Arts & Culture » Culture

20 things to do in metro Detroit this week

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Vanessa Williams. Courtesy photo.
  • Vanessa Williams. Courtesy photo.
Thursday, 3/9
Vanessa Williams
@ Motor City Soundboard
Vanessa Williams: She was the first African-American Miss America in 1984, and then she found herself at the center of controversy when photos were published without her permission in Penthouse, forcing her to relinquish her title. That didn’t hold her back from success though, and she quickly found a home on Broadway and in the R&B scene during the late 1980s. Williams also has appeared on Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, as well as in various films. In 2016, CEO of the Miss America competition Sam Haskell issued a formal apology to Williams at the beginning of the televised broadcast for how the organization treated her during the Penthouse controversy.
Doors open at 8 p.m.; 2910 Grand River Ave., Detroit; soundboarddetroit.com; Tickets are $35-$70.

Thursday, 3/9
The Griswolds
@ El Club
Named after the National Lampoons family, the Griswolds were formed two years ago in Australia, where they first began to create their unique, universally pleasing indie pop, and debuted their first album before they had even picked a name. The quartet of disheveled hipsters has ambitious goals and hopes to make a name for themselves around the globe. 2012’s Heart of a Lion EP shows real promise, and they’ve only fine tuned their sound since then into a more polished, mature style.
Doors open at 8 p.m.; 4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; elclubdetroit.com; Tickets are $15.
Kings of Leon. Courtesy photo.
  • Kings of Leon. Courtesy photo.
Thursday, 3/9
Kings of Leon
@ The Fox Theatre
The infectious (no “Sex on Fire” pun intended) Kings of Leon, famous for insufferably catchy songs like “Use Somebody,” will reach Detroit after postponing their Jan. 22 show because of drummer Nathan Followill’s pneumonia diagnosis. Critics and fans of the band are raving and fawning over their newest album Walls, which follows Kings of Leon’s path of musical growth.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; olympiaentertainment.com; Tickets are $29.50 - $65.
Tennis. Courtesy photo.
  • Tennis. Courtesy photo.
Friday, 3/10
Tennis
@ The Magic Bag
Denver duo Tennis — comprised of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley — have been some of indie-pop’s favorites since the 2010 debut, Camp Dory. They are critics’ darlings, and have held impressive positions on Billboard’s Heatseaker Chart, where their second album debuted at the top spot, and held the No. 1 spot on Soundseaker’s New Artist Chart for nine straight weeks. After amassing considerable success, they joined sister-band Haim for a 2013 tour, and are now focusing on releasing and creating more new music for their devoted fans to enjoy.
Doors open at 8 p.m.; 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; themagicbag.com; Tickets are $15.
El Grito de mi Raza.
  • El Grito de mi Raza.
Friday, 3/10
El Grito de Mi Raza: Arte Latino en Michigan
@ Ellen Kayrod Gallery
A collective of Mexican-American artists including Peter Bernal, Mary Luevanos, Alvaro Jurado, Erin Martinez, Monte Martinez, Nora Chapa Mendoza, and George Vargas will showcase their work at this exhibition, which seeks to continue a political transformation by encouraging cultural awareness through art. Their personal perspectives are relayed through the scope of place and voice, concepts that perpetuate the “spirit of la Raza.” The reception will feature music by Sean Blackman. The show will be open through April 21 and other special events are planned including an interactive workshop with storyteller Mary Luevanos on Saturday, March 11 and an artist lecture with Vargas on Friday, March 17.
Reception starts at 5 p.m.; 4750 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1300; admission is free.
Wood at work in her Hamtramck home studio. - PHOTO BY ROY FELDMAN
  • Photo by Roy Feldman
  • Wood at work in her Hamtramck home studio.
Friday, 3/10
Standing Still in Blowing Trash
@ Spread Art
Since moving to Hamtramck in 1999, artist Emily Jane Wood has made a point of noticing Hamtramck’s trash. In fact, she gets excited about it. One of her paintings contains a broken Obama phone, a small plastic goat, a losing scratch-off ticket, a half-smoked cigarillo in its original package, even the saggy skin of a used condom — all stuff she found in an alley. She uses these artifacts to inform her artwork, which is mainly comprised of paintings and drawings. You can get a load of a new series of large still paintings, which will be on display for two weeks.
Starts at 6 p.m.; 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; 347-460-2172; emilyjanewood.com; admission is free.
Artie Lange. Courtesy photo.
  • Artie Lange. Courtesy photo.
Friday, 3/10
Artie Lange
@ Sound Board
Lange’s career has been a series of highs and lows. He’s worked in film, television, and comedy since the ’90s, when he started out on MadTV. He’s also been a regular guest on The Howard Stern Show, penned a New York Times best-seller, and hosted his own radio show. But the comedian has also twice attempted suicide, had a drug addiction, and went to rehab. Now on the up-and-up, Lange is embracing his virulent past, incorporating his struggles into his work. Catch him on stage for what is sure to be a “too real” comedy experience.
Doors open at 7 p.m.; show starts at 8 p.m.; 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 800-745-3000; soundboarddetroit.com; tickets are $45, $35, and $32; 21 and older.
Wizbang! Theatre. Courtesy photo.
  • Wizbang! Theatre. Courtesy photo.
Saturday, 3/11
Wizbang! Theatre
@ Tangent Gallery
Hosts Pinch and Squeal lead the Wizbang! Theatre show with whimsy, humor, and a neo-vaudevillian touch, but they’re only a part of this eccentric and exciting circus. Held under a small canopy, the intimate affair is as magical as it is hilarious. Like any good circus, there will be jugglers, acrobats, and people dressed as clowns. There’s also cabaret, magic acts, and a “spine tingling” sideshow. A self-proclaimed “imaginarium of professional neo-vaudeville, musical extravaganza, circus arts, comedy theater” you never know exactly what you’re going to get from this avant guard performance troupe.
Doors open at 9 p.m.; show starts at 10 p.m.; 715 E. Milwaukee St., Detroit; wizbangtheatre.com; admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
Dinosaur Jr. Courtesy photo.
  • Dinosaur Jr. Courtesy photo.
Saturday, 3/11
Dinosaur Jr.
@ Saint Andrew’s Hall
Bona fide alt-rock legends Dinosaur Jr., who first decided they do not hate each other anymore and reunited in 2005, will grace Saint Andrew’s Hall as they tour their latest album, Give a Glimpse. The band was wildly influential thanks to three supremely excellent albums released in the 1980s. When J, Lou, and Murph reunited, they never fell into that rut bands get into once they start to age, and instead have remained just as rad as they were in the first place. Give a Glimpse is an album that both older and younger fans alike can enjoy — a rarity.
Doors open at 7 p.m.; 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; saintandrewsdetroit.com; Tickets are $40.

