City Pulse - Arts and Culture <![CDATA[Survive and advance]]> <![CDATA[A spirited endeavor]]> In a bar scene awash in craft beers and microbrews, American Fifth Spirits is trying to bring cocktail culture to downtown Lansing, opening its new tasting room — and Lansing’s first distillery. The distillery opened its tasting room doors April 23, and faced its first major test on April 25 as Beerfest at the Ballpark drew an extra 3,300 people to the adjacent Cooley Law School Stadium. Many of the attendees decided to check out the new tasting room while they were in the area. “It was trial by fire to say the least,” said Rick Wyble, president of American Fifth Spirits.]]> <![CDATA[The big wheel’s cozy wheelhouse]]> Back in the 1930s, Lansing wheel magnate Harry Harper and his wife, Ragna, threw “tulip time teas” at their cozy 35-room crib at 1408 Cambridge Road each May. They weren´t formal affairs. The Harpers were downto-earth types. About 500 to 600 guests would hang out near the sunken pool, admire the grounds, tour the house and munch on sandwiches. ]]> <![CDATA[Submissive staging]]> David Ives’ intimate and erotic dramatic comedy, “Venus in Fur,” makes its mid-Michigan premiere this weekend at Peppermint Creek Theatre Co. For director Rob Roznowski, head of acting and directing in Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre, part of the fun came from exploring the two-person show’s concepts in a “non-academic” environment.]]> <![CDATA[Let’s get digital]]> <![CDATA[The war on the war on drugs]]> It’s been 14 years since Frankenstein’s monster metaphorically set foot on the streets of East Lansing. The selection of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” was viewed by many as an outrageous choice for the area’s first One Book, One Community program, a joint project between the City of East Lansing and Michigan State University. The selection, however, set the tone and style for future years, which saw major authors the likes of National Book Award winner Katherine Boo present on campus. The one major difference: Since the first year, all the authors were alive. ]]> <![CDATA[Animal circus]]> Things are going to get pretty hairy on stage at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center Friday. Literally. The stage, usually reserved for dance performances and Broadway musicals, will be overrun by furry, four-legged entertainers as the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater presents an evening of animal attractions.]]> <![CDATA[Turn it down]]> ]]> <![CDATA[New in town]]> In 1898, Lansing became home to an eponymous brewery on Turner Street. It closed 16 years later, and for more than a century the brand lay dormant. But like a kaiju roused from slumber by a nuclear detonation, so re-emerges the name Lansing Brewing Co., summoned by a seemingly insatiable local taste for craft beer. ]]> <![CDATA[Beginning of the end]]> MONDAY, MAY 4 — An agreement between the City of East Lansing and MSU’s Art, Art History and Design department to turn curatorial control of (SCENE) Metrospace over to the university seems to be nearing completion, with a vote on the agreement expected later this month.]]> <![CDATA[Summer fun(ds)]]> FRIDAY, MAY 1 — Summer camps are a great way for youth to learn, gain skills and make friends, but paying for those camps can be a tough hurdle for many families to clear. This summer, many Greater Lansing youth in financial need will get a chance to attend camps through the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s Young Creatives Program.]]> <![CDATA[Conventional wisdom!]]> It’s no secret that comic book creators Jack Kirby and Stan Lee were aping the formula created by DC Comic’s “Justice League” books when they set out to create “The Avengers” for Marvel Comics. The legendary duo were tasked by their publisher to create something similar when sales of DC’s all-star super-group comics greatly overshadowed anything Marvel — then known as Timely Comics — had on the stands. It took several years for the middling publisher to establish a roster of characters as iconic those assembled in DC’s Justice League, but flash forward 52 years and there’s not a single summer that goes by without Captain America, Iron Man or Thor plastered over t-shirts, billboards and TV screens everywhere. While comic enthusiasts could (and do) argue all day about the merits of the two groups, “Justice League” and “The Avengers,” while similar in their concept, are both unique. ]]> <![CDATA[Downtown Derby]]> <![CDATA[Sticking with peace]]> Sharp-eyed patrons may have noticed some small, ceramic magnets popping up in Greater Lansing businesses. The magnets advertise the time and location of the weekly Lansing Peace Vigil. Kathie Kuhn, an active member of the Peace Vigil community and a board member of the Peace Education Center, is responsible for the magnets.]]> <![CDATA[Making good, flying home]]> When earthy, brainy, playful 26-yearold vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant hits the Wharton Center´s Pasant Theatre tonight, she’ll be in good, and appreciative, company. Lansing-born drummer Lawrence Leathers, now a deeply dug-in denizen of the New York jazz scene, is an awestruck fan as well as a collaborator.]]> <![CDATA[Alone together]]> There is a beautiful paradox in the title of bassist Rodney Whitaker´s new album, “When We Find Ourselves Review Alone.” Whitaker is a singular artist in a plural universe. As a bassist, Whitaker is at the top of his art, but his instrument almost always puts him in harness to a group. As the director of jazz studies at MSU, teacher and mentor to a generation of young jazz artists, community builder in East Lansing and family man with seven children, he has chosen a path that is anything but lonely.]]> <![CDATA[Anne and Anna]]> Two Michigan writers — one from decidedly gritty Detroit, the other from pastoral Empire on the shore of Lake Michigan — will be headliners at Schuler Books on Saturday for Independent Book Store Day. Unfortunately, the two writers, Anna Clark of Detroit and Anne-Marie Oomen of Empire, will be holding court at competing Schuler Books locations. It would have been fun to put these two Michigan authors together for a session. Clark, a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, curated “A Detroit Anthology,” a 2015 Michigan Notable Book Award winner.]]> <![CDATA[A grand affair]]> It’s that time of year for ladies to bust out their hoop skirts and gentlemen to prepare for the annual mustache contest as Victorian Days returns to Grand Ledge. Victorian Days, now in its 19th year, has extended to become a two-day event in recent years. Marilyn Smith, chairwoman of the Grand Ledge Victorian Days committee, said the event offers something for everyone.]]> <![CDATA[Turn it down]]> ]]> <![CDATA[New in town]]> Now that international relations have warmed between the U.S. and Cuba (thanks, Obama — seriously), a good way for Metro Lansing diners to get acquainted with the Pearl of the Antilles might be to take a tour of the menu at La Cocina Cubana, a new food truck in Old Town featuring authentic Cuban cuisine. Iliana Almaguer opened the truck in January. She said business has been good from the outset, but with the recent run of spring-like weather, customers have been flocking.]]>