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JOIN US MARCH 8 – 18, 2018!

10 days of free and ticketed events including stand-up, improv, film, authors, showcases, and a variety of seriously funny stuff!

Full talent and events lineup will be announced this fall All proceeds benefit the free cancer, grief, and emotional health support programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids 4

THE BEST DAYS. With 24/7 slots, table games and dining, here’s one more thing to love about West Michigan.

269.792.7777 | US 131 - EXIT 61

Families welcome to dine at Gun Lake Casino. Those under 21 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Must be 21 or older to game. Š2017 Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority.



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Welcome Letter Last Call Guide to Hotel Dining Calendar of Events



13 15 17 19 25 27 29 31 33 39 41 43 45

Vibrant Grand Rapids Tarry On Mitten Mavericks An Accordion Education Cutting Through the Hype Let’s Talk Tacos Gramable Edibles Welcome to Town Wolfgang Coo-Koo for Cocoa Cups A Moving Experience La Grande Vitesse Ritsu Katsumata After ArtPrize


Editorial Director | Dave Kantor Creative Director | Wendy Wassink Editor | Amy Marinari Design | Kantorwassink


Chief Marketing Officer | Chad LeRoux

SOLACE™ magazine is published two times per year by Kantorwassink on behalf of AHC+Hospitality. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of AHC+Hospitality. For advertising information, please call 616.776.6980 or visit us online at Follow us on Facebook at facebook. com/solacemagazine and Twitter @solacemag.


A university quality education at a community college price.

The GRCC Experience is seamless transfer to many college and university programs; faculty with industry experience; state-of-the-art, flexible and online learning options; study away and experiential learning opportunities; and business partnerships to develop tomorrow’s workforce.

Grand Rapids Community College West Michigan’s Best Choice.




drinks 8pm............................. dinner live music 10:30pm..................... comedy 1am........................ dancing 6pm........................... 9pm............................


20 Monroe Ave NW • Downtown Grand Rapids • 616.356.2000 •

It's your time to have fun.


DEAR GUEST, Welcome to West Michigan! On my way home from work the other night I was listening to a little Def Leppard (ridicule if you will, but I love me some Leppard). Anyway, I glanced at the Sirius XM cover on the screen, “Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits (1980 – 1985),” and something clicked. Why not do what Def Leppard did? Open up the vault and share the wealth. Over the last 20 issues of SOLACE we’ve created quite a “vault” of our own. Literally hundreds of stories highlighting the ever-changing restaurant and arts scene; up-and-coming individuals, artists and entrepreneurs; and the people, places and things that give West Michigan its very own distinctly different flavor. This issue of SOLACE, “The Vault,” is dedicated to sharing what are, in our humble opinions, some of the best articles that have appeared in our magazine. Articles that, even after being locked away for a few years, are as fresh, interesting, informative and inspiring as they were when they were first written. And so, they’ve earned the right, and respect, to carry the ‘BEST OF SOLACE’ badge. Grand Rapids’ Mayor, Rosalynn Bliss, has some suggestions about what to do, too (p. 13). Head west to the greatest great lake of them all, Lake Michigan, and do a little ice-cold, salt-free surfing (p. 17). If not waves, what about wheels? Tarry Hall Roller Rink is where West Michigan laces up to rock and roller skate (p. 15). Or, if you’d rather sit back and listen to accordionist-extraordinaire Michael Schaeffer (p. 19). Read what our very own George Aquino finds fascinating about a food and beverage scene that’s bursting at the seams across West Michigan (p. 25). Find out how to be an Instagram foodie pro (p. 29), sample the tastiest tacos in town (p. 27) or the hottest spots for hot chocolate (p. 33). For the latest additions to the food and drink scene, inside the Amway Grand Plaza, read about Wolfgang Puck’s culinary contributions (p. 31) and our latest lobby addition, Rendezvous (p. 51). If breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, cooking, cocktails or beer aren’t your bag, no problem. West Michigan has an art scene second to none. Read what Kristen Taylor of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and Christian Gains, Executive Director of ArtPrize, have to say about West Michigan’s world-class art scene (p. 39). Then dig into the details of how the Calder sculpture came to symbolize our beloved city (p. 41). See what happens after starving artists win ArtPrize (p. 45). Or see something live and local, like avant-garde-classically-trained-performance-artist-and-musician Ritsu Katsumata (p. 43). As Chief Marketing Officer for AHC+Hospitality—the operator of the Amway Grand Plaza, the JW Marriott Grand Rapids and the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott—I’m happy to open up the vault and share the wealth in this issue of SOLACE Magazine. We hope it informs and inspires you to get out there and see for yourself what makes Grand Rapids rock. In the immortal words of Def Leppard, “Gunter, Glieben, Glauten, Globen.”

Chad LeRoux Chief Marketing Officer AHC+Hospitality



MORNING Start your day with a tasty Bistro breakfast and your favorite Starbucks® beverage.

NOON Unplug and unwind or reconnect and recharge with a quick delicious lunch in our newly updated Bistro.

NIGHT With evening table-service available, you can sit down for dinner or host your own happy hour with locally brewed beers and craft cocktails.



By Rosalynn Bliss Photo by Josh Tyron

VIBRANT GRAND RAPIDS And the Good People Making It Happen In 2005, I had the honor of being elected to the Grand Rapids City Commission and since then I have seen an amazing number of new venues open and old venues be reborn. Behind every one of these options for great food or entertainment are individuals, the folks who spend their lives making yours more enjoyable. Grand Rapids is particularly special in this way: you get to make very personal connections at wonderful establishments so that you are welcomed by friends when you visit. Starting at the crack of dawn might bring you, for breakfast, to Matt Wolfgang’s in Eastown or Marie Catrib’s, where Fouad and company will take care of you. Steve Curtis at Rowster’s on Wealthy Street will wish you a great day and make you a wonderful cup of coffee. As you stroll from your first stop of the day, you’ll be passed by bicyclists taking advantage of our nearly 70 miles of bike lanes in the city—an effort supported by Tom Tilma and his crew at the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition. You might wander through Pleasant Park, the latest addition to our many gems of green space supported by the wonderful staff at Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, like Steve Faber. At Riverside Park, you might see Landon Bartley pulling his weight as part of an eight-person rowing shell launched from the Grand Rapids Rowing Association boathouse. Rachel Hood from the West Michigan Environmental Action Council might recruit you for the Grand River Cleanup. You might even see Chris Muller and Chip Richards sharing their idea to restore the rapids downtown. Downtown, Bill Holsinger-Robinson might have our annual TEDxGrandRapids event underway at the Civic Theatre. Under the direction of Miranda Krajniak, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts – a component of Ferris

State University and Kendall College of Art and Design – might be hosting an exhibit or showing Oscar-nominated short films in its theater. And speaking of colleges, you’re likely to be surrounded by students going to and coming from the many downtown campuses in Grand Rapids.

And as day turns to night, I have a special place in my heart for the open-air concerts held at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park: bring your own chair, your own snacks and hunker down in a circle of friends on the grass, listening to world-famous performers and local talent, like my friend Drew Nelson.

If it’s cold enough for ice, Rosa Parks Circle – in front of the first LEED-certified Grand Rapids Art Museum – will be hosting public skating. If it’s warm enough, there’s bound to be a jazz concert or swing dancing by the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society (holder of the Guinness world record for the largest swing dance, by the way).

I realize my list of day to night focuses on entertainment and that it just scratches the surface. There are countless talented individuals working in all walks of life to make our city a vibrant place to be – but at its heart, Grand Rapids has always had individuals eager to make a personal connection with others for the sake of improving this place we call home. I have been fortunate to meet many of them and I hope we all take the time to get to know the people behind the places we value.

As the day progresses, you might wander a little north to Graydon’s Crossing and be served by Larry Zeiser, an active member of the Creston Business Association, one of the many vibrant neighborhood business associations across our city. And then there’s the beer: we didn’t get named “Beer City USA” for nothing! Kris and Jason Spaulding at Brewery Vivant will serve up the Belgian variety; at Harmony Brewing one of the Van Dyke siblings will take care of you (unless they’re busy opening up Harmony Hall on the West Side); and, of course, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers have a massive crew waiting to serve you at Founders. And what I’ve mentioned are just three of the (at least) 15 microbreweries in town!

Editor’s Update: Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss is now Mayor Rosalynn Bliss after becoming our first woman mayor by winning two-thirds of the popular vote on August 4th of 2015. Huzzah! Huzzah!

For dinner, Doug Berg at the Green Well is waiting with a quick smile based on his pride for the delicious dishes on the menu – one of many restaurants that have redefined the streets of Cherry and Wealthy.






By Kristen Taylor Photo by Carson Davis Brown

TARRY ON Why Tarry Hall Roller Rink Is One of Winter's Hottest Tickets When you weren’t watching, Rollerblades made a comeback. Remember when traditional fourwheel (quad) skates were cool? You were likely a very young thing, skating to disco in the middle-school gym. That was before their sleek cousins, Rollerblades (née inline skates), were invented and were suddenly everywhere – not just in roller rinks, but also on sidewalks and park pathways and beach boardwalks. It was the 1990s, and we all broke out the wrist guards and rolled, boogied and twirled our way to sinewy glutes and defined calves. Then the 2000s and roller derby happened. Athletic and powerful women with a sense of both humor and competitive spectacle, coupled with displays of aggressive sportsmanship, brought the gladiatorial sport of roller derby to cities across the country. Grand Rapids’ own Grand Raggidy Roller Girls have been skating in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association for over 10 years. Roller derby defined quad skates as the choice of professionals, and burnished their image as the go-to for the casual indoor skater. Quad skates were old-school cool. Cue the 2010s, and it looks as if blades are back, and skate choice has become gender specific. On a recent trip to Tarry Hall Skating Rink, just a few miles from downtown Grand Rapids, the manager said that these days, skaters choose inline skates 2:1 over their nostalgia-inducing cousin. And as hockey skates are to figure skates, all the boys and men seem to go for the inline skates, while the girls and women mix it up.

