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THE INTERVIEWS PROJECT

Who are you? Why did you leave? For as long as we can remember there has been a noticeable trend of young, creative, people moving out of Grand Rapids. School? A new job? Hotter night life? Love? The purpose of this informal study is to identify common themes in why many of our citizens are choosing to leave. As well as determine what, if anything, can influence these decisions.

The scope of this study is, for now, limited to those who are currently in the age range of 20 - 35 years and have listed Grand Rapids, MI as their "hometown" in online networking programs such as Friendster or Myspace, or are otherwise known to have spent a formative period in that city. Results are updated regularly to the right of this column in reverse chronological order, with a loosely journalistic organizational structure of articles and features. Features are indicated as such in the headline of the interview. Conclusions will be drawn upon the completion of this project, which is, as of yet undetermined. Feel free to take part in the dialogue concerning this project by clicking on the "DISCUSS!" button below. If you once lived in Grand Rapids and would like to be interviewed please fill out this INTERVIEWS! form

                 DISCUSS!                

Thank you so much to everyone who has participated in this project. Without your assistance, this study would truly be impossible, and we value the information you have provided us with. If you have any issues with your inclusion or representation in this study, please do not hesitate to contact Ben or George. (Please remove the [] brackets)

A note on features: Feature articles may contain interviews with people who, for one reason or another, do not meet the paramaters of this study. Most often, this will likely have to do with the defined age range. Data gleaned from feature interviews will not be included in the overall data pool unless the interviewee meets all requirements.

Concept by Ben Schaafsma. Site by SCEMO. Powered by MT 3.16. Many interviews were conducted via the Friendster network. © G-RAD.ORG 2005 - 2006.

 
BEN, NEW YORK CITY

#065: Ben is bob lob law, blah blah. La ti da, blah blah. Lob law boob lob, log blog. La ti da, blah blah. Lob law boob lob, log blog. La ti da, blah blah. Lob law boob lob, log blog. La ti da, blah blah. Lob law boob lob, log blog (see: .


What's your name?
Ben

How old are you?
25

What educational institutions did you attend while in Grand Rapids?
East Grand Rapids and Forest Hills Public Schools and Calvin College

Where do you now live?
New York, NY

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Graduate school.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I love GRR just the way it is.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
This is such a weird question, right? I think of Rich Devos as Judge Doom from Roger Rabbit.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
DAAC and Above-the-Rim Bar and Grill.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
This is very difficult to answer. Immediately, the summer of 2002 yields the most positive memories. While waiting to move into a building on Division St., which is now the DAAC and Scavenger Hunt, I essentially camped out in a house with three other friends. I had nothing in my room but a mattress.

I spent the day time building bleachers at Houseman field, evenings causing a ruckus and weekend seeking out swimming holes.

Kava House or Common Ground?
KAVA HOUSE!

East side or West side?
Middle side. Division Ave!

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Paying less than $200 for rent.

 
MEGAN, CHATTANOOGA

#064: Megan is a graduate of both Grand Rapids Christian High School and Grand Valley State University. Currently, she is working on her Masters at University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Megan is also honing her karaoke skills cowboy-style in hopes to come back and take DJs Lounge by storm.


What's your name?
Megan

How old are you?
24

What educational institutions did you attend while in Grand Rapids?
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Christian High School

Where do you now live?
Chattanooga, TN

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Grand Rapids: obviously lacking in the cowboy department. oh, and graduate school at UTC

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Nothing - - my friends and family are still there. I think it's a fantastic city. I'm just wanting to experience some newness.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I went to high school with rick and he was very sweet.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
river city saloon on leonard, DJ's lounge on 28th and k-zoo

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Hard to say. Maybe the filming of a certain Y2K documentary with my best friend, jae.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Always got less distracted and more school work done at common ground.

East side or West side?
GR's west side is far superior. More character. More personality. More quirky little spots. More diversity. I wish more people would give it a chance.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Friends, family, nightlife, progressive thought

 
MICHELLE, SEATTLE

#063: By day Michelle manages a law office and by night serves up cocktails to old money theater patrons, prissy bitches, and randoms. She is looking into starting a contracting company for green solutions and will soon be extending her art degree with an Interior Design certification so she can make wallpaper, light sculptures and sound tracks for rooms.


What's your name?
Michelle

How old are you?
24

What educational institutions did you attend while in Grand Rapids?
Grand Valley

Where do you now live?
Seattle

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
It got to be a little overwhelmingly depressed there. I couldn't find a decent job, there wasn't much to do, and its just really very gray there. Good people, bad place.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
A sense of achievement and a glimpse of hope.

Topically: Some better restraunts, better public transport, some mountains, less pollution, and more asians

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
they aren't the most progressive people

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Gaia, people's houses, my old backyard, Division Ave, Logan's, Brandywine...

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
6 years makes for a pretty good amount of moments to remember

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground, way more cozy

East side or West side?
East. I would only go to the West side to get mad at people and play Keno, oh and do meth.

my two worst jobs were on the west side

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
salvation army, the free wood pile on Michigan, Heritage Hill, cheap rent and some of the people

 
JON-PAUL, SAN DIEGO

#062: Jon-Paul went to Davenport University for his associates in Marketing then attended San Diego State, until 9/11 when he joined Army Special Operations which he have served with for the last 4 years. Jon-Paul also attended the Defense Language Institute where he learned Mandarin Chinese. He just returned from my year tour in Iraq and will continue to finish his BA in International Business with focus in Asian studies.


Where do you now live?
San Diego, CA

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I left to attend college closer to the area I wish to work in, i.e. the Pacific. Also i was in a particular place in my life that required change, and since my mothers family lives in SD, I chose to move in the summer of 2001.


What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
beautiful beaches and 360 days of sunny weather.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
They are personal friends of our family, as my grandfather is the former city manager of Grand Rapids and later worked with them via the international business arena, therefore i would say i like the devos family, and everything theyve done for the city.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
San Chez A Tapas Bistro

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
coming home for my mid-tour leave from Iraq to Grand Rapids and spending time with my father and that side of the family.

Kava House or Common Ground?
never drank coffee much

East side or West side?
Westside

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
my father, and the food from San Chez.

 
KENDAL, RAVENNA

#061 Kendal is 25 and attended Union High School. She currently lives in Ravenna, Ohio. Kendal hates sushi, but loves HEARTS!



Where do you now live?
Ravenna, ohio

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
So my mother could get married

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
My soon to be husband. but i already come back my whole family lives there

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Really dont care

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I moved when i was 17 so didn't go to bars.. just hung out with friends

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
halloween... it was at night like it normally should be. here it is from 2-4 during the day.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Have no clue

East side or West side?
west side

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
My friends and family... everyone is there. did i mention franks market.. they bring me back everytime.

 
SARAH, CHICAGO

#060: Sarah is 32 and a graduate of Ottawa Hills Highschool. She left Grand Rapids and attended Depaul University in Chicago and is currently working on her PhD in sociology at Loyola. Sarah is way into Nick Cave and also likes to listen to Teagan and Sara, as well as Van Morrison. Her Grand Rapids roots run deep - as evidenced by her experiental knowledge of Monroe Mall Punk Rock Hills

Where do you now live?
Chicago area

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I didn't see much of a future there for me. I felt stagnant so I decided to go to college out of state and Chicago seemed like a good option.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Culture. Progressive leadership.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Indifferent

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Mully's

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
My friends.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava

East side or West side?
Southeast side

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Friends and family.

 
KELLY, PHILADELPHIA


#059: Kelly is a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School, as well as Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. She is currently studying at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Kelly loves music and watching CSI. She secretly wants to be an assasin, but realizes its conflict to her being a seminary student.
Where do you now live?
Philadelphia

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Not enough to offer for my artistic abilities...as a black female

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Broader scopes of ideas for the youth.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
neither here nor there

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
not a bar person...hangout though...hmmm...Common Gorund

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Friendly people...most times

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground, but kava was more convenient

East side or West side?
East

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
People knew me there

 
MILES, COLUMBUS

#058: Miles is a twenty-something currently living in Columbus, OH. He is a graduate of Grand Valley State University where he was a program manager at their radio station WCKS. Miles currently plays music under the moniker Marvin the Robot and was recently featured on NPR.

Where do you now live?
Columbus, OH

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
My mother was sick, and needed some one to run her business. I really couldn't afford my rent at the time either. I’m no tutor, but I was kind of amped to get back to the more urban Columbus environment. Little did I know, that most of what I loved about Columbus either burned down, moved away, or vanished in some other manner.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
A year without winter, or a job that pays a living wage, a 24 hour eatery that’s within walking distance of wherever I’d live, or some one who’d make out with me.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I don’t think I’ve actually met any of them, so I’ll reserve judgment

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
The Schuab House, the Lake Drive House, The DAAC, GVSU, Vertigo, Gia, Yesterdog, Division Ave, Four Friends, Mulligans.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
They’re all pretty amazing I have to admit.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Depends on who’s working where. I’m rooting for the coffee shop next to Yesterdog.

East side or West side?
Tough choice. The west side is beautiful, the grocery stores have some ethnicity to them, and the Park/Zoo is right there.

The east side is where the party is at though.

 
SEAN VINCENT, ST. LOUIS

#057: Sean Vincent is 33 and currently living in St. Louis, MO. He is a graduate of Creston High School and currenlty works at Whole Foods. Sean Vincent likes listening to Slick Rick, Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine and Talib Kwali. He also likes watching Billy Madison.

Where do you now live?
st. louis

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
for cultural expansion and geographical knowledge

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
better weather

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
dont know them at all

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
putt putts

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
playing music onstage for the first time.

Kava House or Common Ground?
kava

East side or West side?
north east side yo...

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
just family and friends (cheap rent too)

 
ANGEL, SCOTTSDALE

#056: Angel is 20 and a graduate of Creston High School. She is currently living in Scottsdale, AZ. Angel likes learning to cook, rapping in "spanglish", crotchrockets and watching "Sponge Bob Square Pants". She also enjoys modeling and dancing.

