Magician Jason Bishop at the Dogwood Center on January 25
Join magician Jason Bishop for a spectacular show of magic and illusion at the Dogwood Center on Friday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. for his "Straight Up Magic” performance!
As America’s hottest illusionist, Jason Bishop might read your mind one second or make goldfish appear the next, he performs stunning, state of the art magic and illusions. His show features amazing sleight of hand, exclusive grand illusions and even close-up magic projected onto screens.
Jason was handpicked by LiveNation to perform with Ke$ha, Matt & Kim, Paramore, Weezer, Drake, and many other celebrities at multiple Bamboozle Festivals.
His performance abilities have led him from L.A to New York City and Mexico to Sweden, as well as every state and many countries in-between. Jason has entertained celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Bam Margera, who after seeing him perform said, “Jason Bishop is the best magician I’ve ever seen.” Bishop’s combination of modern music, fast paced magic, sleight of hand and audience participation have landed him in several notable venues, including Celebrity and Disney Cruise lines, Hollywood’s Magic Castle and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He was also named APCA’s Best Performing Artist of the Year.
Tickets are $17.50 for adults and $5 for children 18 and under. Purchase your tickets through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Challenges not resolutions
By Alexis Mercer
I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions as long as I can remember. My thought is that resolutions seem to be suggesting changing oneself in drastic ways.
This year I resolve to lose the 10 pounds I put on in college…
This year I resolve to join a gym and make myself a regular…
This year I resolve to stop smoking…
These aren’t my personal resolutions. Just examples of some that seem to be common. Chances aren’t great that if you haven’t figured out how to lose the 10 (ehhh maybe 20) pounds you put on 25 years ago in college, you aren’t going to be able to do that this year by setting a resolution that says you will. If you’ve never enjoyed attending a gym, chances are that you won’t dive in and become a regular with a resolution that says you will. And if you’re a smoker without a specific plan of how to quit, the odds aren’t the best that just setting a resolution to do so won’t be all that effective.
Instead, I like setting specific challenges at the beginning of the year. I reflect back on the past year and try to think of smaller goals that I can set for myself that will potentially bring me a step closer to where I hope to be either in my fitness, family life, career or general well-being.
This way I am not looking to make drastic changes that might be so far out of reach I am setting myself up for failure. Then I come up with specific plans for how to reach my goals.
My favorite challenges at the beginning of the year involve local road races. If you’ve never attended a local race, you’re missing out. Often these races are put on by non-profit groups that use the proceeds as their funding for the year. By signing up and paying the entry fee, you’re supporting causes that are in need of your support.
There are plenty to choose from! You can Google “road races near me” and come up with plenty.
One year instead of setting my sights on a local race, I chose a destination I had never been and my sister and both trained in our respective cities, flew to Austin and enjoyed an extended weekend together exploring the city and running the race! This was the year that I had a one year old at home (with a three and six year old as well) who had yet to sleep through the night. My real challenge for the year was to survive. No joke. But the challenge I had written down was to find a race in a new location my sister and I could run together. Then half the fun was spending time with her looking for and planning our trip!
Maybe your challenge is to run your first 5k. Maybe it’s to cross the line of a distance you haven’t yet conquered. Or maybe it’s going for a 50k Ultramarathon (bless you). The distance or speed isn’t what matters. It is that you set a challenge that is meaningful and important for your own life, wherever you’re at in that moment.
Sometimes I want to work on speed (5ks are 3.1 miles of pure guts), other times I think about a distance I haven’t competed in before (last year’s marathon). Maybe there is a holiday I know is stressful, so I plan a race around that time that I can focus on something other than the business of the season. The challenge all depends on what I’m looking to accomplish.
So come January, I start searching. I check my challenges for the year and seek out races that will fulfill my goals. I choose one, two or three and then I start the planning. I either plan my own training program if it’s something I’m familiar and comfortable with, or I find a training plan online. There are so many available...many for free!
Then I write it all down. The challenges, the specific daily plan. I set short term goals for where I want to be by when. Even if I print out a training plan that someone else created, I still like to write it down myself. It helps me solidify the steps in my head.
This year I have quite a few distances on my list of goals. I decided I’m going to return to the 25k distance of the Riverbank Run, which I haven’t tackled in quite a few years. Because of that goal, I chose other races to give myself “checkpoint goals” along the way. Training from now until May seemed a little daunting without some fun before then!
The first on that list is the Fremont Frostbite on January 26. The second is the Kent City Ridge Run. Both are put on by local cross country teams. The proceeds fund their programs (the Ridge Run donates money to local charities as well) for the year. They are well-organized, fun, and have great post-race food to enjoy while you’re celebrating the completion of your goals.
