Tag Archives: entertainment

Sign up by Dec. 30 for ‘Kentwood’s Got Talent’!

kentwoods-got-talentAre you a singer, dancer or comedian? Do you play an instrument, perform magic or have other talents?


Brush off those skills and start practicing for the Kentwood’s Got Talent, the talent show competition that features the best in the area.


The event will take place outdoors August 11, 2017, behind Kentwood City Hall at 4900 Breton SE.


The deadline is fast approaching — you have until December 30 to apply. Download the application here and send it in. Don’t delay!


For more info, go here.

Enjoy an evening of (mostly) Mozart at St. Cecilia Oct. 21



Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, also known as the Haffner Symphony, began life as a serenade to be used as background music for the ennoblement (i.e., having nobility conferred upon) of Sigmund Haffner, a well-to-do bigwig back in the 1770s. It eventually morphed (with the help of Mozart) into the Haffner Symphony, which was first performed on March 23, 1783, at the Vienna Burgtheater.


ge1-mozartOn Friday, October 21 at 8 pm with John Varineau conducting, Rick Britsch on horn,  Erich Peterson on horn and Daniel Hass on cello, the performance will begin with a gracious earlier symphony written when Mozart was seventeen and had just started working for the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg. As a special treat, Israeli cellist Daniel Hass, winner of the 2016 Stulberg International String Competition in Kalamazoo, will make a guest appearance.


Here’s the program:

Mozart Symphony No. 23 in D Major, K. 181
Boccherini Concerto for Cello in B-flat Major, G. 481
Mozart Horn Concerto No. 2, K. 417
Haydn Concerto for Two Horns (3rd mvt.)
Mozart Symphony No. 35 (aka Haffner Symphony)




Royce Auditorium, St. Cecilia Music Center is located at 24 Ransom Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.




Get ready for a whale of a party at the Grand Rapids Public Museum



Before the advent of humankind, whales roamed the oceans unfettered by humans and dangerous, man-made noises. It is said that back then, a whale in the Pacific Ocean could hear a whale singing in the Atlantic Ocean. What a world that must have been.


Sadly, those days are long gone and we have become far removed from our huge mammal friends. But the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) wants to change that. The GRPM’s Whales: Giants of the Deep exhibition’s unique blend of science, storytelling, and innovative interactivity gives visitors the opportunity to discover more about the world of whales.


Featuring two fully-articulated sperm whale skeletons, including an impressive 58-foot male, Whales showcases amazing and rare specimens from New Zealand’s Te Papa Museum’s whale collection, one of the largest in the world. Visitors will see life-size and scale models of whales common to the South Pacific as well as contemporary whalebone treasures such as weapons and chiefly adornments.


They’ll also learn about whale biology, the extraordinary evolutionary journey of whales from land to sea, and the history of whaling in New Zealand.

Children can even crawl through a life-size replica of the heart of a blue whale, the Earth’s largest living creature.

Interactive, immersive, and featuring the latest in international cetacean research, Whales: Giants of the Deep is an experience that brings adults and children eye to eye with some of the world’s most elusive creatures.


Here are some of the exhibition highlights:

  • See life-size and scale models of whales common to the South Pacific, including a beaked whale skull and a massive 58-foot, fully-articulated sperm whale skeleton.
  • Learn about the intricacies of whale biology, the history of whaling in New Zealand, and efforts being made by scientists and others to protect whales from threats of entanglement, shipping and sonar use, and the continuation of whaling practices in some parts of the world.
  • View casts of fossil whale ancestors, which show the evolutionary journey of whales from land to sea, as well as contemporary whalebone treasures such as weapons and chiefly adornments.
  • Encounter whales through video portholes, be transported into their underwaterworld via two immersive projections, and enjoy a moving film experience that tells the stories of three whale-riding traditions in New Zealand, including the famous story of Paikea featured in Whale Rider.
  • See ancient and contemporary works of art and hear stories from people of the South Pacific illustrating the powerful influence these creatures have had on human culture.
  • Tune in to a range of whale sounds and discover how scientists and amateur trackers identify individual whales on their migration through the Pacific Ocean.
  • Gain a true appreciation of the physical and behavioral traits that enable whales to make a living in the challenging and dynamic marine environment.
  • Walk among the giant—and not-so-giant—articulated skeletons of an astoundingly diverse collection of whale specimens, and then explore the evolutionary paths that gave rise to this unique group of mammals.


whale-bonesBeginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, Whales: Giants of the Deep tickets will be $2 for member adults and children, and $13 for non-member adults and $8 for non-member children. Admission to Whales: Giants of the Deep includes general admission to the Museum. Get tickets here.

Come to the Special Opening Party, Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9 am to 2 pm.

Visitors of all ages will have first access to the exhibit at this party coming eye to eye with some of the world’s most elusive creatures. Featuring two fully-articulated sperm whale skeletons, visitors are able to see life-size and scale models of whales common to the South Pacific, discover how scientists identify whales on their migration process and interact with a life-size replica of a blue whale, the world’s largest living creature.

Tickets to this event will include admission to the exhibit, as well as hands-on activities and performances including live animals from the John Ball Zoo, performances by traditional Maori dancers, admission to Dynamic Earth in the Museum’s Chaffee Planetarium and lunch.

Use your ticket for lunch between 11 am and 1:30 pm to eat lunch at the Museum. Lunch will include hot dogs, chips, fruit with a drink and dessert.




Non-members: Receive incredible savings for the Opening Party! Purchase a one year family membership plus 4 tickets to the event for only $80 (saving $57). To purchase a membership package call 616.456.3977.