Where do you now live?
Scottsdale AZ

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Weather and Family

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Better clubs

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Never met them but i would luv to get the chance, ive heard alot of good things about them

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
It was tuscanos

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
My x boifriend and me used to hang out at Martinlutherking park and pretty much just being kids again

Kava House or Common Ground?
Never heard of em'

East side or West side?
South East

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
How every made you feel like you were part of the family and the night life, the rec centers, YMCA and the list goes on

 
WADE, SAN JOSE

#055: Wade is 32 and a graduate of Creston High School and Grand Valley State University. He is into religion, dark chocolate and is an aspiring wine snob, but lacks the funds.

Where do you now live?
San Jose, CA

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
A job in Youth Ministry in CA moved me here

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
More progressive churches that would hire out queer youth ministers

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
They have done lots of good in GR and some of the family are great and some are well, other

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Diversions

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Walking on the riverwalk and bridges downtown

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava

East side or West side?
East

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Family and good people, but definately not the weather

 
STEFAN, OMAHA

#054: Stefan is 26 and currenlty living in Omaha, NE. He is a graduate of Creston High School and is into punk rock [and apparently was into it when there were hills on Monroe, evidenced here.]

Where do you now live?
i know live in omaha, nebraska. it is the latest in a series of moves and looks to be the most permanent as we have purchased a house here.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
my wife currently works for northwest airlines and did when we lived in grand rapids. we have moved around quite a bit since we got married, and all the moves were related to positions in her company, so, job-related.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
nothing much, basically, either my wife would have to leave me either by passing away or divorcing me, or get a position at the airport there/get a different job there. i was actually satisfied with grand rapids, but before i got married i had lived in philadelphia PA for several years and was glad to be back in michigan.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
i have no strong feelings ablout them personally, although my mother had an experience with one of the women in that family that didn't exactly give me a good impression of them.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
used to be the reptile house, now billys or mullys

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
too many to list.

Kava House or Common Ground?
neither really. i'm more of a morningstar kind of guy.

East side or West side?
grew up on the EAST side baby, but i got some love for the west side too.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
mostly friends and family. that, and that the bars are open till 2 am (omaha they're open till 1 am., and on sundays most aren't open at all.)

 
NADIA, SALT LAKE CITY

#053: Nadia is 33 and has traveled the world consistenly for the last few years, most recently with a stint in Salt Lake City. She attended several different universtities; University of Michigan, George Washington University, University of Montana - Missoula, San Francisco State. Nadia enjoys good music and attending live conerts.

Where do you now live?
Just returned from Salt Lake City

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
In pursuit of more sun and bigger mountains

What Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
more sun and bigger mountains and more single
people my age

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
never met them...

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
fairly undereducated in this area, but Cambridge
house is nice because they have a Ms. Pacman
game

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Oy, this is a tough one... Most amazing? How
about most amazing memory of west mich? A
couple of years ago visiting a friend at his condo on
the lake in Holland and it was sunny and beautiful
and the water was blue blue blue and the sand is
perfect and I thought what an absolutley perfect
place to be--if only the water was above 42 degrees.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Again, not enough knowledge, never been to either.

East side or West side?
East side if only by default as I grew up on the east
side.

News 8 or 13?
13 because a friend in high school is now a
reporter on 13.

 
AMY, CHICAGO

#052: Amy is 26 and currentlly living in Chicago, where she received her MBA from University of Chicago. She is also a graduate of both City High School and Grandville High School, as well as Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. Amy enjoys reading and listening to music, cooking and playing the oboe.

Where do you now live?
Chicago

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Too few opps for non full time musicians who want to play with professional level players. Enjoy diversity, culutural opportunities and accessibility of a larger city (walking, good public transportation)

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Urban communities - walk to everything. Improved public transport.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
No opinion. But all cities need families with money to help build things.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Left before I was 21 - used to hang out at Four friends coffee house downtown.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common ground - my sister takes me there when I visit.

East side or West side?
West side.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Lack a anonymity - feeling of a small community

 
JAQUALINE, CHICAGO

#051: Jaqualine is 27 and currently lives in Chicago. She enjoys observing people, flossin', rockin' and arts and crafts stuff.


Where do you now live?
I live in chicago

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I left Grand Rapids because it was Grand Rapids. It is very depressing there and it did not motivate me. Cultural and Creatively there is a definite lack. The people look all the same. It is too small for me. There is not enough opportunity there. There is not a lot do do at night. Boy I
could go on and on.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Grand Rapids could not change enough for me to bring me back. Sorry.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I have no opinion On the Devos family. I am not dutch though so perhaps if I was I made side more with love.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I use to like hanging out at The Intersection and Mulligan's. I usually hung out in East Town.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
My most amazing memory was going to The Festival downtown when I was little and also playing in the leaves in the fall.

East side or West side?
East side

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
I miss bottle returns and the nature aspect. Mostly, drinking
in nature.

 
JOE, CHICAGO

#050: Joe is 24 and currently living in Chicago where he is a professional skateboarder. He enjoys art, Seinfeld, Halos for Martyrs and books. Joe's love for Grand Rapids abounds.

Where do you now live?
i live in pilsen, a neighborhood in Chicago IL

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I was curious to see other places. Chicago was not only easy to move to because of the location, but the music and art that was being created in Chicago was extremely interesting.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Grand Rapids, MI is a place I am very proud to call my hometown. I am not a native of Chicago, so i am definately biased when it comes to hometowns. Being originally from Grand Rapids makes me so proud, it probably gets annoying to the natives here.. Grand Rapids, MI is the best city in the midwest to grow up in, and I am so proud of where I am from. I have noticed that Grand Rapids has a very good reputation here in Chicago. A lot of ciies in the midwest are perceived as worthless country towns to the people in the city, but Gun Roo has a level of respect I only wish I could be responsible for.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I don't really know. I know that they are responsible for a good portion of Grand Rapids developement. Developement is good, bad, and neccessary all at the same time. I have noticed that most towns have a family or enterprise of some sort that have a huge influence on an area. I guess the DeVoss family is looking out for number one, but who knows what part of GR i would have grown up in without their urban planning. I guess I would rather be a Daley than a DeVoss, but either team would be nice.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I moved out of GR when I was 18, so the only places I hung out at was local skate spots... but I loved seeing shows, and although I don't know much about them, the Swim Gallery was unbelievably cool.. I wish I could have been a part of it.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
mist floating off of the grand river in the morning

Kava House or Common Ground?
am i skating, or scooping girls ?

East side or West side?
W when I was growing up, but NE till the day I die

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
My friends from Grand Rapids are the most talented people in the world... I feel like i have flourished in Chicago as an artist due to who I grew up around. I know that if some of my old friends moved here when I did, they would have blown this city away with how much brilliance they posses. I bore my friends here with stories of how wonderful my friends are from home..... i wish they would come here more.

 
JULIE, SANTA BARBARA

#049: Julie is 28 and currenlty living in Santa Barbara, California. Julie likes to sled.


Where do you now live?
After living in several cities and states, I now live in Santa Barbara, CA.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Went to college out of state.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order
for you to return?

Nothing... it would just somehow have to magically become some place other than my home town.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I'm indifferent. They have done alot of great things for the city, it's hard to imagine what Grand Rapids would be like without them.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Hmm... this is a tough one. I moved away so long ago. I guess, the one place that I absolutely have to go everytime I come home to visit is Yesterdog. Otherwise, I don't think I have a favorite bar/hangout... I'll go wherever.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Sledding down the hill at Mulick Park every winter. It seemed so big at the time, but I saw it last year and, you know, that's one tiny hill.

Kava House or Common Ground?
They were both after my time... I don't think I've been to either one.

East side or West side?
East side... of course!!!

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
The sense of community... it was a great place to grow up!

 
KURT, BROADVIEW

#048: Kurt is 29, married and currently living in a suburb of Chicago, via San Francisco. He is interested in skateboarding, God, Art and sports cars. Kurt is currently a graphic designer and will soon be returning to Grand Rapids.

I was actually just back in g.raps for the past week. The longest I've been back in quite a while. I really miss the place and all my friends are now moving back and starting to make it better. I'm with you, I would move back in a second, but when you get married you are more of a team than an individual making life changing decisions. So, our decision that we actually made last night is that we plan on moving back in a year and a half.

Where do you now live?
I originally moved to SF. Now, we've been living in a small suburb just outside of Chicago.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Originally for school in k.zoo at WMU. Plus, I needed to experience more places than my hometown. Now that I have, I can truly accept g.raps for what it is and isn't and what it could be. It's grown leaps and bounds since I lived there 10 years ago.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Public skateparks, more art galleries, more cultural endeavors, more music venues, more of a united community for artists. Those things would be nice.


Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I actually know the Devos family from working at Kent Country Club. They were decent folks.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Lately it's been Gardella's. I really like Founders too. My old stomping grounds were kava, common ground, music expresso, mulligans, intersection, billys, etc.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
My most amazing experience was skating downtown at the ampitheater every summer and every Sunday with groups of like 20 kids.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava was my favorite and still is.

East side or West side?
I grew up on the West side so my heart is definitely there amongst all the hard working people that I grew up with, but I usually hung out around downtown or eastown.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
I miss just the feel of that place. It's urban, but not too urban. The people are decent to you no matter where you are in g.raps from meijers to the corner store. Everyone pretty much enjoys life on a simpler level. It's not as much about status or at least that has been my experience. Around here, everyone is in cahoots with each other over everything. It's more competitive. People are a lot more laid back in g.raps.

 
JENNIFER, SEATTLE

#047: Jennifer is currently living in Seattle where she received her Master's in Social Work from University of Washington. Jenn spent her time in Grand Rapids attending Calvin College. She is a big fan of Bell Hooks, listening to Bell and Sebastian and watching Six Feet Under. Jennifer spends her time volunteering, being political and eating sushi.

Where do you now live?
Seattle, WA

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
To go to graduate school at University of Washington

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
More diversity that is integrated. The midwest has a "segregation" feel to it compared to the NW. GR needs more progressive people and liberal minds. Get rid of Bush stickers and the abundance of SUV's and pick up trucks. Need more Asian people. Need less racism. Have more moderate temperatures. The mosquitoes are big, the summers are humid, and the winters are way too cold.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Not sure if I "hate" them. They are a really conservative family that has poured money into the city to try to "improve" things and then put their name on all their buildings.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I use to love Mulligan's. Was my favorite "smoke box". If only they could get a ventilation system. Also loved Kava House and all the places in Eastown.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Times hanging out in Easttown with friends and locals. Had a lot of good memories but not many amazing ones.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House. Common Ground had such a young
crowd.

