THC Comedy Tour
Originally modeled after Playboy, the pro-cannabis mag High Times has seen a few incarnations. And whether in the throes of lefty politicking courtesy of one-time editor John Mailer (Norman's kid) or tongue-in-cheek stoner rhetoric, this mag has always received mad props from the counterculture. But being cool to the underground this doesn't put High Times above the almighty mandate to diversify or die. Enter the High Times-sponsored THC Comedy Tour: chubby white guys' answer to the Def Jam dynasty. Featured comedians include Doug Benson, co-creator of The Marijuana-logues and regular pundit on VH-1's Best Week Ever, and fellow stand-ups Al Madrigal and Jay Phillips. At the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.
Artist Stephanie Dinkins is an interdisciplinary artist from Brooklyn who "explores issues of value and visibility." Her latest exhibition at the Gallery at Marygrove College collects and displays 1,000 books, videos and other technologies in site-specific installations. She'll show alongside (re)collected, a group effort from local artists dealing with perceptions of locality. Opening reception is 4:30-8 p.m. at 8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; 313-927-1335.
Thursday • 11
They released one of the most criminally slept-on local albums of 2006 (Clouded Staircase), have built a rabidly-devoted live following, and look good in crushed velvet. Ann Arbor-based Starling Electric will certainly make you think of the 1960s — or at least envision what the ’60s might have looked like — but they’re also freaks about Guided by Voices, which means they know how to party. Starling’s support acts for this gig are two recent major label signees. Is the band’s own moment in the big-money sun very far off? With Satin Peaches and the Silent Years. At The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555.
75th Anniversary All-Media Exhibition
The Detroit Artists Market's 75th anniversary show has people's interest piqued for good reason. As a cross-section of works that "best celebrate the current climate in contemporary art in Detroit and Windsor," the all-media exhibition was juried by Marsha Miro, who, you'll note, is acting director of the new Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). Support local artists at the Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8540.
The 1984 movie version had mainstream America discovering interesting parallels between the modern-day rock star and 18th-century Salzburg cats. Written by Peter Shaffer, Amadeus is the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as told in flashback mode by covetous Mozart contemporary, Antonio Salieri, who spins his yarn from the confines of an insane asylum. Wayne State's Hilberry Theatre opens its production of this tour de force at 8 p.m. at 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2972. Amadeus continues in rotating repertory through March 3.
In part because he stays busy behind the scene as a producer, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis isn't as nearly well-known as his brothers Wynton, Branford and (even) Jason. But with his first recording as a leader in six years, and roadwork like this stop in Detroit, he's bringing his profile up again. Our critic Charles L. Latimer put the recent Minions Dominion on his Top 10 list for 2006 and said that its only weakness was that it left you wanting more. He has Mark Shim on tenor and Anthony Wonsey on piano. At 8 and 10 p.m. in the Jazz Club at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111.
Friday • 12
Friends of Dennis Wilson
This gig launches a Friends of Dennis Wilson tour that will wind the Detroit combo through the danger dens of the American West. Really: on their MySpace, they have a standing offer to play the clubhouses of motorcycle gangs. Terrifying! There’s plenty of engine grease in the band’s sound, though, a narco-heavy cocktail of 1960s blues-psych and Creation Records-style shoegaze. Imagine Frijid Pink tripping balls on Psychocandy. The band will also be selling copies of Chrome Universe, their new full-length. Help ‘em out — sounds like they’ll need your cash for Band-Aids. With Mr. Gnome, the Sundresses, the Birddogs, and special guests. At the Belmont, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966.
Friday & Saturday 12 & 13
The Silver River
Based on a 4,000-year-old Chinese fable, the Silver River musically tells the story of the Jade Emperor, Lord of Heaven, whose daughter, the immortal Goddess-Weaver, falls in love with a mortal. When the goddess' pining begins to interfere with her celestial responsibilities, the emperor creates the Silver River, a barrier between heaven and earth. But as the lovers' anguish wreaks havoc on both worlds, the emperor decrees that the lovers may meet once each year on the banks of the watery barricade. This one-act opera was written by Bright Sheng (M. Butterfly, Disney's Aida) and will be performed in English. At the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538. Tickets are $18-$40.
