FUN, FUN, FUN!
The sad fact is that most of pop music's living legends are dead. You can count the living "living legends" on two hands these days ... but Brian Wilson would undoubtedly be near the very top of the list. As the genius architect behind the Beach Boys and their sound, Wilson's place in history is more than secure. Had he come along at a later time, however, Wilson may have been more like Prince — a creative one-man machine rather than a collaborator with his brothers, cousin and friend. So, in many ways, he's finally doing what he maybe always should've been doing via a solo career. Those close to him speculate that the release of Smile, the most famous "lost" album of all time, a few years back was like a weight being removed from his soul, and his shows since have improved by leaps and bounds. For his Michigan appearance, Wilson will be performing his wonderful new album, That Lucky Old Sun (a concept album like Smile but more accessible), in its entirety. But have no fear! Wilson and band will undoubtedly re-create great BB songs from "Surfer Girl" and "I Get Around" to "Wouldn't it be Nice" and "Good Vibrations." The other plus is the audience doesn't have to suffer through an appearance by Mike Love! At the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-8397.
THAT'S SOME RACKET
Free shows for all-ages crowds may have helped experimental noise quartet Health make a name in L.A., but the hypnotic percussion, squealing synths and disembodied, chanting vocals on their 2007 self-titled debut garnered mad love on a national scale. A remix album of that debut — 2008's Disco — featuring electronic artists handpicked by the band and touring slots with the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Of Montreal followed, solidifying claims that Health is one (what, another one?) indie band worth keeping an ear to. With Farewell Republic at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Union University Club, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor; all ages; tickets are $15 general admission and $12 for U of M students, available by calling 734-763-TKTS.
TONGUES AND SAVAGE/LOVE
SHORT PLAYS GRACE A NEW STAGE
With the Zeitgeist Performance Space up for sale, the scrappy Abreact theater group was almost homeless for a quick moment. But as one stage closes, another opens: the company is taking the stage of the new Gryphon Theatre, above the Park Bar in downtown Detroit. They're inaugurating the new venue with two short, unusual collaborations by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin. Tongues is a short monologue-style piece performed by Richard Rischar, complemented by Michael Feidler's atmospheric percussion. Then actor-director-playwright Mike McGettigan and Sarah Galloway will act out Savage/Love, an often-volatile 15-minute pastiche of a relationship's highs and lows, with musical accompaniment. At 8 p.m. upstairs at 2040 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-962-2933; $15; more performances at 8 p.m. on Nov. 21, 22 and 29, and a matinee at 4 p.m. Nov. 23.
DYKES OF HAZARD
LEZZIES & LAUGHS
The Dykes of Hazard comedy tour travels to cities across the United States and Canada to put the funny back in gay. The Detroit stop stars "comic daredevil" and Dykes of Hazard founder Kristen Becker, Canadian Julia Stretch and Detroit's very own rock 'n' roll comedian Jen House. These brash, butch and (s)he-larious ladies are unabashed, unapologetic and (gasp!) actually intelligent. Breeders will be welcomed with open arms (if not legs). At 7:30 at Vivio's, 2460 Market St., Detroit; 313-393-1711; $25 includes full buffet; music from esQuire follows.
ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
A SHORT, BLUNT HUMAN PYRAMID
Tom Stoppard's 1966 foray into existential musing, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, recasts two minor characters from Hamlet as the protagonists in their own play. Taking place mainly when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would have been offstage in Hamlet, the story is centered on the duo's humorous blathering. While superficially nonsensical, the dialogue brings weighty themes to light: the quest for order in a disordered universe, free will versus determinism, and language's ability to obfuscate rather than clarify. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is being performed in rotating repertory with Hamlet, utilizing the same cast and set, allowing audiences to experience the interconnectedness of the works. Ooh, how postmodern! At the Hilberry Theatre, 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2972; $10-$30. Runs through Jan. 30; visit wsushows.com for details.