I have nothing but respect for those of you who can set life-altering resolutions each year and make them happen. I just happen to be someone who likes to challenge myself and enjoy the process of achieving what I set out to do! However your New Year works, I wish you a prosperous, healthy, and happy 2019!
In case you’re interested in either of these local races, here are the links to sign up online.
Fremont Frostbite (January 26)
Kent City Ridge Run (March 23)
In the mood to kick it up a bit? After all it’s Friday night and the first long week of the year is finally over so a little celebratory action just might be required.
Trilogy is making an appearance at the River Stop Saloon in downtown Newaygo. The band kicks out some serious jams suitable for movement as well as good listening.so grab an early seat because they will likely be packing the place. Music set to begin at 8pm.
The Black Box a club-like setting located in the Dogwood Center is my ideal kind of venue for listening to music. Being able to be seated at a table in an intimate setting with perhaps an adult beverage in hand, while listening to top level entertainment fits the bill for many fellow music lovers and Saturday (7:30pm) attendees will be given a treat for the ears when the amazing sound of Harmonious Wail comes to town.
This talented trio of tunesmanship will take the audience on a musical journey with their distinctive instrumentals and captivating vocals covering a wide spectrum of jazz and blues influenced music.
And if you have an affinity for the genre known as gypsy jazz? Well, ,you’ve already got ticket in hand.
Tickets are $15.00 and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at: www.dogwoodcenter.com.
For information, phone 231.924.8885.
Are you a Wheatie?
For those who embrace all that is Wheatland, the music festival in Remus that has been an annual destination for tens of thousands each September, here’s a chance to get a little ‘fix’ in between festivals.
The Winter Wheat Festival will take place at The Intersection in Grand Rapids Saturday beginning at 1 pm and Sunday starting at 12:30pm.
Lots of bands playing all day long on two stages. Check out their website for details.
And remember, only 6 weeks until the start of Spring Training games.
The Goldfinch Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
Every once in a while a golden nugget of a book falls into my lap. Maybe twice a year if I’m lucky. Some years I would say pass without any at all. Not to say that there aren’t many, many wonderful books I read each year. Countless that are really entertaining, funny, provide lessons or are simply good reads for other reasons.
But then there is a golden nugget - a book so phenomenal that it changes me. Perhaps it turns my world upside down. Or perhaps the opposite and instead it confirms or reaffirms my deepest beliefs. Maybe it takes me in its arms, engulfs me completely and doesn’t let go for a long, long time.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is a golden nugget.
From page one I was falling into its powerful holds. Though it is a long book, I never once lost interest. I had to take it slowly at times to allow the words, scenes, and story soak in. Other parts I read so quickly because I couldn’t wait one iota longer to find out what was going to happen.
Theo Decker is the protagonist through whose eyes the reader sees the tale. Theo and his mother are on their way to a meeting at his school in New York City to discuss his unacceptable behavior as of late when they make a stop in a museum. It is there that a bomb goes off and his world as he knows it explodes with the walls of the museum.
The story continues through Theo’s adolescence and adulthood. Characters come in and out of his life; a life which unfolds in an unpredictable and captivating way. Choices are made both by Theo and by those responsible for his care that leave the reader on the edge of her seat.
As Theo’s life unfolds for the reader, themes of love, art, cruelty, identity, loss, truth and fate all float to the surface. The beautiful way Tartt uses words paint a picture of the story in the reader’s mind that is fascinating and intriguing. And at the same time those words dig in deep to the reader’s brain, compelling contemplation of many of life’s greatest questions.
How The Goldfinch has been in print since 2013 and hadn’t found me yet, I don’t know. But now that I read it, one thing is certain: it will never leave me. And being that I finished it in 2018, I will cross my fingers that I’ll be lucky enough to find a golden nugget in two consecutive years, but I won’t hold my breath.
By Alexis Mercer
I did it! 40 straight days of running at a minimum one mile a day.
This photo is from the last official day of the streak. It was 32 degrees and pouring rain. I had waited most of the day to avoid running in the rain - but the forecast wasn’t showing a break, so off I went. I only ran a mile. But I ended with this huge smile because the whole 1600 meters I thought about the task of streaking since Thanksgiving and how it was indicative of my running adventures throughout the year of 2018.
Since having children I hadn’t put in a whole year of running. I had run some races here and there, including a half marathon in Austin, Texas with my sister and friend Aaron Roehrig. Mostly, however, my running had been sporadic and undisciplined.
