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The freshly minted year of 2019 holds a lot of promise for the Greater Lansing arts and entertainment scene. Yes, the end of December is painfully dull as things go dormant for the holidays. Nobody wants to book a show when practically everybody is out of town. But the holiday season is finally over. It’s time to shake off the hangover, reluctantly detach our gazes from the rearview mirror and look at just a few of the nuggets glimmering in the road ahead.
Through January, many will find themselves snugly nestled in the Robin Theatre.
Two hyped-up shows arrive via seasoned Comedy Central and Netflix-starring comedian Robert Kelly, Jan. 19, and the anti-navel-gazing rock funnyman Wally Pleasant, Jan. 26. Pleasant, a storied Lansing songwriter, is returning from a 14-year release hiatus with his new album “Happy Hour.”
By March 14, Riverwalk Theatre will take on the story of one of most intriguing humans of all time, Joseph Merrick — famously known as the “Elephant Man.” The company excelled at telling a similarly dark tale in 2018, “Buried Child,” so there’s reason to believe “The Elephant Man” will have a be a powerful show.
And, of course, the biggest Broadway tour in the world right now, “Hamilton,” is edging closer to its May 14 opening at the Wharton Center.
Lansing will also join the frenzied world of soccer with its own club, dubbed Ignite. Ignite’s first ever game will be in Virginia against the Richmond Kickers on March 30, while its first home game in Cooley Law School Stadium against that same club is set for April 13.
Lansing is still slated to have great comic conventions by way of Capital City Comic Con, which returns to the Breslin Center for its fifth year on Sept. 21, and the anime-centric Shuto Con, which is scaling back from the Lansing Center to the Radisson Hotel on March 22.
The MSU Broad Art Museum will be dominated by Oscar Tuazon’s exhibit “Water School” from Jan. 26 to Aug. 25. Tuazon’s “Water School” is described as an investigation of “the relationship between art, architecture and issues related to water and land rights.” Tuazon’s sculptural work has been noted by art critics for its haunting and inspiring quality.
Independent artists Sometimes Art House, a group of LGBTQ and women artists that produced multiple events at the Cedar Street Art Collective throughout 2018, is expanding to the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center with a new pop-up exhibit on May 10 called “Thrones.” “Thrones” explores how narratives from the past still influence the modern perception of gender.
Fusion Show’s BLED Fest, the single biggest hardcore and punk music festival of the year in greater Lansing for the past decade, is hosting its final event this year on May 25. However, Three Stacks Music Festival, which debuted in REO Town over the summer, will be back this year. More announcements for both festivals are expected to roll out throughout January.