Tarry Hall has been on the scene since 1959, and has kept up with the skating trends, from today’s preferred gear to a 5,200-watt sound system that pumps that bass. You’ll also find an extensive light show that brings on disco fever both day and night. For the young or just the wobbly, there are "skate mate" rolling supports, which are sort of the bowling lane bumpers of the roller rink world. In a city known for its breweries and art, there’s a different kind of good, clean fun to be had at Tarry Hall. Afternoon skating sessions bring out families and school groups for some indoor temperature-controlled exercise and getting their ya-yas out. Tentative newcomers, always identifiable by their tendency to take clopping steps before they recognize how to push and glide, congregate in the center of the rink or along the starscape carpeted outer wall. Older kids will appreciate the pinball machines and vintage games, which offer arcade aficionados and pinball wizards a perfect place to rest their rumps before rounds in the rink, and the oldtime snack bar where Mike and Ike’s and ChicO-Sticks are still considered très chic.

More new-school cool? Friday night skating sessions have faster-paced skaters and a more dance/pop playlist than others, so parents who would like to walk the rink with small children would be wise to stick to other days of the week. If you do head out on a Friday night, you can go for the gusto when the "Couples Skate" sign on the light board flashes. Grab a partner, because who knows: you’ve got a brand-new pair of roller skates ... maybe he’s got a brand-new key. For more information on Tarry Hall Roller Rink visit

Inline speed skating is also an actual sport, with experienced coaches, practice times and meets for those who take their roller rink time more seriously. The Wolverine competitive inline speed skating team practices at Tarry Hall, and they have won multiple national and international championships.






By Kevin Buist Photo by Carson Davis Brown Art Direction by Geoffrey Holstad

MITTEN MAVERICKS Great Lakes surfers are a special breed of thrill-seeking, weather-watching die-hards.

Larry Larson’s outgoing voicemail message doesn’t include his name. It only says, “I’m out surfing. I’ll call you when I dry off.” Larson, 62, has surfed his entire life and is also the general manager of a marina. In many ways, he’s a typical creature of the coast, except for one thing: his area code is 231—an area code that doesn’t belong to any coastal town in California or Massachusetts. 231 is the area code of West Michigan that stretches from Muskegon north, all the way to the Mackinaw Bridge. Larry travels to tropical locales to ride waves, but the majority of his surfing happens in Lake Michigan, near his Muskegon home. Not surprisingly, Lake Michigan surfing is different from ocean surfing, in more ways than just the lack of salt and sharks in the water. The growing scene is building a global reputation for tenacity, dedication, and fortitude. One reason is that surfing in Lake Michigan is cold. The Lake rarely reaches tropical temperatures, and the best surfing happens after beach season is over, from late September to around December, when the lake typically freezes. Lake Michigan surfers don’t worry about hitting coral, instead they occasionally dodge chunks of ice. Stop by the Wet Mitten Surf Shop in Grand Haven, Michigan, at the end of summer and you’ll find owner Ben McNeil shifting his stock from T-shirts, sunglasses, and skim boards, to wetsuits, leashes, and surfboards. The summer crowds of beachgoers always ask the same thing when they see the rack of boards along the back wall, “You can surf in Lake Michigan?” McNeil says even photographic evidence isn’t enough to convince some skeptics. But it’s just as the air begins to cool that the local surfing crowd returns and starts gearing up for fall. The combination of cold air and warm water (relatively speaking) generates good waves. During October and November,

five- to 10-foot waves are common, and even bigger waves come with storms. Another unique aspect of surfing the lake is that the lull between sets of waves is very short, and the period between the waves themselves is quicker than the ocean. A good surf can last for several days in the ocean; in the lake, it usually only lasts a few hours. With the intervals between waves so much shorter, surfers have to fight an endless barrage of icy swells while paddling out, an exhausting prospect. But when ice is forming on your eyebrows, perhaps it’s best to keep moving. Geoff Holstad, an artist and longtime skateboarder in Grand Rapids, recently took up Lake Michigan surfing. He says that while surfing creates a unique culture in every corner of the globe, Lake Michigan surfers are a special breed. The typical Lake Michigan surfer is part thrill-seeker, part amateur meteorologist, and part polar bear club swimmer. Holstad admits to obsessively checking online weather and wave reports. “Great Lakes surfers are revered by international surfers,” he says, “because they work so hard to catch messier waves in some of the toughest conditions.”

Camaraderie inevitably forms among people with this much dedication to something so unconventional, extreme, and unforgiving. Larry Larson has watched the West Michigan surf community wax and wane for decades. One of his best memories is going out with a friend on a particularly stormy November day. November 10, 1975, to be exact, the day that same storm system was sinking the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior. On Lake Michigan, Larry surfed the best waves of his life—better than California, Costa Rica, or Hawaii. His friend was pummeled by three massive waves in a row. When he finally came up for air, the friend decided to move to Colorado. As Larson tells it, “He had enough of the Lake.” But Larson and the other die-hards won’t quit anytime soon. His wetsuit gets less work these days, but in early autumn he still checks the Muskegon beach live webcam and grabs his board at the first sight of a decent surf. Wet Mitten Surf Shop 301 North Harbor Drive, Grand Haven A 39-minute drive from your hotel.

Grand Haven Surf Webcam

Ben McNeil at Wet Mitten says there are 30 to 40 die-hards in Grand Haven and counting, as well as similar communities in each Lake Michigan coastal town. He credits the growing popularity of board sports in general. Skateboarders, wake boarders, and snowboarders are looking for the next thing, and the Great Lakes are the final frontier of the surfing industry.






By Paul Flower Photo by Josh Tyron

AN ACCORDION EDUCATION The Music Teacher You Wish You Had If you were asked to choose a musical instrument and a musical genre to teach in West Michigan, “the accordion” and “swing gypsy” likely wouldn’t be on the very tip of your tongue. Then again, Michael Schaeffer isn’t your typical musician or music teacher. An accomplished painter—he studied at the Royal College of Art in London and earned his degree from Kendall College in Grand Rapids— Schaeffer awakened one day from a dream in which he was playing “a bellowed instrument in a dark room.” The dream inspired Schaeffer, who was a lapsed piano student, to buy an accordion at a garage sale. And from there, it inspired him to launch a second career as a performer and instructor. Today, he performs at everything from weddings to dinner parties to backyard get-togethers, and teaches a growing list of pupils. “Word kind of got out that I was giving accordion lessons. Before I knew it I had a couple of other people inquiring about lessons and it just slowly became something people wanted to do. And the more I ‘gigged,’ the more I’d tell people that I also teach. Word of mouth got me to the point of where I have 11 students. And I love it. It’s wonderful,” he says.

Schaeffer admits that, yes, some students come to him with an interest in playing an old-fashioned, rousing polka. But his students quickly learn there’s much more to the accordion than that. And, contrary to West Michigan’s near-legendary reputation for button-down, no-nonsense conservatism, many local accordion pupils come to Schaeffer already interested in a diverse range of musical styles—schooled by everything from YouTube to movies—and they want to embrace the accordion’s more romantic side. “There’s a place for polka, and it’s great and all, but it’s not true that the accordion just plays loud polka music. Really it can be a very expressive, very sensitive instrument,” he says. “There’s a lot of nuance in it. So when you’re talking about something like French musette, it’s easy-going music—it’s Paris, relaxing in a café with an espresso; it is romantic.”

they might still be into, but they find new loves with different kinds of music,” Schaeffer says. You can see Schaeffer’s art at LaFontsee Galleries in Grand Rapids. You can enjoy his accordion music at any number of local restaurants and taverns, or you may just run into one of his students at a wedding or restaurant in the near future. While Schaeffer can’t predict where all of his musical prodigies will go from here, he is pleased with the journey he’s sharing with them, and how it is impacting the area’s culture. “It makes me very happy to know that people are interested in other types of things besides the mainstream. I think that really catches some people and I’m really glad it has because it’s going to open up something very new for people to experiment with,” he says. Michael Schaeffer

Schaeffer said whatever the case, his students’ tastes usually evolve as their lessons progress. He enjoys watching them discover the accordion’s remarkable range.

“Most of my students I have now are interested in French (accordion music) and second in line would be Tango,” he says. “Swing gypsy music is becoming popular in bigger cities and I think people are probably hearing more of that, too.”

While he is admittedly a little taken aback by the growing interest to learn the quirky instrument, he understands why his students fall in love with it.

Schaeffer suspects he plays a role in influencing what students want to play. But he also finds many of them come with open minds. Their tastes in music grow as lessons progress.

“It is surprising, the notion that someone would want to take this up compared to something more popular, like guitar,” Schaeffer says. “But it’s not surprising in that being an accordion player I know how good it feels. You’re very connected to the musical instrument.”

“A lot of them spend time listening to a lot of different kinds of music, and they really start connecting with a certain kind of culture, whether it be French, Tango, Irish, or German. Along the way, through the process, they do evolve. The things they thought they were into






Uptown is up the street from downtown—a charming, historic neighborhood with a boutique vibe. Stroll along brick roads that lead to award-winning restaurants, local breweries and independent shops filled with goods you can’t find anywhere else. If you’re UP for a unique experience, we’ve got it.



Gaslight Village

City bus service (#5, #6, #14) or a quick cab ride will get you to Uptown. Once here, you’ll find four walkable districts encompassing two square miles within the city. Visit to learn more.



Always, Betti (Estate Jewelry) 1141 E. Fulton St. on Facebook Bluedoor Antiques & Elements 946 E. Fulton St. Buffalo Tobacco Traders 952 E. Fulton St. on Facebook The Cakabakery 919 E. Fulton St. The Catering Company 1307 E. Fulton St. City Antiques 954 E. Fulton St. on Facebook Freshly Squeezed Print Shop 1121 E. Fulton St. Fulton Street Farmers Market 1145 E. Fulton St. Hair Carrigan Hair 900 E. Fulton St. Kangaroo Kitchen and Catering 1007 E. Fulton St. Madcap Coffee Company 1041 E. Fulton St. MercuryHead Gallery 962 E. Fulton St. on Facebook Rinaldi Pizza and Sub Shop 966 E. Fulton St. Salon Re: 940 E. Fulton St. Urban Exchange Consignment Boutique 926 E. Fulton St. UserEasy Computers 1141 E. Fulton St.

