January Michigan Event Calendar

Frankfort, Michigan Lighthouse and Beach by forestlady
Frankfort, Michigan Lighthouse and Beach by forestlady

Here’s a few highlights of the many events being held around Michigan for the month of January (be sure to click Read More to see them!). A lot of them are out in the snow for snowmobiles, skates, skis and sled dogs, but there’s also a chance to heat up with the Ann Arbor Folk Fest, Ferndale Blues and the Detroit Auto Show. The weatherman says there’s a 100% chance we didn’t get them all so please add links and information for those we missed along with reviews of ones we list in the comments below!

Fast FactsWikipedia

  • January is named after Janus (Ianuarius), the god of the doorway; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) – January is the door to the year.
  • January’s birthstone is the garnet which represents constancy.
  • Its birth flower is the Dianthus caryophyllus or Galanthus.


“New Year’s Day is everyman’s birthday.” – Charles Lamb

“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.” – Sara Coleridge

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell

Michigan New Years Eve Happenings

Michigan New YearWe have assembled a list of some of the best New Year’s Eve events from across the state including a number from Detroit & Grand Rapids / Kalamazoo’s massive New Year’s Fest’s featuring fireworks, music and more! Did we get them all? Not likely!! Be sure to add the ones we missed to the comments and be safe while ringing in the New Year!

ArtPrize 2011 in Grand Rapids

The Eyes Have It by pairadocs
The Eyes Have It by pairadocs

Our favorite Michigan art event, ArtPrize, kicks off its third year in Grand Rapids this Wednesday. ArtPrize runs September 21 – October 9, 2011. It’s billed as a radically open art competition that is open to any artist in the world who can find space and it is one of the most dynamic expressions of art in the world.

In their excellent ArtPrize 2011 Guide, mLive reports:

The first ArtPrize drew an estimated 200,000 people to downtown Grand Rapids, more than 37,000 of whom cast more than 334,000 votes in the exhibition with work by 1,262 artists. ArtPrize 2010 drew as many as 400,000 people who voted 465,000 times for 1,713 works of art.

…Some 1,582 works of art go on display in 163 venues downtown plus Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park a few miles away.

ArtPrize 2011 poster by Square One Design

ArtPrize 2011 poster by Square One Design

Click through for some cool stories on 2011 such as news that Facebook creative director Ji Lee is entering for 2011 and a feature on 2011 ArtPrize venues.

The heart of ArtPrize is the public vote, and you can pre-register right now at FYI, if voting is the heart, than the lungs of ArtPrize are participation and presence, and to activate your account, you have to go to Grand Rapids (which explains the phenomenal support that GR businesses and organizations provide the event).

ArtPrize on FacebookSome great places to go for ArtPrize media include the ArtPrize Tumblr, the ArtPrize Facebook, ArtPrize Twitter and #ArtPrize on Twitter,  and the  ArtPrize YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube, a few cool videos we found include a check-in at yesterday’s ArtPrize artist reception at the B.O.B., an analysis of the public’s vote (and taste in art), a tour of ArtPrize neighborhoods, a look at the new ArtPrize HUB, and the cost of ArtPrize to artists. Below is the featured video from ArtPrize’s channel, a look at 2010 from Brian Kelly. Hopefully Brian will be kicking out more great videos this year! we hope all you photographers will post your ArtPrize photos in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr!

Celebrating 100 Years at the Wealthy Theatre

Wealthy Theatre, 1936

Wealthy Theatre, 1936

The Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids turns 100 this year. Located at 1130 Wealthy Street, the theater was constructed in 1911 for vaudeville and live theater, later becoming a neighborhood movie house. During World War I, the Wealthy served as a warehouse for the Michigan Aircraft Company and in the 1960s is was the only regional venue for foreign films.

The theater closed in the late 1970s and remained empty for over 25 years before the South East Economic Development neighborhood association launched a capital campaign to fund its restoration. The Theatre re-opened in 1998 as a community arts center and has helped to spawn a renaissance of the entire Wealthy Street business district. (check the video below for the astounding before & after photos!)

Streets of Grand Rapids by RichardDemingPhotography
Streets of Grand Rapids by RichardDemingPhotography

In 2004, the Theatre closed and sought a nonprofit partner who could commit to the continued growth of the theatre. The Grand Rapids Community Media Center (CMC) rose to the challenge, and with a successful capital campaign was able to acquire the Wealthy and make critical improvements including a concert sound system,  new projection screen, a micro-cinema space and repainting, upgrades and renovations throughout.

In addition to providing a modern and comfortable venue for performance and film, the Wealthy Theatre is home to CMC projects including GRTV Television and  WYCE-FM Radio.  Absolute Michigan is excited to be helping the Wealthy Theatre mark 100 years and also to present some of the amazing projects that the CMC is involved with.  This weekend, our Driving Michigan crew including host Seth Bernard will be visiting with the crew at the CMC/Wealthy to learn about what they do and how and why they are doing it!

