In 2013, we got to see what sort of lovely and confounding things the contemporary art scene was up to thanks to Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum. Whether it was the room full of bouncing red balls in Lisa Walcott’s “Less Still” installation, the use of microphoned cockroaches in Zach Layton’s Insect Chorus Concert or the conceptual designs of “Lebbeus Woods — Architect” that twisted buildings into impossible configurations — or even sent them floating on air — a trip to the Broad was a good way to reset your notions of what art could be.
We received a bevy of new bistros and gastropubs, including several catering to the locavore you never knew you wanted to be. Tannin in Okemos redefined what it meant to be an Italian restaurant. Capital Prime Steaks and Seafood made a solid play for the area’s next fine dining staple. HopCat in East Lansing bet the farm that the craft beer movement was a sea change, not a trend. (A sign it was right: Two more brewpubs are planned for the area in 2014.) Even Lansing City Market got in on the fun, with Wandering Waffles, a novelty breakfast/lunch spot devoted to utilizing strictly local ingredients. Bonus points were assessed for the debut of the first Capital Area Restaurant Week, which strove to demystify the dining experience and get people out there trying new things — tofu perogi, anyone?
Studio C!, the upscale movie theater behind Meridian Mall, devoted six months of one of its screens to top-rated independent, foreign and documentary films, effectively giving filmgoers an under-the-table film festival. From Oscar winners to word-of-mouth awards circuit buzzbuilders, Studio C! gave us engaging cinema that just so happened to go well with popcorn.
And the local community theater scene continued to crank out week after week of solid performances. Musicals, plays, staged readings and the all-of-the-above confluence of the Renegade Theatre Festival in Old Town — the local boards were put to good use.
Here, City Pulse takes a look back at the last 12 months of theater, dining, classical music, film and books (that’s right, people still read). We weren’t able to settle on top five for every category, per se. Some categories simply petered out of strong contenders after four; others were so stuffed with good pickings they were awarded extra helpings.
So dig in — there’s no guarantee of leftovers come 2014.