East side or West side?
East side.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
My family. One of my best friend's still lives there too.

 
PATRICK, LOS ANGELES

#046: Patrick is a graduate of Grand Valley State University's communications program, and is currently employed in the graphics department at a major american clothier. He lives in a co-op above a mediocre art gallery in downtown los angeles, and spends his free time scammin' free tickets to shows and playin' hoops. he, like most of us, would most like to meet barry sanders. occasionally, he blogs on G-RAD at the bob grich outreach center. you know, when he has time.

Where do you now live?
Los Angeles, CA

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
i finished college and i wanted to live somewhere that i hadn't lived before. for some reason at the time out of michigan seemed very appealing as well. very typical white suburban college kid procedure. oh, and to "find myself".

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
1. a magical escalator that carries you and your bike up fulton street and then tucks you into bed.
2. a place to eat late, that is good. yeah i know, i can already hear the arguments. sorry.
3. a waterpark
4. dvd's and cd's at the library back to being free. (i love the library so much though, don't misunderstand)
5. another outreach center.
6. nina, berlin, or a nina, berlin robot. either one.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
never met them

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
422 Lafayette. and no, i am not sucking up.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
i liked having my garage sale. the whole day was incredible for me. it's really hard to pick favorites though. i want to go through the memories that i had with all of my friends from the entire time that i lived there but i get all sappy and emotional and i'd overthink it. i guess thats an answer.

Kava House or Common Ground?
common ground was always too far it seemed like. and i always spilled things on me at kava house. so neither.

East side or West side?
kanye west side story.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
the people that i was privileged enough to spend time with while i lived there.

sleeping on my balcony on union st. when it started to get warm last year.

my heart. ( you stole it grand rapids... you up and stole it. )

 
RACHEL, TRAVERSE CITY

#045: Rachel is currently back in Michigan living in Traverse City. She is a graduate of Calvin College. Rachel loves the colors green and brown. She is very "domestic".


Where do you now live?
i now reside wherever i want. for awhile, that meant
yellowstone national park. then it was random
campsites and friends' houses in the southwest.
currently, i'm sleeping at my parents' home in
traverse city, michigan.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
calvin college said i was graduated. i didn't have a
job in town and therefore, no money for rent so i
moved back home, then out west.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
uhhh... i think a clean river would be fun. maybe
people would take more river walks and play in the
water on nice summer days. but, me personally? i
guess a good job -- which i don't think i'm going to
find because there are too many colleges and
college kids getting graduated and whatever.
there's just not a draw to it right now.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
never met them so i won't say one way or the
other. they give the city money, and i think that's
nice of them. at least they are trying in a way they
think will help. better than spending it all on
themselves i'd say.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
"that's a tuffy!" i don't have one really. i liked
walking/wandering through residential downtown. i
spent a bunch of time at friends' houses and that
was always a good time. bars were a good time if
good friends were there, so i suppose the location
could change due to that.

OR, that big ol' cemetery on Eastern/Franklin.
although, the one right by my house was pretty
nice too. i just like cemeteries alright?

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
amazing huh? i'm gonna go with 4th of July night
on Worden Street. the neighborhood kids and
families lighting fireworks in the street and
the "ooos" and "ahhhs" -- it was awesome to
watch and hear. laughter and excitement over
sparks and the police sirens in the distance.

Kava House or Common Ground?
i think i went to kava once... no! twice. and, uh,
which one is common ground again?

East side or West side?
southeast. for definitely. er, uh, that wasn't an
option was it? East.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
living on my own, with friends. living downtown
where i could walk to the library or the laundromat.
i miss who i'd hang out with and getting to know
the city.

 
NICK, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

#044: Nick is 24 and graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design. He is currenlty living in Sao Paulo, Brazil working in the advertising industry doing work with companies like Nokia, and even small indie record labels. Nick is interested in things that improve the way wew live, think and work.

Where do you now live?
Currently living in São Paulo, Brazil.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
At first to take on a entry level job in Lansing- What a mistake. If you thought I was unhappy in Grand Rapids you should try Lansing. Lansing is a shithole. Those who go there will miss Grand Rapids.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
A real ad agency, I mean a place that employs real advertising experienced Creative Directors, Art Directors, and Copywriters. Who have real clients on a national scale that also have a structured internship program for the local university programs (Grand Valley, Kendall, Calvin)

KCAD needs to bring back the Design Center so that students can get industry experience at the student level, as well as being more honest with their students. If you see a student has no realistic chance of being succesful in the area in which they have studied they must not be allowed to simply float by, stop them before it's too late and they have invested their money and time. The standards need to be raised. And real projects need to be worked on. Especially presentation skills. Art directors need to get involved early on working with copywriters and photographers to collaborate on projects. Nobody should be allowed to use stock art for anything-- if you need to use stockart then you need to develop a better concept. My opinion.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I don't know much about them, but I hate quixtar, or alticor, and all their companies with a passion. Amway is total crap that preys on the hopes of their victims, aka IPO.


Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I liked getting chinese at beijing kitchen, 2 choppers had some good gyros. East town was a great place to go, could be cleaned up a bit. Need more downtown, a 24 hour video store or coffee place similar to video hits plus in Kalamazoo or Boogies.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Not much really. I miss that when I lived in Grand Rapids I was with my ex. Who i loved very much haha.

 
BRANDON, WASH. D.C.

#043: Brandon is 27 currently living in Washington D.C.. He is a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design. Brandon currenlty runs his own arts and entertainment company which can, http://www.phyre-arts.com.

Where do you now live?
DC by way of NY, by way of DC by way of NY

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
not enough culture and ethnic diversity to inspire me.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return? diversity and cultural and individual acceptance.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
not familiar

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
all of 28th street

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
The people are very nice. And the snow is amazing.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House

East side or West side?
East Side

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
some of my friends.

 
TAMARA, FT. BENNING

#042: Tamara is 24 and a graduate of Godwin Heights High School. She is currently living in Ft. Benning, GA where her husband is stationed. Tamara loves reality TV and listening/dancing to salsa, merengue and reggaeton.

Where do you now live?
Ft. Benning, GA

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Lost my job

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return? Actually GR would have to lose all the people that make negative images for GR in order for me to ever consider returning. Also

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
After my friends death at the DeVos Center I feel they are somewhat responsible for the accident and not being on top of things as far as the sructure of the building and its functions, so now i wouldn't say i hate them but unfortunately their name is associated with a tragic accident that could have been prevented.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Azucar(spanish club), Margarita grill....anywhere downtown.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Making the friends that i have today, being raised there and calling it my second home, Puerto Rico being my first.

Kava House or Common Ground?
?????

East side or West side?
West

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
The changing of the seasons, the people, the diversity as far as entertainment, running into people that helped made memories as we all grew up.


 
SCOTT, NEW YORK CITY

:#041: Scott grew up in E. Grand Rapids, and is now currenlty living in NYC pursuing a career in music. Scott has learned the secret of free haircuts at high end salons.

Where do you now live?
New York City

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Left to go to college in Chicago, and never came back.
Currently live in New York to pursue a career in music while
working a corporate job.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for
you to return?

A viable music scene, more fun and excitement than the BOB
has to offer, more in the way of interesting employment that
wouldn't comprise a regression on my resume.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Ambivalent, although it gets old seeing their name on
everything old and new

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Giardella's (sp?) has a cool vibe

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
...?

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground...seems more organic than what Kava
House has become

East side or West side?
East

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Grass and parks and trees, and low cost of living

 
ALEXANDRA, BOSTON

#040: Alexendra is 24 and currently living Boston, MA. She is a graduate of Forest Hills Central High School. Alexandra enjoys shopping and skiing and classic rock. She is currently ::ahem:: "somebody's bitch at MS&L Public Relations."

Where do you now live?
Boston, but thinking of coming back to the Midwest (Chicago) in the near future.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
First for college, then because I wanted to live somewhere different, at least for a while.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I don't see myself coming back to GR in the very near future, but would potentially like to raise a family there.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Ambivalent

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
J. Gardella's

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Good times with friends and family. Going to Grand Haven in the summers.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava, but hate the smoke...MI needs to get with the rest of the country on the smoking ban (in my opinion)

East side or West side?
East side for sure!

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Being close to my family and few friends who are still there. I miss the close and comfortable community that exists in Grand Rapids.

 
EMILY, NEW YORK CITY

#039: Emily is graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Emily enjoys watching Law and Order, listening to A Tribe Called Quest and Mirah, and reading Toni Morrison.

Where do you now live?
NEW YORK CITY

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
MY BOYFRIEND GOT A JOB IN NEW YORK PLUS I WANTED TO MOVE THERE ANYWAYS

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return? EVERYTHING NEW YORK HAS, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE THINGS I LIKE ABOUT GRAND RAPIDS (SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE)

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH THEM, THEY'RE ALRIGHT BUT I DON'T AGREE WITH THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS. PLUS I'M NOT RELIGIOUS SO WE WOULDN'T HAVE MUCH IN COMMON

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
BILLYS

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
GETTING DRUNK OFF OF STOLEN WINE FROM FULTON HEIGHTS FOODS IN WILCOX PARK (AFTER SCHOOL IN NINTH AND TENTH GRADE) WITH MY FRIENDS

Kava House or Common Ground?
COMMON GROUND- I WENT THERE EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 4 YEARS

East side or West side?
EASTOWN

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
FRIENDS, FAMILY, KNOWING EVERYONE WHEN YOU GO OUT.

 
MICHELLE, CHICAGO

#038: Michelle is 23 and a graduate of City High School and Calvin College. She is currently living in Chicago where she is a waitress and interns at Museum of Contemporary Art. Michelle enjoys listening to Ben and Bruno and Sade. She also enjoys getting smarter and organizing small spaces.

