This month is about all about pomp, and some circumstance, with a larger than life Renaissance experience, the posturing and preening of a mustache masquerade, the distant, Voyeuristic gazeinto a bygone America and the triumphant blast of color from soaring kites.
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
May10, 6 p.m.
$10 advance, $12 day of show
sectionlive.com, (616) 451-8232
Riding the wave of hirsute glee, the first annual Mustache Masquerade is debuting at The Intersection's recently refabbed front room, now called The Stache. More than a night to strut your facial stuff, the event features mustache-themed games and the requisite competition, all to the backdrop of a variety of local bands. The be-whiskered masquerade is presented by the local non-profit, Making Smiles For Hope. "They seem like genuinely good people and wanted to do something a little different," said Scott Hammontree, general manager and talent buyer at The Intersection. The competition requests a $5 registration donation and all proceeds go towards cheering up children with life threatening illnesses.
Brown Bag Film: Edward Hopper
Muskegon Museum of Art
May 9, 12:15p.m.
muskegonartmuseum.org, (231) 720-2570
While he wasn't the one that famously rode a chopper across the country, the artist Edward Hopper created distinctly American works of art that are just as iconic as Ben Hopper's cinematic toking. Part of the Muskegon Museum of Arts' Brown Bag Film series, this documentary, narrated by the inimitable Steve Martin, explores the life and mystery of Edward Hooper and his renowned paintings. Always free, attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch and enjoy complimentary cookies and coffee at the afternoon viewing.
Mayfaire Renaissance Festival
May 18-19, 25-27
10 a.m- 6 p.m.
mayfaireren.com, (269) 382-6120
Renaissance festivals are more than a whimsical jaunt into the world of bygone days; they're a way of life. And on festival grounds, you can immerse yourself among knaves, jesters, boisterous broads and lithe pixies. Being cajoled into buying whole pickles by lewd men and gnawing on shanks of meat directly off the bone are par for the course. Personal role-play is part of the allure, along with live entertainment like performances by fire dancers and feats by aerialists. Not to mention real knights, in real armor battling for glory. Other notables like Knotty Bits Sideshow, a duo based out of Grand Rapids, are certain to bring a wow factor with stunts like glass walking and snake charming.Go for a day, or enjoy the whole weekend. Camping is available and the event is family friendly.
25th Annual Great Lakes Kite Festival
Grand Haven State Park Beach
May 17-19,event times at 10 and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
mackite.com, (866) 428-2335
Flying isn't just for the birds and kites aren't just for kids. "The reason that people want to fly a kite is because everyone wants to fly," said Steve Negen, owner of MAC Kite and host of the annual Great Lakes Kite Festival. The festival, which is celebrating 25 years this month, began as a small competition and now features three days of colorful flight. Each day is filled with performances and demonstrations featuring curiosities likekite ballet, which is choreographed to music. "Visualize ice skaters in the sky," Negen said. Participate in manufacturer test fields, giving prototype kites a test fly. Shop at the world's largest kite store (MACkite) and simply gaze in awe at the aerial beasts the size of a school bus. "[For] the really big kites, what they do is anchor them with a stand...One year, one of the guys brought a giant spinning [kite] and we tied it to a pickup truck and it was pulling the pickup truck in the sand."