Monday, 09 May 2016 11:09

Best Bets: What's going on in May

Written by  Nicole Rico
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The Black Dahlia Murder at The Pyramid Scheme The Black Dahlia Murder at The Pyramid Scheme
Top events to check out in May, including music, theatre, comedy, beer events, and more.
UICA, 2 Fulton West, Grand Rapids
Through May 15, $5, UICA members FREE., (616) 454-7000
Exploring “the historical and social issues surrounding the availability, use and impact of guns on culture and public health,” UNLOADED features work by more than 20 artists and includes photography, sculpture, paint, and digital media. The exhibition spans two floors in UICA and includes works like Mel Chin’s “Cross for the Unforgiven,” a Maltese cross made of AK-47s.
Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are
Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids
Through May 22
$5–$8, Members and children 5 and under FREE, (616) 831-1000
Maurice Sendak has been capturing children’s imaginations since the publication of the 1963 picture book, Where the Wild Things Are. Since then, the classic title has sold more than 19 million copies and in 2009 director Spike Jonez turned it into a major motion picture. This exhibit celebrates the book’s 50th anniversary by showcasing Sendak’s original drawings, prints, posters and illustrations.

Wednesday 5/4

Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science

Devos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
May 4, 7:30 p.m. / $42.50-$99.50, (616) 742-6500
As a follow-up to his Edible Inevitable tour, Alton Brown merges comedy, multimedia presentations and talk show antics with music, puppets and (potentially dangerous) experiments for his new Eat Your Science tour. There’s also an element of audience participation involved, so be prepared!

Five Finger Death Punch & Shinedown

Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids
May 4, 7 p.m. / $39.75-$49.75, (616) 742-6600
Five Finger Death Punch and Shinedown co-headline this heavy show at Van Andel. Five Finger Death Punch has an impressive 15 Top 10 hits, five Gold albums and has sold 1.5 million albums in North America over their career. Drummer Jeremy Spencer said their newest and best-selling album, Got Your Six, is “more brutal, with more extreme dynamics.” P.O.D. opens the show. 



Friday 5/6

Kiera Cass

Schuler Books & Music, 1982 Grand River Ave., Okemos
May 6, 6 p.m.; FREE!, (517) 349-8840
New York Times bestselling author Kiera Cass stops at Schuler Books to talk about her final book in the Selection series, The Crown. Cass’s writing has been described as “deliciously entertaining” by Publishers Weekly and “charming, captivating, and filled with just the right amount of swoon,” by Kiersten White. After the talk will be a book signing. Tickets can be purchased by calling the store.


Robin Trower

Kalamazoo State Theatre, 404 S Burdick St., Kalamazoo
May 6, 7 p.m. / $45, (269) 345-6500
Rock legend Robin Trower, formerly of Procol Harum, plays Kalamazoo State Theatre with his power trio, which includes bassist Richard Watts and drummer Chris Taggart. He’s known for his hits “Long Misty Days,” “Bridge of Sighs” and “Day of The Eagle.” Last month he released his new album, Where You Are Going To



Saturday 5/7

All Star Comedy Festival

Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton W, Grand Rapids
May 7, 8 p.m. / $37.50-$97.50, (616) 742-6600
The 1st Annual All Star Comedy Festival features comedic stars from several television shows. The stacked line-up includes Tisha Campbell Martin from My Wife and Kids, Queens of Comedy’s Adele Givens, Last Comic Standing winner Lavell Crawford and Damon Williams from BET Comic View, among others.




Garth Brooks

Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids
May 12-15, 7 p.m. / $66.23, (616) 742-6600
For those who still can’t get the chorus of “Friends in Low Places” out of their head, modern-country pioneer Garth Brooks visits Van Andel Arena on May 14. Brooks released his Man Against Machine LP in 2014, his first studio album in 13 years. Joining the “Thunder Rolls” songster on the tour is his wife and fellow superstar, Trisha Yearwood. 



Friday 5/13

Brian Posehn

Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
May 13, 8 p.m. / $20 advance, $25 doors, all ages, (616) 272-3758
Brian Posehn is no doubt the king of nerd comedy (with an honorable mention going to Patton Oswalt). Posehn, 49, has been a distinct voice in stand-up since 1994 and continues to pack houses with his toilet humor and heavy-metal-related bits. Over the years, he’s also starred on Comedy Central-related shows, like The Sarah Silverman Program and the acclaimed Comedians of Comedy



Saturday 5/14

Liz Longley

Seven Steps Up, 116 S Jackson St., Spring Lake
May 14, 8 p.m. / $25-$35, (616) 678-3618
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Liz Longley plays an intimate, acoustic set for the Pin Drop Concert series at Seven Steps Up. Basing her songs on personal experiences, Longley said, “Every time I get into these songs they resonate with me. … I hope they connect with people and that they’ll help with whatever they’ve gone through.” Fans of Eva Cassidy or Joni Mitchell might want to check out the show. 



