You might say that Bob Mankoff has humor down to a science. After all, before beginning his journey from budding cartoonist to cartoon editor of The New Yorker, Mankoff was just a few credits shy of a PhD in experimental psychology.
Eric “EZ” Albertson is nothing if not a people person. Back in early 2012, when he opened the SpeakEZ lounge in Grand Rapids’ Belknap Neighborhood, Albertson sought to create a highly connective environment that would bring a true sense of community back to the pub. It’s no surprise then that one of the establishment’s longest-running and most popular events is centered around something that’s brought human beings together since the dawn of our existence: telling stories.
Melissa Plaut remembers the first time she ever wrote about driving a New York City taxicab. It was 5 a.m. one morning in 2005, and she’d just returned home from her shift. The stream-of-consciousness recounting of the night’s events that poured out of her was unlike anything she’d ever written, certainly unlike anything she’d ever written in her previous job, writing copy for one of the Big Apple’s innumerable advertising agencies.
Let’s face it: the winners write the history books. That's why Grand Rapids' history books are filled with the rise of the furniture industry, pictures of Gerald Ford and a whole lot of just good ol’ fashioned niceness. But for local author and history buff Amberrose Hammond, the full story lies beneath the surface.
Before he was hired as Kent District Library's Kentwood branch teen librarian, Greg Lewis saw something big at KDL's Grandville branch. It was an event that featured live music from local teen bands. Once he took on his position as teen librarian, Lewis was inspired to take that teen-band concept further. Three years later, Kentwoodpalooza was born.
Roberta King has always had a way with words, but after the death of her son, Noah, she found herself suddenly at a loss for them. Despite being born with cerebral palsy, Noah lived happy, healthy and surrounded by a loving family for 16 years. In 2006 – when he was 17 – a bout with pneumonia took his life.
If the phrase “used book sale” brings to mind those sad piles of tattered Harlequin novels and dog-eared microwave cookbooks found in every thrift store, then perhaps you need to pay more attention to what the Kent District Library is up to. For the last two years, the organization has reinvigorated this once-tired concept by transforming a giant warehouse at its Comstock Park Service Center into a veritable book lover’s utopia during an annual event they’ve fittingly dubbed Book Bash.
Buddy Wakefield is, admittedly, far from enlightened. But 13 years after shucking a steady corporate gig and all of his worldly possessions for a Honda Civic and a new life as a traveling performance poet, he's working harder than ever to stay in the moment.
Schuler Books and Music will be closing its Alpine location (3165 Alpine Ave., Walker) this April. The other three locations in Grand Rapids and Lansing will continue to run as normal, but owners Bill and Cecile Fehsenfeld have decided not to resign the lease for the Alpine location.
Had her entire life not gone literally up in flames back in 1980, Debra Marquart would not be the writer she is today. In fact, she may have never even taken up writing at all.
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