The January Series
Covenant Fine Arts Center, Calvin College, Grand Rapids
Jan. 5-25, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
calvin.edu/january, (616) 526-6000
The beginning of a new year brings a fresh start, renewed determination and, of course, the January Series. In case you have been out of town or out of the loop for the past 24 years, you should know that the January Series is a lecture series featuring a diverse group of speakers who each present for an hour. The broad array of the 15 speakers includes Theary Seng, author of Daugther of the Killing Fields; Cal Ripken, Jr., baseball's "Iron Man;" Temple Grandin, one of Time magazine's top 25 "Heroes" for the world's most influential people; Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest who works with L.A. gang members and Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, the founder of a school for Ugandan AIDS orphans. In addition to the other talented and highly intelligent presenters, a group of chamber musicians will also be performing as NPR host Neal Conan provides the narration for a stream of iconic photographs (if that doesn't fulfill your "have an open mind" resolution, you're hopeless).The January Series is held in the newly renovated Covenant Fine Arts Center and is broadcast live across North America-and now, Lithuania-at more than 30 remote locations. While all of the lectures are worth your time, some will certainly fill the room to capacity so arrive on campus early to snag a seat. Reported by Joanna Dykhuis
Intersection, Grand Rapids
Jan. 6, 8 p.m.
$40 in advance, $45 day of show
sectionlive.com, (616) 451-8232
Few hip-hop groups have been as influential as Wu-Tang Clan. The group shot to fame in 1993 with the release of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Wu-Tang consists of some of the most famous names in rap music, such as RZA, GZA, Ghostface Killah, and Ol' Dirty Bastard (who sadly died in 2004), a.k.a. Big Baby Jesus, a.k.a. Dirt McGirt, a.k.a. Osiris. The group has spawned a global empire consisting of a clothing line and video games, as well as having a considerable impact on pop culture. RZA and GZA have both appeared in multiple Jim Jarmusch films, and RZA wrote the score for the classic Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill. Now promoter Mike G, of Grand Rapids based hip-hop act La Famiglia, has gotten most of the original line-up to perform in the Gun Rue. On Jan. 6, U-God, Raekwon, GZA, Ghostface, Methodman, Masta Killa, and Inspectah Deck will all take the stage at the Intersection. This show is guaranteed to sell out, so whether you are a hip-hop fan or not, be sure to get tickets early, and rest assured, Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing to f*ck with. Reported by Nick Manes
St. Cecilia Music Center, Grand Rapids
Jan. 6, 7 p.m.
Jan. 7 & 8, 8 p.m.
grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451
Those who assumed all classical music was made by a bunch of long-dead old men would do well to check out The Grand Rapids Symphony's performance of contemporary composer Gabriela Frank's piece "Peregrinos." Frank studied at Rice University and received her doctorate from University of Michigan in 2001. Her innovative, yet classically rooted music has been performed by such greats as Kronos Quartet, Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, and many others. Check out the GR Symphony's website to hear a fascinating interview with Gabriela Frank. The performance will take place on January 6, 7, and 8. The evening will also include performances of Bartok's "Rumanian Dances," Haydn's "Cello Concerto in C," and Schubert's "Symphony No. 8 (Unfinished)." The guest performer for the performances is cellist Richard Narroway. Reported by Justin Stover
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra's Endless Summer
Miller Auditorium, Kalamazoo
Jan. 29, 8 p.m.
kalamazoosymphony.com, (269) 349-7759
Those Michiganders who are already sick of winter should check out the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra's Endless Summer event on Saturday, Jan. 29. The orchestra will be doing classical reinterpretations of some of the Beach Boys classic tunes, including "Help Me Rhonda," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and many more. Though the drive there may be a bit snowy, you're sure to feel (to quote Brian Wilson) "the warmth of the sun" once you step into Miller Auditorium. This event is part of the highly successful "Jeans N' Classic Series," so get out those jeans (or, if you're really daring, Bermuda shorts) and head on over to Kalamazoo for what is sure to be a fun, music-filled evening. Reported by Justin Stover