Tag Archives: Grand Rapids

The Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery for their second annual Fall into Fabulous Health and Beauty Event

 

 

BY :: STELLAFLY
PHOTOGRAPHY :: IAN ANDERSON

Last night we joined The Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery for their second annual Fall into Fabulous Health and Beauty Event in its home office and lobby at the Women’s Health Center, 555 MidTowne St. NE, at the corner of Michigan Street and Union Avenue.

The event featured local businesses from around the area, as well as representatives from companies such as Allergan, LifeCell, Angiotech, Marena, Enaltus, Canfield Imaging and others. Special pricing on a variety of services and products from Bengtson Center were also offered, along with raffles and prizes. WOOD TV‘s Rachael Ruiz, Terri DeBoer and Jordan Carson were also there mingling with guests.

The Center’s injection specialist and transforMD skin care team was also on hand talking to guests about the latest and greatest surgical and non-surgical procedures for the breast, body and face including Ultherapy, CoolSculpting and new innovations in Liquid Facelifts. Special event guests included Brush Studio, Hot Mama, Design 1 Salon Spa, Aura Skincare & Cosmetics, Dr. Thomas Lambert and Age Management and Hormone Balance Center. Dr. Bradley Bengtson, a board-certified plastic surgeon, shared the latest and most innovative surgical and non-surgical products and procedures for the breast, body and face.

Bengtson Center is a supporter of the Campaign for Confidence benefitting local area families. Those that brought new or gently used winter coats received complimentary gifts. The coats benefited two area nonprofit organizations: Alpha Women’s Center and Baxter Community Center.

The Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery is an all-inclusive haven for renewal, relaxation and rejuvenation. Patients can expect individualized service and care that echo the patient-centric focus from Dr. Bengtson and his team.

Bengston Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bengtsoncenter?fref=ts

Bengston Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery on the Web: http://www.bengtsoncenter.com

ArtPrize Awards 2012

 

 

BY :: SPARKLY STELLAFLY
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TIM MOTLEY

VENUE :: Old GR Press Building/Loading Dock
DATE :: October 5, 2012

ArtPrize IV.

For the fourth year in a row, our city has become an art gallery.

For the fourth year in a row, hundreds of artists have come to Grand Rapids and put their work on display to be the topic of conversation for two and a half weeks.

And for the fourth year in a row, hundreds gathered for the ArtPrize Awards Event that took place on Friday night on the loading dock of the former Grand Rapids Press building, which had been transformed into a fantastic nightclub by Noddea Skidmore and her team. The event was graciously sponsored  by Stella Artois and Haworth. Volunteers served up cocktails and checked out the venue. Our favorite hometown food trucks, What the Truck and The Silver Spork dished up delicious small plates while friends celebrated the culmination of  17 fantastic days in our community.

While this may have seemed like a peculiar place to many, ArtPrize Marketing Director Todd Herring said it best when he commented, “the history of this building and the future of ArtPrize are all part of one red line. One story. About a community open to change.”

Herring played the role of Master of Ceremonies on Friday night. He was joined on stage throughout the evening by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, performing David Parson’s The Envelope, which was the perfect choice as the audience waited to find out what was in “the envelope.” The winner of ArtPrize IV. The ballet entertained the audience with moments of laughter amidst the moments of anticipation.


The first awards to be given out were the juried awards. There were five this year, each with their own sponsor and expert juror.

Time/Performance Based Art, sponsored by ITC Holdings: Three Phases by Complex Movements, selected by Juror Cathy Edwards.

Urban Space Award, sponsored by Spectrum Health: Flight by Dale Rogers, selected by Juror Susan Szenasy

Three Dimensional Work, sponsored by Haworth: More or Less by ABCD 83, selected by Juror Lisa Freiman

Two-Dimensional Work, sponsored by Varnum: Habitat by Alois Kronschlaeger, selected by Juror Tyler Green

Outstanding Venue Award, sponsored by Grand Valley State University: Site Lab, selected by Juror Tom Eccles

Next up was Darren Kuipers, Interim Executive Director of ArtPrize, who took a moment to thank the artists, venues, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who all worked tirelessly these past few weeks (well, the ArtPrize crew works all year) to make this event possible. (If you are out during ArtPrize these last couple of days, and you see someone with a volunteer shirt or a staff badge, make sure you tell them how much you appreciate all of their efforts to make this event happen for our city. Without them, this would not be possible!)

