Planet Ant Film & Video Festival Opening Night
Hamtramcks Planet Ant Theatre is probably best known for its allegiance to original playwriting and progressive theater, but what many people might not know is that the hometown upstart has a vested interest in the celluloid and digital worlds. To kick off Planet Ants annual Film & Video Festival, organizers will host a screening of more than 20 videos from Detroit and around the world at a popular watering hole, the Belmont Bar. Afterward, guests are welcome to mingle with directors and partake of some rock n roll karaoke expect some pageantry from this lot. At 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966. Thursday, June 15, through Saturday, June 17, films screen at Planet Ant, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck; 313-365-4948. Visit planetant.com/festival for trailers.
Legendary Pink Dots
This tour marks 25 years of the Legendary Pink Dots. Thats 25 years of Edward Ka-Spel whispering in your ear like the icy, overmedicated ghost of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 25 years of arch psychedelia infused with gothic elements and bizarre electronics, and 25 years of unsettling album titles, including their current opus, Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves. Ka-Spel and his various LPD enablers have always had the ability to both creep out and mystify, and they havent lost a step with the new record. Though its capable of broken music box beauty, Premature Graves is mostly a continuation of their usual languid foreboding. Listening to the Legendary Pink Dots is like being locked inside a decrepit old mansion where pianos plink in the distance and every closet is full of antique sex toys. Now imagine getting stuck there for 25 years. At the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030.
Bohemian National Homes 1st Annual Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music
Sam Rivers claims to fame include gigging with Miles and Cecil, blasting solos as mean and free as anyone out there, and establishing (with his late wife Beatrice) a key incubator of the New York avant-scene of the 70s, their Studio Rivbea. But the saxophonist, flutist and pianist will have a claim in Detroit as well, if the one-day fest his trio is headlining survives as the annual event the city needs. Octogenarian Rivers has long been wailing in Orlando, Fla., with multi-instrumentalists Doug Matthews and Anthony Cole as his chief accomplices. Rivers, Matthews and Cole share the bill with Detroiters Kindred (a quartet featuring saxophonist Faruq Z. Bey), Spectrum Two (saxophonist Skeeter Shelton and drummer Ali Allen Colding) and Grupo Escobar (the Afro-Cuban-styled Conjunto Escobar combo expanded into a wooly 12-15 piece outfit). Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman St., Detroit; 313-737-6606; $18-$30.
We Are Not Good Girls
What: The Kate Hart- and TJ Hemphill-penned musical revue portrays a weary if not irritable touring female blues act. The setting: A third-rate St. Regis, Mont., theater. The juice: the backstage shenanigans and frazzled lives of saucy women as they prepare for the final show of a grueling summer tour. They're played by the perky femmes and plucky dames of Detroit Blues Women the Ds own super-sassy blues group of all shapes and guises. It promises voyeuristic charms and belted blues, no doubt fit for a tipple-happy night. We picture a musical Golden Girls with a bluesy, on-the-road bent and an NC-17 nod. City Theatre, 2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-965-2222.
The youngest member of the local group is barely old enough to drive a car, but dont for a second think this comer doesnt have some seriously cultivated chops. In fact, the entire band has got it going on. Finvarras Wren is a multigenerational musical outfit that plays traditional Celtic music so heartachingly well that even Finn MacCool would be impressed. Theyre known for their popular winter solstice concerts, but theyll brave the summer sizzle this weekend for a rare show at the Ark in Ann Arbor. 8 p.m. at 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-763-8587. Tickets are $13.50
From funnyman to Dr. Wayne Fiscus, talk show host to his current turn as the chrome-domed ringleader of NBCs ridiculously watchable Deal or No Deal, Howie Mandel has used his self-deprecating wit as both a moneymaking trademark and a defense against haters. Sure, that rubber glove on the dome was tired the minute it hit the stage at the Comedy Store in 1980. But it proved his willingness to disregard cool in favor of unpredictability. Put another way, its so stupid its genius. And even though hes partly responsible for the careers of Stephen Baldwin and Pauly Shore, Mandel can be proud that hes kept his shtick rolling all the way into 2006. Tony Danza prays for that kind of juice. As preparation for his appearance at the Detroit Opera House, make sure you visit his Web site and play a round of Whack-a-Howie. 8 p.m. at 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-961-3500.
Michigan Steel Drum Festival
Lets think of three 20th century inventions that have helped shape the sound of modern music: the electric guitar, the Moog synthesizer and the steel drum. Sure, the steel drums beginning were low tech, but if necessity is the mother of invention, the worlds better off having the blissfully bright sounds of this homemade instrument out of Trinidad and Tobago. From noon to midnight, enjoy delicious Caribbean food and steel drum concerts on the roof of the Hockeytown Café, 2301 Woodward Ave.; 313-965-9500; $10; bands play noon to midnight; 21 and up after 9 p.m.
Compulsion To Repeat and Vito Valdez
Dont miss this summers shows at the Ann Arbor Art Center. Through July 1, see The Compulsion to Repeat, in which Larry Cressman, Scott Hocking, Ruvim Mogendovich and Jim Stella explore the concept of repetition through various media. Beginning July 7, see the richly symbolic images of Vito Jesus Valdez and his collaborations with other streets artists. Valdez is a gifted painter and a humanitarian whose sense of community comes through in his wildly hued murals and lovely street sculptures and paintings. His cornfield mural at Bagley and St. Anne, for example, shows a burst of sunny optimism lighting the way. He will also conduct a weeklong mural workshop for teens. Valdezs work will be on display through Aug. 19. At 117 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-8004.