The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson once wrote “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.” If you share a similar take on life, turn up the nostalgia knob and experience bygone eras, from 1930s Berlin to Medieval midways. For those yearning for the golden age of the AM/FM dial, tune into the sweet sounds of vintage radio waves. Here are a few throwback events happening in West Michigan.
Michigan Antique Radio Club’s Extravaganza ‘15
Kalamazoo County Expo Center
Friday 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
$5, free for 12 and under
thevee.org, (734) 316-2803
Dubbed the “road show of radios and vintage electronics,” the Michigan Antique Radio Club’s 2015 Extravaganza is headed to Kalamazoo to tickle the fancy of ancient-knob twisters everywhere. In an era where most gadgets and gizmos have been replaced by cell phone apps, there are still diehard folks dedicated to keeping the culture of bygone devices alive. Sure you can get a replica but you would miss out on the fuzz, crackle and alluring designs of former coveted music boxes. Collectors congregate from across “the world” to buy, sell and swap their wares. The Radio Rescue is a popular attraction that offers appraisals and repairs for beloved radios. Other features include a silent auction, a donation auction and public vote contests.
Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck
Through July 12
sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399
Spice up your summer with a fabulous night of theater and enjoy the iconic production, Cabaret. Following a successful run on Broadway, the newly updated show hits Michigan offering ample dates. Dive into the provocative world of a 1930s Berlin nightclub. Scintillating song and dance numbers tell the tale of a relationship between an English entertainer and an American writer, amid decadence and the lure of bohemian ways. Described as an evening of “gritty glamour,” Cabaret will sass you up with a bit of drama, danger and dancing dames.
T.J. Wilcox: In the Air
Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids
Through August 30, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
$5-$8, artmuseumgr.org, (616) 831-1000
New York City has been romanticized (and reviled) by artists, poets and writers for as long as it has been a beacon of culture — piquing our collective imaginations. Once again, an homage to the fair and mighty city has been crafted, this time by artist T. J. Wilcox.
In the Air is his ambitious, panoramic film installation that captures a single day in the city. What sets this work apart is the “multidirectional, bird’s-eye view of the New York City skyline,” presented on a 360-degree screen, shot from his penthouse studio, situated 18 floors above Manhattan’s Union Square. The 24 hours of video content has been compressed into a visually digestible 30 minutes. According to a review in The New York Times, “The majesty and clarity of this wraparound vista is stunning. The city looks older, almost timeless, without the details of street traffic and storefronts.”
BlackRock Medieval Fest
The Olde World Village, Augusta
July 11–August 2
Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
$10, ages 12 and under free
blackrockfest.com, (269) 580-1290
The BlackRock Medieval Fest returns this summer to satisfy your heathen desires for the trappings of Renaissance culture (except with the bonus of modern bathrooms). Head to the Olde World Village and experience the festival that was voted “Best New Event” in the 2013 issue of Renaissance Magazine. Launched in 2012, BlackRock prides itself on offering a superior festival, suitable for the entire family. Enjoy dressing up in period-appropriate garb, or shop for handmade garments, watch live jousting tournaments, eat a turkey leg, catch variety acts and see live blacksmith demos.
“If you go into their shop, you can talk to them and they can tell you how people used to make [items] back in the day versus how people make things today,” said Rachel Kuhn, artisan coordinator. Among the six stages showcasing live entertainment is an “adults only” stage. “It’s called Bawdy. It’s more innuendo based,” said Michael Kuhn, general manager — noting the comedy shows are for the 18-and-over crowd. n