Category Archives: Entertainment

On the shelf: ‘Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale…’ by Gwen Cooper

By WKTV Contributor


I’m often resistant to books billed as being “inspirational”, “heartwarming”, or providing “life lessons”, but when I finally gave in and read Cooper’s book, Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat, I loved it. I figured that with her last book being, Diary of a South Beach Party Girl, which People Magazine touted as a “seedily thrilling world of mid-90’s Miami”, the cat book couldn’t be too sentimental…

In fact, Homer is anything but a poor, pitiful animal; his character is very bold and resourceful, drawing from a deep place of awareness without physical sight, since Homer is completely blind. Abandoned as a very young kitten, an infection took his eyes, and a veterinarian sewed the lids shut. When Gwen Cooper adopted him at 4 weeks, she realized that he was special, and others did too. Her (cat adverse) parents offer to take him in, if,  “God forbid, anything should happen to you”.  Her ex-boyfriend and his pals love to cat-sit Homer, explaining, “For he is El Mocho, the cat without fear!”

In one chilling chapter, Homer saves Gwen from an intruder in her house in the middle of the night. Living in the Manhattan financial district, the cats also survive the terrible days of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, where their apartment was only 5 blocks away.

The book works so well because the writing is crisp and funny, and the cat is so unusual and appealing, plus it’s a definite page-turner, and ok, it’s probably inspirational too.

Troll 4 Trout to play at 20 Monroe Live on June 3

By Kelly Taylor, WKTV


On Saturday, June 3, Troll 4 Trout will join their pals Mid-Life Crisis to help celebrate the release of their third record, It’s About Time. For this show, the bands will perform for the first time at Grand Rapids’s newest music venue, 20 Monroe Live, located right next to The B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids. This show is a benefit for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Also performing is Andy Holtgreive of Domestic Problems.


Come on out for a fun night of live music while supporting a great cause. For tickets, go here. If you don’t get them online, you can also purchase at the door.

On the shelf: ‘Half Broke Horses’ by Jeannette Walls

By Elaine Bosch, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


Jeannette Walls, best-selling author of the compelling memoir, The Glass Castle, follows up with a “true life” novel — Half Broke Horses. Going back another generation in her family tree, Walls expounds, with insight and energy, on the life of her grandmother Lily.

The spirit of the family so memorably captured in The Glass Castle has its roots in Lily. Raised on hardscrabble horse ranches in Texas and Arizona at the turn of the 20th century, tough, outspoken Lily does not want an ordinary life as a wife and mother. She wants education, freedom and independence. She begins breaking horses at age 6. At 15, she rides 500 miles alone on horseback through the desert to take her first job. She furthers her search for education and excitement by moving to Chicago in her early twenties. Eventually, heartbreak and family obligations send her back to her roots in the west.

This wonderful book reads like a historical adventure. The people, places, and events of the times are well researched and accurate in spirit. The characters are colorful and the narrative is rollicking. Lily faces life’s tribulations and tragedies with style and determination. She builds a legacy, both philosophical and financial, that will sustain her family long after she has gone.

While Half Broke Horses stands on its own merits, it will be best appreciated if read in tandem with The Glass Castle. If you are already a fan of the memoir, you will be captivated by the prequel.


Get tickets now for fun events coming to DeVos Performance Hall this fall

By Hilarie Szarowicz, Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention / Arena Authority

PJ Masks Live! Time to Be a Hero, a brand-new, fully immersive musical production, will take to the stage at DeVos Performance Hall on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at 6:00 PM.

Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, May 19 at 12:00 PM. Ticket prices are $39.50, $49.50, $59.50, and $99.50 for VIP and will be available at the DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena box offices, online at, and charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. A purchase limit of eight (8) tickets will apply to every order and prices are subject to change. Children ages 1 and up require a ticket.

The live show is based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series, which airs daily on Disney Junior. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko, and the Baddies will delight fans of all ages with live performances featuring world-class production, familiar and original music, acrobatics, and immersive interactivity.

PJ Masks, the hit series, follows the thrilling nighttime adventures of three young friends who transform into their dynamic alter egos, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, when they put on their pajamas at night and activate their animal amulets. Together, they embark on action-packed capers, solving mysteries and learning valuable lessons along the way.

ZZ TOP, a.k.a “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” lay undisputed claim to being the longest running major rock band with original personnel intact and, in 2004, the Texas trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now, they’re making their way to Grand Rapids with a Sunday, October 1, 2017, concert at DeVos Performance Hall at 7:30 PM.

Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, May 19 at 11:00 AM. Ticket prices are $49.50, $69.50, and $79.50 and will be available at the DeVos Place® and Van Andel Arena® box offices, online at, and charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. A purchase limit of eight (8) tickets will apply to every order and prices are subject to change.

ZZ TOP’s music is always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful and 100% Texas American in derivation. The band’s support for the blues is unwavering both as interpreters of the music and preservers of its legacy. It was ZZ TOP that celebrated “founding father” Muddy Waters by turning a piece of scrap timber than had fallen from his sharecropper’s shack into a beautiful guitar, dubbed the “Muddywood.”

On the shelf: ‘Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic …’ by Molly Caldwell Crosby

By Lisa Boss, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


The uncanny illness seemed to arise out of the WWI battlefields. In 1916, soldiers were evacuated from the trenches at Verdun, and in the field hospitals some were stricken with flu like symptoms just before they fell into a deep sleep. Some would eventually wake, and some would not. Those that did not die often awoke to a living nightmare of disability and/or psychosis.

As the “Sleeping Sickness” entered the general population, an increasingly frantic medical community strove to find a cause or a treatment. Five million people are estimated to have contracted it, and over nine thousand articles were published in the medical literature during its reign. But then the pandemic suddenly disappeared in the late 1920s, and it was forgotten. Encephalitis Lethargica had vanished into history again.

Crosby’s book, Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries, is a multi-layered medical mystery that re-creates the people, the times, and the newly developing science of neurology. It’s written in an engrossing lyrical style, as we trace the epidemic’s stages.

Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote his fascinating book Awakenings, (also a movie), about a group of patients that he treated in the sixties, who were all victims of that twenties epidemic, and he highly recommends Crosby’s work, calling it “A brilliant, deeply moving account.”


Saugatuck Center for the Arts Farmers Market opens Friday

Farmers Market season opens Friday, May 26, for the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (SCA). This weekly market features local growers and craftsmen from 9 a.m – 3 p.m every Friday starting May 26 and running until Sept. 29 in the SCA’s parking lot, located at 400 Culver St. Each Friday, more than 20 vendors set up tents  in the SCA’s parking lot. The vendors offer a variety of local produce as well as crafts such as jewelry, bags, photo art, and more. All of the goods are grown, produced, or created by the people selling them.