Members are $10 for adults and FREE for member children. Non-member event-only tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for children. Limited tickets available.



ArtPrize entry comprising 7.3 million dots makes Top 100 list


Pennsylvania-based pointillism artist Brian Delozier made the Top 100 for his 2-D ArtPrize Eight entry “Dot Nation” — a 3-by-17-foot banner that consists of 7.3 million colorful dots. The piece took 1,600 hours over the course of eight months to complete. You can see the piece at 99 Monroe Ave. NW.

More than 180,000 votes were cast in the first seven days of ArtPrize Eight.

“I am thrilled to be competing in ArtPrize this year and overjoyed to make the Top 100,” said Delozier. “Dot Nation is an ode to the unexpected events that shape our lives. This piece is my biggest accomplishment to date and no words or pictures can describe how challenging yet rewarding a process it was creating Dot Nation.”


Delozier has limited mobility due to a serious accident that left him paralyzed in 2002. Several years after Delozier’s accident, he went to Hawaii where he discovered pointillism and his passion for creating dots. Since then, Delozier has created dot art that consists of hundreds of thousands of dots, with some of his pictures having more than 600,000 individual dots.



“Instead of allowing my injury to become a barrier between me and pursuing art, I have used it to fuel my passion,” said Delozier. “I’ve met so many amazing people this first week of ArtPrize, and I hope that people who see Dot Nation will become inspired to follow their passions and become excited about art.”


“We are truly honored to have Brian’s work on display at 99 Monroe for this year’s competition,” said Jessica Geerling, Director of Marketing for Vision Real Estate Investment. “Brian has a unique story that I think a lot of people can connect with, and we encourage everyone to stop by 99 Monroe to view this incredible piece and learn about Brian’s story.”brians-dots
“Dot Nation” will be displayed at 99 Monroe Ave. NW through Oct. 9. Voting ends Saturday, Oct. 1 and his ArtPrize vote code is 62794. Delozier’s work has appeared in art competitions across the country. For more information about Delozier and his work, visit briansdots.com or facebook.com/briansdots


About Brian’s Dots

Brian Delozier, owner and founder of Brian’s Dots, is dedicated to spreading his love for art throughout the world. Brian discovered his passion for pointillism after a serious ski accident in 2002 that left him with limited mobility. Today, Brian’s Dots has appeared in art festivals across the country including the Parallax Art Fair in Manhattan, the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis and the Northern Tampa Art Festival. To learn more about Brian’s journey, visit briansdots.com.



Sensory Friendly Museum Night Oct. 4 at the GRPM

sensory-friendly-museum-nightThe Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) will open its doors free of charge to families affected by autism and other sensory-processing challenges on Tuesday, October 4th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Visitors will receive free general admission on this night to explore the Museum’s three floors of core exhibits at no cost.


Visitors will enjoy a sensory-friendly museum environment, special ArtPrize-themed activities and a free planetarium show. The Museum and the Chaffee Planetarium will adapt sounds, lighting and activities within the current exhibits to create a low-sensory experience for all.


“We are excited to be able to offer a night at the Museum to those with autism and family members to experience our exhibits in an environment comfortable for them. This allows more community members that wouldn’t usually be able to visit the Museum an experience to create lifetime memories from our sensory-friendly exhibits and artifacts,” said Dale Robertson, President & CEO of the GRPM.


The Museum is able to host this Sensory Friendly Museum Night thanks to a sponsorship from Behavioral Health.


The GRPM offers fun, hands-on learning opportunities for all ages through a variety of core and traveling exhibits. Visitor favorites include the Streets of Old Grand Rapids, an immersive exhibit that transports visitors back to 19th century of downtown Grand Rapids; and West Michigan Habitats that showcase the vast wildlife found in West Michigan.


‘Rhapsody in Blue’ opens Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2016-17 season

c1_rhapsodyRhapsody in Blue, which launched composer George Gershwin’s career, inaugurates the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2016/17 season, which welcomes to town Marcelo Lehninger as the new music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony. The Brazilian-born conductor will be on the podium later this season.


Associate conductor John Varineau will lead the opening concerts of the 2016-17 Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series at 8 pm Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16th and 17th, in DeVos Performance Hall (303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). Spectrum Health is the Concert Sponsor.


In its earliest days, jazz was the music of brothels and bars in the “red-light” districts of cities such as New Orleans. But in the Roaring 20s, bandleader Paul Whiteman commissioned songwriter George Gershwin to write a piece merging classical music with elements of the newly emerging sounds of jazz.


The sensational premiere of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in 1924 in New York City brought jazz from the streets and the speakeasies into the symphonic concert hall and elevated the song plugger from Tin Pan Alley into the ranks of serious composers.


That same year, George Antheil, the original “Bad Boy of Music,” caused a minor scandal when his propulsive A Jazz Symphony was premiered at Carnegie Hall. Hear for yourself what caused all the fuss in New York City in 1927.


Americana continues with Aaron Copland’s Suite from Appalachian Spring Suite, drawn from his music for the ballet that celebrates the simple life of pioneers in the 19th century as they build a house, witness a wedding and treasure the gift to be simple.


Rounding out the program is the Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloe by French composer Maurice Ravel, who later became a great admirer of jazz himself. Unlike Copland’s setting in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, Ravel’s musical tale is set in a country side in ancient Greece where the shepherd, Daphnis, woos his beloved Chloe with the help of the mythological god, Pan.


Tickets start at $18 and are available at the GRS box office, weekdays 9am to 5pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)


Tickets are also available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10am to 6pm or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at GRSymphony.org.


Full-time students of any age may purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Passport program. This is a MySymphony360-eligible concert.