ARAB FILM FESTIVAL
ARAB CELLULOID, ENGLISH SUBTITLES
The Fourth Annual Arab American Film Festival presents works rarely seen here, including two works by this year's honored filmmaker, the acclaimed Youssef Chahine, who passed away last summer. The festival will screen Chahine's 1958 classic, The Cairo Station, and 1997's The Destiny. Other highlights include Captain Abu Rae, the winner of the Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; and Slingshot Hip Hop, an exploration of young Palestinians who employ hip hop as a means of resistance (followed by a discussion with director Jackie Salloum). Each feature-length will be preceded by a short film giving festivalgoers more insight into the Arab world (and more bang for their buck). At the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-624-0215; individual screenings are $7, $6 for museum members, festival passes are $35, $25 for members. Advance tickets available online only at arabamericanmuseum.org.
FLORA URBANA ART OPENING
Detroit artist Gilda Snowden turns her distinctive bold colors and textured brushstrokes to representations of tropical and hothouse flowers in this exhibit of new encaustic paintings. Although her works are classified as abstract expressionism, her flowers retain their lush and sensual form, with their brightly colored petals sure to captivate onlookers. Snowden, a professor of painting and chair of the Fine Arts Department at the College for Creative Studies, will lecture on her work. At 3-5 p.m. at Sherry Washington Gallery, 1274 Library St., Detroit; 313-961-4500; sherrywashingtongallery.com. On display through Jan. 10.
DETROIT URBAN CRAFT FAIR
GET CRAFTY ALREADY, DAMNIT!
Now in its fourth year, the Detroit Urban Craft Fair has only gotten bigger and, we confidently assume, better. The crafty, DIY mavens of Handmade Detroit have selected more than 60 vendors to showcase their artsy-but-not-fartsy goods, and have also added some non-shopping fun to the mix. To wit, the designers who participated in A Bag: A Dress (A Contest) — in which participants were given a brown paper bag filled with thrift store goods and instructed to make a dress — will showcase their creations in an all-local fashion show, and Detroit Evolution Lab will serve up vegan meals and snacks. Shopping local, supporting indie designers, eating vegan — does it get any more politically correct? At the Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451; ducf.com.
A RAMONE IN APPALACHIA
A connection between old timey tunes and punk may not be as farfetched as it sounds. The din may be different, but the homegrown ethos is much the same. Case in point: Tommy Ramone, the last surviving original member of the Ramones, is now half of bluegrass, alt-country duo Uncle Monk, whose true-blue old (and we mean old) school sound can be heard on the group's self-titled full-length. Banjo in tow, Ramone and Claudia Tiernan will be rocking it down home-style with Black Jake and the Carnies at Callahan's, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills; 248-858-9508; atcallahans.com.
With their 2005 self-titled debut, the guys in Vancouver's Ladyhawk showed that they were unafraid to do nothing more than straight-up rock. After two years of near-constant touring, they released their sophomore effort Shots, which kicks straight-up rock square in the nuts. Recorded in an abandoned farmhouse in the countryside, Shots is loud, brazen and, by the band's own admission, alcohol-fueled (but isn't every good rock album?) and crammed with enough guitars, feedback and raw energy to sustain a 10-day rip-roaring binge. Basically, it fooking rawks, man. At the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; majesticdetroit.com; all ages.
BUT NOT LIKE YOUR SCHOOL PROJECT
Confusion is an apt reaction to transplanted Dutch photographer Corine Vermeulen-Smith's current show, Dioramas. A cursory look through the MONA's window suggests nicely rendered, colorful photographs of ethereal landscapes. Go inside for a closer look and these presumptions prove less than entirely true. Something is visibly awkward about these vistas of Detroit's urban prairies, farms and the like. You begin to notice the landscape is actually a painting, at least in the background. The foreground isn't a painting, however; the trees, lily pads and foliage seem real enough as they gradually give way to the similar scene depicted in the painting. And they're not real either. What is going on here? Something well worth seeing for yourself. At the Museum of New Art, 7 N. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-210-7560; exhibit runs through Nov. 22.