TRUE COLORS TOUR
BIG, GAY MUSIC FEST
For the second year in a row, a bevy of musicians will hit the road flying the rainbow flag to show support for the LGBT community. She Boppin' Cyndi Lauper, the tour's creator and producer, headlines along with the B-52s and Rosie O'Donnell, with appearances by indie waifs Tegan & Sara and up-and-coming Canadian rockers the Clicks. The tour's aim is to encourage the LGBT community and its allies to get out and vote this November. 'Cause Cyndi Lauper belting out "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and ballot boxes somehow go hand-in-hand. For each ticket purchased, $1 will benefit the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights organization in the country. At DTE Energy Music Center, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; 248-377-0100. palacenet.com.
THURSDAY • 12
MOCAD PRESENTS BERKSON AND GUSTAFSON
BALLOONS FULL OF VERSE
"Eventually you expect happiness / to fall on you like a balloon full of paint." Lines like that are one reason why the late Jim Gustafson is being remembered by fellow Detroit poets a dozen years after his death. Lynn Crawford, Mark Grafe, Glen Mannisto, Ken Mikolowski, Michelle Perron, Ned Richardson, Dennis Teichman and Mick Vranich are among the readers. Joining them will be San Francisco poet Bill Berkson, who will also read "provocative" passages from his recent books to kick-start conversation with the audience. Berkson's conversation is at 7 p.m., the Gustafson celebration is at 8 p.m., both a Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward, Detroit, 313-832-6622. By the way, the Gustafson poem quoted above, "Happiness," concludes:
So much time, so little vodka,
so many things almost worth doing.
Someday happiness will surprise you
like automatic sprinklers.
But what until then, brave observer,
and then what?
FRIDAY-SUNDAY JUNE 13-JULY 6
ANN ARBOR SUMMER FESTIVAL
SUMMER FROLIC MINUS THE SWEAT
The best part of summer might be the number of great outdoor fests and fairs that take place in its three months. That is, if your idea of a good time involves elbowing through endless crowds while sweating your ass off. What's good about the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, now in its 25th year, is that many of its performances actually take place inside — a ticket, but no jostling, required. And in true Ann Arbor spirit, the fest features a lineup that is eclectic, diverse and all that PC jazz. Headliners include Mandy Patinkin, the Funk Brothers, dance troupe STREB vs. GRAVITY, and cabaret lady Meow Meow. The outside component of the fair, known as Top of the Park, will feature local and regional musicians, as well as film screenings, family-friendly activities and the Dream Engine outdoor aerialists — all at no cost. (Top of the Park kicks off Friday with an old-school dance party.) The festival runs through July 6 at the Power Center (121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor), Hill Auditorium (825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor) and Ingalls Mall (University Avenue between Fletcher and Thayer streets); 734-994-5999; annarborsummerfestival.com.
AFROPEAN SOUL SISTERS
Sisters Helene and Celia Faussart epitomize the postmodern coinage "Afropean," which refers to possessing both African and European heritage. Born in France to a French father and Cameroonian mother, the sisters moved to Chad for seven years before returning to small-town France for a healthy dose of culture shock and narrow-mindedness. Their multi-culti upbringing is reflected in their sultry R&B-meets-Afro-beat sound, which helped make the 1999 U.S. debut of their first album, Princesses Nubiennes, one of the most successful by a French language album in decades. It doesn't hurt that the sisters Faussart complement musical talent with a sexy fashion sense. With Malik Alston at Alvin's Twilight Bar, 5756 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-633-6326; alvinstwilightbar.com.