Saturday, 3/11
“Women” Opening Reception
@ The Carr Center
Myett Risker, the curator of this annual exhibit celebrating women, says this show isn’t just for members of the softer sex. She welcomes men to join too because they all have mothers, aunts, sisters, and female partners — their lives are filled with women. The show, known for showcasing some provocative art, is all about putting women in the spotlight. All visions are expressed through female artists and you’ll have a wide range of mediums, styles, and attitudes of art here — so far our favorite is the cross stitch of a lady bush.
Starts at 6 p.m.; 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-965-8430; thecarrcenter.org; admission is free.

Saturday, 3/11
Top Secret Rosies
@ Detroit Historical Museum
This documentary by LeAnn Erikson follows the women who helped orchestrate the Allies’ World War II win. In secret, these women worked as “human computers” to improve the accuracy of weaponry by conducting ballistic analysis. The film was originally release on PBS in 2010, exploring the why and how the work of these women went largely unrecognized. The film follows Doris Polsky and her twin sister Shirley Melvin, Marlyn Meltzer, Jean Bartik, Kathleen Antonelli, and credits these women with paving the way for women to work in mathematics.
Starts at 3 p.m.; 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1805; detroithistorical.org; admission is free.

Saturday, 3/11
RADical Muslim Zine Workshop
@ Bottom Line Coffee House
Detroit’s Bottom Line Coffee House is an inclusive place and they’re asking queer and trans Muslim people and their allies to help make it even more welcoming to all. Their aspiration is to create a collective zine about being a radical Muslim, which they define as “revolutionary, progressive, pushing the boundaries from within.” They’re unsatisfied with the mainstream definition of the term, which they view as trite and a caricature of their reality. “In a time where media consumption is at a high, we are creating a space for our own media production.” All ages, allies, and secular folks are welcome as well.
Starts at noon; 4474 Third St., Detroit; 313-502-5479; free.


Saturday, 3/11
Power Trip
@ Marble Bar
Texas thrash band Power Trip has definitely matured over the years. They started out with generic, modern hardcore punk songs and evolved into a more mature, more unique brand of hardcore and thrash. They’re aggressive, and their stage show is lively to say the least. 2013’s Manifest Decimation met highly favorable reviews from Pitchfork and more, and with good reason. The album rocked, and showed Power Trip finally make the bridge from being just a band that was fun to see live to being a band that was fun to see live, and attractive to listen to on a stereo at home.
Doors open at 9 p.m.; 1501 Holden St., Detroit; facebook.com/pg/powertripTX; Tickets are $13.
Wolf Eyes. Courtesy photo.
  • Wolf Eyes. Courtesy photo.
Saturday, 3/11
Wolf Eyes
@ El Club
The other week, Detroit’s premier noise rock trio announced the launch of their own record label, Lower Floor Music (which is also the title of a release from four years ago on De Stijl). The debut release is self-described as the band’s “newest recorded sea-bottom R&B sound lurch,” an album titled Undertow, and they’re holding a party to celebrate their first album in two years. The band will be joined by none other than international superstars C. Spencer Yeh, Don Dietrich, and Ben Hall, as well as DJs Scott Zacharias and Brad Hales.
Doors open at 8 p.m.; 4114 W. Vernor Hwy, Detroit; elclubdetroit.com; Tickets are $12.

