The Von Bondies
THE OL' ONE-TWO PUNCH
With a litany of pop harmonies and white-boy heartache lyrics, local faves the Von Bondies probably hauled their amps out of a different garage than most self-made Motown rock 'n' rollers. But add the usual frantic bassing, a bluesy Yardbirds-style intensity, some brand-new members and a sharp-boned lead singer who almost bitch-slapped Jack White (honestly, seven punches' worth and anger management classes for the Stripes' frontman), and the Von Bondies can hold their own against today's TV-commercial riff raiders. With most songs posited under the three-minute mark — including new ones from the upcoming Butch Walker-Rick Parker-helmed Sire album, the attention deficit, alcohol-riddled minds of the Blind Pig-faithful should have just enough to hold onto. It's an "all-new" VB. With SSM and Freer at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555 for info.
The Joy of Sailing
YOUR WAY TO THE WATER
Contrary to stereotypes, not all sailors were birthed on the dock, learning to helm boats before driving cars. If you've always wanted to sail but didn't have a clew, the Detroit Regional Yacht-Racing Association's winter seminars are your chance to get started. The free, weekly lectures start tonight with a panel of local sailors discussing their passions for the sport. They can help you find a sailing class in the area, describe the difference between competitive sailing and cruising, and infect you with their enthusiasm. Who knows where the winds and seas may take you from there? At 7 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, 788 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Shores, 313-884-2500
"Jim Crow's Last Stand"
Thomas J. Sugrue
Historian Thomas J. Sugrue's last book — 1996's The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Post-War Detroit — jolted conventional wisdom about the plight of big cities by focusing on the impact of residential segregation, job discrimination and massive economic disinvestment. His forthcoming Sweet Land of Liberty: The Unfinished Struggle for Racial Equality in the North, promises to likewise upend views on the civil rights movement. The University of Pennsylvania professor marks his appointment as Wayne State University's Izumi Scholar in Residence with a lecture: "Jim Crow's Last Stand: Detroit and the Unfinished Struggle for Civil Rights in the North." 4 p.m. in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium on the WSU campus, 471 W. Palmer, Detroit; 313-577-8023. (Read our 2005 interview with the author.)
Thursday, Friday 10, 11
St. Petersburg Ballet
SVELTE & LIMBER
The renowned corps of the St. Petersburg Ballet will perform two dances: First, Carmen, the story of a beautiful, tempestuous gypsy and set to Bizet's operatic score, and then Ballet Spectacular, a medley of numbers from Chopiniana, Scheherazade and Bolero. Tickets are $27-$47 for the 8 p.m. show at Music Hall, 350 Madison St., Detroit; 313-887-8502.
Bat Boy: The Musical
SUPER KIDS DEPT.
Exclusive Report: Bat Child Found Onstage! The New Yorker wrote of the off-Broadway musical, "this is the only play in the history of the theatre whose hero ends Act I with a rabbit in his mouth, and who moves on in Act II to an entire cow's head." Indeed, the show centers on the Bat Boy, a half-bat, half-boy first reported in the tabloid The Weekly World News, as he struggles for acceptance among non-hybrid human society. Witty and weird, the show will be performed by the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre at the University of Michigan's Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, 911 N. University, Ann Arbor; 734-763-3333 for info.
In Her Image
Larissa Cleveland strips away the normal function of a storefront mannequin by removing its clothing — and in photographing their frozen expressions — this idealized body shape — she explores the meaning of femininity. Cleveland is joined by Cheryl Button, who presents a mixed-media series of melancholic, androgynous women. Her figures show a sense of vulnerability that has drawn comparisons to Pablo Picasso's Blue Period (no, really). The artist's opening reception will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. on Jan. 11, and "In Her Image" will run until Feb. 17 at the Ariana Gallery, 119 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-546-8810 for info.
One can gauge a band's vibe by the acts they've toured with, so judge freely: Streetlight Manifesto's played repeated sets with bands like Bedouin Soundclash, Gym Clash Heroes and Whole Wheat Bread. The ska-punk band, cobbled together in the late '90s with band members from One Cool Guy and Catch-22, will perform at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665. With Grand Buffet and the Stitch Up.
