Thursday, April 7, 2016

Alton Brown Road Eats 2016: Calling All Fans for Recommendations!

If you’ve been following Alton Brown online, than I’m sure you’ve noticed the dozens of doughnuts, hot dogs and hamburgers he’s eaten on the road during his last adventure, The Edible Inevitable Tour. Well he’s about to do it again, this time for his all-new show called Eat Your Science, which will be coming to DeVos Performance Hall on May 4th.

Since fan recommendations were spot on last time, Mr. Brown is asking fans once again: Where should he eat? In each city for his tour, he’s looking for coffee shops, restaurants, late-night snacks and sandwiches available in the area. He prefers to keep it local and simple…nothing fancy.

If you know of a must-visit eatery or coffee shop in a Grand Rapids, Michigan, tell Alton Brown on his Facebook or Twitter. Make sure you use the hashtag #ABRoadEatsGR.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Brit Floyd: Meet the Band

Damian Darlington – Musical Director
Born: Middlesbrough, Teesside in the 1960’s
Member since: 2011
Instruments: Guitar, lap steel, vocals
Previous projects: joined the Australian Pink Floyd Show at the beginning of 1994 and over a period of almost 17 years I went on to play close to 1,300 shows all over the world in theatres, halls and arenas such as The Albert Hall, Wembley & O2 arenas in London, the Bell Centre in Montreal and the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, to name a few. Over the last 10 years I’ve became increasingly interested in the visual production aspects of staging a rock concert and, working with Bryan Kolupski, have helped produce and direct all the video content for TAPFS shows. Working with my brother Gareth Darlington I also directed all the soundscape programming for the Aussie show. I acted as director for both TAPFS DVD releases and in 2007 I had the privilege of directing John Martyn’s Live at the Round House DVD.
Interesting fact: had the amazing experience of performing Comfortably Numb alongside Rick Wright at David Gilmour's 50th birthday party.

Rob Stringer
Born: Worcester, November 1978.
Member since: 2011
Instruments: Keyboards, vocals
Previous projects: Played keyboards on 2 previous Aussie Floyd US/Canadian tours. Have also recently performed in a Beatles theatre show. I was in Liverpool band Edgar Jones and The Joneses, touring Japan twice and performing on Mark Lamarr and Jonathan Ross BBC Radio 2 shows. Have done various live and recording session work over the years, performed on Later with Jools Holland with Candie Payne, we played after Joanna Newsom who played solo harp and before Nick Cave who just shouted down the mic with a load of white noise. I have also worked as a jazz pianist on the North West UK scene, playing in various groups and now have my own group, The Bobby Swing Trio in which I sing (or croon...) and play piano.
Interesting fact: I once performed piano in front of an audience where in the front row, sitting next to each other were Sir Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Sir George Martin, Olivia Harrison and Sir Peter Blake. I didn't know they were there and when I saw them all I nearly fell off the keyboard stool and my hands were shaking. Took a week to recover...

Ian Cattell
Born: July, 1969 in upstate NY.
Member since: 2011
Instruments: Bass guitar, vocals
Previous projects: In late 1994 I joined Crazy Diamond - The Real Reflections of Pink Floyd, and spent the next 2 years touring North America coast to coast, followed by another 2 years with P.U.L.S.E - The Pink Floyd Show (co-founded by Tom Chick and myself). In late 1997 I was a featured vocalist along with Tom Chick in an evening of Symphonic Pink Floyd with the Virginia Symphony. In 2002 I co-founded Childhood's End - a Tribute to Pink Floyd with Steve Schad, Eric Garboushian, and Gregory John. In 2005, I then took the opportunity to tour the world when I was tapped by The Australian Pink Floyd Show. They're still doing shows in New York State and beyond. I usually don't miss a chance to go see them myself. After over 500 shows in over 5 years with TAPFS, I'm excited to be working with Damian, Carl, Bobby, Rob, Arran, Emily, Jacquie, Ola, Gareth, Bryan, our fantastic crew, Chas Cole and all the hard working staff at CMP to bring Brit Floyd to PF fans around the world.
Interesting fact: As a member of the chorus, I performed Beethoven's 9th symphony in Carnegie Hall in New York City. I take my tea without milk... Sorry, my two interesting facts are: Carnegie Hall gig, tea no milk, and an almost fanatical devotion to Pink Flo... My THREE... no... Amongst… I'll come in again.