Where do you now live?
Chicago

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
To pursue an internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art and to leave the city I lived in almost my whole life.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
An international art fair

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
love

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Rocky's

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
The night Phil from the Microphones sang in the basement of Elite.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House

East side or West side?
East side

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
summer days wallking around with friends and drinking on
porches at house dance parties

 
BEN, LAS ANGELES

#037: Ben is 28 and a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School and Calvin College. He is currenlty living in LA where is pursuing career in film. Ben likes Hume, Tarkovsky and Bob Dylan.

Message:
Where do you now live?
Los Angeles.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Too parochial. No work. Etc.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Better public transit. More Thai restaurants. A faster trainride to Chicago and Detroit. More bookstores. Less sharp demographics. Less homogeniety. Less 28th St. (Dad, c'mon - fix that.)

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Well, it's not worth the energy to hate anyone. I like that they put money into Grand Rapids. I don't agree with how they make it, really.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
The bars are all bad. I can't think of a single one in which you don't have to scream to talk.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
There are really too many. Maybe climbing a tree
in Wilson Park while extremely drunk.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground. Less EGR nonsense and who can resist all those cool Ethiopians??

East side or West side?
I was always intrigued by the history of the West Side and found myself spending more and more time there before I left. But the East side is what I know.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
If you start describing what you miss, you end up with more than you begin with. Why not start with deciduous trees - Michigan is still the most beautiful place I know in autumn.

 
JEN, ARLINGTON

#036: Jen is 28 and a graduate of Northview Highschool. She now lives in Arlington, Va where she is an office manager by day and an actress by night. Jen loves alternative rock, The Princess Bride, and Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Where do you now live?
Arlington, VA - about 7 min from DC (4 hours from NYC)

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Went to college as a theatre major, realized there wasn't really any professional theatre in GR, and my boyfriend had moved to VA (had planned on moving back to MI after 1 year - we were saving money for a better living arrangement) but instead I moved here - since there was far more opportunity.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return? professional acting jobs, more of an open mind about liberal issues.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I don't know them personally, so I can't really judge them as people

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
CHEERS on Plainfield, there used to be a place called STONEYS that I liked near that area too. PAUNCHY PETES off of Alpine.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Hmmm...not quite sure. I had fun in highschool (class of 95 - Northview) Always loved going to see DOMESTIC PROBLEMS in concert :) I miss seeing local bands. I DEFINITELY miss Meijer - why it isn't mandatory to have a MEIJER in every city, is beyond me.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground - Kava got too trendy

East side or West side?
East

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
Well, MEIJER, seeing local bands play, the fact that
they have parking everywhere you go, and it's free -
the fact that I could drive around WITHOUT road
rage, my family, the people are a bit more laid
back.

 
MADELINE, BUFFALO

#035: Madeline is 22 and currently studying for her masters in Art History at the University of Buffalo. She loves to play the tin whistle, watch Pee Wee's Big Adventure and listening to Slick Rick. Sometimes she reads all weekend, sometimes she partis like a rockstar. Dr. Jekyl?

Where do you now live?
Buffalo, New York

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
To go to graduate school.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
A graduate school with a masters program in Art History.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Hate.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Billys.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
I have too many to chose. I really liked blues fest back in the day of the grassy knols.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House.

East side or West side?
Ha, East of course.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
My friends and eastown.

 
MICHAEL, NYC

#034: Michael is 26 and currently seeking a degree in Black Studies at the City University of New York. He enjoys watching I Love Lucy and The Golden Girls. Michael is an aspiring actor. Oh, and he loves to dance. LOVES IT!

Where do you now live?
I live in New York City, NY

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I wasn't happy with the community at large. I felt that a larger metropolitan city would offer the diversity that I crave. I'm also an actor and realized that moving to New York was the logical step for my career.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I can't imagine it gaining anything that would make me consider moving back for any length of time.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Indifferent.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Diversions. A coffee shop named Discussions that reside somewhere near GRCC.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Performing at the Grand Awards in 1999.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House.

East side or West side?
East side. No doubt

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
I miss my family the most! Once in awhile I miss the slower
pace, the friendly greetings from strangers in the local grocery
store. Oh and of course Meijer.

 
JENINE, EUREKA

#033: Jenine is 22 a graduate of City High School who is currently living in Eureka, CA where she studies International Studies. Her favorite books are Chronicles of Narnia [ya know, this is a movie now too!?!?] and the Tao of Poo. Jenine enjoys music like Sade, Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. She is a gypsy with massive curls.

Where do you now live?
Eureka, Ca

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
To see new places

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
more diversity, better shows, less expensive downtown

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
hate but they do alot for the city

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
the radio was. i would have to say Billy's then

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
when ice crystals formed all the way to the sky
in all different colors, it was like being in emerald
city

Kava House or Common Ground?
common ground without a doubt

East side or West side?
west side, but i grew up on the east side

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
all of my friends and family, the snow, late night
coffee spots

 
ARLAND, PORTLAND, OR

#032: Arland is currently living in Portland, OR where he is one half of the band Kanda.

Where do you now live?
Portland, OR

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
To go to school in Boston.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
It would have to be larger. Portland is as small of a city as I would like to live in.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Neither. Good or bad, it would be hard to imagine G.R. without them. I've never noticed that their name looks like the plural form of DEVO.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
When I was underage I had a lot of fun at the Enclave. I guess I like to visit Mulligans because I usually run into people there.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
When a friend and I walked from Lafayette and Michigan (by the hospital) to Jenison at 12:00 AM for no reason.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House

East side or West side?
East

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
There's no place like home.

 
TODD, CHICAGO

#031: Todd is 27 and currently living in Chicago, IL. He likes riding his bike and listenig to Jesus Lizard. Todd also really like taking photographs and showing off his tattoo of Michigan!

Where do you now live?
I live in Chicago, via- Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I lived on and off since 2000.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I have somewhat of a vagabond mentality that seems to only keep me in one place for 12 months. I want to live in as many parts and places of this America as possible. I love new experiences.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I don't think there's anything that Grand Rapids needs to aquire in order for me to come back. The older I get, the more NOT interested I am in trivial things like record stores, show spaces, etc.. In my eyes, Grand Rapids is great - my family is very close by, there are places to work in most all professions, schools, water, etc... I'm sure I will return someday.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I'm not informed in what they've done for the city.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Wolfgangs

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
there is a road that goes through a park just West of the city ... riding my bicycle along that road in the fall.

Kava House or Common Ground?
have never been to either

East side or West side?
i don't know

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
I miss: a few good people. the proximity to my family. all the roads to the north west. wolfgangs. founders. Herm from (now defunct?) Vertigo. Those few bars on the West side that have great dart boards, cheap beer, and suspicious people...

 
CARLA,MINNEAPOLIS

#030: Carla is 23 and a graduate of City High School. She enjoys hippies that are Catholic, playing with thread. Carla's favorite movie is Muppets take Manhattan, but when she's not watching the tube - she is checking out "Orion's Belt".

Where do you now live?
Minneapolis and I work in St. Paul

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I joined the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (like Americorps) to work at an open-air neighborhood farmer's market here, and ended up getting a job at Wellstone Action! after the year was up. This is like a dream job and I had to stay.

What Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I probably will go back. I'm the only one of my family who is gone. Its ridiculous the way they are after me all the time to communicate more, and it is hard. Once I learn more and take advantage of this great liberal mindset,, I'll come back. Its frustrating how conservative West Michigan is, but I really want to learn a lot more and then come back and change it :) I guess I'll need a kick-ass
job that'll bring me back to do it though. That's number one.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Really disagree with them, but my dad's worked there forever, so they've basically supported me by giving my dad work... and all the $ they give back to the community is sweet... but it stays in the
conservative christian republican realm... let's getsome rich radicals to rival them!

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Whenever I come back I go to the Black Rose, Yesterdog, Four Friends, usually end up at Schuler's on 28th... and some others that my friends still there bring me to.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Festival.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Man... Kava House I guess. Common Ground kind
of went sour for me after I broke up with a boyfriend
there.

East side or West side?
Eastside-but NOT EGR. Its where I grew up, but
Westside is awesome-more diverse and liberal.

News 8 or 13?
I guess news 8, as I went to school down the
street from them.

 
BRACE, WEST HOLLYWOOD

#029: Brace is 23 and a graduate of East Grand Rapids High School and Grand Rapids Community College. He enjoys watching Lord of the Rings and Mulholland Drive, oh and Nip/Tuck! Brace's favorite book is FRANKENSTEIN.

Where do you now live?
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
WEATHER, CULTURE ON THE WEST COAST, LIFESTYLE, EXCITEMENT

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
NOTHING...ITS HOME..MY FAMILY IS ENOUGH

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
NEITHER

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
MONTES/GARDELLAS/DIVERSIONS

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
DRIVING DOWN THE EAST BELTLINE, AT NIGHT, WHEN I WAS LIKE 16...THINKING I WAS ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Kava House or Common Ground?
KAVA HOUSE

East side or West side?
I'LL SUPPORT MY HOMETOWN.EAST GR

 
P.J., SOUTHERN YOSEMITE

#028: P.J. is 24 and a graduate of the culinary program at Grand Rapids Community College. We have no idea what P.J. stands for. He enjoys different kinds of spices and herbs, listening to Unwound and shopping at thrift stores.

Where do you now live?
southern yosemite, california

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
job offer

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
the pop cafe or the old intersection. i probably will return sometime

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
dunno. ive met some of them and they are nice people

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
mullys

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
seeing the owls the day i broke off an engagement


Kava House or Common Ground?
wealthy st. bakery

East side or West side?
east

 
MATT, BROOKLYN

#027: Matt is 25, a graduate of Forest Hills Central High School and Hope College and currently teaches art to middle school students in the Bronx. He enjoys reading books with the word "busted" in them and listening to 'busted' hip-hop. Matt's sense of humor lies somewhere between someone who is 11-17. Potty humor is his soft spot.

