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Friday, May 27, 2011

Now I Want to Visit Grand Rapids

Posted by on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 11:10 PM

This is kind of amazing.

Apparently this a lipdub response/retort to a Newsweek article that described Grand Rapids as a "dying city." Not sure what "American Pie" has to do with Grand Rapids or Newsweek or a city not dying or anything... but the whole thing is kind of staggering. (Via Towleroad.)


Comments (49) RSS

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I bet cheerful lipdubs of morose vintage pop songs becomes a civic pride fad among self-consciously struggling cities. Detroit's lining up one to "How Soon is Now?" and Tacoma plans to counter with Janis Ian's "At Seventeen".
Posted by gloomy gus on May 28, 2011 at 12:00 AM · Report this
Jaymz 2
Come on 'ol gloomy - smile a little now and then. A little corn fed charm won't hurt ya. Got to admit that the cheerful people are genuine, don't ya? Toss 'em a bone now - just a tiny grin? There ya go!
Posted by Jaymz on May 28, 2011 at 12:25 AM · Report this
Steven Bradford 3

And now I suddenly have a great idea for a Hump video....hmm...single take lib dub, porn, and 3D
Posted by Steven Bradford on May 28, 2011 at 12:34 AM · Report this
Puty 4
I'm not apologizing for tearing up a little bit. What a genuine, affecting video. Lovely.
Posted by Puty on May 28, 2011 at 12:38 AM · Report this
Hey, I'm not complaining. I think Seattle would do well to try its own "world-class" lipdub to Helen Reddy's Angie Baby.
Posted by gloomy gus on May 28, 2011 at 12:44 AM · Report this
TotesFierce 6
Dude at 3:44 is so fine.
Posted by TotesFierce on May 28, 2011 at 12:57 AM · Report this
I grew up in GR, so I'll offer my two cents here: it -is- a dying city, but there are some very hopeful signs that the city may get back on its feet sooner than later. For example: events like the video and the ArtPrize competition, new research centers and growing college campuses, and overall a more cosmopolitan city that is less and less dominated by the freaky Christian Reformed Church (in 1985 they decided dancing is no longer forbidden). If they could clean up the infestation of black hearted Republicans like DeVos, the city would be well on its way to recovery.
Posted by hotdogs on May 28, 2011 at 1:00 AM · Report this
Real tears. *sniff*

Gotta love the tenacity of Midwesterners in the rust belt. Y'all make me proud.
Posted by Dod on May 28, 2011 at 1:34 AM · Report this
alanw 9
Meh. My town did it much better:…
Posted by alanw on May 28, 2011 at 2:02 AM · Report this
Banna 10
Wouldn't it be bad news to find out that was the ENTIRE population of Grand Rapids; the entire police force and every firefighter they have, plus some hired actors they had to bring in to fill out the crowds? Kind of a real-life Rock Ridge from Blazing Saddles built to fool the dumb outlaws. Place looks pretty empty to me.
Posted by Banna on May 28, 2011 at 5:28 AM · Report this
but can they do it backwards?
Posted by beentheredonethat on May 28, 2011 at 6:36 AM · Report this
sread1701 12
American Pie was set in a town based on Grand Rapids, I think the screenwriter grew up there. Kind of like Amity in Jaws being based on Amityville, NY.
Posted by sread1701 on May 28, 2011 at 6:45 AM · Report this
The town seemed a little empty to me - I didn't really get the vibe I think they were trying for.
Posted by agony on May 28, 2011 at 7:22 AM · Report this
NumberOne 14
@ 6 I thought that same thing, that pepper and slightly salty bear is hot as shit!
Posted by NumberOne on May 28, 2011 at 7:34 AM · Report this
If you're going to visit Michigan, Dan, Saugatuck is more your kind of place:

Grand Rapids is pretty damn conservative.
Posted by My Name Here on May 28, 2011 at 8:51 AM · Report this
Michigan is generally a miserable state.
Posted by The CHZA on May 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 17
Did I miss the Drag Queens? Where were the Drag Queens? They weren't that Black Chick.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on May 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM · Report this
I wouldn't go that far, #16. Parts of Michigan are downright beautiful, and sparsely populated, so it's a good place to go if you want to commune with nature.
Posted by My Name Here on May 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Why are all the guitar players guys? Otherwise, adorable!
Posted by jt on May 28, 2011 at 9:21 AM · Report this
"And the three men I admire most, they caught the last train for the Coast." That's what it has to do with Grand Rapids. I love it out here and I'll never move back home, but I still feel guilty about leaving Detroit. One more thing, if Michigan is so miserable, why do they have better Universities, pay their teachers better, and produce so much more great art and music than we do? I don't know why, maybe they just suffer better than we do.
Posted by Stumphaven on May 28, 2011 at 9:22 AM · Report this
All I got out of this video is that Grand Rapids is a city with a shitload of singing white men with a few cheerleaders and other random women following behind them. "Grand Rapids: A Great Place to Be a Man!" Major fail.
Posted by mitten on May 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM · Report this
johnyawl 22
The city looked pretty vibrant to me. @10, yeah banna, the streets were pretty empty, but I would imagine they had the filming areas cordoned off. You wouldn't want a bunch of fat, ugly, badly dressed midwesterners waundering through your video shoot. lol (a lot of my roots are in that area, I'm related to those fat, ugly, badly dressed midwesterners.)