Then, the man of the hour, Rick DeVos, appeared on stage. He elaborated on Herring’s remarks about our community being “open to change.” He said, “Grand Rapids is emerging as a remarkable place where wild ideas can find an audience.” This year, that audience was made up of an estimated 400,000 people of all ages and backgrounds.

DeVos spoke about the importance of trying new things in order to, “make better things and make things better.” One of the new things ArtPrize tried this year was the Juried Grand Prize. To present that award, David Rosen, President of Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University, joined DeVos on the stage.

Rosen told the audience that he came from Los Angeles to Grand Rapids, “not just for a job, but for life in a community filled with the traditions of art and design. A community driven by the engine of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.” He spoke of the courage that ArtPrize celebrates—as well as the “capacity and accomplishments of those who create.”

He also made an announcement of their newly formed five-year partnership with ArtPrize. Kendall College has signed a commitment to be an Exhibition Center and Premier Leadership Sponsor and pledged to fund the $100,000 Juried Grand Prize Award for the next five years. He then announced this year’s Juried Grand Prize, Displacement, by Design 99.

Rick DeVos then announced another partnership, this one with Meijer Corporation, who has pledged $650,000 over the next five years to support the public vote. It is wonderful to see the community coming together to sustain ArtPrize, and maintain the momentum for the foreseeable future.

Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for. Third Place in the ArtPrize IV public vote was given to Frits Hoendervanger, for his piece, Rebirth of Spring. Second Place went to Martijn van Wagtendonk for Song of Lift. And the winner of ArtPrize IV was … Adonna Khare and her piece, Elephants. Khare was rendered speechless but for two words: Thank You. Her reaction was priceless.

After the awards, guests enjoyed a beautiful celebratory after party.

There you have it. ArtPrize IV is a wrap. As Rick DeVos said Friday night, “this does not happen anywhere else in the world and it’s really cool.”

Yes, Rick. And the city is truly grateful to you for your leadership and for sustaining the growth of ArtPrize over the last four years. Our team at Stellafly Social Media are honored to have been a part of this fourth year of ArtPrize.

Looking forward to ArtPrize V!

 

Grand Rapids Community Foundation Donor Party

 

BY :: SPARKLY STELLALY
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TIM MOTLEY
VENUE: Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University at the Historic Federal Building
DATE: September 28, 2012

When Diana Sieger and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation (GRCF) throw a party, the people come. Last Friday evening the Foundation held its annual donor celebration that included the presentation of the 2012 Jack Chaille Award for Community Philanthropy. Hundreds of those who support the GRCF newest addition of Kendall College of Art & Design’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, the historic Federal Building.

The group that gathered on Friday was essentially a “who’s who” of West Michigan philanthropists. Guests of honor John and Nancy Kennedy were joined by community leaders such as Ralph Hauenstein, Mike and Sue Jandernoa, John and Marie Canepa, Greg and Meg Willit, and countless others who are so supportive of the foundation’s efforts. They enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from YoChef’s Catering Company and great wine from Martha’s Vineyard. Conversation was lively, and the atmosphere was one of joyful celebration as everyone came together to toast the Kennedys and this community foundation that is near and dear to their hearts.

Midway through the event, everyone made their way into the auditorium where GRCF President Diana Sieger welcomed everyone and began with the fantastic news that during the 2011-12 fiscal year, the foundation raised over $20 million. They also made grants and scholarship awards of just over $11 million, supporting initiatives surrounding housing and education in West Michigan. The GRCF is one of Grand Rapids’ greatest assets, serving as a permanent endowment for our community.

Sieger then introduced GRCF Board Chair, Eva Aguirre Cooper of WOOD-TV. She noted the level of “strategy, seriousness, and diligence” that goes into each decision regarding which grants to recommend for approval, and recognized the trustees who were there on Friday night, including Wayman Britt, Paul Doyle, Carol Karr, Paul Keep, Christina Keller, and Cecile Cave Fehsenfeld. Also recognized were David Rosen, Kendall College President; and David Eisler, President of Ferris State University.

