Painters' Play Act II
The most problematic sequence in movies dealing with the arts is the moment of inspiration, followed closely by the act of creation. Such depictions usually ring hollow because, really, who was really there to witness the spark? At the Sherrus Gallery, guests will get to see how artists go about fixing their vision onto raw canvas. Straddling the line between painting and performance art, mixed-media artist Jeri Fellwock, abstract artist Shadia Zayed and oil artist Tom Slack will each attempt to create a masterwork in just three hours. Viewers of the art action will be able to converse with the performers and enjoy a cheese-and-wine spread. At the end of the night, winners of a secret auction will be announced. From 6 to 9 p.m. at the Sherrus Gallery, 109 N. Center St., Northville; 248-380-0470.
The Universal Temple of Divine Power
Matching the American rock chug-a-chug of ZZ Top with the vocal chops of a younger Kim Wilson, the Universal Temple of Divine Power are perfectly poised to be future torchbearers of the Motor City's regenerating music scene. No pop here: These dudes are musicians' musicians, touting seasoned players who've gigged for years in more dive bars than they'd care to remember. Do we have a modern-day NRBQ on our hands? And while the lead singer's vexing resemblance to Kim Thayil is of little consequence, we thought it worthy of mention. At the Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4665. With Battling Siki and the Hotness.
Until we get there ourselves, there's no way to truly know, but the latest IMAX theatre presentation Roving Mars is getting warmer. Courtesy of footage taken by Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, viewers can discover what the red planet's surface really looks like. This presentation is surprisingly suspenseful while thoughtfully examining the question: Is there life on Mars? Opens Friday, Jan. 5, at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-271-1620.
To paraphrase his bio, if the serious side of life is a plate glass window, then Derek Richards is a cement truck barreling toward it. A cancer survivor, Richards is living proof that humor can make most anything tolerable and that life is but a hilarious joke over which we have little control. His material runs the gamut stupefying family pets, advice on dating strippers, exercise for fat people, and road life are a few of his fave go-tos. He's a regular on the Armed Forces Entertainment Tours, but this hometown fella returns to Mark Ridley's, Comedy Castle, 269 E. Fourth, Royal Oak; 248-542-9900.
Pitch Your Idea to NBC's Fortune
LINE UP TO SIGN UP: AUDITIONS
As reality television did its best to systematically rob the American viewing public's collective consciousnesses in recent years, it's about time something was taken back. Enter NBC's newest reality show Fortune, a program where "contestants" have exactly one minute to prove that their requests for financial assistance whatever they may be are worthy. On Fortune, five of America's wealthiest people will give away millions of dollars to people they deem neediest no amount is too much. Want money to start a business? Or to buy a house? Got medical bills? Sleeping in alleys? Want a butt lift? Here's your once-in-a-lifetime chance to request a freebie. All ages are welcome and all requests will be considered. Creativity in presentations is encouraged. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Detroit Marriott (RenCen), 400 Renaissance Center, Detroit. Visit nbc.com/casting for more information.
Meditations on War
ISSUES & LEARNING
The divisiveness about the war in Iraq has rattled American politics in a way not seen since the Vietnam era. On the global scale, it's had all kinds of negative repercussions. But this week, the Meditations on War event will focus on topics much larger than partisan politics and international unrest. This discussion will tackle the metaphysical and humanistic sides of the so-called "necessary evil" of war. Such local writers as Brad Duncan will present stats on the lives lost and the billions spent on various 20th century wars, while author-playwright-poet Chris Tysh will read from her play about World War I. After the presentations, there'll be a rare screening of the Detroit-filmed 1972 documentary Wintersoldier, an intense look at the Vietnam War as told by its soldiers. Begins at 8 p.m. at MoCAD, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622.