Seth Bernard Cat Stevens TributeThis Saturday night at 6:30 PM you can enjoy a very special night of music and memories, as  Seth Bernard (and friends) pay tribute to the best of Cat Stevens. This concert is a fundraiser for the Wealthy Theatre Centennial Sustainability Campaign, which celebrates the 100th birthday of Wealthy Theatre with greening and technology upgrades as a means of historic preservation. You can learn about and donate to the Sustainable Centennial campaign right here.

PS: Tonight they are screening the classic film Harold & Maude which of course features the music of Cat Stevens.

Visit to learn much more about them including their services for nonprofit organizations including media production, website creation and social media training. Now check out this cool before & after video!

Wealthy Theatre Before & After from Wealthy Theatre on Vimeo.

ArtPrize 2011 ~ September 21 through October 9, 2011

Cavalry by pairadocs
Cavalry by pairadocs

ArtPrize, the radically open, radically cool art competition that awards the world’s largest art prize has issued their call for ArtPrize 2011 artists. The wildly successful event will return to Grand Rapids September 21 through October 9, 2011. ArtPrize has no formal jury, curator or judge, allowing the public to choose the winners.

ArtPrize 2010 presented the work of over 1,700 artists, tallied 465,000 votes and awarded almost $500,000. It’s one of the most amazing events in Michigan and the nation, and Absolute Michigan will once again report on ArtPrize and also provide in-depth features and interviews leading up to the event. You can see coverage from past years including ArtPrize 2010 winner Chris LaPorte of Grand Rapids at

Artist will want to note that Venue Registration opens Monday, March 14 and closes Thursday April 14 while Artist Registration is Monday, April 18 through Thursday, June 16. From May 31 to June 30, artists and venues will connect. ArtPrize Executive Director Bill Holsinger-Robinson says:

“A lot of the most memorable work in the event is created for a specific space. Artists will know all the venues available as they register. The vast majority of artists who did not secure a venue in 2010 were the ones who signed up at the last minute. Register early!”

Here’s a great video overview of ArtPrize that lets you know more about the incredible impact and reach of this event. Many more from ArtPrizeGR on YouTube!

ArtPrize Happenings: Concerts, Presentations & Parties

Absolute Michigan will be on location at ArtPrize and bringing you regular updates In addition to seeing all the art at the venues around the city, ArtPrize 2010 features numerous happenings all over the city. Before we get into that, however, here’s a great Opening Montage by filmmaker Brian Kelly that we came across this morning!

ArtPrize 9 22 2010 by RichardDemingPhotography
ArtPrize 9 22 2010 by RichardDemingPhotography

OK, hope your blood is moving now. Here’s some highlights to help you get your feet moving…

One of my absolutely favorite musicians is Michelle Shocked and she’s in Grand Rapids tonight at 8 PM. If you can get there, don’t miss   at the Wealthy Theatre.

Neighborhood Parties start today. Westside is an untraditional night at the movies TONIGHT Thursday, September 23 (8 – 10:30 PM). Hillside is Friday, September 24 (5 – 7 PM) and spotlights the talent of Grand Rapids’ theatre district for a beer-tasting happy hour. Center City is Saturday, September 24 (7-10 PM) will feature the first of three concerts in the ArtPrize 2010 Concert Series. Hillside is Sunday, September 26 (2 – 4 PM) and is an all-ages and family event with a community canvas and ive folk-rock music by Chicago-based band Common Shiner. Monroe North is Monday, September 27 (8 – 10 PM) and is Game Night with artists and public squaring off in competition.

ArtPrize Concert Series The ArtPrize Concert from 7-10 PM takes place at Rosa Parks Circle (Monroe Ave and Monroe Center) and features Surfer Blood, an indie-rock band from West Palm Beach. On Saturday, October 2, pop-singer Natasha Bedingfield headlines will perform with special guests: David Archuleta and Hot Chelle Rae.

Artist Beili Liu's "Lure/Forest" by paulh192
Artist Beili Liu’s “Lure/Forest” by paulh192

ArtPrize Speaker Series will be held at The Hub and features 8 days with distinguished art experts, artists, designers, and more. Evening events include a cocktail hour and cash bar and daytime events have lunches available for purchase.

The Top 10 Announcement takes place at 6 PM on Thursday, September 30 at Rosa Parks Circle. Following the announcement, Grammy-nominated act Five For Fighting will perform select songs.

The ArtPrize Winners Announcement takes place Thursday, October 7 at 7 PM.

The ArtPrize Art Fair at DeVos Place will allow you to browse or buy artwork from over 50 registered ArtPrize artists.   It takes place September 24-26.

