Is There Room For Me ... On Your Couch?
ROCKIN' ART (YES, ROLL YOUR EYES)
If you missed Andrew W.K.'s contributions to an art exhibit at the University of Michigan's Law School two years ago, fear not — there's another way to see the melding of rock 'n' roll and fine art. Longtime Michigan acts Dan Mulholland (of the Urbations, Watusies, Stomp Rockets and Kentucky Chrome) and Wendy Case (of the Paybacks and Ten High) will exhibit a dual art show, complete with DJs and, of course, booze. At the Majestic Café, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.
GROOVE IN 17/8
The mere meeting of jazz and world musics may not be news anymore — but that doesn't mean that meetings can't remind us what the fuss was about in the first place. Take trumpeter Amir ElSaffar. Already established as a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and in jazz ensembles with names as big as Cecil Taylor, in 2002 he began a serious study of his Iraqi musical heritage, bringing what he'd learned back into jazz. The result, as on his 2007 Pi release Two Rivers, has been acclaimed as "hypnotic and arresting," the rare record to groove in 17/8 time. He now leads Safaafir, the only U.S. ensemble playing Iraq's traditional magam form, in which he also sings and plays santoor (an Iraqi hammered dulcimer). Part of the Global Thursdays at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-624-0207; arabamericanmuseum.org. $12 at the door, $10 advance ($8 members).
Friends and Colleagues: Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames and Irwin Miller
It's not often you have the opportunity to taste a slice of 20th century architecture, design and business to the degree to which the deSalle Auditorium at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum will on Thursday. "Friends and Colleagues: Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames and Irwin Miller" brings in some of the trio's family members to discuss their collaborations and contributions to American art and design. Saarninen and Eames both worked at Cranbrook, and the sense of community should be clear. Seating is limited, so register soon. At the deSalle Auditorium, 39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3314.
Detroit's annual Winter Blast kicks off on Friday, with a long weekend of music, movies, food and wine amid the falling snow. The weekend's art will include a free film festival, showcasing local filmmakers and films about the city, the Blast's renowned ice garden, live music from Joe Gorecki and a two-night preview of Movement '08, Detroit's Electronic Music Festival. Added to this year's lineup are a winter wine tasting and discounts at restaurants such as the Hard Rock Café. The Blast, famous for its ice skating, will end with a Red Wings pep rally on Sunday. For info, visit motownwinterblast.net.
The Dirty Show
EROTIC, YES. EXOTIC? WELL ...
The Dirty Show's in its ninth year, and has progressively drawn larger and larger crowds to ogle its prurient displays. The shock value may have diminished for repeat attendees (once you've seen one dude squirt paint out of his ass, you've seen 'em all, right?), but the show's mission to inspire and arouse hasn't lessened. Special guest artists include Hajime Sorayama, a Japanese painter notable for his depictions of female cyborgs, '50s pin-up model and photographer Bunny Yeager and Buck Angel, the female-to-male transsexual porn star. The launch party will take place between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, with tickets for $15. Also of note — on Saturday, Feb. 9, erotica photographer Eric Kroll ("a prick with vision," according to Hustler) will hold a special seminar called "Every Mother's Nightmare." At Bert's Warehouse Theater, 2739 Russell St., Detroit; visit dirtyshow.org for more information.
Friday, Saturday 8, 9
Kid Rock & Friends
INFLUENTIAL FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
Say what you will about Kid Rock, but the dude obviously revels in musical history. The Kid has been promising "special guests" on his "Rock 'N' Roll Jesus" tour since the shows were announced. Well, the secret's out of the bag, and those guests each represent a significant part of the star's musical persona, including the Reverend Run of Run DMC reflecting his rap and hip-hop roots; former Allman Brothers Band guitarist extraordinaire Dickey Betts representing his Southern rock jones; and — perhaps most significant to Detroit — Peter Wolf, lead singer of the of J. Geils Band (which always considered D-town its home away from home), repping the "rock star" part of Rock's persona. Wolf has promised to perform some of the Geils Band's biggest hits, in addition to a Motown medley, with the Kid Rock band, which includes percussionist Larry Fratangelo (of P-Funk fame), saxophonist David McMurray, and trumpeter Rayse Biggs (all of 'em Was (Not Was) veterans). At Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Dr., Detroit. 313-396-7422.