I'll have to read the Newsweek article as to why they're a "dying city". Grand Rapids has been fortunate in that they have a diverse economy that is NOT tied to the automobile industry. Maybe Gov. Snyder is trying to kill the city for voting for democrats lol.
Posted by johnyawl on May 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 23
Hey, I'm all for civic pride, but the Shorewood Lip Dub is still the standard by which all others should be judged.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on May 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 24

We sang dirges in the dark.

Really emphasizes the liveliness of it all.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM · Report this
On a different note - check out the latest Rachel Maddow for Rick Santorum's latest 'Dog Pee' stump speech. Dog Pee can't stop Santorum apparently, which is probably not true but I personally wouldn't want dog pee anywhere near my santorum so I'll never know.
Posted by Cloudgazer on May 28, 2011 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Oh my god! best marketing for city ever! the sheer accomplishment .. who in the town isn't in this video. groups and people that normally don't interact! classic example of good ole midwest can-do attitude ... not so common out here ... as I remember all that a WA state tourism commission was able to come up with was "say wa" and when that failed (as it should have) it was replaced by metronatural ... gaaa!
Posted by I am your Mother on May 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM · Report this
@15 - if you've read any of Dan's books, you know he and his family have spent lots of time in Saugatuck. The Dunes is fun!
Posted by Andyrew on May 28, 2011 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Oh, and I lived in Grand Rapids for 3 years. Not a bad town. And reading the credits, I found I know several of the people involved. Half the town really IS in it.
Posted by Andyrew on May 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM · Report this
@9 Thanks for sharing your town's version! Really fun and vibrant. Where is that?
Posted by snakes on May 28, 2011 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Nancy S 30
No camera cuts! Amazing that they could choreograph so many people and activities. Impressive.

And what a great way to use the power of the internet in response to the article!
Posted by Nancy S on May 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 31
I have a total Pavlovian response to that song. When I was in high school, the last day of classes every year ended with an assembly where one of the math teachers used to get up and sing this. So, I hear it and I immediately go into a mood that's full of longing, hopeful-yet-grieving, and I want to connect with all the people I love.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on May 28, 2011 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Oh my god Dan, do NOT go to Grand Rapids! I spent the first 31 years of my life there and it sucks. out. loud. I call it "the place where fun goes to die." And I'm a pretty boring person.

I live in Olympia now, and I'm much happier. I just can't convince any of my friends or family to move out here.
Posted by Outta there! on May 28, 2011 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Ok, I just had to say something when I saw this. As someone who recently moved to Grand Rapids I can't believe they called this a dying city. Then again I spent most of my life in Lansing, so I don't have a decent city to compare this to. I think Grand Rapids does pretty well for itself considering the fact that its not a tourist town. Moving here was the best decision I've ever made.
Posted by GoG-RapAttack on May 28, 2011 at 1:11 PM · Report this
Irena 34
That was fantastic! And yes, it made me want to go there, too. Well done, Grand Rapids!

I think Seattleites have a complicated relationship with civic pride.
Posted by Irena on May 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM · Report this
This is GOOD midwestern boosterism, not the bad kind that Sinclair Lewis wrote about. Touching and impressive, a hearty well-done to the participants, none of whom appeared to be dying.
Posted by Functional Atheist on May 28, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Dude @7:07 why don't you call me and I'll get you out of that dying town. I'll even give you a bed to sleep in.

