries

The garden that grows music A diverse collection of performers and fans is cultivated in this idyllic, warm-weather setting. Ask most visitors to describe what they’d expect to see at a garden and sculpture park in West Michigan, and they’re not likely to respond with “Guster, Pink Martini, and Elvis Costello.” But that’s just what they found this past summer at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. The park’s amphitheater offered a record 22 shows in 2011, featuring acts ranging from Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers to Sara Bareilles, Pink Martini, Guster, and Elvis Costello & the Imposters—a diversity that may be surprising, but is also completely intentional, according to Errol Shewman, the manager of guest services for the facility. “By diversifying (the types of acts), we attracted a new audience to the Gardens. The more diverse we are, the happier we are,” Shewman says.

The Meijer Gardens amphitheater, which opened in 2002, was expanded in 2011 to accommodate approximately 1,900 general admission concertgoers, making the venue “close to the size of (downtown Grand Rapids’) DeVos Hall,” says Shewman. And the fans have rushed to fill the additional space. East Grand Rapids resident Dave Kagan and his wife, Bev, are among the growing number of area residents who have made the concert series a can’t-miss part of the local summer scene. Two or three times each year, the Kagans pack a picnic then head to the Gardens to pick their spot on the terraced lawn, where they can enjoy the food and beverages, and drink in the music and the scene. “We think attending a concert there is one of the best parts of a West Michigan summer,” Kagan says. “It’s really one of the nicest outdoor venues I’ve been to, because it’s so intimate.”

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 E Beltline Avenue NE meijergardens.org A 10-minute drive from your hotel.

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Shewman said the unique atmosphere at the Gardens is also receiving rave reviews from performers. “Anything outside has a vibe all its own. Plus, here, we have this incredible environment with beautiful gardens as well,” Shewman says. “We have been contacted by artists who want to come back and want to perform here because of how nice the setting is and how nice the fans are. Some artists are blown away by the gardens and have asked for a tour.” While the Meijer Gardens amphitheater is hibernating during the cold weather months, plans are in the works for an exciting 2012 season. Shewman says it is too early to reveal any details, but he doesn’t expect to make big changes in what has become a winning formula. “We’ve gotten good feedback from younger people who said, ‘we can’t believe that you got some of the people you got this year,’” Shewman says.

Given the feedback, Shewman said the choice of acts at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will not only continue to be diverse, but also may broaden a bit. And Shewman said it’s not just because of the young people. He said even older concert fans are warming to the idea of summer evenings listening to tunes from the likes of G. Love & Special Sauce. “Our members trust us to pick quality music," he says. “We’ve had a number of them say ‘I had never heard of them (an act), so I Googled them and man are they cool, so I bought tickets.” Summer might seem like a long way off, but just as the temperatures are sure to rise, you can trust that Shewman’s plans for the 2012 concert schedule are heating up as well. Keep an eye on the Meijer Gardens website for details.


Li fe

Et hni c so unds

By Tommy Allen Illustration by Pat Perry

Cultural collisions Two old-world sounds meet up in new-world Grand Rapids for danceable fun. A work of art that hangs in Grand Rapids’ city hall reads simply this: “The People Are The City.” No other artwork within the entire collection even comes close to illustrating the exciting realities of what makes a city like Grand Rapids grand.

as he watches the huge crowds assemble over the summer in Rosa Parks Circle for a weekly swing dance event. “Everything runs in cycles,” says Rosinski. “The Polka has fallen out of fashion before and will be back again in vogue soon enough.”

As the region has embraced numerous ethnic groups who have settled here over the years, the area has blossomed with not just a plethora of rich and new culinary options, but also a vibrant ethnic music scene.

Another local musical act that has captured the hearts and intellects of the Spanish-speaking community (and those who love their food and dance) is Cabildo, an 8–10 member horn and drum-infused rhythmic band. The group’s Latin American sound, according to band member Julio Cano, “Unites traditional rhythms with rock in its different forms as we unlock the musical beauty and poetics of the Spanish language.”

Food and music, as it turns out, often go handin-hand. This is especially apparent at cultural gatherings, whether at a fall festival, a West Side neighborhood hall, or a local pub. Two acts which can be seen this fall around town might have been geographically separated by a large body of water when their cultures originally took root, but in Grand Rapids they are often just a few steps away from each other. The Diddle Styx is a lively five-member Polish polka band mining their heritage for a musical repertoire that is traditional yet modern. The group isn’t reluctant to mash-up this uniquely joyous style of dance music with a wink to contemporary culture by creating original songs like their “Polka Rap.” “It is hard to be down in the dumps when at a Polka event,” says bandleader and drummer, George W. Rosinski. “People can be having the worst day but when they hear a polka tune, they begin to tap their toes and all their problems just fade away.”

Cabildo’s ability to embrace words from the beloved literature of Hispanic culture and translate those words into song is a beautiful process. One such piece is by the famed Latin American poet, Pablo Neruda. The band set to song a poem from his “Book of Twilights.” Since the group’s name "Cabildo" loosely translated means “town hall” in English, it is not a surprise that this socially infused music speaks to many from different cultures who take the time to understand or decode the songs’ poetic mysteries. But even if you don’t understand Spanish, Cano doesn’t feel this is a problem because “we think rhythm is a unifying language and everyone who enjoys rhythm can enjoy our music.”

It is not uncommon to find one of these two acts playing at annual events like Pulaski Days or Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival, or at one of the area’s quaint neighborhood clubs or watering holes, or the bar scene downtown venues like Founders Brewery or Hopcat.

Founders Brewing Co. 235 Grandville Avenue SW foundersbrewing.com A 5-minute walk from your hotel. Hopcat 25 Ionia Avenue SW hopcatgr.com A 10-minute walk from your hotel. Cabildo myspace.com/cabildo

That Cano speaks the truth about rhythm is evident at Cabildo shows—getting a table isn’t usually a problem, but finding room on the dance floor, well, que es una historia diferente.

While Rosinski sees a decline in the number of people attending Polka events, he isn’t worried

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John Ball Zoological Society’s Restore the Roar received $150,000 toward its $12 million fund-raising effort to expand zoo exhibits, including exhibit space for Amur Tigers and Grizzly Bears, and educational and enrichment aspects of the two new animal exhibits.

Programs for youth happen here.

Seeing the great potential for the growth and development the arena would bring, in 1994 the Community Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to Grand Action toward the construction of Van Andel Arena. Today, we are happy to see the results and be its neighbor.

Downtown renewal happens here.

In the last 71 years, the Community Foundation has supported Kendall College of Art and Design. Most recently, it announced it is helping fund the expansion of the noted downtown Grand Rapids art school—a $200,000 grant is helping to renovate the former Federal building to provide additional exhibition and classroom space.

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The Fulton Street Farmers’ Market and its manager, the Midtown Neighborhood Association, received $150,000 to improve the existing site, create a building for year-round vending, and improve traffic flow in the popular market.

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Li fe

Love fo r learni ng

By Kristin Tennant Photography by Jill DeVries

Learning to master sound Music, technology, and communication come together in a recording studio program for teens. John Wheeler jokes that he has “no musical talent whatsoever,” but that hasn’t stopped this local contractor and philanthropist from knowing all about the power of music in people’s lives. “I love music and have watched how music has changed people’s lives,” Wheeler says. “Music has the ability to open people’s hearts and get to their emotions in powerful ways.” It was this capacity of music to change lives that led to the creation of the Youth Recording Arts Academy. The unique program, which recently completed its 12-week pilot session, was funded by Wheeler; led by Michael Crittendon at his professional recording studio, Mackinaw Harvest; and coordinated by the Grand Rapids Community Media Center, home to the highly successful community-run radio station WYCE. To compile the pilot class of six 16- and 17-year-olds, the GRCMC worked with other youth-serving organizations that helped identify at-risk kids who had an interest or potential in music and technology. Laurie Cirivello, GRCMC executive director, says music is definitely “the hook” when it comes to engaging the students. The learning, however, is multifaceted—from the 60+ hours of hands-on training with master sound technicians in the recording studio, to the development of “soft skills” like reliability and teamwork.

“The kids get that they have an opportunity that’s unique,” says Laurie Cirivello, GRCMC’s executive director. “They’re really doing the work and being tested on it. We’re also helping them understand how to document their skills on a résumé, which will help them get a foot in the door.” Sometimes the youth perform the music while others record; other times, musicians are brought in, giving the students a chance to practice personal interaction and communication. “Skills like negotiation and compromise all come together with the technical skills they’re learning,” Cirivello says. Crittendon’s approach to teaching and mentoring is similar to that of a science teacher in a lab: experimentation, trial and error, and moments of breakthrough when everything comes together. “I try to teach kids why things happen as opposed to just quick ways of doing things with technology. I’m kind of old school in that way,” Crittendon says. “There’s a lot of helpful software out there today, but the whole name of the game in making records is still problemsolving. The kids need to know why something isn’t sounding quite right and then they need to know how to fix it. It’s a mysterious process, making things that sound good, that people respond to.”

