Oberon, photo by RLHyde.

The good folks at Drink Michigan alerted me that today is International Beer Day.

mLive notes that Michigan has over 80 craft breweries, ranking 5th in the US. Of these, the oldest and largest is Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo, who opened in 1985, is also the oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder! They are also one of the biggest, weighing in at #8 on the Brewers Association list of the Top 50 US Breweries. Oberon (their most most popular beer) comes out at the beginning of summer every year and is a wheat ale fermented with Bell’s house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas.

Also check out Absolute Michigan’s Michigan beer listings for articles and tons of beer-related links including some of our favorites like the Michigan Brewer’s Guild and Rex Halfpenny’s Michigan Beer Guide!

See this photo bigger than a beer and in Ryan’s Alcohol slideshow.

Glass by Dale Chihuly

January 12, 2009


Glass, photo by Spencer Olinek.

In the course of looking for photos for Michigan in Pictures, I see a lot that I say “I can’t blog this today, but I’ll definitely come back some day and do it.” Often, some day never comes. Sometimes it does though…

Here’s a photo from the 2005 Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Get it at the Wallpapery delicious size.

There’s a Dale Chihuly Wikipedia page and at Dale Chihuly’s web site you can see a lot of his work including a ton of videos at his web site (check out “Chihuly In Action”). His bio says:

Dale Chihuly is most frequently lauded for revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement by expanding its original premise of the solitary artist working in a studio environment to encompass the notion of collaborative teams and a division of labor within the creative process.

However, Chihuly’s contribution extends well beyond the boundaries both of this movement and even the field of glass: his achievements have influenced contemporary art in general. Chihuly’s practice of using teams has led to the development of complex, multipart sculptures of dramatic beauty that place him in the leadership role of moving blown glass out of the confines of the small, precious object and into the realm of large-scale contemporary sculpture. In fact, Chihuly deserves credit for establishing the blown glass form as an accepted vehicle for installation and environmental art beginning in the late twentieth century and continuing today.

Here’s a cool slideshow of Flickr photos from the 2005 Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

A Michigan December, Henderson Castle

A Michigan December, Henderson Castle, photo by John Clement Howe.

Henderson Castle, constructed 1895 and now a bed & breakfast.

View this bigger along with more photos of Henderson Castle in John’s Historic Homes of Kalamazoo set (slideshow), read more about Henderson Castle on Michigan in Pictures and see a video tour of Henderson Castle on YouTube.

Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City, Marquette and Kalamazoo are by no means all of Michigan’s cities (or even the largest). Each, however, seems to be an anchor for its region – a center to which people look to for culture, entertainment and commerce.

October 13-15, 2008, lovers of cities large & small from Michigan and all over the country will head to Detroit for the Creative Cities Summit 2.0 (CCS2), an exploration of what our cities could become and how we can work to make them. Organizers have chosen Detroit, a city so deeply forged in America’s industrial fires that it’s been devastated by the flickering of that flame. I’m headed down there and will try to bring some of the ideas back to you through Absolute Michigan – I hope that some of you can join me there.

The Photos (left to right)

Creative Cities Summit 2.0 in Detroit on Oct. 13-15, 2008

CCS2 will present a dynamic and engaging conversation about how communities around the world are integrating innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, arts & culture and business to create vibrant economies. Full conference registration is $300 for the two and half day event, and there’s also a “no frills” registration that is only $100. There’s also a free “Unconference” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) on the 12th for designers, urban planners, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, students, community leaders to explore and discuss what’s possible for Detroit.
Keynote speakers include:

  • Bill Strickland, MCG-Bidwell Corp.
  • Richard Florida, Author Who’s Your City
  • Charles Landry, Author The Art of City Making
  • John Howkins, Author The Creative Economy
  • Dean Kamen, Inventor, DEKA
  • Majora Carter, Sustainable South Bronx
  • Doug Farr, Architect and Author Sustainable Urbanism
  • Ben Hecht, Pres. & CEO Living Cities
  • Tom Wujec, Fellow, Autodesk
  • Carol Coletta, CEOs for Cities
  • Giorgio Di Cicco, Poet Laureate, City of Toronto and Author, The Municipal Mind
  • Diana Lind, Editor, Next American City magazine

Breakout sessions on topics such as:

  • Race and the Creative City
  • Cities, Universities & Talent
  • Marketing, Media and the Creative City
  • Measuring New Things – ROI in the Creative Economy
  • Creative (Small) Cities
  • New Ideas in Urban Amenities
  • Community Vitality: The Role of Artists, Gays, Lesbians & Immigrants
  • Midwest Mega-region: How the Midwest Can Compete
  • Transportation Innovation for Cities
  • Making the Scene: Music & Economic Development

Much (much) more at creativecitiessummit.com.

