Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Carl Black
BEEFHEART RULES, OK?
One time we went to see guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, and folks in the audience were yelling for "the rake." We figured it was some underground hit single or something. But then Chad pulled out this amplified rake (yes, a garden-variety rake), and dragged it across the stage, sending a certain audience pyschographic to Cloud 9. And we asked ourselves, what did we expect from a guy who another time played his guitar with half-inflated balloons instead of a pick and turned "Ring of Fire" into a commentary on the exploitation of the Third World? But things can only be wilder when Chadbourne tours, as he's doing now, with one of his twisted childhood heroes Jimmy Carl Black, drummer from Frank Zappa's Freakout LP. Saturday night is a tribute to another of Black's former employers Captain Beefheart. Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman St., Detroit; 313-737-6606.
Northville Victorian Festival
Seems like every era is colorfully covered on the fest circuit: plastic chain mail and charred turkey appendage at Holly's Michigan Renaissance Festival; vintage rides and Buddy Holly specs at Novi's '50s Festival; parasols and high tea at this weekend's Northville Victorian Festival. But wait; don't yawn. This three-day event features all kinds of prohibition- and family-friendly events to celebrate the height of the British Empire. There's a Victorian-style fashion show and parade, unicyclists and stilt-walkers, a juried art market and horse and carriage rides. Don that monocle and top hat before making the trek to downtown Northville; visit northville.org for more info.
Touch Is Great campaign launch
We hear Diana Ross sing, "Reach out and touch somebody's hand ..." as we write this one. Massage therapist Versandra Kennebrew is convinced that touching can heal the world. To that end, her "Touch is Great" national campaign kicks off with a day of workshops on topics from massage for infants to touch deprivation in old-timers. And she hopes to start at 9 a.m. with 1,000 folks interlocking arms in the biggest spiraled hug of history. That's right, a giant hug. Says Kennebrew: "If you can't make it, just visualize our spiraled hug with the positive energy of a thousand people going out to homes filled with violence and neglect, transforming the hate into love." At the Mind Body & Spirit Academe, 1785 W. Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor; call 313-443-2571. See touchisgreat.com. $5 advance, $10 at the door.
People's Arts Festival
THE RUSSELL RISES
In its original heyday, it was a pillar of Detroit's burgeoning auto industry, a 1915 creation of industrial architect Alfred Kahn for the Murray Body Company. In its revivalist heyday, the Russell Industrial Center, looming alongside I-75, is a home to scores of creative types and on Saturday something like 150 visual artists, performance artists, filmmakers, musicians and the like gather there for the first People's Arts Festival. With no fee or commission being charged to artists, it's a great deal for them, which makes a great event for the public. Detroit poster art legend Mark Arminski is among the organizers; fellow poster star Gary Grimshaw exhibits alongside Pete Traskal, Megan Jones, Ryan Matthews, Amy Memminger, Mike Kelley and numerous others. Musicians include Jill Jack, Audra Kubat and the Loftees with Johnny Chrome; performance art troupes NooMoon and Causing a Scene are slated. Food, beverage and films too. Free from 11 a.m. to midnight at 1600 Clay St., off I-75. Call 313-363-8333. Interested in participating? E-mail email@example.com.
GOD IS A FIST
It's a rage against the machine or, as the fellas initiating the project put it: "When the Evangelistas of our nation fight to promote Christ as the conductor of evolution, we should rise up as artists to counter this insurgency of lies and missing link manipulation. And we can do this with visual aids, like the way early Christians used icons to brain-train the illiterate." Phew. In short, through their own "intelligent designs," artists collaborate to construct an exhibit that illustrates a nonreligious perspective of evolution. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.; the exhibit will continue until Oct. 13 at the Museum of New Art, 7 N. Saginaw, Pontiac; call 248-210-7560 for more info.
Saturday, Sunday 15, 16
Ballet Folklórico de México
Pantalones and ponchos trump tights and toe shoes in the Ballet Folklórico de México, known for its lavish costumes and wide repertory of folk dance. With influences ranging from the indigenous to the contemporary, the dance illustrates the story of Mexico's diverse past. The company has been touring internationally for 55 years, winning more than 200 awards under the tutelage of late choreographer Amalia Hernandez. The Ballet Folklórico is the product of Hernandez's lifelong mission to preserve and share the traditional dances of Mexico. This whirling, colorful performance is being held at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; call 313-237-7464 for more info. Tickets are $28-$75.
Detroit Flirt Fest
DANCING WITH MYSELF
Give those spinsters a round of applause; those confirmed bachelors a resounding thump on the back. Or head to Hallmark to buy some condolence cards it's National Singles Week. According to unmarriedamerica.org, the week's been observed each year since 1982, "celebrating the lives and contributions of unmarried and single Americans." Yeah, that's laureate-worthy. But in offensive contrast comes Detroit Flirt Fest, a whirlwind week of spouse-hunting: Aimed toward "like-minded professionals," participants have seven days to find "the one." Events include speed dating, bowling and billiards, disco boogieing and a "Yappy Hour" a meet-and-greet in a dog park. It's worth a shot for some, in any case, because after a certain age, lines like, "Baby, you must have fallen straight from heaven, 'cause damn your face is fucked up," really don't cut it anymore. Individual events are held each day around the metro Detroit area; visit DetroitFlirtFest.com for more info. An all-week 'VIP' pass is $50; otherwise, each event is individually priced.
Darlings of the postmodern indie set (and rightfully so although they'll most likely become even more mainstream in the near future), the L.A.-based band took a year off following its last LP, 2004's terrific More Adventurous, so that lead singer Jenny Lewis could concentrate on her country-esque and Southern soul muse via a stunning solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat (bandmate and co-songwriter Blake Sennett also branched out during that time, recording an album with his other band, Elected). But Rilo Kiley has thankfully reconvened, recently releasing Under the Blacklight, the group's fourth album and its first for a major label. The CD is getting critical blow jobs far and wide, with comparisons as diverse as Fleetwood Mac, Bobbie Gentry, the Rolling Stones and Laura Nyro being tossed about. These current SPIN cover subjects have always been a dynamic live act alternately hypnotic and rocking and neither a major label move nor a year's sabbatical should have changed any of that. At Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak. 248-399-2980.
Meghana Keshavan is Metro Times listing editor. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org