When the 60+ hours of learning and work are completed, the students have concrete skills, recordings, and résumés to show for it. “Hands-on learning is so important—at the end of the day to be able to point to something and say, ‘I did this,’” Cirivello says. “With these kids, if we just keep saying, ‘Stay in school, stay in school’ with only the promise of ‘Someday you’ll get to do something that will rock your world,’ it isn’t going to work. They need to be engaged now. Music is definitely a hook with youth. It’s something the kids already know and love—all the learning is just enveloped in that.” Wheeler, who visited the recording academy whenever he got the chance, was impressed by the teens’ dedication and talent. “This is an extracurricular program, but no one misses an hour of it,” he says. “These kids are very dedicated and talented, and the program gives them a chance to show what they can do. My goal is just to expose kids to things that will help their minds grow, and give them more opportunities in the future.”

For more information about the Youth Recording Arts Academy, visit grcmc.org.

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Ryan McCarthy, ultramark, and Alex Fives from stepdad


The real deals

By Juliet bennett Rylah

Photography by Mitch Ranger

The Pyramid Scheme, Founders’ expansion, and Mulligan’s: Other Side are just a few examples of venues less than five years ago that have opened their stages to live, local acts performing original material. With ample venue space and a seemingly endless pool of driven, talented musicians, it is no wonder that the Grand Rapids music scene has taken off in a myriad of directions. No one genre rules the local music scene; rather, all types of music are making their stamp on the hearts and ears. Here are six bands to watch:

Six local bands you don’t want to miss, from the dark and dreamy to the hi g hly danceable (with some Americana thrown in for good measure). _Stepdad_ Begun as a duo in Chicago between vocalist ultramark and keyboardist Ryan McCarthy, pop band Stepdad is now located in Grand Rapids and includes Alex Fives on bass and drummer Jeremy Malvin. Fives describes their live show as “one big, sweaty dance party” where “even the people that are usually too cool are dancing.” Humorous, touching lyrics channeled through the commanding presence of the bearded ultramark and backed by catchy, electric pop make for fun. Stepdad’s 2010 EP Ordinaire has been considerably popular with

music lovers and critics alike, with single “My Leather, My Fur, My Nails” being voted in at #7 song of the year by The Pop Sucker’s Top 100 Songs of 2010 list. Stepdad spent the summer recording their forthcoming album, Wildlife Pop, in New York with producer Chris Zane, notable for work with artists like Les Savy Fav, Passion Pit, and Mumford and Sons.

>> stepdad.us


_tokyo_morose_ This female-fronted, dark electro-pop act is only a three-piece band, but oftentimes sounds impossibly full. Vocalist/keyboardist/ bassist/guitarist Erin Lenau joins fellow multiinstrumentalists Trevor Edmonds and Tim Warren to create rich soundscapes, often held together by a drum machine. “We focus on dynamic arrangements while staying sparse at times,” Lenau said. “ … each song we play is intentional and should come across as such.” Striding across a stage stacked with instruments and gear, the members of Tokyo Morose put on a dreamy, ethereal show, each time laden with clever lyrics, gritty bass, emotive guitar, and airy synth.

>> myspace.com/tokyomorose

_A.B!_and_ _Coconut_Brown_

A.B! and Coconut Brown is a party band. Engaging frontman Adrian Butler (the A.B! of the band) never stops moving as he spits witty lyrics. A departure from traditional hip-hop, Butler’s rhymes are backed by a full funk rock band, full of catchy horn riffs and danceable beats.

>> myspace.com/abandcoconutbrown

erin lenau from tokyo morose 42


_pistolbrides_ Described by frontman Kyle Colter as a “neo-psychedelic indie rock” act, Pistolbrides is an amalgamation of the band's interests, predominantly ‘90s and ‘60s rock, ‘80s postpunk and blues. This makes for guitar-based, melodic rock that sticks with an audience member long after the first listen. Colter’s vibrato-laden voice explores his various life experiences, like most musicians, but Colter regards sincerity in his writing as paramount. “When it comes down to it, people believe what you’re singing,” he said. “If you’re going to have a performance and play a show, you should be sincere about it.” Colter’s desire to have life experiences worth putting to music pushes him to be an interesting person, he said, and live a life that extends itself to songwriting. Pistolbrides is a relatively new band, but the members of Pistolbrides are not unfamiliar to playing shows. Colter and other members Dan Wier, John Harrell, and Joseph Wiltse are all former or current members of other local bands, something that helps when fleshing out the skeletons of Colter’s songs. “I’ll have an idea of what it sounds like, but I don't like cutting off [the other members] creatively,” Colter said. “I like to rely on their creative background because you get a lot of things you wouldn't think of if you tried to control everything.”

>> myspace.com/pistolbrides

kyle colter from pistolbrides Solace

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_kent_county_string_band_ While the Kent County String Band may be a cover band, they’re unlike any cover band you’re likely to have seen before. Banjo, fiddle, upright bass, guitars, and mandolin combine to reproduce a vast catalog of upbeat pre-1950s jazz standards, Americana and bluegrass. Mandolin player and vocalist Tony Shectman and the other members (Mark Rozema, Chris Eddy, Jon Kempston, and James Lorenz) had been playing traditional instruments for a long time before Shectman “thought it’d be fun to make a band that did a lot of the traditional songs from the jazz era—a band that was able to play nontraditional venues such as weddings, parties, clubs, sidewalks, charities, nursing homes … ”

>> myspace.com/kentcountystrings The Kent County String Band can occasionally be seen setting up shop outside the neighborhood bar as often as they’re found playing fancy, black-tie events. Quirky enough to draw in a younger demographic, the Kent County String Band also resonates with those who remember the songs from their youth. “It’s been heartwarming to be able to play tunes for the older generations,” Shectman says, “especially when they recognize the tune.”

from Left to right: Jon Kempston (bass), Mark Rozema (guitar), Tony Shechtman (mandolin), Chris Eddy (violin), James Lorenz (banjo) 44


_alexis_ For only having two members, Alexis seems to confuse a lot of people. If you’re listening to an album, what you’re hearing is lyrically dark synthpop. But if you’re seeing them live, you’re watching one man behind a keyboard and another with only a vocal mic dance around the stage in a way most people save for their bedrooms when they think no one is watching. Is it a novelty act, or a serious act? People are always demanding to know. Vocalist Matt Forbush says, regardless, “It’s sensual, very sensual. If you’re uncomfortable with sensuality, it will make you uncomfortable. If that appeals to you, you should get there as soon as possible and be prepared to be pulled in.” Forbush and his partner, the classically trained keyboardist Dan Hurst, have put together an act that’s intrinsically danceable, multilayered, and musically complex. While electronic in nature and incorporating sequencing and technology, Alexis is not a band that plugs in and lets the computers do all the work. “We could lose power and I could go up to a piano and still do a lounge version of our show,” Hurst said. Seeing Alexis live is a must—let loose and don’t ask too many questions, and you’ll have a great time.

>> musicofalexis.com matt forbush from alexis Solace

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Van Andel Research Institute

proudly announces

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A landmark initiative that focuses on the development of new, safe and effective treatments for children with cancer. As part of the program, the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC), a nationwide network of 11 universities and children’s hospitals now headquartered at VARI, offers a first-of-its-kind clinical trial to treat and study pediatric neuroblastoma. For more information, please visit www.nmtrc.org.

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Chance Jones at Mulligan’s Pub's Otherside


ive al ng ayi st Nothing beats live music and the local establishments that keep it coming.

MP3 players, Pandora, iTunes, YouTube—music is all around us, available at anytime for fans who want to listen to (and even watch) their favorite bands, or discover new ones.

By Tommy Allen Photography by Ryan Pavlovich

But even in this age of easy access, nothing quite holds up to the experience of seeing a band perform live. The experience isn’t just about the music, of course. It’s about everything, from the impromptu live arrangements to the

lighting, the drinks, and the camaraderie of a crowd enjoying music together. Whether you’re a regular concertgoer or are thinking it might be time to venture out and hear some live music again, after a long hiatus, Grand Rapids has a broad collection of live music venues serving up a full range of styles, from the relaxed acoustic to the danceable and intense. Check them out and be reminded why live music is such an unbeatable experience.


Van Andel Arena

St. Cecilia Music Center

Situated on the south edge of downtown, now surrounded by local restaurants and late night entertainment hot spots, the Van Andel Arena opened its ticket windows in 1996, becoming the best place to see major acts downtown.

Sometimes the best kept secret is the one others share after they have moved on from your town. St. Cecilia Music Center is just that kind of special place.

SMG’s regional general manager Rich MacKiegan says, “While most of the modern touring shows are driven by spreadsheets these days, the Van Andel Arena makes good financial sense since the community really enjoys the programming and ... often sell out the venue.” Attendance figures for Van Andel Arena have, over the years, earned this venue many awards, including top spots at the midyear with Pollstar (38th worldwide, all-size venues), Billboard (sixth highest grossing arena worldwide with a 10,001–15,000 seating capacity) and Venues Today (sixth highest grossing arena worldwide with 10,001–15,000 seating capacity). MacKiegan attributes this success to the flexibility of the venue, which hosts everything from sporting events (the local hockey team, The Griffins, and visiting pro teams like the Detroit Pistons or Red Wings) to large-scale performances that range from Lady Gaga to operatic productions like Aida. “Whenever you build a new entertainment facility in a city, you get a honeymoon period,” says MacKiegan a veteran in the industry, “but in Grand Rapids, ours has lasted far longer than other cities. We still have a strong marriage!”

