Opinions Are Like Potholes
The Comedy Project
540 Leonard Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Aug. 2-24, Fridays and Saturdays
Opening earlier this year, The Comedy Project has been bringing strange and singular shows to Grand Rapids like never before. It’s not just your typical improv comedians and stand-up nights — there’s sketch comedy, experimental improv and game shows. August’s big sketch show is Opinions Are Like Potholes, which features Construction - The Musical, beach murder, dancing both “sexy and non-sexy,” and a song about every single city in Michigan. It’s the perfect catharsis after a week of hitting roadblocks on your way to work.
Old School Console Night
1504 Plainfield Ave. NE., Grand Rapids
Mondays, 5 p.m.
Feast your eyes on great food, tasty drinks and a throwback to one of the best parts of childhood: classic games. Play the best of the best and a variety of games on different systems like the Nintendo 64, NES, Gamecube and more. Plus, if there’s a game you love that isn’t there, you can request it and they will try to find it for future console nights. Either way, you know you can always bring friends and compete for who is really the best at Mario Kart 64.
Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss
Van Andel Arena
130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m., $50+
Renowned as one of the greatest “outlaw country” stars the stage has ever seen, you shouldn’t miss out on dancing the night away to some of Willie Nelson’s best tunes. Even decades later, people who met Nelson in the ’60s are still adoring him and his wild, rebellious music. Now 86 years old, he still lives for performing and doing what makes him happy with his musical family, some of whom have worked with him since 1973. Joining him at the Van Andel will be American bluegrass-country singer Alison Krauss.
Public Night at the Veen Observatory
3308 Kissing Rock Ave. SE, Lowell
Aug. 10, 9 p.m., $2+
You can always just look up and you’ll see the same beautiful night sky that artists have painted and adored for ages, but there’s nothing like finding the perfect place away from all the city lights to see the stars and planets with perfect clarity. The Veen Observatory offers nights to look at the starry night Van Gogh admired with one of the best views around. Bring your own telescope or borrow someone’s else to dive deep into the night sky. It’s a perfect family trip, date night or even just some alone time to be inspired by nature.
Arclight Brewing Co.
544 N. Main St., Watervliet
Aug. 17, 3:30 p.m., $12
The best kind of festival is an inaugural festival — it’s always nice to see something new come to town. We know Arclight Brewing Co. is going to put on a party to remember, considering it’s one of the best breweries in West Michigan. The fest will feature the release of the new Soursmith Red Raspberry, alongside plenty of other tasty brews and live music from amazing bands like Ryley Walker and Dream Version.
Ballet at the Gardens
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
Aug. 20, 7-9 p.m.
If you’ve never had the chance to see a ballet perform live, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. As part of the Frederik Meijer Gardens’ Tuesday Evening Music Club, the Grand Rapids Ballet is coming to the beautiful amphitheater. For just the price of admission to the gardens, you can watch the ballet perform a huge variety of dances at this first-ever Meijer Gardens appearance. From modern contemporary dance styles to classical ballet, this show will keep you on your toes.
Shoreline Jazz Festival
1050 7th St., Muskegon
Aug. 22-25, $5+
Certain tunes can soothe the soul or make you want to get up and dance, but jazz is the best of both worlds. The Shoreline Jazz Festival features more than 10 groups and soloists playing this year for its sixth annual festival. There’s no better place to hear singers, saxophonists, drummers and more go at it than alongside the sunny wavy shore.
Movies on Monroe
Space Jam & Star Wars: The Force Awakens
555 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Aug. 23, 6 p.m., free
Forces from far away, deep in the galaxy disturb us in two completely different ways at this Movies on Monroe. A cult classic, Space Jam brings the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan together for one of the strangest/greatest semi-animated films of all time. Then, Star Wars returns with a new generation of heroes, beginning with The Force Awakens. Beloved characters like Princess Leia and Han Solo return alongside new faces like John Boyega as Finn, a defector against the First Order.
Rosa Parks Circle
Downtown Grand Rapids
Aug. 23-25, 11 a.m.
Dive deep into a rich culture at Rosa Parks Circle this August as the Polish Festival returns for its 40th year. Enjoy amazing home-style Polish foods, live music and a variety of vendors, all in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Whether you’re looking to try new foods or yearn for the Polish meals of your youth, head to the festival for pierogi, golabk, kopytka and so much more.
Burning Foot Beer Festival
Pere Marquette Beach, Muskegon
Aug. 24, 12:30-10:30 p.m., $49+
If you’re looking for a way to end summer on a high note, this is it. At Burning Foot, you can celebrate art, a massive variety of beers, live music and the beautiful beaches of Muskegon. Above all, it’s a major beer festival, hosting 70-plus breweries from all over the state. Drink, dance, even camp if you’d like — you might just catch a stunning sunset while you’re at it. Bands performing include Everclear, Melophobix, Matt Williams and more.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo
Aug. 24, 9 p.m., $20
It’s time to put your hands together and make some noise, as they say. Just don’t spill your Bell’s beer everywhere! Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is coming to the brewery’s backroom for a night of true indie classics. The band burst onto the scene in 2005 with an astonishing self-titled album that remains incredibly unique to this day. If you’re a fan of Wolf Parade, Of Montreal or Broken Social Scene, you’ll love lead singer Alec Ounsworth’s out-there voice and raucous instrumentals.