Get your ‘boo’ on at Niles Scream Park

dsc_1937_reducedThe nationally renowned Niles Scream Park is ready to officially start autumn by scaring the “yell” out of you with six different haunted attractions. This year marks the 43rd consecutive year of their annual fright festival. The gates will squeak open on Friday, Sept. 16. Beginning in October, the Park will be open all weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) plus Monday, October 31st.


Celebrity guest, Eileen Dietz, will visit the Park on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1. Ms Dietz played the demon in the thriller classic The Exorcist. She will appear on the midway to sign autographs and be available for pictures. For full details on her visit, please go to the website.


The Niles Scream Park is not just scary, it is considered by many to be one of the top haunted attractions in the country. Certainly one of the largest, the Niles Scream Park offers 44 acres of blood-curdling fear! Unlike other haunted houses, Niles rebuilds each room of all three interior haunted houses each year to provide participants with completely new and unique shows. The professionally designed sets and ingenious scare-tactics led the Niles Scream Park to be recognized by Haunted Attraction Magazine as one of the “Top 31 Must-See Haunted Attractions” nationwide for the last three years running.


For those with the courage to tour all six attractions, here is the line-up for 2016:

  • Niles Haunted House — This season the main attraction features classic horror films from the 1930s. With over 100 possible routes, there is no telling just how final the final the act will be.
  • Krampus: A Christmas Curse — From German folklore comes Krampus, the evil horned helper of St. Nicholas. Naughty or nice, you may be on Krampus’ list this year as you tour this new attraction.
  • Cabin 13 — In 1962, the bodies of a group of friends staying in Cabin 13 were found scattered across the back woods. Every year courageous (or foolhardy) students attempt to stay a night in the same woods. Some never return to tell the tale of the Cabin 13 killer.
  • The Field of Screams — Considered one of the most popular attractions, even a GPS won’t help you find your way of out this outdoor maze.
  • The Dark Terror-tory Haunted Hayride — With a new route and new sets, this Fall ride through the woods will have puzzling mysteries, intense action and unimaginable creatures.
  • Zendor Presents: Murphy’s Law — A stage show where if something can go wrong, it will.


An improved midway will feature old favorites like “Fry Freddy” and the “X-terminator.” Back by popular demand, the “Scream Machine,” where you get to pick the next victim, and the popular buried alive simulator–the “Last Ride.” The midway also features several food concessions that provide enough variety to satisfy everyone’s cravings. The Gore Store will let you shop till you drop for the latest Halloween paraphernalia.


The Niles Scream Park is located on Mayflower Road, south of Niles-Buchanan Road just off Exit 5 of the US 31 Bypass. More information on prices, times and dates of operation can be obtained by visiting the Niles Scream Park website here or calling 269.687.FEAR.


Brewery Vivant’s 6th Annual Wood-Aged Beer Festival celebrates art of craft brewing

brewery vivant
Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant
Brewery Vivant presents its 6th annual Wood-Aged Beer Festival (WABF) on Saturday, September 17th, 2016. Showcasing over 20 wood and wild beers, Brewery Vivant will take over its parking lot once again with tents, taps and two sessions. Beers range from light to dark, sweet to sour, and rest in wood from bourbon barrels, wine barrels, scotch barrels, cognac foeders and more.

This year’s annual autumn event not only celebrates the art of wood-aging beer but also serves to celebrate this past summer’s launch of the brewery’s Plein de Vie series.
 brewery vivant (2)

“It’s been so exciting to bring some of these wood-aged beers out into the Michigan and Chicagoland markets,” said Kate Avery, Abbess of Beer and Director of Sales & Marketing. “This festival is like a capstone to our launch and also it serves as a testing ground for what is to come in the series. Get your first sips here. Maybe get your only sips here!”

Several Plein de Vie beers got their start at WABFs of yore: Angelina, Habanango and most recently, Paris.

Brewery Vivant’s farmhouse tradition lends itself to exploring the complexities wood-aging beer. Since its very first year of production, the brewery siphoned off a few gallons here and there from batches of beer to experiment with wood aging. As the brewery grew in volume, so did the barrel program. Now in its sixth year, three 40-barrel wooden foeders, 240+ barrels, and three stainless wild fermentation tanks, the creativity brewing for this festival is boundless.

“Thinking up flavor profiles and the guiding the recipe from beer to barrel is part of the fun,” says Master of Wood, Brian Kuszynski, “Of course, drinking these wood-aged beers is the other part of the fun.”

brewery vivant funOf all the beer festivals in Michigan, WABF resonates with taste trippers, explorers and fans of community building. Recently voted “3rd Best Beer Festival” in West Michigan in a reader’s choice poll, Wood-Aged Beer Festival not only offers the unique beer tasting experience but also festival foods from the acclaimed Brewery Vivant kitchen.

The brewery will offer two identical sessions: Afternoon 12pm-3pm and Evening 5pm-8pm. Tickets are $35 and include 10 tasting tokens (good for food as well) and a collector’s tasting glass. Space is limited due to physical parking lot size and small-batch, rareness of beer. Get tickets at www.breweryvivant.com or WABF16.BrownPaperTickets.com.

Brewery Vivant is located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, in a renovated funeral chapel built in the early 1900s. Its staff of around 60 employees specialize in Belgian/French-inspired beers and fare in a unique setting.

Husband and wife partners Jason and Kris Spaulding opened the doors for business in December of 2010. Vivant beers are distributed throughout Michigan and the greater Chicago area. It’s the first commercial brewery in the nation to receive Silver LEED Certification from the USGBC. Additionally they are 100% renewable powered, a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business, and are a certified B Corporation.