Visitors to the market are treated to free coffee from Uncommon Grounds and live music. New this year are guest vendors, who will be at the market once a month. Also new this year is the bi-weekly “Taste of the Market.” This event runs from 10 a.m. – noon every other market day and offers recipe ideas and samples created from products at the market.


All of these offerings are wrapped in a friendly small town feel. SCA  Farmers Market Manager Bill Galligan says “the best thing about the Market for me is the sense of community. Because we’re a small market, my vendors have more interaction with each other and are more supportive of each other than in the larger markets in the area. Hopefully that sense of community extends out to our visitors.”


This sense of community is a highlight for SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong as well. She says “the Market is a wonderful gathering place! You run into friends and neighbors, have a cup of coffee, and chat with vendors. You can really experience two of the truly special things about Saugatuck: our agricultural & arts traditions.”


For the third year in a row, the farmers market vendors will accept SNAP Cards and Double Bucks. These programs make the market affordable and give low-income families the opportunity to buy healthy food locally. The market is open rain or shine. For more information on this event please visit or call 269-857-2399.

Judy Collins highlights St. Cecilia’s peek at 2017-18 concert series lineups 

Judy Collins will be making her St. Cecilia Music Center debut in early 2018. (Supplied)

St. Cecilia Music Center


The 2017-18 concert season at St. Cecilia Music Center includes the always remarkable Chamber Music of Lincoln Center series and a dynamite lineup for the Jazz Series. But the highlight of the winter may well be a visit  by the incomparable Judy Collins as part of the Acoustic Café Series.


“Since its inception in the 2015-16 season the Acoustic Café Folk Series has expanded its offerings and brought some of today’s up and coming artists, as well as some of the veterans of the singer/songwriter genre,” said Cathy Holbrook, St. Cecilia executive director. “We currently have two artists booked who represent generations of great music making … (including) the appearance of renowned and beloved singer Judy Collins.”


St. Cecilia’s Royce Auditorium stage concerts begin Oct. 26 and run through spring 2018. Series and individual ticket sales have started.


The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform three times during the season with CMS artistic directors Wu Han and David Finckel featured in two of the three concerts. Programs include the works of Mozart, Brahms, Dvořák, and Beethovan. Concert dates are Nov. 2, Jan. 18, 2018, and April 19, 2018.


The 11th season of SCMC’s Jazz Series is appropriately entitled “The Encore Season” as it brings back favorite performers from the past 10 years. This special season will feature four concerts with performers who have all appeared at SCMC: Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride on Nov. 16, contemporary jazz pianist Brad Mehldau on Nov. 30, Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter on Feb. 22, 2018, and multi-Grammy nominated baritone vocalist Kurt Elling on March 22, 2018.


As part of a still-evolving Acoustic Café Series, singer/songwriter Collins will make her first appearance at St. Cecilia on Feb. 1, 2018. Before that, guitarist Leo Kottke will return to the Royce stage on Oct. 26. The Acoustic Café Series, in partnership with the syndicated radio show of the same name and its host Rob Reinhart, will bring these two legends of folk to the 2017/2018 season, with additional concerts to be announced later in the year.


Series subscription tickets are available now — subscription prices represent a 15 percent discount on regular single ticket prices and a reduced $7 fee for the pre-concert reception. The usual cost of the pre-concert wine and hors d’oeuvres reception is $15 per person, per concert for all Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Jazz Series concerts.


Single tickets are also available at this time. A post-party is included with each ticket where patrons are able to meet the artists and obtain signed CDs of their music.


For more information and tickets, visit, call St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224, or visit the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids.


On the shelf: ‘Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead’ by Cassandra Danz

Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead: 5 Steps to the Drop-Dead Gorgeous Garden of Your Dreams by Cassandra Danz


By Lisa Boss, Grand Rapids Public Library


Cassandra Dietz, alias Mrs. Greenthumbs, is one of a small number authors of gardening books that are actually fun and enlightening to read. Most gardening books are a lot like cookbooks — if you like the picture, you might want to try and reproduce the item. Mrs. Greenthumbs is more along the line of the PBS radio show, Car Talk with Tom and Ray Magliozzi — it’s very interesting, whether you know much about cars or not. She teaches gardening, designs gardens professionally, has a weekly radio show on gardening and even tours nationally as a gardening speaker.


With Mrs. Greenthumbs also, you can travel along as an armchair gardener, learning the odd fact about famous historical gardener greats, (Gertrude Jekyll was very short, very rotund, and also legally blind the last 40 years of her life), or about how much gardening can do for your sex life (after cutting through an acre of bamboo she remembers her husband with, “sweat glistening on his torso. I felt like Ava Gardener in Mogambo“). You learn many things to enrich your life that are related to gardening, but perhaps not in the usual Thoreau-type sense.


I still am amazed that with all the gardening books I check out every year; my favorite one, Mrs. Greenthumbs: How I Turned a Boring Yard into a Glorious Garden and How You Can, Too, has no photographs at all. Just very minimalist sketches by Merle Nacht, who has a sly style, somewhere between Thurber and Gorey  that perfectly matches the text. Maybe it is the fact that with Mrs. Greenthumbs, one is led along with her as she tackles projects that are easily imagined and accomplished. Or it could be that she makes it sound like so much fun, or even if one does not ever plan to garden ever, it’s a hoot to hear about her descriptions of the New York Flower Show, or reading her 10 rules of design.


Byron Center student returns to her roots for benefit concert

Mallory Skilling

The sweet sound of country is coming to the Van Singel when homegrown music artist Mallory Skilling returns to West Michigan, performing a benefit concert for the Van Singel Fine Arts Foundation. Former Byron Center native and former Cornerstone University student is set to perform with her band at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center on Thursday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m.


As a young girl, the singer/songwriter, attended Byron Center Public Schools. She studied contemporary music performance at Cornerstone University, completing her degree at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, Tenn. During her time at Cornerstone, Skilling released her first EP, “Spitfire Heart.” Since the release of her first EP, Mallory has added several singles to her collection, which can be found on both iTunes and Spotify. Her music is inspired by many artists including Patsy Cline, Miranda Lambert, Alison Krauss, The Band Perry, and the Civil Wars.


Currently, Skilling is working toward her master’s degree in elementary education at the University of Georgia and plans to graduate this December. She is, “looking forward to teaching students and sharing my love of music in the classroom.” She added, “I have many fond memories attending shows at the Van Singel as a child.” The Van Singel Fine Arts Center was the core to Skilling’s inspiration for the love of music and theater. She found that she was greatly impacted by her experiences through events presented at the center. She is thrilled to be returning to her roots and performing at there.


Skilling continues to pursue her music endeavors and has recently recorded a small EP composed of four songs that will soon be released.


Band members include former Cornerstone University student Ben Hoppe (acoustic guitarist), Cornerstone University graduate Jake Milo Partridge (drummer), Evan Profant (electric guitarist) and Daniel Schuler (Bass) from Ann Arbor.