University Arena at Western Michigan University

University Arena, photo by Western Michigan University

University Arena is located in Read Fieldhouse at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. It is home to the WMU Broncos men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleybal, and gymnastics teams and seats 5,421. The building opened in 1957 and was named in honor of legendary coach Herbert “Buck” Read who coached the Broncos to a 345-169 record.

Wikipedia’s entry on Western Michigan Broncos Men’s Basketball says that the Broncos have appeared in three NCAA Tournaments (1976, 1998 & 2004). Alumni who have reached the NBA include Don Boven, Dillard Crocker, Paul Griffin, Ben Handlogten, Reggie Lacefield and Walker Russell.

WMU has a small photo gallery of University Arena and links to some photographers with WMU sports photos for sale.
More Michpics Michigan March Madness!

Kalamazoo, Michigan

July 24, 2007

Looking Down, Kalamazoo, MI by chicalookate

Looking Down, photo by chicalookate

After spending an hour yesterday afternoon exploring Kalamazoo video for our Absolute Michigan station on chime.tv, I decided to check out the slideshow of 10,000+ photos tagged “kalamazoo” on Flickr. After spending entirely too long with some really amazing photos and photographers, I have the following to report:

Backyard tree swing

July 3, 2007


II, photo by Caselet.

Taken in a Kalamazoo backyard with a Hasselblad, I believe. View it bigger.

Truck 17 In front of Old Central

Truck 17 In front of Old Central, photo by Stoney06.

Joel Dinda knows old photos, so it’s not at all surprising that he found this great collection of historical photos from Brian Stone of the fire stations, fire trucks and the men of the Kalamazoo.

An added plus are his informative captions such as the one for the above: Old Central Station Kalamazoo Michigan. Truck is a 1936 Seagrave City Service Ladder. “Pride of the Department”.

Indeed. View the photo large and you can see that’s true.

Uptown Theater, photo by John Todd

Uptown Theater, photo by John Todd

I found this photo via the revamped Michigan eLibrary. It’s from the John Todd Photographic Collection at the Portage District Library. The collection contains over thirteen-thousand negatives of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County communities and southwest Michigan taken from 1940 to 1981. It includes all manner of pictures including aerial photos of Kalamazoo and the surrounding area.

The description might give you an idea of the breadth of the collection and the degree to which it’s indexed. Go ahead, click…

Night view of the Uptown Theater located at 247 North Burdick Street in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan with the camera looking towards the southwest. As of 2006 this theater has been demolished and replaced with the Kalamazoo Valley Public Museum. North Burdick Street in this block no longer functions as a roadway but has been converted into a pedestrian mall.
CATEGORY: Entertainment

Gibson Guitar General Assembly Room, Kalamazoo Michigan

Gibson, Inc., General Assembly Room, 1936. “One section of the general assembling room.” Photographed by Mamie L. Austin.

Visit the Gibson, Inc. Photo Gallery at the Kalamazoo Public Library for many more photos and a brief history of Gibson in Kalamazoo (includes suggested reading!).

In 1898, Orville Gibson was awarded the patent for an “Improved Mandolin,” using principles that could be applied also to “guitars, mandolas, and lutes.” The invention was that of a back, neck, and ribs structure carved from one piece of wood, with an arched soundboard and slightly hollowed neck … This archtop guitar design, influenced by violin construction, marked the beginning of a significant development in American guitar making.

Read more and see some photos at Guitar by Orville Gibson at the National Music Museum. Also check out History of Gibson from Gibson, Inc. and this page from FlyingVintage.com with information and pics of the Kalamazoo factory.

Original Gibson Guitar Factory in Kalamazoo

The Gibson section is just one of over 100 short stories and tours of historic photographs and information about the people, places, events and businesses of Kalamazoo in the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Clarence L. Miller Family Local History Room.


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