Van Andel Arena 130 West Fulton Street vanandelarena.com A short walk from your hotel.

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One performer who has stepped on to the stage over the course of St. Cecilia Music Center’s 128-year-old history is a three-time Grammy nominee: Jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton. According to Sutton, the venue is treasured not just by audience members, but by performers, too.

It is true that over the decades visiting artists like Itzhak Perlman, Ramsey Lewis, and Sutton have often been the biggest cheerleaders, but as SCMC continues to expand in its programming, its reputation expands at home, as well. Often referred to as one of the top ten acoustic spaces in the country, the secret of this venue will not stay under wraps much longer as the new 2011–12 season unfolds.

“St. Cecilia is one of these old majesties that performers appreciate,” Sutton says. “There almost seems to be music in the walls.” In the past, many locals assumed the preferred choice of music for this intimate and without-abad-seat theater was classical. Then Executive Director Cathy Holbrook made a shocking discovery when reading the center's original purpose, which stated “our mission statement speaks of music; but never what kind of music.” For SCMC, this means its future programming will not only include it's popular chamber music series and after-school music programming, but also an expanded focus on other genres like their recently introduced modern jazz series, and the debut of the 2011 ArtPrize music hub, where nearly 50 musical entries will be offered through performances and listening stations over the course of ArtPrize’s 18 days downtown.

St. Cecilia Music Center 24 Ransom Avenue NE scmc-online.org A short walk from your hotel.

mulligan's pub While all of these venues represent acts at various stages of their careers, for the absolute freshest and rawest new faces of local music, visit the Wednesday night open mic night. Hosted by the local Indie band front man of the same name, Chance Jones converts Mulligan's Pub’s bare bones, black box performance space into an intimate venue with tablecloths and candles setting the mood for the birth of new music.

Mulligan's Pub 1518 Wealthy Street SE mulligans-pub.com A 10-minute drive from your hotel.


The Intersection Few places in Grand Rapids can boast of hosting some of the biggest names in music, like No Doubt, the Black Eyed Peas, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This tiny, neighborhood stage not only has that prestigious history, but has also been the national launching pad for our region’s next star. In 2002, the venue finally outgrew its original Eastown neighborhood space, after many renovations. Now it’s located in the hot Arena District of downtown, but it hasn’t lost any of its charm or prestige in its new, nearly 2,000-person space. This new size means that the Intersection is able to attract national acts of diverse musical styles, while also giving local acts opportunities to open for headliners. One local musician who got her break on this stage is SuperDre, who not only opened for international electronic music sensation Bassnectar in 2009, but also went on to open for him in other shows in the years that followed. “The Intersection not only gives us (artists) the opportunity to put together our own shows,” says SuperDre, “but in providing this access to share the stage, it also provides opportunities that can be priceless. These moments provided me with the platform to be seen by these much larger artists … ” The Intersection Lounge—even after the passage of decades, many remodels and an uprooting to a new locations—remains a place committed to welcoming talent, both national and local, through its stage door to the center spotlight.

The Intersection 133 Grandville Avenue SW sectionlive.com A short walk from your hotel.

DJ SuperDre at The Intersection

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Jeff Avink at Billy's Lounge

Billy's Lounge

FoUnderS

The neighborhood bar is always a place that defies the odds: Somehow with all its bumps and bruises over the years of use, it still manages to age with style.

When visiting this downtown craft brew haus, it is hard not to feel as if Europe’s best beer halls have been mashed up with that distinctly American boldness in, well, just about anything we put our minds to achieve.

If you should wander into this bar, where music reigns supreme seven nights a week, you will no doubt be entertained not only by the eclectic lineup (that as of late features indie rock acts traveling through this region, between Chicago and Detroit), but also DJ music from some of the best names in this part of the state. And if by chance you find yourself at the bar, Billy’s Lounge manager and neighbor, Jeff Avink, always has the best stories about the bar’s choppy past, which start with its humble beginnings as a neighborhood grocery store before becoming a landlocked yacht club for hippies and, most recently, an all-blues-all-thetime performance hall. Billy’s Lounge 1437 Wealthy Street SE billyslounge.com A 15-minute drive from your hotel. 52

The brewers are not afraid of punching up the ingredients, and judging by the awards and wall-to-wall patrons, the beer drinking community agrees this is the Mecca for all things hoppy. But the venue also has a strong following in the community for its music programming, which is just as eclectic as the beers that rotate on the chalkboard. With a healthy dose of live music, Founders, as the locals call it, offers up entertainment in the shadows of the giant kegs that line up just outside the window of the stage.

When the curtain is drawn the party really begins, as indie acts, funkified disc jockeys, and even a local big band dot the calendar with their diverse offerings. And if you should by chance see a few folks, like musicians Pete and Barb Weatherhead or regular Jay Morrison, sipping a beer from a special stein, it simply means that these folks, along with many others, have joined Founders’ mug club—an outward sign of affection and loyalty for this popular local joint. “We love it when we are surprised by an act that we didn’t know before,” Pete Weatherhead says. “One night we caught a band playing Spanish music and on another night Afro Zumba, a drum ensemble—really rhythmic stuff. We even discovered Grand Rapids’ SuperDre here. Founders seems to be really connected with the local music scene.”

Founders Brewery 235 Grandville Avenue SW foundersbrewing.com A short walk from your hotel.


THE PYRAMID SCHEME Situated in downtown Grand Rapids’ emerging Commerce District is the city’s hottest new nightlife venue, The Pyramid Scheme, where the owners do a fantastic job of making sure you are kept playfully off center your entire visit. How do they do it? Well, for starters, they have a giant tyrannosaurus rex skull prominently displayed overhead as you walk in. But it is the combination of flashing vintage pinball machines, the Twin Peaks-inspired flooring, and the largest draft selection of one of Michigan’s favorite artisan craft brews, Shorts Brewery, that really does the trick. The Pyramid Scheme is actually two venues in one, with a booth-heavy front bar and a full concert venue in the back, where up to 420 people can enjoy some of the best live indie music programming in town, highlighting bands like Guided By Voices, Afrika Bambatta, and Raekwon of the WuTang Clan. “Every time I attend a concert at The Pyramid Scheme, I am always left with a feeling of wanting more,” says nightlife fan Johannah Jelks. “It could be the venue’s unique style or it could be the indie scene which competes by offering acts I like but have always had to visit Chicago, New York, and LA to see.” But, not anymore. When the venue is not hosting national acts, local musician Jeff Baird loves to pop in The Pyramid Scheme because its stage is “the perfect size venue and very open to local bands.” They even host dance parties like the ‘80s inspired Retro D’Luxe ‘80s and conduct pinball tournaments. The Pyramid Scheme is definitely Full Tilt, No Penalty fun downtown.

The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Avenue SW pyramidschemebar.com A 5-minute walk from your hotel. Jeff Baird at The Pyramid Scheme

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Chez Olga

The Meanwhile

Benjamin Hunter is the cultural editor at Recoil Magazine and creative director at Prospecto Musical Showcase and Sonic Experience.

Let’s go. Downtown. With so much to do and see in downtown Grand Rapids, going out means having fun. When you’re here, one thing is certain. Boredom is not in the picture. 36 Hours is sponsored by the Downtown Alliance. 54


36 What if you could trade in your guidebook and map for a personal tour guide of Grand Rapids? Here, we offer you something in between—a seasoned Grand Rapids resident sharing his favorite places around town. After all, what better way to spend 36 hours in Grand Rapids than to follow the suggestions of someone who spends nearly 365 days a year here? Meet Benjamin Hunter—a writer, musician, and adjunct professor of communications at Grand Valley State University. He is the founder/owner of Prospecto Musical Showcase and Sonic Experience, a three-day multi-venue music festival which takes place each year in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during ArtPrize. He enjoys playing guitar and singing in his rock bands, Head and Love Fossil. When he is not teaching, producing shows, or traveling on the road with his band mates, you might find him exploring the pyramids of Mexico with his loving partner, Kara Apodaca.

The Meanwhile 1005 Wealthy Street SE 616.233.1679 meanwhilebar.com An 8-minute drive from your hotel. Chez Olga 1441 Wealthy Street SE 616.233.4141 chezolga.com A 9-minute drive from your hotel. Founders Brewing Company 235 Grandville Avenue SW 616.776.1195 foundersbrewing.com

By Ben Hunter Photography by Terry Johnston

hours thursday 5 p.m. Rock the pre-weekend— happy hour at The Meanwhile

10 p.m. Live music and pints at Founders, Michigan’s favorite brewery

This may be the best place to meet artists, musicians, and thinkers in Grand Rapids. Decorated with a fabulous array of street and pop art (which can be purchased), this is the hippest bar in Michigan. A fantastic selection of Michigan beers are available on tap, and on Thursdays (lucky you) they are half off! If you prefer a cocktail, I recommend a delicious Vern Ehlers—a scrumptious concoction of Vernors and Jameson—named after a favorite former West Michigan congressman!