Friday - Saturday 5 -6
Anti-Freeze Blues Festival
The gist is hot blues on a cold winter's night well, two nights, actually. It's lucky year number 13 for the Anti-Freeze Blues Festival, and this auspicious anniversary looks to be wickedly soulful. The showcase (which benefits the Detroit Blues Society) features Mississippi-born harmonica shaman James Cotton, who'll play with Detroit's own Thornetta Davis as well as Charlie Musselwhite. (Musselwhite, you'll note, was the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd's "Elwood Blues" character.) Local acts include Doug Deming & the Jeweltones, the Alligators, RJs Rhythm Rockers, Jeff Grand, Jim McCarty, Bobby East and others. At the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 313-544-3030.
Cycle World International Motorcycle Show
FUN FOR ALL
No amount of layered leather or tepid winter weather will make anyone want to hop a hog right now. It is ice-slick season, champ. But if you're jonesin' for hog, dig this: From the heated comfort of Rock Financial Showplace, hundreds of 2007-model street bikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, concept bikes and vintage bikes from more than 17 different manufacturers will be on display. There's gear action for every kind of two-wheel head, from custom choppers to freestyle stunt shows. Besides, how long before spring hits and oil slicks and lousy drivers become the obstacles? At 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi. For more information call 800-331-5706.
This week, jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon and his quartet celebrate the release of his new album, Between Friends. The band will perform new material as well as the standards that appear on Friends, including the Lady Day torch classic "These Foolish Things" and a rousing rendition of "You're My Everything." Local pianist Rick Roe to sit in. At Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543. Sidenote: The baby-faced Napoleon who's fresh from an international tour with retro-crooner Michael Bublé will also appear with fellow Bublé band member Josh Brown on Friday, Jan. 5, at the Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2999.
The Sleeping Beauty
Fairytales plus Tchaikovsky equal ballet, right? And the storied Russkie could certainly pen a tune. But it's his equally talented dancing counterparts who've made The Sleeping Beauty ballet an undying and universally adored dance presentation. This week, the Moscow Ballet's company of more than 50 dancers performs the classic piece of choreography created by Marius Petipa. At Ford Community Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-943-2354. There's an additional performance on Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Macomb Center for Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Rd., Clinton Township; 586-286-2141.
Family Fun Day featuring NASA Astronaut Ellen Baker
ISSUES & LEARNING/FUN FOR ALL
"Space is the Place," indeed. Cranbrook's latest offering, a traveling exhibit on display now through Jan. 14, has little to do with cosmic jazz pianist Sun Ra, and much to do with the dangers and limitless possibilities available to humankind just beyond Earth's atmosphere. Visitors can check out paintings, sculpture, photographs, sound and videos that combine humor with serious reflection on earthlings' forays toward the stars. During Family Fun Day, Astronaut Dr. Ellen S. Baker, lead astronaut for medical issues and education programs at Johnson Space Center, will give a presentation on her own space flights, which totaled nearly 700 hours. There'll also be gallery games, interactive tours of the art museum, planetarium shows and an on-the-floor meteorite presentation at the Institute of Science. Whew. Baker's lecture is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Cranbook Art Museum, DeSalle Auditorium, 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3314.
Brown Bag Lecture: Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang
Composer Bright Sheng and Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang penned Silver River a one-act piece of musical theater back in 1997. The work is a beautiful retelling of a 4,000-year-old Chinese legend about perfect love struggling to survive in an imperfect world. It marries Chinese opera, Western opera, contemporary dance and various musical styles. Hwang is a playwright, screenwriter and librettist who's best known for authoring M. Butterfly. Sheng is a world-renowned composer-pianist. To augment their much-anticipated Jan. 12 and 13 performances of Silver River at the Power Center for the Performing Arts (121 Fletcher, Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538), Hwang and Sheng will be guest lecturers at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities' Brown Bag lecture series. Noon-1:30 p.m. at 202 S. Thayer St., Rm. 2022, Ann Arbor. Call 734-936-3518 for more information.Eve Doster is the listings editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org