POMP & HARMONIES
If you like the to be the one that heard them first, then check out emerging indie Local Natives. The band's dulcet tones are arousing much chatter in its native L.A., spurred on by radio play and blogger blow jobs. With rich harmonies, bombastic sound and sparkling percussion, the band's described as a less esoteric, more workaday version of other lushly harmonic indie faves such as Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire. The band's set to release its debut full-length Gorilla Manor in early '09, but you can get a first listen before they blow up (or vanish) at the Old Miami, 3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830.
NOMAN RECORD RELEASE
LOCAL BAND MAKES VINYL
Acoustic fronted, disarmingly catchy punk is the name of the game for this band of merry Detroiters. Noman's debut LP, Broadcast, was recorded at the legendary Electrical Audio studios by the equally legendary and loudly opinionated Steve Albini (see Nirvana, Pixies). The celebratory release show features the tireless Deastro along with Mr. Gnome and the Cause at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; majesticdetroit.com; $5.
BEYOND THE RAINBOW
CHILD STAR, DIVA AND QUEER ICON! OH MY!
A consummate performer, Judy Garland spent her life entertaining — first taking the stage as a precocious 3-year-old, then going on to amass an impressive number of live performances, television specials, radio appearances and films, including what is arguably one of the most beloved movies of all time (hello, Dorothy!). Beyond the Rainbow, set at Garland's famed 1961 Carnegie Hall concert, imagines Baby Judy reflecting on the turmoil (depression, drug addiction, failed marriages) and triumphs (success, accolades, a growing fan base of adoring gay men) of her life between belting out show-stopping renditions of her signature tunes. You can shed a tear for one of the greatest female performers of all time somewhere over the rainbow, or at Meadow Brook Theatre, 2200 N. Squirrel Rd., Rochester; 248-377-3300; visit mbtheatre.com for tickets and show times; performances through Feb. 1.
DANCING AIN'T CHEAP
The Blast celebrates and raises funds for the Detroit Dance Collective, which has sashayed and shimmed through countless works and educational programs since 1980. The fundraising shindig will feature wine, hors d'oeuvres, glass blowing demonstrations, music and a raffle. The cheddar will be used to continue educational outreach to area schools and in the creation of a new repertory. The Blast blasts off at 5:30-8:30 at the Glass Academy, 25331 Trowbridge St., Dearborn; 313-561-4527; $10 advance, $15 at the door. For tickets and more info on the Detroit Dance Collective, see detroitdancecollective.org.
GIRL FROM ANOTHER PLANET
Janelle Monáe is an R&B ingenue who is doing her best to redefine the genre. Her debut disc, last year's Metropolis: The Chase Suite, imagines the world in the year 2719, when soul takes on orchestral pomp with currents of jazz, hip-hop and funk humming underneath. Monáe's vocals shift between straight singing and spoken-word breakdowns with heavy-duty lyrics (crack, racism, STDs) that don't detract from the catchy horns and theatrical organ backing. The erstwhile musical theater student imagined a career as a Broadway star before heading for Hotlanta, getting signed to Diddy's Bad Boy Records and reimagining modern R&B. She'll be busting her otherworldly, sci-fi rhymes as part of the University of Michigan's annual MLK Jr. Day Symposium at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., 734-668-8397; info at onefokus.org; $15, $12 U-M students and staff, available by calling 734-763-TKTS; all ages.
DAM DESIGN SHOW
For the noncreative class, the world of design can seem like a mysterious no man's land — dangerous, yet alluring. But design will be deconstructed in the DAM Design Show which shows the step-by-step artistic process, from sketches to models to finished pieces in the construction of a chair — a utilitarian object and great equalizer that takes the intimidation factor out of design. The show unveils the mystery of great artistry, reminding viewers that art isn't just a highfaluting concept, but part of the daily grind along this mortal coil. Also featured at the opening will be a runway show of high-concept (read: intimidating) jewelry. At the Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8540; detroitartistsmarket.org. $45 members, $50 non-members. On display at DAM through Jan. 31, then on view at Mezzanine, 206 E. Grand River, Detroit, 313-887-0900, Feb. 4-15.
STARTING A HARE IN CERAMICS
WHAT'S UP DOC?
