The Rapidian

April 27: Summary of pitches and goings-on




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  • [ARTS + POLITICS] Popular ArtPrize venue establishes arts and civil liberties as its theme for 2011
    Progressive Fountain Street Church, a third year ArtPrize venue, will participate this year with the Western Michigan Chapter of the ACLU. Selected artists will submit work based on the theme “Art and Civil Liberty” and will compete for two $1,000 cash  awards offered by Fountain Street and the ACLU.
  • [LITERATURE + SUSTAINABILITY] Local literary magazine TRNSFR launches Kickstarter campaign
    TRNSFR is a locally produced, nationally distributed literary magazine that combines fiction, poetry, and visual art. We've launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise capital for Issue 5 and future chapbook publication, with a deadline of May 21. I'm interested in an article that will raise our profile locally and our campaign.
  • [ART + YOUTH + EDUCATION] Forest Hills Northern art in the running in a shoe competition
    Till May 2
    The Forest Hills Northern Art Department entered the Vans Custom Culture Shoe competition. Four students handpainted four pairs of shoes, and FHNHS was selected in the top 50 throughout the country! One high school from each region will be chosen via a popular vote to receive $20,000 for their arts program with potential to win another $50,000!



  • [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?
  • [ARTS] Art in Bloom at GRAM shows off work by florists
    April 28-May 1 at Grand Rapids Art Museum (101 Monroe NW)
    Enjoy floral designs by a selection of the region's most talented floral designers inspired by works of art from the Museum's permanent collection.
    Potential questions
    • How were florists selected for the exhibit?
    • There seem to be different certifications for florists. What do each type of certification signify?
  • [ARTS + EDUCATION] Make it and Take it event for adults who love art
    7 p.m. at West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (98 E. Fulton)
    $20 admission
    Make It and Take It is a WMCAT event for adults where you can make hip art projects and take them with you. Silk screen your own t-shirt, develop photos or make a stylish fashion accessory.
    Potential questions
    • Much of WMCAT's arts education is targeted toward youth. How often do events targeted toward adult happen?
    • What are all the equipment and media at WMCAT's disposal? What kinds of arts can WMCAT accommodate?


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?
  • [MUSIC + BUSINESS] Pyramid Scheme's grand opening
    9 p.m. at The Pyramid Scheme (68 Commerce SW)
    $35 admission
    New downtown bar Pyramid Scheme is opening up and featuring a special musical guest for the big night. On both April 28 and 29, band Guided by Voices will be playing a reunion performance at the bar.
    Potential questions
    • The admission price for the grand opening is pretty steep. Why is it set so high?
    • What about the Pyramid Scheme will set it apart from other downtown bars?
    • As part of the Sellers' eateries, what is unique about Pyramid Scheme?


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?
  • [FOOD + ENTERTAINMENT] Barefoot Victory Garden kicks off year two
    7 p.m. at DVDP Studio (928 Wealthy SE)
    $5 cover
    The Barefoot Victory Garden is hosting another benefit concert to kick off our second year of planting, growing, and harvesting!
    Potential questions
    • This is the culminating event to a week-long kickoff for BVG's second year. What were some of the other activities and were they well attended?
    • Did those activities attract new faces?
    • BVG received a minigrant from Sunday Soup #11 to invest in seedlings and other materials. What is the fundraising goal for the benefit concert?

Sunday, May 1

  • [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?
  • [DANCE + EDUCATION] African dance class open to the public
    4:30 p.m. at the Community Media Center's front studio (1110 Wealthy SE)
    African dance teacher Kama Tai visits Grand Rapids to lead 1-1/2 hours of traditional African dance. Local drummers will add live drums.
    Potential questions
    • What brings Kama Tai to town?
    • Africa is a continent of 52+ countries. What are the origins of some of those traditional dances?

Tuesday, May 3

  • [DINING + SUSTAINABILITY + ENTERTAINMENT] DAAC SWAP: Mixed tape swap and potluck
    7 p.m. at The Division Avenue Arts Collective (115 S. Division)
    The first Tuesday of the month is DAAC SWAP. This month's theme is mixed tapes.
    Potential questions
    • How does "The Other Committee" decide on themes for each month? What have been some previous themes?
    • Is a mixed tape different from a playlist? From a playlist burned onto a CD?


Wednesday, May 4

  • [ARTS + CAUSES] Art Battle for Community v. 5
    6 p.m. at Sazerac Lounge (1418 Plainfield NE)
    Each year, a few familiar faces and a fresh crop of artists join a long list of elected officials (and those seeking office) for one night of creative neighborhood networking while doing some art bidding to benefit the Creston Neighborhood Association.
    Potential questions
    • How much does CNA typically fundraise from this event?
    • What is the most a piece has ever sold for?
    • Which artists are participating and what was their motivation?


Friday, May 6

  • [SPORTS + EDUCATION] Grand Rapids Bicycle Summit
    8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Eberhard Center (201 W. Fulton)
    2011 Grand Rapids Bicycle Summit is a bicycle advocacy conference featuring national keynote speakers and practical action-oriented workshops. This National Bike Month event is oriented toward Complete Streets advocates, bike club members, elected officials, public health experts, community planners, civil engineers, and all bicyclists!
    Potential questions
    • GRBS has some relatively well-known sponsors from the local community. How many years has the event taken place?
    • What is Complete Streets and what actions or policies does GRBS advocate?
  • [ARTS] Trip the Light: Ephemeral
    8 p.m. at Wealthy Theatre (1130 Wealthy SE)
    $12.50 admission
    An evening of live music and dance. No photography or video permitted. Any violations of this rule will be grounds for removal. You must be there to experience it, and when it's done, it's done baby!
    Potential questions
    • This is an ArtPeers sponsored event. Do the funds go to the fledgeling nonprofit or does it go to pay the artists who participate?
    • How do the participants feel about the ephemerality of the event? Will there be absolutely no documentation published about the choreography and music in addition to the performance?



  • [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?
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