Getting around ArtPrize 2010

Walkers by RichardDemingPhotography
Walkers by RichardDemingPhotography

ArtPrize 2010 officially starts today and runs through October 10th. With over 1700 registered artists and nearly 200 venues you may find that seeing what you want to see is a daunting prospect. We spent some time learning about a few ways to make this easier…

You’ll definitely want to hit the exhibition centers for the high level of art concentration, but last year we found that there were so many more cool scenes to check out. To aid you in your quest to uncover these hidden gems, there’s the ArtPrize map on Google with information about all the venue locations. WOOD-TV has a look at the venues off the beaten path and some ideas for getting around.

This year they’re running an ArtPrize shuttle. To ride, all you need is a $5 wristband that also gives you free rides on any RAPID bus!

You can navigate on the ground, vote and get ArtPrize updates with the ArtPrize iPhone app.

mLive has a great report on “The Hub” – the HQ for ArtPrize at the old Federal Building. One of the very cool features they will have is a Heat Map that will track what’s hot on social media. Here’s the video tour of the Hub:

ArtPrize 2010 The Hub

Grand Rapids gets ready for ArtPrize 2010

via Michigan in Pictures

Face Paint by TerryJohnston
Face Paint by TerryJohnston

Last year ArtPrize in Grand Rapids launched and was the most successful art event in Michigan’s history, attracting 200,000 visitors to see the work of over 1000 artists in every media from fine art to paper airplanes. In 2009, Absolute Michigan was on location for ArtPrize and I have to say that it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life to see this city transformed into a giant gallery teeming with active, engaged crowds of people looking this way and that, trying to take in a mind-boggling amount of art.

In 2010 the format will be the same, with artists submitting a single entry at venues all over the city, all vying for the votes of those who attend and the $250,000 1st place prize. Absolute Michigan will be back to cover the event, and I sincerely hope you can make the time to go to Grand Rapids and experience ArtPrize.

Be sure to stay tuned to ArtPrize in the Absolute Michigan pool and add photos if you take them. Here’s the ArtPrize 2009 video we did last year from some of the pics we received!

Snapshots from the Grand Rapids ArtPrize

Here’s a video produced by Absolute Michigan featuring audio from Brad Aspey of Interlochen Public Radio along with photographs from the Absolute Michigan pool and the Creative Commons. The music is Octopussy by Juanitos. There’s so much more to see – definitely go to Grand Rapids if at all possible to check out ArtPrize – you will not be disappointed!




Kurt Perschke


Eric Daigh


Rob Bliss

2009 Rothbury Ticket Giveaway Is Over!

After tallying the votes from an enormous number of submissions we have identified our winner. Drum roll please……

“I moved from Michigan to Florida this January for work. People said “Florida in the winter….wow, you’re lucky” and “you got a job in this economy, man, you’re lucky”. Well let me tell you something my Michigan friends….you can take a man out of Flint, but you’ll never take the Flintstone out of the Man. Give me one excuse to leave this this oceanside resort for a reunion with the best people in the world, my Michigander soul people, and I won’t be taking Interstate 75 south again. This Michigan Man is ready to find a way to join all the spirited people celebrating our nations birth with some Great Times in the Great Lakes…..and I thank you for bringing me home!!! Say Yeah to Rothbury, the best music line up of the year….Say Yes to Me in M!ch!gan!!!”

Stace S

Rothbury by Dave Vann

Rothbury Snoop Dogg Crowd by Dave Vann

We are pleased to announce that just as we did last year we are having another Rothbury Ticket Giveaway thanks to the very generous festival organizers. This year we will be giving away a pair of 4 day GA Tickets camping included!

Tickets can still be purchased and just like last year’s Rothbury Festival they are offering a variety of packages to suit all lifestyles. Unique to this year’s festival are the 2 day Saturday & Sunday tickets.

About the Rothbury Music Festival

This year the Rothbury Music Festival takes place July 2-5, 2009 in Rothbury, Michigan (near Muskegon). RothburyFour days of music on six stages feature some of the biggest musical acts around including THE DEAD • BOB DYLAN AND HIS BAND • THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT • WILLIE NELSON & FAMILY • THE BLACK CROWES • DAMIAN ‘JR. GONG’ MARLEY & NAS • STS9 • G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE • GOV’T MULE • UMPHREY’S MCGEE • BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE • YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND • and about a jillion others!

The festival also will be showcasing “Circus & Theater“, a feature that demonstrates the festival’s commitment to the performing arts and theatrical culture.

All kinds of interesting Environments & Experiences where you can wander through the Sherwood Forest and stumble upon its many mysteries. Put your hands on some great new gadgets and games at the Festival’s Epicenter or wake up and get loose in a unique yoga journey.

The Rothbury Think Tank will be focused on finding energy independence and feature the innovators, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, celebs, and rabble rousers who – in this time of economic, energy and climate crisis – are offering a green path to a brighter future.

Rothbury in Video and Pictures

Checkout more Rothbury videos on their YouTube channel!

There is also this awesome slideshow from Rothbury 2008 via Flickr…