Nunsensations! The Nunsense Vegas Review
Nun puns are fun. Try, "they're really nun the wiser!" Or, "they've got such bad habits!" How about, "What Nunsense!" Well, writer Dan Goggin already thought of that last one, and many more, in his 1985 off-Broadway hit of the same name. Since then, the profitable theatrical franchise has churned out six other shows, with names like Meshuggah-Nuns!, Nuncrackers and Nunsense A-Men! In Nunsensations, a cadre of wacky sisters travels to Las Vegas to perform vaudeville-inspired lounge acts. The show might be more groan-inducing than side-splitting, but it promises to be silly, family-friendly and entirely inane. Or, in-nun (oh, Lord, kill this blurb). At Meadow Brook Theatre, 207 Wilson Hall at Oakland University, Rochester Hills; 248-377-3300.
After a decade-plus in Detroit, Bill Brovold is packing up his guitar case, closing down his studio and heading back to the New York area. Health problems, lack of gigs, lack of other work the list of woes goes on. The bottom line, he says, is "I'm moving on to the next chapter." Haven't checked him out yet? It's hard to top the praise of John Zorn, one of a number of influential small-label types to back Brovold's unique brand of instrumental rock. "It just blew me away," Zorn told MT of his first exposure to Brovold's stuff. "I called him and I said, 'Wow, this stuff is amazing. I've never heard anything like it. It's got the raw power of Link Wray, but it's mixed with this really intelligent, sophisticated compositional vision.'" Brovold's farewell gig is at Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman St., Detroit; 313-737-6606.
Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker
It's a musical irony that jazz bands from New York to Birmingham, England, have had smashing success by retooling Motown classics as salsa or ska-tinged jazz, while the Hitsville songbook goes virtually untouched by jazzheads in Detroit. Detroiter Rodney Whitaker and New York-based drummer Carl Allen show how it can (and should) be done on their new Mack Avenue album Get Ready, dipping into the Marvin Gaye bag for a hypnotic "Inner City Blues" and into the Temptation's set list for the bluesy title tune. From contemporary gospel to originals, these guys are subtle masters of time and musical space. The band for the gig includes Rick Roe on piano, Don Fanhly on guitar and Wynton Marsalis alum Wessel "Warm Daddy" Anderson on sax. Music starts at 8 p.m. with a $15 cover at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave.; 313-961-2543.
You remember Skinny Puppy, right? Those bombastic electro classicists whose skull-fucking incantations fueled an industrial hellfire long before Nine Inch Nails? Well, they're still going at it, tinnitus, receding hairlines and all. What's more, the band's newest slab this year's self-analogizing Mythmaker (their 13th!) is layered rich with blips, derisive snorts and abrasive soundscapes, just like the old days. And get this, it's kinda poppy. Three ditties in particular "magnifishit," "pedafly" and "politikiL" should wreak certain havoc on your well-being while challenging your toe-tapping abilities. So load up on chemicals or booze or both and go stand in front of Nivek Ogre and cEvin Key and let the cranial schtupp begin. St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-MELT.
Hip-Hop Town Hall Meeting
ISSUES AND LEARNING
Ever had a problem with the "N" word? Wondered why the "B" word and the "H" word (and other such hush-hushed code phrases for the obscene) have made their way into the mainstream media? Join Rev. Al Sharpton, Detroit City Councilman Kwame Kenyatta and various media heads in an open discussion about the state of hip-hop music today. As they put it, this is a "call for accountability" to those that "have been pumping swill into the heads of America's children for years." At the Coleman Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-740-8677.
FUN FOR ALL
It may come as a surprise, but Fashionable Ferndale (does anyone still call it that?), though swamped with record stores (well, two), nightclubs and eateries, is still one element short of being as sweet as downtown Royal Oak was 15 years ago: It lacks a comic book store. Well, no more. When Detroit Comics opens its doors, this hip bedroom community will finally prove that it's not too good for the bags and boards crowd. Owners Brian and Lori Kelly promise a "cool, clean store with friendly and knowledgeable service," and an emphasis on superhero books and local artists. Join them Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the kick-off party. Refreshments, music and buxom super-vixen art provided; BYO obsessive thirst for sci-fi. Detroit Comics is located at 23333 Woodward Ave., just north of 9 Mile. For more info, call 248-548-COMX.