Sunday 5/15

An Evening with David Sedaris

DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, 
Grand Rapids
May 15, 3 p.m. / $37.50-$57.50, (616) 742-6500
Humorist David Sedaris is responsible for several best-selling books, including Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. For one night only he visits DeVos Performance Hall to present a selection of all-new readings and recollections. There will also be a Q&A session and book signings afterward. 



Tuesday 5/17

Strumble Head

The Score, 5301 Northland Dr. NE, Grand Rapids
May 17, 6 p.m., FREE!, (616) 301-0600
Since 2009, Strumble Head has been covering hits from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The Grand Rapids-based band blasts through a polished setlist of sing-along classic rockers and powerful ballads, closely mirroring the originals. Hear tunes from The Doors, Roy Orbison, Cheap Trick and The Who, to only name a few. 



Opens 5/19 

The Bridges of Madison County: The Broadway Musical

Wharton Center, 750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing
May 19-22, times vary / $40-$75, (517) 353-1982
What started as a best-selling novel has now been adapted into a two-time Tony Award winning Broadway musical. Featuring music by Jason Robert Brown and direction by Bartlett Sher, the Daily News calls it, “one of Broadway’s best scores in the last decade.” The story is one of a lonely Italian woman who has an affair with a National Geographic photographer after a chance encounter. For ages 12 and up.



Saturday 5/21

Barley, BBQ & Beats

Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton W, Grand Rapids
May 21, 5 p.m. / $35 advance, $40 at the door. 21+, (616) 742-6600
Celebrating West Michigan’s love for barbecue and craft cocktails, Barley, BBQ & Beats serves up food from area barbecue restaurants along with whiskey distilled in Michigan. Live music comes courtesy of Domestic Problems, Mid-Life Crisis and Big Dudee Roo. The event also functions as support for Hospice of Michigan’s Open Access program.



Tuesday 5/24

Disturbed and Rob Zombie

Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton W, Grand Rapids
May 24, 7 p.m. / $29.95-$49.95, (616) 742-6600
Touring in support of their new Immortalized LP, mainstream-metal giants Disturbed co-headline this tour along with the gravelly-voiced, ghoul-lovin’ Rob Zombie. Immortalized is Disturbed’s fifth album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Meanwhile, last month Rob Zombie released his new album, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. Rolling Stone named it one of the “Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2016.” 



Thursday 5/26

The Black Dahlia Murder

Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
May 26, 7 p.m. / $18 advance, $20 doors, all ages, (616) 272-3758
Formed in 2001 in Waterford, The Black Dahlia Murder specializes in both extreme and melodic death metal. The band released its newest album, Abysmal, in the latter half of last year. Vocalist Trevor Strnad said the album is “more raw and natural sounding” than previous efforts. Opening the show are Fallujah and Disentomb.



Friday 5/27

Keith Sweat — A Ladies Night

Kalamazoo State Theatre, 404 S Burdick St., Kalamazoo
May 27, 8 p.m. / $43-$100, (269) 345-6500
Smooth-as-hell R&B crooner and innovator of the new jack swing genre, Keith Sweat stops May 27 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre. The singer-songwriter will perform his hits “Twisted” and “Make You Sweat,” among others. Sweat, who debuted in 1987 with his classic Make it Last Forever LP, is also an accomplished producer, recording tracks for Dru Hill, Immature, The Isley Brothers and The O’Jays.




GHOST wsg Pinkish Black @ The Orbit Room: May 20

Lewis Black @ Soaring Eagle: May 21

Spring Peddler’s Market @ Downtown Zeeland: May 21


Ballads & Brews

Goei Center, 818 Butterworth St. SW, Grand Rapids
June 2, 5:30 p.m., $125, (616) 451-2741
For Bavarian aficionados and Opera-lovers alike, Ballads & Brews might be the event for you. While you’re there, check out an exclusive preview of Opera Grand Rapids’ The Student Prince while enjoying craft beer in a biergarten-inspired setting. Attendees are encouraged to “don your best Bavarian Chic attire.”


Caroline, Or Change

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, 30 Division Ave. N, Grand Rapids
June 3-19, $18-$35, (616) 222-6650
This semi-autobiographical story tells of middle-aged African-American maid Caroline Thibodeaux. Based in 1963 in Louisiana, the play chronicles her life as she navigates through the changing nation and events like the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The story was written by Tony Kushner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Angels in America.


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