Edo Scordo
Born: Milan, in 1984
Member since: 2015
Instruments: Guitar, vocals
Previous projects: I was previously singer and guitarist for Brit Floyd's sister show, The Classic Rock Show. Before that I was with the Italian Pink Floyd tribute band “Euphonia”, and I work with Federico Cammarata and the "Pianeta Zero” band as well. I started to work as session musician at the age of 25, with Serena Antonelli, for who I recorded all the lead guitars in her album RESET, and played live for the Relative Italian tour. I have been lead singer and guitarist for another Pink Floyd tribute project, "Division Bell”. Another very interesting project which I was involved in was the “Quattroetreotto” band, one of the funniest band I’ve ever had; a great project leaded by an amazing crooner, Paolo Bianca (Notre Dame De Paris, "La Divina Commedia”: L’opera, Domenica In ). Actually I’m the director of the Lizard Music School of Pisa.
Interesting fact: One day … I’ll be a Doctor!!

Arran Ahmun
Born: Cardiff Docks, 1956
Member since: 2011
Instruments: Drums
Previous projects: I also performed regularly on the Jools Holland 'Happening' series. In ‘87 I recorded with Clannad and did two world tours with the band. Around this time I joined Julia Fordham, recording and touring her album Porcelain. During the late 80's I toured with Andy Summers in the USA followed by a spell touring and recording with Gerry Rafferty. In ‘86 I began a long and continuing association with John Martyn, joining his band for the 'Piece by Piece' tour. I’ve played on almost everything John has recorded since then. Throughout the 90's I continued extensive touring and recording with artists such as Alison Moyet, Linda Lewis, The Proclaimers (including two No. 1 hits), Robbie Robertson and the Jools Holland Big Band. I’ve also worked with Rhian Benson and Angie Stone. I continued to work with John Martyn until his death in January 2009.

Backing Vocals

This amazing group of talented woman consists of Ola Bienkowska, Angela Cervantes, Roberta Freeman, Emily Jollands, and Jacquie Williams. Bienkowska, Jollands, and Willams are the three oldest members and have been with the group since 2011, while Cervantes joined in 2013 and Freeman in 2014. Pink Floyd has been a large impact for many of these professional lives. Freeman has performed with the band, and even caused for the launch of her international career. Singers Cervantes and Jollands have also both performed in other Pink Floyd tribute bands in the past besides Brit Floyd.

Plan a trip to DeVos Performance Hall for a performance you don't want to miss. Tickets can be purchased here.

Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Reasons you’ll fall in love with Tommy Emmanuel


1.) He’s a family man. Emmanuel’s love of music started at the age of four, on his birthday, when his mother bought him a guitar to learn how to play after noticing him playing with the strings on hers. Then by the age of six, he started working to be a professional musician with his brother and father. Their father sold the house and they began going on tour in a family band.

2.) He has a few tricks up his sleeve. During the Summer Olympics of 2000, Emmanuel and his brother, Phil, performed for the closing ceremony. During a few songs in this performance, the brothers shared a guitar that each played with one hand at the same time.

3.) He can be spontaneous. At the age of 16, Emmanuel once tried to sell his electric guitar and land a job working on cars in a garage. This only lasted a month, though, until a show came to town and Emmanuel found himself playing with the band that night and joining them on the road the next morning.

4.) He has compassion. Back in 2010, Emmanuel auctioned off his guitars for UNICEF, to help raise funds for the children of Haiti after the devastating earthquakes struck.

5.) He’s a timeless character. During an episode in season 10 of “American Dad,” Emmanuel’s rendition of “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams was played by Roger Smith in a coffee shop battle.

