Nash the Slash
WRAPPED WITH ATTENTION
Undergrounder Nash the Slash is a Canadian prog-alt-classical-punk singularity. Reputed to be the artistic alter ego of 59-year-old Jeff Plewman, the multi-instrumentalist has performed with a face covered in bandages since 1979. Though he's mostly known for aggressively sawing the violin with preprogrammed accompaniment, he recently hit the stage in Windsor with iconic Canadian punk act DOA. Now he comes to Windsor for a super rare solo show at the Avalon Front, 300 Ouellette Ave., Windsor; doors at 9 p.m. $8.
Jeff Tain Watts Quartet
As drummers go, he's a true heir to the late Elvin Jones and the recently departed Max Roach, a genius at mounting pyrotechnical percussive displays that dazzle listeners and swing his bandmates. Watts spent years blasting the beats for Wynton Marsalis (his first big gig) and then more years with the more engagingly abstract Branford. As a leader he's got more than a few ideas of his own and top-notch musicians to add to them, in particular, rising-star saxophonist Marcus Strickland. Music Hall Jazz Cafe, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8501.
Second Visit to the Empress
EAST MEETS MIDWEST
In a fusion of classical Chinese opera and contemporary dance, choreographer Shen Wei presents a mesmerizing 90-minute dance-theater work. The New York Times writes of the choreographer: "If there is something to write home about in the dance world, it is the startlingly imaginative work of the Chinese-born choreographer Shen Wei." With lavish backdrops and elaborate costumes, the dancers perform to Second Visit to the Empress, one of China's best operatic scores. Joining the 12 dancers are four Beijing Opera singers and 16 orchestra musicians. Tickets are $20-$48 at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; 734-763-3333 for more info.
Duck 'n' Dodge
GYM CLASS HEROES
Man. People are effin' masochists the mere existence of Duck 'n' Dodge proves it. A large-scale dodge ball tournament? Reeks of gym class horror. So here's a reminder for any foolhardy would-be participants: Remember getting pelted in the head/gut/groin region with speeding projectiles? Getting laughed and pointed at for knee knobbles and pit stains? Being the last kid picked, the first kid out? No? That shit was fun? Well, if you're into some hardcore post-traumatic stress disorder, the tournament is from 10 a.m. onward at High Velocity Sports, 46245 Michigan Ave., Canton. The grand prize a year-long supply of wings from Hooters. Yeah! Teams must pre-register by Sept. 28 call 313-202-1982 or visit Detroitsports.org for more info.
Zombie Walk Detroit
BRAINS ARE YUMMY
So, these crazy kids are into zombies now. What happened to pirates or robots or ninjas? Whatever. In any case, a bunch of them are going to be getting dressed up and ambling around downtown Royal Oak on Saturday, arms outstretched and mouths watering for juicy and delicious human brains. The point of all this ... uh ... Anyway, the fun starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Sherman Street parking lot on 11 Mile Road. The organizers are looking for both zombies and zombie victims, so cheerleaders and befuddled police officers and soldiers are more than welcome to attend and, well, wander around for a while before "Mmm ... brains" inevitably devolves into "Mmm ... vodka." Visit ZombieWalkDetroit.com for more info.
Scarab Club Costume Ball
BLACK TIES AND DIADEMS
Doesn't quite date back to the bygone years of pyramids and Ptolemy, but the Scarab Club is celebrating its centennial this weekend inviting revelers to don linens and diadems (or, for the uninspired, black ties and cocktail dresses) for a costumed anniversary party. Revelers can cough up top dollar ($100) to nibble hors d'oeuvres and mingle at 6:30 p.m., or pay a quarter of that after 10 p.m. for an Egyptian-themed fashion show and techno/hip hop dance party. At the Scarab Club, 217 Farnsworth, Detroit; call 313-671-9952.
Lolita (KUBRICK FILM SERIES)
OK, we know Stanley Kubrick is as close to a giant as any filmmaker can be. Just look to The Killing, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket and so forth for proof. Kubrick reasonably nails Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita in the 1962 film while giving James Mason his career-defining turn as lit professor Humbert Humbert, a (murderous) pedophile. The film was heavily censored at the time, which, of course, made Kubrick balk. He said he "wasn't able to dramatize" the relationship Lolita (played by 14-year-old Sue Lyon) had with the fortysomething Humbert. But what's not shown in the film hums in suggestion, nuance and undertone and speaks volumes for Kubrick's ability to provoke and disturb. Kudos to University of Michigan's Department of Screen Arts and Culture for cobbling together a dozen of Kubrick's films and presenting them in a weekly series (every Monday through Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.). At the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 724-668-TIME.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
IN A SENTENCE, PLEASE
Quidditative. Q-U-I-D-D-I-T-A-T-I-V-E. Quidditative. OK, that might have sounded impressive if you actually heard it, but, alas, the printed word holds certain restrictions that prevent any realistic description of the awesomeness that is the spelling bee. You can see it "for real," however, in the one-act, Tony Award-winning musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The musical mocks the pressures and pleasures of workin' the competition circuit and focuses, naturally, on the lovable nerds who devote their lives to spoken word. Runs until Oct. 21 at the Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; call 313-872-1000 for more info.
Jim Krewson and the Pine Hill Haints
SITTING IN AND SPINNING
Outlining the liquor glass on the sign hanging above the entrance to LJ's Lounge on Michigan Avenue are the words "DJ" and "Dancing." And when DJ Anytime and His Incredible Pop Machine invade the place each Wednesday night with an infectious mélange of bubblegum, Buddy Holly, New Orleans R&B and '70s punk, customers get exactly what's advertised. DJ Anytime is the turntable-bustin' alter ego of Beehive Record Company head Steve Nawara, the Motor City renaissance dude whose thundering bass lines and guitar licks have blessed the lineups of Rocket 455, the Detroit Cobras and the Electric Six to name just a few. On this night, he'll temper his Incredible Pop Machine with live music for the first time, when Jim Krewson and the Pine Hill Haints set up on the floor for two sets of intimate mountain-tinged garage folk. If that sounds like a strange description, consider that Krewson the guitar-picking Jim of Bloodshot Records' Jim and Jennie and the Pinetops has moved slightly askew of his old-timey ways for his solo tour, echoing the humor of the Holy Modal Rounders far more than the stoic glory of Flatt and Scruggs. Co-headliners, Alabama's the Pine Hill Haints, have recently released their K Records debut Ghost Dance, which rattles along with the gutbucket mood of vintage Palace Brothers. At 9:30 p.m., LJ's Lounge, 2114 Michigan Ave., Detroit.
Wednesday & Friday 3 & 5
András Schiff Beethoven Sonata Project
HEAR ALL 32
András Schiff tackled cycles of piano music by Bach, Mozart and Schubert when he was younger. Beethoven's sonatas he put off until his 50s, saying, "These 32 sonatas always seemed to me like a suit I still had to grow into." His London concerts, spread over three years, won praise from one critic for rightly making the sonatas sound "like a precursor to everything in modern piano music." The ECM label is releasing Schiff's Zurich Beethoven performances five volumes so far and he's now presenting the full cycle in order in Ann Arbor and three other U.S. cities (New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles) over eight nights spread over two years. Wednesday night has Schiff playing Sonatas 1-4; he's back Friday, Oct. 5, for 5-8, and picks up again with two more nights in April 2008. Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington Street; Ann Arbor. 734-763-TKTS; info at ums.org.