Beer the Change®!

Latin Grammy nominee, Mariachi Flor de Toloache performs Sept. 15 in Holland, Mich.

picture-712-320x320On September 15 at 7 pm, Tulipanes presents Latin Grammy Nominee, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, the first and only established female mariachi band founded in New York in 2008.


When: Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 pm


Where: Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, Hope College, 221 Columbia Ave., Holland, Mich.


BUY TICKETS NOW: http://bit.ly/2bjVPJu
$15 Adult / $5 Student


Members hail from diverse cultural backgrounds such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy and the United States. The result of this cultural bouquet is an edgy, versatile and fresh take on traditional Mexican music. They coalesce as would a band of sisters, with a grace and vibrant beauty that casts a spell over their audiences not unlike the legendary Toloache flower still being used in Mexico as a love potion.


picture-698-320x320While working to preserve centuries-old traditions of Mariachi, their mélange of the traditional and the modern pushes the boundaries of the genre and brings Mariachi music to new audiences. Sponsored by Hope College.


See more about Mariachi Flor de Toloache: http://www.mariachinyc.com/


El 15 de Septiembre, 2016 en la noche, Tulipanes presenta el grupo nominado por un Grammy Latino, Mariachi Flor de Toloache, el primer y único conjunto Mariachi de mujeres exclusivamente fundado en Nueva York, EU, en 2008. Miembros vienen de culturas diversas como México, Puerto Rico, Republica Dominicana, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Alemania, Italia, y los Estados Unidos. El resulto de este ramo cultural es una versión de música tradicional de México con un sonido nuevo y fresco. Se fusionan como una banda de hermanas con una belleza graciosa y vibrante que embruja sus audiencias como la legendaria Flor de Toloache que se usa hasta este día para ser una poción de amor. Mientras preservan las tradiciones Mariachi de cienes de años, sus mezclas de estilos tradicionales y modernos amplían los límites del género y lleva música Mariachi a nuevas audiencias.



You don’t have to be Jewish to love Jewish Theatre


Founded in 1992, Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids (JTGR) is dedicated to presenting quality theatrical productions with Jewish themes that are universal in appeal.

In doing so, JTGR hopes to enrich the Jewish experience in West Michigan, and inform, educate and engage both the Jewish and non-Jewish community with stage productions that will entertain, engage and enrich people of all faiths.


September 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 2016 @ 8 pm

September 11, 18, 2016 @ 3 pm

Written by David Wells
Directed by Jason Marlett

Brill is based on a building in New York that was a factory of popular music in the early ’60s. Carol King, Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach and even Elvis, had offices and studios in that building. This play, with musical elements, is a fictionalized story of a 16-year-old girl who shares a studio with an older songwriter from the Tin Pan Alley days.




January 12, 14, 19, 21, 2017 @ 8 pm

January 15, 22, 2017 @ 3 pm

Written by Dan Gordon
Directed by Jason Marlett

Irena’s Vow is the true story of a young Polish woman who is the housekeeper of a Nazi officer. She risks her life by hiding a couple of Jewish families in the basement of the Major’s house.



May 18, 20, 25, 27, 2017 @ 8 pm

May 21, 28, 2017 @ 3 pm

Written by Barbara Pease Weber
Directed by TBA

Seniors of the Sahara is a raucous comedy about an arthritic genie encountering the residents of a New Jersey senior’s apartment complex. What could go wrong? It’s a sort of “Golden Girls” meets “I Dream of Jeannie.”


You don’t have to be Jewish to love Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids!

Though the productions may have Jewish themes, they are always universal in appeal. The goal is to enrich the Jewish experience in West Michigan, while informing, educating and engaging patrons. It’s live theatre to learn, love and laugh with.


PERFORMANCES are on Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 3 pm. Due to the smaller venue, BRILL will also include 8 pm. Wednesday evening performances.


Tickets generally go on sale 2 weeks prior to a production. Call the Box Office at 616.234.3946. If the BUY TICKETS NOW button is enabled on the sidebar you may purchase tickets online for the current show.


Season Subscribers should always book through the Box Office in order to redeem their passes.

Season Brochure                          Purchase a Season Pass

Box Office: 616.234.3946
Mon- Fri 1-5 pm.

JTGR accepts VISA and MasterCard


The Great American Trailer Park Musical returns to Mason Street Warehouse

The Great American
What’s a girl to do? “The Great American Trail Park Musical” returns to Mason Street Warehouse Aug. 12 – 28.

“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is returning to Mason Street Warehouse (MSW) Equity Theatre from Aug. 12 – 28.  Back by popular demand, “Trailer Park” debuted on the MSW stage 10 years ago and is the most requested musical in Mason Street’s history. Tickets ($29 – $46) are available online at sc4a.org or by phone at 269-857.2399.

Called “…one of the most laugh-out-load shows in town!” by Broadway.com, the musical takes place in Armadillo Acres, the most exclusive mobile home community in Stark, Florida, where mullets, spray cheese, road kill, hysterical pregnancies and mud flaps reign supreme.

This hilarious comedy follows Pippi, a stripper on the run, who comes between the Dr. Phil-loving, agoraphobic Jeannie and her toll-collector husband, Norbert. Featuring tastefully distasteful songs, witty dialogue, and far-out situations, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” “is more fun than a chair throwing episode of Jerry Springer set to music!”