Saturday, 3/11
Jens Lekman
@ The Magic Stick
Straight out of Sweden, Jens Lekman has been wowing music lovers around the world since 2004. In that year, Lekman released three albums: Maple Leaves, Rocky Dennis in Heaven, and You Are the Light. After that, Lekman released 2007’s Night Falls Over Kortedala. All of Lekman’s work reflects an intense love for the world around him, as well as an intense love for love. Lekman will be joined by special guest Lisa/Liza.
Doors open at 8 p.m.; 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; majesticdetroit.com; Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of.

Sunday, 3/12
Brews & the Bard
@ Atwater Brewery
Sam White is a pretty cool native Detroiter. She founded Shakespeare in Detroit after all. And while the fourth season of this popular stage series hasn’t opened yet, she’s giving folks a chance to preview their next show while also raising money to keep it going. Brews and the Bard promises to introduce characters from their next show, Henry V, by having the production’s star, Joe Sfair, recite monologues from the play. Audience members will also get a chance to ask question of White, Sfair, and director D.B. Schroeder. Plus, there will be great craft brews from Atwater to sip during this exciting and educational event.
Starts at 3 p.m.; 237 Joseph Campau Ave., Detroit; 313-877-9205; atwaterbeer.com; tickets are $10.

Sunday, 3/12
Dialogue Series: Ending Rape Culture in the Detroit Music Scene
@ Lo and Behold! Records and Books
In abhorrence of recent revelations about a musician scheduled to perform at Hamtramck Music Festival, the Seraphine Collective pulled their promised showcase and withdrew from the much beloved local music fest. Now, they’re hosting a monthlong series to help people learn about rape culture and how to overcome it. They define rape culture as “a set of cultural practices that allow sexual violence to happen and excuse it when it does,” and they want people to share their experiences and help brainstorm ideas to improve the current state of things. People of all genders and identities are welcome to join in this discussion.
Starts at 7 p.m.; 10022 Jos Campau, Hamtramck; seraphinecollective.org; admission is free.

Sunday, 3/12
Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies
@ The Ark
Actor, author, and former leader of Canada’s favorite folk group Great Big Sea, Alan Doyle hasn’t stopped creating great folk music for fans after decades in the business. He calls his newer music more optimistic than what he created with Great Big Sea, and he seamlessly blends way more celtic and traditional folk music influences into his newer material with the Beautiful Gypsies. His latest album, So Let’s Go, continues Doyle’s legacy of creating insightful, well-crafted folk music, and further cements his place as one of Canada’s best folk musicians.
Doors open at 7 p.m.; 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; theark.org; Tickets are $30-$50.

Flaming Lips. Courtesy photo.
  • Flaming Lips. Courtesy photo.
Tuesday, 3/14
The Flaming Lips
@ Royal Oak Music Theatre
The Flaming Lips have won three Grammys, and with good reason. They’re an incredible live act; their deeply crowd-pleasing psychedelic schtick never gets old. They might be pop-rock, but they’re not beholden to any one genre, and they know how to make instrumental rock performances work, which can be pretty difficult for some bands. They’ve released 11 albums that have never stooped below excellence, and they are probably the band that you’re look for when you say “What’s the name of that band who did that song for that movie?” considering that they have contributed tracks to 17 movie soundtracks.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; royaloakmusictheatre.com; Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 the day of.
Circus 1903. Courtesy photo.
  • Circus 1903. Courtesy photo.
Tue-Wed, 3/14-3/15
Circus 1903
@ Fisher Theatre
With the help of the same talented puppeteers who worked on War House, Circus 1903 brings colossal elephants to life without enslaving and torturing real animals. But those amazing puppets are only part of the wonder that awaits those who shell out to attend this show. There are also death-defying acts from around the world including acrobatics, fire breathers, strong men, and more. The show is family friendly and there’s a good chance that although it’s two hours long, it will keep the attention of your little ones. The show is in Detroit until March 19.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; shows start at 8 p.m.; 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 1-800-982-2787; broadwayindetroit.com; tickets start at $35.
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