As You Like It
The talented grad students at Wayne State University are adding another classic to their repertory: Ol' Bill Shakespeare's romantic comedy set in France's Forest of Arden. Much like any of the bard's tales of whimsy, the play's filled with mistaken identities and miscouplings, forbidden love and the antics of Rosalind, a lovable character in drag. "As You Like It" will run until April 12 at the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2972 for info.
Friday & Saturday • 11 & 12
Torch with a Twist — with Fire
MY OLD FLAME
Detroit’s one-of-a-kind circus sideshow vaudeville burlesque variety revue, Torch with a Twist, has had a big month. The event built slowly for a year, but has had a burst of media exposure, including a cover story in this humble rag, that forced longtime host Cliff Bell’s to turn people away from the door at their most recent show on Dec. 23. In response, the Torch crew has scheduled two special performances at downtown’s Studio 601 space, at 9-10:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, and 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. What’s more, the group will be able to incorporate some of the unusual fire acts that city regulations prohibit at Cliff Bell’s. Flame on! At 601 Washington Blvd., Detroit; $15; BYOB.
Carnivora — The Dark Art of the Automobile
I'M IN LOVE WITH MY CAR
With the angst and distortion of an LSD convulsion and enough low-riders, greasers and drag racers to satiate the appetite of any Kustom Kulture, Les Barany brings the world premier of his exhibit "Carnivora — The Dark Art of the Automobile" to Detroit. Coming from the Latin "to devour flesh," "Carnivora" features 80 contributors: post-pop and comic expressionists who deliver what they call a "shadowy realm where flesh and machine coalesce into humanity's greatest technical achievement — the Automobile." The paintings feature Detroit monsters of metal and steel cruising postapocalyptic settings — a fitting homage to the Motor City these days, don'cha think? Hell, a few are even candy-painted. At the CPOP Gallery, 4160 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9901.
Saturday, Sunday 12, 13
First Annual Detroit Oscar Film Festival
Film enthusiasts can take pride in seeing some of the best that Michigan has brought to the silver screen — it's Oscar night in Detroit. Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, nominated by the Academy for her in work L.A. Confidential, Pleasantville, Sea Biscuit and The Good Shepherd, will screen her films and offer commentary along with fellow award-winning filmmakers Heidi Ewing, Sue Marx and Pamela Conn. Several short films by independent filmmakers will be shown as well. At 3 p.m. at the Music Hall Center for Performing Arts, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8502. Tickets are $15. There's a pre-party for the film festival beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday night at the Garden Lofts, 2436 Woodward Ave.; Detroit. This 21-and-over party is $10 at the door or in advance at igorfilms.com, and will feature a fashion show with clothing from G by Guess, En V Us Couture and the Intrinsic Collection.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra plays Love Songs of Duke Ellington
Our research tells us that Duke Ellington's sex life has merited exhibit space alongside Freud and Nietzsche's at the Erotica Museum in Copenhagen. Is that surprising? Ellington-the-lover was ever-reflected in the sound of his band, which defined a unique sumptuousness, and the sultriness of the band book, from "In a Sentimental Mood" to "Sophisticated Lady," "Mood Indigo" to "Satin Doll." The current edition of the LCJO paying tribute to Ellington's love of loving, includes — just to note the sax section — Victor Goines, Ted Nash, Walter Blanding, Sherman Irby and Joe Temperley, all stars in their own right, under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. Tickets $10-$62 for the 8 p.m. show at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-763-3333.
Until April 27
Shell Wildlife Exhibition
Good photography is often about patience, and the 93 photographers featured in the 2007 Shell Wildlife Exhibition have that whole waiting and watching thing down cold — literally. They’ve stood around in below-freezing weather for the right moment to snap a pick, for example, of a polar bear losing his grip on his island of ice. Check out the stunning results of traditional photography (no digital cameras or Photoshopped images allowed) in the Detroit Zoo’s sixth annual show of the winning wildlife photos, selected from more than 32,000 entries. In the Ford Education Center, Detroit Metropolitan Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak;