What’s sweeter than a sweetheart in February? Free events. Catch pretty “punk” paintings, enjoy snow frolics and get a fabulously dressed dose of flapper feminism. If you’re game, score a symphonic Pokémon experience, too — but that’ll cost ya.
Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions
DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids
Feb. 5, 8 p.m.
$32, grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451 x 4
Grand Rapids Pops is going on a video game romp this month. Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is taking the DeVos Performance Hall stage for a live, orchestral production featuring the familiar sounds of the popular game.
“Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is a spectacular showcase of the memorable music that has been a hallmark of the Pokémon franchise for nearly 20 years,” said J.C. Smith, director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company International.
The new orchestral arrangements seamlessly sync up with video game visuals shown on the big screen, featuring imagery from “recent and classic” Pokémon games. Enjoy highlights from your favorite characters and bring your pals for this all-ages event.
Milham Park Golf Club, 4200 Lovers Ln., Kalamazoo
Feb. 6, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
kzooparks.org, (269) 329-4522
A free jamboree?! Yes, indeed. The City of Portage Parks and Recreation, Kalamazoo Parks, Lee’s Adventure Sports and Pedal Bicycle joined forces to present you a bevy of wintertime snow sports. From snowshoeing and kayak sledding to ice bowling and sled dog rides, there are plenty of activities to keep you frolicking.
Most equipment is provided but you’ll need to bring your own sled to take advantage of the hills. If sporty isn’t your thing, you can compete in the snowman building contest and sit back and watch the fat-tire biking demo.
Urban Punk: Digital Paintings by John Leben
Holland Area Arts Council, Holland
Through Feb. 27
Mon., Tues., Thurs. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Urban Punk, John Leben’s digital painting exhibit currently on display at the Holland Area Arts Council, features compelling and surreal imagery that blends fantasy with humor and offers commentary on the state of our political and natural environment.
The series shows “a world of inept leadership and absurd solutions to environmental problems,” Leben said. “Each painting tells the story of our constant efforts to make things better. Each one reflects our naive certainty that technology will solve our problems. Is there optimism in these paintings? You be the judge.” While the themes are dark, the works are visually pleasing with pops of color and frequent use of hot air balloons.
Up Cloche: Fashion, Feminism, Modernity
MSU Museum, East Lansing
Through Aug. 30
Weekdays 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday 1–5 p.m.
museum.msu.edu, (517) 355-2370
The era of freewheeling flappers was momentous. Up Cloche: Fashion, Feminism, Modernity explores “how American women of the Jazz Age used fashion to become modern.” From bobbed hair and exposed knees to the cloche (“a bell-shaped hat considered ‘clever’ and ‘smart’”), fashion defined new freedoms and outwardly expressed the feminist ideals of the time through clothing aesthetics.
These days it’s tough to imagine a deeper meaning behind sheer stockings, but in the 1920s, wearing such items made a distinct statement. Discover more at this free exhibit, showing through August.