THE DUKE SPIRIT
BRIT SKIT NUMBER #572
Grungy garagesters from across the pond, the Duke Spirit serves up the rock 'n' roll with a touch of Brit charm (but not of the cynics-with-rotted-teeth kind). The band's sophomore effort, Neptune, shows a primal and raw sound — but good — that has earned them critical blow jobs and frequent comparisons to the likes of the Pixies and Sonic Youth. And let's not forget the obligatory mention of fierce, foxy frontwoman Liela Moss whose soul-deep sound and commanding stage drills see audiences on both sides of the Atlantic dropping jaw. (And despite not being hot blondes, the rest of the band is pretty good too.) With the underrated Satin Peaches at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; all ages.
MAMMARY JOKES? OH, PLEASE.
How can you not love Dolly? She's unpretentious, kitschy and bubbly and she's remained a homegrown country gal despite the fact that she's one of the most successful and honored country music singers ever (if your own theme park doesn't spell success, what does?). This year's Backwoods Barbie, Dolly's first mainstream country album in almost 20 years, landed at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Country chart — proving that self-deprecating humor, goofy analogies and folksy wisdom can still attract an unironic fan base. At DTE Energy Music Center, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; 248-377-0100.
ALL HAIL THE BOX!
Female directors created BoxFest in order to provide a space for women's voices in Michigan's theater community. The annual festival features plays written by local playwrights (both those with boxes and those without) and directed by local female talent. Appropriately, women are involved with every aspect of the production as designers, technicians, musicians, performance artists and stage managers. The festival culminates with two directors receiving rewards to help advance their careers. What — did you think the box in BoxFest referenced pugilism? At the Furniture Factory, 4126 Third St., Detroit. Further info at 313-977-0146 or boxfestdetroit.com.
Comic Bill Maher is best known for his trenchant, no-bullshit sociopolitical commentary, famed by the now-defunct show Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Now he leads a roundtable discussion of "intelligent" talking heads on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, where he continues to attract fans who praise his astute and outspoken humor, as well as detractors who decry him as a heartless, liberal asshole (well, he did once compare retarded children to dogs — how's that for a career gaffe?) who dates hot women. Maher is also starring in the upcoming satirical documentary, Religulous, a mocking, eyebrow-raising exploration of religious belief and the problems it causes. Yeah, that's sure not to piss anyone off. At the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-8397.
26TH ANNUAL AFRICAN WORLD FESTIVAL
BLUES DIVA'S WEDDING CHIMES
The African World Festival has always been about bringing the African Diaspora together (and, when you figure Lucy is African, that's ultimately the whole kaboodle of humanity). But the together thing gets a whole different spin Sunday afternoon when blues diva Thornetta Davis and beau James Anderson tie the knot (with special guests performing) on the Hart Plaza stage at 3:30 p.m. — then return for the wedding night jam in the evening. Other attractions include Rootz Underground (from Jamaica) at 9:30 Friday, the 10th annual festival step-show at 3 p.m. Saturday, and actress Mo'nique at 9 Saturday, followed by the O'Jays at 9:30 p.m. Plus a range of Detroiters from jazz and blues to Mexican folkloric to hip hop (including Monica Blaire and Black Bottom Collective). More information at maah-detroit.org or 313-494-5800.
PRUSSIA LP RELEASE PARTY
Local quartet Prussia creates '60s-inspired pop refurbished with backward-gazing experimentation, a sound that's nothing if not endearing; its music just oozes charm. Its first full-length, Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly, is available digitally and on vinyl — a combo of modernity and nostalgia that perfectly complements Prussia's dulcet tones. With the Silent Years, Ohtis and the Oscillating Fan Club at the A.C. Rich Building, 19 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac.
Fantasy, sci-fi and comic books may traditionally be the domain of geeks, but they definitely hold a cachet in certain crowds. Hell, in any crowd. Fact is, nerdy stuff is and always has been, paradoxically, cool. How else could Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Batman have reached such dizzying heights of fame? So take the opportunity to revel in all things geeky at NerdFest 2008, featuring Wolfman Mac, killer wrestler D-Ray 3000 and the fetching Detroit Derby Girls (every geek loves a photo-op). DJ Del will be on hand spinning rockabilly; there'll be prizes galore handed out. At 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at Detroit Comics, 23333 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-2669; detroitcomics.com.
DETROIT SUMMER MUNNY SHOW VOL. 2
THE NEW TABULA RASA
If your first question is "What the hell is a munny?" then you're obviously not hip to the growing phenomenon of artist-designed collectible toys (and that's not necessarily a bad thing). Created by Kidrobot, a producer and retailer of designer toys, munnies are marketed as the first "DIY" toy — vinyl figures resembling some sort of misshapen animal that owners can decorate in any way they want. But the real collectibles are the artist-designed munnies, rare examples of which are selling on eBay for thousands of dollars (that's right, thousands!). Gallery shows of munnies are sweeping the nation, or at least popping up here and there, and this exhibit features toy artists from all over the country. Through Sept. 1 at LIFT, 228 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-545-5245.