The Sweet Water Warblers will perform in the Dogwood Black Box on Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. Formed at the Hoxeyville Music Festival in 2014, the Sweet Water Warblers have gone on to attract serious admiration wherever they appear.
As Michigan songbirds, Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou and May Erlewine had each carved out successful careers on the American Roots Music circuit and in the process grew to respect each other’s work. When they finally gelled into the potent force they have become, it was the most natural coming together – three singing sirens and multi-instrumentalists whose repertoire swings from gospel and bluegrass to soul and even joyful interpretations of pop.
Lindsay Lou is well known as lead vocalist with her band The Flatbellys who have toured extensively and appeared at festivals ranging from MerleFest in the USA to Shetland Folk Festival in the UK. One of the main visiting attractions at Celtic Connections in 2017, she was nominated in the 2016 Best Vocalist category by the prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association.
May Erlewine has the sort of soul-baring voice that moves the Alan Lomaxes of the world to abandon the ivory tower for the back roads of rural America. One of the most prolific and passionate songwriters of her generation, May’s music has touched the hearts of people all over the world. Her songs have been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, on Prairie Home Companion, sung in churches, played by musicians nationally and regionally and in living rooms across the land. Her words have held solace for weary hearts and her writing is for the times.
Rachael Davis has a broad and faithful fanbase, admired especially by her peers, with a reputation as one of the classiest gals on the scene. At the age of 21, Rachael moved to Boston to start a career as a singer-songwriter and 7 short months after joining the music community she was was awarded the Boston Music Award for best new singer-songwriter. Her influences range from the jazz stylings of Ella Fitzgerald to the soulful contemporary vocals of Patty Griffin and much more in between.
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.
The Glass Castle Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
Undecided. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so torn about a book before. So here are my thoughts and maybe by the end of writing them down I will have come to a more concrete opinion.
First, a quick synopsis. Jeannette Walls writes a memoir with her book The Glass Castle. She is one of three children in a dysfunctional family; the father an alcoholic, the mother an artist who has no desire to work to improve their dismally poor conditions. Jeannette weaves the tale of her childhood, hopping from town to town, one side of the country to the next until settling in her father’s hometown of Welch, West Virginia. It was there the children really learned to fend and care for themselves until all three eventually escaped to New York City one by one. The story isn’t over until her father’s passing, many years later, when Jeannette is grown and married.
1: Jeannette Walls is a wonderfully gifted writer. Her sentences flowed, the read was easy but not too easy that it was boring.
2: The conflict is of great importance: poverty in America.
3: I greatly enjoy memoirs. Hearing about real life through others’ eyes always captivates me.
4: I found myself stretched in a way when I read it. I feel a great need to place myself in someone else’s shoes, look around, and try to understand her perspective. I was able to do that and felt I grew after having walked in Walls’s shoes (or perhaps bare feet since she didn’t often have shoes).
1: I just can’t find it in me to like Walls’s father, Rex. I tried. I can understand how Jeannette as a child would not know any better and of course love unconditionally. But I felt as though as an adult she was trying to justify his actions in the book. And there just isn’t justification for his actions.
2: Was she trying to justify his actions in the book? Maybe she wasn’t. The fact that I couldn’t decide if it was that or maybe just speaking kindly of him knowing he did the best he could is bothering me still.
3: Walls’s mother. GAH. I know I don’t have to like her actions. I know that isn’t the point. I found myself mentally hurting for her inability to change her situation despite the potential to do so in multiple ways.
Nope. I’m no more decided now whether I truly enjoyed the book or find it to be someone trying to justify her parents’ actions in a way that makes them look good.
I see that I have one more pro than I have con. But the cons are big time cons. They even out in my brain.
Here is what I know for sure. I don’t always have to like a book to find it worthwhile. And for that reason alone, I recommend that everyone read this book (if you haven’t already, because probably most of you have). There is no doubt that I find this to be an important book to have read. I needed to read a book that was well written (so not bad in that sense) and yet leaves me contemplating its contents.
Maybe when Book Club meets I will hear what my friends have to say and find a way to decide exactly how I feel about it. Until then, I’ll ponder some more.
**Head to Flying Bear Books in downtown Newaygo to get your copy today!**
Bella is a 5th grade student whose favorite book series is Harry Potter, which she read in entirety in 3rd grade. While reading is her favorite quiet time activity, she also loves playing volleyball, running, ice skating, and all animals. Her affinity for reading has made her an expert in young adult literature. She hopes to share her favorite titles with others looking for YA stories.
Wonderstruck is my new favorite book. I still love Harry Potter, but Wonderstruck is definitely 5 stars out of 5 and an outstanding story.
The book is made up of two stories: one told in pictures, the other told in words. The pictures are Rose’s point of view. The words are Ben’s point of view.
