FREAKS' NIGHT OUT
The new home for devilishly dark nightlife is Thursday night at the Ritz, when the sometime rock bar is transformed into the gothic-themed stepchild of City Club known as Circus Obscene. DJ Blayde spins goth and industrial, and resident performer Nizzel captivates audiences with the morbidly titillating combination of swords, fire and hooks. Alternative is the norm and attendees should dress to impress in their best leather, fetish gear or freakish attire. And there are even special flaming drinks! Not sure what to expect? Check out the wild scene from the safety of your bedroom on the live webcast at krazihouse.com. At 9 p.m. at the Ritz, 24300 Hoover Rd., Warren; 586-756-1724.
SPEECH AND DEBATE
SEX, SECRETS & THE WEB
The Theatre Company at the University of Detroit Mercy's latest production, Speech and Debate, is a comedic drama whose swirling plotline of sex scandals, tech talk and identity issues centers on the lives of three typecast teens: the untalented theater freak, the out and proud gay student, and the overeager, hopelessly geeky newspaper kid. When all three students discover that the high school drama teacher is trolling for young men on the Web, their lives — and their own secrets — become entwined in more ways than they would like. While deftly examining the theme of technology versus privacy, the play's main exploration is the gray area between adolescence and adulthood. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Marygrove College Theatre, 8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; tickets and info at 313-993-3270 or theatre.udmercy.edu. Saturday's performance will feature a pre-talk at 7:10 p.m. discussing body-image issues. Play runs through Feb. 15.
CLASS THREE OVERBITE CD RELEASE
Class Three Overbite delivers deliciously upbeat power pop, rife with the verve of ELO and the chutzpah of Queen. Lilting falsettos singing plucky tracks with titles like "Sunshine" and "Porn Addict" are hard to resist for any fan of '70s-era harmonies and hooks, and the touch of funky disco glitter that infuses their sound certainly doesn't hurt. The duo of Mike Elgert and Bradley Jendza celebrate the release of their second full-length Horses for Courses with Megaweedge and the Vamps at Small's, 10339 Conant, Hamtramck; 313-873-1117.
LICK IT GOOD
Jwl B. and Shunda K. are Yo! Majesty, an unapologetically tough hip-hop duo spitting out in-your-face rhymes about bumping, grinding and getting' down. Sure, a sex jam is rap patented, but it's usually not two lesbian, evangelical Christian emcees singing about meeting honeys at the club. Yo! Majesty's party-spit can be heard on their debut LP Futuristically Speaking ... Never Be Afraid, which features such comely tuneage as "Kryptonite Pussy" and "Booty Klap." And what's not to love about a disc that kicks off with the ass-jigglin' line, "I can't stand the way you look, but I like the way you fuck." And you thought only dudes could be chauvinist dirtbags? With Natalie Stewart and DJ Frankie Bank$ at 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; majesticdetroit.com; all ages. With an official afterparty featuring Floetry, Breezee One, Lenny Stoofy and more at the Scrummage Insurance Agency, 2937 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit.
DRAG QUEEN BINGO
AIN'T YOUR GRANNY'S GAME
Musty church basements filled with hunched blue-hairs juggling multiple bingo cards with an acuity that seems to defy their age — that's bingo. Or, a bald drag queen named Sabin calling numbers while heckling the good-natured participants with catty one-liners — that could be bingo too. Bingo out of the closet. A benefit for local HIV/AIDS charity Steppin' Out, the balls will fly at 7:30 p.m. at Five 15, 515 S. Washington, Royal Oak; 248-515-2551; five15.net.
MARK NEWPORT: SUPERHEROES IN ACTION
DO CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN?
Cranbrook Academy of Art artist-in-residence Mark Newport focuses on superheroes in his work, knitting costumes for characters both real and imaginary — such as Argyle Man and Flamer. Newport blends traditionally feminine fiber art with the typically masculine world of caped comic book adventurers, questioning how these iconic costumes contribute to a character's heroic and mostly manly mystique. Newport is one of four artists chosen to display work at the Smithsonian's prestigious 2009 Biennial Craft Invitational in Washington, D.C., and a book of his work showcasing his complete costumes will accompany the exhibit. Special events related to the show's opening include a 4 p.m. lecture titled "Cartoon Violence" by artist Jon Haddock, who has created comic strips based on Newport's costumes, and family-friendly comic and superhero activities — including a costume contest and a 24-hour comic marathon — will take place throughout the day. On display through March 29, at the Cranbrook Art Museum, 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3323; cranbrookart.edu.
CHINESE NEW YEAR DINNER
RING IN THE OX
Welcome the New Year for the second time in '09 by celebrating the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Ox, to be precise. Entertainment includes traditional Chinese lion dancers, firecrackers, fortunetellers, magicians and martial arts demonstrations. The multicourse dinner costs $89 a pop, but gets you in free to the following day's celebration, which features DJs Matt A and Tom T as well as more traditional New Year's festivities. At 7 p.m. at Mon Jin Lau, 1515 E. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-689-2332; reservations required.
GIL MANTERA'S PARTY DREAM
THE '80S ARE HERE TO STAY
Aviator shades and sparkly gold headbands may seem like accessories from days gone by, but for Gil Mantera's Party Dream, they are very much part of the here and now. The elctro synth-pop duo, comprised of Gil and his alleged brother Ultimate Donny, embraces the kitsch, the cheese and the spandex of '80s new wave in all its absurd danceable glory. With a live show that consists of strip teases, frenetic movement and downright mania, Party Dream is a sight to behold — an ode to all things tacky and uninhibited. New this tour is the addition of a real actual live drummer, who'll also be featured on their forthcoming album Dreamscapes. At 8 p.m. at the Pike Room of the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com; $8.
YES WE CAN?
Change is a topical idea — ever since our new pres championed a message of such on his White House journey. In this multimedia exhibit, artists explore what they believe needs to be rebooted, revamped and restored in American society for the good of us all, focusing mainly on the systems and institutions that shape so much about our lives: government, corporations, churches, industry and education. Change is certainly in the air at the Gallery Project, 215 S. Fourth St., Ann Arbor; 734-997-7012; thegalleryproject.com; on display through March 1.