The program continued with the presentation of the 2012 Jack Chaille Award for Community Philanthropy. This year’s recipients were John and Nancy Kennedy. There was a beautiful video tribute to Kennedys that included comments from two of their children, and their friends Mike Jandernoa and Phil McCorkle. Sieger then invited the Kennedys to receive their award, and they had three of their four children with them—John, Margaret, and Tom. (Their son Paul was unable to attend)

The Chaille Award is given annually to GRCF donors who not only support the Community Foundation’s mission, but also many other community efforts. John Kennedy is President of Autocam and Nancy is a full-time community volunteer. They are involved with Grand Valley State University, University Prep School, Saint Mary’s Hospital, the Heart of West Michigan United Way, the Catholic Schools of Grand Rapids, and of course the Community Foundation. John was part of the original committee for grant distribution, and they established Employees of Autocam Fund at the GRCF. The Kennedys also made a leadership gift to help secure the new building for the foundation. All four of their children have served on the GRCF Youth Grant Committee, and both Margaret and Tom served as the Youth Trustee on the board.

John and Nancy Kennedy are the supporters every nonprofit dreams of having. They are engaged 100 percent with each cause they are involved in and as Diana Sieger said, they are “great examples of people who give from their hearts. They are not only generous with their financial gifts, but they are active and very engaged volunteers. When they are behind something, a project or a cause, their time, talent, and treasure go into it. They are purposeful about their philanthropy and only take on causes to which they can fully dedicate themselves.”

Sieger then presented the Kennedys with their award, which is different for each recipient every year. The Community Foundation created an invitation package for the event this year that, when put together, formed a beautiful poster. The Kennedys were given a framed copy of this poster for their home, which was very fitting being that the award was given during ArtPrize and in one of the largest venues for the event. It was truly a work of art!

Friday night’s event was sponsored by Fifth Third Bank; PNC, Varnum, LLP; AMBS Investment Council LLC; Baker Holtz CPAs and Advisors; The Bank of Holland; Ellis Parking Company; JPMorgan Private Bank; Lafleur & Godfrey Inc.; Merrill Lynch; and Northern Trust.

Thank you to Diana Sieger and the entire staff of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation for all of your hard work and dedication to our community, and congratulations on a remarkable year! Stellafly is very excited to see what this year will bring!

Washing Away the Dust of Grand Rapids with Jazz

BY :: HEIDI STUKKIE
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TIM MOTLEY

Jazz musician Art Blakey once said, “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.”

If true, then the dust has just been washed away from the lives of several thousand people in Grand Rapids.

Audrey Sundstrom, the Founder and Chair of the inaugural GRandJazzFest, shared this quote in the event’s program guide and based on her passion for jazz, there is definitely no dust in her life.

Sundstrom and her husband, Greg, frequently attend jazz festivals around the state. After repeatedly telling her husband she wanted a festival here in Grand Rapids, he finally told her, “If you want it here, you might just have to start it yourself.”

So she did.

And if the success of Grand Rapids’ first-ever jazz festival is the deciding factor on whether or not there will be a second GRandJazzFest, you might want to block out the third Saturday of August 2013 now.

With an overwhelmingly positive response from a crowd of thousands, the six musical acts and everyone else involved, the event is considered a huge success.

As West Michigan Jazz Society Board Member John Miller put it, “This could be the start of something big.”

Sundstrom originally approached the West Michigan Jazz Society (WMJS) and asked for suggestions on local jazz musicians. They became the nonprofit fiduciary for the event, which helped GRandJazzFest get off the ground.

The West Michigan Jazz Society played an important part by giving GRandJazzFest credibility as a jazz event,” Sundstrom says.

Early support by DTE, the presenting sponsor, and from the Downtown Development Authority kicked the event into further motion. Soon, Sundstrom started her own nonprofit, GR and Jazz, with friends and fellow jazz aficionados, Desiree Foster and Patti Flood, and then asked Molly Klimas of IntentPR to come on board to help with publicity for the event. Before the event, many more sponsors and friends got involved to ensure its success.

Sundstrom’s vision for GRandJazzFest was modeled after the River Raisin Jazz Festival in Monroe. She wanted to offer a variety of jazz genres such as big band, contemporary, traditional and Latin jazz and make it free so anyone could attend.

“I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,” she said.

The August 18 event at Rosa Parks Circle began shortly after noon with one of West Michigan’s premier jazz ensembles, The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, who has played traditional, swing and big band favorites for more than 35 years, including playing the first and third Sunday of each month at Founder’s Brewery. Dressed in matching blue shirts, the Orchestra kicked off the festival with upbeat big band music including a few sax solos.

Vocalist Edye Evans Hyde, the 2011 WMJS Musician of the Year, has been singing locally and around the world for more than 30 years. She joined the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra on stage and, in between songs, thanked the crowd for voting for her in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Evans Hyde entered the online contest a few days before the August 15 deadline at the encouragement of her son, Evan Hyde, who told her, “You can’t win if you don’t try.”

