He's been called "the Clown Prince of Hip Hop," but Biz Markie has worn scads of hats. He spent the early '80s as a beatboxer for MC Shan and Roxanne Shante, and by 1988 he had minor hits with such juvie-ready ditties as "Pickin' Boogers" and "Vapors." The less-retarded-than-Wesley-Willis-but-just-as-weird-to-look-at performer hit the mainstream with his ear-piercing "Just a Friend" and thanks to MTV ubiquity every white kid from here to Luckenbach, Texas, can scream the refrain, "Yooouuuu! You got what I neeeeed," with unabashed ease and ersatz street cred. His most recent accomplishments include a first-place nod for weight loss on Celebrity Fit Club and an appearance in Men in Black II. With DJ Haul at the Shelter, 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-6358.
No beret or goatee, please. Just bring a healthy appreciation for rhyme and meter to the Grosse Pointe Artists Association's Poets Follies. The evening includes a reading, discussion and performances by three published poets. This week, featured readers are local poets Lee Runche and Anca Vlasopolos, and Yugoslavia's Goran Simic. 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the GPAA Art Center, 1005 Maryland St., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-821-1848. Admission is $5.
Back to the Floor
If you think fine art is not something you should walk all over, the folks at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery beg to differ. Their latest exhibit, Back to the Floor, is a juried textile exhibition. Its focus? The rug. The installation is curated by Rebecca Stevens, consulting curator from the Textile Museum in Washington state. Opens Friday, May 26, with an artists' reception on Friday, June 23. At 480 W. Hancock, Detroit; 313-993-7813.
You're a struggling rock musician. You never took that whole "making it" thing very seriously, and for now, being in a band is more about eking out every last bit of hedonism you can before you have to enter the 5 percenter's club (the 5 percent, that is, of the population, who, regardless of opportunity, refuse to work). You are the band Moi?, and it's time to thumb your nose at the pop music trends of the past five years. You make fun of the Scissor Sisters with your pink-lipstick glam and the Darkness with your crunchy hair and stretched jeans ... you even stick it to emo with your mawkish lines. Your press release is rife with puns and has-been fodder. You are worth checking out. Once. At the Belmont, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-7966.
Saxophonist Charles Gayle blared his way to fringe jazz pre-eminence in the late '80s with an intensity that recalled the late John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, and won admiring collaborators such as Thurston Moore and Henry Rollins. When he began recording on piano in the '90s, it seemed like a rough translation of the same sonic squall. But his recent solo piano outing, Time Zones on Tompkins Square, is a whole 'nother bag. He rains down tone clusters reminiscent of Cecil Taylor, but he also looks back to the blues and ivory ticklers of early jazz. This isn't to say that there aren't plenty of pianists who can better evoke Art Tatum, or that Cecil Taylor isn't a better Cecil Taylor. It is to say that Gayle has boldly found himself on another instrument. Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman St., Detroit; 313-737-6606. Doors at 7:30 p.m. $10 donation suggested. Presented in conjunction with New Music Society.
Black Empowerment Expo 2006
It's the largest event of its kind in North America, and the Black Empowerment Expo has chosen Detroit as its host city. The expo will feature more than 50 African-American vendors, speed networking, a business card exchange, a strolling buffet and more. The guest speaker will be George Fraser, a well-known lecturer whose book, SuccessGuide: The Networking Guide to Black Resources, suggests that "blacks in America are in the early stages of their final moral assignment to create wealth for black people worldwide." Fraser is convinced the creation of wealth, new jobs and economic opportunities must not, and will not, take very long. 7 p.m.-1:30 a.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-494-5800.
From the Ground Up: Linking Art and Nature
P.F. Gallery owner Linda Ross continues to bring fine art hullabaloo to the burbs with this month's From the Ground Up: Linking Art and Nature, a cross section of new works by eight artists. The artists all focused on the subject of nature and addressed themes such as environmental ethics, humankind's impact on nature, life cycles and the appropriation of nature in art. Ends Saturday, June 24. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. At 213 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson; 248-892-2985.
Space: A Journey to Our Future
FUN FOR ALL/ISSUES & LEARNING
Using cutting-edge video and audio technology, the Detroit Science Center in midtown brings Space: A Journey to Our Future to the Motor City. The multimedia presentation will teach young and old about the past, present and future of space exploration. Highlights include a chance to touch pieces of the moon and Mars and a walk through a simulated scientific base camp on the Martian surface. Gene Cernan, the second American to walk in space (and the last man to leave his footprints on the moon) said this of the program, "This exhibition could be the spark that lights the imagination of a future astronaut or a scientist in the space program." At 5020 John R St., Detroit; 313-577-8400. Ages 3 and up.Send comments to [email protected]