Don’t avert your eyes. Monkey Rampant Sketch Company’s latest production, Full Frontal Comedy, is not quite as salacious as it sounds. The theatrical slideshow features scathing comedy about pop culture through the lens of surrealism, but there will be no pubic hair or dangling genitalia to distract you. Doors open at 8 p.m. at the Elbow Room, 6 S. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374. Cover is $6, or $5 with donation of three or more nonperishable items to SOS Community Services.
Thursday • 12
Home from the Vinyl Café
Stuart McLean is one of Canada’s most popular broadcast personalities, a Canuck Garrison Keillor, even. His syndicated radio show features music and stories about the misadventures of Dave, the owner of the Vinyl Café — the world’s smallest record store, where the motto is “We may not be big, but we’re small.” His latest book, Home from the Vinyl Café: A Year in Stories, is his first collection to be published in the United States, offering several of his most popular works. Join McLean for a reading and book signing, 7 p.m. at Borders Books, 34300 Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-203-0005.
Friday • 13
As founder of the local dance troupe Causing a Scene, Christopher Leadbitter is all about contradictions. Under his direction, local performers have been seen tap-dancing to punk rock and performing classical ballet in gas masks. Leadbitter spent years as a professional dancer in New York City, where anything goes. When he moved to Detroit, social groups seemed cliquish —”The Goths were separated from the art snobs, and straight people segregated from gays.” So the dancer created his own scene. Choreographed by Leadbitter, Jeremiah Childers and Xaina, Twisted Cabaret offers an eclectic mix of routines by the 16-person troupe, including a top-hat-and-cane dance, with music by Bjork, Marilyn Manson and Mindless Self Indulgence. Doors open at 9 p.m. on Friday, May 13, and the show starts at midnight at Q, 141 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale. Cover is $10, $8 with invitation; complimentary Champagne 9-10:30 p.m. (Disclosure: Metro Times’ culture editor, Sarah Klein, is a member of the troupe.)
Friday • 13
A double-bill celebrates a living jazz giant and a still lively legacy. Pat Martino’s guitar lines seem effortless and soulful, as if he’s spinning threads of electrified silk. The Philadelphian hit the scene in the ’60s, withdrew with health problems in the ’70s and has been a classic jazz comeback story since the ’80s. Meanwhile, a Jazz at Lincoln Center ensemble celebrates the music of Dexter Gordon, one of the most influential saxophonists from the late ’40s on. Gordon’s own late-career heyday hit a highpoint with his Oscar-nominated performance as a troubled musician in the 1986 film, ’Round Midnight. One of Gordon’s classic rhythm sections (George Cables, piano; Rufus Reid, bass; Leroy Williams, drums) supports three saxophonists (Jerry Weldon, Jimmy Green and Wayne Escoffrey) in saluting his music. At the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5100.
Friday • 13
Six-string godhead Pete Townshend once said, “If it hadn’t been for Link Wray, I would have never picked up a guitar.” Thankfully, innovators like Wray (and later, Townshend) chose to eschew the “gee-whiz” oeuvre, instead, offering up some of the most visceral and pulsating music ever to hit the airwaves. In fact, so evocative was the dirty growl of Wray’s hollow-body guitar tone, his famous instrumental song “Rumble” was once banned from many radio stations in the 1950s. A lot of time has passed since Wray gave the sonic middle finger to The Man, but believe it or not, the seasoned rocker is still alive and kicking — a stark reminder that rock ’n’ roll will always endure. See him at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030. The Hellbenders to open.
Friday • 13
Johnny Go’s Danse Party
Black leather jacket types will know him as the foxy bass player from the Go (has there ever been an unattractive member of the Go?), but this week, Johnny Krautner plays the part of disc jockey. An avid record collector and voracious music lover, Krautner will spread the wealth of his extraordinary vinyl collection with Johnny Go’s Danse Party — a soul-stompin’ bacchanalia of Motown, rock ’n’ roll and groovy underground tunes. Get out the dance shoes and leave the wallflower bit behind — it’s time to shake some ass, rock-style. At the Berkley Front, 3087 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-547-3331. This will be a monthly event.
Saturday • 14
Ann Arbor Bookstore Crawl
FUN FOR ALL/LITERATURE
Kicking off A2’s second annual Book Festival, the city’s many bookshop owners invite interested readers to join in a weeklong bookstore crawl. Participants are encouraged to have a “passport” stamped while visiting the array of Ann Arbor bookstores. The event will come to a head on Michigan Reads Day— Saturday, May 21 — at North University Avenue and State Street, where the University of Michigan campus meets downtown Ann Arbor. Those who have visited most of the stores may submit their “passport” for a grand prize drawing. Among other Michigan Reads Day events will be author readings and panel discussions on literacy, writing, libraries, comics and more.
Sunday • 15
FUNDRAISER/FUN FOR ALL
Any gardener worth her green thumb will tell you that even the most majestic garden can be improved with the addition of a gnome. Whether whimsical ornamentation or a stab at irony, the garden gnome perks up passers-by, if not the plants themselves. This week, Goldner Walsh Nursery celebrates the tradition of this miniature delight with Gnome Fest, showcasing more than 75 vintage gnomes from around the world, a gnome-carving from the Black Forest and gnome oil paintings by German artist Wilhelm Weide, whose pictures have been seen in several German fairy tale books. Courtesy of a “real life” gnome, interested participants will also be treated to “Little Gnome Facts,” a lecture on gnome origins and etymology. There will also be a gnome scavenger hunt throughout the nursery’s nine and a half acres of rolling hills and forest. 559 Orchard Lake Rd., Pontiac; 248-332-6430. Proceeds to benefit the Belle Isle Botanical Society.
Tuesday • May 17
Fans of Brazilian funk, abstract hip hop and acid jazz (we know you’re still out there), have been all over Washington D.C.’s Thievery Corporation since the late 1990s. Members Rob Garza and Eric Hilton are producers and DJs who’ve perfected that sweet musical spot somewhere between analog and digital, down- and mid-tempo, lounge and dance floor. Their D.C. club, Eighteenth Street Lounge, evolved into the ESL label, which released the duo’s dubby 1996 debut, Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi. The new LP, The Cosmic Game, features guest vocals from Perry Farrell, David Byrne and the Flaming Lips — whose Wayne Coyne sings on the powerfully titled, “Marching the Hate Machines (into the Sun).” See, hear and dance to Thievery Corporation’s trippy sonic groove thang at the Majestic Theatre, 4120-40 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700. DJ Jim Stone opens. Tickets $25. Doors 9 p.m.