Ben ran away from Gunflint (Minnesota) to New York to try to find his dad, who he found out about from a book at his home called Wonderstruck. He was born deaf in one ear, and then while on the telephone, lightning struck and caused his good ear to also lose hearing.
Rose was born deaf. Her mom is famous, and her parents are divorced. She has a teacher who is part of her story, but doesn’t really like him because he’s mean. She runs away to New York to find her brother Walter, who works at the museum in the city.
Ben and Rose’s paths eventually cross. Their stories come together with an interesting ending.
This is my new favorite book because I like how Rose’s story is from one time period, and Ben’s is from another, but they are connected and come together. The way the story is told with one tale in pictures and one in words is fascinating.
I recommend this book to guys and girls both. Anybody who likes to sit down and read a long story would like this book (it has about 700 pages).
Join nationally-acclaimed ensemble Bash the Trash for "Recycling Remix" at the Dogwood Center on Saturday, January 13 for an afternoon of music, trash, and hands-on fun! Bash the Trash builds, performs and educates with musical instruments made from recycled and reused materials - it’s Science, Sound and Sustainability all rolled into one great event!
Bash the Trash will start with a rousing performance, followed by an instrument-building session in which everyone gets to build several cool and weird musical instruments. The whole event culminates in a musical number in which everyone gets to participate!
The program will begin at 3:00 p.m. in the Black Box. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5.00 for children 18 and under. Tickets 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.
By N3 Entertainment Squad
This week we embark on what will undoubtedly prove to be another serendipitous journey through a series of intriguing ideas, concepts and points of view from an eclectic collection of speakers on a wide variety of subjects.
No, we're not referencing the upcoming Golden Globes, we’re talking about the January Series beginning on Wednesday January 3rd.
For over three decades this Calvin College sponsored (and free) series has made the month of January a bit more bearable.
Not a lot more bearable mind you because it is, after all, January and as an N3 friend who moved south said recently “There’s a lot I miss about Michigan…..well…. except January…. oh yeah, and February.”
But anything that helps get some of us through the seemingly eternal opening month of the year (and don’t even try to convince us it has the same number of days as its much swifter sister July) is heartily welcomed.
Last year we recall being challenged by Eugene Cho, enchanted by Taylor Chase, awakened by Mark Charles and captivated by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
There have been many surprises that have arisen from the series when people at the podium previously unknown to us delivered insightful thought provoking presentations and few, if any, of the more well known names disappointed. A few years back they tossed out a rather remarkable back to back when Rebecca Skloot the author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” spoke on Tuesday and was followed on Wednesday by the iconic and infinitely entertaining and informative Cokie Roberts.
And as we mentioned the adventure is in listening to someone you’ve not yet heard of speaking to a topic that might seem foreign or at the least just not in your wheelhouse and coming away with a piece of something you didn’t have when you walked in.
The snag here being that Calvin College is a bit of a drive (Grand Rapids) and these things are held midday (12:30pm) because, after all, its a luncheon series of sorts.
Ah, but the Dogwood Center on the outskirts of Fremont is not a long drive nor would you be battling the East Beltline traffic to get there. For the 9th year running, thanks in part to the support of the Fremont Area Community Foundation, they will be hosting a simulcast of the presentations as well as... ‘BONUS ALERT’... offering lunch for a mere fin.
Yes five bucks and you get to settle into the cozy comfort of the Black Box while sampling a lunch whose source will depend on the day you attend. We’ve had our lunches there from a variety of local eateries and the best thing is that one can almost always count on a cookie or similar treat being part of the package.
‘BONUS ALERT II’ You must call a day ahead to have a lunch reserved. That’s 24 hours, meaning the morning before and not a ten minutes to midnight machine message.
This years lineup most certainly looks a lot more enticing than the one the Tigers will be putting on the field Opening Day.
Any Hamilton fans out there?
Yes, there are. We at N3 know your numbers are legion in our area.
Well, a special treat arrives on the 18th when Jeremy McCarter presents “Hamilton, Hope and Change”
Pentatonix aficionados? Plenty of you to be found nearby as well.
Well, on the (17th) group member Kevin Olusola will be “In Concert and Conversation”.
Check out Pashon Murray (9th) and Randy Lewis (5th) a pair of business folks with intriguing stories, Laura Truax (11th) who looks to provide an interesting take on generosity and we are intrigued by Beverly Tatum(15th) whose book title reads “Why Are All the Black Kids Still Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”
Then there is Katherine Boo (16th) who has written extensively about her time spent in some of the world’s poorest communities and is on our admittedly extensive ‘can’t miss’ list.
There you go Near Northians, three weeks of lunchtime listening and learning at the Dogwood which has annually been one of the highest attended remote sites in the nation for this series, including over 50 gathering spots that span the continent from Connecticut to California and Ontario to Texas.
