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Vertigo Music

Angel’s Thai Cafe

sculpture and the Ramp Project Space will display large-scale murals. Current exhibitions include Cheryl Wassenaar, Untitled; Holly Greenberg’s installation Lost In Translation; and the UICA’s ArtPrize 2011 artwork, all concluding Nov. 27.

Explore artwork by up-and-coming artists during the MARKET organized by Avenue for the Arts. Held on the second Saturdays July through September, the Market lines the sidewalks of South Division between Oakes and Cherry with indie artists, musicians and local craft businesses. You will be able to find paintings, jewelry, prints, photos, t-shirts and handmade goods. The festival also includes a diverse mix of street performers and live music

scattered throughout. Go and chat with the talented artists and musicians who live and work downtown.

If you think the Market’s artists are over- commercialized sellouts, then you will like the DAAC (115 S. Division). Founded in 2003 and re-born in 2007, the Division Avenue Arts Collective is a volunteer-run performance and art venue that brings the hottest emerging bands to town. These nationally touring acts include Hate Your Guts and Of Fortune and Fame, as well as local heavyweights We Call This Irony and Stepdad. The shoebox space has a cramped stage full of disreputable gear in back and a merch table manned by diapha- nous girlfriends by the door. Shows at the DAAC are all ages and tickets are usually $6.

Looking for a show, but it’s not at the DAAC? Maybe it’s at MEXICAINS SANS FRONTIERES (120 S. Division Ave. #226). The internationally irrepressible Hugo Claudin operates the music venue/apart- ment like the Grand Rapids version of Andy Warhol’s Factory. If you like the bands you see, buy their music at VERTIGO MUSIC (129 S. Division Ave.). Owner Herm Baker and his expert staff can help you pick through the thousands of CDs, DVDs and vinyl records. You will leave with your arms full of music and a head full of knowledge.

“Big Mind Sky” by artist Ugo Rondinone coming to Open Concept Gallery

All this art and culture will make you hungry, my peach. LOUIS BENTON (77 Monroe Center NW) is Grand Rapids’ premier steak house. You will enjoy the dry-aged Queen Filet Mignon, King Filet, Emperor Sirloin, Tomahawk Ribeye, Ninja New York Strip and the Widow Maker Porterhouse. It’s like eating

a Steven Seagal movie. The classy restaurant is the perfect spot to take that very skinny, very tanned yoga instructor on almost a date. You order a juicy filet with grilled shrimp and she gets lobster. It’s the type of place where the chef comes out to check on your meal, starts flirting with your date, sends her glasses of wine and then sits with her as you eat. You leave, paying for both meals and go home to watch Resident Evil: Apocalypse. That Alice is a survivor.

STELLA’S LOUNGE (53 Commerce Ave. SW) is a little more laid back with the best jukebox in town. The ‘70s-style dive bar pours stiff drinks and the schwag beer you stole from your dad’s garage fridge. The chill scene and vegan menu keeps the douche bag quotient low. The food is quite good. Try the Blessed Black Wings, which are zoologically impossible vegan hot wings. You can start the week right with Sh!t Show Sundays. The free

“White Trash” Buffet including Sloppy Joe, Veggie Chili, Fritos and all the fixins. There’s half off select whisky and free arcade games. Then sign up for Michigan’s only Gong Show Karaoke. Sh!t.

For something a little more discrete, try to get into the VICEROY (53 Commerce Ave.). This private, ‘30s-style cocktail lounge is dark and elegant with an emphasis on sophis- ticated libations. Whet your whistle with a Classic Martini, Singapore Sling or Moscow Mule. You will need a password to get in and, the word on the street is that you can use #POPPA.

Soak up the Rolling Rock and cocktails slosh- ing around in your stomach with GRAND


RAPIDS PIZZA DELIVERY (340 State St. SE). The pizza joint has dine-in hours until 11 p.m. on weekdays and 12:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. But that doesn’t mean the chow fest has to stop. Late-night delivery is available until 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

To spice things up, try ANGEL’S THAI CAFE (136 Monroe Center NW). The Delft blue in- terior is simple, but relaxing with decorations bought in Thailand. Look for owner Julie Lee, who is frequently fussing over the guests. The menu boasts food that is colorful, fragrant and attractive without the greasiness of most storefront fried wing shops. Every dish can be customized by ingredient and spiciness. Poppa Steve is fond of the Vegetable Spring Rolls and Pork Preaw Warn. The suave Miss Carolita gets the Three Chocolate Mousse for dessert, even when we eat elsewhere.

With award-winning baristas and a cavernous interior, you know you are in coffee heaven at MADCAP COFFEE COMPANY (98 Monroe Center NW). Let barista Josh Dunigan serve you up a Japanese-style slow drip coffee using Ethiopian Ardi Sidama Coffee. Just set aside an afternoon for the brewing and drinking process. n

Think you have a secret spot or hidden gem in Grand Rapids? Don’t bother sending them to me at I already took your mom there.

Photos // Madcap Coffee: Steven de Polo; Vertigo: Jon Clay; Angel’s Thai: Seth Thompson



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