Le Feu Follet
Louis Malle directed this existentialist picture about an alcoholic writer, Alain Leroy, who grapples with the complexities of life as a suicidal and tortured dandy. Based on the novel by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, this story is a haunting emotional portrait of a man whose sad existence is determined by his self-imposed detachment from life. Screening as part of the Representing Cinema and the Art of the Film Poster series at the Art Gallery of Windsor, this movie is considered one of the finest French films ever made. French with English subtitles. At 7 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Windsor, 401 Riverside Dr. W., Windsor; 519-977-0013. Discussion to follow.
As part of Shrinking Cities a comprehensive survey of urban depopulation and a project of the German Federal Cultural Foundation the Cranbrook Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) have teamed up to present the work. The exhibition focuses on artistic and architectural remedies for regions that have endured massive population decline Detroit, Halle-Leipzig (Germany), Manchester-Liverpool (Britain) and Ivano (Russia) and will open to the public this week. The Cranbrook Art Museum (39221 N. Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills, 248-462-7262) will host part one of the exhibition, International Research, multimedia documentation from artists, researchers and architects examining the change in urban landscapes and political conflicts under the conditions of decline. MOCAD (4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1336) hosts part two of the exhibition, Interventions, which presents strategies for actual change. Musical performances by Human Eye and Odu Afrobeat Orchestra will begin at 9 p.m. at MOCAD.
As the second main stage production of its 10th anniversary season, Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present the Michigan premiere of A Number by award-winning playwright Caryl Churchill. In the refreshingly original play about the potential dangers of human cloning, A Number centers on Salter, a sixtysomething man living out his twilight years. In the play, Salter is visited several times by his son Bernard, who is unaware that he was cloned at the request of his father many times over the course of several years. As Bernard's clones are later introduced and it's clear that their life scripts have played out in diametrically opposing ways Salter looks for a way to repair a grievous error in judgment. Will he ultimately lose the one person he took extreme measures to keep? Opens Friday, Feb. 2, at Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck; 313-365-4948. Ends Saturday, March 3.
Artists-in-Residence: Anita Bates and Stephen Gatny
This two-person exhibit features the artwork of Anita Bates and Stephen Gatny, artists-in-residence at the Northville Art House. Bates is an art teacher at Marygrove College and Bradford Academy; her abstract works employ an old-school appreciation for the fundamentals of painting. Gatny's works spotlight his affection for the reaction/counterreaction style of painting and drawing, and, notably, was recently recognized at the avant-garde exhibition at the Grosse Pointe Art Center Gallery. Opening reception is 1 p.m. at 215 W. Cady St., Northville; 248-344-0497. Runs until March 4.
Malice Aforethought: The Sweet Trials
The idea is to bring to the stage one of the fundamental dramas of Detroit history: the landmark trial in which prominent African-American physician Ossian Sweet was charged with murder after firing into a threatening, all-white mob that surrounded his home in the neighborhood he and his wife had just integrated. The NAACP recruited Clarence Darrow, arguably the most famous attorney of the era, to argue what looked like a hopeless case before an all-white jury. Opens at Marygrove College Theatre, 8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; call 313-993-3270 for tickets. Shows are Friday-Sunday until Sunday, Feb. 18.
Freddy Cole and Nnenna Freelon
A twofer night for jazz vocal lovers. Freddy Cole is neither as smooth nor as dynamic as his late and more famous brother, Nat. But with a little sandpaper edge on his laid-back voice, he subliminally orders you to lean forward and listen up to a master at work. His tribute to Tony Bennett (Because of You) was deservedly the most widely praised disc by a male jazz singer in 2006. Nnenna Freelon, meanwhile, is as flammable and dynamic as Freddy is reserved. And no doubt, playing Detroit she'll let loose with some of the great Motown covers she's jazzified on disc over the years. Cole plays at 6:30 and 8 p.m. at the DIA (5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 313-833-7900; free with museum admission). Freelon plays at 8 and 10 p.m. in the Jazz Club at the Max M. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111; $23.50).
As part of the ever-admirable chicks-with-guitars brigade, Vivian George has Detroit ringers Vinnie Dombrowki (Sponge, Crud), Tim Patalan (the Fags), Joey Mazzola (Detroit Cobras) and producer Jim Diamond on her side. Her unabashedly sex-positive manner and Meredith Brooks "I'm a Bitch"-style take on rock 'n' roll deserves a shout-out, coupled with finger devil-horns held high. George celebrates the release of her latest CD, Shameless, this week at the Magic Stick. Check her out with Kelly Jean Caldwell and Liz Larin at 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.
'70s Soul Jam
Everyone knows these reunion shows can be an exercise in embarrassment and tuxedo-envy, but just because the slick polyester and sequined suits have been replaced by increased body-mass indexes and cropped pates doesn't mean the Philly soul sound that came out of the 1970s is any less magical. Celebrate the sounds of the City of Brotherly Love and hip-check the night away with the Stylistics, the Delfonics and the Chi-Lites as part of the '70s Soul Jam at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-961-3500. Tickets are $41.50-$75.
Last summer's gusher hit "Hate Me" sent pimply emo teens into an affecting tailspin the likes of which hadn't been seen since their last battle with a crippling Mountain Dew and Twinkie sugar crash. But despite the maudlin nature of Blue October's brand of pop, lead singer Justin Furstenfeld who has battled very serious problems with mental illness, hospitalization and heartache is not afraid to disrobe emotionally in song. They hit St. Andrew's Hall this week with Army of Me. At 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-MELT. Tickets are $15.
The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design
It's a chair. We know. But it's an important chair. Husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames were known for their modern but timeless take on furniture design, the pinnacle of which was their gorgeous interpretation of the lounge chair. This week, The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design opens at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. This exhibit celebrates the 50th anniversary of the couple's beloved piece of furniture a design so ergonomic and beautiful, it has yet to be eclipsed. At the Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-271-1620.