Her songs immediately went from the bottom of 800 or so entries to 14 th, 19th and 23rd place. Now that her version of What Is This Thing Called Love is in the top 15, Evans Hyde has a chance to compete live on October 21 and win up to $5,000. Based on the enthusiastic rounds of applause she received after each song, the people of Grand Rapids are rooting for her to win.

Next up, GRandJazzFest offered lively contemporary jazz performed by Walt Gutowski and the Bridge Street Band. Vocalist Michelle Covington accompanied the group and sang songs such as “Smooth Operator” and more.

Covington said Grand Rapids has been longing for something like GRandJazzFest and she believes it’s good for our community. The people at Rosa Parks Circle impressed her, too.

“It’s a very responsive crowd,” she said. “They’re showing the love.”

A friend of Covington’s, Monica Scott, agreed and added, “The crowd is diverse and reflective of the community. Jazz does that.”

And a diverse crowd, it was. People of all ages, races and socioeconomic status filled the open air space. Some brought chairs while others sat on the steps or bleachers. Many people brought picnic food, books and toys to entertain the kids. A couple people brought their dogs to enjoy the jazz.

Fred Bivins, a.k.a. “Mr. Festival”, his wife Gina, Jim Winslow, Lynn Mapes and Jane Muller sat on the shady outdoor patio of the Grand Rapids Art Museum during the concert.

“We’re talking about history and listening to jazz,” Bivins said.

Nearby, Grand Rapids resident and “big jazz fan” Steve Paulsen shared a table with his cousin Dave Corbitt and wife Heather who came all the way from Belleville, Illinois to attend the GRandJazzFest.

When Grupo Ayé took the stage next, the band energized the crowd with their dynamic Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban sounds. The music inspired many to dance in the middle of Rosa Parks Circle and show off sassy merengue and salsa moves. The rest of the guests couldn’t help but move to the rhythmic beat.

Grupo Ayé’s vibrant beat and Spanish vocals is not what most people think of when they think of jazz.

Terry Johnston, a local photographer who was there shooting for the Downtown Alliance, admits to having eclectic tastes but didn’t think he liked jazz until he attended GRandJazzFest and heard what he described as “inner city funky jazz.”

Another new fan of jazz is a pink-haired, 19-year-old girl named Alix Grabow. Hanging out behind the stage, she said her father played the piano so she especially liked the keyboard solos.

“This is fun,” she said. “We always hang out downtown but we’ve never heard jazz here before. Some of it you can even dance to.”

Next on the GRandJazzFest stage was The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet featuring many standard jazz songs with instrument solos throughout the set. That appealed to local photographer Chris Wilson who liked how everyone in the band got to show off his talent for a bit.

Lowell resident and jazz fan Barry Harding was equally impressed with the Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet.

“Any time you can hear Lee Morgan’s ‘The Sidewinder’ it’s got to be good.”

Steve Talaga not only played the keyboards for The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet, but also for The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra and Grupo Ayé during GRandJazzFest. This former WMJS Musician of the Year thought the event was “incredible.”

Randy Marsh, who played a few spirited harmonica solos during the set and the drums, organizes the Sunday night Jazz Jam at Hopcat each week, where experienced jazz musicians join in and perform a song or two with the rest of the group.

WMJS board member and ardent jazz fan Eddie Tadlock regularly attends the Hopcat Jazz Jam and other live jazz events around town. He thinks GRandJazzFest offers a good opportunity to showcase our local jazz musicians.

“People don’t realize the great talent that’s here,” he said. “These guys have played all over the country and the world.”

Tadlock’s friend, Elsa Fierens, grew up in Denmark and says she first became a jazz fan because her cousin, Erik Moseholm, is a well-known jazz musician there. She, too, hung around and enjoyed GRandJazzFest for most of the day because, as she says, “Music and people really make my life worth living.”

The second to the last set of GRandJazzFest featured Phil Denny, a young, animated saxophonist who radiates “sax appeal.” His first CD “Crossover” came out July 26 and it’s already making waves on the contemporary urban jazz scene.

Lansing residents Henderson and Gwen Bodiford and Robert Hurd and Diane McMillan are what you might call Phil Denny groupies. These two couples have followed him around the state to hear him perform. The women in the group have been listening to him since he was in the band at Everett High School where they both worked as assistant principals.

McMillan said the former homecoming king was “a very good student and very sweet and polite.”

