WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
CIRCUS PUNK? WTF!?
Brooklyn's World/Inferno Friendship Society has become something of an outlandish institution in contemporary punk rock. (Wait. Isn't that an oxymoron?) And so much so, in fact, that they've been dubbed with their very own subgenre: circus punk. Sound hackneyed? It isn't. See, the World/Inferno is something of a circus. Its origins are surrounded in mystery (the band's website details a history that involves a talking cat and a tattooed man named Lucky). There's a madcap ringleader in Jack Terricloth, and band members are constantly changing. Not to mention their unusual (how punk-rock-modern) choice of instruments — everything from horns to xylophones to orchestra bells — and their bizarre choice of song topics. (Their last album, Addicted to Bad Ideas, is all about Peter Lorre. Yeah!) Sure, there's no bearded lady, but the band's wild-eyed and intoxicating performance is sure to be freakish entertainment enough. At the Pike Room of the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $10; all ages.
Multimedia performances are becoming so ubiquitous they're practically passé. But before you write off another film-video-music piece with a world-weary sigh, dig Cartune Xprez from Portland's dynamic dance duo Hooliganship. The performance features short animated vids —from pencil line drawings of humans transforming into burgers to digital constructions of jungle landscapes — and Hooliganship's performance of Realer, a collision of cartoons, live music and video games — in 3D! It's multimedia cheesy, retro style — what could be passé about that? With Carjack! at 8 p.m. at MoCAD, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; $7; all ages.
Performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña blurs the distinction between audience and artist, making spectators participants in his emotionally charged spoken word performances. On Friday, Gómez-Peña will stage a free performance of El Mexorcist, the story of an activist protesting the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. During the performance, Gómez-Peña shifts between characters, languages, races and genders, exploring issues of culture and identity. On Saturday and Sunday, Gómez-Peña and his troupe will perform Mapa Corpo: Interactive Rituals for the New Millennium, a multimedia performance that draws the audience into interacting with the performers as they examine cultural and political life in the post-9/11 world. At 8 p.m. each night, at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; dia.org.
PAGAN PRIDE DAY
SHAMANS, WICCANS & DRUIDS, OH MY!
Pagan Pride Day brings together pagans of every kind — from wiccans to shamans — to celebrate religious tolerance and diversity. The day's activities include workshops on nontraditional beliefs, belly-dancing performances, altar-scapes from local pagan groups, vendors, healers, a book signing by shamanic author Kenn Day, a performance by folk duo Mustard's Retreat and even more activities that are sure to piss-off the narrow-eyed Christian hillbillies who believe theirs is all that counts. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Green Acres Park, 899 W. Mapledale Ave., Hazel Park; info at paganpridedetroit.com.
FAGS FOR BANDS
The novel Band Fag chronicles the life of Jack, a band geek growing up in Hazel Park in the '80s. Jack suffers through the usual follies and foibles of youth — homework, friendships, Jordache jeans and Atari — all the while trying to figure out how much of a "band fag" he really is. The debut novel from playwright and actor (not to mention Hazel Park native and former band member) Frank Polito is sure to resonate with children of the '80s, band geeks, youths struggling with their sexuality, and pretty much anyone who likes books that don't suck. Polito will be signing copies of Band Fags at 4 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 500 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-336-9490.
MS. JACKSON — IF YOU'RE 'NASTY'
Janet Jackson is an American pop "legend" of sorts for many reasons: She's ranked as one of the top ten best-selling artists in contemporary music, having sold more than 100 million albums; she's spanned and blended genres, as evidenced by how she's the only performer to be nominated for Grammy Awards in the pop, rock, dance, rap and R&B categories. She's maintained long-term success despite the stigma of the Jackson genes. And who could forget the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" that was allegedly the most TiVoed and Internet-searched-for incident in history. And, she's a little creepy. The high-cost extravaganza known as the "Rock Witchu Tour" brings the living "legend" to Detroit for the first time in seven years in support of her tenth studio album, Discipline. At the Palace of Auburn Hills, 3 Championship Dr., Auburn Hills; 248-377-0469; palacenet.com.
WAYNE SHORTER QUARTET WITH THE IMANI WINDS
JAZZ BENEATH THE SURFACE
One of the signal jazz developments of the last decade has been the emergence of saxophonist Wayne Shorter with a group that's worthy of his improvisatory prowess. The former Miles Davis sideman and Weather Report co-founder is one of the greatest living jazz composers — some fans have started humming "Footprints" just reading this — but for years his post-Weather Report groups failed to really dig beneath the surfaces of his material. These guys — Brian Blade, drums; John Patitucci, bass; Danilo Perez, piano — are musical spelunkers, in contrast, and bring out the same in their leader. This tour in celebration of Shorter's 75th birthday adds the Imani Winds, performing alone and with the quartet. At 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538; tickets $10-$42; a University Musical Society production.
Masked and bucketed, bizarre-o guitar maestro Buckethead looks like he could be the bad guy in some sort of avant-garde horror flick starring that faux-haired freak Axl. Though his musical persona may be a bit, um, over-the-top (he claims to have been raised by chickens!), there's no denying the depth of his talent — an eclectic, genre-defying, high-tech sound that can be heard on numerous collaborations with the likes of Bootsy Collins and Les Claypool, as well as on 24 solo studio albums. His latest, Albino Slug, is available for purchase on tour only. With That 1 Guy at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com; $20 advance, $22 door; all ages.
"Italian rock star" is a phrase seldom uttered. But Zucchero is just that — an Italian rock star who has achieved an international reputation as a vocalist "superstar" after more than two decades of recording. His soulful and sultry voice has been compared to that of Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker, and he has won widespread fame through collaborations with a number of music's biggest names, from the aforementioned Clapton and Cocker to Miles Davis and Andrea Bocelli to BB King and Sting. His current tour will showcase classic Zucchero tracks and new songs off his latest album, 2007's All the Best. At Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison St., Detroit; 313-887-8501; $27-$47.
SEMINAL WORKS FROM THE N'NAMDI COLLECTION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN ART
BLUES AND THE ABSTRACT TRUTH
As the subject of an MT cover story in 2001, gallery owner George N'Namdi made clear his "frustration" when it comes to getting "African-American artists who do abstract work the proper attention that they rightfully deserve. Because a lot of the museums and European-American dealers only promote African-American art that has a narrative to it. ... So you have people who promote realism and end up blocking other things ... and they won't look at those other abstract artists who challenge the status quo." Not surprisingly, those challenging abstractionists dominate this 25-piece show drawing on his personal collection — from the kinetic sculptures of John Scott to Betye Saar's mysterious mixed-media work. Romare Bearden, Bob Thompson and Jacob Lawrence are among the stars represented. Noon to 5 p.m. through Oct. 12, at Oakland University Art Gallery next to Meadowbrook Theatre; oakland.edu/ouag or 248-370-3005.