GR|MAG’s Top Weekend Picks


Return to a time when dinosaurs walked the Earth this weekend with Jurassic Quest, a traveling dinosaur exhibit roaring into Grand Rapids. If you enjoy live music, you’re going to have a great weekend. Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and violinist Damien Escobar will both be in town for performances, and members of the Grand Rapids Police Department will serve as the background band for 10 talented youths who are taking the stage to show off their musical skills.

That’s not all, The Ebony Road Players are mounting their latest theatrical production. Finally, get to know the gubernatorial candidates as they face off in the first of two debates.

Jurassic Quest @ DeVos Place
(Friday – Sunday)

Come face to face with life-sized dinosaurs this weekend when Jurassic Quest takes over DeVos Place. Jurassic Quest said it collaborated with leading paleontologists to create 80 true to life dinosaurs that fill this fun exhibit. Dinosaurs run the gamut from very small to towering heights, and some of them are mobile.

Kids can take part in hands-on fossil digs, dinosaur rides, science stations, dinosaur crafts and more. You’ll have a “roaring” good time at this exhibit.

For tickets, visit Jurassic Quest. Hours: Friday from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 9 8 p.m.

“The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” with The Ebony Road Players
(All Weekend)

The Ebony Road Players take on James IJames’ “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington.”

It’s Christmas Eve in 1800, and “Mother of America” Martha Washington is on her deathbed, surrounded by the very slaves who hope to be freed the moment she dies. She slips into a series of fever dreams, where she is confronted by the unspoken dark truths of her (and America’s) complicity in the horrors of slavery. Startling, clever, contemporary and deeply theatrical, …Miz Martha holds a mirror up and dares you to look away.

This play had its world premiere with Flashpoint Theatre Company in Philadelphia, PA.

Performances take place at SiTE: LAB, 415 Franklin St. SE. For tickets, visit The Ebony Road Players on Facebook.

R.O.C.K. Out with GRPD

The Grand Rapids Police Department is hosting a community concert that will put the spotlight on talented young musicians.

Developed by musician and Grand Rapids community officer Brian Grooms, R.O.C.K. (Reach Out Cops & Kids) was conceived after he realized “there are many kids in our community with musical talents that just need a platform — maybe even a band — to make their dreams come true.” He realized that the GRPD also has a dozen very talented artists that could help area youth build on their musical abilities and boost their confidence.

A variety of family activities are scheduled from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. including Cop Car Karaoke, food trucks and children’s activities from local museums, Boys & Girls Clubs and the Grand Rapids Fire Department. The R.O.C.K. concert takes place from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and features 10 solo youth musical performances with GRPD musicians serving as backup, followed by a GRPD band concert.

R.O.C.K. takes place on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center Street NW. For more information visit the Grand Rapids Police Department on Facebook.

Jazz Series Kicks Off @ St. Cecilia Music Center

Arturo Sandoval, protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie and 10-time Grammy award winner, helps St. Cecilia Music Center kick off its 2018-2019 Jazz Series on Thursday night.

Arturo Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, on Nov. 6, 1949, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American Jazz. Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of 12, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He met Dizzy Gillespie in 1977. Gillespie became a mentor and colleague, playing with Sandoval in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in the United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval defected while touring with Gillespie in 1990, and he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1998.

In 2013, President Barack Obama presented Arturo Sandoval with the Presidential Medal of Freedom proclaiming, “Arturo Sandoval was born into poverty in Cuba and held back by his government. He risked everything to share his gifts with the world. In the decades since, this astonishing trumpeter, pianist and composer has inspired audiences in every corner of the world and awakened a new generation of great performers. He remains one of the best ever to play.”

Tickets for Arturo Sandoval are $45 and $50 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at St. Cecilia Music Center. A pre-concert reception with wine & hors d’oeuvres is available by reservation for $15 and begins at 6:30 pm. A post-concert party with dessert, coffee and wine is open to all ticket-holders and Sandoval’s music will be available after the concert.

My Story @ African American Cultural Centre

World-renowned violinist Damien Escobar joins the NIA Centre, or African American Cultural Centre, for a performance on Friday night. Escobar will also share his story, which includes being homeless and struggling with depression. Journalist Eddie Rucker will interview Escobar.

Escobar’s musical career spans over a decade and his inspiring story of making it big, losing it all, fighting to rebuild, and getting a second chance at success is as much a part of his brand identity as being a top violinist in the world.

The event will also feature an art exhibition by Deborah Shedrick, an African American visual artist from Baltimore, Maryland, whose work is featured in major art galleries, private collections and museums in the United States and throughout the world.

This event will be held at the Ray & Joan KROC Corps Community Center, at 2500 S. Division Ave. Tickets are no longer available.

Gubernatorial Candidate Debate

Tune in to WOOD-TV on Friday night to hear from Michigan’s candidates for governor.

Michigan gubernatorial candidates Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Schuette have agreed to two debates this month, the first of which takes place on Friday night from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. WOOD-TV’s Rick Albin will moderate.

The election is Nov. 6.




*Main photo courtesy of Jurassic Quest. All other photos courtesy of individual organizations.

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