He's not a stand-up comic, but sometimes he tells jokes. Nor is he a musician, but sometimes he plays rock music in front of people.
Not an actor, but he pretends to be someone he isn't. Hal Sparks is an artist, an emissary of human emotion, and these are some things that he does.
If you've ever tipped back a beer at one of Grand Rapid's assorted open mic nights, chances are you've heard of Karisa Wilson. As one of the cities most revered artists, her name has gained prestige — only heightened when her debut album, Little Girl, won Album of the Year at the Jammies in 2008.
William Beckett lost his band and his label last year, but that hasn't slowed him down. He leapt into a new solo project that will release three EPs and tour across the country this year — all as an independent artist.
Beckett was the frontman of the pop-rock group The Academy Is... until the band disbanded last October. Beckett started the group back in 2003, and over the next seven years The Academy Is... produced three studio albums and four EPs.
Throughout the years, opera has fallen into a certain stereotype: Fancy, expensive, formal, elite and ritzy. But Opera Grand Rapids wants to show the community that opera is not just a fat lady in a helmet with horns; nor is it custom for attendees to wear Victorian wigs, top hats or spectacles.
Every Wednesday afternoon, local chefs and West Michigan farmers converge in a warehouse located at the corner of Hall and Godfrey Streets to buy and sell produce and other products produced by the farms.
Since 2004, Grand Rapids band La Dispute has been inching toward success one fan at a time. The members kept at it for four years, playing small shows here and there, until one e-mail changed everything.
Heavier Than Air Flying Machines might always be a question mark of a band. Nothing about the gritty, high-gain debut album, Siam (released last September), is typical, nor anything about the band's spastic live performance. But then again, that's just the point of the band.
Chris Danner is excited to bring the national tour of The Addams Family to Grand Rapids in May. That's in part because Danner has called Grand Rapids home for many years.
Sometimes it only takes a single opportunity to open the door to success. Just ask singer-songwriter Christina Perri, whose song "Jar of Hearts" made its way on to the June 30, 2010 episode of the television show, "So You Think You Can Dance." Now, less than two years later, Perri has been seemingly thrust in to the spotlight.
"It's been bananas!" Perri said of the journey so far. "It was one great day that hasn't stopped for two years."
With 30 downtown venues and more than 350 artists, the event is one of West Michigan's largest studio hops and invites guests of all ages to explore photography, film, paintings, glasswork and a new SiTE:LAB event.
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