The rabbit in myth, lit and pop culture has a number of symbolic associations — wily trickster (Bugs Bunny), rebirth and renewal (Easter bunny) and totem of fertility and sexuality (that'd be the Playboy Bunny). In Starting a Hare in Ceramics, contemporary ceramic works depicting rabbits in both naturalistic and outrageous forms explore the various historical and modern meanings assigned to those furry, carrot-loving, long-eared, highly fertile mammals. Through March 15, at Pewabic Pottery, 10125 E. Jefferson, Detroit; 313-822-0954; pewabic.org.
MUSIC FOR GAZA
JAZZ FOR A CRISIS
In the name of "solidarity, peace, and justice," arts-and-politics activist Brad Duncan has assembled a band and an event reacting to the turmoil in Gaza. Michael Carey, James Cornish, Marco Navatchcoff, Kurt Priseb and Joel Peterson handle the music. Funds go to Palestine Office, a clearinghouse for groups seeking justice for Palestinians, and justice and peace for both sides. At Brad's, 1812 Church St., Detroit; 734-748-6350.
WE'VE COME THIS FAR
ENVISIONING THE FUTURE, EMBRACING THE PAST
Heritage Works is a cultural arts organization that celebrates African music, dance and culture through after-school programs, workshops and concerts. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Obama's inauguration the group is staging We've Come This Far, a show which features youths from four different Detroit arts organizations honoring earlier generations of African-Americans through vocal and dance performances. The concert offers a poignant homage to the struggles of the past on the eve of a momentous step forward in America's history. At 5 p.m. at the Marlene Boll Theatre inside the Boll Family Y, 1401 Broadway, Detroit; info at 313-438-2800 or heritageworks.org.
MARCUS, CHARLIE & JOAN RECORD RELEASE PARTY
When trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and saxophonist Charlie Gabriel last teamed up on record, they played up their love of New Orleans jazz. They're back to a more contemporary bag of tricks this time, but the big difference is Belgrave's wife, Joan, a jazz stage presence hereabouts in recent years, but only now on record (and about time). Ironically, in light of what we just said about the contemporary thing, Marcus, Charlie and Joan ... Once Again's highpoint is a version of "There'll Be Some Changes Made" that seems right out of a Mardi Gras street parade. Metro Times' ed.-in-chief W. Kim Heron emcees the record release party, 4-7 p.m. at Bert's Marketplace, 2727 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030; $25 includes food and a copy of the record.
GREATEST HITS AND PICK-UP LINE
French teachers, give thanks that students at least know "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir." Others, be there to celebrate over-the-top glam, the decades of stunning vocal work and (yes) the hits. As the Bluebelles, they charted in the early 1960s, with "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman." They simmered as Patty LaBelle and the Bluebelles and finally erupted a decade later as LaBelle, a soulfully rocking spectacle with the chart-topping, French-chorused "Lady Mamalade." Dissolution of the group led to some notable successes for Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx, superstardom for Patty, and periodic reunions like the current tour, which kicked off at Harlem's Apollo, site of some of their earliest successes. A big deal, mais oui? At the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611.
WINE IT DOWN ... WITH SCIENCE!
Turning boozing into a science lesson seems like it would be a surefire way to take the fun out of getting smashed — or it could just be another excuse to get drunk. At this edifying wine tasting chemist Dr. Laila Kott will explain the chemistry of grape maturity and the wine making process while vintner-sommelier Steven Brook will give a presentation on local wines. Participants will also be able to enjoy food and wine from the Great Lakes region throughout the evening. Chemistry never seemed so intoxicating! At 7 p.m. at Traffic Jam & Snug, 511 W. Canfield, Detroit; 313-831-9470; trafficjamdetroit.com; $10.
PUNK ROCK INAUGURAL BALL
ALL HAIL THE NEW CHIEF
Fancy-shmancy inaugural celebrations promising sunshine and rainbows abound on Tuesday, but ditch the red, white and blue glamour for the Punk Rock Inaugural Ball, a cheap alternative that still promises so much patriotic fervor you'll be puking stars and stripes before the night is through. Performers include former anti-capitalists the Versificators along with Bantha Fodder, Texas Prison Rodeo and F.A.S. Dress in your fancy thrift store rags and celebrate the long-awaited departure of old what's-his-name and the arrival of Obama at 8 p.m. at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; blindpigmusic.com; all ages.