Broadway talent is coming to the stage along with MSW “alumni.” Chris Blisset, playing Norbert, comes from New York City and was on the national tour for “Stand by Your Man” twice and was the musical director for this summer’s production of “Million Dollar Quartet.” Alyssa Malger is playing Pickles, and is making her Mason Street Warehouse debut. She performed in the national tour of “Hairspray.” Mary Mossberg, who is playing Betty, was awarded an “Outstanding Individual Performance” award for her role in the musical “What Do Critics Know?” in the New York Musical Theatre Festival and is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.

“Both Broadway Equity talent and familiar faces are coming back to our stage, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Executive Director Kristin Armstrong.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical will be at Mason Street Warehouse from Aug. 12 – 28. Tickets are available online, at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts box office, and by phone at 269 857 – 2399.

Mason Street Warehouse is located in the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck.

Visions of Venice

By Lynn Strough

Travelynn Tales




When words simply won’t do… Lynn Strough takes us on a visual journey of Venice.



  • How can you not love Venice?! It’s a magical place where you feel as if you’re walking through a dream.
  • There are, of course, the classic scenes – the gondolas.
  • St. Mark’s square (Piazza San Marco, the main square of Venice, which Napoleon supposedly called “the drawing room of Europe”).
  • The many famous bridges, like the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the New Prison with the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and many smaller scenic bridges.
  • There is the Grand Canal, which is aptly named, and many museums with famous works of art.
  • But my favorite part of Venice is not so well known or recognized. It is the little alleyways, where the hordes of tourists from the cruise ships do not have time to discover or linger.
  • Where laundry flaps in the wind, black and white, like notes on a staff.
  • And in full technicolor, plain or prints.
  • Wander off and get lost in the myriad alleyways – you are never truly lost, as Venice is not that big.
  • But the best parts are the hidden parts that you randomly stumble upon.
  • This is what you’ll find in peak season in the main thoroughfares.
  • But if you fold up your map, stick it in your pocket, and just wander at will, you will find places almost all to yourself!
  • If you’re hungry, look for a little local place, far from the tourist crowds, where you’ll find local specialties, at small local prices.
  • And definitely do not forget the gelato for dessert.
  • The woman scooping is from the U.S., came here as a backpacker seven years ago and never left.
  • In the shopping districts, crazy Italian designs, where the shoes are encrusted with jewels...
  • ...and the eyeglasses are definitely different!
  • Murano glass is on display everywhere, including at the flea markets, scattered about...
  • …and of course, masks are a classic souvenir.
  • Keep your eyes open and look for the details that are Venice, including lots of lions…
  • and interesting windows…
  • …and doorways.
  • Look for reflections…
  • …and artistic graffiti.
  • You’ll discover a whole other side of Venice...
  • including answers to how the necessary business of the locals operates, such as how do they transport goods...
  • ...and how do they get rid of other unwanted products.
  • And just where do they make those gondolas anyway?
  • Yes, there are modern chains that intrude into all of the history, but you don’t have to patronize them, and at least they are made to conform to local building standards.
  • So climb the tower...
  • …hitch a ride in a gondola…
  • …get out of the main stream of traffic, and take a walk…
  • …and get lost in the dream that is Venice!





41About Lynn Strough

Lynn is a 50-something-year-old woman whose incarnations in this life have included graphic designer, children’s book author and illustrator, public speaker, teacher, fine art painter, wine educator in the Napa Valley, and world traveler. Through current circumstances, she has found herself single, without a job or a home, and poised for a great adventure.


“You could consider me homeless and unemployed, but I prefer nomad and self-employed, as I pack up my skills and head off with my small backpack and even smaller savings to circumnavigate the globe (or at least go until the money runs out). Get ready to tag along for the ride…starting now!”



travelynnlogoAll images copyright Lynn Strough and Travelynn Tales

Reprinted with permission

Mason Street Warehouse Finds Itself in the Middle of the Hilarious Whodunit that is Murder for Two

Saugatuck Center for the Arts presents "Murder for Two" starting July 22.
Saugatuck Center for the Arts presents “Murder for Two” starting July 22.

Mason Street Warehouse continues its 2016 season at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver Street, Saugatuck) with the hilarious whodunit musical Murder for Two. The show opens Friday, July 22 and runs through August 7. Tickets for adults, seniors, and students are available online at sc4a.org, at the SCA box office, or at 269-857-2399.


New York Times calls the show, “Ingenious! A snazzy double-act that spins out a comic mystery animated by funny, deftly turned songs.”


Murder for Two is the perfect blend of musical comedy and madcap mystery.  Every character is a suspect in this witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries.  90 minutes, 13 characters, 4 hands and 1 piano make Murder for Two “a giddy romp” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).  Don’t miss this killer musical that puts the laughter in manslaughter!


Mason Street Warehouse brings Actors Equity Union talent to West Michigan every summer, and Equity actors Tom Vendafreddo and Brian Walters bring the double-act of Murder for Two to life.


“I saw the show 2 years ago Off Broadway in New York and knew immediately that it would be a great show for Mason Street,” said Artistic Director Kurt Stamm.  “It’s the perfect family evening out because the show is appropriate for ages 8 to 80!”


“We’re thrilled to bring Tom and Brian to West Michigan for this wonderful Off-Broadway hit,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “Murder for Two is terrific summer entertainment with these two very talented professionals.”


The acclaimed The Great American Trailer Park Musical wraps up MSW’s sizzling summer lineup. For more information and tickets visit sc4a.org or call 269-857-2399. Tickets are selling as fast as the cast is able to find new suspects – grab yours before they’re gone.