The pretty-boy, post-emo, screamo quintet is back on tour after hiatus, again performing its catchy verse-chorus-verse routine to scads of adulating pop-punk fans. The former Deftones cover band will pump (er, pimp?) out new material since their most-recognizable album, 2002's What it is to Burn. With the underrated Sound the Alarm and the rising Oh, Sleeper at 6:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-8137 for info; all ages.
HAVE AN ART
Another opportunity to dress up and throw down some cash for a cause: The Fanclub Arts Foundation has raised thousands of dollars to benefit arts programs in lower income areas, and is holding a fundraiser, ARTrageous. Patrons can sample food and wine from several metro Detroit restaurants and wineries, watch fashion shows and live music, and peruse the several art booths set up at the event. The (Edit) Concern will perform. Tickets are $100 in advance, and $125 at the door; if you present a student ID, admission is $50. From 7:30 p.m. to midnight at the Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit; call 248-584-4150 or visit fanclubartsfoundation.org for info.
Ray Brown Day
'BASSICALLY' A TRIBUTE
Any half-aware jazz bassist knows how much he or she owes to Ray Brown, one of the innovators who, starting in the 1940s, made the bass dance on the groove like it never had before. Founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, star of Jazz at the Philharmonic, swinging associate of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and more, Brown reportedly cut 2,000 discs before he died in 2002. In his memory, this year's University of Michigan Jazz Festival marks Ray Brown Day with musical festivities, including a performance by the Clayton Brothers Quintet, and bassist John Clayton conducting the U-M Jazz Ensemble on a six-bassist hit, also featuring Doug Stuart, Marion Hayden, Dian Gannett, Rodney Whitaker and Bob Hurst. The daylong event includes master classes, a high school band competition and a panel discussion on Ray Brown's art and life. Concert at 8 p.m. at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; ticket info 734-764-2538; $18-$25. Free events at other locations. See music.umich.edu.
Leslie and the Ly's
A vision of the glitziest array of rayon you'll ever see, Leslie Hall is the self-proclaimed "only good lady rapper from Iowa." Her skintight golden pants, showing off her proud 200-pound frame and ample thighs, complement a collection of 165 gem sweaters — the kind of tacky, bedazzled delights that are a uniformed necessity for the chicest (and dorkiest) of the thrift store elite. Rhinestones, fashion faux pas and double chins aside ("People can't get enough of my double chin," says Hall), this Midwest diva has made the ridiculous an art form. Her band, Leslie and the Ly's, three albums into a satirical rap career, find themselves on the road promoting their new record, ceWEBrity. She weaves hilarious raps inside a "Shazam! I'm glamorous" swagger, and manages rhyme schemes, silly sets and synth hooks that even Lil' Jon would be envious of. Performing with the ever-talented Champions of Breakfast and Drug Rug at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700 for info.
Wu Man and the Bay Area Shawm Band
WHAT YA PIPA WAITIN' FOR?
The lute-like pipa goes back more than 2,000 years in China. It's still not well-known in the West, and what exposure it's had in recent years is largely thanks to the great Wu Man, who has played her pipa with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, the Kronos Quartet and numerous other outfits. Man makes her area debut along with the Chinese Shawm Band. The earthy gypsy outfit, carrying on the tradition of centuries-old village music, and the citified (though ancient) pipa, promise a demonstration in contrasts. At 4 p.m. at Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-763-TKTS; $18-$36; A presentation of University Musical Society (ums.org).
It isn't the pop-harmony style, reminiscent of the Rascals, that makes indie pop foursome Vampire Weekend special. And it isn't the literate, new wave edge owing to Elvis Costello and Paul Simon that stands out, though it's nice to hear a garage band owing to someone other than the Clash or the Who. No, it's the who'd've-thunk-it Afro-pop syncopation that helped the band land their single "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" on Rolling Stone's list of the best songs of 2007. Influenced by the three-chord percussion of a timeless African drum sound, they fuse Brit-rock with a clean-cut, upper-class sound (well, they did go to Columbia University) and even add some woodwinds. Don't be confused by the sweaters or polos, these guys can play. With Sam Buck Rosen at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555.
Letters to Sala
That The Diary of Anne Frank continues to be a fundamental face of the Holocaust is no surprise: History texts and novels can only do so much compared to first-person narrative. "Letters to Sala," an exhibit at the University of Michigan's Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library of the letters, postcards and photographs of Sala Garncarz (interned in various concentration camps from 1940 to 1945) is no different. Viewers are subjected to undiluted accounts of the Holocaust through the perspective of a heartbreakingly resolute Sala. This exhibit is one for the soul. Running through March 27 at the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Ann Arbor; 734-764-0400.