We at N3 World Headquarters find our brains freeze up a bit along with the frigid temps so taking a mid day break to stimulate a few receptors seems to produce a thimbleful of thawing.
And we can use any help we can get because….because...
Well, because it’s January.
And 45 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.
By Ken DeLaat
I hate wrap.
No not rap.While not an aficionado of the genre there exists strong appreciation for its impact on the musical world and when pressed must admit to giving certain artists an extended listen or two.
I’m talking Wrap. As in Christmas wrapping.
Of all the tasks assigned to the season wrapping ranks just below the post-holiday removal of pine needles from the carpeting on my least favorite pastimes.
Why? Because I am not very good at it.
And that’s an understatement.
My gift wrapping skills fall far below acceptable and though I have honestly tried to be a little more careful or at the very least a bit more uh, neat I guess, my conclusion is that once a youtube demo fails you any hope for a major change dims considerably.
Years ago when LSC Lil and I resided in the GR area I would call on my oldest (longevity not chronologic) friend Henry who for whatever reason was a true wrap artist. Maybe he got it from his Mom who I recall from childhood as being considerably creative, but he was most definitely a master.
I’d give him a call and bring over a couple of beers that we’d split while he went to work, never once measuring the gift up to the paper just cutting and taping. There was a rhythm to it, a kind of freestyle flow to his movements as he would finish one off then eye up the next as he began to cut again never moving the gift until the paper was laid out.
These days I have attempted to give it a go since I only see Henry a couple times a year and a bi-annual card game is hardly the place to be bringing over gifts for him to wrap.
Here’s the thing. Lil ( a woman of strikingly superior patience) wraps really really well. She certainly matches Henry in quality if not in pure showmanship. This ability is a great thing when I am on the gifting end of other people and can enlist her services.
However gifts for her need to be self-wrapped (I’ve asked if she would do it but she won’t budge on this) and when my futile attempts rest under the tree alongside of her wistfully wrapped wonders the scene can look a bit, I don’t know... unbalanced I guess.
This year I once again journeyed the paper trail and took a stab at attempting to make my gifts look more like inviting and non-wrinkled packages and less like the upshot of a scotch tape assault on the holiday itself.
Results have been... well… mixed, I guess. Easier things that have even corners have gone well but few of my gifts seem to fall into that category and none seem to have the appropriate dimensions for a box or gift bag. I’ve been advised before that my gifts could be a bit less ‘offbeat’ but I’ve found fun rarely comes neatly packaged.
There’s still too much tape involved and my reticence toward waste (along with perhaps a parsimonious predisposition) creates an occasional patch of unmatched paper over a tear but we can live with that.
Despite some shortfalls like leaving a gap or two and a couple of way too wrapped pieces it felt good to try. After all if it’s truly the thought that counts when it comes to the gift should not the wrapping be equally regarded?
So there, quality of wrapping aside, it's the thought.
And the primary thought yours truly put into this whole process as he does every year?
“Where in this weary world is Henry when you need him?”
The Mayor’s Tree.
For many years the Christmas tree that graces the lobby of the entertainment jewel known as the Dogwood Center has been the creation of James Rynberg who also just happens to hold the office of mayor in the fine city of Fremont.
This year’s version provides a gentle and snowlike look, highlighting the artistry involved in the detailed decorative decisions.
Well done Mr. Mayor.
We’d call it “nearly perfect”
We at N3 World Headquarters & Christmas Decoration Domicile are of course knee deep in holiday celebratory state of mind these days. It is, the final weekend before Yuletide weekend. With the Big Day coming on a Monday this year it becomes a bit like those 3 day holidays such as Labor Day Memorial Day, Presidents Day and Columbus Day (remind me again why on Earth anyone celebrates Columbus Day).
Except it’s not, of course. The fact that Christmas lands on a Monday might mean some folks have Tuesday off or that Christmas Eve services fall on the same day when other church type services are already in place, but as a holiday it is truly like no other.
Love it or hate it (and many do indeed hate it) you can’t ignore Christmas like you do, say, Columbus Day (again, why?). It starts getting traction at Thanksgiving and picks up considerable steam through the month of December. Now we are in full blown, Santa driven, present purchasing, carol crooning Christmas mode and there is no stopping now.
Friday from 6-8 is Christmas in Croton with a slew of activities at the Croton Campground that begin with a 6pm lighting of the tree. Bring the fam and get the weekend kicked off in Santa style as Mr. C.will be making an appearance for last minute requests.
The Joshua Davis Trio is at the Dogwood Friday night and his concerts always deliver on the promise of good times and good music. The box office is open from 10am-2:30pm today and will reopen from 5:30pm to 7:30pm when the show begins.
Ever been to Tamarac? The staff of N3WH (& CDD) are semi-regulars at this emporium of good health and fitness (the steam room is outstanding) and can often be found going through the paces of a workout or two.
