The Rapidian

April 20: Summary of pitches and goings-on




If you're up for covering an event, let us know by commenting on this story bank listing. If you want to attend a paid event, organizers might be open to providing access. Although editorial standards are not negotiable, other parameters such as deadline should be negotiated directly with the organizer.

Each iteration of the weekly story pitches spans the Wednesday it's sent out to Friday of the following week.

Want to see something on The Rapidian? All registered users can add pitches to our storybank!




  • [ENVIRONMENT + EDUCATION] Celebrate Earth Week at GRPL
    April 16-23 at Grand Rapids Public Library branches
    For years, the library has organized a whole week of activities to recognize Earth Day. This year, they've jam-packed the week with everything from an expo, markets, swaps, movies, an author visit, storytimes, and a selection of workshops ranging from container gardening to vermicomposting.
    Potential questions
    • Preview! What are all the events? What events has the library done in the past to great success and are repeating this year?
    • The author of Sooper Yooper, a kids' book, is coming to town. There are many GR transplants from the UP. What are some of the anecdotes that the author shares that touch on familiar UP landmarks/traditions and would resonate with UP-ers? What are some of those familiarities that UP-ers would see in the book?


Thursday, April 21

  • [CAUSES] "Recycle Yourself!" Blood Drive for Earth Day
    8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Michigan Blood HQ (1036 Fuller NE)
    WYCE plans to broadcast live all day from Michigan Blood's main donor center in Grand Rapids. Each pint of donated blood may help as many as three people.
    Potential questions
    • If you're doing a preview of the event, what are some of the things participants should come prepared with? What are some tips (i.e.: what to eat beforehand, water intake, rest) for a smooth donation?
    • Historically, there were eligibility restrictions, some of which surrounded sexual relations or living abroad that kept potential donors from participating. There was much widespread indignation about those restrictions. Since the beginning of this month, those bans have been lifted.
      • What were they?
      • Why were they lifted?
      • Is the lift local? National?
  • [ARTS + EDUCATION] AIGA West michigan presents Steve Frykhom
    6 p.m. at Grand Rapids Art Museum (101 Monroe Center NW)
    Join us for an unforgettable night with the award-winning, beard-toting, self-deprecating, and iconic designer Steve Frykholm. Steve Frykholm presents his work selected by the audience—print, video, posters, stories, and lessons—learned from 41 years of designing.
    Potential questions
    • In the writeup of the event, AIGA pokes fun at Steve's age, referring to him as a geezer. Is he a classic of the graphic design industry?
    • This event is cheaper than most AIGA events. Is it due to the sponsorship? Was it particularly important to AIGA to make Steve's presentation more accessible?


Friday, April 22

  • [ARTS] Opening night of Charlotte's Web at the Civic Theater
    7 p.m. at the Civic Theater (30 N. Division)
    Playwright Joseph Robinette adapted E.B. White's Charlotte's Web for the stage. Named "the best American children's book of the past two hundred years" by the Children's Literary Association, the show runs into early May.
    Potential questions
    • Civic Theater is a community theater establishment in which members of the community can volunteer to help with stagecraft and as performers. How long has it been around and who typically joins the cast and crew?
    • How does Civic Theater make its selection for performances?


Saturday, April 23

  • Local partners pull together an environmental info expo
    10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Grand Rapids Public Library (111 Library NE)
    The Grand Rapids Public Library and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council have partnered to host an Environmental Information Expo. Organizations from throughout the county and beyond will be on hand to share information about their work in the community and ways to get involved. Participating organizations include Local First of West Michigan, Friends of GR Parks, Blandford Nature Center and the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability.
    Potential questions
    • Grand Rapids Public Museum also had an expo last weekend. Are many of the same partners at the event? Do they have similar goals?
    • Are the different groups facilitating activities for the public? Presentation based?


