Ann Arbor Art Fair
High art and haberdashery clutter Ann Arbor streets for the 48th year in a row, providing the near-500,000 annual visitors ample outlets to expand their minds and empty their wallets. In addition to tents and booths filled with craft and sustenance, street performances range from belly dancing to bebop to barbershop choruses. One highlight is the Ambassador Art Walk, which guides collectors through the fair and spotlights a select group of artists, who'll give insight into their "creative process." The fair sprawls across downtown Ann Arbor from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wed.-Fri. and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sat.; visit artfair.org or call 734-994-5260 for more information.
Got a latent fantasy to see Paris Hilton eviscerated? Happily enough, that fanciful dream might be realized when fright-wigged down-tuners GWAR return to Detroit. See, GWAR (read: "God What an Awful Racket") disembowels celebrity effigies and is known for its onstage theatrics, which include behemoth costumery, corpse organs fake ones and audience-drenching, washable blood. And don't forget the band's deliciously scatological lyricism! Performing as part of the gnarly Sounds of the Underground tour with Shadows Fall, Chimaira and tons more at the Fillmore Detroit (formerly the State Theatre), 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451.
No End In Sight
Watch a free preview of a film that documents Iraq's rapid decline to guerrilla warfare, warlord rule and criminality. The film is culled from more than 200 hours of footage. It chronicles the fall of Baghdad in 2003 and examines serious shortcoming in U.S. foreign policy such as permitting the looting of Baghdad and disbanding of the Iraqi military. The events are candidly narrated by such notables as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to Colin Powell) and General Jay Garner, who was in charge of the occupation of Iraq through May 2003. A forum discussion moderated by WRIF's Nightcall hosts Peter Werbe and Juline Jordan will follow the film. Visit peterwerbe.com to print out free passes for the preview, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Main Art Theatre, 118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111.
Birmingham Jazz Festival
Sure, he handles soundtrack duties for Spike Lee and others (including Lee's heralded Hurricane Katrina doc, When the Levees Break), but trumpeter Terence Blanchard keeps up the performing career that brought him to prominence in the '80s as one of the post-Wynton young lions of the Crescent City. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, he caps three days of free music with a show at Shain Park in downtown Birmingham. Others on the Shain Park bills include Alexander Zonjic, Joyce Cooling and Gary Schunk. Music begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday. Call 248-433-FEST or see communityhouse.com for more info. (And speaking of fests, saxophonist Odean Pope headlines the Idlewild Jazz Festival in western Michigan on Saturday. Info at idlewildjazzfest.com.)
Harry Potter Party
Is Ginny carrying Buckbeak's illegitimate child? Are Ron and Voldemort enmeshed in a torrid affair? Is Harry Potter really a reincarnation of Frodo Baggins? Embrace these fluttering moments of wonder, these it-hurts-so-good pangs of speculation, because it'll soon be over. All over. And there'll be no more happiness, no more excitement, no more magic left in this world. The final book, The Deathly Hallows, of the disproportionately successful Harry Potter series, gets released across the English-speaking world this Saturday. It's to be celebrated the night before (in full wizard regalia) by legions of Potter-worshippers. Join the masses at your local Borders (the one in Novi expects a cool 1,500) or Barnes and Noble bookstores, or, better yet, try a smaller, brick and mortar venue such as Book Beat, 26010 Greenfield Rd., Oak Park; 248-968-1190.
His style? Beck without the synth, Elliott Smith without the rigor mortis, Paul Simon without the age. OK, it's a few years on now and Ben Kweller is huge, but he's still another one of those indie dudes with a mess of talent and curls. We all know he cut his teeth at an impossibly young age guitarist at 8, gosh and maintains his boyish voice and charm even at the ripe old age of 26. At 6 p.m. at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451.
Had Duchamp not proudly displayed the R. Mutt urinal 90 years earlier, how far might the bounds of artistic adventurousness have stretched? Not very, that's for certain. We'd never get to marvel at, say, a blood-drenched sofa and regard it as anything beyond, well, ruined upholstery. Artists today, including Adam Winnie of the Atomic Art Cooperative of Ypsilanti, can push the limits of aesthetic perception with their work, which will certainly happen during the co-op's Bizarre Bazaar. Performance art by Winnie, entitled "Release and Transcend," will be featured along with electronica performances by Tungsten Ladies, Cinnamon Classic, Das Christ, Brent Joseph and others. Starts at 6 p.m. at the Dreamland Theatre, 26 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; visit atomic-art.org for more information.
Motor City Step Show
Eight teams will swivel, slap and stomp in razor-sharp unison to compete in the 4th annual Motor City Step Show, joined onstage by hip-hop artists Trey Songz, Tone Tone and Stretch Money. The show will be preceded by a parade, which will feature local high school marching bands and dance teams. Representing colleges and universities around the state, this all-ages show will be held at 3 p.m. at Chene Park, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; 313-393-0292 for more information.
Fourth Street Fair
Grab a 40 oz., smoke a blunt and roll down to Fourth Street. Or, grab your kids, pack a picnic basket, and roll down to Fourth Street. This positively bohemian art fair draws hippies and hipsters, the long-grizzled to the freshly ironic, and vendors of the Rock 'n' Rummage ilk. It features, of course, music, including: Bombs and Halos, Gondwanaland, K-9, the Syreens, Dondo de Mancha, the Universe Will Get You Back, and Audra Kubat. As perhaps the city's most eclectic gathering (it's a block party, but attracts many more), the fair's at the intersection of Fourth and Holden streets, Detroit. There's no Web site, no direct phone number to contact: So just roll on down to Fourth Street, between noon and midnight, and have a blast.