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GRiZmas 2018, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Now in its fifth year, the 12 Days of GRiZmas -- curated and hosted by Southfield-raised musician GRiZ -- has become something of an annual institution in his home town.

And for a good cause, too.

During its first four years, GRiZmas has hosted a variety of continuing programs -- from yoga in the Fisher Building to roller disco nights and two concerts at Masonic Temple -- and raised more than $80,000 for Detroit public school music programs. This year GRiZ (nee Grant Kwiecisnki) has forged a new partnership with Seven Mile Music, an after-school program that provides music lessons and opportunities for more than 200 students per week.

The trick each year is to make GRiZmas bigger, better -- and more inclusive. But so far the Birmingham Groves High School grad and his team seem to be able to do just that...

This year's GRiZmas is, according to GRiZ, "a big year of progress towards being able to do a lot of things we originally wanted to do. It's another building block to gain more visibility and gain some more legitimacy. We're trying to build a positive legacy for our brand and make this a staple for Detroit and the suburbs -- the entire city, not just for the fans. This year is about trying to expand beyond the GRiZ fan base and into the hearts and minds of people who are interested in charitable activities and donating their time, whether or not they're into the music."

Looking towards the future, GRiZ is hoping to deal directly with schools to help start and maintain music programs, but he acknowledges that "it's such a sensitive subject. You can't just say, 'Here's a bunch of money. Let's set up a program.' It's more complicated than that. So being able to figure that out is our goal for 2019 boing into 2020. But to be able to align ourselves this year with a program (Seven Mile Music) that is reaching deeply within the community and service them is exactly what we're after. They're already doing a complete knockout job for the kids of Detroit,"

With nearly two weeks of events, GRiZ -- who's also launched a GRiZmas Blend with the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company -- is loath to identify one or even a couple as his favorites. "All of the events are great," he says. "I love a roller disco night. I love throwing our secret parties. I love bowling or yoga. I Love our industry panel night were we just get to talk to our fans. I would say my favorite part is seeing the genuine joy its' brought to people. We're creating an environment for people to participate in something they might not have on their own, and through their participation just have pure fun and enjoyment -- and doing all that with a great cause behind it."

GRiZ has big plans for both of his Masonic Temple shows, on Dec. 14-15. The first will feature his 15-piece live band -- "No computers," he promises -- and will include "new and old GRiZ songs completely reassembled and reimagined." The following night will be an electronic show that will showcase his two recently released new songs -- "It Gets Better" and "Can't Get Enough" -- along with other unreleased material. "Being able to perform those to fans now that they've hard it is going to be exciting. There'll be a bunch of little surprises; We've got some special guests coming out that are gonna blow you away -- some from the past, some from the future, definitely gold right there."

Next year, meanwhile, will see "a lot more releases" coming from GRiZ, in a variety of forms. "This last year has been a year of mass music creation and creative expression -- going into new territories, working with new people, creating new sounds, honoring old sounds, expanding on existing ideas and bringing new life to old ideas and building upon these staples of the GRiZ sound. I feel like the floodgates are almost full, so it's just about time to show people what we've been up to. Im not sure if we've got an album on our hands or mixtapes or EPs or singles, but we definitely have a lot of new music coming."

Remaining activities for the 12 Days of GRiZmas include:

Mystery Party, midnight Friday, Dec. 7. Watch 12daysofgrizmas.com for details.

Charity Arcade Bar with Muzzy Bear, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at Ready Player One, 407 E. Fort St., Detroit.

Yoga, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 in the Fisher Building Lobby.

GRizFam Bowling, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Garden Bowl, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Local Mic Night, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10 at D.I.M.E., 1265 Griswold St., Detroit.

Future Disco: GRiZmas 3018, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, Bonaventure Skating, 24505 Halsted Road, Farmington Hills.

Assemble U: GRiZmas Edition, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, Assemble Sound, 2300 17th St., Detroit.

Night Before GRiZmas: Mad Liberation, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at Deluxx Fluxx, 1274 Library St., Detroit. Sold out.

Night Before GRiZmas After Party, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

GRiZmas Night 1, 8 p.m. Friday Dec. 14 at Masonic Temple, 500 Temple St., Detroit. Sold out.

GRiZmas Night 1, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at Masonic Temple. Sold out.

Web Site: www.12daysofgrizmas.com

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