February is the longest shortest month either because we live in a Yeti paradise or because we are all love hating monsters. Nonetheless, cold-hearted bastards can still have fun. Race away your angst, discover bygone and potentially deadly beauty accessories, get drunk on sake or actually find a joyful glimmer in your soul when gazing upon masterful dancers.
Shen Yun: Reviving 5,000 Years of Civilization
Enjoy a whirlwind journey of history and experience authentic Chinese culture through song and dance. The Shen Yun spectacular spans 5,000 years of legends, heroic tales and compelling movement. The epic stage production features vibrant costuming, animated backdrops and dynamo dancers who are classically trained powerhouses. The live orchestra blends sounds from the East and West as you travel to the lost land of the magical Middle Kingdom.
Wharton Center, East Lansing, Feb. 11-12, 7:30 p.m., $50-$120 , shenyun.com, (517) 353-1982
Collector's Corner: Hat Pins
Hat pins have a far more lurid history than you might expect. While some modern folks may have never laid eyes on a hat pin, their popularity rose in the 1800s as a simple way to keep women’s hats in place. Catch a glimpse at these relics of a bygone era at the Collector’s Corner, which is currently showcasing Martha Giacobassi’s private collection of more than 260 hat pins. Styles run the gamut from utilitarian and austere to ornate and decorative. As fashions grew, so did the hat pins with some reaching beyond a foot in length. In the 1910s, news reports began to circulate about not only injuries but outright hat pin attacks. Laws and regulations soon were put into place to limit grisly crimes. Apparently fashion can kill.
Lakeshore Museum Center, Muskegon, Through March 8 , Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. , Saturday-Sunday noon-4 p.m., Free!, lakeshoremuseum.org, (231) 722-0278
Roll Your Own Sushi
Sushi is delicious. Sushi can also get expensive, depending on your tastes. Have you ever considered learning to roll your own? With a little know-how and the right tools, the craft is simpler than you may think. And you’re in luck because Frederik Meijer Gardens is launching a Japanese garden in June and is offering themed events, like this one, to get you in a cultural mood. A local sushi chef will guide you through the process and even offer information about selecting fresh ingredients. Other highlights include how to pair different rolls with sake like cloudy nigori and acidic junmai.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Feb. 24, 6:30-9 p.m. , $65 , meijergardens.org, (616) 957-1580
Amazing Race on Snow
Races and runs are all the rage these days. And die-hard fitness hustlers still need to pound the proverbial pavement despite snowy weather. This month, Camp Roger is going to play host to the largest winter race in the United States. Last year, the event drew an incredible 300 participants. Two-person teams have three hours to discover hidden checkpoints marked on a map, collect points and dominate challenges like the fatbike and snowshoe sections of the trail. The general public can also join in and try to keep up with the racers, too. “West Michigan has a culture for challenging outdoor sports like adventure racing and trail running that does not exist in many other areas in the nation," said Mark VanTongeren, race director. "These races draw more people than Chicago, Indianapolis and other larger cities do to similar events. We always get a great turnout because of this. Racers are also looking forward to a new venue, Camp Roger, which gives us beautiful terrain and a warm place to hang, get a free massage and eat pizza after the race.” A back rub and junk food? Holla!
Camp Roger, Rockford , Feb. 7, 9:30 a.m. , $62-$70, miadventureracing.com, (616) 460-9331