Where do you now live?
brooklyn, ny

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
to teach art and experience a more culturally diverse lifestyle. someplace where the pace ain't so slow or lives aren't driven by familiarity and complacencies. id.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
my family and friends are there, so i'll be returning frequently anyway. thinking about going back and driving down those slow ass streets with nothing around you and going and doing the same thing all the time makes me feel like saying swear words. perhaps someday i'll come back just for convenience sake, but right now i like living here.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
i don't feel anyway towards them.. they did some good things for the children's hospital tho, so that's good. is there some kind of undertone to this question? like are they politically evil and i'm not really informed on it? whatever.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
gaia is a good restaurant, and then billy's is fun on sunday nights. word!

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
i remember a lot of good times with friends, cuz i grew up there. but i mean, this would be different if i were an outsider to grand rapids filling this out. i once tried to clear off this piece of what i thought was lint on a girl's face. but i pulled on it and she went 'ouch!' it ended up i pulled this super long hair off her face that she didn't even know was growing there! she was the valedictorian of our high school

Kava House or Common Ground?
kava house has good chai, common ground has good chai.. either or? ok kava house in the summer, common ground in the winter. cuz you can sit outside at kava.

East side or West side?
southeast. ada. word!

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
i say, gr is like the shire, and it's nice to get out of gondor for a while every here and there to see all the hobbits and family

 
KAREN, CHICAGO

#026: Karen is 26, a graduate of Calvin College and a more recent expat of Grand Rapids. She enjoys driving with the windows down, couscous, red wine and the Magic Date ball. Karen's ideal hero would be the child of Sylvia Plath and Han Solo.

Where do you now live?
I live in Chicago. My neighborhood is called Roscoe Village; it's basically West Lakeview or North Center. I love it because it's a residential area but also has coffee shops/stores/bars/restaurants nearby. Unlike a lot of popular Chicago neighborhoods, I can always find parking right outside of my apartment.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
It was time. I moved to Grand Rapids for school (Calvin College) in 1998 and stayed the four years following graduation. As soon as the end of college neared, I decided GR was not where I wanted to settle. I grew up in the Detroit area and GR was (is) on quite a different plane. Many of the people seemed more close-minded, more Republican, with more traditional views than I was used to. And while it's a big small city, it seems very segregated. I always saw the same people all the time. While that's nice and familiar, it seemed to get old after awhile. The whole time I lived there, I constantly said I wanted to get out, that I didn't like the town. Ironically, the longer I lived there, the more I kind of grew to like it. But I think that was based more on the friends I had than the town itself.

To sum it up, GR just wasn't making me happy. I knew I had to look elsewhere for jobs (writing jobs, specifically), new people to connect with (ones who weren't, for instance, married at age 20), more vegetarian restaurants, a more open-minded atmosphere, and a thriving social scene. I lived in Michigan my entire life up until my move to Chicago two months ago. I feel I need to be somewhere else for awhile.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
That's a hard question to answer. I can't really see myself moving back to Grand Rapids anytime soon, but I think that's because it's still too familiar to me. And I am looking for a change. I don't think Grand Rapids is a terrible place; I'm just not sure if it's for me. Unfortunately, I don't think GR will ever be the sort of big city I love. I suppose if I had a husband and kids of my own, I might feel differently. GR is a decent place to raise kids. But I'm not to that point yet.

I guess I'd be more tempted to return if the city became even more vegetarian-conscious, had Mexican restaurants that stay open until 4 a.m., had more decent bars (read: non-frat bars) that play great music, and had a little more diversity.

Do you love or hate the Devos'?
I don't know the Devos family personally, so I won't say I love or hate them. I don't like that money tends to run the show in Grand Rapids. But I think that's the case in a lot of places. I do think it's nice when people have money and give it away to support hospitals, colleges, etc. And I also think it appropriate to give thanks and nods when they are due, but not everything has to be named "Devos." It often just leaves a bad taste in people's mouths. Particularly the mouths of those who can hardly afford rent, let alone a new building.

What is your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Hmmm. A lot of the places I spent time at in GR were because of the particular event or the people who frequented the place. If I went downtown, I'd usually head to Gardella's, which was bearable, moreso than a place like Taps. The Black Rose was decent too (though, I'm sorry to say, not very Irish). I think Mulligan's was my favorite bar. And I loved both '80s Nights at Billy's and the Drink.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Amazing is a strong word. I'd say it was pretty amazing that I lived in my own apartment for 3 1/2 years and only paid $375 a month. And that apartment was sizeable - with a basement, front yard, backyard, and garage. I don't think I'll ever find a deal like that again. I can honestly say that apartment made living in Grand Rapids pretty nice.

It's also pretty amazing that I could go out to Billy's on Sunday night, dance and drink for nearly four hours, and only spend $15.

Kava house or Common Ground?
I liked both coffee shops. Sorry, but I can't choose one over the other.

East side or west side?
East side, most definitely. The West side had its charm, but the East side was home.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
I miss my friends the most. And like I already mentioned, the affordable rent, and the cheap drinks. I also miss (in no particular order) Gaia, Marie Catrib's, Meijer and D&W, Martha's Vineyard, the YMCA, the close distance between the places I'd go, Free Radical exhibitions downtown, the paved path by the river, bearable traffic, the Farmers' Market, and the fact that everything seemed so accessible (unlike Chicago).

 
SCOTT, KALAMAZOO

#025:Scott is 23, a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School and currently travels the U.S. doing standup/improv, but calls Kalamazoo home. Scott enjoys skateboarding, the Ramones and browsing used bookstores. His heros are Morissey and Max Weber, 'cause Scott has that good protestant work ethic.

Where do you now live?
most recently kalamazoo. currently i am working on the road.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Initially to attend WMU, and now work.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order
for you to return?

A comedy theater, skateboard plaza, and less snow. it really does have a lot of draws, though. For example I was back last week for Thanksgiving and I caught the Art Battle at UICA. It was really great to have that much going on in one place. The best part of it was that the crowd was really mixed in ages. There was a great variety of people. Meaning that the town has widespread interest in the arts.
I am conflicted about whether the Dutch/CRC/Calvin paradigm is a blessing or a curse. It gives GR a unique character and history, but also makes it feel stagnant and closed minded.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
No real strong opinion. Although as a grad of GRCHS, I am thankful for their contributions to that institution. I'm glad I had that opportunity, but quality of education should be there for the public schools too. Also I think their high profile is a bit off putting to people.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Founders, Pickwick, and walking around Eastown.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Having grown up there I have lots of them. Most involve skateboarding, improv, and seeing bands. Being 15 years old and going downtown to the old amphitheater on a Saturday evening to find 50+ people skating stands out at the most exciting though.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground, but I haven't been there for a few years, and I have a felling that I might feel old there now. That or i'll just need to hang out on the no smoking side now.

East side or West side?
Can you beat Parkside Foods and Mr. Burger? Probably. I have to go with the west side since it is where I was raised and hang. But my favorite view of the skyline is on 96 heading west into town.

What do you miss about Grand Rapids?
The lack of insane traffic, friends, family, familarity. I'd say the biggest thing though is that people will give you the time of day. If you go into a shop you can actually have a real conversation with the person working. Say Vertigo or Scavenger Hunt, whereas in Chicago or New York its either too busy or too cool to do so. Also I took it for granted but GR has a lot of really great architecture. The Alger Heights, Eastown, Heritage Hill, and Ottawa Hills neighborhoods have some beautiful older homes.

 
REN, BROOKLYN

#024: Ren is 20, a graduate of Forest Hills Central and currently studying painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She enjoys incorporating textiles, caramel apples, watching 'Arrested Development' and the smell of turpentine.

Where do you now live?
brooklyn, new york

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
i initially left grand rapids to attend the university of michigan... after a year i dropped out (it's not the best place for a painting major). i found myself living in heritage hill and despising my monotonous existence. so my best friend and i packed up her car and moved to los angeles. i currently live in brooklyn because i attend pratt institute.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return? grand rapids needs some new people. as far as i'm concerned, i've met some really amazing people there. however, they're all connected to one another and create this strange incestuous community. the lack of new faces is thoroughly disappointing. despite this downfall, there are so many things in gr that i love! there are the little places that are extremely sentimental to me... gaia and little africa for example. there are also people that are doing amazing things. for instance, the uica screens some of the most rare independent films. it bothers me that so few people actually take advantage of this resource. ben, you've had amazing musicians at both the daac and the uica, including some of my friends. i don't think i could return to grand rapids to live after experiencing so many things in other places... but i'm definitely proud to say it's one of my homes.

Do you love or hate the Devos family? i went to high school with a devos, and she was the direct opposite of anyone that i would be friends with.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids? i'm partial to jukes. i also love the whole coffee house scene in grand rapids. it's a pretty amazing thing... after moving to other cities, i've realized that it's the only town i've lived in where that exists.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids? wow, that's a tough question. there are so many memories involving the eastown area and many involving the giant tire swing downtown. i've also had the pleasure of seeing some great musicians at both the daac and the uica. i met one of my close friends when he played at the daac the week before halloween last year. that's one night i'll never forget.

Kava House or Common Ground?
can i say morningstar76? i used to work there and spent too much time there during high school.

East side or West side?
east, of course.

 
MICHELLE, CHICAGO

#023: Michelle is 26 and currently living in Chicago where she attended Columbia University, studying Interactive Media. She enjoys painting, flailing uncontrollably and reading. Michelle gets down with Braniac, Yo la Tengo, The Fall, Blue and bands like the Velvet Underground. Michelle also is interested in Laura Palmer.

Where do you now live?
Chicago

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
to go to school and seek out new adventures.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
It would have to turn into a greater metropolitan area and have a stronger art, music, and support system.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Indifferent.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
The Oakway, Kava kids, the Lake and Fuller house,
The Moron house...

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House

East side or West side?
East side

 
LESLIE, BALTIMORE

#022: Leslie is 24 and currently living in Baltimore, MD where she is a pre-school teacher. She enjoys listening to Bauhaus, Broadzilla, Casey Stratton, Gavin Degraw, David Bowie, T-Rex, Lunachicks, OutKast, Peaches, Black Crowes, Ray Charles, Jellyfish, Mieka Pauley, Puccini, Vivaldi, George Winston, Joe Hisaishi. Even though she may not be residing in the mitten state, she still has love for Pistons.

