In any given year, West Michigan has more arts and entertainment offerings than any one person could take in. From national tours to local professional theater, dance and community theater, excellent performances abound all year long. A look back on 2019 reminds us how truly fortunate we are to have access to such world-class artistry right here. We were absolutely wowed by the Best of 2019 that includes locally produced, life-affirming theater and dance.
Wearables and wall hangings with intricate patterns and detailed faces and figures push the bounds of the fiber and craft movement.
Going from 20 displays in 1995 to more than 45 international tree spectacles today, the Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions exhibition is back at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with more than 300,000 bright lights.
As Christmas traditions go, watching Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a pretty beautiful one. The story of George Bailey, the small-town kid who longed to escape his humble beginnings only to remain in Bedford Falls and face the near-loss of everything, including his life — until a desperate prayer is dramatically answered by a modest angel, is a pleasing one to the religious and non-religious alike, and tugs at the heartstrings in a most universal way.
Cori Terry, Founder and Artistic Director of Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, described her philosophy on choreographic intent by quoting celebrated modern dance innovator Mark Morris: “I make it up and you watch it.”
Detroit-based, Western Michigan University educated playwright Shawntai Brown has been providing installments of “eLLe”, her episodic stage series loosely based on Showtime’s “The L Word”, for 10 years, and Kalamazoo audiences have been privy to the unfolding dramas and comedy of this localized cast of queer women through productions from different theaters.
In 2019, basically 2020 at this point, can a musical about 19th century Frenchmen (and women) keep the attention of audiences for nearly three hours?
When pianist Charlie Albright isn’t on a stage performing, his go-to attire is blue jeans. He also enjoys taking the stuffiness out of classical music, so signing on for West Michigan Symphony’s Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert was a perfect fit.
“Chicken wings and beer,” Wu Han said. “I remember it vividly.”
Most exhibitions enforce a strict NO TOUCHING policy. Saugatuck Center for the Arts is challenging the idea with Luminescence, an interactive installation that encourages viewers to become active participants.
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