Wednesday, 06 May 2015 12:45

May Eclectic Events: Glassblowers, LAUP Fiesta, roller derby

Written by  Audria Larsen
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Battle of the Glassblowers Battle of the Glassblowers PHOTO: Dawn Bennett-Dailey

When you’re not busy skipping around a maypole and sucking down a Whitsun Ale, you can frolic off to a bevy of events sure to give gusto to your spring fever. This month, you can witness glassblowers battle it out, watch lowriders bounce into West Michigan and support a good cause led by local lady BAMFS.

Battle of the Glassblowers & Flame-Off
West Michigan Glass Art Center, Kalamazoo
May 1–2 (Friday 5–9 p.m., Saturday noon–5 p.m.), (269) 552-9802

The 9th Annual Battle of Glassblowers & Flame-Off pits torch-wielding artisans against one another over the course of two days. Watch glassblowers and flameworkers duke it out as they transform “hot molten glass into exquisitely delicate objects.” Each competition is based on a theme. The first battle features dueling teams striving to create the most magnificent “Stellar Table Piece.” Other challenges include the “Best Pulled Pony” (whatever that is) and a “Bodacious Beer Mug.” The final competition is “People’s Choice Mystery Art Piece.” This event draws glassblowers from around the region and is family-friendly.

LAUP Fiesta
Holland Civic Center
May 1–2, (616) 392-5058

The Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) returns with its annual Fiesta. Featured along the Eighth Street Marketplace in Holland during Tulip Time, the event draws more than 20,000 attendees each year. While the Fiesta is a celebration of Hispanic cultures, LAUP seeks to be a multicultural event, showcasing art and entertainment traditions from around the globe. Live performances from mariachi musicians and dancers liven up the two-day event with vibrant sights and spirited sounds. Enjoy plentiful food booths, a carnival, numerous exhibits and a car show featuring lowriders, custom motorcycles, trucks and more. As described on its website, “LAUP’s mission is to empower Latinos to participate in creating a better community for all through advocacy, celebration and education.”

Grand Raggidy Roller Derby Sideshow Spectacular
Tip Top Deluxe, Grand Rapids, May 24, 8 p.m.

May stands for roller derby mayhem. This month, the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls are not only celebrating 10 years, but it’s also changing its name to the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby. Perhaps more importantly, the full-contact team of athletes is throwing a fundraiser bash called the Sideshow Spectacular. “It’s going to be a super night of music and sideshow fun,” said event organizer Jamie Springer, aka The Brixton Bomb. In addition to glass walkers and acrobats, you can enjoy music by the ska band Spooky and the Interlopers.

“It’s a chance to mingle with Grand Rapids’ only roller derby team and support a great cause,” Springer said. The evening will be packed with giveaways, door prizes and entertainment. You can win a “super bonus pack” that includes tickets for the next season, GRRD merchandise and PBR swag, like beer cozies and bar-style logo mirrors. “Vintage” Roller Girl shirts will be available as well as the newly branded Roller Derby styles.

Treasured Technique: Japanese Mezzotint Masters
Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck
Through May 29, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., (269) 857-2399

Mezzotint is a striking method of printmaking. It creates a stunning richness in tone and detail. Through May 29, you can catch a lush exhibition at Saugatuck Center for the Arts that “highlights the partnership between contextual themes of Japanese Printmaking and the technique of Western Mezzotint” — as seen through the work of masters like Katsunori Hamanishi and Yozo Hamaguchi. This style of printmaking was originally used to create reproductions, but the images curated here depict a photorealistic, contemporary exploration of everyday objects.

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