Where do you now live?
Baltimore, soon to be chicago...

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
family lived here on the east coast

What does Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I will only return to visit family...

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
It annoys me that they have so much money they feel they have to plaster their name all over the city, but i dont think about them enough to hate them

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
well, when i was 12, it was Splash Waterpark

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
taking a watercolor class at Kendall and painting the buildings of downtown GR

Kava House or Common Ground?
my big sister would say Kava House

East side or West side?
East Side

News 8 or 13?
Suzanne Geha got on my nerves, so i always liked news 13

 
RICH, KANSAS CITY

#021:

Rich likes computers.

Where do you now live?
I live in Kansas City, MO.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I left because, despite having a degree from the University of Michigan, nobody was willing to pay me or any of the laid-off IT workers in GR more than 30k a year. I'm making more than twice that
here.
What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I would come back if GR had a vibrant software/IT/web job economy. In a heartbeat.

Do you love or hate the Devos?
I'm not sure if I had enough exposure to the local political environment to know if I love or hate the DeVos family (please, the V is capitalized, like DeJong, DeVries, etc..)

What is your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
When I lived in GR, I was mostly a evangelical little prick, so I didn't get out to the bar scene too often. I do really dig Founder's on my holiday returns though.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
My most amazing memory of Grand Rapids? Nothing really stands out.

Kava House or Commong Ground?
Common Ground.

East side or West side?
East town seemed nice.

If you are looking to revitalize the art scene in Grand Rapids, then I suggest you take a note from the Crossroads/Freighthouse District of Kansas City. These were run down storage and factory buildings of little value to anyone. The only people without enough money or inclinations towards crime that wanted to live there were artists. So they did. They altered the landscape whenever possible. They found patrons, they worked, they put their money into whatever micro economy that little flailing area of town had. They created a community of cross-promotion, attracted local entrepreneurs to open up galleries, and eventually put on something called "First Fridays", in which, on the first Friday of every month, all the galleries would open up to
serve free booze and cubey-cheesy-snacks to curious patrons, other local artists, and, of course, bobos.

First Fridays are huge now. They're advertised on expensive looking glossy postcards, featuring some local artists work. Expensive lofts have replaced abandoned bulidings. Local landmarks have been preserved. Fancy restaurants abound. Wrought iron sculptures pop out of the sidewalk in between galleries. I'm not sure if there are any artists actually able to afford living down there now, but there is definitely a revitalized art culture. And free cubey-cheesy snacks. So we got that going for us.

 
STEVEN, BERKELEY

#020: Steven is 24 and a graduate of Forest Hills Northern High School and Grand Valley State University. He is currently studying for a Masters of Divinity at the Pacific School of Religion. He is likes running, the Big Lebowski, as well as cultivating human potential. Steven believes all living things have potential and that we are here on this earth to cultivate that potential,and all people are inter-connected.

Where do you now live?
Berkeley, CA

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Grad School, M.Div. at Pacific School of Religion

What Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Less racial segregation.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
They've done a lot for GR. Love

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
The Anchor

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Watching Celebration on the Grand fireworks in the Amway Grand Plaza when I was a kid. The fireworks are always on or around my birthday and I was told the fireworks were for me. I thought that was awesome!

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava

East side or West side?
East

News 8 or 13?
Don't Care

 
NICOLE, PORTLAND OR

#019: Nicole is 27 and currently living Portland, OR where she is an accountant. She is interested in timeshares, art and realestate and also listening to bands like Le Tigre and the Gossip. Nicole is interested in people with nice cheek bones and rock a good pant-shoe combination.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I hated living there. The opportunity for financial growth is very minimal.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I would never return.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Well GR wouldnt have as much without the Devos family. Its funny how much most people hate them yet they have given more jobs to the Grand Rapids people than any other company in that city.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Diversions/Mulligans

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
I was born there. I guess thats a good memory

Kava House or Common Ground?
Neither but more Common than Kava

East side or West Side?
East

 
KRISTIN, ST. LOUIS

#018: Kristen is 22, grew up in Grand Rapids and recently graduated from Calvin College. She is addicted to NIP/TUCK, likes listening to the Pixies and the Breeders. Kristin enjoys sustainable consumption, making wine and tall people.

Where do you now live?
St. Louis, MO --Central West End

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Towards the end of college, I realized that, in order to stay in the good GR, I would have to find a real job. I wanted to work in the public service/non-profit field in either development economics or design. However, the options were slim at best. Grand Rapids just seemed stuffy, behind the times, and hollowed out. So, I had to look elsewhere. St. Louis is one of the best job markets in the country, it has a great music scene, and I had friends there. I quickly found a dream job. I now do graphic design for a non-profit organization that coordinates, recovers, and places organs for transplantation around the U.S.

I had to move to pay rent, essentially. I couldn't cope with working a dry, un-creative, un-important job while I waited for GR to become the hip city everyone has been working, waiting, and hoping for it to become for the past set of years.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in orderfor you to return?
Like I said, I couldn't wait. Since I didn't have enough capital to open a venue, coffee shop, studio, etc., I had no way to stay. I wish there were more opportunities job-wise and that I didn't have to start a business to get in on one.

Also, more cool people need to move there, which I guess isn't happening- hence this survey. I am tired of knowing everyone in my age group in the "scene". I remember a few years ago, it seemed like it was in a golden age. Then, I realized it was just more of the same old people at the same old haunts. This creates for great gossip, but a stagnant social scene.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I haven't met them, so I can't say. When mentioned, the name always carries some sort of deeply entrenched connotations. To me, they have simply been an over-arching presence to my city experience.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I would like to say, "I hate to say it", but I don't: Mulligans. My favorite bar moment is there- when the lights go on at 2am and it feels like I am at a very bad party in someone's smokey living room, when everyone chugs their beer straight out of the pitcher, which is a horrible idea because the lights are on, but everyone is so hammered, it doesn't matter. I love it despite the sleeze and the completely inane and troublingly grammatically incorrect writing on the walls. It's a "home" bar. I have yet to find one like it here. Plus, $4 pitchers? Incredible! It's the first place I go when I come to visit.


What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Showing up at, of course, Mulligans and finding the entire place full of the usual crowd, which included lots of friends. This was a friday night so we drank until the lights came on. It was also summer, so everyone congregated outside when they kicked us out. I swear, someone heard the word "party" from a bird and the rumor spread. In 5 minutes, about 20 people were walking, friends and strangers alike, in a drunk parade down the street to the house rumored to have a party. A shirtless guy hanging out of his sunroof yelled as he passed, "I love eastowne!" This was answered by a chorus of "Yeah"s and "Woo"s. Of course there was no party, but it didn't matter and we hung out on the porch for hours... until they got home.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House because it's OG, but it had been disappointing in recent months.

East side or West side?
East side, hell yeah!

 
ANDREW, ITHACA

#017: Andrew is 25 and graduated from Calvin College, and is currently studying architecture at Cornell. He is one rational dude, he enjoys smelling, touching and hearing. Andrew also like Joy Division and the Beach Boys and reading wanky books. Besides engaging his senses, he is also consistently stepping up his game.

Where do you now live?
Ithaca, NY

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and have always loved Chicago. Once I graduated from Calvin, I thought I could get a job there. Of course, I had to move to Chicago at the height of the Bush recession, and I applied to over 100 jobs and the only place I heard back from was for a job I mistakenly applied for. Having a philosophy degree didn't help either. Woops. My girlfriend also lives in chicago. Then I went to Architecture school.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Not much. I really like GR. Maybe if they lost some Dutch people that would be ok. Of course, the Dutch are renowned for their appreciation of architecture, so maybe they should stay.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I'm not into the crazy rich, but I like Devo a lot.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
THE PICKWICK

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Drinking for, like, 20 hours straight with Ken and Mick while listening to the same Sundays song on repeat for a good chunk of that time.

The last HFM show was pretty amazing too.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common, hands down.

East side or West side?
The west side is the best side.

 
MATT,SEATTLE

#016: Matt is 28 and currently studying for his master's [SDA] at Seattle University. He enjoys art made from found objects, picture books and listening to his favorite soft rock songs. Matt has left Grand Rapids multiple times, why has he returned? This is the furtherest he has moved away, and considers it the most permanent exodus as of yet.

Where do you now live?
Seattle, Washington

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Specifically, to begin Graduate School at Seattle University. I also applied to GVSU for the same program (at MUCH less expense to me...like $30K less) but felt the need to leave the area. Partially because I had grown up there and needed a change of environment and partially because I don't care much for the overall culture.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you toreturn?
Well, I think Grand Rapids is great for an older, family-raising crowd overall. Although liberalizing the political crowd would help. Personally, I don't think it's all the churches, but all the city lobbiest and planners. I believe that the pull has existed in GR for some time to create a Royal Oak-esque, expanded former Easttown, with an AnnArbor-ish driving educational institution... basically a liberalized, low-cost, low-income, artistic, government sectioned/sanctioned area of town. My
opinion on the cultural-distress felt by the creative GR 18-35 year old crowd comes from the lack of social-demographic environment focus... there isn't a concentrated area or neighborhood for the creative folks. Easttown began in that direction, but never quite made it. The Division Street Renissance (sp?) area is beginning in that direction, but has been getting all F'd over by various city ordinances & economic problems. Basically, every city I've considered living in has held such a creative-based neighborhood. In Seattle, it's the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Detroit has Royal Oak, Chicago has Wicker Park (is that still the case? it shifts there so often)... you get the picture. Grand Rap needs one of those areas so that I don't constantly have to drive my ass all over (or ride my moped as now is the case) looking for someone that I could bear to hang out with or find something social to do (one can only stand so much Mulligans!).

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I don't know the Devos family, but based on hear-say about them.... they do some good philanthropic work occasionally, but are much too caught up in their narrow Dutch views to be good for the community.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I hate to admit because I often leave cursing the place, stinking of smoke, with something gross on my shirt, running from a fight or slut, too drunk to drive home, but I know that I'll see familiar faces, so it would have to be Mulligans. Surprised?

