A&E Briefs 2/8

Mary Dupuis

Gilda’s LaughFest promises virtual fun in its return

As COVID-19 continues to cancel plans and keep everyone inside, we could all use a little laugh. Gilda’s Laughfest promises just that. 

Created by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, the LaughFest began in March 2011 to celebrate “laughter for the health of it.” The festival usually features stand-up comedy and improv, among other events. 

At the heart of Laughfest is the various “health benefits of laughter,” something everyone could use nowadays.

Gilda’s LaughFest is the nation’s first-ever community-wide festival that is dedicated solely to laughter. Bringing an average of 50,000 guests to West Michigan every year, it is known for being one of the nation’s funniest events for both participants and artists. 

Read more at www.lanthorn.com

GV Writer’s Series set to hold its second virtual event

The second event of Grand Valley State University’s Writers Series will feature Associate Professor and author Colin Rafferty doing a nonfiction reading. 

The reading will be taking place on Feb. 11 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Zoom. Those who wish to attend can contact the GVSU Department of Writing for the Zoom link. 

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Rafferty attended Kansas State and Iowa State and eventually got an MFA from the University of Alabama. 

Rafferty generally writes about public and private histories, monuments and memorials (“Hallow This Ground,” Break Away Books, 2016). In doing research for his book “Execute the Office,” Rafferty visited the graves of twenty-eight presidents, toured the homes of sixteen, and was even able to handle a four-page letter written by George Washington himself. 

Rafferty has taught students nonfiction writing at the University of Mary Washington since 2008. In this time, he has developed classes on nonfiction of place, the lyric essay and writing for multimedia. 

Grand Rapids’ World of Winter continues to expand

As the month progresses the ice and art installations for Grand Rapids’ World of Winter are multiplying. 

“Ice Luminaries” now create a path along the Gillett Bridge. This art installation features 10 “icicles” that weigh more than 600 pounds and have bright, colorful lights frozen in the center. 

A second brand new winter-themed art installation has also made its way to the storefront of 106 South Division Ave. 

The installation is titled “Beam Me Up, Snowpeople” and was created by local artist Valerie Wahna. 

The concept of the artwork is a 3D diorama-like display and features an energetic, playful scene of snow people dodging UFOs and asteroids while riding their very own spaceships.