Before starring in TV shows Room 222 and In the Heat of the Night not to mention the blaxploitation classic Blacula Denise Nicholas was one of the idealistic young Northerners who headed South to work in the civil rights movement. In her first novel, the former Detroiter draws on the upheavals of the era to craft a young womans coming-of-age tale in Freshwater Road (Agate). Nicholas appears at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Southfield Public Library (26300 Evergreen Rd., Southfield; 248-796-4200), and at noon, Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Borders in Compuware Headquarters (1012 Woodward, Detroit; 313-259-8263).
The alto saxophonist started his soulful wail back during the 60s New York scene when such contemporaries as John Coltrane and Albert Ayler were retuning the jazz universe. Having long ago moved to Europe, Noah Howard has largely disappeared to American audiences, but hes still around, still blowing feverishly and making his second Detroit appearance ever. He performs with bassist Hakim Jami and drummer Allen Colding; Faruq Z. Bey, Kevin Callaway and Joel Peterson are the opening act. At 9 p.m. at the Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman St. (also known as 22nd St.), Detroit; 313-737-6606. Suggested donation $10.
Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy, Sean Coombs or just plain Diddy, call him what you want, hes a one-man media empire. Not content with being a performer, producer, mogul, actor and fashionista, Diddy is ready to share the spotlight: His latest venture, Diddy Presents The Bad Boys of Comedy, blows into town with a stable of fresh urban faces ready to rock the swanky confines of the Fox Theatre. Leading the charge is Detroit native Howie Bell. The local funnyman cut his teeth with the local sketch comedy troupe The Otha Side (which eventually turned into a national touring act) and has been featured on Jamie Foxxs Laffapalooza comedy special. Other bad boys on the bill include Rayzor, Malik and Big Jay. At the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611.
Meet Neal Davis
Celebrate the grand opening of the Neal Davis Gallery with the appropriately named Meet Neal Davis event this Friday. In addition to a meet-and-greet with Mr. Davis himself, attendees will be treated to new works from resident artists Dolores Carlson, Daniel doAmaral, Natalie Durmisevich, Carl Davis, Jan Kiewiet and Jeanette Strezinski (pictured). 6-9 p.m., at 314 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-298-0326.
Pat Metheny Trio and Quartet
Fans follow the popular Pat Metheny Group for the next step in its organic evolution; they listen to the guitarists outside projects to hear what the heck hell jump to next. On record, of late, theres Song X 20th Anniversary Edition (Nonesuch), revisiting his collaboration with Ornette Coleman. On the road, theres a group with two established musical spark plugs (bassist Christian McBride and saxophonist David Sanchez) and a high-voltage newcomer (Mexican-born drummer Antonio no relation to David Sanchez). 8 p.m., Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University, Ann Arbor; 734-763-8587.
Among other things, the Hebrew word mitzvah means a blessing or good deed. And do-gooding certainly seems to be the mission of at least one area group this week. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (JFMD) will hold its annual Itsa Mitzva Day this week. The event kicks off with a light kosher lunch in Bloomfield Hills and, immediately following, volunteers will be directed to agencies and work sites in the area. Assignments will include visiting with seniors, working at a food bank and other community projects. The JFMD is suggesting a $10 donation to help cover costs. Families, teens and all interested adults are welcome. 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Max M. Fisher Federation Building, 6735 Telegraph Rd., Bloomfield Hills. Contact Heidi Hirsh, Womens Campaign and Education Department, JFMD at 248-203-1459 for more information.
While many Americans came to the rescue of Hurricane Katrina victims with contributions to the Red Cross, smaller charities like Project Backpack were lost in the shuffle. As a grassroots organization, Project Backpack gives directly to those in need by putting together backpacks full of essential items for school children displaced by hurricanes and floods. This weekend, local musicians like the Decks, the Pizazz, SSM, the Spitunes, Molly Jean, the Questions and others will host an all-day fund-raiser to raise awareness about the fledgling organization. Guests are asked to donate backpacks filled with school supplies, travel-size games, playing cards, magazines, sports bottles, a change of clothes, travel-size personal hygiene products, etc. Organizers have also encouraged donors to write a note to the child. At the Old Miami, 3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830.
Hes revered as one of the most musical pop stars in the world, hes an icon in the gay community and his works get more beautiful by the album; but you cant truly understand the brilliance of Rufus Wainwright until you see him live. Wainwrights emotive music melded with his iconoclastic and unapologetic petulance make for an evening of sassy fun and joyful song. At the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-668-8480.
Anti-Columbus Day Party
FUN FOR ALL
It takes a bartender to know a bartender. Thats why the booze-slingers over at Boogie Fever in Ferndale have decided to give back to their hardworking brethren. Dubbed the Anti-Columbus Day Party (for no reason other than it falls on the holiday), this post-weekend event was devised by service industry people for service industry people. There will be cheap drinks, nonstop dancing and a chance to blow off some steam. DJs include Frank Raines (rare funk and soul), Copafeel (house), Defiance (hip hop and B-boy classics), Maijha (techno trash), Nyhylist (drum and bass) and Skeam (electro). Anyone over 21 is welcome to the Exodus Café (above the Golden Fleece), 529 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-962-7093.Send comments to email@example.com