Well, Tamarac has turned 10 and this weekend to celebrate there will be a community open house from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.on what they are dubbing “Super Saturday.” Fitness instructors will offer free and highly popular classes open for everyone, including non-members, to try, ranging from knockout and spinning to yoga and aquatics exercises in the pool. Tamarac is also offering a host of specials for both non-members and members.
If you read the Charles Chandler piece (see our home page) on MB Woodworks a good time to visit the latest retail gem to hit downtown Newaygo would be Saturday when beginning at 12 noon Santa (fresh from last night’s Croton appearance) will be stopping in for some photo ops and gift wishes.
Further afoot if you’d to commune with a few sleigh carriers up close and personal head to the Hackley Public Library in Muskegon and meet the gang who will be gathered on their front lawn beginning at 2:30pm
And speaking of libraries,Fremont Library is having a Christmas Craft making activity for young folks Saturday beginning at 10am.
Time for some serious revelry folks so get out there and get a little ho-ho-ho in your step.
“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer.... Who'd have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? -Bill Watterson “Calvin & Hobbes”
The 2018 edition of Calvin College’s award-winning January Series is once again at the Dogwood Center and features a solid lineup of speakers who are at the leading edge of some of the nation’s and world’s most critical and timely discussions. From Wednesday, January 3, through Tuesday, January 23, a host of nationally acclaimed speakers will continue those conversations on Calvin’s campus and viewed at remote sites like the Dogwood Center.
The January Series features one of the most influential scientific minds, a New York Times best-selling author and a former technology adviser to the White House. A few of the notable presenters in the 2018 lineup include Katherine Boo, a staff writer for The New Yorker whose work has been honored by a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and Pulitzer Prize; Jeremy McCarter, co-author of Hamilton: The Revolution who witnessed the Broadway show’s journey from concept to cultural phenomenon; and Kevin Olusola, who is best known as the beatboxing member of the Grammy-winning vocal quintet Pentatonix.
This is a great opportunity to listen to nationally acclaimed speakers surrounding a variety of interesting topics. The Dogwood Center, a remote site for the Calvin College January Series and supported in part by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, is pleased to bring the Calvin College January Series to Newaygo County for the ninth year in a row. For the last eight years, the Dogwood Center has been among the highest attended remote sites in the nation.
The January Series lectures is video streamed live at the Dogwood Center, 4734 S. Campus Court in Fremont, from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. on weekdays, January 3 through January 23. The lectures are free and open to the public. Both the Black Box and Main Stage areas will be available for seating. Attendees may bring their lunch or order a lunch for $5 by calling 231.924.8885 at least 24 hours prior to the date. The speaker schedule can be seen at www.calvin.edu/january or at www.dogwoodcenter.com.
Little Fires Everywhere Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
Admission: I am the book nerd who reads all of the lists that pop up on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter related to good books. You know the kind.
“15 MUST READ Books While Lounging On The Beach” (Who has time to read 15 books while lounging on the beach, really? But I could dream.)
“30 Books You’ll Love If You Love Harry Potter” (Yes, please. All 30 will do.)
So when Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng popped up on nearly every single list I read a few months ago, I knew it was a sign that I had to add it to my own list of future reads. It was receiving rave reviews from many people who seem to know about such things.
Page one I was hooked. Not page two or three or by the end of the chapter. But the actual first page. I was drawn into the story with the intriguing plot that Ng wasted no time introducing. Hook, line and sinker.
I will admit that very quickly I was also filled with dread. I already liked the characters by the end of the first chapter. Immediate attachment is problematic. I was about to be pulled through another story hoping, wishing and begging for the conflict to be resolved in a way that would be satisfactory for the characters I so deeply cared for.
The power of literature is unfathomable.
So it began.
The tale is set in Shaker Heights, a perfect suburb of Cleveland. The houses are enormous, the lawns meticulously groomed, the residents living the dream. Such is the home and life of the Richardson family - everything planned out from beginning to end.
And then there is Mia Warren who arrives with her daughter Pearl. They travel the country finding inspirational locations for Mia’s art, never settling in one place for more than one project. But this time it is supposed to be different; Mia promising Pearl they will stay and set roots.
Two families that are opposites in nearly every way cross paths and the result is an inferno of emotion, drastic actions and heart wrenching decisions.
Innovative, intriguing story line. Check.
Protagonist I was rooting for. Check.
Antagonist who was obviously going to be disastrous but you couldn’t help feel for. Check.
I’ll let you decide for yourself whether the conclusion was deserving of a satisfactory check or not.
Little Fires Everywhere is being added to another list. My own. Perhaps I’ll call it...
“20 Stories That Change Your Perspective On Life”
*Near North Now Readers: Flying Bear Books has copies of Little Fires Everywhere available for purchase! It would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for the bibliophile in your life (or yourself).
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