Reserved seats are $25 and include a post-performance dessert buffet where patrons can meet the artist. Reserve tickets in person at the Van Singel box office or by calling 616-878-6800, Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available at


The Van Singel Fine Arts Center is located at the east end of the Byron Center High School complex, at 8500 Burlingame SW (84th Street and Burlingame SW) in Byron Center, just 1.5 miles west of US-131. The Van Singel features free, easy parking and curbside handicap parking is available.

‘Springtime in Paris’ culinary class with Chef Jim LaPerriere

Jim LaPerriere

By Angela Peavey

Saugatuck Center for the Arts


Experience new flavors, and learn about seasonal European cuisine with a crisp glass of wine in hand. The “Springtime in Paris” culinary class with Chef Jim LaPerriere comes to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts Tuesday, May 23.


Join us from 7 – 8:30 p.m. as Chef LaPerriere leads a luscious, seasonal European-style butter and crème fraiche tasting experience.  Tickets are $35 per person with limited seating available. Guests must be 21 years or older.


The evening features samples of freshly made French-style cultured butter and baguettes, a classic French omelette, fresh pan-seared salmon, and a decadent strawberry-rhubarb clafoutis. Enjoy a glass of wine as Chef LaPerriere guides you through the menu for the evening.


With 23 years of experience in fine dining for renowned restaurants across the country, LaPerriere, now a personal executive chef, focuses on bringing a one of a kind dining experience to your own table. Through his culinary company, Distinctive Dining, LaPerriere hosts private group cooking classes, demonstration dinners, weddings, corporate team building, and wine dinners. His food has graced the covers of “Sacramento” Magazine and the “Sacramento Bee,” and he has been featured in various local publications including the “Holland Sentinel” and “Grand Rapids Magazine.”


For more information on “Springtime in Paris” with Chef Jim LaPerriere or to purchase tickets, visit or 269-857-2399. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is located at 400 Culver St., Saugatuck.

On the shelf: ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ by Maria Semple

Mature Lifestyles Book Review


By Melissa Fox, Grand Rapids Public Library


Extremely funny and smart, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is the kind of book you recommend to everyone you know. Told through letters, emails, other correspondence, and official documents collected by Bee, the daughter of the quirky and unusual Bernadette, this is a fast read, yet the story is slowly revealed, with each letter and email adding up to a larger picture that comes together in the end like a jigsaw puzzle.


The main character, Bernadette, is the kind of person you want to know and, in some instances, be more like. She hates Seattle and the culture of her daughter’s private school, she’s the weird neighbor, the not-like-everyone-else’s-mom mom. The kind of details and dialog the author adds to this book—they keep an Airstream parked in their backyard!—will keep any literary fiction reader happy, while the pacing and humor will appeal to those who are craving a good beach read, and the mother-daughter relationship in this book will draw every reader in.



Well-known Detroit-based horror writer scheduled to visit Schuler Books

Detroit horror writer/author Josh Malerman will be coming to Schuler Books & Music, 2660 28th St. SE, Thursday, May 25, to discuss his latest novel, “Black Mad Wheel.”


Malerman had a debut that most authors dream of with his highly praised literary horror novel “Bird Box.” He received incredible reviews and Bird Box was named a Michigan Notable book and short-listed for the James Herbert Award and the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. Now he is back with “Black Mad Wheel,” a post-World War II psychological thriller that is part “Heart of Darkness,” part “Lost.” 


Malerman’s presentation will be at 7 p.m. at the book store. For more information, visit

On the shelf: ‘Area 51’ by Annie Jacobsen

By Carl Meyering, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


Area 51 — An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen


No piece of government real estate has been so shrouded in government secrecy, yet has been the subject so much speculation by the public. Located 75 miles north of Las Vegas, Area 51 has had a part in almost every newsworthy event in the Cold War: from flying saucers, the U-2 spy plane, atomic bomb testing to military drones.


National security reporter Annie Jacobsen has researched the 60-year history of Area 51 heavily, having sifted through declassified government documents and interviewed 74 people with firsthand knowledge. She populates her book with many revelations from Chuck Yeager-style test pilots, base administrators and staff that brings credibility to her text.


Jacobsen reveals for the fist time numerous secrets about the base and writes of the many conspiracy theories connected with the base: the faking of the moon landing, space aliens and flying saucers. The reader must read through the epilogue to understand the full weight and ramifications of her revelations.



On tap: Beer Explorers gets cheesy; Black Goat soon on the loose

The Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program will team with Brewery Vivant to offer a class on the tasty relationship between beer and cheese.

By K.D. Norris


The latest Beer Explorers program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is a partnership with Brewery Vivant as participants in the class will learn about pairing beers with a variety of cheeses on Thursday, May 11.


The class will be led by Brewery Vivant’s “Wandering Monk and Certified Cicerone” Ryan Engemann.


Although wine is typically assumed the ideal pairing with cheese, beer is actually the traditional beverage to pair with cheese, according to supplied material. Both traditional farmhouse products, beers pair well with a variety of cheese and can enhance the flavors on your palate.


The class begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission to class, limited to 40 persons, includes three beer samples and cheese samples, as well as access to the Museum’s first two floors. A cash bar will be available.


Tickets are $18, $8 for museum members, and all participants must be age 21 or older. For tickets and more information visit


Perrin Brewing set to release Black Goat


On Friday, May 12, Comstock Park’s Perrin Brewing will unleashing its Black Goat double black lager from its bourbon barrels and offering it on tap at the Perrin Pub. (Bottles will be available on May 15.)


The beer is described as “a bold, sweet vanilla bean aroma rises from the nose which is followed closely by flavors of complex dark chocolate and ripened stone fruit,” according to supplied material. “This lively lager finishes with a unique charred oak character and a smooth, warm caramel bourbon flavor that will exceed all taste bud expectations.”


A whole lot of taste buds can’t wait.


On the shelf: ‘The Forever War’ by Dexter Filkins

By Amy Cochran

Grand Rapids Public Library, Seymour Branch


The prologue sets us down in a Falluja street in 2004 with an invading Marine unit. All is chaos, Marines are falling, snipers are everywhere and it isn’t clear who is enemy or friend until they start shooting. New York Times correspondent Dexter Filkins doesn’t pull any punches in his book The Forever War, an extraordinarily haunting account of his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. He highlights what a mad mess everything was—from the rise of the Taliban in 1998 to the deterioration of Iraq into civil war in less than three years.


Filkins has written a collection of in-the-moment vignettes loosely organized by date. From a story on the Taliban court of justice to an exploration of the history of torture and murder in Iraq, he profiles an astonishing number of individuals and situations that illuminate the bigger picture of war in the region. In Iraq in particular, we meet individuals who try to hold back chaos, but fail over and over again when up against their neighbors’ overwhelming urge for revenge of past wrongs. These stories effectively demonstrate how the euphoric early days after the fall of Saddam Hussein could deteriorate into widespread violence and divisiveness.