Plan a trip to DeVos Performance Hall this Valentine’s Day and fall in love with Tommy Emmanuel! Tickets can be purchased here.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

ArtPrize 7: DeVos Place houses four Top 20 finalists

DeVos Place ® is home to four finalists in ArtPrize 7, the international art competition that began on September 23 and ends October 11. Of the Top 20 public vote finalists, four installments are located in and outside of the Grand Gallery and cover a variety of platforms.

Here are the four finalists that you can find at DeVos Place:

Kurt Swanson, “The Race”
Kurt Swanson’s piece is a three-dimensional installment located inside of convention center. The piece includes three bicycles made entirely of wood with a portrait of the artist riding his bike into the “future.”

According to the artist, a variety of woods were used in creating the piece, including oak, mahogany, maple, bamboo, and aspen. This artwork is located on the skywalk level of the Grand Gallery.

Kurt has worked as a craftsman for over 25 years and owns Always August Designs, a wooden furniture company based in Grand Rapids.

Randall Libby, “Michigan Petoskey Stone”

Boasting the title of “World’s Largest Petoskey Stone Display,” this piece by Randall Libby represents the beautiful state of Michigan with Petoskey stones and fossil. The two-dimensional piece can be seen in front of the entrance to the Grand Gallery.

The piece portrays all 83 counties in the state of Michigan. Randall Libby creates unique Petoskey Stone and Fossil artwork through The Petoskey Art Studio.

Shawn Michael Warren, “In a Promised Land…”

Shawn Michael Warren’s “In a Promised Land…” recreates the chaos after the Tulsa race riot of 1921 that left affluent black communities in ruins. Shawn Michael Warren strives to create awareness of the often omitted event and bring attention to historically one of the most devastating moments of racial violence.

You can find this artwork on the skywalk level of the Grand Gallery.

Breakthrough Team, “BREAKTHROUGH”

This piece, located outside of the Grand Gallery main entrance, is creating awareness and fighting stigma surrounding mental health wellness and empowerment. The artwork is comprised of broken pieces of ceramic and formed into the shape of a phoenix rising amidst fire.

The community is welcome to join in on the creation of art by attending the “breaking studio” in which they are able to break ceramics in a symbolic gesture of acceptance and leaving behind judgments or shame.

The final day to vote is October 8 and the winner will be revealed at the ArtPrize Awards October 9. Check out these finalists at DeVos Place through October 11.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Five Reasons to be excited for Grand Rapids Comic-Con 2015

With the second annual Grand Rapids Comic-Con being held at DeVos Place in October, spectators can expect a fun-filled experience during the three day event. With costume contests, celebrities and vendors galore, attendees can expect to be entertained October 16th – 18th. Here are five reasons to be excited for Grand Rapids Comic-Con:

#1: Hall of Heroes Comic Book Historical Display

Comic book fans will rejoice at Comic-Con this year! Courtesy of the Hall of Heroes Museum located in Elkhart, Indiana, the Hall of Heroes Comic Book Historical Display will be in Grand Rapids! The Display has a variety of comic books and memorabilia for all the comic book lovers out there. Hall of Heroes is the only superhero and comic book museum in the entire world, and with items from DC and Marvel, this exhibit isn’t one you want to miss!

#2: A list full of Comic-Con V.I.P.s!

Whether you like comic book art, film, TV or Cosplay, you’ll be entertained with special guests from all realms. With an exclusive list, such as comic book artists from both DC Comics and Marvel, you’ll get to experience an up-close look into what it takes to make it in the industry. There will also be Hollywood guests from shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stargate SG-1, and many more! Be sure to check the full list here.

#3: Represent your Fandom here!

Are you a Jedi? A Trekker? A Whovian? Whatever fandom you belong to, Comic-Con will boast tons of memorabilia from Star Wars, Star Trek, DC/Marvel, Transformers, Doctor Who, Homestruck and so much more! From a life size replica of the Hulkbuster from The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron to a fully functioning Dalek from Doctor Who, be sure to represent your fandom and interact with your favorite groups at Grand Rapids Comic-Con!

#4: And the best costume award goes to… YOU!

