Thirty-eight years after first seeing the Grateful Dead perform in his home state of New Jersey, Jay Blakesberg was hired to capture the band’s 50th anniversary and farewell shows in California and Chicago this past summer.
How many do you suppose know the first ever recorded flight in Kent County took place from the roof of Nick Fink’s bar in Comstock Park? Or that Grandville Avenue was created by a wayward cow that took the long route back to the barn? I’m not making any of this up. These stories, among others, have been recently brought to light thanks to the efforts of Norma Lewis and her latest book Lost Restaurants of Grand Rapids, released late 2015.
As kids, we were always taught to keep it down in the library or risk being hushed by the stern librarian keeping watch in the corner.
Fear not fellow bookworms/music nerds: The Grand Rapids Public Library is breaking the “shh!” stereotype with its Music in the Stacks, a free and all-ages concert series.
The Grand Rapids Public Library is hosting a month packed with good reads and free, educational events. Travel the Lakes, cook up some good food with the family, celebrate the Day of the Dead — and plenty of others. For complete details, visit grpl.org.
Adam Schuitema, a Grand Rapids-based author and English professor at Kendall College of Art and Design, released his second novel, Haymaker, back in April via Switchgrass Books.
Aside from several decades of tired Murder City clichés, if Detroit has a reputation for anything, it’s for being on the cultural vanguard. From proto-punk to techno, Detroit is the place where cool things happen a decade before anybody else thinks of them. That reputation transcends the musical realm. Long before The Onion – or even Grand Rapids’ own Recoil – took a biting and satirical look at arts and culture, there was a monthly Detroit magazine called Orbit.
The Grand Rapid’s Public Library is hosting numerous educational and literature-based events throughout the summer. Books, theater, science, comics and even animals can be expected to make an appearance at a few of their events. The best part: They’re all free. For all the details, visit grpl.org.
For a long time, Station Eleven author Emily St. John Mandel only told stories through the language of her body in motion. But one day, while studying contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, the narrative stopped making sense. “There was a point where I realized that dance wasn’t fun anymore,” St. John Mandel recalled. “It was more a burden than a joy.”
Monica McFawn is constantly on the lookout for characters. In everything she reads, watches and hears, she’s searching for a thread, a situation, a quirk — anything that can give birth to her next protagonist. And when it comes to fictional people, she believes the badder they behave, the better.
Whether it’s a duet or a mass protest, something incredible happens when human voices join together. The convergence of different ideas and expressions allows us to see, think and feel from a perspective far broader than our own. This is especially true in the world of poetry, where many are finding that collaboration both in and outside of the medium reveals a wealth of untapped potential.
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