  • [MUSIC + CAUSES] Kirtan with Mike Cohen
    7 p.m. at Wealthy Theatre (1130 Wealthy SE)
    Grand Rapids Yoga for Peace presents an evening with Mike Cohen Kirtan to benefit Kids' Food Basket. Kirtan is a participatory experience of call and response chanting.
    Potential questions
    • Is Mike Cohen from the Grand Rapids area? Where can you find Kirtan in GR?
    • What is Grand Rapids Yoga for Peace, what is their mission and what else do they do to meet it?


Wednesday, April 27

  • [EDUCATION] Brown bag workshop at Johnson Center
    12 p.m. at The Johnson Center
    The Johnson Center has invited a GVSU professor to speak to nonprofit reps and those interested in nonprofit work about the importance and process of conducting a Community Needs Assessment. The event is free, but RSVP ahead of time on the Johnson Center site.
    Potential questions
    • How often do the brown bag lunch and leanrs happen?
    • Are lecturers typically representatives of Grand Rapids-based nonprofits? Where do lecturers fit within their organizations (i.e.: directors, coordinators)?
  • [COMMUNITY + ENTERTAINMENT] Neighborhood Night Out
    3 p.m. - 2 a.m. in the North Quarter (Plainfield Avenue)
    The North Quarter (Creston and Cheshire districts) are working together to help bring residents of the Grand Rapids area to the unique establishments in the neighborhood. Break up your weekly routine to take advantage of specials from participating businesses.
    Potential questions
    • Is the North Quarter a neighborhood or a business district?
    • What are some of the specials that residents can enjoy?
    • Does this coincide with national neighbor's night out?
  • [FILM] 4WALL at Weatlhy
    7 p.m. at Wealthy Theatre (1130 Wealthy SE)
    Every fourth Wednesday of the month, West Michigan Film and Video Alliance members/independent filmmakers can screen their completed and works-in-progress for free. Constructive feedback from peers and public in attendance are offered to the filmmaker on request.
    Potential questions
    • How long is the typical 4WALL?
    • How many filmmakers contribute?
    • How long has WMFVA been doing 4WALL?


Thursday, April 28

  • [BUSINESS] Wealthy Street Spring Fling
    4-9 p.m. on Wealthy Street
    The Wealthy Street Business Alliance businesses are having extended hours and will be having specials all night.
    Potential questions
    • WSBA organizes several events throughout the year. Is this one of their big shop hops?
    • What are some of the specials for the evening and are there any amenities such as trollies?
  • [CAUSES + MUSIC] Sounds of Hope concert to benefit Schools of Hope
    6:30 p.m. at Fountain Street Church (24 Fountain NE)
    The Professional Orchestra Musicians Association of Grand Rapids will be performing Prokofiev (Peter and the Wolf) as retold by P.D.Q. Bach. There will be a silent auction and a reception to follow.
    Potential questions
    • The Schools of Hope is a United Way project. What is their objective?
    • Why was Peter and the Wolf selected as the performance of the night? Does it resonate with a theme or goal of Schools of Hope?


Friday, April 29

  • [BUSINESS] UICA's moving, so obvious solution: online auction
    8 a.m. online
    The UICA is moving to its new location on Division and Fulton, and to make moving easier, they're having an online auction. From fridges to light tables to five-tub sinks, light-sealed darkroom revolving door to photo enlargers, the UICA has marked a hodgepodge of items at low starting bids.
    Potential questions
    • Some of the items, such as enlargers, start at $20. Why are expensive pieces of equipment being started at such low bids? Is it indicative of technological shifts or just the need to move quickly?
  • [FILM] Queeries Film Series: Out in the Silence
    8 p.m. at Wealthy Theatre (1130 Wealthy SE)
    GVSU's LGBT Resource Center puts on a monthly film series called The Queeries. This month's screening is "Out in the Silence," which captures the chain of events when the announcement of filmmaker Joe Wilson’s wedding to another man ignites a firestorm of controversy in his small Pennsylvania hometown.
    Potential questions
    • What is the Queeries and what is the film series' goals?
    • How does this film meet those objectives?
    • For the most part, Queeries has screened movies produced in the last 10 years. Why this blast from the past?


