ALBUM COVER RIFFS
Ted Piechota, hardworking local barfly and sometime bartender at Seven Brothers Bar in Hamtramck, isn't particularly well-known as an artist. But the drink-slinger is also a skilled screen-printer, and he now has a solo art show of his prints on wood at (natch) a local bar. The often self-deprecating Piechota says the prints are "my retarded interpretations of famous LP covers." Expect live music by Ferraris and Uzis (a one-off psych-rock show) and music from DJ Mustache of Bees. At 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at the Belmont Bar, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966; free.
COWBOY SHIRT ROCK
Friday nights in Detroit rarely fail to offer music-heads picks of great shows. Good thing you can always just jump on our handy public transportation system to bounce from show to show — oh wait, that's the Detroit of the future, right? Anyway, it would be damn near a sin to miss this sweet lineup of local bands headlined by country-infused rockers Scarlet Oaks, still hawking their debut EP Innocence Isn't Easy (and it's not that much fun, either). They're joined by bluesy rock chicks the Vamps, all-star honky-tonk crooner Jenny Knaggs & the Sure Shots and the Darts at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668.
A DARK TALE OF SURVIVAL
In this work by Hungarian-born playwright George Tabori, two survivors of Auschwitz and 10 sons of inmates who did not survive gather to re-create the events that led up to the deaths of their fathers. The first play after WWII to be set wholly in Auschwitz, Cannibals examines the horrific choices the Holocaust forced men to make, the cost of survival and the burden of guilt. Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 16 at the Zeitgeist, 2661 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-485-0217; abreact.com; $10.
PLEASE GOD SAVE US BOOK SIGNING
WHEN RELIGION & POLITICS COLLIDE
The incendiary topics of religion and politics are becoming increasingly intertwined in American society (First Amendment be damned!), a state of affairs that's called into question in the polemical treatise Please God Save Us. With illustrations by artist and former Detroiter Derek Hess (known for gig posters more than political commentary) and text by Cleveland politician Kent Smith, the book seeks to challenge prevailing perceptions about pertinent issues, from stem cell research and the religious right to the war in Iraq and environmental degradation. Provocative? Definitely. Controversial? Most likely. Inflammatory? Only if you give it to your conservative relatives for Christmas (something we recommend highly). Hess and Smith will be signing copies of and discussing their work at 6 p.m. at CPop Gallery, 4160 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9901; cpop.com.
IN THE BLOOD
In the Blood by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks tells the story of Hester Negrita, a homeless woman and single mother who lives under a city bridge. Hester is simultaneously marginalized and exploited by members of society whose ostensible role is to help her. A modern-day take on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, In the Blood boldly and candidly examines the dichotomy between society and its outcasts. At 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 23 at the Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; planetant.com.
SQUARED CIRCLE REVUE
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH?
The Squared Circle Revue claims to be the "world's only music magic burlesque carnival." And if that description alone ain't enough to pique your, um, curiosity, the Revue also offers some old-fashioned circus freaks and geeks to horrify and amaze; dig it: Glenda the Bearded Lady, Pogo the One-Legged Boy and Gunther T. Strongman, to name a few. Other reasons to step on up to the big top include live wrestling matches, burlesque moves from Roxi Dlite and music from the Amino Acids, the Casket Baskets and Mexico's Polka Madre. So come one, come all to Theatre Bizarre, 967 W. State Fair, Detroit; $10 per night or $15 for both. Doors at 10 p.m.
Who would have guessed that there are enough kinky metro Detroiters to support not only biannual Exotica expos, but a biannual fetish ball as well? Featuring fetish models, a fashion show, a public "play" area (complete with bondage furniture) and DJs spinning house, industrial and techno the night promises to satisfy (or at least titillate) anyone with a predilection for leather restraints. Gawkers be warned — fetish or erotic attire is suggested, so if you want to blend into the crowd, you better dress up (or down, as the case may be). At the iLounge inside Clutch Cargo's, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac; 248-333-2362; exoticadetroit.com; $10.
THE GO! TEAM
RANDOMLY SAMPLED POP
A bunch of random elements — from early '90s hip hop to cheerleader chants to action hero theme songs — are somehow combined by the Go! Team to create outrageously upbeat, unpolished and danceable tunes. The six-piece from Brighton, England, uses a combination of samples and live instrumentation (including two drummers!) to create the unapologetically chaotic and buoyant sound which can be heard on two critically acclaimed albums — the 2005 debut, Thunder, Lightning, Strike and last year's Proof of Youth. With Thunderbirds Are Now and Deastro at 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; $17; all ages.
13TH ANNUAL JAZZ ON THE RIVER FESTIVAL
JAZZ FUSED, SMOOTHED, ETC.
The emphasis is on jazz fused, smoothed and funked-up in this two-day noon-to-night collaboration between Music Hall and Wayne County Parks. Evenings end with Spyro Gyra on Friday and saxophonist-flutist Ronnie Laws on Saturday. Other offerings include Dave McMurray, Luis Resto, Gene Dunlap, Malik Alston and Nadir's Distorted Soul. A couple of more straight-ahead acts to listen for: the sublime Detroit songstress Ursula Walker performs Sunday afternoon, and later that evening there's Chicago's Deep Blue Organ Trio, including Sonny Rollins' guitarist Bobby Broom in its lineup and, in its songbooks, tunes from writers as disparate as Hank Mobely and the Beatles. Elizabeth Park, Trenton; 734-261-1990 or jazzontheriver.org for more info.
Hailing from Virginia, Scythian plays a down-and-dirty version of Celtic music heavily flavored by Middle Eastern and Hungarian elements — a strange combination made stranger by the fact the band consists of classically trained musicians. But who wouldn't ditch Bach for rocking the fiddles (fiddles, of all things!) so hard that the whole bar is either dancing or slamming drinks by the end of your set? At the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451; theark.org; $12.50.
RESURGANCE OF SLUDGE?
After 24 years and more than 25 albums, the Melvins still haven't quit (for better or for worse). Their slow and heavy sludge sound influenced a number of successful bands — anyone remember Nirvana? — yet the Melvins never elevated above cult status. But with their latest release, Nude with Boots, being lauded by some critics as their best album yet, perhaps the aging post-punk rockers will finally get their due? If nothing else, maybe they'll sell some more ridiculous merch (remember the two-headed dolls? the Melvins fetuses?) to their loyal followers. At Small's, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-873-1117; $15.
DAM SUMMER CRAFTS MARKET
ART FOR ALL
Two of the most fundamental media — wood and clay — are the focus of this annual summer exhibition which features the works of more than 40 local artists. Described as a "market-style" show, the onus is on you to actually, you know, buy something. Both functional and non-functional pieces are being offered at a wide range of prices, so even the most broke-ass art lover should be able to acquire something wonderful. Through Aug. 23, at the Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8540.