Do you have what it takes to make the best costume? With a Best Costume contest in four different categories, you have a chance to get creative, show off your best garb, and win prize packs for each category! So stitch together your favorite character’s look and dress to impress. Show off you craftsmanship with the next best costume!

#5: Family Fun at DeVos Place!

Invite the little ones! Comic-Con can be a family affair! There will be family friendly exhibits, events and speakers that everyone can enjoy. Dress your family as your favorite superhero (or villain) troupe or sit in on a panel discussion about your favorite TV show or video game. For children, there will be a costume contest, face painting, and other activities. Parents are advised to stay with their children to monitor appropriately.

To get your tickets, please visit here! Haven’t been to a Comic-Con in the past and not sure what to expect? Check out Grand Rapids Comic-Con’s handbook for first time Comic-Con attendees. See you there!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Inspirational Chorus coming to Grand Rapids

Young@Heart is a twist-n’-shout group of energetic and talented singers who will be gracing the DeVos Performance Hall stage on August 11th. With a long history of entertaining audiences of all ages, Young@Heart has brought their unique sound and inspiring story to a variety of venues for the past few decades.

The chorus covers a variety of genres in their music, with performances including classic rock to modern day pop hits. Young@Heart have also toured around the world and even gave a touching performance for prison inmates. This versatile group of compelling performers has always put on a show and brings fun for music lovers of all ages.

Organized in 1982, the original members of the chorus came from an elderly housing project in Northampton, Massachusetts. From there, years of stellar productions and an award-winning documentary titled Young@Heart won the hearts of millions across the globe. With members aged between 72-93, these entertainers show the world that they’ve “still got it.”

The documentary, which was released in 2007, followed the 22 members of the chorus as they prepared for a concert in their hometown. Since the release of the film, the chorus has been featured on a variety of television shows such as The Daily Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and many more!

Don’t miss out! Buy your tickets to the Young@Heart Chorus presented by Porter Hills, live at DeVos Performance Hall here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

DeVos Place & Grand Rapids: 10 Years Strong-Part 4

DeVos Place celebrates 10th Anniversary with Celebration
Open House, Saturday, June 13th from 10AM - 5PM. 

#FBF: 10 Years of Fun

DeVos Place® wasn't always the grand convention center in the heart of Grand Rapids that it is now. The ground upon which it was built was once treaded on by Native Americans, ironmongers, factory workers, retailers and shoppers. With such an important part in Grand Rapids history, the land and area that DeVos Place is built upon has a vibrant history all its own.

Something New

In June 1997, Grand Action, a nonprofit organization that identifies downtown revitalization projects and building, presented information regarding a convention center expansion on the Grand Center. With Grand Rapids growing into a cultural hot spot, conventions would bring business and people to the city. Through a variety of fundraising efforts, the Convention Center Ceremonial Groundbreaking took place in August 2000. The Convention Center would be named DeVos Place. In 2003, the Grand Gallery and Meijer Exhibition Hall were opened with the final addition to the building being completed in 2005 with the opening of the DeVos Place Steelcase Ballroom.

DeVos Place brings Tourism to Grand Rapids

In the ten years that DeVos Place has brought conventions, events and culture to the city, it has been the center to a variety of fun and interesting shows. From bringing a Ferris wheel into the Exhibition Hall for the Grand Opening, to thousands of rabbits for American Rabbit Breeders Association and beyond. It has also been the pinnacle of its community with thousands of people attending events and millions being spent on the city, bringing forth a true economic impact.

Celebrating 10 Years in Style

DeVos Place is celebrating with an Open House on Saturday, June 13th from 10AM-5PM! There will be free parking, free hot dog and Pepsi® for the first 10,000 people, Ferris wheel and much more! Community organizations such as the Kent District Library, Grand Rapids Police Department, the Harbor Humane Society, and many more will be present with a variety of activities for all ages. There will also be two entertainment stages with performances such as Jump with Jill, The Diemakers, Pacific Island Dancers, Bangarang Circus and much more! For a full list of performances,  and more information about the DeVos Place 10th Anniversary Open House, please visit our Facebook or website!