robbie feinberg

Fred Western

Last month, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo announced that it had selected a new executive director. And it was a familiar face for many in the Kalamazoo arts scene – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre executive director Kristen Chesak. The Arts Council plays a major role in the city, from organizing every month’s Art Hop to providing grants to local institutions and artists. And as the council prepares for a new shift in leadership, it's also preparing for major new challenges such as a growing Art Hop and decreased arts coverage in Kalamazoo. 


Screenshot of video, courtesy Flowserve

Many Michigan manufacturers are facing a problem that they call a “skill gaps.” As more and more of their skilled employees retire, manufacturers need new workers to operate advanced technologies. And unfortunately, they say, very few new workers have the education or experience to fill in, leaving hundreds of jobs unfilled. But there’s hope. Kalamazoo Valley Community College is trying out a new program that’s connecting employers with young students to fill the pipeline again.


Nardos Osterhart has a rather unique origin story. For one thing, she was born in Ethiopia, and political turmoil took her family to Germany and Oklahoma as a child. But it’s here in Michigan that she found her real calling: stand-up comedy. In 2013, she was named the “Funniest Person in Grand Rapids.” Now, she's created a one-woman show, Halfricana kind of half-memoir, half-comedy show detailing her life and childhood. Osterhart will perform Halfrican at Louie’s Back Room in Kalamazoo on April 29th.


Robbie Feinberg/WMUK

Michigan’s new minimum wage law that passed in 2014 has left a lot of workers with more money in their pockets. It boosted the state minimum wage from $7.40 per hour up to the current rate of $8.50. By 2018, it’ll be up to $9.25. But the legislation also wiped away the amendments and rules that went along with the state’s old minimum wage law. Because of that, labor advocates are worried that a segment of Michigan’s farmworkers are now exempt from minimum wage laws. 


On April 24th, comedian and “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me…” panelist Paula Poundstone will bring her unique brand of stand-up comedy to Kalamazoo’s State Theatre. Despite more than 30 years in the business, Poundstone still tours as much as just about any comedian out there. Poundstone says her live show is vastly different from her "Wait, Wait..." appearances -- it's more personal, she says, and nearly a quarter of the show is just Poundstone interacting with the audience.


Pages