This January, we’re celebrating the simple yet perfect night out: dinner and a show. Warm up this season with meals, community-style and intimate alike, and entertainment of every type at these Northern Michigan events. 

WEEKEND DINNERS AT THE INN AT BLACK STAR FARMS | January 4–April 25
Enjoy an intimate three-course dining experience at this beautiful Suttons Bay inn. The culinary team, winner of the Best Classic Food & Wine Pairing at the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, has created a special prix fixe menu to accompany Black Star wines. Pick a date and view the menu. 
LIVE IN THE YURT: ERIN ZINDLE | January 4

Erin Zindle’s solo music is a real departure from the percussive upbeat sound of her heavily touring band, The Ragbirds. These are songs from the journal of a feathered traveler, private moments scooped up with two small hands and spread out in layers of strings, voices, piano and words. Zindle, who is known for her creative energy and endless smiles, has taken the listener into a smaller, quieter world where pain slips through the cracks and the raw edges are left to show. See her live at The Little Fleet in Traverse City. 

RHYTHM SOCIETY ORCHESTRA | January 4

The Rhythm Society is a 15-piece dance band specializing in true vintage swing music. Their sound is heavily influenced by Count Basie and Harry James. Although based in Detroit, this band covers top venues throughout the Midwest and has been featured on numerous television and radio programs. Catch them at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey. 

KITTY DONAHOE | January 11

Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Kitty Donahoe has received a Michigan Emmy, a Shammy Award (for Best Solo Irish Performer 2016) and continues to perform regularly. Adept on guitar, cittern and piano, Kitty sees her instrumental work as a background for her original music. Although her music often shows her Irish heritage, Kitty draws equally from her American and Canadian roots. She’ll be at Red Sky Stage in Bay Harbor. 

MET OPERA LIVE IN HD: WOZZECK (BERG) | January 11

Berg’s 20th-century shocker stars baritone Peter Mattei in the title role, with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium and soprano Elza van den Heever as the long-suffering Marie. Groundbreaking visual artist and director William Kentridge unveils a bold new staging set in an apocalyptic wasteland. See the live performance streamed in HD at Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts in Manistee. 

CONIFER POP-UP | January 13

Two brothers are sharing seasonal Northwestern Michigan food, made simply but refined. Their restaurant, Conifer, is currently a pop-up looking for a permanent brick-and-mortar space. Join the brothers at The Cooks’ House in Traverse City. 

TILT THINK IMPROV | January 13 & 27

Improvisation unleashes the brain for innovation, communication, relationship-building and storytelling. This four-week course at Copper Ridge in Traverse City teaches the fundamentals of improvisational theater through fun games and exercises. Work on listening skills, speaking skills, collaboration and acceptance, all while meeting new people and having a great time.

HERBS FOR MOOD ELEVATION AND PREVENTING S.A.D. | January 18

Sierra Bigham of Bear Earth Herbals will introduce you to herbs that can help you get through the winter with a healthy, well-nourished mental and emotional outlook. She will also cover simple ways to incorporate herbs into your daily routines, and participants will have an opportunity to make their own personalized winter tea blend to take home. The class will be at Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids. 

ANNUAL MASQUERADE BALL AT 123 SPEAKEASY | January 18

Looking for some glitz in the darkness of winter? Slip away for an evening of glamor and intrigue at 123 Speakeasy in Traverse City. The inaugural Masquerade Ball is a formal event and guests should get creative with the “Black and Gold” theme. Dinner, dessert, an open bar, dance lessons at 5:30 p.m. sharp, a photo booth and door prizes worth $70–$200 are all included in the package.

LIVE IN THE YURT: CHARLIE MILLARD BAND | January 18

With influences from Ray Charles, Greg Brown, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, the Charlie Millard Band has made a name for themselves in Northern Michigan. Trills of harmonica weave within steady piano melodies, punctuated by bold yet subtle drums—they keep it simple and let the music do the talking. Don’t miss this folk, jazz and indie-inspired mashup at The Little Fleet in Traverse City. 