Adored Boutique 968 Cherry St. SE

EASTOWN Blu House Properties 1426 Wealthy St. SE Connie’s Cakes 1416 Robinson Rd. SE Foot Outfitters 1411 Robinson Rd. SE Gallery 154 1456 Lake Dr. SE GR Bagel 423 Norwood Ave. SE Harmony Brewing Company 1551 Lake Dr. SE Matchbox Diner & Drinks 1345 Lake Dr. SE Michigan Fibre Studio 1503 Lake Dr. SE Pita House 1508 Wealthy St. SE Rebel 1409 Robinson Rd. SE Smitty’s Specialty Beverage 1489 Lake Dr. SE Spirit Dreams 1430 Lake Dr. SE That Early Bird 1445 Lake Dr. SE Wolfgang’s 1530 Wealthy St. SE

Audrey Lane Boutique and Consignment 1005 Lake Dr. SE

Find these featured businesses and more at: Eat



Books & Mortar 955 Cherry St. SE Brewery Vivant 925 Cherry St. SE Clothing Matters 141 Diamond Ave. SE Furniture City Creamery 958 Cherry St. SE Global Infusion 143 Diamond Ave. SE The Green Well 924 Cherry St. SE Grove 919 Cherry St. SE Hopscotch Children’s Store 909 Cherry St. SE Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) 920 Cherry St. SE LaFontsee Galleries 833 Lake Dr. SE Metal Art Studio Fine Jewelry 978 Cherry St. SE Rock Paper Scissors Consignment Boutique 145 Diamond Ave. SE Under the Vines, Uniquely Michigan 959 Cherry St. SE on Facebook

WEALTHY STREET Art of the Table 606 Wealthy St. SE Donkey Taqueria 665 Wealthy St. SE Erb Thai 950 Wealthy St. SE # 1A From the Heart Yoga & Tai Chi Center 714 Wealthy St. SE #C

Reagan Marketing + Design 912 Wealthy St. SE Rowster Coffee 632 Wealthy St. SE

Handicap Sign 1142 Wealthy St. SE

The Sparrows Coffee 1035 Wealthy St. SE

HyperOptik 1134 Wealthy St. SE

Squibb Coffee and Wine Bar 955 Wealthy St. SE

Jeffrey Lake Agency 1136 Wealthy St. SE

Triumph Music Academy 949 Wealthy St. SE #200

Jeffrey Richard Salon 742 Wealthy St. SE

Verhey Carpets 1113 Wealthy St. SE

Jonny B’z Dogs and More 701 Wealthy St. SE

Wealthy at Charles 738 Wealthy St. SE

Kitchen Design Studio, Inc. 750 Wealthy St. SE #A

Wealthy Street Animal Hospital 1052 Wealthy St. SE

Lee & Birch 759 Wealthy St. SE

Wealthy Street Bakery 610 Wealthy St. SE

Little Caesars Pizza 1200 Wealthy St. SE

The Winchester 648 Wealthy St. SE


Best of 2016-17 Readers Poll

45 s. division ave, grand rapids, mi 49503 616.551.3563



Great memories are made around the table with food, drink & people you enjoy. Make yours at reserve.



By George Aquino Photo by Terry Johnston

CUTTING THROUGH THE HYPE The GR Food Scene Continues to Thrive The food scene in West Michigan is experiencing a culinary metamorphosis unlike any other period in its history. The “meat and potatoes” stigma is long gone as the area’s palate for diverse cuisine and creative experiences matures. Much has been written about the current restaurant scene and the anointed “Beer City, USA,” recognition. Experience Grand Rapids, Kent County’s hotel and tourism marketing arm, has produced tours and guides such as the “Beer Tour” and “Food Trail Map” to showcase more definitive experiences in the community— and at last count, these programs, along with the highly touted “Pure Michigan” campaign, have established West Michigan as a fantastic destination for foodies and beverage aficionados. We can’t overlook the ripple effects from the upswing in brewery and restaurant openings and the public’s interest in any activities foodand-drink-related. This sociocultural mutation has impacted every level of the culinary hemisphere and is changing the food and beverage landscape from one-stoplight towns to the flourishing neighborhoods of Grand Rapids. Local entrepreneurs have embraced this phenomenon and have established creative pockets of food innovation, from farm-todoorstep produce deliveries to private culinary experiences that go beyond the traditional drop-and-go catering services. It seems we can’t get enough of it and it’s about time that we go beyond the traditional restaurant dining experience and experiment with creative dining experiences that take on a life of their own. Such was the case at a themed dinner I attended that was hosted by the Grand Rapids Downtown Market and featured Chef Tory O’Haire. Chef Tory is a bon vivant, a local entrepreneur who established the underground Full Moon Supper Club and the man behind the creation of Propaganda Doughnuts and The Bandit Queen ramen noodle bar, gone now but not forgotten. He relinquished ownership of his stand-alone shops this year to tackle his current project as the Downtown Market’s Private

Parties and Culinary Coordinator. While some may question the sanity of his decision to move on, Chef Tory may have found his true calling as a culinary anthropologist at the market. In this chapter, Chef Tory is reinvigorating dinner party themes that go beyond the expected, infusing interesting facts and history with each narrative that captures the essence of each theme. On the evening of my visit, Chef Tory transported us to the cuisine of Morocco through his lyrical style of storytelling—captivating each diner on the bounty of spices and flavors that distinguish this North African country. He showed us the steps to making the B’stilla, the Moroccan equivalent of a potpie, as if he were our enlightening tour guide inside the labyrinthine alleyways of the Marrakesh souk. This fall, he introduced us to his Food and Movie series partnership with the UICA, where he taught diners to create dishes featured in the movie before taking the class on a short stroll to the UICA to watch the film. Likewise, the bar has been raised in the private catering scene in West Michigan. Locals are challenging chefs to craft authentic dining experiences – from ceviche bars served by Mexican dive joints to over-the-top New Orleans-style crawfish boils. I was one of the fortunate beneficiaries of such an experience when I was invited to a “Latin Tour” dinner at the beautiful brick home of Stephanie Whitford in East Grand Rapids. Needless to say, hosting a dinner for the city’s restaurant critic (that’s me) may cause shivers for some home cooks, but adding Josef Huber, the executive chef of AHC+Hospitality, and Brittanie Bonham, the co-owner of the hot Osteria Rossa restaurant downtown, to the mix would likely cause anxiety attacks even for the seasoned veteran.

But on this evening, our hostess did not take chances and recruited a spirited chef who could double as Vin Diesel in a chef jacket to take her place behind the kitchen counter. As we entered the kitchen, the aromas of roasted sweet chili peppers and fried arepas reina pepiada, the glorified Venezuelan street food named after the country’s first international beauty pageant queen, the “curvy” Suana Dujim, Miss World 1955, transported us to the streets of Caracas. Manning the kitchen was chef Sacha Ratti (, a firstgeneration Italian who grew up in Caracas. This former commercial realtor gave up his career to be a private caterer when he moved with his spouse to Grand Rapids in 2014 to “do something he loves every day.” Along with his sous chef, Chef Sacha delivered a knockout lineup from arepas, rabbit rillettes, ceviche con toston, piquillos rellenos, and gnocchi a la Roman con asado negro to a galleta con queso fresco y guayava. Through the course of the meal and colorful table conversations about food, family and travels, we discovered an Italian chef whose soul is very much Venezuelan – a dynamic combination of culture and cuisine. This West Michigan culinary journey is happening in the present with no ending in sight. It is being redefined each day – one menu at a time.





By Adam Barr Photo by Dean Van Dis

LET’S TALK TACOS Where to Find the Finest Tacos in Town What defines a good taco? Ask the question in a crowded room, and watch friends become foes.

TAQUERIA SAN JOSE Tacos worthy of a celebration

Debates may rage over corn vs. flour, authentic vs. modern and which spots are slinging the best, but most agree it’s all a matter of preference.

Christmas lights line the perimeter of its awning, while a festive tree sits on top. The gifts? They come from the kitchen—well-seasoned proteins and classic toppings wrapped with two corn tortillas. Located on Division, just south of Hall Street, Taqueria San Jose has minimal seating and little standing room to spare—so avoid lunch and dinner hours, or be prepared for a bit of a crunch. Once your order is up, enjoy what many assert are the best tacos in town. Location: 1338 South Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI 49507

It's time we come together as one taco-loving community, because if there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s this: Grand Rapids has a solid selection to choose from.

MAGGIE’S KITCHEN A classic spot that never gets old In an area continually sprouting new restaurants and breweries, Maggie’s Kitchen has been a West Side favorite for more than 30 years. This restaurant checks all the boxes—authentic tacos, plenty of seating and service with a smile. The barbacoa taco may be the best of the bunch, but stop by and decide for yourself. You place the order. They call your number. You’ll definitely be back for more. Location: 636 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

DONKEY TAQUERIA Setting the bar in a growing culinary district In both taste and atmosphere, Donkey hits the spot. Located in a renovated service station, Donkey calls the growing Wealthy Street neighborhood home. There since 2013, Donkey embraces classic recipes with a gourmet twist. The dining area has plenty of seating that extends to the outdoors when the weather is right. Tacos come à la carte, so try a few (be sure al pastor and chorizo are in the mix). Wash ‘em down with a michelada. Repeat as needed. Location: 665 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

TACOS EL CAPORAL Real-deal tacos from an authentic Mexican kitchen Head south of the border—the Grand Rapids border, that is—for a frills-free taco experience. The atmosphere isn’t anything to write home about, but the food’s another story. The tacos come with a variety of accompaniments— including radishes and grilled onions—and the red and green salsas have just the right amount of spice. The pollo, asada and chorizo tacos? All good. If you’re up for something different, try the lengua (cow tongue). Then put it on Instagram to show your friends how adventurous you are. Location: 260 Burton St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509

accompanied by a chef’s choice of side. The menu changes with the season, but you’ll have no problem finding something suited to your liking—as long as your liking is flavor-packed and Latin-inspired. Location: 64 Ionia Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

JOSÉ BABUSHKA'S A modern spot satisfying dual cravings “I’m craving Mexican,” part of you says. “Polish also sounds good,” says another part of you. You strike an inner compromise and head to José Babushka's, where they’re serving dishes inspired by both cultures. Nestled in Gaslight Village, not far from Reeds Lake, José Babushka's offers a menu dominated by Mexican-inspired favorites – tacos included – with a nod toward traditional Polish cuisine. There are umpteen tacos to choose from, ranging from the expected (chicken and al pastor) to the not-so-expected (alligator and BBQ pork). The shrimp tacos are probably the consensus favorite, so swing by for a plate, and pair it with the signature margarita. Location: 2232 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

LUNA A fitting addition near the heart of Grand Rapids New to the scene, Luna fits right in on Ionia Street thanks to its diverse menu and upbeat atmosphere. Residents and visitors are drawn by Luna’s depth of options and popular happy hour—but here, tacos are king. Inspired by Latin America street food, Luna has only a few taco options (quality over quantity), each





By Tommy Valdez Photos by Tommy Valdez

GRAMABLE EDIBLES Tips to Make the Internet Salivate So, you’ve found yourself enjoying all of the sights and sounds that West Michigan has to offer, and you decide to share a few with your friends on Instagram. The scenery is a snap. Your portraits are on point. Your food photos, on the other hand, are not so great. It’s okay, no one expects you to be the Ansel Adams of the dining room. Just follow these simple tips and tricks and leave your Instagram followers drooling on their iPhones: 1. Know your apps before you order some app(etizer)s. The key to taking any good photo starts with knowing how to shoot and process. Are you shooting with your phone’s built-in camera application? Are you working right from Instagram? Or are you processing your shots using third-party software? Chances are, no two people at your dinner table will share a process and that’s fine. Ask around, explore your options and work with what feels the best for you. 2. Composed dish. Composed pic. Food photography isn’t real life. You may be tempted to shoot the table as is. Don’t. Move cutlery, glasses and plates a little closer together to strengthen your shot. You could even throw in some smart accessories to help your image pop: a pair of gloves, a scarf or anything that will help remind your followers to be Insta-jealous of your West Michigan vacation. Keep in mind that your Instagram post is a visual story. So make it a good one. 3. Bird’s eye (for more than just veggies). We want to see your point of view, but not from your point of view. Try not to shoot your dish head-on. Work from above and angle your shot down. You may look odd standing on a chair with outstretched arms, but it will be worth it.

4. Is this light all natural? Save your camera flash as a last resort. The best source of light for your food photography comes from the sky. If you’re grabbing a latte at Madcap Coffee or a cocktail at Reserve, take advantage of their large windows. If it’s too dark, don’t be afraid to ask your dinner party to spare a light. Use their built-in camera flashes as flashlights to help illuminate your shot. Your photos will look better, and those around you will thank you for not looking like the restaurant paparazzo. 5. Depth of flavor and focus. Sliders, salads and soups shouldn’t be photographed the same way. Know how to work your camera’s focus so you’re not aiming for the back of the bun or the bottom of the bowl. An old photographers' trick is to “breathe like a sniper.” Simply put, breathe normally and relax your body before squeezing the trigger. Try taking your photo while exhaling. It might make the difference between a sharp shot and a soft mess.

Some of the destinations pictured here: Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 6-minute drive from your hotel. Reserve 201 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 1-minute walk from your hotel. Johnny B’z 636 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 7-minute drive from your hotel. The Southerner 880 Holland St, Saugatuck, MI 49453 A 40-minute drive from your hotel to Saugatuck. Madcap Coffee 98 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 5-minute walk east of your hotel.

6. Shots! Shots! Shots! Another old adage, “measure twice, cut once,” also holds true for Instagram photography. Though it may be easy to snap 100 photos of your cocktail or entrée, you shouldn’t. Compose your shot, check your lighting, focus and shoot. Taking the time to shoot your photo correctly the first time will save you from headaches later when deciding which photo to post. It will also help prevent any odd glare that may come your way from nearby tables during your prolonged photo shoot. 7. Sometimes pass on the photo but not on dessert. Indulge yourself by savoring the moment in the moment and don’t take the shot. Sure, you are here to brag about your West Michigan adventure, but some occasions should only linger as long as your taste buds will allow.





By Terri Finch Hamilton Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Puck

WELCOME TO TOWN WOLFGANG This World-famous Chef is Coming to Grand Rapids “Good food doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be delicious.” It’s that philosophy that has turned Wolfgang Puck into one of the most famous chefs in the world. And it’s that ‘secret recipe’ he’s bringing to Grand Rapids this fall. There’s no menu yet, but Joe Essa, president of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, already has us eager to pull up a seat at the table. He’s talking about the nine-day, doublefermented pizza crust, a Wolfgang Puck specialty that we can expect when The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck opens in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. “It has a little extra chew factor, a bit of a buttery flavor,” explains Essa. “This dough has character. It doesn’t need a lot of toppings. The crust is big and bubbly, uneven around the edges. You could eat it alone, as a basket of bread.” And that’s just the beginning. Chef Puck’s newest concept is the perfect addition to Grand Rapids’ dining scene and another feather in the cap for the AHC+Hospitality collection of restaurants. It will be the first of its kind in the United States—the only other one in the works for this year is in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Grand Rapids and Dubai? They’re, well, night and day. It makes perfect sense to Essa. “Wolfgang’s food travels,” Essa says. There are Wolfgang Puck restaurants in Singapore, Japan and London. “We look at ourselves as global,” he says. “Grand Rapids will be a great place to introduce this new concept. If it works there, chances are it will work in a lot of places.” “There are a lot of great restaurants in Grand Rapids,” he says. “We’re honored and humbled they chose us.”

The addition has George Aquino, vice president and managing director of AHC+Hospitality, beaming. That pizza crust, he says, “has soul.” “Ten or 15 years ago, no one would have imagined a Wolfgang Puck restaurant here in Grand Rapids,” Aquino says. “They’re in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas.” He pauses, “we’ve arrived.” Essa predicts a perfect fit. “AHC+Hospitality has a stellar reputation,” he says. And when he and his team visited Grand Rapids in December to check out the city, they loved it. "I was struck by how welcoming everybody was,” Essa says. “There was a real genuine approach to things.” Cooks and bartenders chatted with him. A server with a heavy tray in her hand stopped to assist when his group looked befuddled at The B.O.B. “We encountered that everywhere we went,” Essa says. “Everybody seemed happy. We had a very good first impression.” The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck will replace Bentham’s Riverfront Restaurant on the ground floor of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. In a hurry? You’ll find The Kitchen Counter by Wolfgang Puck right next door on the Pearl Street side of the hotel. Diners can plan to eat outdoors on a dual-level riverfront terrace, part of the hotel’s plan to emphasize the riverfront, Aquino says.

chicken salad, an Asian-inspired salad topped with crispy wontons, cashews, and a ginger and sesame honey dressing. Expect fresh, local ingredients, Essa says. They’re a Wolfgang staple. “He loves getting to know and working with local farmers and purveyors,” Essa explains. “It keeps everybody excited, including the culinary team. We’ll be challenging them. They’ll create a menu based on what’s fresh that season. You have such great local fish, I expect we’ll be using a lot of that.” Menu prices will be $9-$13 for lunch and $24$34 for dinner, including wine or a mixed drink. The restaurant will be upscale casual. It’s called “The Kitchen” for a reason, Aquino notes. “We gather around kitchens,” he says. “No matter how small your house is, or how big, the party always ends up in the kitchen.” The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck The Kitchen Counter by Wolfgang Puck Located in the Amway Grand Plaza

“We want to make that area come alive,” he says. “It’ll be a special place.” When Aquino, a noted foodie, got his first cookbook in high school, it was by Wolfgang Puck. “Wolfgang made pizza gourmet,” he says. How about a pizza topped with salmon roe and dill cream? Wolfgang might build your lobster club sandwich on walnut bread.



Watch for Wolfgang’s famous braised short ribs, Essa says, or maybe the popular Chinois



By Paul Flower

COO-KOO FOR COCOA CUPS Hot Chocolate, Elevated West Michigan is a hot chocolate kind of place. From the first leaf-kickin’ days of fall through the long, snowy winters (Google lake effect), we get through the cold half of each year living a Norman Rockwell image of rosy-cheeked kids holding steaming cups in mittened hands. But the hot chocolate we’ve been drinking around here lately isn’t anything like what our moms make. In fact, a sampler of some of the best hot chocolates in Grand Rapids reveals a drink as different from that childhood Swiss Miss packeted powder as a winter’s day on Lake Michigan is from one in Miami. At Lyon Street Café, the drink begins with Mooville Milk from Mooville Creamery in Nashville, Michigan. Then, according to Head Barista Corey Bickford, they add fair trade organic chocolate, cocoa powder and madefrom-scratch vanilla syrup. The result is a hot chocolate that offers a truly exceptional change of taste, one that appeals to both children and, importantly, adults. Bickford sees the richer, higher-quality hot chocolate as a logical extension of the growing consumer demand for everything from craft beers to organic foods and, of course, high-end coffee. “Customers are getting more sophisticated,” he said. “They’re looking for that level of quality in everything. Better hot chocolate is definitely a trend in the industry.”

