Writing a description of birdgang is a lot like writing a beer commercial. To wit: birdgang is smooth, refreshing and completely lacking in pretension. They are made up of three of Detroits most understated yet fabulous musicians (Charlie Koltak, Jeff Schwarz and Zach Roberts) and, quite frankly, a show from this roots rock-loving, radiant melody-aping band is one of the few worthy reasons to get off your ass this summer. At the Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668 with Jarrod Champion.
Baboon of Sickness One-Year Anniversary Party
Placing this event under the heading literature is a bit of a stretch, but the truth is, we here at Night & Day simply adore the scatological, lowbrow humor of underground zine Baboon of Sickness. Sure, the jokes are uncomfortable and the illustrations are vile, but theres a truthfulness to a magazine that extols the virtues of washing ones testicles and steering clear of inebriated sorority girls. Thats just good advice, if you ask us. Celebrate the one-year anniversary of Baboon with free pizza and something called poop cake at Gusoline Alley, 308 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235. Disclaimer: All food will be served on a re-creation of Ronald Reagans corpse.
Skeletons and the Girl-Faced Boys; Doug Coombe Photo Exhibit
The weird hits from Ann Arbors Ghostly International just keep on coming. This time it comes courtesy of Oberlin, Ohio, oddballs Skeletons and the Girl-Faced Boys, who play proggy dance rock that combines Brian Enos global-beat seriousness with Michael Jacksons king-of-pop whimsy. The group is fronted by Matt Mehlan, who started his musical career as a dark dreamer accompanied by only a computer. For the new LP, Git, Mehlan assembled a talented group of multi-instrumentalists who shared his twisted vision the result is a mostly brilliant record, with highlights like Theres a Fly in Your Soup and I Put it There, and Yall Thinks Its Soo Easy. Skeletons kick off a national tour, Flat Like the Land, Fat Like the People, at Ann Arbors Maison de Liberte, 113 1/2 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor; Also showing, an exhibit of photos by Metro Times contributor Doug Coombe. More information at ghostly.com
Food for Thought
ISSUES & LEARNING
Detroit Summer is a grassroots youth organization committed to the re-spiriting of Detroit. The enthusiastic youth movement teams up with the Campaign for State Action on Environmental Justice to present Food For Thought: Hip-hop and Poetry for the Environment. From 6 to 10 p.m., artists and activists will speak out on the state of Detroit and the environmental issues that affect residents. Featured guests include DJ Lt. Dre from WDMK (102.7-FM), rapper Miz Korona and poet-musician Blair. At the bandshell on Belle Isle, East Jefferson Avenue at the foot of East Grand Boulevard. Visit detroitsummer.blogspot.com for more information.
The Poets Follies
Getting their name from poet Weldon Kees original literary club, the poetry reading and discussion group Poets Follies meets the third Friday of every month. Meetings are led by Mariela Griffor, poet, author and 2003 Wayne State University Urban Woman Writer in Residence. She is also founder of Marick Press, a not-for-profit literary publisher. This week, Griffor will be joined by writers Daniel Padilla, Phyllis Reeve and Gregory Kiewiet for an evening of spoken word and fun. Music will be provided by Pink Floyd-Velvet Underground-inspired band Ass. At 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe Artists Association Art Center, 1005 Maryland St. (at the corner of Jefferson Avenue), Grosse Pointe Park; 313-821-1848.
Miniature to Small, Larger than Life Art Exhibit
As part of a two-day multi-artist exhibit at the 4731 Gallery in Detroit, local illustrator Kenjji will debut a collection of his African Poro mask illustrations. Kenjji has shown his works in New York, Manchester and Tokyo, but this weekend marks his very first opening in the D. This exhibit also serves as a sneak preview of Voodoo Visions, the latest installation of Kenjjis comic book series, Witchdoctor. At 4731 W. Grand River Ave.; Detroit; 313-894-4731. See metrotimes.com for our 2002 cover story on Kenjji, Comic belief.
The Sixth Show
What do you get when you take an eclectic assortment of drawings, add some rip-your-heart-out violin and mandolin music from local musician Rob Young, and mix it all together at a boho Midtown art gallery? Youd get the opening of 101up Gallerys Sixth Show. On display will be charcoal, glaze, brushed ink and paint marker works from Erin Somerville, Rachelle Guenther, Elizabeth L. Isakson, Kylie Lockwood, Ryan Csaszar and Carl Oxley. Owners Greg Frederick and Mark Sengbusch have a few drawings to show off as well. At 4470 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-415-6364. Ends Sept. 23.
Theres a naïveté about artist Gwen Joy that makes her difficult to understand. But dont be fooled, this burgeoning art brut slinger is no slouch: Joys part-vixen, part-little girl persona is as unusual and genuine as her simple yet easy-to-love paintings. Bankle Building, 2944 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-640-6036. Entertainment for the evening will be a drag show.
Round Barns Annual Harvest Party
FUN FOR ALL
Although its not yet time for hayrides and cider mills, summers end is nigh. And what better way to celebrate the end of the season than with a trip to western Michigans wine country? The Round Barn Winery in Baroda (about an hour southwest of Grand Rapids) hosts its annual harvest party this weekend. For $10, patrons can enjoy a wine tasting, yummy food, jazz from Lady Sunshine and the X Band and, of course, a traditional wine-stomping. Yes, patrons are encouraged to hop into the giant grape bins and stomp along to the music Lucille Ball-style. Games and rides for the kids. 2-6 p.m. at 10983 Hills Rd., Baroda; 800-716-9463 or roundbarnwinery.com for directions