A MAGICAL FEAST WITH BEN WHITING | January 23

Fight the winter blues with an evening of delicious food, magic and laughter presented by the sensational Ben Whiting. An award-winning magician, actor and playwright, Ben Whiting’s career spans from the Las Vegas Strip to New York’s Off-Broadway playhouses. Known internationally for his humor, originality and ability to connect with his audiences, Ben will combine these skills with world-class sleight of hand and mind-reading to offer you an entertainment experience second-to-none at The Franklin in Traverse City. Four-course meal included in ticket. 

WILLY PORTER – HOUSE CONCERT | January 23

Gopherwood Concerts in Cadillac is thrilled to welcome back Willy Porter for a house concert. Willy Porter continues on a musical and personal odyssey spanning more than two decades, 11 albums and multiple continents. His journey has been defined by an inquisitive love for humanity and the language that describes what we all hold to be true. His live shows are guitar-driven grit, soul, silence and muscle—at times electrifying, dynamic and unique in the way that Porter’s voice blends and fuses with his fret work.

VIKING KNIT BRACELET WORKSHOP | January 25

Jewelry artist Cathy Brown will show you how to create a copper wire Viking Knit bracelet combined with glass beads. Viking knit is a centuries old weaving technique which can be used to make beautiful pieces of jewelry. Learn how to create a Viking knit chain and how to assemble it into a one-of-a-kind bracelet at Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids.

CHEESE & COCKTAIL TASTING | January 25

Are you stuck on Stilton or gaga for Gouda? Do you crave Camembert? If so, you just might be a turophile; the ultimate cheese lover. Join 123 Speakeasy and The Cheese Lady in Traverse City for a cocktail and cheese sampling party. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.   

THE HOMESTEAD MURDER MYSTERY & DINNER | January 25

Lucky you! You’ve been invited to the Dunn Speakeasy for the wedding of the year! In this “married to the mob” event, you’ll never know who to trust. With the two families merging together, someone is bound to lose power, which means someone else will lose their life. Get on the trolley and solve this case with your fellow detectives at The Homestead in Glen Arbor. 

PURE LUDINGTON BRRREWFEST | January 25

A sure cure for the Winter Blues? An afternoon of beer tasting at the Pure Ludington Brrrewfest, now in its 6th year. Head to Rotary Park where you will find a heated tent, a rockin’ stage and crafters from 25 Michigan breweries. Sample craft beer, cider and mead from 1–6 p.m. Proceeds from this event benefit Friends of the Ludington State Park, a non-profit volunteer group that cares for the local park.

LIVE IN THE YURT: VALENTIGER | January 26

Carefully crafted and effortlessly orchestrated, Valentiger’s collective confidence is as deserved as it is tongue-in-cheek. The band’s infusion of wit and humor with an enlightened cultural outlook creates music as reflective of their individual personalities as it is cloaked in surprising wisdom. Catch them live at The Little Fleet in Traverse City.

THE COOKS’ HOUSE DINNER SERIES – MARI VINEYARDS | January 28

Who knew that a haphazard planting method and some mysterious seeds would produce red wines unlike any in the region? Marty Lagina, the founder of Mari Vineyards, has concocted a mixture of exotic and classic grape varieties that span the 60-acre vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula. With the help of Northern Michigan winemakers’ best friend, the 45th Parallel, steadfast dedication and an unwavering vision, Mari Vineyards has a variety of top-notch wines that pair effortlessly with The Cooks’ House special menu. Don’t miss this Traverse City dinner. 

KIDS IN THE YURT: MAY ERLEWINE | January 30 

Raised in a home full of art and music, May Erlewine began writing songs at a very young age. Lyrically, her songs are rooted in hard-wrought wisdom, joy and sorrow, simplicity and stories from her own everyday experiences. Musically, these messages are wrapped up in traditional folk roots, Americana, old-time country swing, soul and even rock and pop sensibilities. This show at The Little Fleet in Traverse City will be geared toward kids, but everyone is welcome.