Stephen Curtis, vice president and co-owner of Rowster Coffee, agrees. He said high-quality hot chocolate is another response to today’s qualityconscious customer. “As people’s expectation for the quality of coffee has grown, people now come and look for the same standard with the other things they drink. Hot chocolate is one of those,” Curtis said. According to Curtis, Rowster Coffee uses highquality milk, a high-quality cocoa powder from California, raw cane sugar and water in their brew. They steam the milk the way they steam it for a latté or other coffee drinks—to bring out the sweetness and create a smooth texture. As you might expect, Madcap Coffee, downtown Grand Rapids’ popular coffee spot, also has a hot chocolate recipe that will melt the edge off the coldest, dampest weather West Michigan dishes out. Ryan Wojton, manager of retail operations for Madcap in Grand Rapids, said they start with single-origin dark chocolate from Uganda, mix in a little cane sugar and add unhomogenized, cream-lined whole milk—it has a higher fat content than regular milk. They also steam the milk to give the drink what Wojton called a “velvety creaminess.” And if you think that sounds like something to leave your hotel room for on a cold night, you’re right. One reviewer on TripAdvisor gives the Madcap cocoa five stars and says it “tastes like a melted chocolate bar…”

Like all the other hot chocolate makers in town, Madcap sells plenty to both kids and adults. Wojton believes the special hot chocolate is attractive to grownups because it captures the spirit of childhood memories while delivering a taste adults can savor. He calls it “a nostalgic feel, elevated to an adult level.” So while we could recommend a hot chocolate for your next chilly night in GR, we instead suggest you venture out and try them all. And take the family, if you can. Start a new rosycheeked cocoa-crazy memory of your own. Lyon Street Café 617 Lyon St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 5-minute drive ride from your hotel. Rowster Coffee 632 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 7-minute drive ride from your hotel. Rower's Club 616 Fulton W Grand Rapids, MI 49504 A 5-minute drive from your hotel. Madcap Coffee 98 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 5-minute walk east of your hotel. Madcap Coffee - Downtown Market 435 Ionia Ave SW Grand Rapids, MI 49503 A 5-minute drive from your hotel.





Drawn Into Form: Sixty Years of Drawings and Prints by Beverly Pepper

Beverly Pepper at the Terninoss Foundry in Teri, Italy, 1964.

February 2—April 29, 2018

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is honored to premiere a collection of more than 70 works from American sculptor Beverly Pepper from approximately the early 1950s through present day. This exhibition will evidence one of the most profound artistic careers in recent memory.

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By Kristen Taylor and Christian Gaines Photos by Josh Tyron

A MOVING EXPERIENCE What Makes the Grand Rapids Arts Scene Stand Apart Christian and I are happy to share our thoughts with you about the Grand Rapids art scene, and not just because we happen to work for a couple of the organizations mentioned below. When we came to Grand Rapids from Los Angeles, we got funny looks from people in both places when we announced that move. I don’t think it is any surprise that Californians think everywhere else in the country is dark, dingy, uncultured and full of tuna noodle casseroles. Nor would you be surprised that Grand Rapidians thought the pace of life must have been faster, and the cultural offerings greater, on that other West Coast. Here are a few things that we think make the arts in Grand Rapids stand apart. Kristen Taylor, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) There’s always something going on. I joke that the UICA is the year-round ArtPrize (just without the voting and spectacular prizes). For people who come to Grand Rapids during the 48 nonArtPrize weeks of the year, visits to the UICA, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the galleries on South Division’s Avenue for the Arts, LaFontsee Galleries, the Richard App Gallery, the Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design, and the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will give you a sense of the breadth and quality of the contemporary art scene here all year – minus the ArtPrize hoopla (but do come back for the hoopla – it’s a blast). The summer music scene is not only chockablock with great shows, it’s really accessible. Last year we took in two shows in one night – one was a giant arena blockbuster, and the other was an L.A. punk band that I had wanted to see live for 20 years. It was a six-

minute walk between the two, and our spots at both venues were sweet. You also don’t want to miss the concerts at Meijer Gardens. Even if the band is maybe your partner’s absolute favorite but not yours, the terraced lawn, sunset and great sound will make your night.

Grand Rapids filmmaker Joel Potrykus worldpremiered his new film “Alchemist Cookbook.” In the interests of welcoming artists working in any medium from anywhere in the world, you can also expect ArtPrize to be showing more films in the future.

Your best bet for finding what’s happening today isn’t always going to be the paper or venerable publications like this one. Get on your favorite social media platform and look and ask around. You will find smaller gallery happenings, pop-up art shows and concerts, and artist talks that aren’t advertised by more than word of mouth. And then go…art can’t happen in a vacuum.

I would say that those who are zeroed in on their art are also zeroed in on their city. Along with the strong decades-old traditions of art and design, there’s also a real focus on urbanism in Grand Rapids. What makes a city? How do we come together and solve problems? For Grand Rapidians, the creative problem solving that art can provide is key to answering these questions. It’s exciting to live in a city that’s small enough where you can make a real difference, but that’s big enough for it to really matter.

Christian Gaines, ArtPrize The music scene here is collegial and collaborative. There’s definitely a distinctive West Michigan sound – strong harmonies, women’s voices, folk influenced. Before we moved here, I researched the local music scene, and one band kept coming up – the Crane Wives. So my very first time in Grand Rapids, I left my hotel and walked to St. Cecilia Music Center and saw a Crane Wives show. Now I have a show on WYCE 88.1FM community radio where I can spin local music favorites like Vox Vidorra, Channing & Quinn and the Accidentals (from Traverse City). I love local music. The independent film scene in GR is fragile but growing. The UICA absolutely kills it with their film programming, and you can usually find me taking in a show there, whether it’s the Open Projector Night showcase of emerging Michigan short films or a new independent film. Celebration Cinema’s Indie Film program at Woodland is also first-rate. And there’s a tight film community here that’s making films. I was just at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin where

Since we moved here, we’ve seen cool new ideas take hold like crowdsourced and publicly funded murals, and a concentrated effort by businesses, nonprofits and artists to use art to create a unique sense of place in our city rooted in creativity and collaboration. The arts scene in Grand Rapids gathers the contemporary creative community for dialog, exploration and learning about art practice, culture and society. Grand Rapids knows that the arts are more than an amenity of urban living: they’re a vital part of the fabric of modern life.





Illustration La Grande Vitesse by Alexander Calder ©2008 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

LA GRANDE VITESSE The art that started it all If you’re interested in a few more details, facts and figures about this Calder creation, read on: La Grande Vitesse is an expansive, eyecatching steel sculpture, painted in the artist’s signature Calder Red, that measures 54 feet long, by 43 feet high, by 30 feet wide. It was created by Alexander Calder in 1969, and is often simply referred to by locals as “The Calder.’’ Its formal name translates roughly into “the great swiftness,” a reference to the river flowing through the city’s heart. Located on the Calder Plaza in front of the Grand Rapids City Hall, the sculpture serves as a distinctive landmark and symbol of the city. Its likeness can be found on most things related to the city, from its letterhead, to its street signs, to its city vehicles. Technically speaking, the sculpture is known in the art world as a “stabile’’ - a stationary sculpture that uses multiple flat planes to give the appearance of volume and movement. Before Calder began work on the sculpture, he studied the architectural plans, scale, and materials of the buildings adjacent to the site. He designed a sculpture that responded well to the plaza and the surrounding architecture. The sculpture was also designed to provide a dramatically different view from each corner of the square.

The project was first conceived in 1967, when the city of Grand Rapids was planning a new city hall to help bring the blighted area back to life. A request for funding from the fledging federal National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) resulted in the agency’s first project in its public arts initiative - a grant of $45,000 to the city of Grand Rapids. Nancy Mulnix, who co-chaired the sculpture project with Peter Wege, retired vice chairman of Steelcase, and her committee then raised the additional $83,000 needed to complete the project. Alexander Calder, considered one of our country’s preeminent artists and sculptors, was then selected to create the first civic sculpture financed by both the federal government and private funds. The nearly complete sculpture arrived in May of 1969 - 42 tons of art in a series of enormous crates. The 27 separate sections of the sculpture still needed to be bolted and welded together, and cranes lifted the towering pieces into place. The entire assembly process took five days, after which the vivid Calder Red paint was applied, proclaiming the project complete.

While the sculpture tends to evoke a range of reactions and comments from onlookers - from “distinctive,’’ to “monstrosity,’’ to “way out’’ - it served its intended purpose. It not only helped revitalize the area, but it also sparked the city’s interest in art and led to a new art museum, symphony hall and a civic theater soon after. It’s also been said by those involved with the project that it gave the community a positive attitude that “anything is possible.’’ According to City Historian Gordon Olson, “It led to a change in attitude so that the assumption now is that every good community project should include a piece of public art.’’ In honor of the Calder sculpture’s birthday, the City of Grand Rapids celebrates the event with an annual arts festival, which encompasses ten city blocks and is attended by a half a million people.





By Kelly Brown Photo by Mitch Ranger

RITSU KATSUMATA Around the World and Back Again At 51, Ritsu Katsumata is a prolific artist, a multimedia designer and a well-known name in the Grand Rapids underground art community. By day, she manages the communication design group for Amway. By night (or whenever the mood suits her) she is a violinist, collaborator and revolutionary. Her music is shaped by her history – by the world and a half of which she has lived, the people she has met and the music that has changed her. “I’ve always been the different one.” Ritsu is anything but your traditional artist. Her work is eclectic and far from the norm. Her music is just as much a composed symphony as it is a multimedia project or performance art. She is a storyteller. A Japanese-American from a blue-collar neighborhood outside Philadelphia, Ritsu grew up playing the classics – Bach and Beethoven, music from the dead white guys. Post-high school, she found herself in New York, worn thin by what she considered the banality of classical music. “I stopped playing…I was disenchanted by the whole classical music scene.” Labeling herself an outsider, she felt compelled to push the limits in Portland, Oregon, where she continued her music career, this time with an electric violin. There, her music began to shift. She found inspiration in the early 90's grunge scene of the Pacific Northwest and reinvented her practice. “That was pure rock ‘n’ roll. I played Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin…I was playing in small rock bars with drums and bass.” Later, she entered a Jimi Hendrix competition, certain that this opportunity would allow her to break from the rules of the classical world. She was disqualified. She was playing the wrong instrument.

