Blue Veins playing at Shakespeare's Pub during their weekly blues jam
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Blues Jam Tries To Revive Scene, Draw Young Musicians To Genre

The blues has always been a staple in Kalamazoo. But when the 411 Club closed three years ago, its blues jam - that predated the club - ended too. “Once it closed down there wasn’t really a regular hangout for that genre of music," says Marissa Aguirre of the band Blue Veins - also known as Little Mo.

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C. Neuhaus, via Flickr

Organ Virtuoso Cameron Carpenter Brings Unique Instrument To Kalamazoo

In a rare occurrence, one soloist, Cameron Carpenter , will appear on two concert series in Kalamazoo in the space of a week. A Juilliard-trained virtuoso organist, Carpenter carved his own path in classical music by embracing a custom-designed solid-state concert organ which produces sound through a speaker array rather than pipes. Carpenter spoke to Cara Lieurance about the International Touring Organ, which travels by truck and takes at least three hours to set up at a venue.

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Celebrating 40 Years of Grassroots!

Win tickets to see Belá Fleck and Abigail Washburn

Just a small part of the Willie Nelson collection in Chris Nelsen's home.
Karen VandenBos

Kalamazoo resident Chris Nelsen is one of singer/songwriter Willie Nelson’s biggest fans. After following him and his music for over 30 years, the local man has an extensive collection of Willie Nelson memorabilia and stories of the times they’ve met. 

Philip Levine, the most recent poet laureate, is coming to Western Michigan University Friday. Levine was born in Detroit. Some of his most famous poems are about his time working for General Motors, a job he says he didn't like very much. 

Southwest Michigan author D.E. Johnson just released his third novel with St. Martin’s Publishing. It’s a follow up to The Detroit Electric Scheme and Motor City Shakedown. Detroit Breakdown follows protagonists Will Anderson and his girlfriend Elizabeth Hume into a mental institution of one hundred years ago. 

WMU Theatre

Western Michigan University students will perform the play Fuddy Meers starting Thursday. Fuddy Meers is about a middle aged woman named Claire who has a type of amnesia where she forgets everything that happened the night before.

Chris Killian

The contest between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney dominates the news. But amid reports about gaffes and political tactics, is the campaign addressing issues that matter to real people? Kalamazoo independent journalist Chris Killian is on the road to find out during his Swing State Stories project. Over the next few weeks he’ll visit states where the race is close, beginning in Nevada.

Aaron Cooper

Kalamazoo Book Arts Center director Jeff Abshear has spent part of the past decade teaching book arts in Venice to Italian children, but this summer’s trip with was the first time he taught Americans there. Eleven students from the Frostic School of Art and Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University went with Abshear to Venice this summer to study book arts. They attended a printmaking school and studied at a letterpress museum.

One thing you can count on each year with the Toronto International Film Festival: It will be a treasure trove of cinema from around the world. Approximately 300 movies from all corners of the globe are screened each September over the course of a week and a half, including everything from this year’s big Oscar hopefuls to documentaries to comedies that show the lighter side of life in North Korea. 

You might have spotted billboards around Southwest Michigan advertising something a little different—local art. On Friday night from 5:30 to 7:30, you can meet the ten artists who won this year’s Billboard Art Contest at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Their work will be on display at the KIA. One of the artists is Paul Marquardt who works out of his home studio.

So you think you know bellydance?

Sep 18, 2012
Joette Sawall teaching a class at West Michigan School of Middle Eastern Dance
Allison Friedman, WMUK

There’s only one studio that holds public belly dance classes in Grand Rapids, a city with a population of almost 190,000 people. Less than half as many people live in Kalamazoo, yet there are three belly dancing studios.

Kazoo Area Foot Chase lets you be a policeman for a day

Sep 14, 2012
2011 Kazoo Area Foot Chase
David Ostrem

On Saturday, runners and walkers can imagine they're policemen trying to capture a suspect. The Kazoo Area Foot Chase is being put on by MI-COPS or Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors.

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