Jon Towne

Between the Lines: Eating Organic in Michigan

We see the "Certified Organic" label everywhere these days. It's in little food co-ops and big supermarkets. But what does it mean? And how did it all begin? Maynard Kaufman and Julia Christianson supply some answers in the book they edited, The Organic Movement in Michigan . It's a collection of 19 essays by different Michigan authors that's published by Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, or MOFFA. The essays tell the story of the organic movement from its first days and consider its future.

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Hup Skerries, via YouTube

Jesse Smith And Sean Gavin To Play A 'Pure Drop' Irish Concert

Just a fiddle, and a flute. And rhythm, ornaments, breath accents, and stories. In the tradition of Irish folk music, two players is enough for an evening's entertainment, harkening back to the days when resources were scarce but social music-making was prized. On Thursday at First Congregational Church, fiddler Jesse Smith (Danu, The Tap Room Trio) and flutist Sean Gavin (Bua, Teada) will perform, highlighting their new album, Music From The Lost Continent , which was called "straight-up trad at its best" in a Tradconnect review . Cara Lieurance spoke with Jesse Smith about his love of the music and his admiration for players of the past, including Michael Coleman, who was famous in the 1920 for his cylinder recordings.

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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.

“An introvert in a very loud and crazy world, ideally that’s what the sound of Shoegaze is to me," says Joshua Garman of the Crash City Saints. "It’s finding beauty, in kind of, the storm.” 

Steven Holmes

“My last name’s Pixley-Fink and a lot of people like to call me Pixie, Pixie Funk, the P-Funk,” says Elisabeth Pixley-Fink. “So it’s pretty funky and pretty playful I’d say.”

Sunday, the Southwest Michigan Harvest Fest will be held at Tillers International farm near Scotts, Michigan. Attendees can explore the rural and sustainable life through speakers, demonstrations, food, crafts and music.

Susan Blackwell Ramsey reading from one of her poems
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Susan Blackwell Ramsey will read from her book A Mind Like This Wednesday night at the Portage District Library. In her interview with WMUK’s Zinta Aistars, Ramsey talked about how her mind seems to remember only the most trivial things. This is the basis for her title poem “A Mind Like This.” 

The Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery is two stories high. It’s airy with lots of windows, and you can see the art from several vantage points, which is one of the first things that excited and inspired Puerto Rican artist Nayda Collazo-Llorens. That, and the sheer size of the gallery, which allows for four distinct areas in her exhibition, including a small room, or tunnel that has both audio and visual art. 

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