Filkins leaves political views and history lessons out of his narrative and lets the situations speak for themselves. The personal Iraqi and American experiences are by turns horrifying and hopeful. Give yourself plenty of time to read this powerful book, to ponder and digest and recuperate before moving to the next chapter.

Eclectic mix: Meijer Gardens free Tuesday concert line-up ranges from jazz to indie rock

Slim Gypsy Baggage will be one of the “must hear” regional bands at the Meijer Gardens free Tuesday concert series this summer. (Supplied Meijer Gardens/John Rothwell)

By K.D. Noris


While many big-name musical acts come through town as part of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Summer Concert Series, one of the true pleasures of a West Michigan summer is an evening at the Garden’s amphitheater exploring local and regional acts as part of the Tuesday Evening Music Club concert series.


Red Sea Pedestrians (Supplied Meijer Gardens/Brian Powers)

Starting Tuesday, July 4, with one band known for jazzy explorations and another for musical journeys just about everywhere else — Green On Blue and The Red Sea Pedestrians — the diverse two-month program features live bands with music ranging from jazz to indie rock to folk, all in the 1,900-(mostly grass)seat venue and all starting at 7 p.m.


Oh, and did I mention the concerts are free with Gardens’ admission?


Two of the more interesting musical explorations will be the mid August visits of Kalamazoo’s Michigander on Aug. 8 and Slim Gypsy Baggage on Aug. 15.


Michigander (Supplied Meijer Gardens/Adam Podboy)

Playing that night with singer-songwriter Benjaman James, Michigander is described as “emotive indie-rock, delivered through powerful vocals and cerebral lyrics.” The hook for me is the description of the band from its Facebook page: “Michigander has been the toil and passion of Jason Singer since 2013. It’s being built in basements and churches and vans without mufflers. It’s living on stages, floors, and in studios — sounding big and packing light.”


The next week, playing that night with the “downhome, psychedelic jam band” Bigfoot Buffalo, Slim Gypsy Baggage is led by lead singer Morgan Ingle who, accord to the bank’s website, “grew up in a musical family learning guitar from her father and honed her skills as a gifted singer/songwriter.  … Morgan signatures the Slim Gypsy Baggage vibe with her unique voice and thoughtful lyrics, as she covers the eclectic rock, funk and soulful sounds of the band.”


The hook, though, is checking out lead guitarist Cam Mammina. As the website states: “Cam shreds! … Mixing crunchy indie triphop licks, blues, funk, and surf rock sustains.  Needless to say, Cam brings a energized life and a driving shreddiness to SGBs sound.”


Two possible new words in the same sentence: “triphop” and “shreddiness”.  Oh ya.


The rest of the concert series includes:


Miss Atomic and The Zannies, on July 11. Miss Atomic is described as “a melodic blend of modern soul and pop-rock, fresh to the local scene,” while The Zannies is “an antic mishmash of alt-rock, punk, and blues.”


Rollie Tussing & The Midwest Territory Band and The Muteflutes, on July 18. The first is “an old-timey, unique balance of country, early swing, and blues, backed by vaudevillian percussion,” while second is “lilting, thought-provoking, lyric-driven indie folk rock.”


The Moxie Strings and The Dave Sharp World’s Trio, on July 25. Well known to local audiences,


Moxie Strings (Supplied)

The Moxie Strings is “a foot-stomping, rock-influenced, progressive spin on traditional Celtic and Americana classics and originals. While Dave Sharp World’s Trio is “a collaboration between renowned bassist Dave Sharp, Igor Houwat on the ‘oud’ (a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringer instrument), and percussionist Carolyn Koebel, featuring Arabic-based, impromptu adventures into jazz and folk.”


The Moonrays and 6-Pak, on Aug. 1. Two bands also well known locally, The Moonrays offer “vintage, instrumental surf-rock,” while 6-Pak is “an all-girl band, originally formed in 1967, performing the grooviest hits from that era.”


Amy Andrews (Supplied)

Amy Andrews and Taylor Taylor, on Aug. 22. Amy is “a  modern day torch singer and award-winning vocalist, once referred to as a female Elvis” — not my words. Taylor offers “a fresh, young blend of pop and R&B, performing acoustic guitar-driven originals.”


Finishing up the series, as usual, is local music icon Ralston Bowles, as Ralston & Friends will his the stage Aug. 29. Describing Ralston’s music, let alone that of his always changing cast of “friends” is impossible. Start at “folk” and just enjoy the ride from there.


For more information visit .


On the shelf: ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by S. J. Watson

By Grand Rapids Public Library

S. J. Watson spins a tale of mystery and suspense in his debut novel, Before I Go To Sleep.


Christine wakes up every morning not knowing where or who she is. She believes she’s a 25-year-old, single woman. It turns out she is a 40-something, married mother of one. Her memories disappear every time she falls asleep, the result of a mysterious accident that made Christine an amnesiac. Her husband, Ben, is a total stranger to her, and he explains their life together on a daily basis. With the guidance of her doctor, Christine starts a journal to help jog her memory every day — a journal Ben knows nothing about.


One morning, she opens it and sees that she’s written three unexpected and terrifying words: “Don’t trust Ben.” What her husband now says is questioned. How did Christine become an amnesiac? Who can she trust? What part does the doctor play in Christine’s life? (A doctor Ben knows nothing about.)


The book moves at a fast pace but is written very well. I could see in my mind how things were playing out. I wanted more and more time to read, but real life always interferes!

Blandford CSA supports local businesses, encourages healthy eating

By C. Davis


Since 2010, Blandford Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has been growing healthy, chemical-free produce. Today, Blandford Farm consists of 2.5 acres where the focus is on sustainable agriculture. Over 40 different types of vegetables and over 200 different varieties of vegetables are grown on the farm.


The CSA model builds a relationship between people who love fresh, healthy, local food and a farmer who grows the food. CSA members join a sustainable community of like-minded individuals invested in knowing their food and knowing their farmer.


Blandford Farm’s summer CSA offers a weekly share for 21 weeks. Its winter CSA offers a weekly share for 8 weeks.


Every growing season is different with the weather playing a large role into how each crop will do. CSA members have the opportunity of a close-up experience with eating seasonally and how different weather can influence crop productivity.


To learn more and to become a member, go here.

Annual Exhibition Week at KCAD is May 2-6

Work by Bradley Shiel, 2017 graduate of the Master of Architecture program (Image courtesy of the artist)

By Elena Tislerics, KCAD


Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) invites the public to join in celebrating KCAD’s annual Exhibition Week, Excellence Awards Exhibition, and Masters Thesis Exhibitions, showcasing the best and brightest KCAD has to offer.

