Mainstream moviemaking has reached hideously pedestrian proportions. But a saving grace in this mélange of crappy cinema has been the Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn-Will Ferrell comedy mill. This summers Wedding Crashers (starring Wilson and Vaughn) was not only a nice change of pace; it was side-splittingly hilarious. Have a cold one and some laughs at this weeks Brew & View at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030.
Dead When Shes Awake
The Dreamland Theater in Ypsilanti is one of the most appropriately named venues around. The quirky and cool performance spot, which always hosts interesting avant-garde activities, will open the play Dead When Shes Awake this weekend. The story explores the violent passions of a young woman whose search for her mother leads her to Detroits Cass Corridor and self-discovery. Written by local playwright Richard Ritter. At 44 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-657-2337.
Take a Model Train to Work Day
FUN FOR ALL
Clear some room in your briefcase, model train lovers: Nov. 4 is Take a Model Train to Work Day. Impress your co-workers with your favorite miniature locomotive, or, if youre slightly more ambitious, set up a track layout right in your cubicle. This marks Year 5 of the odd holiday, which is part of the Worlds Greatest Hobby Campaign, designed to get people interested in model railroading. The event is a chance to break up the workday and prove to your co-workers that you can do more than shuffle papers. All (very tiny people) aboard! More information on model railroading can be found at greatesthobby.com.
ART/FUN FOR ALL
How often to do you get the chance to play with fire? The folks at the Ann Arbor Art Center have sanctioned fire play with their FireWorks Raku event. Raku, pronounced ragu, like the pasta sauce, is a form of traditional Japanese pottery. Participants will have a chance to create their own pieces in the Western adaptation of the art form, which avoids using a traditional highly toxic lead glaze. The wet pottery will be placed in kilns where theyre fired at a lower than normal temperature. The items are taken out of the kiln while still red-hot, and placed into containers of combustible material where they smolder and take on a shiny, iridescent glaze. Pottery will be ready to take home at the end of the event. Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-8004, ext. 101. Reservations required. $30, adults; $20, children 12 and under. Art Center members receive a $5 discount.
The controversy will be ratcheted up a few notches when photographer and local artist Ken Marzoratis latest work, Full Frontal, opens this weekend. The installation is a provocative series of more than 40 photographs accompanied by the artists film documentary on censorship. The installation has already been opposed by religious organizations and local galleries. I realized early on that this series would not be for everyone, Marzorati says. What I didnt expect was to receive such strong reactions from both sides of the art/obscenity argument, even before the work was hung. Opening reception, 7 p.m. to midnight, on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Severence Gallery, 2714 Riopelle St., Detroit; 313-832-3744. Runs until Nov. 19.
Zox is a third-wave-ska meets punk reggae outfit, which means audiences will either love them or hate them. Driven by the sounds of an electric violin, theres no middle ground with this band. All Music Guide says of its latest release, The Wait, All 12 songs are consistent reminders that dynamic arrangements and a willingness to break with convention are what lift the band above most other indie rock acts. The Trolley Stop, 8820 Pelham Rd., Taylor; 313-292-6464.
M.F.I.C.: The Coleman A. Young Story
The Detroit mayoral race is drenched in controversy, and when theres controversy and a debate over Detroit politics, the name Coleman A. Young is bound to come up. That may be why this is the second play about the polemical mayor to come out this year. Written by playwright William E. Smith, M.F.I.C: The Coleman A. Young Story takes another look at the mayor who was investigated by the FBI more than any other politician in the United States. 7 p.m., the Forum Theatre, in the Detroit Entrepreneurship Institute, 1010 Antietam St., Detroit; 313-877-9060.
Hamtramcks Planet Ant Theatre celebrates its ninth anniversary with its 18th original comedy, The Weekend. Written by local playwright N. Maureen Hayden, the story follows two couples as they camp in the woods for a weekend getaway. The foursome meets a caretaker who owns the land and tells them the scary legend of the area surrounding their campsite Twelve Trees Mountain. When creepy and unexplained things start to happen, the campers try to leave. But Twelve Trees Mountain has other plans. Runs Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 4-Dec. 3. 2357 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck; 313-365-4948.
Looking to stave off the fast-approaching chill of winter? Head to the Capitol Theatre in Windsor and be temporarily transported to the veldts and villages of South Africa through the acclaimed musical, UMOJA The Spirit of Togetherness. Created in 2001, UMOJA is the brainchild of choreographer Todd Twala and designer Thembi Nyandeni, two South African women who sought to depict their countrys history through rhythm, dance and song. Told in a series of vignettes, the performance blends traditional and contemporary elements, incorporating everything from Zulu tribal dance to hybridized American gospel to kwaito (a popular fusion of hip hop, house and South African disco). While topics such as apartheid and exploited migrant laborers are addressed, UMOJAs focus remains on the positive the affirmative power of art in times of adversity. As the shows narrator says, Our music helped to keep us human. For, in Africa, rhythm is life itself. Runs Nov. 3-13. Capitol Theatre and Arts Center, 121 University Ave. W., Windsor; 519-253-7729. Call for dates and times; they vary.Send comments to email@example.com