Garden Party Opening
It's a summer tradition in Detroit that's made many a poor soul call in "sick" Friday morn, but Thursday evening Whitney Garden Parties are more than just an excuse to start the weekend early. The outdoor music-and-food affairs are a great place to mingle and enjoy some fresh air. The 2006 season kicks off with a strolling fashion show from Betsey Johnson, music from As Seen From Space (formerly Braillehouse) and art by Niagara and Camilo Pardo. At 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-5700.
John, John, the Miller's Son
John Ficca's play about a struggling drug addict examines the nuances of addiction and the bumpy road to recovery. When main character John Miller comes face to face with his alter ego, Jive Miller, it's fight or flight. At 8:30 p.m. at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, 13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit; 313-868-1347. Runs Thursday-Sunday until June 25.
Josephine Baker Centenary
ISSUES & LEARNING/FILM
She was one of the finest entertainers of the century, but the most admirable thing about African-American song-and-dance lady Josephine Baker wasn't her stage prowess or her ability to turn heads. Baker was one of the beautifully brazen few who left behind the bigotry of her native United States and became a superstar in Europe in the early 1900s. In celebration of what would have been the expat's 100th birthday, the Detroit Public Library has a Baker exhibition, and on Saturday brings panelists James Wheeler and Irwin T. Holtzman, who will offer firsthand remembrances of her life, her work and her activism. At 1 p.m. at 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-4042.
Wisconsin's Amy Rupell has an eye for what's precious: The artist's beeswax and encaustic installation at the Primary Space Gallery in Hamtramck has a 1970s Americana familiarity and whimsical "bird" theme. Though they border on being too adorable, Rupell's works evoke a strong emotional response. Opening reception 6-10 p.m., Saturday, June 3, at 2750 Yemans St., Hamtramck; 313-870-9470.
In a victory lap after his battle with cancer, tenor saxophonist Donald Walden has organized an ambitious new group. Always one to think big his programs of Monk, Trane and Tadd Dameron, and his Detroit Jazz Orchestra were stellar Walden has enlisted the writing and arranging prowess of alto saxophonist Cassius Richmond, and rounds out the sextet with trumpeter Dwight Adams, pianist Rick Roe, bassist Marion Hayden and drummer Andre Wright. The emphasis, says Walden, is on "new and adventurous music," hence the name to live up to. Free Radicals debut with sets at 9 and 11 p.m. as part of the Jazz Network Foundation's Spring Jazz Festival at SereNgeti Galleries, 2757 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-963-8099; tickets $20; cash bar and buffet available.
Checking In: The Story of the Book-Cadillac Hotel
Though most Detroiters know it as a hulking empty structure downtown at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, when the Book-Cadillac Hotel opened in the 1920s, it was an exercise in opulence, the tallest building in the state and the tallest hotel in the world. Shuttered in 1984, the building sat dormant for almost 20 years, and seemed ripe for the wrecker's ball. But, as a new film by Frank Nemecek shows, a group of volunteers started working to see the hotel saved and reopened. The film, Checking In: The Story of the Book-Cadillac Hotel, examines the building's history and the struggle to save it. 7 p.m., Detroit Film Center, 1227 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-961-9936. For more info, visit bookcadillacmovie.com.
From a farm deep in the woods of Smaland, Sweden, comes Gustav Ejstes, mastermind behind Dungen (pronounced "doon-yen"). Almost single-handedly, he crafted Dungen's third full-length album, Ta Det Lugnt, a blend of '60s Swedish pop and psychedelic prog. Sort of like Donovan jamming with Pink Floyd at Pompeii, or the Beatles reuniting at a Hawkwind concert. But the psychedelia of Dungen stands apart in that the songs are tightly performed and arranged, without the endless shoegazing. And while Ejstes plays all of the instruments in the studio, for the tour, he has expanded Dungen into a four-piece. At the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700. With the Nethers.
Weeks ago, television producer Connie Mangilin was dry heaving into someone else's restaurant doggie bag while sitting on the People Mover. Mangilin was taking a "time-out" while she and the other crewmembers from Thought Collide Productions spent three hours rocking back and forth while attempting to shoot a scene. InZero is a science fiction television show being filmed in Detroit in the hope that the Sci-Fi Channel will soon pick it up. The story, created by Jamie Sonderman, follows the escapades of Thames, a courier living in a postapocalyptic near-future. So far, they've shot three episodes around the city, and have about nine more to go. The second episode screens this week, along with the final screening of High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music and the techno short Spin, as part of the monthly Mitten Movie Project film festival. At the Main Art Theatre, 118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111; $10.
The cognoscenti predict "this summer's evilest night of rock 'n' roll" for 6/6/06 (boogedy boogedy!). The showcase will feature hardcore tunage from urban dirtasses Cuckold (whose penchant for thundering guitars and banshee vocals is equaled only by their love of one-dollar cans of beer) and a reunion of Rocket 455, the garage-era Detroit band that should have made the big time. At the Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668.Eve Doster is the listings editor of Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com