The couples, who attend many other jazz festivals, came for the whole day and were impressed with GRandJazzFest.

“This is a quality line up from top to bottom,” said Hurd.

Saturday was the first time Phil Denny ever played in Grand Rapids and he was so taken by the response he received, he left the stage and played his saxophone in the middle of the audience for a bit. That roused the crowd even more, especially the women who were already gushing over the handsome musician.

Backstage, Denny applauded Sundstrom for her efforts with GRandJazzFest.

“It’s a great idea that came to fruition,” he said. “She has great passion and selected a good diversity of music for the first show.”

Throughout the day, Sundstrom walked around in her bright yellow GRandJazzFest t-shirt sporting an infectious smile on her face.

“What’s not to be happy about?” Sundstrom said at one point. “It’s a beautiful day, people are here and the music is good.”

Three other women were also smiling all afternoon. Sisters Mickey Parker, Ann Powell and Carol Allen, who were brought up on jazz, set up their chairs in a shady spot on the grass in the early afternoon. They didn’t plan on spending the rest of the day at GRandJazzFest, but they were still in the same location during the last set––laughing, grooving and having a very good time.

“This is such a release on life; a way to get away from stress,” said Powell.

GRandJazzFest headliner and guitarist Tim Bowman closed out the night with a stunning and memorable performance, just as one would expect from an internationally acclaimed performer.

His hour and 15 minute set included his two number one singles “Summer Groove” and “Sweet Sundays” and the receptive, energized crowd rewarded him with loud cheering.

Bowman described his music as “groove and melodies” and then with a wink and a dazzling smile, he added, “and fun.”

This contemporary jazz guitarist has produced six CDs and was named as Billboard’s 2009 Top 10 Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year. He also received the Best Guitarist of 2010 award at the International Jazz Festival in Dubai.

Even though Bowman only lives a few hours away in Detroit, he hasn’t been to Grand Rapids in 20 years and acted surprised by the size of city and the audience.

“It’s grown a lot,” he said. “And there are lots of people here!”

GRandJazzFest ended on a high note with a completely packed Rosa Parks Circle. The crowd energy throughout the day was positive, but especially during the last few hours, when nearly everyone was smiling, dancing and getting into the groove.

WMJS board member Darryl Hofstra summed up the end of the inaugural GRandJazzFest the best by saying, “The night is cool, but the jazz is hot.”

Hot indeed… Smoking hot.

Sundstrom was still smiling the next morning and thrilled with the festival’s results.

“It turned out to be everything I had hoped for,” she said. “I am grateful to all of the sponsors, the staff, the volunteers, the musicians and everyone who came out.”

Sundstrom had the vision for GRandJazzFest, but insists, “The event wouldn’t have been what it was without everyone’s help and so many people deserve a lot of credit.”

Thank you Audrey Sundstrom and your talented team for bringing GRandJazzFest to Grand Rapids. Please “wash away our dust” again next year.

To learn more about GRandJazzFest, visit their website: http://www.GRandJazzFest.org
LIKE them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GRandJazzFest

Kitchen 67 VIP Opening

BY :: SPARKLY STELLAFLY
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TIM MOTLEY

A Priest and an Ambassador met up at a restaurant opening…no, not the beginning of a joke. This was the scene at Kitchen 67 on Thursday night, when the doors were opened to friends, family, and supporters of the restaurant’s owner, Johnny Brann Jr., grandson of the founder of Brann’s restaurants, Johnny Brann, Sr.

The Sparkly Stellafly stopped in for a sneak peek of the soon-to-be-open Kitchen 67 on the East Beltline near Knapp’s Corner. The latest restaurant to open in Grand Rapids is clearly one of the most innovative, technology driven places you will dine — a groundbreaking new concept from a family with a rich heritage in dining innovation. It is obvious that Johnny Brann and the team at LiveSpace and the Apple Store at Woodland Mall thought out well out of the box as they designed the space, and left no detail untouched.

As you walked up the sidewalk into the 4,500 square foot restaurnt, you could feel the energy coming from inside, and upon entering the first thing you noticed was LED panels on the ceiling that will shift colors throughout the day to provide an ambience ‘mood ring’ throughout the restaurant (the first time this has been done in a dining space anywhere in the U.S.).

Spotted last night: Tommy Brann; Grand Rapids Community Foundation President Diana Sieger; Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom; former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia; Rick and Melisa DeVos, Tony Gates and Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small.

