FIREWORKS ON THE RIVER
HOLIDAY/FUN FOR ALL
When Detroit City Council recently approved a no-nonsense budget plan to the dismay of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick the controversial glad-hander threatened to put the kibosh on the city's annual fireworks display, saying he couldn't guarantee spectators' safety with a police force reduced by about one-quarter under the 2005-06 fiscal year budget. Turns out the Kwamster's attempts at intimidation were moot, as City Council passed an amendment to the budget that will keep 182 police officers and 73 firefighters from being laid-off. Looks like despite the inordinate amounts of politicking, the half-century-old tradition will soldier on. A popular place to view the fireworks is Hart Plaza, on Jefferson at the foot of Woodward Avenue, Detroit; 313-877-8077.
Maybe being the daughter of a proctologist and an abstract artist helped Amazonian comedian-actress Sandra Bernhard to develop her wickedly hilarious sense of irony. The brazen performer known as much for her bisexual exploits and pseudo-socialite shtick as for her acting and singing abilities has always managed to keep things interesting. Whether you love her, hate her or can't figure out what to make of her, there's no denying Bernhard's envelope-pushing, cage-rattling ways have secured her status as a 20-plus year showbiz veteran. Lemmings beware: This broad is not for the meek. At the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538.
THE GYPSY STRINGS OF DETROIT
As part of the weekly Jam at the Gem series, the Gypsy Strings of Detroit bring a little "olde world" to Madison Avenue Detroit's Madison Avenue, anyway. With their sophisticated brand of Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz and Eastern European flair, the Gypsy Strings weave a romantic tapestry of classic jazz and good ol' fashioned panache. Fronted by dapper guitar players Gino Fanelli and Nick Frangos, joined by classically trained bass player John MacElwee and clarinet great "Pee Wee" Matese, the Gypsy Strings always provide the feel of a mini-sojourn into the past. Try something new. Gem Theatre, 333 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-963-9800.
Call it an "art mélange." This month's exhibit at the Ann Arbor Art Center might not have a singular vision, but the works touted as playful and experimental make for a fun mishmash of image, idea and color. The exhibit features Karen Gallup's use of collage (pictured), Wade Eldean's assemblages, Madeline Barkey's prints and Glen Wolff's use of unconventional media. 117 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-994-8004. Artist reception, 6-8 p.m. on Friday, July 8.
Bass-playing goddess Karen Neal (aka Queen Bee) isn't as sweet as you might think. The barely clad hottie/punk rocker has been kicking audience's asses for years now not that you'd know it to look at her; the woman does not age. She fronted Inside Out, one of the seminal female rock bands in the D, and her other incarnations, Lickety Clit and Queen Bee, have made an indelible thumbprint on the Motor City scene. These days, the subversive blonde takes on a new sonic challenge: Brain Saw. Expect unabashed gore, pulsating hardcore and a wild, wild ride. With Gil Mantera's Party Dream and Rubber Milk Orchestra. Alvin's, 5756 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-4577.
13TH ANNUAL SALUTE TO AMERICA AT GREENFIELD VILLAGE
Americans are more inclined to embrace their national pride during the Fourth of July holiday, and nothing tugs at those allegiant heartstrings quite like some patriotic music. This Independence Day, take the whole family to Dearborn's Greenfield Village for the Motor City Brass Band and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Salute to America. The MCBB will conduct a prelude concert, 7:30-8 p.m., and the DSO will take over, 8:30-9:30 p.m. After sundown, expect an amazing fireworks finale accompanied by a resounding rendition of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Be sure to bring a blanket or a chair. 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-271-1620.
Only a handful of films share Spider-man 2's distinction as a sequel that outdoes the original. The Sam Raimi-directed franchise was an instant classic among tetchy comic book-types and movie lovers alike. In 2, lead character Peter Parker agonizes over personal problems while Spider-Man takes on the marvelously wicked Doctor Octopus, a tentacled menace to society. See it as part of the Comcast Film series at Campus Martius Park, in the heart of downtown Detroit. Activities start at 7 p.m. and the movie begins at dusk. 800 Woodward Ave., at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Monroe Street; campusmartiuspark.org.
3RD ANNUAL REGGAE SUMFEST WITH KEVIN LYTTLE
St. Vincent native Kevin Lyttle mixes the sexy sounds of calypso and soca music with R&B balladry to create some of the most visceral dance music going these days. That's why he's the perfect headliner for this weekend's Annual Reggae Sumfest at Chene Park, on the Detroit River. The traveling festival, also known as the "Love Has No Boundaries Tour," will celebrate the sights and sounds of the Caribbean islands with jammin' music and in-the-sun fun. Also featuring the Harmony House Singers, Steel Pulse, Marcia Griffiths, Roots Vibration and Jimmy Cozier. Atwater at the foot of Chene, Detroit; 313-393-0292.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
During the summer months, Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre always dishes at least one offering of family entertainment. For the 2005 summer season, it presents Beauty and the Beast, the timeless tale of true love under the unlikeliest of circumstances. And even though it's been told many times before, in a variety of ways, this play is still a great way to teach your tot about the redemptive qualities of tenderness and acceptance. Closes July 9. 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2972.
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