After her time in Portland, Ritsu packed up and moved across the ocean to Tokyo, where her music became more experimental as she began to push the boundaries of her genre. From Tokyo, she moved back to New York where a group of colleagues at Cornell introduced her to world music and her art shifted once more. Then it was back to Pennsylvania, where her work transformed into more of a theatrical performance. “The Iraq war…sadness…it all started to influence my music. I started to incorporate more classical work…requiems and such in honor of the fallen soldiers.” At last, Ritsu is here in Grand Rapids and has found a home collaborating with the underground music scene. “I’ve made good friends here who also incorporate true fusion into their art.” Last year at ArtPrize, Ritsu performed “In the Beginning” at SiteLab. This full-blooded symphony was inspired by the Judeo-Christian creation story. The piece works in reverse. It starts with everything being beautiful and man looking out over his work, and moves backward into nothingness. When you watch the video of her performance, you might first notice that she looks nothing like the way you might imagine a 51-year-old violinist would look. No – instead, she dons a crown of wild, Medusa-like dreadlocks, an electric red kimono and combat boots. She embraces her violin (which, by the way, looks nothing like the classical wood-grain instrument you’re used to seeing) and sways around her set with effortless, righteous power.

The piece reflects the places she has been. There are the garage sounds from Portland and world music from Tokyo and New York. There’s a sense of modernism from Grand Rapids, and finally her music comes full circle with her roots in classical music from Pennsylvania. The performance is as viscerally thrilling as it is emotional and artistic. Now Ritsu is settled, geographically speaking, in Grand Rapids, but her music continues to evolve. “The people I’ve met here who are artistically inclined are fantastic…I’m currently working on film scores and I will probably do ArtPrize again. I have this fantasy of doing a version of the creation stories of different cultures around the world. I’d get this huge tapestry of these cultures. I wonder, what does Metamorphoses, the Roman creation story, sound like? I try to imagine; how will I weave that together?” Keep an eye out for a chance to catch the electric work of Ritsu Katsumata this fall.





By Terri Finch Hamilton

AFTER ARTPRIZE What happens to artists after they win ArtPrize? They get famous. Their bank accounts swell by $250,000. And, inevitably, they keep making art. These are the past winners of ArtPrize, the Grand Rapids-based contest that brings 1,500 artists here each fall. RAN ORTNER, 2009 WINNER His Art: “Open Water No. 24,” a massive oil painting of the sea. Where to See It: Reserve Wine & Food in Grand Rapids. Before vs. After Winning ArtPrize: Ortner had to borrow money from a friend in order to make it back to Grand Rapids when his work made it into the ArtPrize top 10. “I had done an adequate job of living my life as a starving artist, cobbling resources together to pay my rent,” he says. “On the heels of ArtPrize, that life was over.” Now he his work is on exhibit all over the world. Artistic Tip: “We all know what it’s like to sit on the sofa and binge-watch TV. After a while, we think, ‘Ick, I’ve got to get out there and live a real life.’ Find some art,” he urges. Giving things consideration is huge. It doesn’t happen passively. It takes effort. But it’s important to take the time and say, ‘I’m going to see what richness is out there for me.’” CHRIS LAPORTE, 2010 WINNER His art: “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921,” a large-scale pencil drawing. Where to See It: The Grace Hauenstein Library at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, where LaPorte is associate professor of art. Before vs. After Winning ArtPrize: Before ArtPrize, buying fruit was boring. After ArtPrize, a man approached LaPorte in the produce section at Family Fare and told him “Cavalry” had changed his lukewarm relationship with his father-in-law. The man brought his wife’s dad to see “Cavalry,” and they spent two hours with the drawing, talking and connecting. “He told me it strengthened his relationship with his father-in-law and his marriage,” LaPorte says. Artistic Tip: “I tell my students to try to create something more than you think you ought to. If you’re coloring with your kid in a coloring book, why not draw your own picture to color instead?“

MIA TAVONATTI, 2011 WINNER Her Art: “Crucifixion,” a glass mosaic 13 feet high and 9 feet wide. It weighs 425 pounds. Where To See It: Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids. Before vs. After Winning ArtPrize: She had a successful art career before ArtPrize, but now the growing world of mosaic art has embraced Tavonatti as a champion, resulting in speaking engagements and workshops all over the world. She has two years of commissions backed up. Artistic Tip: “You can make a mosaic from pretty much anything. Pasta. Shells. Stones. Paper. It can become a physical thing, if you go out and hunt for found objects. It doesn’t cost anything. All you need is a board and some glue.” ANN AND STEVE LOVELESS, 2013 AND 2015 WINNERS Their Art: Ann won ArtPrize in 2013 with her 5-by-20 foot quilt “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore.” The couple won together in 2015 for “Northwoods Awakening,“ part photograph, part quilt that’s 25 feet long and 5 feet tall. It portrays the spring forest in Benzie County, where they live. Where To See It: “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore” is on permanent display at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore visitor’s center in Empire. “Northwoods Awakening” is at the Crooked Tree Arts Council in Petoskey through mid-May. Before vs. After Winning ArtPrize: Before winning ArtPrize, Ann traveled to art fairs to sell her quilted art. These days, she and Steve get requests for commissioned work, travel the country speaking and don’t have time for art fairs. Artistic Tip: “Pay attention to what’s going on around you,” Steve says. “Be aware of the clouds, the breeze, movement and shadows, the light or lack of light. Tune in. Open up.” ADONNA KHARE, 2012 WINNER Her Art: “Elephants,” an 8-by-36 foot carbon pencil drawing of a menagerie of animals that’s also an allegory of events in her life in the past few years. Where To See It: “Elephants“ is at the Boise Art Museum through May 29, along with 30 of her other drawings. A similar but

smaller work, “Elephant Whirlpool,“ is part of the permanent collection at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Before vs. After Winning ArtPrize: Khare was a public school art teacher before ArtPrize. Now she’s a full-time artist, exhibiting her work around the country and the world. She also teaches workshops and speaks to art educators. Artistic Tip: “I don’t know a better way to work through problems than to create art. There’s no right or wrong. You can’t mess up. What’s most important is that you did it.” ANILA QUAYYUM AGHA, 2014 WINNER Her Art: “Intersections,” an intricately carved 6-foot cube, illuminated from within by a light bulb and suspended from the ceiling. It projects its shadows on the surrounding walls — and on its viewers. Where To See It: “Intersections” is at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, through July 10. Before Vs. After ArtPrize: An associate professor of drawing at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University, Agha showed her work at other universities, focusing on education. Now she’s preparing for a commercial show at a New York gallery in October. Artistic Tip: “Creativity comes in many forms. It could be writing, poetry, dance, cooking, yoga. What gives you the most joy? Make time for it.” Editor's Update: The most recent ArtPrize winners include: 2015's “Northwood Awakening” by Loveless PhotoFiber, 2016's “Wounded Warrior Dogs” by James Mellic and 2017's “A. Lincoln” by Richard Schlatter.




The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

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EXPERIENCE our extraordinary service and our extensive premium wine selection. Reservations at (888) 456-3463 190 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids Located across from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

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From the spark of an idea to full-blown execution, Pageworks’ approach to integrated marketing communications delivers extraordinary results in print, digital, and more. Pageworks. Crafted for quality. Designed for impact. 616.454.9224

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Fall Arts


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GREAT FOOD + GREAT BEER Watch the game on 65 different HD flat screens, shoot pool, play shuffleboard, cozy up next to our fire in the lounge area… Whatever the plan, it’s GAME ON at PEPPINO’S

130 IONIA AVE SW, GRAND RAPIDS MI, 49503 | 616-456-8444




For a winter warm up you’ll absolutely love, order up The Grand. A grand-new, brand-new craft cocktail specially created to celebrate the opening of Rendezvous. Located in the main lobby of Amway Grand Plaza, Rendezvous serves up signature cocktails, wine, and cocktail hour charcuterie in a classic, contemporary, convivial setting.

The Grand from Rendezvous in the Amway Grand Plaza



The Grand from Rendezvous: Pour 2 oz. Amway NH Bourbon, ¾ oz. maple syrup, ½ oz. lime juice, ½ oz. lemon juice, ½ oz. orange juice, ½ oz. simple syrup, and 2 dashes of Bitters into a shaker and shake until evenly mixed. Pour into a coupé. Garnish with 1 bourbon cherry, 1 roasted orange peel, and 1 candied bacon strip.

Lay back, relax, and enjoy the season.


Intimate | Sexy | Big City Ambience Scratch kitchen | Craft cocktails | Private dining Award winning wine list & extensive liquor collection


15 Ionia SW | Downtown Grand Rapids | 616.774.9463 |

We all deserve a little “me time.” That’s why our professional staff is happy to help you relax and rejuvenate with an impressive array of services from head to toe. Why not schedule your “me time” today?

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Whether you’re looking for a snack on the go, a happy-hour hot spot, or a fine dinner created from fresh, local ingredients, our selection of restaurants and bars delivers. (In fact, you might start wishing there were more than three meals in each day).

