"You would take the entire universe to your hole,/Sick woman! Ennui rends your cruel soul./You play a peculiar game with your teeth,/Requiring one heart each day to eat." Roughly translated, these are the kind of boldly modern (and at times downright twisted) visions that landed 19th century French poet, Charles Baudelaire on trial for obscenity. His Flowers of Evil was a particular favorite of one of his contemporaries — a young pianist named Fredric Chopin — who shared the poet’s taste for themes of sex and death. Nearly 200 years later the two visionaries are brought together in a multimedia recital. These might seem like dusty fancies to MTV culture, but rest assured, this promises to be an evening drenched in lyrical sexuality, impassioned musicianship and scandal so enticing that it remains fully relevant 150 or so years after its inception. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Power Center for the Performing Arts, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor. Call 734-647-1171.
21 Thurs • Music: KaitO
British. Low-fi. Energetic female/male vocal dueling. It’s a no-brainer; a just-add-water recipe for success with the All–Star-wearing contingent of independent music. But it’s more than that: KaitO is thankfully caught amid the sugary popularity of head-bopping and Molly Ringwald dances and cerebral art pop. They’ll take the stage with Detroit’s own Eric Weir and Philadelphia-based acousta-crooner Matt Pond, PA (a band with more cellos than guitars). The Lager House is at 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Call 313-961-4668.
22 Fri • Music: Rodney Whitiker
As a band leader, collaborator, composer and bass pedagogue Rodney Whitiker is a key player in the younger generation of jazz heavyweights who emerged from Detroit in the early 1990s. His overwhelming candor on stage is matched only by his sturdy anchor and hard-driven swing. Whitiker will make a two-day stand at the Harlequin (8047 Agnes, Detroit. Call 313-331-0922) this weekend, playing both Friday and Saturday nights and will return next Friday and Saturday, March 29 and 30.
22 Fri • Music: James Blood Ulmer
Between tightening his Wes Montgomery guitar licks in Columbus, Ohio, and letting it loose with Ornette Coleman in New York, James Blood Ulmer gigged with an organ trio in the basement of Detroit’s 20 Grand (while George Clinton strutted upstairs, no less). Long an avant-jazz guitar hero, Ulmer’s latest flirt with fame rests on the bluesy — and Grammy nominated — Memphis Blood: The Sun Session, produced by Vernon Reid. Appropriately, his first Detroit gig in many ages is a stone’s throw from where he played "Honky Tonk" in the late ’60s. Detroit Art Space, 101 E. Baltimore, Detroit. He’s also appearing Saturday, the 23rd. Call 313-875-9981.
23 Sat • Dance Music Art: Spring Ball
To get in the right spirit, play some Astrud Gilberto ("I feel so gay, in a melancholy way. It might as well be spring. …") on the way to CPOP Saturday night. Play it with the windows down and celebrate the thaw. In the same expression of spring fever a group of notable local and national artists have come together for Spring Ball, an evening of filled original movement, dance, visual art, film and sound. Performers and artists include choreographer and dancer Kelly Handyside, Chicago dance duo Back & To the Left Productions, painter T. Racee Miller (who also plays bass in Detroit’s ever-lovable goth-country outfit, Blache), multimedia artist Geoffrey Walker, Warn Defever of His Name is Alive, Detroit filmmaker Russel Forster and many others. The show runs 7-11 p.m. at CPOP Gallery (4160 Woodward, Detroit. Call 313-833-9901) $10. All ages welcome.
23 Sat • Music: Immigrant Sons CD Release
Local record stores should be forced to build a completely unique section in the stacks for Supernova, the latest from the Immigrant Suns. Supernova would never be quite at home in the current bins — it needs to be filed just west of the Eastern European folk-rock records, just north of the Middle Eastern street-parade sound tracks and on the melodic side of klezmer-influenced avant-jazz. The band’s baffling originality and penchant for unpronounceable instruments (What the hell is mazahr? Or a bouzouki? Or a qyteli?) never comes at the cost of well-crafted, at times brilliant songwriting. To celebrate the release of Supernova, the Immigrant Sun’s will appear at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward, Detroit. Call 313-833-9700.
24 Sun • Dance: Twyla Tharp
Through her bold vision of American dance and ability to leave audiences breathless with programs of mind-boggling stamina, dancer-choreographer Twyla Tharp has a reputation for being one of the most exhilarating artists in modern dance. Hopefully the Power Center (121 Fletcher, Ann Arbor. Call 734-647-1171.) will still have a stage when she’s done.
24 Sun • Music: The Wu Tang Clan
As a musical entity, the Wu Tang Clan has been influential enough to inspire a complete subculture. There are Wu Tang toys and tags and even a Web site that you can visit to get your own Wu-name. I-can’t-get-no-respect Rodney Dangerfield becomes Dubious Masturbatah-X. Bible-thumping Jerry Falwell, Black Wicker Ventriloquist. Tiger great Chet Lemon becomes Ultra-Chronic Monstah, and local garage hero Jack White is renamed Gorky’s Zygotic Glove Puppet. Go to www.recordstore.com/cgi-bin/wuname/wuname.pl for your Wu-name. Go to the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward, Detroit. for the Wu Tang Clan. Call 313-961-5450.
26 Tues • Music: Natural History
As denim-clad ambassadors of tough-as-nails NYC rock strut, the Natural History provide a soulful update to the Modern Lovers and Lou Reed. Front-man Max Tepper’s young-Elvis charisma is as alluring as the trio’s post-modern mod appeal. They will play the Lager House on Tuesday night (the bar’s dollar draft night), making for a foolproof combination of cheap liquor and quality music. The Lager House is at 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Call 313-961-4668.