For five days, May 2-6, 2017, the entire campus opens to the public as an exhibition center and celebration of art and design. Opening reception: Tuesday May 2, 4-7 p.m. The Excellence and Masters Thesis exhibitions are on view through May 18. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

Dates to remember:

  • Exhibition Week: May 2-6
  • Exhibition Week, opening reception: Tuesday May 2, 4-7p
  • Excellence Awards Exhibition: May 2-18
  • Masters Thesis Exhibition: May 2-18

On the shelf: ‘The Last Men: New Guinea
’ by Iago Corazza

By Rebecca Near

Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


New Guinea, the second largest island in the world, has a complicated history. To start, it’s divided into two halves: the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua in the west, and the eastern half is the independent country of Papua New Guinea. Amazingly, the 7 million people on the island are divided up into almost 1,000 different tribes and languages, making it the most linguistically diverse spot on the planet.


Corazza’s book focuses on the unique photographic depiction of these endangered cultures, with succinct commentary. Some of it seems truly bizarre, as if the author had dropped in on another planet altogether, but maybe that’s what they would say about us! In any case, Corazza provides unforgettable images for the armchair traveler.




On the shelf: ‘Salvage the Bones’ by Jesmyn Ward

By Lisa Boss, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


Winner of the National Book Award in 2011, Ward’s second novel is beautifully written and disturbing, with many “moral ambiguities” to consider. It would be a strong choice for book discussion groups and mature Young Adult readers.


The story begins and ends with a character as real as any of the humans — the pitbull China. China White, a loving, fighting dog, known for being a killer in the local pits of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, is in whelp for the first time, body convulsing, as she gifts her owner, 16-year-old Skeetah, with the new lives.


Esch, the only girl in a family without living women, will come to see China as a totem and an example of what being a female and a mother involves. Because even though Esch is only 15, she’s been having sex since she was 12, and nature has finally taken its natural course. Will her pregnancy go like China’s or take the darker path her mother walked?


With Mama nine years gone and no female relatives or friends, Esch tries to find guidance where she can. Lately, she has been framing things through the filter of the ancient Greek myths, where men and women, egged on by unseen forces, are tossed about by fate. In Esch’s life now, she’s longing for love but instead she’s visited with an obsession for an older boy almost as humiliating as Pasiphae’s or Medea’s. It’s telling that Esch is jealous, not of her man’s steady girlfriend, but of the care and devotion her brother and China share.


The author lets us in on a small world with unwasted, poetic prose. If you skip one sentence, you might miss the whole key to a character, and each member of this family is well worth knowing.


But it’s not a good time for men or dogs along the Gulf Coast now, twelve days out before the hurricane hits. Only Daddy Batiste senses the strength of the coming storm in his alcoholic bones and pushes his children to prepare. When Katrina finally arrives like Yaweh’s answer to Job or Krishna’s revelation to Arjuna, it’s with an incomprehensible power that leaves Bois Sauvage dumbstruck.


My only caveat with this excellent book is that while Ward’s style is unsparing about the most painful aspects of being human, there’s a terrible irony in the way that dog fighting is whitewashed as a cultural sport, almost like boxing.


Men We Reaped: A Memoir, is another not-to-be-missed read by Jesmyn Ward.


International jazz musician Tim Warfield comes to the Van Singel Fine Arts Center

Tim Warfield

International Jazz Saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr. joins the nationally recognized Byron Center Jazz Orchestra for COOL JAZZ on Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center as part of the  2016-2017 Chemical Bank Series.


Tim Warfield, Jr., a native of York, Pennsylvania, began studying the alto saxophone at age nine. He switched to tenor saxophone during his first year at William Penn Sr. High School where he participated in various musical ensembles winning many jazz soloist awards, including second out of forty competitors at the Montreal Festival of Music in Canada. After high school, Warfield attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. for two years before leaving to lead and co-lead groups in the Central Pennsylvania and Baltimore/Washington areas.


Warfield has made several television appearances including the “Today Show,” “Bill Cosby’s You Bet Your Life” (where he was a member of the house band until 1992), and Ted Turner’s 1998 Trumpet Awards. Additionally, he has made numerous stage appearances with such names as Donald Byrd, Michelle Rosewoman, Marcus Miller, Marlon Jordan, James Williams, Christian McBride, Winard Harper, Dizzy Gillespie, Leslie Burrs to name a few, along as having been on several Grammy-nominated recordings.


Most recently, Warfield was recognized as the Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing arts Tenor Saxophonist of the Year. His newest recording is “Spherical,” which is a Criss Cross Jazz recording, is dedicated to piano genius and jazz icon Thelonious Sphere Monk and features trumpet legend Eddie Henderson, pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Clarence Penn.


Warfield currently serves as a board member, and music committee chairperson, for the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz and also serves as “artist-in-residence” at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa, and an adjunct music faculty member at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pa. Warfield recently joined the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, under the direction of Terell Stafford.


Byron Center Jazz Orchestra

The Byron Center Jazz Orchestra, directed by Marc Townley, has competed at the Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah, Georgia every spring since 2014 and this year ranked third out of  12 high school bands from throughout the nation. This May will be the orchestra’s second time competing in New York at Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition and Festival at Lincoln Center in New York.


Reserved seats are $16.50 for adults and $11.50 for students. Reserve tickets in person at the Van Singel box office or by calling 616-878-6800, Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available at


The Van Singel Fine Arts Center is located at the east end of the Byron Center High School complex, at 8500 Burlingame SW, located at 84th Street and Burlingame SW in Byron Center, just 1.5 miles west of US-131. The Van Singel features free, easy parking and curbside handicap parking is available.

On the shelf: ‘The Pain Chronicles’ by Melanie Thernstrom

Full title: The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering 


By Lisa Boss, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


Most of us know someone with chronic pain, but we don’t really know much about the disease itself.


Why and how can it develop and how do doctors treat it? It’s a surprisingly intriguing subject, full of paradoxes and hope.


One day, after a long swim, Melanie’s life would change when she developed a severe pain in her neck, and it did not go away. Not after weeks, not after months; and thus began the journey into the labyrinth of chronic pain and its defeat. A  writer by profession,  she spent eight years of research visiting doctors and patients at our country’s best pain clinics. A fascinating and exceptionally readable book that seeks to answer the question, “What made the difference? Why did some people become better?”


Thernstrom’s book is a cultural, historic and neurological tour of this mysterious and misunderstood disease. Also a validating work for pain patients and their supporters, who are often dismayed as much by their treatments as their conditions. For instance, it isn’t your imagination — minorities and women often do receive quite different medical care from doctors.


Two other excellent memoirs are Paula Kamen’s, All in My Head : An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache, and Lynne Greenberg’s, The Body Broken: A Memoir.


The message is always, “Never give up!”.

Veen Observatory kicks off public observation nights on April 29

The James C. Veen Observatory in Lowell.

Public Observing Nights at James C. Veen Observatory, presented by the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) and Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM), begin for the season on Saturday, April 29. This date corresponds with International Astronomy Day, when astronomy organizations throughout North America celebrate the science with stargazing! Public Observing Nights will continue on selected Saturday evenings twice monthly through October 2017.