CYGNUS27 Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Enjoy the skyline as you dine atop the Glass Tower in Cygnus27. Indulge in a variety of seafood and tapas dishes, along with indulgent entrées and desserts at this AAA FourDiamond restaurant for an epic dining experience. Casual attire, no jacket required. Private dining also available. 616.774.2000 x6525

SIX.ONE.SIX Located in the JW Marriott Grand Rapids For those looking for highly inspired cuisine in a stylish, cosmopolitan setting, look no further than With its unique combination of globally influenced tastes and regional favorites created from local produce, offers a feast for the senses without even having to leave the area code. Free validated parking is available. 616.242.1500

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE Located in the Amway Grand Plaza At Ruth’s Chris Grand Rapids, we’re picky about our steaks. That’s why we serve only the finest USDA Prime beef available. 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. Casual attire. Private dining also available. 616.776.6426

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LUMBER BARON BAR Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Settle into the warmth and charm of this historic bar— complete with fireplace, leather club chairs, and a large selection of premium drinks and food from the Ruth's Chris Steak House menu. The Lumber Baron is a grand choice for the beginning or the conclusion of a night on the town. 616.774.2000 x6522

GP SPORTS Located in the Amway Grand Plaza One large screen, 30+ HD flat screens, pool tables, outdoor patio seating, pizzas, signature burgers, and more. The best place to unwind, enjoy a casual meal, and catch all the sports action! Also, check out our breakfast buffet, served daily. 616.774.2000 x6528

RENDEZVOUS Located in the Amway Grand Plaza This classic yet contemporary lounge offers an excellent, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy our breakfast buffet in the morning with create-your-own omelets, baked goods and more. Toast the evening with unique cocktails, premium beer, wines, and charcuterie, featuring live entertainment on weekends. Casual attire. 616.776.3265

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


THE KITCHEN BY WOLFGANG PUCK Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Made-from-scratch comfort fare meets authentic global classics in the kitchen of the world’s first celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck. Known for his genuine warmth and love of his craft, Wolfgang offers gourmet pizzas, appetizers, salads, noodles, and entrées for lunch and dinner in this casual and inviting restaurant. Pair your meal with a signature cocktail or enjoy a glass of wine in our bar overlooking the tranquil Grand River. 616.776.3230

THE KITCHEN COUNTER BY WOLFGANG PUCK Located in the Amway Grand Plaza Quick, healthy, and delicious, The Kitchen Counter serves freshly baked and made-to-order breakfast and lunch items with ingredients to nourish and delight. 616.776.6428

MIXOLOGY Located in the JW Marriott Grand Rapids Casual, upscale service and an atmosphere that invites guests to enjoy the comfort of the solarium and the views. This type of service allows guests to complete business tasks while still enjoying the access to great food and libations. 616.242.1448

STARBUCKS® COFFEE Located in the Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott Grand Rapids and Downtown Courtyard by Marriott Stop in to Starbucks for a morning or afternoon treat. It's the perfect place to enjoy a large selection of your favorite made-toorder specialty coffee drinks, teas, pastries, and much more. 616.774.2000 x6565 616.242.1500 616.242.6000

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Where foodies flock.

Thanks to our incredible chef creating incredible cuisine, its sophisticated urban ambience, a wine and cocktail list beyond compare and second to none service, six. one. six remains the most talked about restaurant in the 616 area code. See for yourself the next time you’re looking for a perfect setting for lunch, dinner with friends or family, or your next private dining event. Reserve your table. │ 616.242.1448 | | @ilovethejw

EVENTS local happenings

We might be a small city, but there’s never a shortage of big things to do here. From art, theatre and live music to sporting events and productions kids will love, our region offers a full range of tantalizing options.


Through January 7, 2018 Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was among the most revolutionary figurative artists in history, and his vast influence continues today. Timed to coincide with the centenary of his passing and international recognition as the greatest sculptor of modernism, this exhibition features seventeen contemporary sculptors whose work is in dialogue with and perhaps even indebted to the great French master. In addition to the display of several works by Rodin, the galleries will highlight seventeen critically acclaimed sculptors from across the United States and Europe. For more information, call 616.957.1580 or visit


Through January 7, 2018 Grand Rapids Public Museum Visitors will see comparisons between the human brain and animal brains, learn about brain development and sleep, see the reality of brain differences, and look deeper into the brain to discover its basic workings. The experience-based exhibit employs innovative special effect, 3-D reproductions, virtual reality, hands-on learning activities and interactive technology to delve into the inner workings of the brain, including its processes, potentials and mysteries. Brain is designed to appeal to audiences of all ages. For more information, call 616.456.3977 or visit


Through – January 28, 2018 UICA Coming Home is a suite of exhibitions featuring works by emerging and established Michigan artists. Coming Home celebrates Michigan’s role as a platform for inspiration, exploration, and creative development by highlighting a diverse group of working artists. Coinciding with the calendar year’s passing of the seasons, and the broader homecoming of travelers, Coming Home celebrates both departures and reunions. Coming Home features work by artists who are from Michigan, are currently based in Michigan, or have spent a considerable amount of time in Michigan during the course of their careers. Participating artists include Rick Beerhorst and Nathan Heuer. For more information, call 616.454.7000 or visit


Through February 11, 2018 Grand Rapids Art Museum Andy Warhol has assumed iconic status as one of the most beloved and influential artists of the 20th century. This unique exhibition showcases Warhol’s vision and celebration of America by bringing together paintings, prints, photographs, and even films. The exhibition is drawn from prestigious museum collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, GRAM and other public and private sources. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit

Theatre + Performing Arts DRAGONS, UNICORNS & MERMAIDS

November 11, 2017 – May 20, 2018 Grand Rapids Public Museum For thousands of years, humans around the world have brought mythic creatures to life in stories, music, and works of art. Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids reveals the relationship between nature and legend, tracing these creatures' origins, cultural importance and enduring hold on the imagination. This exhibition combines dramatic models, fossils, magnificent ancient and modern cultural objects, along with absorbing multimedia and interactive technology to tell the stories behind the alluring mythic creatures that continue to fascinate visitors of all ages. For more information, call 616.456.3977 or visit


December 2, 2017 UICA Shop for beautifully crafted gifts and goods from dozens of regional artists, including jewelry, home goods, fine art, holiday cards, accessories, and toys. Enjoy live music and local food and beverage vendors while you shop for handmade gifts for friends and family. Support regional artists by shopping locally this holiday season. For more information, call 616.454.7000 or visit


January 27 - April 29, 2018 Grand Rapids Art Museum Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle explores the past, present, and future of North America’s Great Lakes–one of the world’s most emblematic and ecologically significant ecosystems. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a suite of five mural-sized paintings that explore separate themes that emerged during Rockman’s travels. These are accompanied by several large-scale watercolors and field drawings– monochromatic animal and plant studies made from sitesourced organic material such as mud, sand, coal, and leaves. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit


March 1 - April 30, 2018 Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park The annual Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition at Meijer Gardens is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. Tropical butterflies from around the world fly freely in the Tropical Conservatory every March and April. Throughout the exhibition, there is special educational programming and the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden offers butterfly-themed activities. For more information, call 616.957.1580 or visit


November 21 - 26, 2017 DeVos Performance Hall Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Misérables, direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an unforgettable story of heartbreak, passion, and the resilience of the human spirit. For more information, call 616.235.6285 or visit


December 1-3 and 8 - 10, 2017 DeVos Performance Hall It’s not the holidays in West Michigan without bringing the family to The Nutcracker! Reimagined in 2014 by Chris Van Allsburg, award-winning author and illustrator of The Polar Express, this family favorite also features sets by Tony Award winner Eugene Lee (Wicked, Sweeney Todd, and Saturday Night Live); choreography by world-renowned ballet dancer Val Caniparoli; and live music from Grand Rapids Symphony and performed by the Grand Rapids Ballet. For more information, call 616.454.4771 x10 or visit


December 22 - 23, 2017 Peter Martin Wege Theatre Can’t get enough of the holidays? Join us for Charles Dickens’ beloved tale of redemption, reflection, rebirth, and the true spirit of Christmas. All your favorites will be there: Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future will make this performance the perfect way to bring a touch of faith to your holiday celebrations. For more information, call 616-454-4771 x10 or visit


January 12 - 28, 2018 Civic Theatre America, 1963, an assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon B. Johnson into the presidency. All the Way is a crisp, honest, and unapologetic play that takes us behind the doors of the Oval Office and inside Johnson’s fight to pass a landmark civil rights bill. Recommended for teen/adult audiences. For more information, call 616.222.6650 or visit


The Nutcracker Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle

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Calendar of Events presented by:

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Concerts I DREAM

January 15, 7:30 PM Fountain Street Church The inspiring story of the famous preacher and iconic civil rights leader from Atlanta is brought to life in this deeply moving premiere performance that beautifully fuses opera with bluesy, jazzy, and gospel-tinged rhythms. In a stirring account of his most intimate moments shared with wife Coretta Scott King and close friend Ralph Abernathy, we discover that the themes of equality and justice from the Civil Rights Movement are echoed in our political sentiments today. Despite the well-chronicled tragedy that ended the preacher’s life 50 years ago, the audience is left beaming with the hope of his dream in their hearts. For more information, call 616.451.2741 or


January 18 - 20, 2018 DeVos Performance Hall STOMP is explosive, inventive, provocative, witty, and utterly unique—an unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered armfuls of awards and rave reviews and has appeared on numerous national television shows. For more information, call 616.235.6285 or visit


February 9 - 11, 2018, March 23 - 25, 2015 Peter Martin Wege Theatre The world is a complicated canvas of varying views, realities, and expectations. The next two installments in our innovative contemporary dance series, MOVEMEDIA, will explore and celebrate these beautiful differences. Experience thoughtprovoking panel discussions and powerful community outreach bookended by complementary world-premiere works by some of today’s most important and influential choreographers. For more information, call 1.800.745.3000 or visit


February 13 - 18, 2018 DeVos Performance Hall BEAUTIFUL – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. For more information, call 616.235.6285 or visit


February 23 - 25 & March 3 - 4, 2018 Peter Martin Wege Theatre Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company presents the classic story of Dorothy, the cowardly lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow, on their journey to Oz and back. Grab your ruby slippers and follow the yellow brick road! For more information, call 616.454.4771 x10 or visit


February 23 - March 18, 2018 Civic Theatre Eliza Doolittle is a young flower seller with a thick Cockney accent. Professor Henry Higgins is an arrogant upper-class phonetics professor. A boastful wager sets them on a path of discovery that will change both of their lives. Civic Theatre has received limited special rights to produce one of the most cherished American Musicals of all time. Recommended for teen/adult audiences. For more information, call 616.222.6650 or visit left

NEEDTOBREATHE at 20 Monroe Live STOMP at DeVos Performance Hall



November 11, 2017 20 Monroe Live NEEDTOBREATHE is an American Christian rock band from Seneca, South Carolina, United States. Throughout their journey as a band, NEEDTOBREATHE have strived to create music that’s part of an ongoing, all-encompassing conversation on life and love—an ambition that’s even inspired details like the stylization of their new album title, Hard Love. For more information, call 1.844.678.LIVE (5483) or visit


December 3, 2017 Van Andel Arena Over the past 20-plus years, Trans-Siberian Orchestra has become a critically-acclaimed, multi-platinum, musical powerhouse, and its annual winter tours a beloved, multigenerational holiday tradition. 2017’s tour, a completely updated presentation of TSO’s unforgettable “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” is set to play at the Van Andel Arena. For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit


December 7, 2017 Van Andel Arena Katy Perry’s WITNESS: The Tour, produced by AEG Presents, will make a stop in Grand Rapids at Van Andel Arena. The Tour is an imaginative trip from outer-space to inner-space, from the planets to the bottom of our oceans, and a musical journey through Katy Perry’s biggest milestones and mega-hits right up to her latest album. For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit


December 10, 2017 Van Andel Arena Multi-platinum, Grammy® winners Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith co-bill their popular Christmas tour this holiday season. The 2017 Christmas tour will showcase selections spanning the artists’ expansive Christmas repertoires, including their most recent releases. For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit


December 17, 2017 20 Monroe Live Dustin Lynch occupies a unique place in today’s country music. Thanks to his classic sensibilities, he’s been heralded as the heir to George Strait’s throne. It’s that ability to fuse his country roots with a progressive musical vision that makes Lynch one of today’s most successful young artists. Lynch will be taking his show on the road this fall as he launches his Ride or Die Tour. For more information, call 1.844.678.LIVE (5483) or visit


Sundays, January 7 – February 25, 2018 Grand Rapids Art Museum Enjoy live classical music performances every Sunday, set amid the beautiful architecture of GRAM. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit


Community + Cultural Events P!NK: BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA WORLD TOUR

March 18, 2018 Van Andel Arena P!NK last hit the road on her The Truth About Love Tour, which saw her play 142 sold out shows across 13 countries. The Los Angeles Times said, “Pink remains perhaps the most gifted and imaginative physical performer in pop right now,” while Rolling Stone claimed, “the singer had demonstrated an epic workout of vocals, stagecraft and stunk-work without missing a note,” and The Hollywood Reporter raved, “she still is one of pop’s most powerful vocalists.” For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit


March 22, 2018 Van Andel Arena The Breakers Tour featuring Little Big Town with Kacey Musgraves & Midland makes a stop at Van Andel Arena. After launching a historic sold out yearlong residency at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium, Grammy Award-winning vocal group Little Big Town today announced they would bring their critically acclaimed harmonies to arenas nationwide starting Spring 2018 with The Breakers Tour. For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit

P!NK: Beautiful Trauma World Tour at Van Andel Arena

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November 16 – December 14, 2017 Free in the Cook Auditorium Grand Rapids Art Museum On Thursday evenings for exceptional Vinyasa-style yoga classes with instructors Ashley Yost and Mali Jane. Admission to the Museum is free on Meijer Free Thursday Nights; this class is donation based with proceeds benefiting AM Yoga. For more information, call 616.831.1000 or visit


November 16 - 18, 2017 DeVos Place The largest wine, beer, and food-tasting event in the Midwest returns for its ninth year. From the connoisseur who lives and breathes fine dining to the novice looking for an introduction to the world of food and spirits, this is an ideal taste of Grand Rapids: Beer City, USA. For more information, call 1.800.745.3000 or visit


November 21, 2017 - January 7, 2018 Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Ring in the holiday season with our most beloved winter exhibition. We're taking a new look at stories of old, with an intriguing exploration of the folklore and traditions that shape holiday celebrations around the world. Excitement surrounds this time of year as the annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition brings the glow of nearly 400,000 lights, strolling carolers, visits from Santa, rooftop reindeer, and more than 40 international trees and displays. For more information, call 616.957.1580 or visit


February 1 - 4, 2018 DeVos Place Rev up your engines, ladies and gents! Automotive makers from around the world are coming to Grand Rapids to display their finest vehicles and offer a sneak peek at the cars of tomorrow. For more information, call 1.800.745.3000 or visit


February 23– 24, 2018 Fifth Third Ballpark Featuring over 100 Michigan breweries and approximately 1000 different craft beers, the Annual Winter Beer Festival is a great way to celebrate life in Beer City, USA. Enjoy the Grand Rapids spirits, foods, and live music from local bands. For more information, call 616.784.4131 or visit


January 5 – 6, 2018 DeVos Place Take a stroll down the aisles of DeVos Place for the Grand Rapids Bridal Show, where wedding professionals, specials and discounts, and vendors are at your fingertips. This is your one-stop-shop before you say, “I do!” For more information, visit


March 8 – 18, 2018 Gilda’s LaughFest, the nation’s first-ever community-wide festival of laughter, has quickly earned a reputation for being one of the nation’s marquee events for both participants and artists. This major 10-day Midwest festival is based in Grand Rapids and includes events throughout West Michigan. Created by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids and launched in March 2011 to celebrate laughter for the health of it, the festival features stand-up, improv, film, showcases, and a variety of seriously funny stuff. All proceeds from LaughFest benefit the programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. For more information visit


March 9 - 11, 2018 DeVos Place Something to feel good about! Come to peruse hundreds of exhibits tailored to women and their families. Bring your friends and family to explore all that the Women’s Expo has to offer…health, beauty, fitness, fashion, finance, and fun! For more information, visit

Christmas and Holiday Traditions around the World at Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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Sporting Events

Children’s Events



Through April 2018 Van Andel Arena Watch the city’s own professional hockey team take on American Hockey League teams from around the country on various evenings throughout the season. For more information, call 616.774.4585 or visit


Through March 2018 DeltaPlex Arena The official NBDA Development League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons – the Grand Rapids Drive – plays against other D-league teams from across the country. For more information, call 1.844.GR.DRIVE or visit


Through May 2018 Football, Volleyball, Baseball, Softball, Basketball, Cross Country, Lacrosse, Soccer, Golf, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field The Grand Valley State University athletic program has repeatedly earned the NACDA Directors’ Cup for being the best NCAA Division II athletic program in the nation. Watch the Lakers work their way to even more titles and championships this season! For more information, call 616.331.3200 or visit


November 11, 2017 Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery This unique course features two paths to the same finish line. Choose wisely, as sand dunes, corn mazes, and swamp cross ings may complicate your journey. For more information, visit

Saturdays Grand Rapids Art Museum Drop in to the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s Education Center on Louis Street anytime between 1 and 4 pm for family activities. Children and their adult chaperones are welcome to join the fun and participate in exciting art exploration activities in the Education Studio. For more information, call 616.831.1000 Or visit


November 17 - 19, 2017 Van Andel Arena Marvel fans, assemble for this live, action-packed, legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. Witness cutting-edge special effects, aerial stunts and video projection in this incredible adventure. Fans of all ages will be immersed in the Marvel Universe and experience it all with their family… LIVE! For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit


November 17 - December 27, 2017 Civic Theatre In the midst of the 1930s, Annie is an orphan who is searching for her family. With no help from the tyrannical orphanage director, Miss Hannigan, Annie is selected to stay with a millionaire Daddy Warbucks for the holidays. Will Annie finally have the family she’s dreamed of? For more information, call 616.222.6650 or visit


December 11, 2017 DeVos Performance Hall Based on America’s #1 toy brand, YouTube sensation and international toy phenomenon created in Australia by Moose Toys, Shopkins Live! Shop it Up! will feature The Shoppies and Shopkins characters taking the stage with an all new storyline, original pop music and video highlights as ‘Jessicake’, ‘Bubbleisha’, ‘Peppa-Mint’ and friends prepare for the Shopville’s annual “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair”. For more information, call 616.451.2741 or visit


December 27, 2017 Grand Rapids Public Museum Become a part of the unfolding drama as characters from the exhibits come to life, including Betsy Ross, Cleopatra, Civil War soldiers, knights, and the Queen. Visitors will experience an interactive evening of character appearances, entertainment, food, and fun. For more information, call 616.456.3977 or visit


April 20 - 29, 2018 Civic Theatre A compelling story of a young girl’s bravery and grit. Based on the 2006 multi-award winning film, this play follows Akeelah Anderson’s journey to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Akeelah shows audiences the importance of tenacity in the face of adversity. Show is recommended for ages 8 and up. For more information, call 616.222.6650 or visit


February 2 and February 3, 2018 We’ve all heard of Punxsutawney Phil, the little furry guy in Pennsylvania who comes out, sees his shadow, and declares six more weeks of winter. Then there’s Augustus T. Groundhog, better known as Grand Rapids Gus. He’s Phil’s much more interesting cousin. Unlike Phil, who it seems can only see shadows, Gus has much better eyesight and can look at a calendar on February 2 and know that spring doesn’t start for six weeks. Gus suggested that instead of lamenting over six more weeks of winter, we should EMBRACE the cold and snow and do something fun. And so, the Groundhog Day Marathon was born. For more information, call 616.293.3145 or visit


March 9 – 11, 2018 Van Andel Arena Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ brings adrenalinecharged family entertainment to fans across the country. These world-class Monster Jam vehicles and athletes deliver what fans want to see most…more trucks, more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies, more action! For more information, call 616.742.6600 or visit


May 12, 2018 In its 41st year, the Fifth Third River Bank Run is the nation's largest 25K road race. The 25K isn’t the only distance this race covers. There’s also a 10K and 5K, making it the perfect race for runners of all experience levels. Among all three distances, over 15,000 runners from around the world attend. The 5K route is a beautiful 3.1-mile jaunt right through the heart of downtown. For more information visit


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Drop-In Studio at the Grand Rapids Art Museum Annie at Civic Theatre

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ONE UNFORGETTABLY UNIQUE HOTEL. TWO UNBELIEVABLE LOCATIONS. Experience CityFlatsHotel in quaint downtown Holland, MI for your next relaxing getaway. Visit the farmers market a few blocks west, pop into a boutique shop or two, and don’t forget to soak in the sun on peaceful Lake Michigan. If city life is more your style, stay the night in one of Michigan’s most vibrant cities at CityFlatsHotel Grand Rapids. Explore live shows in the evening, local breweries, and enjoy world-renowned art and museums throughout the city.



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Grand Rapids | 616.776.6426 | Inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel |




Profile for Solace Magazine

SOLACE Fall/Winter 2017-2018  

From The Vault

SOLACE Fall/Winter 2017-2018  

From The Vault