As the crowd gathered they were treated to samples of some of the creative food that Kitchen 67 has on their menu. I was able to sample the Italian Tuscan soup, Berry Patch Salad, and (my personal favorite) the restaurant’s own take on S’mores—deep-fried brownie bites, marshmallow dipped in chocolate and rolled in graham cracker crumbs, and a chocolate dipping sauce. Everything was full of great flavor!

Rev. Mark Przybysz of Saint Anthony of Padua Church was on hand to bless the restaurant, and the blessing was followed by remarks from Senator Dave Hildenbrand and Kent County Commissioners Gary Rolls and Jim Saalfeld. It was a great tribute to Johnny Brann Jr. for his forward thinking in the restaurant design but also to the Brann family members who have made a great impact on Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

Besides the fantastic food, it is the technology that is truly going to make this restaurant stand out. Many of the tables have small black dots in the middle, which are charging stations for smart phones. The music is controlled by the guests who are able to download an app for their phone and vote on the songs they want to hear. Big screens can be seen from all angles, soon there will be iPads available at the tables, and a holographic display on the Pepsi machine, another first in the restaurant industry. There is even a space that can be reserved for small meetings. Custer Interiors was there to demonstrate RoomWizard, the meeting scheduling system developed by Steelcase media:scape.

So many local companies took part in executing Johnny Brann Jr.’s vision for Kitchen 67. In addition to LiveSpace, their technology partner, Brann credits the city of Grand Rapids and his partners – Lang Construction LLC, Grand Rapids architect Jeff Parker, designer Bob Israels, and Mercantile Bank for completing the project on time and on budget.

The technology was fascinating, the food was scrumptious, but probably one of the greatest things to witness Thursday night was Johnny Brann, Jr. carrying on his family’s legacy in the West Michigan restaurant business. Kitchen 67 official Grand Opening is Saturday, August 25. The grand-opening celebration will include free samples, technology demonstrations and a chance to win a variety of prizes.

A few of the notable high-tech features integrated into Kitchen 67 include:

  • Qi wireless charging spots embedded in tables using technology invented by Amway’s Fulton Innovation. The stations work with Verizon’s Qi-enabled devices and accessories to wirelessly recharge batteries.
  • iTunes digital jukeboxes accessible from Apple iPads located at tables and throughout the restaurant;
  • A first-of-its-kind Pepsi fountain with holographic display;
  • Steelcase media:scape technology provided by Custer Workplace Interiors
  • Gentex display technology using glass with an embedded screen
  • LED ceiling panels providing customers a ‘mood ring’ dining experience that will shift the ambiance by time of day, making every visit a unique experience
  • Free high-speed wireless internet access
Kitchen 67’s signature Sizzle Bowl, for instance, includes a mouthwatering mixture of pan fried noodles, portabella mushrooms, sautéed peppers, onions and sesame seeds with an Asian ginger sauce and the choice of adding Brann’s USDA Choice beef or chicken.Other menu items (all priced under $10) include fresh USDA Choice steak burgers, Sizzle Wraps, hot-pressed sandwiches from the 67 Press, 67 Bones ribs and wings, and an array of fresh soups and salads. A variety of pastries, scones and custom-roasted K67 Coffee will be available all day.  Beer and wine will also be served.
Kitchen 67  will be open seven days a week, also has a  20-seat outdoor patio and a drive-through window for gourmet coffee, call-ahead orders, pastries and other menu specialties. Kitchen 67 is collaborating with Verizon Wireless, which will open a new store concept in an adjacent 3,600 square foot space accessible from inside the restaurant. When it opens August 27, the Verizon store will be among the first in the country featuring an inviting new store layout that better showcases the company’s latest devices, accessories and more.
Be sure to LIKE Kitchen 67 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kitchen67
Website: http://kitchen67.com 

“Freedom” A Benefit for Our Wounded Heroes Presented by Fashion Has Heart

BY :: SPARKLY STELLAFLY
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TIM MOTLEY

The Peter Martin Wege Theatre at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company was the perfect setting for an intimate performance by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Grand Rapids Symphony, Royal Danish Ballet, and Genesis Percussion on Thursday evening.It was all to benefit those who have risked their lives to protect our freedom, as part of the Fashion Has Heart initiative.

Brian Lennon, attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd LLP and a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. He welcomed everyone to the theatre, gave a preview of the evening, and introduced Jane DeYoung, who sang the National Anthem. Hearing our country’s anthem brought into focus the reason we were all there last night—to pay tribute to those who risk their lives every single day to ensure that we have the freedom to do things like come together and watch these performers.