Grand Rapids is kind of empty .. most cities in Michigan are these days but that'll all change. I hope. The state really doesn't get enough credit for how weird and awesome it is.
Posted by funkathrusta on May 28, 2011 at 3:11 PM · Report this
Animal 37
Don't know anything about Grand Rapids, but seeing the way these people get together to show the world that despite what a magazine has to say, they are not just going to curl up and die, is fucking awesome! It's stuff like this that makes me love the United States and it's people. You can be so, so good.
Posted by Animal on May 28, 2011 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Bill Steffen! I think he was, like, the NBC weatherman when I grew up there!
Posted by GR Born on May 28, 2011 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 39
I have a friend who visits his sister in Grand Rapids twice a year. I might have to go with one day. The song's been in my head all day.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on May 28, 2011 at 5:25 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 40
The song choice is apt because Grand Rapids is surrounded by levees to help prevent catostrophic flooding. It is a sweet video.
Posted by thatsnotright on May 28, 2011 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Born and raised in Grand Rapids. Left 21 years ago to go to college in Ann Arbor and never ever looked back. Maybe things have changed, and maybe the tiny vibrant community of lefties and artists has grown, but I doubt it. What certainly has grown is the influence of the far right and the Christian Reformed church. Everyone I knew and admired left a long time ago (except for my mom and aunt, but we are still trying), most to Chicago (3 hours away) or places much much further away.
Posted by mtallen on May 28, 2011 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Grand Rapids was a really nice town when we went a few years back. However, the downtown area shown in the video was empty! Too bad because at the time, it looked like a beautiful city. We use to live in South Bend, which was not so nice however we have since left. Like another poster stated, Saugatuck is absolutely fabulous. Love it there. Can't wait to go back up north to visit friends and family so we can go to Saugatuck again:)
Posted by fdajkl on May 28, 2011 at 5:39 PM · Report this
despicable me 43
That was awesome! It looks like a beautiful city, at least the parts they showed.
Posted by despicable me on May 28, 2011 at 6:25 PM · Report this
Grand Rapids in my Slog! Holy shit.

@12 He went to East Grand Rapids High School. The movie is based around stories that happened there.

@41 Yup. Left 4 years ago. Haven't been back since.
Posted by kersy on May 28, 2011 at 8:22 PM · Report this
"What certainly has grown is the influence of the far right and the Christian Reformed church."

Scoff. This guy doesn't know shit about what is up here now. I left West Michigan twenty-five years ago, hating West Michigan and its Dutch ruling class for treating me and my Irish Catholic forebears like shit. Oh, and if you black, forget it. Deep south shit for you, boy!

I moved back 5 years ago, after working in large cities as a degreed professional. Guess what? The CRC and its sour Dutch-bred knuckle-fucks are dying off. Good! Riddance!

Gay peope are now living openly and no one bothers them, unlike it was 20 years ago. (I know it sounds odd to coastal people, but believe me, 25 years ago there were NO openly gay people in Grand Rapids/West Michigan. No seriously. No openly gay people. Imagine the 50s. Yup, it was like that.)

West Michigan is now pretty much like Oregon after the timber collapse but before Oregon became a cool place to live. We get the benefits of a coast (Lake Michigan is huuuuuuuuge--pretty much an ocean), the cost structure of Iowa, and no crime or corruption, like I saw in the big cities. Schools work well. Taxes are low. And our shit be clean, yo.

I paid $125,000 for my house. And when I walk outside, I see 200 feet away the river and lake Michigan. In any direction I walk from my house, I am at most 1,000 yards from water I can drive my 25' boat on. That same house with that sort of water-front access would cost me ten times that where I lived before.

So you people watching this video, and wondering about GR? You people stay the fuck away, m'kay? Just listen to the people bad-mouthing West Michigan and cluck about how sad it all is. Me? I will stay here, enjoy a great life, and watch more of West Michigan's dour, Dutch-bred Calvin-worshipping assholes slip into the Abyss. Good times. Good times. Because I know if more of the Mr. I-Went-to-College-in-Ann-Abor (god, no--a fucking Michigan grad....) crowd finds out how sweet things can be here, they will come fuck it up just like they have in Boulder, Palo Alto, Asheville, etc.
Posted by Stay. out. on May 30, 2011 at 4:40 PM · Report this
If I could get a job in MI, I would come back!

"We were raised in Michigan, where Ted Nugent, Madonna, Bob Seger, Grand Funk Railroad, Eminem, and Kid Rock are from! A vacation was to Cedar Point, Lake Michigan, Mackinaw Island, Traverse City, or just a drive across the Bridge. We Love Faygo, Better made chips, Vernor's, Strohs, Red Wings Hockey and the MSU/UofM Rivalry! We play Euchre, swim in lakes, hunt, fish, and camp."

This is my hometown in Michigan!
Posted by AKTheresa on May 31, 2011 at 9:28 AM · Report this
@45 Just reading that made my skin crawl. I sometimes have nightmares that I still live in GR.

That aside, anyone in Seattle want to play some Euchre?
Posted by kersy on May 31, 2011 at 10:32 AM · Report this
gr8lakesgrrl 48
Thanks for posting Dan.

@15 & 16, yup, were surrounded by conservatives but some of us have been here pushing for positive change all along. As evidence I offer the alternative prom we had at Fountain Street Church just last week...!/event.php?eid=197618930260002

So if you visit GR, Dan, (and you should come this weekend for the arts festival) be sure to visit FSC and tell Matthew Cockrum I sent you. :-)
Posted by gr8lakesgrrl on May 31, 2011 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Posted by Chillavision on May 31, 2011 at 1:38 PM · Report this

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