Thursdays are a great night to hang out at Founders Brewing Company. Booking agent Joe Basch has great acts, including exceptional local, regional, and national touring artists. Head Brewer Jeremey Kosmicki is an awardwinning brewer—Founders won four awards at the 2010 World Beer Cup in Chicago for Founders Porter, Dirty Bastard, Centennial IPA, and Imperial Stout.

7 p.m. The flavor of the islands awaits you at Chez Olga For curry, seafood, spices, and a heat that can’t be beat, head 10 blocks east of The Meanwhile to Chez Olga’s Haitian restaurant. Soon after opening just a few years ago in Grand Rapids’ most culturally diverse neighborhood, Chez Olga became a favorite for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Start with an order of Pate, light and flaky Creole pastries that are available with your choice of beef, chicken, or vegetable filling. My favorite dish is the Creole Tilapia, a gorgeous fillet topped with an array of colorful peppers and finished with a succulent, spicy red curry coconut milk sauce. On the heat tip, 3 means 7 for a novice mouth, so be conservative unless you are a rock and roll beast! Make sure to wash it down with a freshly squeezed mango or papaya juice.

friday 10 a.m. You are eating breakfast late because you chose to close the bar down So yep, Founders beers are strong—hopefully you were chasing them with water, pint for pint. Either way, now you will need to crush the party with a delicious hearty breakfast. Good ingredients are crucial for this, so Marie Catrib’s is the place to be. Located in the “Center of the Universe” (Cherry Hill), this restaurant provides an eclectic array of foods made with locally sourced and fresh organic ingredients. The Hearty Miner Omelette is the bomb! (Marie is usually there, and she is the sweetest grandmalady in the neighborhood. Bid her a hello and tell her I sent you!)

A 4-minute drive from your hotel. Marie Catrib's 1001 Lake Drive SE 616.454.4020 mariecatribs.com A 7-minute drive from your hotel. Solace

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Cherry Deli

Community Mediu Center, WYCE 88.1 FM

11:30 a.m. Kick it in Cherry Hill and East Fulton

1:30 p.m. Late lunch at Cherry Deli

While you are in the neighborhood, take some time to explore. There are several galleries and shops to check out, and the proprietors of these places are great conversationalists. Be sure to hit up The Richard App Gallery. He has something for everyone, showcasing some of Michigan’s finest talent. The West wing of the Gallery is home to a variety of contemporary pop artists. If you are lucky you might be able to score a painting from former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh or, better yet, GR’s pop art hero David Dodde. (And you’ll have a rad time rapping with Rich—he’s a big teddy bear with an outstanding sense of humor.)

This eco-friendly sandwich café is a favorite, and their paninis are to die for. They have over 100 sandwiches to choose from, along with a huge selection of soups and salads. Have at the array of vegetarian and fat-free locally sourced meat selections. If you are still full from breakfast at Marie’s, the white chicken chili will warm you up on a brisk fall afternoon. No matter what you order, this place knocks it out of the park on the flavor tip!

Special thanks to A.K. Rikk’s and A.K.A. for providing Ben’s wardrobe for 36 Hours. A.K. Rikk’s 5761 28th Street SE akrikks.com A 15-minute drive from your hotel.

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3:30 p.m. Get horizontal and listen to WYCE Head back to the room for a while to zone out to our community radio station (found at 88.1 FM). WYCE has a wide variety of programming suitable for a relaxing exploration of multiple genres of music. They are part of a larger tradition of community media in GR—for over 25 years, the Community Media Center has acquired and maintained technology, tools, media services, and community venues to benefit the community.

This nationally recognized grassroots organization has been instrumental in fostering great resources for a variety of D.I.Y. arts and humanities programs in our city.

4:30 p.m. Time for some record shopping and Heartside Love Arthur Lee and Love’s 1967 Forever Changes— check! Tom Waits’ 1983 Swordfishtrombone— got it! Public Enemy’s 1990 Fear of A Black Planet—dig. Whatever you like, Herm Baker of Vertigo Records has your back. This musical gem of Grand Rapids is located in the Heartside community, GR’s version of Echo Park, or Ukrainian Village. Gritty, sweaty, and full of D.I.Y. art, it’s the sperm and the egg of our creative community. After record shopping, cross the street for a quick trombone lesson with Corey Ruffin, the founder of The Super Happy Funtime Burlesque show. His music school is called Space vs. Time (and the dude is a trip).


Vertigo Music

The Richard App Gallery 910 Cherry Street SE 616.458.4226 A 7-minute drive from your hotel. Cherry Deli 834 Cherry Street SE cherrydeli.com 616.459.6182 A 7-minute drive from your hotel.

Vertigo Music

6:30 p.m. Hit the Westside for the best Mexican food in town at El Granjero

Community Media Center

Known for the best tacos in GR, the mother/ daughter team, run by Mecedes Lopez and Paola R. Mendivil, bring Mexico City’s finest dishes right to your mouth. This place has never disappointed me, and I eat there nearly every week. The gorditas are huge and jam-packed with the freshest beans and Chihuahua cheese. Don’t miss the generous portions of alhambra and the best horchata, with hints of cinnamon.

You can tune in on WYCE 88.1 FM.

8:30 p.m. Pregame whiskey at Stella’s Punk rock, canned beer, over 200 whiskeys, and more than 25 vintage video games, this is a Gen-Xer’s paradise. (If you’re the Jersey Shore type, you may want to skip this spot.) This is my favorite watering hole in Downtown GR. Owner Mark Sellars once challenged the Joust world record and stayed on the machine for over 36 hours—he’s just plain zany. (To get in, look for the entrance off the alley on Ionia Street.)

Big O Café

11 p.m. Alternative Dance Party with the guitarist from Mustard Plug Colin Clive hosts CONTROL each Friday night on the north end of downtown. Rocky’s is the neighborhood blue collar joint known for great specials and fish and chips; but on Fridays, the upstairs turns into a raging dance party. If you love dance music and you are a rock and roller, you’ll love this hipster Mecca. Tunes from artists like MGMT, Crystal Castles, and LCD Soundsystem keep the party rockin’.

1130 Wealthy Street SE 616.742.0125 grcmc.org

Vertigo Music 129 Division Avenue S 616.742.5106 vertigomusiconline.com A 12-minute walk from your hotel. El Granjero 950 Bridge Street NW 616.458.5595 A 5-minute drive from your hotel. Stella’s Lounge 53 Commerce Avenue SW 616.742.4444 stellasgr.com A 9-minute walk from your hotel. Rocky’s Bar & Grill 633 Ottawa Avenue 616.356.2346 rockysbarngrill.com A short drive from your hotel. Sundance Grill 40 Pearl Street NW 616.776.1616 sundancegrill.com A 3-minute walk from your hotel. Big O’ Café 80 Ottawa Avenue NW, #1 616.451.1887 bigospizzas.com A 4-minute walk from your hotel.

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Big O’s Café

saturday 9:00 a.m. Yummy wakeup call at Sundance Grill

12:30 p.m. Real Italian deliciousness!

Just a few blocks’ walk, and you are in for a treat. This Southwest-inspired restaurant brings Arizona and New Mexico to mind. The coffee is great (and necessary) and I suggest the Portabella Asparagus omelette—it’s amazing.

I love garlic, I love pesto, but what I really love is Big O’s. Nestled in a sub street level storefront, this place takes you right back to the old country. Great pasta, great pizza, and the BEST subs in town (I suggest the Chicken Pesto sub: marinated chicken breast grilled to perfection, garlic, pesto, sweet red onions, bacon, and mozzarella).

To

Let’s go. Downtown. With so much to do and see in downtown Grand Rapids, going out means having fun. When you’re here, one thing is certain. Boredom is not in the picture. 36 Hours is sponsored by the Downtown Alliance.

Pr

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GRAND RAPIDS PIZZA & DELIVERY

Grand rapids pizza and delivery, has always been a part of the community that’s just blocks from downtown. We’re also the first established pizzeria in the historic Heritage Hill district. By sourcing local meat, produce and distribution, we’ve created a fresh product that makes a difference you can see, taste and smell. it’s no wonder readers of On the Town Magazine awarded us with their townie awards for best pizza 6 years in a row. We welcome the opportunity to serve you. Order now to enjoy any one of our Traditional, stuffed or specialty pizzas, pasta, fresh salads, or desserts. dine in, take out and delivery orders conveniently online at www.grandrapidspizza.net

Follow us on:

Grand rapids pizza & delivery 340 state street (616)742-Grpd (4773)

Open M-Th 11am-11pm, Friday 11am-12:30am, Saturday noon-12:30am, Sunday noon-11pm • late night delivery Thursday, Friday and saturday until 2:30 a.m.

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YOU R EV ENING BEGINS... J BAR premium steakhouse GILLY’S fresh seafood BOBARINO’S wood-fired pizzas & american cuisine MONKEY BAR global small plates CRUSH NIGHTCLUB dj & dancing EVE LOUNGE upscale lounge DR. GRINS COMEDY CLUB nationally acclaimed comedians B.O.B.’S BREWERY craft beers THE B.O.B. • 20 MONROE AVE NW • DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS • 616.356.2000 • WWW.THEBOB.COM FIND US ON

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West Michigan’s Premier Entertainment Destinations

devosplace.org devosperformancehall.com vanandelarena.com Event Hotline: 616-742-6610

Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place offer the perfect combination of cosmopolitan flair and hospitality to make any outing a success. While both Van Andel Arena and DeVos Performance Hall attract the biggest names in concerts, family shows, and sporting events, DeVos Place offers a unique combination of meeting and exhibition space to accommodate an array of events. Whether you’re looking for a great spot to host your special occasion or simply looking to catch a great show, let us entertain you! Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place are managed by SMG. Please visit our websites for more information and complete schedules.