The waxing crescent moon and planet Jupiter will be highlights on April 29, with views also of star clusters and galaxies through two of the Veen Observatory’s large telescopes, as well as portable telescopes provided by GRAAA members. Public Observing Nights take place only if the sky is clear, with status updates posted at or by calling 616-897-7065 the date of each event.


Observation Nights have been selected to favorably align with optimum moon phases.  Additional dates and times of Observation Nights can be found online at, and include a listing of what sky objects visitors will likely be able to see.


Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for those under 18. Grand Rapids Public Museum members and GRAAA members, as well as children under age 5, are free. Credit cards are not accepted.


For additional information about Public Observing Nights, including directions to the Veen Observatory located in Lowell, MI, please visit


The Grand Rapids Public Museum provides ongoing administrative and financial support to the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association in operation of James C. Veen Observatory.

Every day is Record Store Day at local record shop hosting new vinyl, live bands

Corner Record Shop, in a stylized image created by Christian J. VanAntwerpen, is a magical place for music lovers. (Supplied)


By K.D. Norris


The people behind the counter at the Corner Record Shop, located in Grandville just over the City of Wyoming border and long known as one of Western Michigan best places to browse for used vinyl and CDs, believe every day is Record Store Day.


But that doesn’t stop them from having a big ol’ party on the annual celebration of independent record stores — this year it being Saturday, April 22 — with an annual rush day of new vinyl releases, a bunch of bands in the back room, and a party-like atmosphere for customers familiar and newbie.


A bit of advice for the newbies, however, don’t say something like “vinyl is coming back” unless you want to look like a dork.


The inside of the Corner Record Shop will be the place for new vinyl and live music Saturday. (WKTV/K.D. Norris)

“Record Store Day has probably gotten bigger each year, just the number of releases and the people who are aware of it, as far as the public and customers,” said Bruce Parrott, who often works behind the counter for store owner Steve Williamson. “Vinyl has always been the biggest part of this business. People say all the time ‘vinyl is coming back, vinyl is coming back’. It has never left for us.”


So while there will be new vinyl releases to be checked out at the Corner Record Shop, they will also offer up live music.


“A lot of major labels are releasing stuff on Record Store Day, specifically, and the list gets bigger each year as more record labels participating in the day and offering things up,” Parrott said. “But we will have live bands in the back room too.”


Starting at noon — doors open at 11 a.m. for those wanting first crack at new releases — there will be live music until nearly 7 p.m., with local bands and musicians on stage including, in scheduled order, The Other Brothers, Dangerville, Jake Stevens Band, Tired Blood, Oliver Draper, Nate, Devin and The Dead Frets. (For video of some of the bands set to play, visit the store’s Facebook page.)


Vinyl records, new and rare, are the main market at the Corner Record Shop. (WKTV/K.D. Norris)

Whether is is Record Store Day, or any day, the Corner Record Shop is a microcosm of the not-so-new resurgence of vinyl, and part of is the fountain of knowledge of the staff on the subject.


“New vinyl is better, in most cases,” Parrott said. “The majority of releases come out on what is called 180 gram vinyl, which is a thicker, heavier, sturdier vinyl. Better made than they were — there are some ’70s RCA records, when they were going Dynaflex, you could bend in half almost. The quality of stuff coming out is really good.”


Great vinyl is coming out no matter what the genre of music, and trying to pigeonhole the genre of the store’s customers is a fool’s game.


“Just when you do that, then something, somebody changes your mind,” Parrott said. “We have a lot of shoppers of every genre. Obviously, classical listeners are getting a little older, so there is probably less of them then there are in the other genres. There is a lot of jazz people who look for new vinyl; definitely classic rock, the stuff that is getting reissued — everywhere from Prince to Led Zeppelin. We sell a lot of new vinyl of every genre.”


And, while most used vinyl (and CDs) are not all that expensive, depending on taste, rarity and how big a box set, there are exceptions.


“Just two months ago, they re-released all the George Harrison albums, every single one, those also came in a boxed set, which was $450. We sold one — one,” Parrott said. “We also have had (rare) albums that we have had priced at $400, that we put behind the wall (for protection) and sold them.”


Record Store Day started in 2008 as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1,400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally, according to its website. In 2008, a small list of titles was released on Record Store Day but that list has grown to include artists and labels both large and small. In 2015, 60 percent of the Record Store Day Official Release List came from independent labels and distributors.


Corner Record Shop is located at 3562 Chicago Dr SW, Grandville. For more information on events at Corner Record Shop, list them on Facebook @crs.grandville or call 616-531-6578.


Sandra McCracken’s folk-gospel sounds coming to Calvin’s Chapel

Sandra McCracken will bring her songs of hope and faith to Calvin College’s Chapel. (Supplied)

WKTV Contributor


Sandra McCracken — singer, songwriter and modern-day hymn writer — will bring her songs of hope and faith to Calvin College’s Chapel for a concert Thursday, April 20, at 7 p.m.


General admission tickets are $5 and tickets are available.



McCracken’s soulful, folk-gospel sound is in full evidence on her latest recording, 2016’s “God’s Highway” — the lyrics to the title song includes the lines: “I see the shore, from troubled seas. this tiny ship that carries me, it is not yet, but it will be. so heaven come …”


The new album, according to her website, “blurs the lines of what church music sounds like, captivating and inviting audiences to sing along.” Many of her songs, such as “We Will Feast In The House Of Zion” and “Thy Mercy My God”, have settled into regular rotation in Christian worship services internationally. She is also a founding member of Indelible Grace Music and Rain For Roots (children’s music) and has been a guest writer for Art House America, She Reads Truth, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today and RELEVANT Magazine.


For a video of McCracken, watch/listen here:


Other Calvin College concerts coming up include: Explosions in the Sky w/special guest, Covenant Fire Arts Center, April 27, 8 p.m., $38 reserved; Overcoats, w/Yoke Lore, Covenant Fire Arts Center, May 3, 8 p.m., free; and RY X, w/Jens Kuross, Covenant Fire Arts Center, May 10, 8 p.m., $15 general admission


For more information visit


On the shelf: ‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen

By Laura Nawrot, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


The unique setting makes Water for Elephants a delightful read. The novel starts out in a present-day nursing home as a narrative of one of the residents, Jacob Jankowski. Although Jacob has some difficulty remembering whether he’s ninety or ninety-three years old, he can easily recall the time he spent as the veterinarian for a mid-sized traveling circus during the Depression. The story alternates between the past and the present, reflecting Jacob’s mind.


Jacob is a strong character, and author Sara Gruen maintains the integrity of his personality throughout the story, even when portraying Jacob at different ages. She also develops believable supporting characters in Jacob’s love interest, Marlena, and his nemesis, August. In addition, I liked the tension that was created as the story wove its way back and forth between the decades. The description was solid without being intrusive, although I would have enjoyed a little more texture through the inclusion of the various smells of a circus. Gruen explains in an extensive, but interesting author’s note how she came to write this story.


