Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 4 of 5: The Meijer Art Department

American Horse!

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless it threatens your life perforce…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

In Part 3 we walked you through the scenic greenery at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, years before a series of subsequent expansions turned it into one of Grand Rapids’ largest attractions. But as the name implies, we saw more than just gardens. Assorted sculptures are on display for the art lovers curious to see human creations in the natural mix. The largest piece by far is Nina Akamu’s 1999 The American Horse, which would be quite the destroyer if magic ever brought it to life.

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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 3 of 5: The Meijer Garden Department

Meijer Gardens Cacti!

We’ve posted several photo galleries over the years starring just flowers and plants, but none looked as cool or as lethal as these echinocactus barrels.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

In between movie showings, our friends Katrina and Shannon had us detour for one of the largest attractions in Grand Rapids, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Opened in 1995 courtesy of the folks at Meijer — one of our larger big-box grocery/department store chains here in the Midwest — its 28 acres were donated to the city for use as a grand celebration of cultivated art and greenery. According to Wikipedia, Meijer Gardens has more than quadrupled in size since our 2002 visit. Our once in-depth examination is now an obsolete scratch across the surface of the flora and fancies that are surely like a standing army today. I suppose that’s what we get for arriving unfashionably early.

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Our 2017 Super Bowl Deserted Restaurant Getaway

Picanha!

Picanha, a.k.a. garlic sirloin, one of Anne’s favorite bites of the night.

Each year my wife Anne and I have indulged our own special Super Bowl tradition: while the rest of the world is watching football and swapping snacks and beers with best friends and chatting about The Sports, the two of us have dinner at a fancy restaurant we’ve never tried before. Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., anyplace without a large-screen TV is usually deserted and totally ours for the taking.

The last few years have also seen Super Bowl Sunday coincide with a local event called Devour Downtown, in which dozens of upscale establishments in downtown Indianapolis offer a limited-time sort of blue-plate special that allows plebes like us to come in and sample their cuisine from a specially selected discount menu. It’s still a bit pricier than five-dollar footlongs, but in our experience the quality has always been immeasurably higher, no matter where we’ve gone. This year the event was merged with several others of its kind, expanded citywide, and renamed Devour Indy. We ended up heading downtown anyway, but it’s nice to know we’ll have more compass options in the years ahead.

Tonight’s feature presentation: Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse with over two dozen American locations in addition to their flagships back home. For one solid price that was more than we would ever dream of paying for non-special occasions, their Devour Indy special offered a buffet of fancy unlimited appetizers, while the waiters approached every table with a few unlimited side dishes and numerous small yet unlimited meat portions all prepared in the Brazilian way, by which I mean they were made of meat. Good enough for us.

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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 2 of 5: Our First Great Lake

Red Lighthouse!

Behold the fun of unretouched 35mm film: that scratch, groove, or hair at right was not errant detritus on the scanner bed, but is somehow part of the original photo and won’t come off.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

Katrina acted as our trusty tour guide and started us with the basics: scenic Lake Michigan. Much like the Wolverine State surrounding us, we’d also never seen a Great Lake before.

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Road Trip Origins Year 2, Part 3 of 3: The Gateway Attraction

Gateway Arch!

Normally when our kind sees giant metal legs, they’re in a movie attached to a dumb robot spider.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our second annual road trip, attending St. Louis’ second and final Gateway Science Fiction Convention in the year 2000. Actors from Mystery Science Theater 3000 were met, autographs were treasured, panels were enjoyed, dozens of internet peers showed up to put faces with names. But we didn’t limit ourselves to the convention hotel’s property. None of us were from St. Louis; some of us were eager to explore and see what else the city had to offer. Our first try was a Saturday night group dinner that begged for comment cards.

Sunday morning after a great big fan-group breakfast, five of us decided to skip out on the con’s early hangover hours and see what other sights might be of interest to outsiders enjoying their first time in St. Louis. If only there were a conspicuous, gargantuan, possibly even famous architectural feat sticking out in the city’s skyline and having things named after it such as state nicknames and science fiction conventions.

Right this way for the answer to this super hard riddle!

Yesterday’s Entertainment Repurposed

Event Horizons!

We talk, joke, and moan all the time about Hollywood’s constant reuse, recycling, and rebooting of the movies and TV shows of our childhoods and of the childhoods before ours. We enjoy, or just as often roll our eyes, when today’s musicians cover or sample all the favorite songs of previous generations to present echoes of them to new audiences repulsed by old stuff, regardless of its anointed “classic” status.

Last month we found one artist who asked: why stop with cannibalizing the works themselves? Why not repurpose their very containers? What if you take all those shiny, reflective objects that served as portals into our homes for Hollywood and the record labels alike, and converted them into brand new, abstract doorways to imagination?

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