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For a total solution to your ground and air transportation needs, contact WhiteKnight Limousine and EquityAir. Quality transportation services since 1990. Visit us on the web for more information: www.awhiteknight.com

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Twisted Rooster “Commit to the Mitt!”

Twisted Rooster strives to celebrate Michigan by using Local Vendors and ingredients to Bring our Menu to your table Lots of Great Michigan Beers on Tap and enjoy 1/2 off Bottles of Wine every Thursday

Executive Chef Mark Noseda’s Menu: Combining unlikely ingredients and bold flavors with a simply Twisted Result

www.TWISTED-ROOSTER.com Grand Rapids · 1600 East Beltline 616.301.8171

CHESTERFIELD · 45225 MARKETPLACE BLVD 586.949.1470

Twisted Mac & Cheese

BELLEVILLE · 9729 BELLEVILLE ROAD 734.697.6201


big

names


Michigan

roots It’s hard to say what, exactly, makes a region a music Mecca, but Michigan definitely has what it takes—starting with this collection of amazing talent.


By Kristin Tennant Illustration by Nicole La Fave

From the heyday of Motown Records to household names like Madonna, whose music was heard on radios throughout the world in the 1980s and ’90s, Michigan has raised and nurtured more than its share of great musicians. Read on to find out which big stars have roots in Michigan, and to hear a music historian/journalist’s perspective on why the state has such a great track record as a music and talent incubator.

Aretha Franklin

Diana Ross

Born in 1942, this beloved soul, R&B, gospel, and jazz singer first sang in her father’s Detroit Baptist church. In the early 1960s she began releasing R&B hits, building up to her 1967 top hit, “Respect.” In 1987, Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2009 she performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

This Detroit singer’s career got off to an acclaimed start in the 1960s, when Diana Ross was lead singer of The Supremes. In 1970 she began her solo career, releasing her first #1 pop single, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” In 1976, Ross (born in 1944) was named Female Entertainer of the Century by Billboard magazine—even before hits like “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out” were released in 1980.

Mitch Ryder

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Grand Funk Railroad

In four decades, Mitch Ryder has recorded over two-dozen rock and R&B albums. Born in 1945 and raised in Hamtramck, Michigan, Ryder’s biggest hits—including “Devil With a Blue Dress On”—are from the period when The Detroit Wheels was his backup band (1964–67). allmusic.com calls Ryder “the unsung hero” of Michigan rock and roll.

A railroad that ran through Flint, Michigan, inspired the name of this hard rock/blues rock band, which formed in 1969. With Mark Farner at lead vocals, the band sold more albums than any other American band in 1970, and in 1971 broke the Beatle’s Shea Stadium attendance record by selling out in just 72 hours.

Iggy Pop

Alice Cooper

Born as James Osterberg in Muskegon, Michigan, in 1947, Iggy Pop is considered an influential innovator of punk rock and hard rock. His best-known songs include “Lust for Life” (1977), “Candy“ (a 1990 duet with Kate Pierson of The B-52’s), and “China Girl” (first appearing in 1977, then rereleased by friend and collaborator David Bowie in 1983).

Born in Detroit in 1948 as Vincent Furnier, Alice Cooper broke into the international music scene in 1971 with the hit “I’m Eighteen.” In 1975, he began his solo career, laced heavily with theatrics, leading to heavy metal hits such as “Poison” (1989). The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Cooper and his original band in 2011.


Bob Seger After forming The Silver Bullet Band in 1973, roots rocker Bob Seger achieved national fame with the album (and single by the same name) Night Moves (1976). Other hits followed including “Turn the Page” (1976), “Old Time Rock and Roll” (1978), “Against the Wind” (1980), and “Like a Rock” (1986). Born in 1945, Seger’s music career now spans five decades. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Marshall Crenshaw Before turning his focus to music, this Detroitborn musician tried acting, playing John Lennon in an off-Broadway touring company of the musical Beatlemania. In 1982, his first album was released, including the hit “Someday, Someway.” Crenshaw’s pop/power-pop style has roots in soul, early country, and performers like Buddy Holly.

Madonna

Kid Rock Growing up in Romeo, Michigan, with an interest in break dancing and rap, Robert James Ritchie began performing in Detroit-area talent shows before his teens. It was the 1998 album Devil Without a Cause (including the hit single “Cowboy”) that propelled Kid Rock (Ritchie) into notoriety. In 2007, his song “All Summer Long” became an international hit. Kid Rock has six Platinum album certifications.

Eminem One of the best-selling artists in the world, Eminem (born Marshall Bruce Mathers, III in 1972) was the first artist to win Best Rap Album Grammy Awards for three consecutive LPs (1999–2002). The 1999 major-label album debut, The Slim Shady LP, kicked off his fame. In 2002, Eminem began his acting career, starring in the film 8 Mile.

Jack White

Madonna, the star who would eventually be known around the world by just her first name, was born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1958, as Madonna Louise Ciccone. Recognized as the world’s top-selling female recording artist of all time, Madonna’s pop-rock hits include “Like a Virgin” (1984), “Like a Prayer” (1989), and “Vogue” (1990). In 2008, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Best known for his lead role in the band The White Stripes (which split in 2011), Jack White (John Anthony Gillis) is an accomplished guitarist—he’s been ranked #17 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” White’s music career is varied, from creating international hits like “Seven Nation Army” (2003), to forming of other bands like The Raconteurs, and producing albums for wellknown musicians like Loretta Lynn.

The Verve Pipe

Jason Stollsteimer

Led by singer and guitarist Brian VanderArk (born in Holland, Michigan, in 1966), The Verve Pipe became widely known in the mid-1990s for its alternative rock, post-grunge sound. The East Lansing band’s biggest hits were both released in 1996: “Photograph,” and “The Freshman,” which reached #5 on Billboard's Hot 100.

As lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, Jason Stollsteimer and the indie rock band The Von Bondies generated buzz with their 2004 single “C’mon C’mon” (on Pawn Shoppe Heart, the second of the band’s three studio albums). In 2009, Stollsteimer also formed the band The Hounds Below, whose debut album is set to be recorded in early 2012.


A music industry insider looks back on the making of history in this “land of legends.”

When music journalist Gary Graff first moved to Michigan in 1982, he already knew he was entering a land of legends. “I made sure I had Motown playing on my car cassette when I crossed the state line into Michigan,” says Graff. “I definitely understood I was coming to a place with a great music heritage.” Graff, who was moving for a job at the Detroit Free Press, says Michigan is known as a “top five state” for the music it has produced and continues to. “It can stand up to New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Other places come and go, but Michigan remains solid for its homegrown musicians.” This track record as a music incubator can be traced to more than just happenstance. Graff says a number of historical, industrial, and cultural shifts contributed to the state’s creative climate. “It has everything to do with the auto industry,” Graff says. “Detroit was a true melting pot as people moved north, looking for jobs and bringing their culture with them. The church culture was directly brought up from the South, and really influenced music and the gospel scene. Motown came out of that—it’s really part gospel, part jazz, and part pop.” Stars like Aretha Franklin and Martha Reeves grew up in Michigan and got their careers started by singing at church (Franklin’s father and Reeves’ grandfather were both pastors). As a recording industry grew up around the gospel and R&B stars, Michigan’s music reputation snowballed. “Through Motown, music in this state became an industry—something you could do here for a living,” Graff says. “There were places to play and record … just so many portals by which people could make a living around music— much more than most other cities.” The convergence of people from so many cultures and backgrounds influenced not only the styles of music, but also the stories being

told through the songs. Michigan’s diverse population included French, Belgian, German, Hispanic, Polish, and Greek, in addition to the African-American community. Each group brought its own rich traditions, and a deep need to connect around familiar music. “The music became both an outward expression of who these people were and where they came from, and an inward expression as they tried to make sense of their individual lives and experiences.” Graff cites Michigan artists like Kid Rock, Eminem, and Bob Seger as examples of that inner struggle to make sense of life, expressed in songwriting. Graff particularly got to know Bob Seger well, as he wrote the book Travelin’ Man: On the Road and Behind the Scenes With Bob Seger (2009). But the state’s successful music scene is not just about its performers. Graff says Michigan’s distinctly demanding audiences have also played an important role. “Blue collar work is hard and gritty, and people work long hours. When it’s time to not work, [Michigan people] want to play hard,” Graff says. “There’s an attitude of ‘We’ve earned our free time the hard way—if you’re coming here to entertain us, you better be good.’ But Michigan audiences are nurturing, too. That combination really allows the musicians to improve and grow.” Although the state’s core musical styles have shifted over the years—from gospel and blues to rock, punk, and hip-hop—it’s this eclectic impulse, and an acceptance of experimentation and new sounds, that has been the red thread running through Michigan’s music history, Graff says. That, and the musicians’ strong sense of loyalty to the state that paved the way for them to fame. “The people who got started here really formed who they are as musicians in Michigan. The ties are strong and they really identify with this place, even if they leave.”