Saturday, April 30

  • Blandford Nature Center hosts a workday for the state-wide Garlic Mustard pull
    10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Blandford Nature Center (1715 Hillburn NW)
    The nature center is looking for volunteers to help remove the invasive plant from our grounds. They will be providing snacks, including pesto made from the garlic pull.
    Potential questions
    • Since the garlic is edible, will they be recycled in some way as a food source?
    • How did garlic mustard become an invasive species in the area?
  • [ENTERTAINMENT] May Day 2011 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
    11 a.m. - 8 p.m. at MLK Park (1200 Franklin SE)
    May Day is an international worker's holiday and last year, the celebration brought out 200 members of the community of all ages and affiliations. There will be a community potluck, Really Really Free Market, kids' activities, and information about community resources. This year will also see a wide range of entertainment acts from rock to rap to dance troupes.
    Potential questions
    • Was MLK Park chosen at random or does it have some special significance in regards to May Day?
    • Talk to attendees. Why are they there that day?



  • [LITERATURE] Pre-reading classes for babies and toddlers
    11-11:30 a.m. on various weekdays at Grand Rapids Public Library (111 Library NE)
    Parents and caregivers are invited to introduce their babies, birth through 18 months, to music, movement, and language in 30-minute classes designed just for their specific developmental stages. Classes geared toward toddlers 18 months to 3 years of age feature hands-on, literacy-rich activities such as stories, songs with fingerplays and other action, and sign language.
    Potential questions
    • Is this a new program at the library?
    • Did the library use any sort of recommended learning models to organize their 30-minute classes?
    • Are the classes part of a series or one-time sessions?
  • [MEETUP] Toastmasters roundtable
    7:30 a.m. on every Thursday at the downtown GVSU campus
    Toastmasters hosts weekly roundtables with the goal of bolstering members' public speaking skills.
    Potential questions
    • When did the local Toastmasters group first begin?
    • Are there other local groups like Toastmasters?
    • What are some of the basic tips they impart for pulic speaking?
  • [TECHNOLOGY] Computer literacy classes at Grand Rapids Public Library
    Grand Rapids Public Library (111 Library NE)
    The library offers free adult education classes that range in level from basic computing to effective use of social media. Click on one of the links above for more information about the specific class.
    Potential questions
    • What does computer literacy encompass?
    • How did the library determine what to fit into each computer literacy course?
    • What are some common things that the "computer literate" take for granted?
  • [ARTS + EDUCATION] Friday nights at GRAM
    5 p.m. every Friday at GRAM (101 Monroe Center)
    $5 admission
    On Friday nights, Grand Rapids Art Museum invites the public to tour their galleries (open late), enjoy live piano music and a cash bar. alleries open late, live piano music, and a cash bar. The evening includes participation in their Friday Night Conversations series.
    Potential questions
    • What are the range of activities for Friday Nights?
    • Why are certain exhibitions (like Princess Diana) excluded from Friday Nights access?
    • What are the range of topics for Conversations?
  • [MUSIC] Weekly Irish music sessions at McFadden's
    7 p.m. on Sundays at McFadden's (58 Ionia SW)
    Whether you are a musician or an Irish music fan, this session is as close to visiting an Irish Pub Session in Ireland, as you can get without flying to the Emerald Isle! Food, beer and drink specials, and toe-tapping traditional Irish Music. Traditional Irish musicians (any instruments - including voice,) are invited to join in!
    Potential questions
    • How popular are the weekly Irish music sessions?
    • This weekly event is is not advertised on McFadden's site, so who are the organizers and sponsors of the music sessions?
    • What are some traditional Irish instruments? What are the defining characteristics of Irish music?
  • [DANCE] English ritual dance group holds practice every Sunday
    6:30 p.m. every Sunday at St. Mark's Episcopal Church (134 N. Division)
    Bells of River City members have fun while educating the general public about the tradition of English ritual dance as performed in Grand Rapids, modeled upon but not limited to Cotswold Morris, Border Morris, Mumming, and English Sword Dance.
    Potential questions
    • Opportunity for a photo essay: What do the dances mentioned above look like?
    • How old are these ritual dances?
No votes yet

Return to the Storybank Ideas

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.