Detroit Worker-Writer Festival
He can't remember if it was part of the annual Worker-Writer Festival or some other summertime event at Hart Plaza, but one Metro Times writer claims that a couple years ago he walked around the riverfront as a 7-foot-tall puppet of Cesar Chavez. The costume was like one giant head and he couldn't see anything and every once in a while he'd run into a tree. The point is, political types trying to change this crappy country don't always take themselves so seriously. For instance: Last year's Worker-Writer Festival tagline was "You Gotta laugh to Keep From Crying." Scathing cultural critique united with hilarity for an absurd couple of hours, especially when Claudette Harrell read her masterpiece "Congratulations on Your New Baby (Your model includes these features on delivery)," a poem comparing a newborn to a new car with good mileage (after age 2, that is). See and hear what such writers as Kim Hunter, Jere Stormer, Will Copeland and others have to say this year. The 10th annual Worker-Writer Festival, co-sponsored by UAW Local 1981, the National Writers Union and the Michigan Labor History Society, celebrates the 70th anniversary of the 1937 sit-down strikes and the 75th anniversary of the Ford Hunger March. It takes place 2-4 p.m. at the Labor Legacy Monument at Hart Plaza, Detroit.
Romeo & Juliet
Despite kitsch stage adaptations, Hollywood bastardizations and sweat-palmed English recitations, we never seem to tire of Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers are up to their funereal shenanigans yet again in the Michigan Opera Theatre's sexed-up version of Charles Gounod's beloved score. With the misadventured, piteous overthrows sung in French with English subtitles, the production will run from June 2-9 at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-961-3500. Tickets are $28 to $120.
FUN FOR ALL
At the University of Michigan, undergrad legend has it that on graduation day, if a virgin walks past a pair of crumbling terrazzo pumas that flank the Museum of Natural History, the great stone beasts will roar. Suffice it to say, it's doubtful that even a purr has been heard. This suggests that a) Wolverines like to have lots of sex or b) the pumas are no longer in working order. Perhaps to replace the broken chastity meter, or to just spruce up campus aesthetic, the original cats are being swapped for a pair of newly-donated bronze pumas. To celebrate, the museum will host a Puma Party, with cake and chocolates for the first 200 attendees. From 3 to 5 p.m. at the Exhibit Museum of Natural History, 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-764-0478.
Sunday • 3
Rob Brown 3tet
Bassist William Parker’s In Order to Survive was one of the sublime jazz groups of the ’90s: a balance of aggression, abstraction and melody, a musical funhouse with Parker rumbling down in the sonic basement and alto saxophonist Rob Brown screaming from the attic. They’re together again in this Brown-led group, and we’re all ears for the kind of fireworks that could ensue. The Sun Ra Arkestra and a .. of other acts roll into Bohemian National Home for the June 8-9 Festival of Jazz and Improvise Music. Think of this as the way-out warm-up act.
More Notable Jazz This Week:
One of the queens of smooth and new-agey jazz, Keiko Matsui, will perform at the new Arturo’s Jazz Theatre & Restaurant on Thursday, May 31; Friday, June 1; and Saturday, June 2. The relatively new jazz spot is located at 25333 W. 12 Mile Rd., just west of Telegraph Road (in the Star Theatre Complex), in Southfield. The latest issue of Jazz Times hails her new disc, Moyo (Shout Factory) for “an organic, less-is-more direction,” with her “elegant acoustic piano melodies still front and center.” So even old fans might hear a new twist. … The Raw Truth Ensemble freely tells it like it is at MOCAD. The avant-garde flamethrowers include saxophonists Michael Carey and Skeeter Shelton, and drummer Ali Colding. Friday, June 1, at 9 p.m. … Pianist Steve Richko holds the key (no pun intended) role for this record-release gig to herald To Oscar, With Love: A Tribute To Oscar Peterson on PKO records. He’s with Paul Keller on bass and Pete Siers on drums. Saturday, June 2, 8 p.m., at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor. … Yugonaut’s latest disc, This Music Ship, on Block M, tracks an amazing musical voyage to the outer territories, with stopovers in safe harbors of hymns and other melodic forms. Featuring Steve Rush, Tom Abbs and Geoff Mann, collectively playing enough instruments for an ensemble several times their size. Monday, June 4, Canterbury House in Ann Arbor. … A pioneer of violin in post-Coltrane jazz, Billy Bang teams up with percussive shaman Kahil El’ Zabar at Kerrytown Concert House, Ann Arbor, Tuesday, June 5.