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savor guide to hotel dining

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Looking for the perfect way to jumpstart your morning? Or maybe a light lunch so you can enjoy a decadent dinner? Whatever you fancy, we have just the place for you. Don't forget a nightcap!


ruth’s chris steak house Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel At Ruth’s Chris Grand Rapids we’re picky about our steaks and you should be picky about your steak houses. That’s why we serve only the finest USDA Prime beef available. And if you’re in the mood for something a little different, choose from our Chef’s Seasonal Specials, fresh seafood selections, classic sides, and homemade desserts. So whatever the occasion, Ruth’s Chris is the perfect excuse to enjoy the perfect night out. 616.776.6426 ruthschris.com facebook.com/RuthsChrisGrandRapids

six.one.six Located in the JW Marriott Grand Rapids Those looking for highly inspired cuisine in a stylish, cosmopolitan setting, look no further than six.one.six. With its unique combination of globally influenced tastes to regional favorites fashioned from local produce, six.one.six offers a feast for the senses without even having to leave the area code. Free validated parking is available. 616.242.1500 ilove616.com facebook.com/ilove616

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savo r: a guide to h ot el d i n ing

Cygnus 27 Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Sitting atop the Amway Grand Plaza, Cygnus 27 indulges all your senses with trendsetting decor and globally influenced entrées that have earned widespread acclaim. Cygnus 27 is proud to have earned a AAA Four-Diamond restaurant designation. Complimentary valet parking is available. 616.774.2000 x6525 cygnus27.com facebook.com/cygnus27

Bentham’s Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Overlooking the Grand River, Bentham’s is one of the city’s best-known family restaurants. Its relaxed atmosphere makes it the perfect place for gourmet breakfasts, business casual lunches, family dining, or a late evening bite. 616.774.2000 x6533 amwaygrand.com

GP Sports Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Designed with the discerning sports fan in mind, GP Sports allows guests to stay current with 40 televisions and three large screens. 616.774.2000 x6528 amwaygrand.com facebook.com/GPsports

the bistro Located in the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott Eat. Drink. Connect. Serving American food, bistro-style, whether it’s grab-and-go for someone on-the-run or guests dining in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The Bistro offers fresh seasonal options that are satisfying favorites. The Bistro serves Starbucks beverages and has a full service bar, known as the S-Bar. 616.776.3400 ourcourtyardgr.com

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savo r : a g u i d e to hot el d i ni ng

Lumber Baron Bar Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel A historic gentlemen’s bar, the Lumber Baron Bar is smoke-free and offers an impressive selection of premium drinks and tantalizing appetizers. 616.774.2000 x6522 amwaygrand.com

Mixology Located in the JW Marriott Grand Rapids Those desiring a nightcap can retreat to JW’s destination lounge, Mixology, located on the main level. With its twosided fireplace and compelling views of the Grand River, Mixology serves everything from classic cocktails made with fresh juice to custom menu choices prepared in 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Free validated parking is available. 616.242.1500 ilovethejw.com facebook.com/ilovemixology

Cornucopia Deli Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel For bites on-the-go that don’t sacrifice flavor, Cornucopia’s international deli-style setting boasts fresh pastries, gourmet pizzas, deli sandwiches, desserts, and Cafe Richard coffee. 616.774.2000 x6527 amwaygrand.com

Garden Court Lounge Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Designed for quick drinks with colleagues or friends, the Garden Court lounge is a casual, tranquil setting complete with a garden pond. 616.774.2000 x6524 amwaygrand.com

Starbucks Coffee® Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott Grand Rapids, and Downtown Courtyard by Marriott Downtown is lucky enough to have three! Savor a large selection of specialty coffee drinks, teas, sandwiches, and more. 616.774.2000 x6565 amwaygrand.com 616.242.1500 ilovethejw.com 616.242-6000 ourcourtyardgr.com

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e t h n i c D i n i n g A wA r D o f e x c e L L e n c e 2 0 0 7 , 2 0 0 8 A n D 2 0 0 9    - Grand Rapids Magazine Dining Awards

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events local happenings

Ice Brigade takes over Rosa Parks Circle. Check out the episodes on the Food Network! Image courtesy of Downtown Alliance

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All work and no play is never what the doctor orders—especially with so many fabulous things to do in the region. Make time to schedule in some fun.


Art Shows Thank God for Michigan! Stories from the Civil War

Limited Engagement Exhibit open through May 2012 Grand Rapids Public Museum From the battle lines to the home front, this interactive exhibit showcases uniforms, weapons, photographs, and letters from the Museum’s permanent collection to tell the personal stories of Michigan’s involvement in this historic conflict. Free with Museum general admission and sponsored by the DTE Energy Foundation. For more information, call 616.456.3977 or visit www.grmuseum.org.

VITRINES

Now through April 2012 SiTE:LAB 54 Jefferson (former Grand Rapids Public Museum) SiTE:LAB is returning to 54 Jefferson, home to the Grand Rapids Public Museum from 1940 to 1994, to present Vitrines, a changing series of installations utilizing the building’s five large display windows. Each month beginning in September, an artist or group of artists will be given the opportunity use the windows for a site-specific installation. In the inaugural Vitrines installation, Brett Colley, Associate professor of Art & Design at GVSU, will present The Grand Rapids Streetside Collection, a display of hundreds of discarded items that he has retrieved from the streets and sidewalks of Grand Rapids for over a decade. For more information, visit www.site-lab.org.

Come Out and Play!

October 27, 5­­–9 p.m. LaFontsee Galleries LaFontsee Galleries invites you to join them in celebrating their new digs at 833 Lake Drive SE. Thursday, October 27, will mark the first exhibition at their new location. For more information, call 616.451.9820 or visit www.lafontsee.us.

23rd Annual Holiday Artists’ Market

December 2, 5–9 p.m. and December 3, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. UICA UICA’s 23rd annual Holiday Artists’ Market is a unique holiday sale for shoppers seeking one-of-a-kind works. This festive event offers handmade art, jewelry, and gifts created by more than 50 regional artists and artisans. Mark your calendars now to attend this ever-popular event. For more information, call 616.454.7000 or visit www.uica.org.

GRAM

Broadway Grand Rapids

Friday Nights at the GRAM

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Every Friday Night Grand Rapids Art Museum Unwind during Friday Nights at the GRAM with art, live music, and good conversation. Galleries are open late each Friday, and a cash bar is available in the Museum Lobby. Friday Night Conversations features a rotation of guest speakers, gallery talks, demonstrations, and collaborations. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit www.artmuseumgr.org.

Inside Jokes: The Tradition of Satire in Art

October 28 through January 15, 2012 Grand Rapids Art Museum “Smirking, giggling, and laughing out loud are encouraged in the galleries. Explore the witty, absurd, and just plain funny side of life.” As a complement to Warrington Colescott: Cabaret, Comedy & Satire, GRAM presents the exhibition Inside Jokes: The Tradition of Satire in Art. Drawn from the permanent collection, this exhibition highlights the arthistorical tradition of satire in etchings, engravings, and lithographs from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit www.artmuseumgr.org.

Prophets, Priests, and Kings: Woodcuts by Chris Stoffel Overvoorde

November 18 through January 28, 2012 Grand Rapids Art Museum A master of many mediums, Chris Stoffel Overvoorde chose the technique of woodcut to explore a Christian theme. Overvoorde understands the Prophet, Priest, and King as not only three roles that God ordained Jesus to fulfill for his followers, but also three types of persons described in the Old Testament whose lives provide examples for study. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit www.artmuseumgr.org.

ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG

February 3 through May 20, 2012 Grand Rapids Art Museum The Grand Rapids Art Museum presents an introduction to key aspects of Rauschenberg’s body of work with a major exhibition including prints and multiples from Gemini G.E.L., a world-famous publishing workshop in Los Angeles, California, the monumental Synapsis Shuffle from the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and a selection of related works from local collectors and GRAM’s permanent collection. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit www.artmuseumgr.org.

November 15 through 20 DeVos Performance Hall Get ready to discover a delightful new show that’s as fresh and rare as newly fallen snow! The classic holiday tradition White Christmas comes to the stage at last, as a brand new Irving Berlin musical direct from Broadway and opening at DeVos Performance Hall to kick off the holiday season. Brimming with such Berlin hits as ”Blue Skies”, ”How Deep is the Ocean?“ and, of course, the unforgettable title song. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the bargain. Full of dancing, laughter, and some of the greatest songs ever written, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas promises to be a merry and bright theatrical experience for the whole family! For more information, call 616.235.6285 or visit www.broadywaygrandrapids.com.