MSW’s summer season is sponsored by Premiere Sponsor G. Thomas Boylan, plus Great Lakes Manor & Cottages, Edward Jones / George Stoutin, Coldwell Banker / Gregg Smith, Shoreline Realtors / Dan & Sandy Shanahan, Mill Pond Realty / Laura Durham, Holland Doctors of Audiology, Hilliard Lyons / Stephen Kiss, Cunningham Dalman, Coldwell Banker / Mike Bojko, Shoreline Realtors / Jim Sellman, Miller Johnson, Lakeshore Allergy / Julie Hutson, Frattallone Wealth Management Group / Carlton Technologies, and the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs.


About the Saugatuck Center for the Arts

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts, located at 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck, is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a more vibrant lakeshore community in West Michigan and beyond. For more information about the SCA and upcoming events, visit www.sc4a.orgor call 269.857.2399.

Heavenly Hvar, Croatia

By Lynn Strough




Welcome to this week’s chapter in the ongoing series by our world traveler, Lynn Strough. More Croatia is in store…

Hvar is glitzy and high-rolling, and it’s where the yachting crowd comes to see and be seen. On Hvar, you might go for a morning stroll and be so mesmerized by the scenery, that you’re still in the same spot at sunset. The Hula Hula Bar offers comfy lounge chairs for a pittance, with a view to die for.


I stopped for a breakfast orange juice, stayed for a salad for lunch, and found myself sipping a glass of wine watching the sun sink into the sea several hours later, and I wasn’t the only one. I met lots of people from all over the world who were also tethered to their chairs for the day, other than to periodically take a dip in the crystal clear, freezing cold water.



If you prefer to be on the water, rather than in it, there are plenty of opportunities, from ferries to water taxis, power boats to boats powered by wind. Sailing is my preference, so my new friend Roma (from California) and I headed out for a half-day sail. They take up to 10 passengers on this 35′ racing boat modified as a cruiser, but we got lucky as it wasn’t peak season, and had the boat and Captain Bronco all to ourselves.


The gods provided great wind, and at 15 knots we were sailing. It was blowing 30 knots farther out, but Captain B decided to keep it a little less exciting and more comfortable, as it turns out Roma had never sailed before.


We sailed to a nearby tiny island, to Palmizana on San Clemente, for lunch. It’s a gorgeous spot, with a beautiful harbor to protect the yachts, and a few small restaurants. It’s a real life Garden of Eden, where if you look carefully, you might even spot Adam and Eve.


15Back on Hvar, we got ambitious and climbed the hill to the fortress for some spectacular views of the harbor and rooftops below. Hvar is a medieval city, with walls started in 1278. There’s a strong Venetian influence in the architecture, as the Venetians ruled here on more than one occasion.


Besides the walled old town and famous harbor, Hvar is also known for its vineyards and wines, olive groves, and especially its lavender fields, and it’s one of the sunniest islands. With a population of over 11,000, it’s the fourth most populated of the islands of Croatia.



  • Hvar is glitzy, high-rolling, and where the yachting crowd comes to see and be seen
  • The Hula Hula Bar offers comfy lounge chairs for a pittance, with a view to die for.
  • If you prefer to be on the water, rather than in it, there are plenty of opportunities.
  • Sailing is my preference, so my new friend Roma (from California) and I headed out for a half-day sail.
  • They take up to 10 passengers on this 35′ racing boat modified as a cruiser.
  • We got lucky as it wasn’t peak season, and had the boat and Captain Bronco all to ourselves.
  • The Gods provided great wind, and at 15 knots we were sailing!
  • We sailed to a nearby tiny island, to Palmizana on San Clemente, for lunch.
  • It’s a real-life Garden of Eden.
  • Back on Hvar, we got ambitious and climbed the hill to the fortress for some spectacular views of the harbor and rooftops below.
  • Hvar is a medieval city, with walls started in 1278.
  • There’s a strong Venetian influence in the architecture, as the Venetians ruled here on more than one occasion.
  • The water is crystal-clear and the most breathtaking shades of blues and greens.
  • The town is filled with great little restaurants and shops, full of enticing things.
  • Other than food, my one souvenir was a couple of little sachets of fragrant dried lavender to tuck into my well-worn hiking boots.
  • There are plenty of night clubs and bars if you want a vibrant night-life.



As with all of the water I’ve seen in Croatia — inland lakes, rivers and waterfalls, as well as the sea — it’s crystal clear and the most breathtaking shades of blues and greens.


You can spend a small fortune staying at one of the fancy hotels, or a very affordable $50 per night for a good-sized room that sleeps three, if you’re willing to stay out of town and walk a bit. I stayed at an “apartman,” a room in a guest house, about a 15-minute walk from the center of town, but I didn’t mind as the walk was along the sea with scenic views the whole way.



And this location put me about half-way between the old town in one direction, and another fabulous beach in the other direction, also with a scenic walk to get there.


The town itself is filled with great little restaurants and shops, full of enticing things. Other than food, my one souvenir was a couple of little sachets of fragrant dried lavender to tuck into my well-worn hiking boots, a big improvement in their scent.


There are plenty of night clubs and bars if you want a vibrant night-life. And on Hvar, as in all of Croatia, I felt very safe, even walking around alone after dark, with the moon and stars and lamplight to guide me back to my temporary home.


31About Lynn Strough

Lynn is a 50-something-year-old woman whose incarnations in this life have included graphic designer, children’s book author and illustrator, public speaker, teacher, fine art painter, wine educator in the Napa Valley, and world traveler. Through current circumstances, she has found herself single, without a job or a home, and poised for a great adventure.


