ANN ARBOR ART FAIRS
AIN'T YOUR MAMA'S ART FAIR
Sure, the words "art fair" can be worthy of cringes, but it's not all beaded bags and ceramic geese accoutrements. An amalgamation of four art fairs, this annual event hosts 1,200 artists from around the world and draws more than a half million visitors from all over the country. And large numbers of artists translate into a wide variety of styles and mediums, many of which transcend the usual summer art-fair banality to offer something a little more unusual and innovative. A good example is the work of Anne Lyneah Curtis, whose pieces cast from real bodies will be on display at the State Street Art Fair. She'll also be offering visitors the chance to purchase custom pieces cast from their own bodies. A plaster cast of your own face — the perfect home accessory. From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Ann Arbor; for more info visit artfair.org.
EXPOSURE.DETROIT PHOTOGRAPHY OPENING
Exposure.Detroit formed as an online community in 1996 to promote aspiring local photographers. Now, more than 900 artists and photographers provide each other with advice, support and encouragement. Exposure.Detroit also (appropriately) exposes the work of its members to a wider audience (you know, the non-artistic among us) through periodic exhibits. Their next venture will showcase the work of five area photographers — Stephanie Aust, David Bogdan, Kevin Ridge, Rob Terwilliger and Laura Dyszynska — whose work focuses on metro Detroit. With music provided by DJ Adroit at 7 p.m. at the Bean & Leaf Café, 106 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-586-9602; exposuredetroit.net.
Caribou (aka Manitoba, aka Daniel Snaith) creates lush psychedelic pop songs dripping with quirky electronic fills and harmonizing falsettos, a clever sound some have dubbed "folktronica." Basically, it's folk music that's gone rogue and experimented with synths, computers and probably, we hope, acid too. Which actually could be the best way to enjoy his music — it hasn't been called trippy for nothing. With Mahoney and Deastro at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; blindpigmusic.com; $15.
VANS WARPED TOUR
IF THE KIDS ARE UNITED
After 14 years, it's fair to ask if the Vans Warped Tour's simply limping along on relevance or if it's descended into obsolescence. For many up-and-coming pop-punk bands, a slot on the tour is still the litmus test for musical success, but are the kids even paying attention? With nearly 100 bands, there's gotta be something worthy — right? This year's highlights include electro-pop chart-topper Katy Perry, Japanese all-female ska group Oreskaband and Reel Big Fish, as well as old standbys Anberlin, Against Me! and As I Lay Dying. Could be one big musical meh, could be goose-pimple city, depending on your age. Doors at 11 a.m. at Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611; complete lineup at warpedtour.com.
PERFORMANCE ART WORKSHOP
PUTTING THE ART INTO PERFORMANCE
The tired phrase "performance art" has become a sort of catch-all label for anything that doesn't fit into an easily identifiable category. But wait, the phrase, pretty much coined in the '60s but rooted in dadaism, still works. It's like this: How else would you classify a costumed juggler who sings and performs skits? A monkey riding a unicycle up a slide? For those who wish to have an actual understanding of "performance art," artist and independent scholar Barbara Neri will be leading a workshop where students will learn and experiment with the elements of original live theater — which is, in itself, a pretty pithy definition of performance art, no? At 555 Gallery Studio, 4884 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-894-4202; 555arts.org; $150 registration fee, which will be donated to 555. For more information on the work of Barbara Neri visit barbaraneri.com. See: INFINITE FIELD video, by Barbara Neri.
MOTOR CITY NIGHTMARES WEEKEND OF HORRORS
THEY'RE (STILL) COMING TO GET YOU, BARBARA
Forty years ago, Night of the Living Dead gave rise to a horror movie subculture that eventually lifted the marginalized genre into something resembling respectability — or, if not respectability exactly, at least popularity. And that popularity, in turn, led to the birth of horror movie conventions, of which Motor City Nightmares promises to be a prime example. The three days will feature vendors selling horror and sci-fi related wares, tattoo and costume contests, a film festival of indie horror flicks and appearances by scary-cinema celebs, including George Romero and other cast members from Night of the Living Dead (zombie lovers rejoice!). At the Novi Crowne Plaza, 2700 Sheraton Dr., Novi; 248-348-5000; motorcitynightmares.com. Weekend passes are $50; cocktail party with old George Romero and other actors is an additional $50. Dig deep, folks.