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
There are too many to recollect. Probably a majority involved the Easttown area in some way... skateboarding or general hooliganism, rock shows, Kava House, Mulligans, etc... Many of the same places that hold my worst memories as well.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House--of the past, but they seem to be changing for the worse--so I may have to go with Common Ground now. I don't know, the KH does still always seem to hire the cutest barristas.

East side or West side?
East side to the core.

 
JAE, CHICAGO

#015: Jae is 23 and a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School. She left Grand Rapids to attend North Park Univsersity. Jae loves watching Passions, who doesn't love a soap opera with midgets and witches!? Jae is a painter, printmaker and teacher of young and old. OH! and she is hungry and dumb for Friday!

Where do you now live?
chicago

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
school

What Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
more interesting non-snobby people, a village discount outlet, an awesome job, being the most
popular girl in town, and some palm trees.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
i love some of them and hate some of them

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
the silver derby. and dj's on 28th street

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
too many too many my freind to mention them
here.

Kava House or Common Ground?
gross

East side or West side?
east

News 8 or 13?
8 (except tom van howe will be surly missed.)

 
CHRIS, CHICAGO

#014: Chris is 28, currently living in Chicago where he "directs technology," he knows how to build and destroy the computer, if you know what I mean. Chris enjoys playing xbox and multiple types of transportation. He also loves Grand Rapids so much, that upon his last visit he attended the Art Battle and bought winning pieces!

Where do you now live?
Chicago, IL

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
i got a great job, and i've wanted to leave Grand Rapids for a while. i simply needed the means to support myself and my obligations in a new city.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Grand Rapids as a whole would have to shed it's landlocked state of mind and find it's own identity culturally. With some notable exceptions Grand Rapids styles itself as a city with an upscale attitude that is quite precocious as it doesn't have the support of the majority of the population. Downtown is frighteningly cookie-cutter and full of unwarranted pretense. There are a number of initiatives outside of the mainstream that are attempting to build that identity but the very personality-drain this survey aims to document threatens it.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
i can't love or hate an entire family. there are individuals that i don't care for and there are individuals i do.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
at the time of my departure, the only place i found myself going to was Drink on Thursday nights.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
344 Ionia

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House, there's something in the AC at Common Ground that irritates me

East side or West side?
Westside

 
CINTHIA, BERKELEY

#013: Cinthia is 35 and currently living in the Bay area. She is budhist and also childhood friends with our good friend JVB. Her musical tastes vary from bluegrass to "electronica." Cinthia is currently a teacher, an artist and avid hula hooper.

Where do you now live?
I live in Berkeley california...san francisco bay area

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I left for many reasons..i used graduate school as the motivation however I had plans to leave way before then. The weather, the conservative religious culture and the lack of interesting things to do for my ever wondering and wandering mind.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you toreturn?
what would it take????well there is too much sprawl...too many malls and strip malls and not enough mom and pop stuff...not enough walking culture and nieghborhoods...not enough places to go to actually dance...with some GOOD DJ break beats...etc.

The one thing that most of my social endeavors revolve around is the burning man events that go on all year around here. dressing up in crazy tribal costumes dancing until 6am with crazy friends and waking up to go sit in a communal suana down the street and eat breakfast at the buddist temple while i sit on the lawn behind the temple and see most of my nieghbors. Then i go down to the flea market two blocks from my house and look at all the cool imported goods from all around the world and listen to the african men play the djembes.......so IF GR had all of that and it was only 50 degrees in the winter...THEN i might consider moving back...but seriously, i really do wish you luck..gr does have potential...and a definate need and some really creative people who want things to be more culturally creative for our age people. so i hope this helped...let me know if you need any more info

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
hmmmm those are 2 pretty strong emotions...I don't feel either for them.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
When i lived there, the reptile house on division was he underground place to be...i heard the roof fell in..too bad.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
I had some pretty good frinds there and have many memories of hanging out with them.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava house...when I was there it was the only and first coffee house around.

East side or West side?
East town...for sure.

 
REBECCA, BOSTON

#012: Rebecca is 28 and a graduate of Northview Highschool. After leaving Grand Rapids, she attended many schools - most recently New England School of Law. Rebecca describes herself as a, "typical Michigander having an adventure in the big city!". She is also a big fan of Modern rock; Toad the Wet Sprocket, Filter, Bush, Tonic, Black Eyed Peas, Josh Groban, Rosana, Ella Baila Sola, Alejandro Sanz

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I left Grand Rapids for law school in Boston. I definitely plan on returning eventually. I think Grand Rapids is an amazing city with huge growth potential.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I suppose I have to love them for what they've done for the city. I also have to love the Meijer family by that logic.

Favorite bar or hangout?
Probably the BOB.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain for you to return?
Let's say I look forward to returning to a Grand Rapids with more fun, non-bar hangouts.

What is your most amazing memory?
Probably watching the sunset from a park over by Spectrum's downtown campus. There's a great view of the river (and I-131, haha).

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House.

East side or west side?
East side all the way!

 
MAGGIE, DETROIT

#011: Maggie is 22 and a graduate of E. Grand Rapids High School and is currently studying law at Wayne State in Detroit. She enjoys activism, veganism, communes and is anti-everything. Maggie participates on last fm and likes listening to Detroit techno, Belle and Sebastian, Sufjan Stevens as well as much more. She would also like to meet Elvis, who is unfortunately dead.

Where do you now live?
Detroit

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I went to college and never came back. Now I'm at law school.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
About 6 million people. Or lots more integration, dank beer, organic food and garden plots. One of those two routes.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I don't particularly like them.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
In highschool I used to like Gold/Morningstar. Now, it's too smoky and there are too many little annoying scene hipster 17 year olds. Also, the vegetarian restaurant that closed a few doors down from it.

 
SCOTT, MANHATTAN

#010: Scott likes to read Timeout City Guides, watch his grandpa's old 8mm home video, and warm tubes. He also enjoys collecting frequent flyer models and aspires to be the best realestate broker NYC has ever seen.

Where do you now live?
Manhattan, Gramercy Park area.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Well I work in the music industry and New York real estate. It's difficult to do either from GR.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I think the city has a lot going for it already. A lot of what I want to do is going to keep me away from there for a while, but I feel like it's home so I always come back.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Love the ones I've met. Great people, fun to hang out with. It seems strangely popular to bash the prominent families in any community, but it's impossible to deny the contributions they've made to the city. Without those families, the same people would be bitching that there isn't enough (fill in the blank). When someone provides said (fill in the blank), people complain that the providers put their name on it. Point being, people like to bitch. Personally, I think that Grand Rapids – like any growing city – would struggle to develop without the contributions of those few.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I'm not really sure what my favourite would be, but I've frequented the Cottage Bar more times than I can count and always end up there at least one night whenever I visit.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Well when Opus first opened, some new friends invited me to see them play a show there. I actually had no intentions of going out that night, wasn't really into the vibe of that place, etc. But I met a handful of people that night that would years later include some of my closest friends, my business partners and, my girlfriend of three years now. So yeah, really glad I left the house that night!

Kava House or Common Ground?
Ooh. That's a tough one. When I first moved to GR I spent most of my time at Kava, but then more of my friends started working for Common Ground, so I shifted my loyalty.

East side or West side?
Well I always lived downtown or on the East side, so I'm going to say East.

 
JENNIFER, WASH. D.C.

#009: Jennifer is a graduate of the Blanford School and Catholic Central High School, she then went on to study at U of Michigan and U of Washington. Jennifer enjoys wandering around aimlessly, sustainability, being a vegetarian and watching TV on DVD. Her musical tastes are not constrained to this decade, or century even. She also aspires to have chickens living in her yard while remaining in the city.

Where do you now live?
Washington, DC

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I left to attend college at University of Michigan. It's why I didn't come back that's interesting-- see my response to the next question.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
More diversity, more funkiness, an amazing public transit system (preferably a subway), better urban design, better pedestrian and bicycle transportation options (and fewer cars while we're at it), more neighborhoods where you can walk to the bar (no drunk driving if you can stumble home!), more ethnic restaurants, more cultural events, more homosexuals, more tolerance, and I could just keep going and going. Needless to say, I don't ever plan to return.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Funny, I can't remember who they are except that everything in G.R. is named after them.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I was too young to go to the bar when I lived there. I loved to hang out at Music Expresso (long since gone) and the Monroe Mall (also gone as I knew it).

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Hmmm... I suppose I have lots of good memories of Grand Rapids despite all my G.R. bashing. My first all ages show comes to mind. It was at the Polish Falcon Hall and I was one of the last several people allowed in to see the band Offspring. I got caught in the mosh pit and knocked down several times. The punk kids helped me up every time.

Kava House or Common Ground?
I don't remember Common Ground (which doesn't
necessarily mean I didn't go there). I used to go
to Kava House though.

East side or West side?
East side.

 
JEFF, PORTLAND OR

#008: Jeff is 29 and likes to ride his bike - he is not even afraid to ride his bike 100 miles!!

Where do you now live?
Portland, OR

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
A cycling culture, bike lanes, improved public tranportation, less snow, more liberal thinking (shown in everyday individuals, not just artist types, forgive me for the
stereotyping)

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I believe that all RICH families should share more.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I enjoyed the Cottage Bar

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Seeing Paucity play live.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Whichever I'm closer to.

East side or West side?
East

 
JUSTIN, WASHINGTON D.C.

#007: Justin is a graduate of Northview Highschool in Grand Rapids and also attended Kendall College of Art and Design and Grand Rapids Community College. He is a fan of Little Wings, the Velvet Underground, Albert Ayler and Will Oldham. Currently Justin is a clerk at a trophy shop in the D.C. area, but aspires to be a comic artist.

Where do you now live?
Washington DC

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
To follow a girl

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Nothing, it is better than DC. To soup things up I think downtown needs to be geared more towards a twenty-something crowd though. More stores and shops and eateries and things. Like an outside mall, like it used to be. Get the Gap in there, chains or no chains, it'll make it thrive again. Stop tearing things down and rebuilding, use what's there. I wonder why they got rid of the Hong Kong Inn. People went there and enjoyed it. It has a great community and music scene though!

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Neither

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I prefer people's houses but I like Cherie Inn for breakfast.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
The Broken Social Scene show comes to mind.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava

East side or West side?
Gangsta!

