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Comic books, fire dancing, jazz, and more. Check out some cool events in mid-Michigan

Close up of Phil Denny playing the saxophone
Posted at 9:29 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 22:44:55-04

LANSING, Mich. — Need something to do this weekend? Look no further! There are a lot of fun activities happening around mid-Michigan. Whether you're into comic books, Jazz, or want to see some lit performances we've got you covered.

Summer Smooth Jazz Essential
Get ready to snap your fingers and move your body to the beat. The first annual Summer Smooth Jazz Essential is kicking off on August 14th in the east parking lot at the Motor Wheel Lofts.

The outdoor event will allow people to properly social distance. It is produced and hosted by Lansing native Phil Denny. He's been playing music since he was 12 years old. The well-known smooth jazz artist is also a #1 Billboard recording artist.

Phil Denny playing the saxophone
Phil Denny playing the saxophone

"It's really a result of the cancellation of a lot of events. But then, as the restrictions were lifted, I decided that based on the community support that it was essential to do a music event. So this comes sort of as the little brother to my annual Armory Smooth Jazz Fete," said Phil Denny, host and producer of Summer Smooth Jazz Essential.

This weekend you can expect to escape your daily life, high energy, and entertainment from nationally and internationally recognized artists. Featured artists include Marqueal Jordan, Demetrius Nabors, and of course Phil Denny.

There will also be food trucks, beer, wine, live art, popcorn, ice cream, and a little bit of everything for everyone.

Summer Smoother Jazz Essential flyer
Summer Smoother Jazz Essential flyer

"While it's labeled smooth jazz, we don't necessarily have to classify it as such. It really is just remarketing, but I think when people come they can expect a wide array of artistry, music, and musical color," Denny said.

Tickets are $40 dollars and the event will be from 4:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

Free Comic Book Day
If you love comic books here's your chance to add some more to your collection. Summit Comics and Games in Downtown Lansing is blessing you with a free comic book day on August 14th.

The event will be held outside the store from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm and is for everyone.

Comic books inside of Summit Comics and Games
Comic books inside of Summit Comics and Games

"Usually, we have you come to the store and we have the books in the backroom, you go through the books. With everything that's going on, we decided to do it out front. So that way for people that are comfortable with crowds," store manager Matthew Hunt said.

There will be between 40 to 50 different comic books available for free. But there is a limit. Each person is only allowed to take four.

"There are age ranges, we'll have a sheet out that says, this is a kid's book, a teenager book, or more a little bit more mature," Hunt said. "You don't have to walk into the store and buy anything and it's completely free. If you want to walk in and shop, we will be happy to greet you and help you out."

Comics sign inside of Summit Comics and Games
Comics sign inside of Summit Comics and Games

Hunt says, Two artists, Jason Howard and Ryan Holmes, will also be set up outside to join the party. Howard's new character just debuted in Skybound X and he's doing his first work for Batman. And holmes did the store's exclusive Kaiju Score #1 cover. He is also the master of sidewalk chalk art and a local art teacher.

Click here to check out the comic books that will be available.

Night of the Golden Frog
And lastly if you're looking to check out some local talent The Artist's Umbrella has you covered. On August 14th They are teaming up with Preuss Pets for 'Night of the Golden Frog'.

Night of the Golden Frog Flyer
Night of the Golden Frog Flyer

"We're going to have a whole bunch of crazy stuff. So we're gonna have poets, musicians, we're gonna have hula hoopers, flame dancers," said Brandon Navin, Executive Director of The Artist's Umbrella.

Flames 'N Dames will be heating up the parking lot with their lit moves.

Flames 'N Dames
Flames 'N Dames

"We're all going to be doing a little bit different of a show. I will be spinning a fire hoop and eating fire torches that will be spinning her dragon staff and Anna will be spinning her fans," performer Paige Marie said. "This event is extra special because normally we're doing private events, different like city gatherings. But this is nice because we get to partner with other artists in the community and kind of share being creative with other people.

They will also have storytellers and an art market. The event will be in the parking lot and tickets are $20 and all proceeds go to the Golden Frogs.

"This month we're doing it for a charitable event called Project golden frog. What project golden frog is helping save the Panamanian golden frog. It's been extinct in the wild has been for well over a decade due to chytrid fungus and deforestation," said Sean Murphy, Operations Manager at Preuss Pets.

The frogs only exist in captivity. Murphy works with a non-profit in Panama.

"All the proceeds that we raised for this weekend are gonna go down there to help them run their facility because they've been hit hardest by COVID. Due to not being able to have ecotourism and not being able to see the normal amount of funds that they do," Murphy said.

Covid is on everyone's mind right now so Murphy says The Artist's Umbrella will be masking up along with Preuss employees and enforcing social distancing to keep everyone safe.

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Meet Tianna Jenkins

Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

Senior Multimedia Journalist