Three members of the Grand Rapids Symphony performed first, including two on French Horns and one pianist. They were followed up by two performances from the Grand Rapids Ballet Company (GRBC), who just finished their 40th season. Yuka Oba and Giovanni Yoshida are two talented dancers originally from Japan and who just finished their first season as part of the GR Ballet Company. Their Esmeralda Pas de Deux was beautiful and full of energy and grace. They were followed by Rachael Riley and Nick Schultz who performed the Balcony Pas de Deux from the GR Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet.

Next came two members of the Royal Danish Ballet who are originally from Michigan. Holly Dorger and Bryant Steenstra brought the Black Swan Pas de Deux to the stage, this performance originating from the classic ballet Swan Lake. They are both currently touring with the Royal Danish Ballet in the United States. To finish off the performances, Genesis Percussion took the stage and gave a very powerful performance. This drumline is comprised of students from throughout the state of Michigan.

This collaboration between arts organizations in Grand Rapids (and Denmark) was wonderful, but the real stars of the evening were the individuals representing Fashion Has Heart. Mike Hyacinthe, who started this initiative last year, talked to the audience about how this organization began. Initially they were selling clothing to raise proceeds for wounded veterans. It was not until he met Corporal Josh Hoffman. Corporal Hoffman was left a quadrapalegic from his injuries sustained while in Iraq. He saw the t-shirts that Hyacinthe was selling and wanted to know if there was a way for him to get involved. This sparked an idea that resulted in several t-shirts being designed around Corporal Hoffman’s story, and were sold throughout the United States.

Fashion Has Heart has grown and this week five members of the military—one from each branch—arrived in Grand Rapids and are working with designers from Bates to create five boot designs. The Heroes included Air Force Tech Sergeant Israel Del Toro; Army Specialist Danielle Byrd; Coast Guard Electrician’s Mate Third Class Michael Bell; Marine Corporal Josh Hoffman; and Navy HN Darrell Butler. Corporal Hoffman was unable to attend the event Thursday night but it was very evident that he was there in spirit.

Michael Hyacinthe said his goal is to double the number of Heroes next year and continue to grow the program each year after that. If you would like to follow this journey, check out the Fashion Has Heart Blog at http://fashionhasheart.org/blog/. Consider making a gift to help their cause, too, as a way to thank them for the sacrifices they have made for our freedom.

“Mr. Festival” Fred Bivins: “This is what makes life worth living — art”

BY :: TERRI FINCH HAMILTON
PHOTOGRAPHY :: TERRY JOHNSTON

There’s a giant gorilla staring at Fred Bivins from one side and a creepy creature with horns closing in from another.

Head for the flower garden, Fred! No, wait — the beach!

When you’re surrounded by 354 pieces of art, you can change your scenery with a quick dash.

Bivins, 62, is in his element amid the Festival of the Arts Regional Arts Exhibition, a part of Festival that has been in his care for 38 years.

But it’s never been quite like this — with stacks of old newspapers laying around.

The annual exhibition of cool art opened Friday in the former Grand Rapids Press headquarters on Michigan Street NW downtown. The building was purchased in January by Michigan State University for its College of Human Medicine and is mostly empty, although a smattering of employees still work there.

When Bivins started looking for venues, his usual spots — the old art museum, the new art museum — weren’t available.

Somebody mentioned the former Press building. He took a walk through, and when he got to the cavernous deserted mail room, formerly used to sort and stuff inserts in newspapers before delivery, “I said, ‘This is it!’” he recalls. “This is what I want.”

But it’s been a challenge. He had to install display walls down the middle, paint the place, rig lighting. He’s been toiling to get the space ready since the beginning of May.

Now it’s an 8,000-square-foot art gallery, in an unlikely spot.

“Isn’t it great?” Bivins beams. “It’s a cliché urban, trendy, hip industrial space that everybody loves for art these days.”

Bivins knows Festival draws people to art who might not seek it otherwise, and he loves that.

Last year, when the exhibition was at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, “the most common statement I heard was ‘This is the first time I’ve been in this building,’” he says.

What a shame, he notes.

“Once you get a roof over your head, and air and food, you’ve got sustenance,” he says. “But do you really have life? This is what makes life worth living — art.

“Oh, I guess there are other things,” he muses. “But I don’t go boating.”

He laughs. He cracks himself up a lot.