The Canadian power-pop mavens return to Detroit only days after the release of their stunningly excellent new YepRoc album, Parallel Play, to headline Detour online magazine's first "Rock City" music festival. The new album has been described by the label as "a boiled-down brother" to 2006's Never Hear the End of It — and, at 37 minutes, it's waaaay boiled down — as it perfectly illustrates and reflects the dynamics of the band's four (count 'em!) main songwriters (which is one more songwriter than Michigan's own Pop Project, also slated to play "Rock City"). It's still a White Album-like, eclectic hodgepodge of various rock styles and genres, from twang to twee — there's nary a break between any of the 13 tracks (which only adds to the appeal) — and the shortened length guarantees all killer, no filler. The discerning listener will hear elements of the Fab Four, Squeeze and other pop legends throughout the CD, although our music editor — a longtime pop aficionado — is especially blown away by the harder-rockin' bombast of such tracks as the opening "Believe In Me," "Emergency 911" and "I'm Not a Kid Anymore." For a complete "Rock City" schedule (the fest runs Thursday through Saturday), go to detour-mag/rockcity. At the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY JUNE 14-29
GREAT LAKES CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
16 DAYS IN JUNE
The DSO 8 Days festival may have still greater ambitions, but the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival celebrates its 15th season with its own star power and thematic heft. The emphasis is on French school composers and four decorated American composers turning 70 in 2008: John Corigliano, John Harbison, Joan Tower and U-M's Pulitizer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. Performers include new music champion Ursula Oppens (piano) as ECM recording artist and Detroit native Kim Kashkashian (viola). Performances at multiple metro sites begin Saturday at Seligman Performing Arts Center and continue Sunday at Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church (with Kashkashian and pianist Bolcom performing). Full information at greatlakeschambermusic.com or 248-559-2097. Outreach alert: Single advance tickets are $32-$35, but $10 for ages 25 and under.
ANIMATION TO THE EXTREME
They live in a mansion called Mordhaus, complete with its own prison and hospital. Their tour bus, the Murderbus, has a fireplace and a Jacuzzi. Each time they do a show, the entire audience dies. Could be the most extreme metal band ever, and they're but a cartoon. That's right, Dethklok are the stars of Adult Swim's Metalocalypse, a show that celebrates metal as much as it lampoons its clichés. It's like This Is Spinal Tap, but animated. In other words, it can get away with being completely bizarre — in one episode, a Dethklok song wakes up a sleeping troll and it takes the first metal lullaby ever recorded to put it back to sleep. WTF? Their first album, The Dethalbum, debuted at No. 21 on the Billboad Top 200 in 2007, making it one of the highest-charting metal albums ever. Not bad for a virtual band. Or what does that say about the real thing? With Chimaira and Soilent Green at Clutch Cargo's, 65 E. Huron, Pontiac; 248-645-6666; clutchcargos.com; $25; all ages.
HELP TO KEEP BLOWING
You just know that saxophonist Scott "E-Dog" Petersen would love to be back in his hometown to jam with old friends like Marcus Belgrave and the Sun Messengers. The hitch is he's on call for a double-lung transplant at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center — and his old buddies are gathering to help pay the related bills. Though he's been on the West Coast for more than a decade — playing with such outfits as Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers — he's hardly forgotten here where Thornetta Davis, Johnnie Bassett, Paul Keller, Walt Szymanski and RJ Spangler have also signed on for the benefit beginning at 8 p.m. at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543. (Donations can also be made to Scott Petersen Transplant Fund, P.O. Box 1010, Novato, CA 94948.) And speaking of Belgrave, the trumpetman celebrates his 72nd birthday with a stand at the Dirty Dog, June 11-14. Dirty Dog Jazz Café, 97 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms; 313-882-5299.
NOT NECESSARILY FUNCTIONAL FURNITURE
FORM WITHOUT FUNCTION?
On a day-to-day basis, our relationship with furniture is pretty basic. If it's comfortable and not too unattractive and utilitarian, we might be happy. If it's all those things and cheap? That's home decor heaven (thank you, IKEA!). In Design 99's current exhibit, a group of artists have taken the unappreciated tables, chairs and couches that fill up our interior spaces and turned them into something worth a second-look. From old furniture made new in startling and unexpected ways to new furniture rendered into ceiling-scraping monuments, you'll never look at that second-hand armchair you poached off craigslist the same way again. Through June 21, at Design 99, 10022 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-576-6941; visitdesign99.com.