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This Week's Events

Oktoberfest West Michigan: Roll Out The Barrel

Friday & Saturday, Sept. 26 & 27, see website for start times
Does the thought of milling about in a crowd of folks obviously having a good time and bumping into one another with dazed looks on their faces bother you?
No, I am not talking about the herds of folks crowding the streets of downtown Grand Rapids for ArtPrize, but those German and German-for-a-day individuals who will travel to the deep West side to participate in the annual Oktoberfest held at John Ball Park.
This is an event where folks who like to live life to its fullest while supporting a good cause, Kids' Food Basket, could literally bump into one another after a game of barrel rolling.
On the surface, this event might feel like just every other beer-themed event, but I daresay with one look at the line-up of acts and activities happening over two days, you'll realize, "Toto, you are not in Kansas anymore." German-themed activities surrounding this event devoted to beer will include fun, off-the-chart, German-themed programming like listening to the Edelweiss Choir, keg tossing, and, for the truly sports-conscious fan, a soccer tournament. 
There is even a (wait for it) "Children's Mug Holding Contest" that is sure to land a few folks in the school's child protective services' office on Monday morning if any of these images should end up as their Facebook profile picture.
But the truth is, it's fascinating to watch this celebration of German culture surrounded by the craft of beer with centuries of families participating. Above all, it's meant to inspire you to have fun while being well behaved. Please have a responsibly good time.
So if your thing isn't peering in your phone voting for art, then thankfully you can enjoy a tasty Wienerschnitzel Brötchen with your Schoefelhofer while the kids create the best selfie with a German heritage mug at our annual Oktoberfest presented by the Edelweiss Club of Grand Rapids.
It is nothing short of good beer and tasty food, enjoyed in the company of great friends.

Super Happy Funtime Burlesque: ArtPrize Winner

Thursday - Saturday, Sept. 25 - 27, 8 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.
There are moments every weekend when weary parents look for a place to relax their feet as the kids settle in to watch a show. I am telling you right now, you cannot bring the kids here so don't even try it.
This weekend, when ArtPrize hits full swing downtown, plenty of families will be taking it in together. But this satirical, just-for-grown-ups ArtPrize event is by none other than our globe-traveling theatrical troupe, the Super Happy Funtime Burlesque. They return to the Pyramid Scheme stage again this year to perform their hilarious poke at the city's largest art event held each fall with their entry ArtPrize: The Musical.
The production promises to cover the history of the annual event, with a few of their classic numbers from the past mixed in with fresh gems that will lift your spirits while letting a little air out of the giant elephant in the room. It might land a stinker, but it is always still funny.
The 8 p.m. shows are free but you will need to secure a ticket. It's worth noting that if you want the full version (as in the slightly dirty one) you will need to purchase a late-night ticket at $10 for general admission or $25 for VIP seating.
Both shows are going to be fun; it really just depends on what level of this experience of GR you can stomach. But beware that these shows will sell out.
Admission: 8 p.m. show, free; late show $10-25.

Cowspiracy: Vegan Grand Rapids at the Mooovies

Over the years Rapid Growth's G-Sync has devoted coverage to a host of film-themed festival events that touch on a wide degree of topics, from design, faith, and environmental stewardship to genre filmmaking like Thriller! Chiller! One area that has lacking has been the topic of food. That is, until now.
Maybe it's a form of dipping one's toe into the mix, but the popular, locally organized website guide and event group Vegan Grand Rapids has partnered with Glendale, California's VegFund – a vegan-focused nonprofit that seeks to inspire people to choose and maintain a vegan lifestyle – and an anonymous donor to bring the film Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret to Wealthy Theatre.
The film looks at the very real impact of our modern food system and is told using a thrilling pace, so that when you get to the end of this 90-minute film, you will be in shock at what is revealed. This is a wonderful film for anyone who is considering a vegan or vegetarian diet or works on environmental justice issues.
According to Vegan Grand Rapids organizers, Cowspiracy focuses on the one industry that does more harm to the planet than any other. The feature-length environmental documentary digs into the silence, with the data presented by experts in their field who repeatedly ask why the world’s leading environmental organizations are shy about going public with the data they posses.
Immediately after the film, Vegan Grand Rapids will lead a discussion about what is being addressed locally within our area organizations concerning this matter.
You can view the Cowspiracy trailer here.
Admission: Free

Red Elvises: Still Feeling Fascination

Wednesday, October 1, 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. showtime
The best line I read about this event on social media is, "I cannot believe they are coming to my town." (Me neither, Kiri Salazar, but as event promoter Michael Packer reminds us, they have been here often.)
No worries about fan base drift – a very real thing if you talk to anyone who lived through the Glen Bulthuis and the Tonedeafs years at Calvin College. Instead, the Red Elvises still continue to wow our locals with shows that are energetic and darn good fun.
This L.A.-formed act from the 1990s has stuck true to their musical heritage as a Russian-American band that performs a catalogue of music that weaves in funk rock, surf, rockabilly, reggae, and folk rock with traditional Russian styles of music.
It's like a Russian Doll where one snappy little number reveals another as the night goes on. Keep the vodka shots coming.
The band had a breakthrough with their first subtly titled album I Wanna See You Bellydance and they have never stopped wowing audiences with their ironic and festive talent. They even played for FX's Beverly Hills, 90210 Swimsuit Beach Party celebrating the marathon broadcast of the popular series. Heck, it was 1999 and the Red Elvises still got it.
Want to see more? Visit their band page and catch a few videos of their past adventures in music.
Tickets are just $12 but if you want a great seat near the stage (all the seats are great here) you will want to arrive early. Heck, arrive early to grab a meal from Tip Top's grill (which serves up great pub food) and you won't have to leave your seat except to dance once show time rolls around. Not a bad deal.
But do not wait: get your Red Elvises ticket now.
Tickets: $12.
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