In the fall of 2017 I had just started to get into a groove - running a few weeks consistently - and then while finishing a run near the high school, I stepped on a walnut shell, turned my ankle, fell to the ground, and ended up in a walking boot for 6 weeks having fractured a bone in my lower leg.
It was the beginning of 2018 when I started training for a 5K with my friend Lindsey Brockway (as some N3 readers may have read about last February). It was then that started my year of running.
I was able to make the time to train for and run two 5Ks, Fremont Frostbite and the Irish Jig in Grand Rapids, the Kent City Ridge Run 15K, Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and then the Grand Rapids Marathon.
Throughout the process I was blessed with good health and avoidance of any other walnut shells or any other serious injury inflicting obstacles. So why not try something new - a different challenge - and run a streak!
The process was challenging in a different way than any other training or running in 2018. Days were at their shortest - and coldest. I would only have a few hours after work to fit in daylight running. And often it would be raining or the wind blowing sideways in those hours. Plus, of course, I would have to figure out how to fit in making dinner at a reasonable hour for my family - who were always inevitably hungry exactly when dinner wasn’t ready.
Additionally, as a teacher, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the most exhausting. Everyone is tired and not all that motivated to learn, but exam week comes just after Christmas break so there is absolutely no room for slowing down the curriculum. Instead we have to get creative and find more interesting, engaging and meaningful ways to keep our students headed on the right path. It’s not easy!
All of these factors led to me getting creative in how to fit in my running. Weekends were fine. Early morning running before my family was up wasn’t much of a problem. But weeknights I discovered the joy of running in the dark. It’s amazingly peaceful. There is a stillness in the air that isn’t there during daylight. The air is crisp and fresh at night.
Sometimes I would have to wait until 9 PM to fit in a run. Other times I would make dinner and let my family eat while I ran, then I would get dinner for myself. If I was so exhausted I didn’t know if I could make it that day, I would sneak in a 20 minute nap during daylight after school hours then be energized enough to run.
To complete the run streak was a goal that I wasn’t going to let go incomplete. So I found ways to make it happen.
That is the lesson I have most learned from this process. In a way that I didn’t necessarily get in the same way from other running this year - or maybe just in a way that solidified that lesson.
It doesn’t matter the obstacles that get in your way. With a little luck, a ton of determination, some creativity and a lot of discipline, the obstacles can be overcome.
For those of you who joined along in the run streak - thank you! Many days getting your notifications and seeing your posts helped get me out the door. I hope you got as much out of the challenge as I did.
I haven’t let the streak stop, but I don’t plan on continuing without rest days this whole month. I’m deciding on my 2019 running goals, one of which includes a PR, and for me that probably means giving my older running body a few days of rest here and there. But this #N3RunStreak has definitely given me the knowledge that I CAN do it if I choose. So I’ll tuck that bit of confidence into my heart for the next rainy day run on tired legs.
Harmonious Wail will be performing in the Dogwood Center’s Black Box on Saturday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. With smoldering vocals laced among the jazzy mandolin and guitar, the band will bring an infectious blend of continental jazz, swing, gypsy music and melodic vocals to the Dogwood.
Harmonious Wail takes their listeners on a ride ranging from the music of the Hot Club sounds of Paris to the deepest blues of the Memphis Delta to the folk scenes across “every town” America. Harmonious Wail recently celebrated their 30th anniversary as entertainers who have mastered the art of lifting spirits. The band consists of Sims Delaney-Potthoff, a mandolin virtuoso, bandleader, vocalist and master of all things behind the curtain, Maggie Delaney-Potthoff, vocalist extraordinaire whose percussive instrument of choice is a cardboard box, but who also has a knack for exploring the musicality of almost any household object, and Jeffo Weiss, master bassist who dazzles and mesmerizes on both upright and electric bass.
Harmonious Wail works with National Public Radio where they are honored to be recognized as the favorite house band for the program “Says You” where they’ve matched their wits with the panelists. Their songs have graced the program “All Things Considered” and they have gifted their composition “The Money Song” to NPR stations across the country for annual fundraising programs. Their songs, “People Stuff and “ I Like to Feel My Bones” both received International Songwriters Award, and four of their Gypsy Jazz compositions were cleverly woven into the film score of the internationally acclaimed independent film, ”I Really Hate My Job”.
True warriors for musicians worldwide, they are founding members of the highly respected International Folk Alliance, and they have created their own foundation, the Henry Mac Fund, supporting the arts in their hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. The band is also a recipient of the 2017 Musicnotes Outstanding Musical Career Achievement Award.
Tickets are $15.00 and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
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