Behind the Scenes Saturdays: Detroit Historical Society
FUN FOR ALL
Recent improvements to the downtown landscape are enough to make you forget about how bad things used to be. To wit: Campus Martius still has the natives marveling, and the sight of scaffolding and pitter-patter of foot traffic are tell-tale signs that this is a city on the upswing. That's why the Detroit Historical Society's Behind the Scenes tours always give a nice shot of optimism. This Saturday's tour takes place at the Fisher Building, where attendees can learn how the seven Fisher brothers commissioned architect Albert Kahn to design "the most beautiful building in the world." For information call 313-833-1405 or visit their Web site (detroithistorical.org). Tour at 11 a.m. is $20 for members, $25 others.
Battle of the Old-School
During the '70s and '80s, Ohio was a hotbed for R&B, soul and disco, from the Ohio Players to the two bands battling it out this week. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Slave's biggest hit, the R&B chart topper "Slide." Zapp is best known for the 1980 Bootsy Collins-produced "More Bounce to the Ounce," which featured some of the oddest synthesized vocals of all time, which may be why they've lived on as a hip-hop era sample. Rick James' old horn section is also billed. Southfield Hotel, 17017 W. Nine Mile Rd. (between Southfield and Greenfield), Southfield. Call 248-552-7777, ext. 2280.
Bob Marley once referred to Beres Hammond as "the man with the golden voice," and there's no doubt that the fellow Jamaican's dancehall jams and smoky Otis Redding-style singing raise the irie in others as well. He's in the D this week with opening act Leon and the Peoples. At the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700. Tickets are $18 advance, $22 door.
Geri Larkin's Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life
Now that most of the world has had its fair share of Chicken Soup for the Soul, dessert comes in the form of Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life, a new book about the foibles of human existence. Using anecdotal examples and sage advice, this book sets out to teach people how to let go of their hang-ups and to enjoy the life they've got. Meet the author Geri Larkin (who just so happens to be a Buddhist priest and a lover of chocolate cake) at 6 p.m. at Borders, 34300 Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-544-1203.
Keeper of the Dream Celebration with Ruby Dee
ISSUES & LEARNING
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, actress Ruby Dee will speak at the Oakland University's 15th annual Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards Ceremony. The fund was set up in honor of Dr. King and is given to students who demonstrate strong citizenship, scholarship and leadership in breaking down cultural stereotypes. Dee is a star of both film and the stage, having played starring roles in A Raisin in the Sun with Sidney Poitier and in her late husband Ossie Davis' satirical masterpiece Purlie Victorious. Noon at Oakland Center Banquet Rooms, 2200 N. Squirrel Rd., Rochester; 248-370-4909. Free and open to the public.
Monday • 15
Honoring Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Many metro Detroiters, including Metro Times columnist Jack Lessenberry, have been angered by the bum’s rush being given Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. Coincidentally, the much-esteemed Gumbleton is slated to receive the MLK Spirit of Detroit award Monday as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event being held at Central United Methodist Church (corner of Woodward and East Adams). Much will be going on all day, including a keynote address by author and peace activist Marianne Williamson. There will also be a performance by the Mosaic Youth Choir and the Ladywood Choir. For those who love him, this is a great opportunity to show thanks and support. For all the details go to mlkdetroit.org.
Learn About Gardening at the Community House
ISSUES & LEARNING
So what if your green thumb is hibernating? Wake it up for the Community House's latest gardening courses. Get a jump-start on your spring horticulture at this week's class, "What are Hardy Perennials?" It's a look at the newest trends in landscaping, invasive plants and important design principles. 7:30-9:30 p.m. at 380 S. Bates St.; 248-644-5832. Class is $29 per person plus a $5 materials fee.
Wednesdays • Ongoing
Scott Gwinell Jazz Orchestra
In this week’s paper, jazz scribe Charles L. Latimer reviews Scott Gwinell’s new trio album. Latimer says Gwinell revamps standards like “Bernie’s Tune” and “Bounce,” and handles the ballad “Where Is the Love” “with the care of a quilt-maker working with expensive fabrics.” The same qualities apply to Scott Gwinell Jazz Orchestra, although the orchestra leans to Gwinell’s originals and less on his original takes of standards. It’s been five years since the orchestra recorded Basement Vibes for Gwinell’s WSG Records (also the label for The Scott Gwinell Trio), and while we’re waiting for him to put that group back into the studio, we can be thankful that they’ve got an extended gig, something darn rare for a group of that size. They take the stage every Wednesday at Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543.