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First Things

March 2024

The alternative band Silversun Pickups, best known for their songs ”Lazy Eye” and “Panic Switch,” will perform at 8 p.m. March 1 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre.

The group formed in 2000 in Los Angeles and has produced six albums, with their most recent, Physical Thrills, released in 2022.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets are $37–$111. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

The totality of the April 8 solar eclipse won’t be directly over Southwest Michigan, but it will be within traveling distance (the closest spot is Toledo, Ohio), and the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society is hosting presentations about this phenomenon, which won’t occur again over the continental United States until 2044.

Among the events scheduled in our area are:

Experiencing Totality: The Great Eclipse of 2024 — Online talk by astrophysicist Fred Espenak on the history of eclipses and eyewitness accounts, 7 p.m. March 1.

Solar to the Max — Online talk by astrophotographer Alan Friedman on photographing the eclipse, 8 p.m. March 15.

Community Eclipse Presentations — KAS President Richard Bell will talk about viewing eclipses at:

  • 1:30 p.m. March 2, Eastwood Branch Library, 1112 Gayle Ave.
  • 6 p.m. March 6, Vicksburg District Library, 215 S. Michigan Ave.
  • 6 p.m. March 14, Paw Paw District Library, 609 W. Michigan Ave.
  • 7 p.m. March 18, Boy Scouts of America, 6501 S. 12th St.
  • 5:30 p.m. March 25, Schoolcraft Community Library, 330 N. Centre St.
  • 6 p.m. March 27, Comstock Township Library, 6130 King Highway.

Bell will also speak in other locations around West Michigan; for a complete schedule or to access the online talks, visit

Rebecca F. Kuang’s 2023 acclaimed novel, Yellowface, will be the focus of activities and discussions this month as the selection for the 2024 Reading Together program.

Coordinated by the Kalamazoo Public Library, Reading Together is a community reading program that encourages the community to read and discuss the same book and culminates in a public presentation by the book’s author.

Yellowface is a novel about a writer and the world of literary publishing and tackles themes including the fine line between cultural appreciation and appropriation.

Kuang will discuss her book at 3 p.m. March 23 at Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. The presentation is free.

Prior to Kuang’s visit, a number of events related to the book will occur:

  • Publishing from the Inside, virtual presentation by publishing agents, 6:30 p.m. March 6.
  • The Chinese American Experience, talk by Dr. Ying Zeng, 6:30 p.m. March 13 at Portage Zhang Senior Center, 203 E. Centre Ave.
  • The Subtlety of Satire, talk with author Andy Mozina, 6:30 p.m. March 19, Central Library.
  • Yellowface through an Ethics Lens, panel discussion, 6:30 p.m. March 21, Fetzer Center, WMU.

For a complete list of Reading Together activities, visit

The Japanese taiko performance group Drum Tao will bring its energetic, percussive show to Miller Auditorium at 3 p.m. March 17.

Drum Tao combines music and dance using large-scale drumming and traditional Japanese instruments like the shinobue (flute), koto (harp) and syamisen (guitar).

Tickets are $31–$50. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

Native Americans have lived and worked the land of this continent for thousands of years, and their knowledge of it will be explored in an exhibit opening this month at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Roots of Wisdom: Native Know-ledge, Shared Science, from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, features real-life stories from four Indigenous communities. It examines how native knowledge, practices and traditions can help solve ecological problems. As part of the exhibit, a feature on mnomen (wild rice) will be included, created by the Gun Lake Tribe of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

The exhibit opens March 23 and is expected to run until fall. The Nature Center is open 9–5 p.m. Monday–Saturday and 1–5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $4–$7 based on age, or free for children 3 and under. For more information, visit

Encore Magazine

Encore Magazine is Southwest Michigan’s Magazine, bringing readers intriguing images and stories of the good things, good works and great people of our corner of the mitten. Published 12 times a year, Encore in its fifth decade of serving Southwest Michigan, carrying on a historic tradition of being the premier lifestyle publication of the greater Kalamazoo area.

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