While Detroit’s bipolar spring has its ineffable charms, French conductor Emmanuel Villaume and his compatriot, pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard (pictured) are more in the mind-set of the classic Harburg and Duke strain: "April in Paris, this is a feeling that no one ever can reprise." Under their leadership the Detroit Symphony will present a stunning concert of fair-weathered French themes including Messiaen’s "Oiseaux Exotiques (Exotic Birds)," Ravel’s "Piano Concerto in G Major" and Franck’s "Symphony in D Minor." The concert begins with a twittering masterpiece, Olivier Messiaen’s musically exotic aviary, scored for piano, 11 winds and percussion. The piece documents the French composer’s obsession with the erratic nature of the birdsong though a series of fast-breaking cadenzas that replicate and harmonize actual transcriptions of dozens of birds. The complex contrapuntal textures are a workout for the whole ensemble (pay particular attention to the downright athletic demands of the xylophone and piccolo parts) and in the able hands of Aimard and company should be stunning. The aptly titled "April in Paris" program will be performed April 4, 5 and 6 at Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward, Detroit. Call 313-576-5111.
5 FRI • MUSIC Mountain
It was always in the stars for Mountain. With guitar heavyweight (pun intended) Leslie West at the helm and former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi on bass, the band was an immediate success. Its fourth gig was on the Woodstock stage, and its debut record went gold. Thirty years later Mountain makes a perfect archetype for the ’70s hard-rock band with its one huge hit ("Mississippi Queen"), a rotating cast of rock heroes, dozens of side and solo projects, roller coaster "Behind the Music" personal lives and some of the hardest-rocking music of their generation. Leslie West will lead the Mountain reunion through the Magic Bag (22920 Woodward, Ferndale, 248-544-3030). Hopefully he’ll play the Steinberger.
5 FRI • THEATER Performing Objects Stationed in the Sub World
In an attempt to blur the lines between the past and the present, Carla Harryman’s Performing Objects Stationed in the Sub World is a playful exploration of memory and presence, of time as a function and a fluid. Lost? Don’t worry, this is heady stuff. Harryman is the co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Poet’s Theater and is currently a guest lecturer at Wayne State University. Her latest work combines poetic dialogue with song and satiric and dramatic theatre with visual and performance art. Directed by John Jakary (Waiting for Godot), the show opens this weekend and runs through the end of April at the ZeitGeist (cq) Gallery and Performance Venue, 2661 Michigan Ave. Call 313-965-9192 or visit www.zeitgeistdetroit.org for more information.
6 SAT • MUSIC Celia Cruz & Albita
Armed with indomitable charisma and her trademark outlandish evening gowns, Celia Cruz is nothing short of the first lady of Latin music. If her career achievements would take days to list (start with a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award, induction to the Hollywood Wax Museum and honorary doctorate from Yale University, then don’t forget collaborations with just about every major player in Latin music in the last 30 years) at least her vibrancy on stage is immediate and intoxicating. A colossal talent and a true living legend, Cruz performs with Albita at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center, 799 Hewitt Rd., between Washtenaw and Huron. Call 734-487-2282.
7 SUN • ART Michael Kan Lecture and Slide Presentation
Under the curatorship of Michael Kan, the Detroit Institute of the Arts’ African, Oceanic and New World Cultures departments have become internationally recognized. Kan will present a slide lecture about the African art that the DIA acquired during his tenure at the museum; it will be followed by a question-and-answer period in the African galleries. It all starts at 2 p.m. The Detroit Institute of the Arts is at 5200 Woodward, Detroit. Call 313-833-7900 for more information.
9 TUE • MUSIC The Faint and No Doubt
Post-modern crypto-synth dance party? So. Cal. ska-rock frat-boy throw down? Clash of the top 40 mall rats and 7-inch collecting dorks? It’s all of the above. Our own State Theatre (2115 Woodward, Detroit, 313-961-5450) will witness one of the more unlikely tour couplings of recent months when Gwen "Spider Web" Stephanie rolls into town with the Faint under her wing. Though the Omaha rockers have worked up a sizable underground niche with their Whopper-era keyboard gadgets and hook-heavy songs about sex, acceptance from the No Doubt devotees seems fairly unlikely. Stay tuned for the Elton John/Peaches tour.