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articles + interviews

For nearly the past 6 months, West Michigan has been gifted a rare opportunity to interact with sculptures and pieces by famed artist and activist Ai Weiwei. According to Frederik Meijer Gardens, it’s his “first exhibition at a botanical garden and sculpture park anywhere in the world.” And there is definitely a feeling you get when you step in through the threshold of the gardens right now. That feeling is an overwhelming sense of completion.

Like any good older Millennial, The Shins changed my life. In fall 2006, I was an incoming college freshman who was still wearing braces. Two years prior, a film called Garden State was released and spoke to every internalized frustration I had about my small hometown in Florida clashing with my big dreams of Hollywood. Everything that I had thought about music and film existing on separate plains was suddenly flipped on itself. Reading interviews with Zach Braff, listening to him speak about the importance of meticulously crafting the soundtrack to his film – it changed the way I listened to music. It changed the way music moves me. 

There’s a certain feeling you get on Summer nights in Michigan, when the weather is warm enough to sit outside with no jacket until just past 9pm. The bugs are out, but they’re content with their own warm pursuits, buzzing around the tops of blades of grass. This was the setting for Monday’s show at Frederik Meijer Gardens with Andrew Bird and special guest Esperanza Spalding, in only her second outing as part of her new musical project. 

Fernando Andrés loves the screen. Any hint of a discussion about film or TV and he’s off — talking to you about how Whiplash and Black Swan are the same film; why he’s hooked on the game show Billy on the Street, something he “never wanted to like”; and most surprisingly, why the zany Netflix comedy Lady Dynamite is his favorite show of the year.

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