News 8 or 13?
News 8 if i watch either

 
NINA, BERLIN

#006: Nina is a German and a graduate of Grand Valley State Univserity in Grand Rapids. She enjoys pretty things, socialism and seasonal cooking. Nina enjoys many Grand Rapids bands, such as LSDudes, Superwow and late Sensual Armed Forces. When describing herself, she says "i look like a toothpick. i'm otherwise very loving and overall appreciative". Currenlty, Nina is studying at Humboldt in Berlin.

Where do you now live?
Berlin, Germany.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
1. My visa was up.
2. I love Berlin even more than GR.
3. there are many reasons more that have to do with local politics, typical problems with american cities, the fact that there simply seem not to be enough other people, options, or things to explore. but there are also many really great things going on with people who are about to change that, and that's so admirable and i feel somewhat guilty to not be as persistent. it is also not my home town (or
country) though, and that was another major reason for me to move, i missed my other home.
4. i was developing a chronical cough and needed to see a doctor.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?

as of right now:
1 Million residents.
a good university that is not affiliated to a) big business or b) religion
free healthcare, a grocery store downtown more support for artists, an infrastructure that allows people who do not care to work their way up in the world of business to live
comfortably and without fear, and make their contributions their own
way.
200 x more political consciousness
in attitude:
more electro, less folk.
more graffiti, less religion
more trips abroad, less segregation
more public, less charity
more bikes, less cars
more art, less org

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
i try not to hate any one family.. but the fact that a shady clanlike business conglomeration seems to own the city (and my university) definately makes grand rapids less attractive to me. also, the fact that there seems to be no felt opposition to them disturbs me. it doesn't seem like a healthy environment.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
hmm. there isn't one bar i really like in grand rapids. except the one on cherry, i forgot the name right now, but they always close at 12 on weekdays. i discovered that pats place was a nice place to hang out way too late. i mostly hung out at coffee shops. you really need a good bar in gr! and stop playing 80s music everywhere! there IS contemporary music yes, and some of it you can EVEN dance to..!! it's really nice to be in a city now where there are too many cozy cheap bars to go to, and electronic music that is not from two decades ago. that always felt like old people trying to stay young by listening to the music from their teen years, very depressing. and it makes you feel very disconnected from the rest of the world too, seriously.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
too many of those!
one: moving in the old elite restaurant on division and having the feeling that we could do anything there. a whole fantastic building for ourselves, amazing people doing great things, without any pretensions or clear concept, or model after which things had to be done. all of the sudden there where great performers from all over the country playing at our house, (out of nowhere.. ..ben schaafsma?) and we could host them and have great events of our own that were appreciated even if they were low-budget and didn't have any sort of organizational or institutional support. at least for a while i think we could get a feeling how it would be if you could do all this, and be creative in an original way within a community. of course there were a lot of constraints, and bad talk later after it had ended (i don't think failed), but to me it's a very positive memory. i think this experience is what i am most thankful for about gr. i don't think it would have been possible in this way, or felt as unique in a city like i.e. berlin. this was really great, hello?

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground, clearly, because i worked there for a year. but i liked it better before that too. i like cava house too though, although its not as nice and casual as cg. cg seemed like sort of an experiment in running a business to me. the manager and the employees (and the customers too) have more freedom than at kava. they are happier, and less aspiring to be upper class i think. i really miss the coffee shops since i moved away from gr. we don't have anything like this here. If you want to see other people here, you have to call them up, make a date, go to a bar or whatever. you can't just go get coffee and hang out for say, five hours at a time. a coffee shop a really great place to spend time, do your school or whatever work without being isolated in your home, get in touch with people you would otherwise never meet. i LOVE this, and i totally took it for granted, although its actually really special, and i don't think many cities have such a coffee shop culture as gr does.

East side or West side?
East side. but i had a little glimpse of the west side while i was part of the civic studio. its really interesting when you get into the west side more, it has a great history and feels more rooted than then east side. on the other hand, most places that i hung out at were in eastown. except for maggie's kitchen and big o's, but that burned down i heard. how sad. and maggie's must have moved by now.

 
SHARADA, MINNEAPOLIS

#005:Sharada is student of intellectual property law - graduating from Cornell and is now studying at the U of Minnesota. Prior to that, she graduated from E. Kentwood High School in Grand Rapids. She reads Ayn Rand and Roald Dahl, and jams to Billy Joel, Sons of Pitches, Dave Brubeck, Frank Sinatra, Eminem, Linkin Park, Nora Jones, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Bake Naked Ladies. Sharada claims that she used to be more interesting when she wasn't a law student, but tries to maintain a semblance of a normal existence outside of that.

Where do you now live?
Minneapolis, MN, but I won't stay here for long either. Goal: NYC

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
I left Grand Rapids to go to school. The reason that I don't want to go back to Grand Rapids is
because it is a culturally dead town with little diversity and no motivation to get any.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
Cultural diversity in the city and in the profiles of major professional businesses

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I have no opinion of the Devos's besides the fact the one time I interacted with them they were
rude. They have done many good things for the city.

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
I was too young to hang out in GR when I lived there. The place I have gone most often and enjoyed is the Maxim (which I understand has a new name and ownership now)

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
There were pleasant moments in GR, but nothing I would consider AMAZING.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava House (though I have never been to Common Ground)

East side or West side?
Easttown is where it is at

 
DIANA, CHICAGO

#004: Diana once attended Grand Rapids Community College, but went on to study law at Loyola in Chicago. She likes reading Harry Potter and watching David Lynch films. Diana was hanging out on the 100 block of S. Division before many of us, as she worked at the Reptile House [which is now a shoe parlor!!!]. She also enjoys Joy Division, the Pit Stains, Cibo Matto, Peaches, Ladytron and even Jeff Buckley.

Profession:
Attorney, and I'm trying my hand at writing as well.

When did you leave Grand Rapids?
Late summer of 1997.

Where do you now live?
Chicago, Illinois.

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
To go to law school at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and also because it just sort of felt like it was time. Like I'd done what there was for me to do in GR.

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I'm not sure. It'd be nice for GR to have more in the way of less mainstream types of places to go. (I'm a former Reptile House employee, and there's really been no substitute for it since it closed.) The fact that here in Chicago I can go put any night of the week and see a band, hear a DJ, go to the theatre (the big stuff and the small stuff), have cuisine from all over the world, and meet people from all over is fantastic. But more than that, I'd like to see more open-mindedness and diversity in GR. When I come to GR and read the paper or watch the news, it seems like the attitude of GR hasn't changed much in the last, say, 50 years. There's a whole world out there, and so many ways of doing things and living life, and I feel that generally (with exceptions, of course) GR sort of turns up its nose at anything it doesn't consider to be "normal" or conservative.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
I could care less about the Devos family or the Van Andel family. I know they own half the town or whatever, and they think they're leading citizens, but they've never been much more than a joke to me and mine (we used to go into the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel to mockingly genuflect before the Devos and Van Andel portraits), and I've never used an Amway Cult product (as far as I know).

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
It was Reptile House, of course, when that was open. Now...I usually stop by Mulligan's when I'm in town, that's sort of the spot to run into a lot of people I used to know, and I have friends who DJ at Alternative A to X at Orbit on Wednesdays and Pure Energy at Club North on Saturdays. I also like to stop into Diversions to hang out with my gay friends. I like San Chez as well.

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
I don't know if I have an amazing memory of GR, but I have quite a few good ones. Mostly just hanging out with friends. It's always been my family and friends that make GR good.

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava, since I used to work there, and I do still love the coffee.

East side or West side?
Ah, whatever. I'm comfortable on all sides.

 
LINDSAY, MANHATTAN

#003: Lindsay attended City High School and Grand Rapids Community College before leaving Grand Rapids for New York, where she studied at Hunter College and City University of New York. While in Grand Rapids, she also worked for the public library. Lindsay reads Kafka and gets down to Sade.

Where do you now live?
Manhattan/NYC

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Wanted to live in a big city

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
A subway system; that's the main reason I love NYC. Realistically, it should stop revamping itself and ruining the character it once had -- now it's just malls and movie theatres.

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Don't know them, but I'm sure they're alright people

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Don't really like the bar scene much anywhere. Though it's not all that, I always somehow ended up at the Friday's restaurant downtown chilling with my best friend(s).

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Amazing? Nothing really that I would say was amazing.

Kava House or Common Ground?
It's been a long time, so I don't recall which one's where. If Kava House is the place in the east side, then my pick would be Common Ground.

East side or West side?
Neither.

 
LYNSEY, MANHATTAN

#002: Lynsey loves dirty vodka martinis and the movie Cruel Intentions. She is a 23 year old graduate of E. Grand Rapids, as well as Universtiy of Michigan and is quite the world traveler.

Where do you now live?
New York City

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
Majority of university friends move to new york or
Chicago

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
A nightlife and diversity like new york

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Love

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
Gardellas

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Reuniting with friends from high school

Kava House or Common Ground?
Kava

East side or West side?
East

 
KATIE, WILLIAMSBURG

#001: Katie is a 24 year old graduate of E. Kentwood Highschool and U of Michigan. She enjoys drinking, shakin' that asssss, hitting on boys, jello wrestling, taking shots, and getting people drunk. Her musical tastes very from NERD, Outkast, Jurassic 5, The Roots to Pink Floyd, The Cure, Lazy Sunday, Coldplay, Radiohead, The Beatles, to Diplo and The Faint. Katie would like everyone to know she is fabulous and would like to meet EVERYONE, including cats and people with flintstone feet...


Where do you now live?
Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg, to be exact)

Why did you leave Grand Rapids?
#1 for better job opportunities. #2 for a more exciting social life
#3 GR is too small of a city

What would Grand Rapids have to gain in order for you to return?
I honestly don't think anything that GR gained would influence me to move back. I can barely stand being at home for a week over the holidays

Do you love or hate the Devos family?
Indifferent, those bastards

Your favorite bar/hangout in Grand Rapids?
None

What is your most amazing memory of Grand Rapids?
Watching fireworks on Grand River

Kava House or Common Ground?
Common Ground

East side or West side?
East side