I recommend this book to multi-generational readers. It has wide appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction, drama, and romance, and touches on issues that cross generations: love and loss, following your dreams while earning a living, and the traumas of youth and aging.

GR Symphony presents Beethoven & Bernstein April 21-22

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk

Michael Christie Conductor | Orli Shaham Piano | Patrick Dailey Countertenor | Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus Pearl Shangkuan Director

LB/LB-two colossal multi-talented geniuses make up this entertaining program devised by Michael Christie. Anticipating Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday by a year, this pairing of two of his finest works with the music of a composer Bernstein performed nearly every year of his career will make for a truly satisfying evening. With the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus front and center the concert closes with Beethoven’s ‘warm up’ to the Ninth Symphony-the Choral Fantasy with a text extolling the brotherhood of humanity. In the Chichester Psalms, Bernstein draws on his Jewish heritage to exhort humankind to goodness, drawing on some of the most beloved Psalms of the Old Testament. The theatrical Beethoven and Bernstein round out the program with Beethoven’s third and most thrilling try at an overture to his only opera and with a suite from Bernstein’s score for the iconic Marlon Brando film.


04/21/2017, 8 p.m.

04/22/2017, 8 p.m.


DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

View the program notes here.

BUY TICKETTickets start at $18 |  Students $5

Unable to attend the concert? Tune in to Blue Lake Public Radio on May 28, 2017, at 1 pm for a rebroadcast of the concert.


Pablo Mahave-Veglia is featured in a faculty recital at GVSU

Music and Dance
For more information about all Music and Dance Department events, call (616) 331-3484. All events are free and open to the public.


“The Road to Peace” Choral Concert
April 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Cook-DeWitt Center, Allendale Campus

This choral concert featuring the University Singers and Women’s Select Ensemble from Grand Valley State University will present “The Road to Peace” — a compilation of songs written by composers from around the world speaking of peace. Selections during this concert will include “Prelude to Piece” by Z. Randall Stroope, “Homeland” by Gustav Holst, “The Peace of Wild Things” by Joan Szymko, “Still I Rise” by Rosephanye Powell, and many more.


GVSU Faculty Recital featuring Pablo Mahave-Veglia
April 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Pablo Mahave-Veglia, associate professor of music and Early Music Ensemble director at Grand Valley State University, will perform a rare five-string cello, assisted by Gregory Crowell, professor of organ and music general education at Grand Valley, on harpsichord during this free concert. The event is open to the public.


GVSU Varsity Men’s Glee Club Concert
April 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Cook-DeWitt Center, Allendale Campus

The Grand Valley State University Varsity Men’s Glee Club performs during this free concert. The performance is open to the public.


GVSU Spring Dance Concert
April 22, at 7 p.m.
April 23, at 2 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Join the GVSU Dance Company and Freshman Dance Company as they perform a diverse collection of dance works choreographed by faculty and featured guest artists, including Autumn Eckman, Mark Haim, and Melissa Hale Coyle.

On the shelf: ‘Hack’ by Melissa Plaut

By Kristen Corrado, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


At age 29, Plaut, fed up with her desk job, decided to start living life as an adventure. She started working as a New York City cab driver. Hack chronicles her two years driving a cab in a city where 99% of cab drivers are men. She details her unusual passengers, avoiding run-ins with the police and crazy drivers and the challenges she faced in a male-dominated profession.


Throughout the book, readers see New York in a different way and gain a new respect for those who drive cabs: the long hours they work, how little they make, the dangerous situations they encounter. Often the book read just like a scene out of the TV show, Taxi. Hack is not only a fast and entertaining read but also a great behind the scenes look at an industry most have used, but few understand.

Tull to Shins: Meijer Gardens summer concert series run gamut of genres, prices

Jethro Tull by Ian Anderson, shown, will be one of Meijer Gardens summer concert series. (Supplied/Nick Harrison)

By K.D. Norris


The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park summer concert series, announced this morning, certainly offers something for every musical taste — from the classic rock favorite Jethro Tull (by Ian Anderson) to the college crowd favorite The Shins. It also offers ticket prices ranging from a Huey Lewis high of $95 to a surprising St. Paul low of $35.


Starting June 4 with the teaming of Billy Ocean and Starship in a 1970s and ’80 concert concept called “Replay America”, the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer Gardens will bring 30 shows to the park’s terraced lawn, 1,900-seat amphitheater.


The Meijer Gardens members pre-sale period will be April 29 through May 12 this season, with general public sale starting May 13. The annual caffeine-driven members rush, or should we say wait in line, starts at 7 a.m. on April 29 at the park.


Huey Lewis and the News will be the most expensive concert ticket the summer. (Supplied)

The most expensive shows this season will be familiar favorites Huey Lewis & The News on Sunday, July 16, at $95 for the public (member pre-sale prices are $5 cheaper); followed by the return of Sheryl Crow there days earlier, on July 12, at $94; and Elvis Costello & The Imposters a day after Huey Lewis, on Monday, July 17, at $90.


The least expensive shows will be emerging “gospel-tinged, retro-soul garage band” sound of St. Paul & The Broken Bones on June 9, at $35, followed by the combination of under-the-radar East Coast jam ban “moe.” and the newgrass sounds of Railroad Earth, on Aug. 21, at $43.


Falling into the “always a great show/always worth the money” category is the annual (usually) perfect summer night with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, on Aug. 2, coming in at $68 to the  public.


For the avant-garde (modern alt-jazz?) music crowd, the teaming of Andrew Bird with special guest Esperanza Spalding, on July 24, will be worth the $45 and worth the time to get out of one’s music comfort zone.


James Mercer’s project The Shins may well be the concert with the most buzz. (Supplied)

But the must see concert for the cool crowd, and anybody who appreciates inventive, modern alt-pop music, is the The Shins, July 27, at the very reasonable small venue price of $57. The Shins, fronted by James Mercer, will be on the summer festival circuit this year including Lollapalooza 2017 in Chicago.


Some of the other highlights of the concert series will be the sweet sounds of Four Voices: Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls, on June 12; e Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot!, Boz Scaggs, Barenaked Ladies and Bruce Hornsby — the killer Bs — each having a night on the stage; and Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home tour return with “Love and Comedy”.


The summer unofficially comes to an end on Sept. 1 with the season-closing concert by English reggae and pop band UB40.


For complete information on the concert series, and the various ticket purchase/price options, visit


Civic Theatre’s ‘Fancy Nancy’ features Kentwood resident in lead

Kentwood resident Amelia Moody (in the middle with tiara) rehearses with Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s cast of “Fancy Nancy the Musical.”

By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma


Being fancy isn’t about what you have or how you move, according to Kentwood resident Amelia Moody. It’s about making the community you are in, and even the world, a better place.