Les Misérables

November 29 through December 4 DeVos Performance Hall Dream the dream. Cameron Mackintosh presents a brand new 25th anniversary production of Boublil & Schönberg's legendary musical, Les Misérables, with glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. This new production has been acclaimed by critics, fans, and new audiences and is breaking box office records wherever it goes. The New York Times calls this Les Misérables ”an unquestionably spectacular production from start to finish.“ The London Times hails the new show ”a fivestar hit, astonishingly powerful.“ For more information, call 616.235.6285 or visit www.broadwaygrandrapids.com.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

January 17 through 22 DeVos Performance Hall They came together to make music. They ended up making history. Million Dollar Quartet is the new smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ’n‘ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. On December 4, 1956, these four young musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including ”Blue Suede Shoes,“ ”Fever,“ ”That's All Right,“ ”Sixteen Tons,“ ”Great Balls of Fire,“ ”Walk the Line,“ ”Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,“ ”Who Do You Love?,“ ”Matchbox,“ ”Folsom Prison Blues,“ ”Hound Dog,“ and more. This thrilling musical brings you inside the recording studio with four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock ’n‘ roll band for one unforgettable night. Don’t miss your chance to be a fly on the wall of fame at Million Dollar Quartet! For more information, call 616.235.6285 or visit www.broadwaygrandrapids.com.

MARY POPPINS

February 21 through 26 DeVos Performance Hall Combining the best of the original stories by P. l. Travers and the beloved Walt Disney film, the Tony Award-winning Mary Poppins is everything you’d hope for in a Broadway musical and more. The show includes such wonderful songs as ”Chim Chim Cher-ee,“ ”A Spoonful of Sugar,“ ”Let’s Go Fly a Kite,“ and, of course, ”Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.“ The New York Daily News hails Mary Poppins as ”a roof-raising, toe-tapping, high-flying extravaganza!“ Let your imagination take flight at this perfectly magical musical! For more information, call 616.235.6285 or visit www.broadwaygrandrapids.com.

LaFontsee Galleries

For more events and information, visit GRNOW.com.

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Concerts mega ’80s

October 14 and 29, November 11 and 26, and December 31 The Intersection Take a handful of your favorite ’80s songs, a splash of some retro fashion, a pinch of panache, and an eye-popping video spectacle in the background and what do you get? The Mega ’80s, of course! With all of the continued improvements to the show, from dancers, enhanced video media, and a spectacular light show, the Mega ’80s and Tangerine Moon Productions will continue to bring the ’80s back! Fans agree that the Mega ’80s put on a show like no one else! For more information, call 616.723.0873 or visit www.sectionlive.com.

The Crane Wives photo by Tommy Valdez

Theater and Performing Arts DRACULA

October 27 through 30 Peter Martin Wege Theatre Nothing says Halloween like a good fright! Grand Rapids Ballet presents the intoxicating drama of an age-old tale that has gripped audiences for centuries. Vampires and seductive characters combine for a breathtaking production perfect for dance enthusiasts and novices. Join us for a ghoulish weekend of ghastly romance and mysterious suspense! Costumes encouraged! For more information, call 616.454.4771 or visit www.grballet.com.

the wizard of oz

November 18 through December 18 Grand Rapids Civic Theatre “We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!” This musical family favorite for all ages returns to the Civic stage this holiday season reminding us that there truly is no place like home. By L. Frank Baum, adapted by Frank Gabrielson, with music and lyrics of the MGM motion pictures score by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg. Background music by Herbert Stothart. For more information, call 616.454.4771 or visit www.grct.org.

The Grand Rapids Ballet Company Presents The Nutcracker

November 26 through 27 and December 9 through 11 DeVos Performance Hall Kick off the holiday season with the most beloved ballet of all time, The Nutcracker. This year, the Grand Rapids Ballet and Grand Rapids Symphony unite to bring this timeless favorite to you early — ­ a great chance to renew your family traditions! We are thrilled to offer dates during Thanksgiving weekend. Bring the whole family and experience the magic of the dazzling sets, costumes, and choreography combined with the dramatic Tchaikovsky score in this delightful family tradition. For more information, call 616.454.4771 or visit www.grballet.com.

HARVEY

January 13 through 29 Grand Rapids Civic Theatre “Who doesn’t have an imaginary rabbit for a best friend?” For the first time on the Civic stage, this classic comedy about an affable man and his presumably imaginary friend Harvey (a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall pooka resembling a rabbit) will undoubtedly warm your heart. For more information, call 616.222.6650 or visit www.grct.org.

starfarm

the magic flute

February 3 through 4 DeVos Performance Hall Escape with the whole family to ancient Egypt in this fantasy driven opera. The Queen of the Night, ancient Greek gods, the Temple of Light, snake-killing ladies, and the Wicked Sorcerer all serve as instruments of musical magic in this classic opera. Inspired by Freemason lore and full of amazing arias, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s breathtaking score will leave you spellbound. For more information, call 616.451.2741 or visit www.operagr.com.

Amoré and More: featuring Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels

February 10 through 12 and 17 through 19 Peter Martin Wege Theatre What makes us tick? Laughter, grief, love, anger, compassion? Join us for the ups and downs of human emotion in a diverse program that will stir your senses. Bring your Valentine to this incredible production of love, laughter, and passion featuring works never before seen in Grand Rapids: originally created for New York City Ballet, Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels is a “visually dramatic, dynamically charged, abstract ballet that highlights the dancers’ power and athleticism. Red Angels is a ballet of intense color, sound, and sensual impact. Against a jet-black curtain, the dancers, dressed in scarlet leotards, are bathed in spots of blinding white or red-hot light; the music is a riveting score for electric violin.” For more information, call 616.451.4771 or visit www.grballet.com.

Ampersand by Vincent Delaney

March 22 through 31 Spectrum Theatre Ampersand follows Kate and Marlowe, a couple who fly to Switzerland to rehabilitate their marriage. Then their clones arrive on the scene. A fast-paced dark farce that throws you headlong into questions about marriage, family, and how we try to shape those we say we adore. Vincent Delaney is a Seattle-based playwright whose work has premiered at The Guthrie, The Humana Festival, and Seattle Rep, among others. Ampersand will be directed by Randy Wyatt. For more information, call 616.234.3946 or visit www.actorstheatregrandrapids.org.

October 21, November 23 and 25, and December 23 Billy’s Lounge Do you want your MTV of old? Are you spending your Saturday nights watching VH1 count down your favorite retro videos? Then Starfarm is what you need. Starfarm brings the most “totally awesome” collection of ’80s songs that you can dream of. Every song played instantly captures that nostalgic feeling, sending you back to the best decade of your life. From the very first chord of the night, you will be dancing and pumping your fist in the air, singing along to the much-loved songs of yesterday. For more information, call 616.222.6650 or visit www.grct.org.

the crane wives

October 29 Founders Brewing Company The Crane Wives are an indie-folk outfit from Grand Rapids, Michigan, that defies musical stereotypes. Formed in late August 2010, they recently released their debut album entitled Safe Ship, Harbored. Using three-part vocal harmonies, eclectic instrumentation and a knack for dynamics, they create organic music that is both accessible and innovative. Each live show features contagious energy as well as original music that ranges from whisper quiet ballads to danceable grooves. For more information, call 616.776.1195 or visit www.thecranewives.com.

alexis

October 29 Founders Brewing Company The electronic duo Alexis could be described as a rare breed in the world of live music. Their sound rides a thin line between retro electro pop and smoky lounge and jazz. Their debut album, The Night is filled with catchy pop hooks, sleek synthesizers, warm, seductive vocals, and sophisticated songwriting. With their high energy dance grooves and crowd pleasing live show, they’ve made their way to the upper sphere of the local music scene in a relatively short amount of time. One could say that Alexis is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue. For more information, call 616.776.1195 or visit www.musicofalexis.com.

For more events and information, visit GRNOW.com.

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John Mellencamp

Grand Rapids Griffins photo by Terry Johnson

Concerts

Sporting Events

Cultural Events

John Mellencamp

Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis®

Restaurant week

December 10 The MAC Be there with bells on! Get in the spirit this holiday season at the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis®. Be one of the thousands of runners and walkers who hit the nation’s pavements, pathways, and parks this winter to fight arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. Jingle Bell Run/Walk® is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday-themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Run or walk a 5-kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. For more information, call 1.800.968.3030 or visit www.2011jbr.kintera.org/grandrapids.

November 3 through 13 Downtown Grand Rapids Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2011 will be your chance to celebrate dining out by discovering new restaurants and returning to your favorites for a one-of-a-kind meal or two or three or four. This year the event will be for 11 days from Thursday, November 3, through Sunday, November 13, 2011. During that week you will be able to taste your way around greater Grand Rapids and enjoy creative three-course menus at one of two prices: Some restaurants will offer creative three-courses for $25 while others will offer 2 for $25 for three-courses. For more information, visit www.restaurantweekgr.com.