“The more people are exposed to art, the better they feel about life,” Bivins says. “Everybody who comes in here will find something they like. Everybody who comes in here will see something and get inspired. They might say, ‘I can do that.’ Everybody has it within them to be creative in some way.”

Bivins has it in a lot of ways.

He prints his own Christmas cards every year on a 1911 Chandler & Price letterpress.

He turns chunks of wood into exquisite high-end bowls that are famous. One is on the cover of a Godiva chocolate flier, filled with chocolates. Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell buys the bowls to give foreign dignitaries as gifts when he travels.

When Bivins talks about the process of making one, he’s a poet:

“Almost nothing can compare to the feeling of producing something that looks the way you want it to look,” he says. “Taking a chunk of log, putting it on the lathe and turning it into a bowl. The sound, the feel, the smell. The shavings in the air. The water coming out of the green wood.” He grins. “You get soaked.”

His artistry continues in the kitchen. Once a week he hosts a passel of friends for “spaghetti night,” but more than spaghetti happens there.

He makes vats of his special “Fredducine alfredo” to serve the crowd. Friends help him bake up chewy, crispy loaves of ciabatta bread, pizzas and calzones that go in and out of a huge commercial pizza oven he bought at an auction.

If the guests are really lucky, Bivins treats them to gooey caramel and pecan-studded rolls, affectionately called “Fred’s sweet-ass buns.”

The tables are covered with white paper, and bowls of crayons and markers are set out. Draw, please.

The camaraderie is as much sustenance to Bivins as the food. He loves people. His wife, Gina, public programs manager at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, likes to tell how everybody he meets becomes his new best friend.

It’s hard to get rid of Bivins, if you wanted to. After high school he landed a job at General Motors, then stayed there for 31 years, first in production, then as an electrician. He was a big union guy.

He’s been part of the fabric of Festival for decades. He’s worked food booths, printed Festival flags and serves on the Festival board, spending three years as its president.

He’s been emcee for opening ceremonies since 1985, each year wearing a shirt he makes out of that year’s Festival flags.

In 2008 he won the Spirit of Festival Award. In 1986 he was co-chair of the whole shebang.

This year, he loves it that his beloved art exhibition is in a sort of quirky place. He asked for bundles of newspapers to place around the room.

“I want to bring a sense of The Press into this room,” he says. The Press printed the exhibition program on newsprint for him, in broadsheet style, like a newspaper.

“It’s a collector’s item,” Bivins says.

He should know. He has a lot of stuff. He collects bricks. He has two from virtually every building in town that’s been torn down. He’s not above climbing fences to get them.

Bivins has a love affair going with his community. He recently hosted print making workshops where guests printed brown paper lunch bags for Kids Food Basket, the nonprofit that supplies nutritious sack suppers to 4,800 kids a day who struggle with hunger. Later he hosted a fund raiser for the charity.

He spent the last eight months on a committee organizing the 150th celebration of his alma mater, Central High School, which drew 1,200 people earlier this month.

He’s been craving the moment when the art exhibition doors open and the place turns from a quiet haven of art to a bustling venue buzzing with chatter.

“Once somebody sees something that inspires them, then it’s the run for the roses,” he says. “If I can be part of something that sparks that creativity, then my life has great value.”

He knows something about the value of life.

He was rushed to the emergency room one night back in 1996 for what he figured was a gall stone, but doctors found a tumor. They thought he had pancreatic cancer. Put your affairs in order, he was told. After a complicated surgery, they discovered the tumor was benign.

Then, three years later, at age 49, Bivins had an enlarged heart and elevated pulmonary pressure. He was told he may need a heart transplant. He might live five years.

He underwent extensive testing for two years but doctors couldn’t find the cause. Ultimately they tried a new drug. It worked.

Bivins had a recent check-up with his cardiologist.

“He said the best thing he could have said,” Bivins says. “He said, ‘Looks normal to me.’”

Bivins likes to say how almost dying twice has a way of making you want to be a good person. It’s given him a kind of wisdom that can catch you by surprise. He’ll suddenly say something like this:

“You never know when the eureka moment comes, but it’s obvious later in life that you had it,” he muses. “But you might not know it till it’s gone. When was the last time your kids crawled in bed with you? You don’t know it’s the last time until it’s gone.”

After Festival, Bivins will dive into ArtPrize, curating the entries displayed at the Women’s City Club.

You just can’t escape art, can you, Fred?

Bivins grins.

“Why would you want to?”