DANCE BEATS & PIZZA
One could argue till doomsday over the degree to which the Philadelphia-based producer-DJ shaped M.I.A's sound, but there's no mistaking his clout in the underground worlds of indie hip hop and dance. Diplo's mixes and live sets showcase a fusion of sounds, from Miami bass and dancehall to reggae and baile funk — a style that many credit him for introducing to this country from Brazil. But setting aside issues of influence and clout, Diplo and his Mad Decent labelmates are all about one thing — dance, dance, dance. This phenomenon is sure to be witnessed on the fall Mad Decent tour, which finds Diplo joined by schizophrenic punk quartet Abe Vigoda, British DJ Boy 8-Bit and experimental duo Telepathe. There's even going to be giant pizza dancing onstage, which just proves what a wild and crazy party the show is going to be. At 9 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com; $13; all ages.
As the second installment of the College for Creative Studies' venerable Woodward Lecture Series, the infamous and blasphemous artist Andres Serrano will take a stab at shaping the young minds of Detroit's aspiring artists. Serrano is perhaps best known for his controversial work Piss Christ, in which a photo of a crucifix was submerged in a glass jar of his own urine. (Shall we wed the sacred and profane, kids?) Bodily fluids have featured prominently in Serrano's photographs, although his recent work has moved on to, er, more solid material. His latest photographs are shit — and we mean that quite literally. At 7:30 p.m. at the College for Creative Studies, Walter B. Ford II Building, 301 Frederick Douglass, Detroit; 313-664-7800.
TECHKNOW FORUM 2008
IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN
Many local and national public figures have touted the importance of green technology and green-collar jobs as our region's ticket to economic prosperity. Add John Denniston's name to that list, the keynote speaker at the University of Michigan's sixth TechKnow Forum. Denniston, an alumnus of the university's Law School, is partner at a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley that works specifically with companies in the "Greentech industry." He, along with other panelists, will discuss two main topics: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and the smart grid. Maybe Al Gore, with whom Denniston erected an "energy investment alliance," will make a guest appearance. From 3-7 p.m. at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; 734-763-0614; $35 at the door, $10 with student ID; register online at techknowforum.org to get $5 off registration price.
BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY
MORE DEPRESSION-ERA ANALOGIES
Although Blues for an Alabama Sky is set during the Depression of the 1930s, its themes draw uncanny parallels to the current financial climate and the decisions individuals must make to survive without the breadline. The play converges on a group of young, African-American creative types living in Harlem who have to deal with such unseemly topics of the day as abortion, homosexuality and religion, (hmm, sound familiar?) while attempting to make something meaningful of their lives. In the end, the characters find that the pursuit of happiness is an uphill battle, but a worthy one to undertake. At 8 p.m. at the Studio Theatre located in the basement of the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2972; wsushows.com; $12. The play runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 1.
FOR TSHEPO: I WILL NOT MOVE TO THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE CITY
DETROIT IS TO JOHANNESBURG AS TIRAGALONG IS TO ...
Drawing parallels between Detroit and distant cities is in vogue in contemporary discourse. From art exhibits to intellectualized forums, how Detroit is either a) like other cities or b) should emulate other cities is a popular topic to hash (and rehash). University of Michigan visiting artist Mphapho (Ra) Hlasane puts his own spin on the subject by comparing the cultural and economic histories of Detroit to his native Johannesburg, and also to the fictional city of Tiragalong. And while many such exhibits focus on the improvements Detroit needs to make, Hlasane's appears to be more celebratory, as the subtitle, "An ode to the fictitious village of Tiragalong, the cities of Jozi and the D," suggests. At 6-9 p.m. at Work: Detroit, 3663 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-593-0527; exhibit runs through Nov. 8.
THREE CHORDS, TEENS AND THE TRUTH
Oktoberfest may give the legally aged set an excuse to get happily inebriated (well, who really needs an excuse), but the Punktoberfest tradition gives hellions of all ages a reason to party. The fest will feature 15 of the loudest and angriest punk bands the area has to offer, including the Imp Villains, Roger Mortis and the Arrogant Bastards. And, unlike many Oktoberfest celebrations, you might actually remember this one the next day. At 4 p.m. at the Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Rd., Westland; 734-513-5030; thetokenlounge.com; $10; all ages.
The one-time literary agent and journalist exploded into pop culture by starring as PC in those ever-so-clever Mac ads. His foray into TV was made possible by his first book, The Areas of My Expertise, which landed him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart first as a guest, then as a regular contributor. Spouting off on everything from presidents who had hooks for hands to the secret hobo underworld, Hodgman claims that his absurd book contains "complete world knowledge." But unlike other collections of knowledge — like, say, encyclopedias — all the facts Hodgman writes about are fabrications of his uncanny and illimitable imagination. His second book, More Information Than You Require, was released this week and continues his exploration of the nascent genre of fictional nonfiction. Hey, if politicians can use made-up facts, why can't authors? At 7 p.m. at Borders, 612 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-7652; borders.com.
LEONARDO DA VINCI: MAN, INVENTOR, GENIUS
ROBOTS & FLYING MACHINES
The prolific genius of Leonardo da Vinci is both apparent and amazing. A brief study of his work reveals not only his well-known artistic masterpieces (Mona Lisa? So over it.), but also his prescient inventions: Tanks, robots, calculators and helicopters all made appearances in his detailed notebooks long before their actual construction was possible. Leonardo da Vinci: Man, Inventor, Genius uses more than 60 working and interactive models of da Vinci's inventions to explore the polymath's genius, as well as the myths and legends that his life has inspired. Renaissance Days, featuring special activities and demonstrations (and, more importantly, the opportunity to dress up), take place every second and fourth Saturday through December. At the Detroit Science Center, 5020 John R, Detroit; 313-577-8400; detroitsciececenter.org; $16.95 adults, $13.95 children and seniors. Exhibit runs through Jan. 4.