Payne family, private collection

WSW: The 1918 Flu's Impact on Kalamazoo

The global flu pandemic of 1918 still stands out for its deadliness. It killed as many as 50 million people, which is far beyond the death toll of World War I. While no place was immune to the devastation, City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator Sharon Ferraro says some communities, including Kalamazoo, fared somewhat better than others.

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Katherine Mumma

The Little Mermaid Brings Undersea Fantasy To Kalamazoo Civic

Director Steven Carver, marketing director Janet Gover, Este'fan Kizer (Sebastian), and Lizzy Stone (Ariel) join Cara Lieurance to preview the Kalamazoo Civic's production of The Little Mermaid , which opens on Friday. The familiar Hans Christian Anderson story, made famous in the 1989 Disney movie, was adapted to stage in 2007, but took a few years to reach its current version, says Carver. Lizzy Stone, who starred as Eliza in the Civic's My Fair Lady, says that as a redhead, she loved Ariel as a girl, going on to say that the part requires some unusual acting challenges, including wordless acting and a flying harness. Este'Fan Kizer, who was last seen in Sister Act , plays the crab Sebastian, and sings the most recognizable song in the musical, "Under The Sea."

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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.

“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.

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