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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Curtain call: The joint is jumpin’

‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’ overcomes early difficulties to put on a rousing performance

by Tom Helma
Kudos to the brave soul was who climbed the precarious ladder up to Riverwalk Theatre’s sound booth to let sound technician Leon Greene know that the first six musical numbers of the Fats Waller musical revue were at an excruciating volume — even for this reviewer who is 90 percent deaf in one ear. Three people in the third row got up and left after two decibel-blasting numbers. Others were seen holding their hands up to their ears, an entirely new twist on blowing the audience away.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Drawing on experience

Scott McCloud puts theory into practice in his first graphic novel

by Bill Castanier
Many comic book collectors, scholars and aficionados call Scott McCloud the “grandfather of comics,” but it may be more accurate to call him the “Yoda of comics” because of his singular ability to describe comics in terms of meaning, form and function. The reason for these platitudes is McCloud’s 1993 book “Understanding Comics,” the first book to explain the theory of comics and how words and pictures work together to tell a story. He followed that with “ Reinventing Comics” (2000) and “Making Comics” (2006), creating a triptych that is used in virtually every comic book class taught in the world.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Curtain call: Together at last

Two Lansing theater veterans share the stage in ‘The Best Brothers’

by Mary C. Cusack
Williamston Theatre is entering a new chapter with the purchase of the building it has inhabited since 2006. Its first production since the purchase is historic as well: pairing two respected theater professionals and friends on stage together for the first time. It’s a small shame that the play, “The Best Brothers,” isn’t the best script to celebrate this monumental occasion.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Turn it down

A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

by Rich Tupica
Chris Bathgate returns to Mac´s Bar, Thursday, Feb. 12 Pinckney-based indie-folk songwriter Chris Bathgate returns Thursday to Mac’s Bar for an all-ages show. Openers are Streaking in Tongues, Mudwest, Joshua Barton & Seerstones and Molly Sullivan. Bathgate has a distinct fo...
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

New in town

by Allan I. Ross
Before Carl Lewis, Jeff Bezos and President Barack Obama made it to the top of their respective fields, they all worked in fast food — Olympic Gold medalist Lewis and Amazon founder Bezos worked at McDonald’s; the POTUS’ first job was scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. “People like to make fun of fast workers, but it’s an extremely challenging profession if you apply yourself,” says Tim Ellis. Ellis is owner of WOW Hospitality, a consulting company specializing in launching new restaurants.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Stepping out

Former Verve Pipe drummer releases his first solo EP

by Ty Forquer
“That drum fill, man, it’s just fuckin’ right.” I’m sitting at the bar with Donny Brown, and Zakk Wylde and friends are ripping through a cover of “Mississippi Queen” on the TV behind us. Brown knows a few things about drums; the 52-year-old west Lansing resident spent 21 years behind the kit for the Verve Pipe.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Cool hand uke

Friday Feb. 13

by Ty Forquer
Not so long ago the ukulele was thought of at best a novelty, and at worst the butt of a joke. (What´s the difference between a ukulele and a trampoline? You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline. Thank you, I’ll be here all article.) In recent years, however, the ukulele has become hipster-chic, and everyone from Zooey Deschanel to Eddie Vedder can be seen plunking out tunes on the tiny instruments. This weekend the ukulelian invasion comes to Lansing.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

The green report: Meet Mr. Green

My unexpected journey from average Joe to medical marijuana advoca

by Steve Green
I´m a happily married, 36-year-old father of four amazing, healthy children. I´m also a medical marijuana user and activist who was unwittingly thrown into the public’s eye.
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Wednesday, February 4,2015

In a mellow tone

Betty Joplin puts life into every syllable

by Lawrence Cosentino
To grasp the vocal genius of Betty Joplin, start with the smallest word you can find. Joplin´s indigo-sky voice, with dusky vibrato at the edges, is too generous to take in all at once. When she sings the word "is" in "You Don´t Know What Love Is," the "i" gutters like a candle, for two or three warm seconds, until the "s" softly pinches it cold. It´s a life lesson — a love affair, a breakup and burned fingers — in one syllable. "I prefer singing songs I can identify with in real life," Joplin said. "Otherwise, you don´t really have it down on the inside of you."
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Wednesday, February 4,2015

Take a back road

´Ride Michigan’ offers motorcycle tours off the beaten path

by Bill Castanier
About this time of year, as the snow piles up outside their windows, motorcyclists start to get antsy. Bill Murphy, who has written five books on motorcycle excursions, is already planning his next road trip on his Harley-Davidson Road King. In his most recent book, “Ride Michigan,” Murphy takes motorcycle enthusiasts on a tour of Michigan’s back roads, weaving through small towns and skirting the Great Lakes. The book is divided into four sections: the north woods, the lakeshores, the southern farmlands and the Great Lakes, and offers more than 30 tour suggestions. These tours range from excursions that only take a few hours to tours that require several days.
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