“You could consider me homeless and unemployed, but I prefer nomad and self-employed, as I pack up my skills and head off with my small backpack and even smaller savings to circumnavigate the globe (or at least go until the money runs out). Get ready to tag along for the ride…starting now!”




travelynnlogoAll images copyright Lynn Strough and Travelynn Tales

Reprinted with permission

West Michigan offers endless things to do with Dad on Father’s Day

shanty creek resorts
Shanty Creek Resorts

Father’s Day is June 19ththis Sunday! — and the West Michigan Tourist Association has some excellent suggestions for making it the perfect day for any father in your life. Enjoy great meals, fun events, and give gifts DADicated to that special man. Show your appreciation for your dad 365 days a year, but make sure to celebrate in style on June 19th with Father’s Day in West Michigan.


Here’s just one idea: Take dad for a round of golf at one of the four championship courses at Shanty Creek Resorts. The tight fairways, formidable doglegs, and elevation changes will challenge any golfer. Or if you’re looking for a new unique way to experience golf, why not try FootGolf at Shanty Creek’s Summit Golf Course. This hybrid between soccer and golf has you trying to kick a soccer ball into a 21-inch diameter cup.


The Heatherwoods Course at the Charlevoix Country Club is another ideal place for golfing with dad. Their Father’s Day special includes $29 for 18 holes and $15 for 8 holes. Their Golf & Dine special is perfect for making this an all inclusive day of golf. The dining package is valid at both Sports Grill and the Triple C Clubhouse Dining Room. Book your tee times online at their website.


coldwater country locomotives
Coldwater Country Locomotive

Family Fun

Enjoy a trip through the countryside on the historic Little River Railroad steam locomotives in Coldwater Country. Dads ride free with purchase of a regular ticket. The round trip train ride lasts an hour and forty five minutes and takes you from Coldwater to Quincy where you’re given the opportunity to see the locomotive switch around for your return trip. For times and reservations, visit their website.


South Haven’s Harborfest falls on Father’s Day weekend. Bring the whole family to enjoy live music by the river, dragon boat races, a classic boat show, and more. If you want to give the gift of relaxation, the beaches of South Haven offer a great “no agenda” day to enjoy with dad.



The Port City Princess in Muskegon will have a special Father’s Day cruise to celebrate dads all over the world. Enjoy a champagne brunch with local microbrew beers and a live bluegrass band. You’ll also be able to watch the powerboat races that are going on all weekend.


St. Ignace is perfect for planning a trip for Father’s Day. Take a day trip to Mackinac Island and enjoy the summer weather. Then spend the day in St. Ignace, enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. Plan a golf or fishing trip during your stay.


GaylordLockheed_C-130_Hercules-1024x731 offers family fun year-round, and Father’s Day is no exception. Head to Gaylord to experience the Air Show with jaw-dropping aerobatic aerial performances, jets and vintage war birds performing and on display.


The 38th Annual White Lake Area Father’s Day Arts & Crafts Festival will be June 18th and 19th at Goodrich Park in Whitehall. The family favorite festival features 75 talented artists, crafters, food vendors, live entertainment, and children’s activities.


great-turtle-kayak-tours-Hit the waters of Mackinac Island with dad at Great Turtle Kayak Tours. Choose between kayaking or standup paddle boarding and explore the waters together. This is a fun and outdoor family activity that everybody can participate in. For more information and reservation options, visit their website.


The Historic Charlton Park hosts their 35th Annual Father’s Day Car Show on Sunday, June 19th. Admire vintage cars and the craftsmanship of yesteryear throughout the park’s 310 acres. You know you’re getting the best of the best when every car is from 1990 or earlier and must be able to drive itself to the park.


hackley and humeThe Muskegon CVB also wants you to celebrate Father’s Day with them. On June 19th, dads enjoy a free tour of the Hackley & Hume Historic Site. Explore the grounds and see the beauty that went into this historic location. If powerboats are more your speed, then check out the Chase Charity Powerboat Event from June 17th to the 19th at the Muskegon Yacht Club. You can either race or watch the boats while enjoying refreshments at the club.


Charlevoix is ready to help you create special moments with dad for Father’s Day. Take a hiking trip through their great trail system or golf on one of their five area courses. Kayak or boat on the lakes and rivers where you can go fishing. There is also skydiving, trail biking, and more adventures to be discovered and had.


This photo was taken during a calm summer day from Lake Michigan Beach. For such a plain looking lighthouse, it is surprisingly very photogenic, thanks to the sleek profile of the south pier and beautiful background sunsets.
Charlevoix Lighthouse

Lemon Creek Winery’s 32nd Annual Father’s Day Festival features live music, a classic Corvette car show, kids’ games, hayrides and more. Of course, food and wine will play a big part in the celebration. The entry fee is $12 for adults 21 and older and includes free parking, admission to the event, a souvenir wine glass, and three free wine tastings. Those under 21 get in free when accompanied by a family member over 21.


Beer, Dine, & Wine

Head out to the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula this Father’s Day to try some award-winning wines from nine distinct wineries along the peninsula. Each of the nine wineries has their own distinct tasting rooms, patios, and beautiful decks. Stop by all of them and find which one you like the best.


Journeyman Distillery will be hosting a Father’s Day brunch and Three Oaks Single Malt release on June 19th from 10am to 10pm. There will be both a special steak sandwich that has shaved prime rib and a full brunch menu to choose your meal. The whiskey won’t last long on the shelves, so make sure to check out this special release while you’re at it. For more information on the event and the Three Oaks Single Malt, visit their website.


lemon creek winery

Food is on the mind of the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance for Father’s Day weekend. Their farmers market will be open June 18th and is great to get some fresh produce for cooking your Father’s Day feast. If dining out is more your style, Schuler’s Restaurant will have their Father’s Day Brunch on June 19th from 9:30am to 2pm. The dinner menu begins at 1pm if you would rather have an evening meal together.


