The Rapidian

May 3: 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.



  • [ARTS + EDUCATION] Kendall senior shows
    4-7 p.m. at Kendall College of Art and Design (
    Kendall is having a slough of art shows as their seniors prepare to graduate.
    Potential questions
    • Review opportunity! In Kendall's building, the students' work are generally divided into media categories. Do you see a pattern in students' works by media?
    • What pieces generally stand out to you? How long did it take for the students to pull together their final pieces?
    • What is the retention rate in GR of Kendall grads once students are done?
  • [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?
  • [MUSIC + DANCE] Hello Friends Night - Electromix
    8 p.m. at Love Restaurant/Boutique Lounge (1520 Wealthy SE)
    Every Tuesday, local podcast team of Hello Friends spins tunes to move to at Love.
    Potential questions
    • On any given night, what are the options for dancing in GR?
    • Who do they target? Is there something for every age group, single and coupled off?
    • Hello Friends is known for being a local podcast. What niche are they hoping to target with their music? What do they offer that other dance options in GR do not?
  • [LITERATURE + BUSINESS] Local lifestyle shop designs special picture frames to benefit Grand Rapids man who was shot and paralyzed
    All Schuler locations and Calvin College campus bookstore
    Carol Roeda Studio designed a series of houses to benefit the family of Pierre Camy, a Grand Rapids man who was shot and paralyzed during a family vacation to Puerto Rico in January, 2011. 100% of the proceeds form the sale of these frames will go to Pierre for the required renovations to his family's home.
    Potential questions
    • What is Pierre Camy's story?
    • What was it about Pierre's story in particular that touched the Carol Roeda Studio team?


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?


Thursday, May 5

  • [ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT] Nosh Night series brings you the swap
    6 p.m. at UICA (41 Sheldon SE)
    $5-7 admission
    Refresh your art collection at NoshNight: Swap Meet! Bring a piece of artwork (either something you created or something you own) and trade it in for something new.
    Potential questions
    • What sort of items were traded at the swap? What were the most exciting items?
    • How did the NoshNight committee come up with this theme? What are some of the other themes in store and how long does it take to plan each?
  • [MUSIC + CAUSES] Covers Fest
    6:30 p.m. at Vertigo Music (129 S. Division)
    Cover devotees perform to benefit the Fountain Street Abortion Fund, which offers assistance to low income women seeking help. They must follow three rules: perform three songs, no acoustic acts, no solo acts.
    Potential questions
    • Do the covers performed seem to come predominantly from particular decades?
    • How were the rules decided?
    • Why was Fountain Street Abortion Fund selected as the beneficiary?


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 + BUSINESS] Opening reception at Sparrows Coffee, Tea and Newsstand for Heartside Gallery and Studio artists
    6-9 p.m. at Sparrows (1035 Wealthy SE)
    Heartside Gallery and Studio has collaborated with local artists, comic book artists and children to put on "The Superheroes Show," an art exhibit at Sparrows. Heartside Gallery and Studio serves Heartside residents by giving them the opportunity to express themselves through art.
    Potential questions
    • Why is Heartside Gallery and Studio having the show at Sparrows rather than hosting it at their own location on Division?
    • What sort of superheroes were on display and what were their powers?
  • [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?


Saturday, May 7

  • [CAUSES + ENTERTAINMENT] Karaoke (and bowling) for kitties
    9 p.m. at The Clique Lanes (533 Stocking NW)
    $10 admission
    Carol's Ferals is having its annual Karaoke for Kitties fundraiser, hosted by comedian Reverend Charles Preston Smith. There will be a panel of local celebrities to for whom bidders can pick songs to sing or do a duet with, including executive director Carol Manos.
    Potential questions
    • What was the highest bid for this event and what was the highest bid for last year's event?
    • Is this Carol's Ferals major fundraising event every year?


Wednesday, May 11

  • [MEDIA] Rapid Growth's fifth birthday
    6 p.m. at The Pyramid Scheme (68 Commerce SW)
    Rapid Growth Media is turning five this month and inviting fans, readers, writers, people profiled by RG, staff, bloggers, sponsors, underwriters, potential future writers and bloggers for drink specials at The Pyramid Scheme.
    Potential questions
    • What has been some of RG's measures of growth in the last five years?
    • How many stories, blog entries, profiles, business features has RG published?


Thursday, May 12

  • [ARTS + CAUSES] Art sale for Japan
    5-9 p.m. at San Chez Bistro (38 W. Fulton)
    A fundraiser to benefit those affected by the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. Tons of local artists showcasing their talents. Artwork will be for sale and up for silent auction.
    Potential questions
    • There are many efforts going toward fundraising for Japan right now. Why did the organizer feel it was important to have a specific one in GR rather than encourage people to donate to already existing causes?
    • Why did the organizer settle on an art auction?
    • How much does she hope to raise?

Friday, May 13

  • [MUSIC + ENTERTAINMENT] Grand Rapids Public Museum's last of the spring Wurlitzer concerts
    7 p.m. on May 13 and 2 p.m. on May 14 at GRPM (272 Pearl NW)
    $10 admission
    Each spring and fall, the public museum invites Wurlitzer organists, a dying breed, to perform on its 100 year-old Wurlitzer organ. The Wurlitzer encompasses the sounds of organ pipes to a glockenspiel, wooden blocks, horns to a fake bird cage. This month's concerts will be the last of the spring series.
    Potential questions
    • What's the history behind the museum's Wurlitzer and what condition is the musuem's in?
    • How many are left in the country?


Saturday, May 14

  • [ARTS + POLITICS] No fences, no borders photography exhibition highlights perspectives from Palestine's west bank
    7 p.m. at The Division Avenue Arts Collective (115 S. Division)
    Bill Cotter has ties to Grand Rapids, and No Fences, No Borders is a photography exhibition featuring work from six months spent living in the occupied West Bank of Palestine.
    Potential questions
    • What brought Bill to the West Bank of Palestine and how is it different than other parts of the country?
    • Bill also has a three-volume set that he published as part of No Fences, No Borders. Does that contain the photos, contextualize the photos or are the photos and the publication separate?
  • [SCIENCE + EDUCATION] GR Amateur Astronomical Association hosts public night to view Saturn and the crescent moon
    9:30 p.m. at James C. Veen Observatory (3308 Kissing Rock Ave, Lowell)
    The Observation Nights feature a closer look at the stars, our neighboring planets, the phases of the moon and many additional wonders our galaxy has to offer, provided the sky is clear.
    Potential questions
    • This isn't in GR, but it has a direct connection to the city. Tell us about the history of the GR Amateur Astronomical Association and what their goal is.
    • How often is Saturn visible? And what exactly does a crescent moon mean?
    • What are other astronomical highlights that happen on a regular or annual basis?


  • [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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Bike Summit

In following my article posted earlier this week for the Bike Summit, I plan to attend the second half of the day and write an event follow up piece early next week.

That sounds awesome Shannon!

That sounds awesome Shannon! I just realized that I wont be able to make it this time and got really bummed out. The last one I attended - while somewhat disheartening when the city officials spoke about the likelihood of a fully integrated complete streets plan any time soon - was very informative. And the city has made so much progress since then, that I can't wait to hear what they have to report!