Grand Valley State University Football through November 12 Women’s Volleyball through November 13 Men’s and Women’s basketball November through

Breakfast Stout Breakfast

November 1 DeVos Performance Hall As a reflection of the diversity of styles and material that have been a hallmark of Mellencamp’s eclectic career, the No Better Than This concerts are formatted into three segments. These showcase John Mellencamp in an acoustic context, fronting a small combo recalling blues/country and rockability roots as well as with his full rock band. For more information, call 1.800.745.3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

Reba McEntire: All The Women I Am Tour

November 10 Van Andel Arena One of the most successful female recording artists in history, Reba has sold over 56 million albums worldwide and her previous 13 studio albums have all achieved Gold or Platinum-plus status. As a leading lady in the genre, she was recently inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame for her contributions. For more information, call 1.800.745.3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

St. Cecilia Jazz Series: Jane Monheit

November 30 St. Cecilia Music Center, Royce Auditorium Jazz vocalist Jane Monheit celebrates the tenth anniversary of her remarkable recording career with her most mature, heartfelt album yet, “Home,” a collection of standards that represents a passionate return to her roots as a jazz musician. The album features the band she has worked with onstage and off for most of her career, as well as special guests such as John Pizzarelli, Mark O'Connor, and Larry Goldings. For more information, call 616.459.2224 or visit www.scmc-online.org.

Grand Rapids Symphony, Fox Motors Pop Series: Live And Let Die: The Music of Paul McCartney

March 16 through 18 DeVos Performance Hall Tony Kishman, veteran of the Broadway hit Beatlemania, delivers an authentic concert experience for Beatles’ fans of all ages. From his great songs with The Fab Four to his outstanding solo work, Paul McCartney’s legacy comes alive. For more information, call 616.454.9451 or visit www.grsymphony.org.

April, 2012 Allendale, Michigan Since 2004, Grand Valley State University athletic program has been honored with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Directors’ Cup for Division II. This annual award is given to the most successful collegiate athletic program. Grand Valley’s varsity athletic teams have won nine national championships in five sports and have been national runners-up 13 times in eight sports. For more information, call 616.331.3200 or visit www.gvsulakers.com.

GRAND RAGGIDY ROLLER GIRLS

Through November 19, 2011 Rivertown Sports The Grand Raggidy Roller Girls are an independently owned, all-female roller derby league based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Developed in April 2005. For more information, call 616.752.8475 or visit www.grandraggidyrollergirls.com.

November 12 Founders Brewing Company Save the date for Founders’ annual Breakfast Stout Breakfast! It’s all about Breakfast Stout with this party—though they will have breakfast catered and offer some live music for entertainment. PJs are strongly encouraged. For more information, call 616.776.1195 or visit www.foundersbrewing.com.

International Wine & Food Festival

November 17 through 19 DeVos Place Now in its fourth year, this festival has established itself as Michigan’s premier event for the celebration and tasting of the finest foods, wines, beers, and spirits. 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, the International Wine, Beer & Food Festival will deliver a grand experience that is sure to please every palate. For more information, call 616.447.2860 or visit www.showspan.com/GRW.

Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey

Through April, 2011 Van Andel Arena The Grand Rapids Griffins are a professional hockey team in the American Hockey League. They are the AHL affiliate to the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL. For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit www.vanandelarena.com or www.griffinshockey.com.

For more events and information, visit GRNOW.com.

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Two LocaTions Gaslight Village Snapdragon Boutique’s Snappy Feet 725 Bagley Avenue SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506 616.855.1198

Fun, Fashionable, and Unique Clothing, Footwear, and Gifts for Children of All Ages

Between Lake Dr. and Wealthy St. Parking in Rear

East Paris Voted Best Children’s Store by Grand Rapids Magazine

www.snapdragonboutique.com We’re on Facebook! Find us as Snapdragon Boutique and Snappy Feet

1200 East Paris Grand Rapids, MI 49546 616.957.0050 Next to Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus and Groskopf’s

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LaughFest 2012

Children's Activities Grand Rapids Children’s Museum’s Annual Harvest Party

October 27, 5:30–7:30 p.m. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum Come dressed up in your favorite costume and visit treat stations in the Museum and create a fun fall-themed craft. For more information, call 616.235.4726 or visit www.grcm.org.

The Aquatic Adventures of Johnny Starfish and the Mermaids and Peter and the Wolf

November 5 Forest Hills Fine Arts Center Take the whole family out for an entertaining day of dance and fun. Grand Rapids Ballet brings back two of its greatest family hits and introduces families to a wonderfully fun classical ballet, all on the same program! Join us for the return of The Aquatic Adventures of Johnny Starfish and the Mermaids and Peter and the Wolf and be mesmerized by the enchanting Fairy Doll! This is the perfect show to introduce your young ones to the wonders of the beautiful art form of dance. For more information, call 616.454.4771 or visit www.grballet.com.

Sesame Street Live Elmo Makes Music Dutch Winterfest

November 19 through January 7, 2012 Downtown Holland Brighten your holidays with a visit to Holland! This year, the downtown comes alive with a multitude of exciting holiday happenings from November to January. Just a few of the many events and activities are highlighted below. Season’s Greetings! Surprise your group with a visit from Sinterklaas, the Dutch St. Nicholas, and his mischievous Zwarte Piets, bringing treats for all. Dutch-costumed step-on guides are also available to share Holland’s rich history and Dutch holiday traditions. For more information, call 616.394.0000 or visit www.holland.org.

Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World

November 22 through January 8, 2012 Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Excitement surrounds us this time of year as Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World brings the glow of 300,000 lights, strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more than 40 international trees and displays. For more information, call 616.957.1580 or visit www.meijergardens.org.

Hot New Year’s Eve Party 2012

December 31 Rosa Parks Circle The Bud Light Happy Hour kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Rosa Parks Circle with the official ball drop at the stroke of midnight. DJ Curtis Avison will entertain the crowd between live performances. Roughly 30,000 people attended the Hot New Year’s Eve Party on December 31, 2010. Those in attendance can take advantage of the Amway-sponsored warming tents and family area located on the steps of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, as well as free parking shuttles transporting people throughout downtown. The Hot New Year’s Ball is making its fourth appearance on December 31, 2011. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.grnow.com.

Michigan International Auto Show

November 26 through 29 DeVos Place This is the greatest annual opportunity to view your “next new car!” Car manufacturers from around the world will bring their finest traveling displays with 300+ new vehicles—including sedans, vans, SUVs, trucks, hybrids, and sports cars. For more information, call 616.447.2860 or visit www.showspan.com/GRW.

LaughFest 2012

March 8 through 18 Downtown Grand Rapids The nation’s first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, Gilda’s LaughFest will return for a second year in Grand Rapids. LaughFest is a ten-day-laugh-‘til-your-stomachhurts-and-you-feel-like-you-did-crunches-festival-oflaughter. It’s a tidal wave of funny washing over Grand Rapids, Michigan, through free and ticketed events, shows, lectures, and performances. If it’s humorous, it’s happening in Grand Rapids, March 8 through 18, 2012, because what’s funnier than Michigan in the end of winter? Okay. Just about everything. That’s why it’s the perfect time to throw a ten-day party. Gilda’s LaughFest is a festival of comedy, performance, film, and a variety of seriously funny stuff that makes us laugh. For more information, call 616.447.2860 or visit www.showspan.com/GRW.

West Michigan Women’s Expo

March 9 through 11 DeVos Place Only in the spring and back for its 14th year! The original and largest show for women. This event is the perfect balance of education, entertainment, and enjoyment in an event tailored for the lives of busy women. Features products and services from more that 375 women-owned and women-focused businesses. Demonstrations and presentations on health, wellness, cooking, beauty, fashion, fitness, home decor, and more! On-site spa services and the best shopping found for anything a woman desires! For more information, call 616.532.8833.

Butterflies Are Blooming

March 1 through April 30 Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park A visitor favorite in its 17th year, Butterflies Are Blooming features butterflies from tropical regions around the world flying freely in the 5-story Tropical Conservatory. The 80-degree conservatory is filled with thousands of exotic butterflies from tropical regions around the world. More than 40 different species of butterflies and moths make this a warm and colorful exhibition. Throughout the exhibition, butterflies can be viewed drinking nectar from the flowering plants and feeding stations, congregating among stream beds, and flying freely within the 5-story tropical conservatory. For more information, call 616.957.1580 or visit www.meijergardens.org.

November 11 through 13 Van Andel Arena Jenny, an enthusiastic, new music teacher, arrives on Sesame Street only to discover that her instruments are missing. Jenny’s new Muppet friends quickly come to the rescue and discover “instruments” they never knew existed … rubber duckies, trash can lids, and even cookie jars! Elmo and friends teach children that everyone can make and enjoy beautiful music together. For more information, call 1.800.745.3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

New Year’s Early Eve

December 31, 6–8 p.m. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum Ring in the new year at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum! Live DJ, food, fun activities, and a ball-drop at 8 p.m.! Reservations required. For more information, call 616.235.4726 or visit www.grcm.org.

Disney On Ice Presents: 100 Years Of Magic

March 22 through 24 Van Andel Arena A century of classic and new Disney stars are taking to the ice to share memories, laughs, and excitement in Disney On Ice Presents: 100 Years of Magic. This magical moment in entertainment history combines Disney’s unforgettable stories and enthralling characters that have entertained families the world over. Audiences will not want to miss this once-in-alifetime ice spectacular that features beautifully choreographed figure skating to Academy Award®-winning songs “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Under the Sea,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and many more. Dazzling sets, memorable characters, beautiful costumes, and exciting special effects will transport audiences through decades of beloved Disney stories. For more information, call 1.800.745.3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

For more events and information, visit GRNOW.com.

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s o l ace scene

Electronic Music Night Grand Rapids, Michigan

Photography by Terry Johnston

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