Arcadia Brewing Company in Kalamazoo celebrates Father’s Day the best way they know how: delicious beer and meat-centric food dishes. All Father’s Day long, dads can enjoy $5 off growler fills of any draft beer. At 5pm, live entertainment will be provided by Roma Ransom who traveled all the way from Colorado to perform.



Give dad a membership to Club Mich for Father’s Day. A membership to the Michigan Breweries T-Shirt Club is a perfect gift for dads who love craft beer. As a member, he’ll receive a shirt every month featuring a different Michigan brewery. You can buy it as a monthly plan or purchase the plan in various increments.


club michThe Art Gallery of Algoma will be having a Father’s Day Gallery Shop Sale from June 14th to June 18th. Get dad the perfect gift or get him an AGA Membership which helps support the gallery and its efforts. Or you could visit the gallery and take a tour with your loved ones. Check out the Art Gallery of Algoma when you are out shopping and planning for Father’s Day.


A Little Bit of Everything

Treat dad to the perfect day at Crystal Mountain. If he loves golf, send him to the Callaway Club Fitting from 10am to 3pm on June 18th for a 15-minute fitting. Then, on June 19th, buckets of driving range balls are buy one, get one free! Plus you can golf at Mountain Ridge for $45 and Betsie Valley for $35. If golf isn’t his thing, on Father’s Day, dads get free entrance into the pool, a free Alpine Slide Pass, or free bike rental with purchase of a child pass or rental.



Pierce Cedar Creek has a great Father’s Day dinner, program, and artist’s reception on June 19th. Enjoy dinner at 5pm expertly prepared by Chef Paul. After dinner, artist Laura Christensen will present her photography titled “The Wildlife and Waters of Barry County.” Enjoy a reception and an optional hike out to Cedar Creek afterward for an evening view of the Institute’s wetlands. There is a fee for dinner, but the program, reception, and hike are free and do not require attendance at dinner to be enjoyed.


No matter what you end up doing, you’re sure to have tons of fun!

5th Annual GRJazzFest announces line-up April 27


By GRandJazzFest


Summer’s still quite a way off, but it’s never too early to get excited about good jazz!


GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation returns to Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., this Aug. 20 and 21, for the fifth annual festival. The popular family-friendly festival, which attracted more than 10,000 people last year, is West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival. The two-day festival will again be free because of Presenting Sponsor DTE Energy Foundation, the City of Grand Rapids and other sponsoring organizations and individuals.


Edye Evans Hyde performed last year

“Grand Rapids and West Michigan have embraced GRandJazzFest,” founder Audrey Sundstrom said. “We’re proud to say GRandJazzFest is one of the most diverse, community-oriented festivals for people who live here, who travel here, and who want to enjoy two days of great live music in a vibrant downtown setting. THIS is what community is all about.”


Each year, GRandJazzFest has been held at Rosa Parks Circle in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids to enable festival-goers to take in all that downtown has to offer: restaurants, clubs, museums, microbreweries and shops. The festival typically occurs during Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids. The festival’s location provides easy access to those who ride the bus, walk or bike, and is also close to parking.


The 2016 festival lineup will be announced on April 27 at the House of Entertainment and Music (H.O.M.E.) at The B.O.B. That night at H.O.M.E., the band Evidence led by saxophonist Michael Doyle takes the stage. Evidence performed at the 2014 GRandJazzFest.


Like last year’s reveal, festival organizers will coordinate with leaders at International Jazz Day to include GRandJazzFest’s reveal announcement as a sanctioned International Jazz Day event.


At the 2016 festival in August, 11 diverse jazz artists and bands will perform, including a student jazz band and two major headline acts.

Walt Gutowski performed last year


Free face painting by Fancy Faces will be available for kids and, if lines aren’t too long, for “kids at heart.”


GR and Jazz (the non-profit, all-volunteer-run producer of GRandJazzFest) is pleased to announce a special collaboration with the Grand Rapids Art Museum: Under an agreement with GRAM, the festival’s VIP area will be located on the GRAM front terrace where refreshments and snacks will be provided. The VIP area is for sponsors of GRandJazzFest. Additionally, GRAM will have an outdoor bar area set up at the base of its front steps adjoining Rosa Parks Circle for attendees who would like to purchase and consume refreshments and enjoy the festival.


Grand Rapids city commissioners approved GRandJazzFest as one of 24 events that it will co-sponsor in 2016, a distinction only given to events that have proven to be successful and enrich the community. GRandJazzFest 2015 received distinction as a Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Signature Event along with two other festivals, ArtPrize and LaughFest.


In addition to DTE Energy Foundation, the City of Grand Rapids, and GRAM, sponsors for the 2016 event to date include GR and Jazz, IntentPR, Gilmore Collection, Comcast, Hilger Hammond, Amway Hotel Corporation, Experience Grand Rapids, ICON Sign, Meijer, Moxie Men Incorporated, Hungerford Nichols, WGVU, Steelcase and Clark Hill. Sponsorship opportunities are here.

Grupo Aye performed last year


“We are so grateful to all of our sponsors for their support – we could not do it without them,” Sundstrom said. “We’re seeking additional sponsors to help us bring a full weekend of FREE, family-friendly live jazz performances to West Michigan!”


Get a taste of past GRandJazzFests by viewing the “recap” videos here.


More information on the 5th annual GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation can be found here and at the festival’s Facebook and Twitter sites.