KING KHAN & THE SHRINES
WHAT THE FUCK IS RETRO ROCK?
Berlin's King Khan & the Shrines are not just evocative of vintage soul and '60s garage — they are such things, just four decades after their heyday. While they're an anachronism (what isn't anymore), Khan's ferocious howl and monstrous 10-piece band might have enough oomph to create a rock 'n' soul revival, 'cause, they're, uh, the Real Deal. If nothing else, they offer one hell of a live spectacle what with an organist, a horn section and real go-go dancers (yeah!) all vying for stage space. Their first U.S. tour, they'll be rolling through in support of The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines, a compilation of new and previously released tracks. 8 p.m. at the Pike Room of the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $10; all ages.
STRINGS 'N' BASS
This East Coast instrumental trio combines bass, violin and drums to create dark and melodic, yet oddly catchy songs that'd make a sweet soundtrack for a haunted house in a rural Eastern Euro village. What's more, the band's endearingly genuine punk ethos, which keeps them playing in DIY venues (read: living rooms and basements) across the country, raises all sorts of other horrors. With Counter Cosby, Laser Beams of Boredom and Ouch! Me Arse at 6 p.m. at the RAW Haus, 715 Miller Ave., Ann Arbor; myspace.com/rottenappleworkshop; $5; all ages.
Genre-blending's a rage these days, sure, what with all this overthinking of music lifted out of context and blended digitally. But it's the rare group that can actually take it to the level of creating a genuinely new sound and playing it live. With its fusion of dub reggae and metal, Dub Trio is doing just that. A trio of skilled musicians (they've done session work with everyone from Mos Def to the Fugees), the group's almost exclusively instrumental material affords as many head-banging, fist-pumping moments as any good heavy rock band, but combined with ambient moments of stripped-down dub. It's neat as shit. In fact, check out its third studio album, Another Sound is Dying, for the progression of this odd marriage of disparate sounds. 8 p.m. at the Pike Room of the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $10; all ages.
JAZZ FEST HEAT-UP
As part of the buildup to the Detroit International Jazz Festival, artist in residence Christian McBride brings his bass to Baker's Keyboard Lounge for the night, with a band including Detroiters Perry Hughes on guitar and trumpeter Dwight Adams. (A festival theme this year, if you don't know, is promoting Detroit and Philly, McBride's hometown, as sister cities in swing.) The McBride Baker's appearance kicks off a series of pre-fest club dates, continuing with Jesse Palter Quintet (Aug. 1 at Music Hall Jazz Café), GEQ (Aug. 8 at Bert's Marketplace), Steve Nardella (Aug. 15, Memphis Smoke), Randy Napoleon Sextet (Aug. 22, Cliff Bell's), Sheila Landis (Aug. 22, Dirty Dog Jazz Café). That's not to mention museum appearances by vocalist-storyteller Lisa Henry and bassist Marion Hayden in a children's jazz day (July 18, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History) and a "Chasin' the Trane" program with saxophonists Steve Wood, Wendell Harrison and Carl Cafagna (Aug. 15, Detroit Institute of Arts). Baker's Keyboard Lounge, 20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit, 313-345-6300. For the latest on the upcoming fest (the ICP Orchestra was recently added, for instance), see detroitjazzfest.com.
JEWSICAL! THE MUSICAL
The Jewish culture has a rich comedic tradition that encompasses everything from the absurd legal arguments of the Talmud to the self-deprecating humor of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Jewisical! The Musical attempts to take its place in the annals of that history with a series of skits and songs that affectionately mock all things Jewish. Highlights include a musical ode to online Jewish dating service J-Date and a visit to the country's first Thai-Kosher fusion restaurant. Does anyone else feel an "oy vey" coming on? Performances take place Wednesdays through Sundays until Sept. 7 at the Second City, 42705 Grand River Ave., Novi; 248-348-4448.