Media City Film Festival
Once dubbed by MT as "the alternative that optically adventurous filmgoers have been waiting for," the Media City Film Festival is Canada's version of Cannes — for experimental films. And featuring vets from the actual Cannes fest, the New York Film Festival and surely many a local geek's basement, the five-night, four-venue MCFF will showcase lots of international, as well as domestic, work. So the cinephile not satisfied by this year's dud of an Academy Awards should get an eyeful. With projectors, handhelds and miniature wooden dioramas, as well as regular screens, you won't this kind of stuff on Netflix. So get your tix and grab the popcorn. The festival is presented by Artcite Inc., the Art Gallery of Windsor and House of Toast. Films will be shown in both Detroit and Windsor, so visit houseoftoast.ca/mediacity for a full schedule or call 519-977-6564 for info.
THE ART IN FASHION
Last week, we wrote about fashion — the most utilitarian of arts — and of Rei Kawakubo, a Japanese designer with an eye for ragbag chic whose work is displayed at MOCAD. This Thursday, Harold Koda — the Metropolitan Museum of Art's curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute — will speak about Kawakubo's contribution to the fashion world. Koda, who's friends with the designer, has a telling perspective on her continual influence, and how she's rightly placed alongside Coco Chanel and Vivienne Westwood in the designer pantheon. At 7 p.m. at MOCAD, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622 for info.
Thursdays 6, 13, 20
COFFEE HOUSE REVISITED
In its late '90s heyday, Café Mahogany was an urban oasis, a Harmonie Park coffee house and night spot for jazz, soul and the spoken word, a choice after-hours hangout for out-of-towners from A Tribe Called Quest to Erykah Badu. And nothing seals legendary status like a latter-day revival — like the one going on most Thursday nights at the Jazz Café at Music Hall. Mainstays Fluent, Cen and DJ Invisible anchor the Mahogany Revue with open-mic poetry, soul, hip hop, jazz and visual art. The revue continues March 13 and 20 and most Thursdays in April and May. At the Jazz Café at Music Hall, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8501. $5 cover.
Tab the Band
CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK?
Before heading off to this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, TAB the Band will be playing at select Hard Rock Cafés around the country, hitting the Motor City location Friday. So why should you care? Especially about a band you've never heard of? Well, for one thing, two TAB members — whose name has nothing to do with that crappy diet soft drink some of us endured in pre-Diet Coke days — were spawned from the loins of legendary Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. What's more, pop Perry is even scheduled to appear with them in Boston and New York (though no word yet as to whether he'll make the Detroit show). And for another thing, reviews have been glowing thus far; the New York Metro called them "all about muscular guitar riffs and swagger" and Blender magazine claimed "This band rawks!" At Hard Rock Café, 45 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-7625.
VROOM VROOM, DADDY-O
Ain't nothin' like a souped-up, tricked-out street rod to put a big greasy grin on the face of an auto head. And yes, despite the painful fiscal climate among the Big Three, Michigan still has plenty of hot rod culture. See scores of awestruck gawkers as the 56th annual Autorama rolls through Detroit, displaying more than "1,000 hotrods, custom cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles of the past and present." At Cobo Hall, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-877-8111 for info.
Local ecdysiast Lily LaRue will hold a seminar in burlesque dancing, discussing the dance form's history and teaching techniques to take pole-swinging to a classier, quirkier level. LaRue has performed at the Dirty Show and appears regularly at the monthly vaudeville revue Torch with a Twist. Mixing the modern with the classic, her dance techniques range from traditional feathered fan dances to modern interpretations of rawk. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pole Addiction, 253 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 810-300-7455 for info. The seminar is $35, with an additional $10 for materials — there's a DIY art project for attendees.
HOUSE O' HIP
It's a natural union: hip hop and techno. Timbaland and Co. have happily minted millions from such blends (and really, what hit the mainstream is only the inner fringe of some truly interesting music). Baltimore hip-hop and house act Karizma — not to be confused with Galina Kurdova and Miroslav Kostadinov, the Bulgarian pop duo KariZma — will be joined by DJs Rick Wilhite and Jerome Derradji from 10 p.m. til "late" at the Woodbridge Gallery, 1761 W. Forest, Detroit.
Arturo O'Farrill Quartet
THE RAP ON A LATIN JAZZ GUY
In recent years, Arturo O'Farrill has been through town as leader of Lincoln Center's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, 18-pieces strong. Now the piano player-band leader-composer-arranger is back in the intimate setting of his quartet. The son of Latin jazz giant Chico O'Farrill, Arturo found neither fame nor fortune with the '70s rap group J. Walter Negro and the Loose Jointz. He did get a big break with Carla Bley's band before some bleak stretches afterward. But he eventually took part in his dad's late-life rediscovery and resurgence, which indirectly led to his Lincoln Center gig and well-deserved new prominence for himself. Jazz Café at Music Hall, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8501. Shows at 10 and midnight. $9 advance, $14 door.
Taste of Chaos Tour
Bands on the lineup include Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu, Bullet For My Valentine and Blessthefall. So is it surprising that the tour's sponsored (in part) by Hot Topic? Whip out the clip-on lip ring and the Strawberry Shortcake fanny pack, and try not to mosh too hard against the 13-year-old next to you. Or his mom. Or your mom. All ages at Cobo Arena, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-877-8111 for info.
SWING & SPIRIT
We're told that the "jazz vespers" concept goes back to 1961, when New York's jazz-loving pastor the Rev. John Gensel started Sunday evening services to accommodate swingers whose long Saturday work nights precluded early Sunday services. In Detroit's latest entry into the concert-worship format, bassist Don Mayberry heads up a new Ecumenical Orchestra (Kate Patterson, John Trudell, Sean Dobbins, Kevin Grenier, Spencer Barefield) to play the music of composers from Strayhorn to Gershwin. The free service (donation accepted) includes a tour (5:30 p.m.)of the stunning First Presbyterian Church, Detroit's oldest Protestant place of worship, built in 1891 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places; 313-831-5200, ext. 209; 6-8 p.m.; 2930 Woodward Ave., Detroit.
LIFE OF LEISURE
The spontaneous moments of a life of leisure — the serenity of a Central Park picnic, the fine eating of a fine eatery, the thrill of the trapeze artist or a listless float across a lazy river — those were life's pleasures. And for the Ashcan artists of turn-of-the-20th century New York it was not only their entertainment — but their art. They painted, in vibrant colors, the gritty and honest life of working-class New Yorkers. The movement, founded by Robert Henri, illustrated what he called "the great ideas native to my country." And, with an exhibit titled Life's Pleasures, featuring 80 paintings of shabby restaurants, smoke-filled boxing matches and carefree days at the beach, the collection paints a portrait of the vitality of the urban class as the Ashcans saw it. At the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-4005.