“And that is what is cool about Nancy,” said Moody, who should know since she plays Fancy Nancy in the musical of the same name at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre this month.


“This show is a lot of fun,” Moody said. “The imagination and the excitement is amazing and the crowd interaction is over the top.”


Based on the beloved children’s book “Fancy Nancy” by Jane O’Connor, Fancy Nancy is excited to audition for the school play, but her fancy world crumbles when she is not cast as a mermaid but rather a tree. Through the help of her friends, Fancy Nancy discovers not everything has to always include tiaras and sparkly shoes.


Amelia Moody is Fancy Nancy in Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s production of “Fancy Nancy the Musical.”

“I was very surprised to get the role as I wasn’t expecting it since there are so many talented people in this area,” said Moody, who is a seventh grade homeschooled student. Her past credits include the Homeschool Performing Arts production of “Jane Erye” and Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s 2015 production of “The Hundred Dresses.”


“Getting this opportunity is so amazing. It is really very exciting being Nancy because there is a lot of imagination, which is endless. ”


Familiar with the book series, Moody said she likes Nancy because she is about creativity and that fancy is state of mind to bring a level of joy and entertainment to everyone.


“And its not just for girls, but boys too,” she said, adding that the inspiration behind it is just to enjoy the moment and to have fun which is what the show does.


“It’s a lot of fun for everyone,” Moody said. “It’s not just sitting around watching a show but that imagination can grow though this experience and we can all make it a happier and fancier place.”


Rounding out the cast is Elizabeth Foster as Bree, Lucy Boswell as Wanda, Theresa Landis as Rhonda, Drew Smith as Lionel and Carolyn Peterson as Mom.


Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s production of “Fancy Nancy the Music” starts April 21 and runs through April 30 at the theater located at 30 N. Division in downtown Grand Rapids. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets for the show are $10 – $16 and are going fast according to Grand Rapids Civic Theatre staff. For more information, visit

Kishi Bashi’s multi-layered music in concert at Calvin College


Kishi Bashi will be in concert at Calvin College Wednesday night. (Supplied)

WKTV Contributor


Kishi Bashi — singer, songwriter, beatboxing violin player; to just scratch the music surface — will bring his unique sound to Calvin College’s Covenant Fine Arts Center for a concert Wednesday, April 12, at 8 p.m.


General admission tickets are $18 and tickets are available.



Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi, who was born in 1975 in Seattle, grew up in Norfolk, Virginia where both of his parents were professors at Old Dominion University, and studied film scoring at Berklee College of Music were he perfected his violin work, all according to his website.


He has recorded and toured internationally as a violinist with diverse artists such as Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and most recently, the Athens, Georgia-based indie rock band, of Montreal. He remains based in Athens. He is a founding member of the New York electronic rock outfit, Jupiter One. In 2011, he started to record and perform as a solo artist, and soon debuted his full-length solo album “151a”.


As Kishi Bashi, he has played major festivals such as SXSW and Austin City Limits and gone on an extensive US tour with supporting acts such as The Last Bison. In 2016, released his latest recording, “Sonderlust”.


For a video of Bashi, watch/listen here:


Other Calvin College concerts coming up include: An Evening with Sandra McCracken, Calvin College Chapel, April 20 at 7 p.m. $5 general admission; Explosions in the Sky w/special guest, Covenant Fire Arts Center, April 27, 8 p.m., $38 reserved; Overcoats, w/Yoke Lore, Covenant Fire Arts Center, May 3, 8 p.m., free; and RY X, w/Jens Kuross, Covenant Fire Arts Center, May 10, 8 p.m., $15 general admission


For more information visit


On the shelf: ‘Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage’ by David Ignatius

By Lisa Boss, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main


When is revenge fulfilled?


Bloodmoney is a masterful spy thriller that zips along like a bullet train. Although fiction, the plot eerily echoes several recent news stories involving the CIA in Pakistan. The authentic touch comes from the author’s in-depth knowledge garnered as a journalist covering foreign affairs for decades.


Interesting characters inhabit his novel, and we are never sure till the end how many sides they are playing. Their moral ambiguities, woven into the plot, often reflect back our own conflicted foreign policy. A key player, the duplicitous General Malik, head of Pakistan’s ISI, articulates an ongoing thread when he remarks, “Americans did not like lying to others. It made them uncomfortable. Their specialty was lying to themselves.” 


The story is modeled on the archetypical Death Wish/Mad Max type. A good man, who does everything right, suffers an unspeakable loss, and out of his despair and outrage a new creature is born; one who will avenge his family. This man becomes known to his friends and enemies alike as “the ghost”.


By the end, I found myself wondering, as the ghost does, “When is revenge fulfilled?”

Jazz, Concert Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble all part of the GVSU line-up for this week

Music and Dance
For more information about all Music and Dance Department events, call (616) 331-3484. All events are free and open to the public.



Recital for International Guests of Grand Valley State University
April 12, from 1:30-2:15 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

The Recital for International Guests promises to be a celebration of diversity at Grand Valley State University as several music majors from the U.S., South Korea and China will perform, including Da sol Um, Yushan Ying, Aileen Chung, Jinah Lee, Bryce Kyle, Anna Vander Boon and Grace Brylinski.


GVSU Concert Band Concert
April 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

During this April 12 performance, the Grand Valley State University Concert Band will perform “Euphoria” by John Frantzen, “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise” by Harry Alford, “Chester” by William Schuman, “Lights Out” by Alex Shapiro, “Four Scottish Dances” by Malcolm Arnold and “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa. The ensemble will be joined by Dan Graser, assistant professor of saxophone at Grand Valley, as a solosit for “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (La fille aux cheveux de lin)” by Claude Debussy.


GVSU Jazz Concert
April 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

The GVSU Large and Small Jazz Ensembles will perform during this free concert that is open to the public.


GVSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert
April 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus 

This Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert will feature this year’s Concerto Competition Winners with Morales’s “Concerto for Two Trumpets” played by a euphonium duo. The concert will also include “English Dances Set II” by Malcolm Arnold, “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm” by Fisher Tull, “Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite” by Karl L. King, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pineapple Poll.”


Piano and Clarinet Studios of Helen Marlais and Arthur Campbell Recital
April 15, from 2-6 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Grand Valley State University students of Helen Marlais, associate professor of piano, and Arthur Campbell, professor of clarinet will perform during this free concert. This event is free and open to the public.


GVSU Symphony Orchestra Concert featuring Concerto Competition Winners
April 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

During this performance, Grand Valley State University will present its finest solo work with the Symphony Orchestra. The final concert of the season will begin with Nicolai’s delightful “Merry Wives of Windsor Overture” and will conclude as Henry Duitman, GVSU Symphony Orchestra director, conducts the ensemble in one of Richard Strauss’ monumental tone poems, “Death and Transfiguration.”