He's still got that patented smirk. Those deliberately mussed locks. That cigarette cocked, 'twixt dangling fingers. It's seven years after his breakthrough album, Heartbreaker, and Ryan Adams, the prolific, temperamental one, can still write tunes that make you want to drink alone. Performing with his band, the Cardinals, Adams hits Detroit right before the June 26 release of his latest album, Easy Tiger. 8 p.m. at the Gem Theatre, 333 Madison St., Detroit; 313-963-9800. Tickets are $25.
NASA's Vision for Space Exploration Experience
ISSUES AND LEARNING
It's scientific fact: Summer vacation turns minds to molasses. Help tauten a youngun's atrophying noodle by visiting this traveling NASA exhibit at the Detroit Science Center. With holographic video maps of Mars as well as an interactive floor that mimics the surface of the moon, the exhibit takes visitors on a simulated voyage through space. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Detroit Science Center, 5020 John R St., Detroit; 313-577-8400. Admission to the traveling exhibit is free with purchase of a museum ticket.
There's nothing cuter than pessimism and deadpanned self-deprecation. "I guess I just prefer to see the dark side of things," comedian Janeane Garofalo says. "The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth." The Hollywood-kissed observational humorist performs with Patton Oswalt at 7 p.m. at the City Theatre, 2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-965-222. Tickets are $39.50.
Battle of the Bits
Though the n00bs might get pwned, they, too can show off their sk1llz in this sound bit remix competition. Producers from five continents and all skill levels were given 25 (video-gamey) sounds and 48 hours to produce an original track. Their final products will be played and judged at the Third Annual Battle of the Bits (or, BotB, pronounced "bot-buh"), which will double as the launch of the Allied Media Conference, to be held all weekend at Wayne State University. w00t. At Jumbo's Bar, 3736 Third St., Detroit; 313-831-8949. Vote online for the best d00d's remix at battleofthebits.org. (See article on conference on Page 24.)
Summer Solstice Show
Starting at 6:06 p.m. the summer solstice artists will gather in Wyandotte to celebrate the summer and the sun. Short films by Davin Brainard and David Moroski will be projected onto the side of the Biddle Gallery, and a whole mess of artists will attend and showcase their work. This is quite the newfangled block party, with live music from performers like Frank Pahl and his army of toys, and foods ranging from hot dogs to sushi. At the Biddle Gallery, 2840 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-281-4779.
Not lost in the long line of the Tooth & Nail label's God-fearing punk and hard rock acts, this Philly five-piece sets itself apart with its gutsy sound and thoughtful lyrics, it's easy for post-punk worshippers to scream hallelujah at the band's alt-altar. Unlike many in their Christian punk fellowship, you won't feel like you just left church after listening to these boys howl out angst-ridden, guitar-bleeding anthems. Tickets are $15, and doors open at 5:30 at St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress; 313-961-8137. With Piebald (see Head Cheese), Manchester Orchestra and the Snake the Cross the Crown.
Miche Braden sings songs from the Bessie Smith Song Book
Former Detroiter Miche Braden has drawn raves for her one-woman show, The Devil's Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith. The New York Post said she captures "Bessie at her most raw and transcendent." One New York Times reviewer said she brought the audience to tears after filling "every molecule of the airspace with the mordant joy of the blues." Surely someone will bring the full show to Detroit. But for now Braden is back in town to present Smith's music with a band lead by saxophonist Wendell Harrison. The Empress of the Blues was what they called Smith in the 1920s. No one's challenged the title in the 70 years she's been dead. At the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 313-833-7900.
Lorca in a Green Dress
Federico García Lorca, perhaps Spain's most gifted poet and playwright, was executed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz bases this play, set in a surreal afterworld where memory and desire intertwine, on how the dead Lorca would have written the rest of his life. Shows are at 3 and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Walgreen Drama Center, 1226 Murfin Rd., Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538.
Detroit River Days
FUN FOR ALL
This six-day festival is a Detroit first, taking place on the city's still-in-progress RiverWalk. The free, family-friendly event will have a smattering of something for just about anyone including a "Pooch-a-Palooza" pet promenade, an open bass fishing tournament, helicopter rides, a Discovery Zone for kids, and three stages for live entertainment. The extensive music lineup includes mid-'90s radio darlings Better than Ezra (10 p.m., Saturday, the rocksy bluesy Kenny Wayne Shepherd (9 p.m., Friday) and the still-rockin' Joan Jett (8 p.m., Sunday). At the Detroit RiverWalk; call 313-963-8418 or see detroitriverfront.org for more information.
Friday-Saturday 22, 23, 29, 30
Bogosian 3: The Fundraiser
Think on it: An evening of darkly satirical Bogosian faves that raise money to support zombies who belt out show tunes. Now that's philanthropy at its best! Abreact Theatre will stage select monologues from actor, playwright and novelist Eric Bogosian as a fundraiser for the upcoming production of The Night of the Living Dead: The Musical. At the Zeitgeist Gallery, 2661 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-965-9192.
Jazzin' on Jefferson
The aficionados who tally such things say Eddie Bo has cut more 45s than any New Orleans artist other than Fats Domino, and like Fats he's one of the dying breed of old-school Crescent City R&B ivory ticklers. (Professor Longhair, James Booker, y'all rest in peace.) He's also produced NOLA artists from Irma Thomas to Chris Kenner, wrote the song Little Richard popularized as "Slippin' and a-Slidin'" and hasn't played Detroit in a decade. He hits the stage Friday at 9:15 with the Motor City Jazz & Blues All Stars and Johnnie Bassett. It's part of the two-day Jazzin' on Jefferson fest, which also features the Sun Messengers, Lyman Woodard, the team of Rodney Whitaker and Carl Allen, and more. It's at Jefferson and Chalmers from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, and 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. For more info: 313-331-7939 or visit jazzinonjefferson.com.
69 Eyes singer Jyrki 69 may have a Johnny Thunders (via Phil Lewis and Nikki Sixx) power-shag and kohl thing goin' on and the band's tattoo-and-nosering biker glam is pure Sunset Strip circa 1987 but this Finnish combo's burly goth glow and power-chord drama owes as much to the Batcave's gloom generation and Sisters of Mercy as it does L.A. Guns and the Crüe. So the sound falls somewhere in between; a piquant mix of pitched bowel-movement vocals, dark arena din, Marshall stacks and poppy refrain. Besides, along with all those tinted and tortured hair follicles they've killer record collections from Alice Cooper to the Dictators and healthy love of D-Town (see 1994's Motor City Resurrection). Touring on the strength of the latest album (Angels), 69 Eyes are road dogs carrying the Fin flag of rock 'n' roll that Hanoi Rocks abandoned long ago. With Wednesday 13 and Night Kills the Day at Harpo's, 14238 Harper, Detroit; 313-824-1700.
Momix: Opus Cactus
A cactus in full bloom is a striking contrast against the stark canvas of a desert landscape. This imagery inspired choreographer Moses Pendleton to create the latest Momix incarnation: Opus Cactus. Draped in elaborate costumes or seen as mere silhouettes, the dancers in the Momix troupe slither like rattlesnakes and tumble like tumbleweeds in this trippy homage to the desert. The company of dancer-illusionists performs as part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. At 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; 734-763-3333. $38-$52.
Meghana Keshavan is Metro Times listing editor. Send comments to email@example.com