WEDNESDAY • 4
Over the course of the group's first two albums, New York City's Asobi Seksu established itself as a bunch of shoegazing, starry-eyed dreamers with heady distortion practically burying the half-English, half-Japanese lyrics. But on the band's third release, Hush, the group — pared down to a duo — highlights the pop tendencies that it has merely hinted at before. The result is beautifully crafted songs with subtly shifting dynamics, understated guitars and captivating vocals. Critics are split on whether Hush represents a stepping- stone to the duo's new sound or the full realization of it, but either way the result is mesmerizing. (Oh, and we almost forgot the obligatory mention that the band's name roughly translates to casual sex. Cool!) With Bell and Puzzlefighter at the Crofoot's Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com; $8.
THURSDAY • 5
THE LANGSTON HUGHES PROJECT
ASK YOUR MAMA: 12 MOODS FOR JAZZ
Ask Your Mama is an epic Langston Hughes' poem — a 12-part suite set to a musical score that draws on everything from blues and Dixieland to African drumming and progressive jazz. A full performance of the piece, which speaks to African-Americans' struggle for freedom, was never realized before Hughes' death in 1967. This multimedia performance was developed by Ron McCurdy, a professor of jazz studies at the University of Southern California. As McCurdy recites the poem and his jazz quartet plays the music, striking images from the Harlem Renaissance play in the background. Combining words, music and images, the Langston Hughes Project provides a beautifully illustrative glimpse into African-American culture in the first half of the 20th century. The free performance takes place 6-8 p.m. at the Michigan Union Ballroom, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor; info at 734-763-3202.
THURSDAYSUNDAY • 5-8
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra's annual Classical Roots series pays tribute to the contribution of African-Americans to classical music. This year's performances honor the composer William Grant Still, who wrote more than 150 pieces and was the first African-American to conduct and have one of his works performed by a major symphony orchestra. Thursday, Still's granddaughter Judith Anne Still will give a free lecture on his life and work, after which guests are invited to attend the DSO rehearsal. Saturday features the ninth annual Classical Roots celebration, a black-tie affair which includes a cocktail reception, dinner, performance and afterglow, with $275-$500 tickets raising funds for DSO educational programs. At the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111; detroitsymphony.com. Tickets for regular performances are $19-$71, $5 tickets are available for students for one performance in March.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY • 5-8
A FEMININE ENDING
The off-Broadway debut of playwright Sarah Treem (who also writes for hip HBO drama In Treatment), A Feminine Ending is a tale of twentysomething uncertainty. Amanda Blue is an oboe player and aspiring composer in a relationship with a soon-to-hit-it-big rock star. After deciding to defer her dreams in deference to her man's career, turmoil back home and a fling with her high school sweetheart prompt her to re-examine her oh-so-grown-up decisions. Should she keep writing commercial jingles and play sidekick to a rock star or take a chance on her own dreams? The quarter-century crisis kicks off at the Performance Network Theatre, 120 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-0681; performancenetwork.org for tickets and complete schedule.
FRIDAY • 6
THE DRUNKS' STIMULUS PACKAGE
Times are tough in the city, so there's no better time to drink your cares away — and at Harpos Recession Proof Fridays you can do it on pocket change: $5 gets you in, $.50 gets you beer and $.99 gets you mixed drinks. And for only $10, you can drink the entire night (or until you pass out on the bathroom floor). The night also features local bands, dancing and a sexy hot buns contest, for both ladies and dudes. Perhaps the only party in town where you can get shitfaced for dirt-cheap while ogling prominently displayed ass. But, please, do it all responsibly. At Harpos, 14238 Harper Ave., Detroit; 313-824-1700.
FRIDAY • 6
SINCERE POP TROUBADOR
On Sycamore Meadows, his fourth solo effort, pop songwriter and producer Butch Walker reveals his introspective side with heart-on-his-sleeve lyrics touching on love, loss and growing up. And while the heartfelt earnestness reduces Walker's touch of glammy irreverence, it doesn't get in the way of the jangly and literate indie pop that his fans so fervently adore. Catch the swaggering and charming almost-pop superstar with the Films at the Magic Bag, 22918 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248- 544-3030; themagicbag.com; $15 advance, doors at 8 p.m.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY • 6-8
HOT ROD HEAVEN
More than 1,000 exhibits of hot rods and customized classics will be on display at the 57th annual Autorama, billed as America's greatest hot rod show. Along with tricked-out and souped-up rides galore, the show will feature a pinstriper charity jam where artists from across the country will dazzle with their decorative painting panache, a legends of hot rodding summit, a back-to-the-'60s special collection and Detroit Autorama Extreme, which includes the latest, craziest customs, as well as the so-called Ol' Skool traditional rods. Get dropped, decked, chopped, pancaked, rolled and slammed (whatever the hell that all means) at the Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit; info at autorama.com.
SATURDAY • 7
BROKE ASS BEATS
Just in case you've forgotten in the last 200 words or so, the U.S. of A. is officially in a recession. And if dancing at Harpos ain't exactly your scene, the techno world is also rallying to provide quality beats at a price that anyone can afford — in this case, free. Every month, Oslo will host Recession, featuring DJs who are apparently too broke to buy new records. But they'll still spin the familiar house and techno that gets crazy kids on the dance floor. DJs include Mathew Boynton, Whistle-Boi, Voigt, Benny, Kalvin and Hobbez, and Stos. At 10 p.m. at Oslo, 1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-962-7200.
SATURDAY • 7
SMUCKER'S STARS ON ICE
A CHILL A MINUTE
Figure skating is truly sports entertainment — only pro wrestling can compete in terms of flashy lighting, crowd-pumping tunes, skintight neon leotards and breathtaking moves. And they're both choreographed! This year's family-friendly ice spectacular showcases Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen and 2008 World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Jeffrey Buttle. The duo will be joined by a host of Olympic, world and national champions set to perform dazzling triple lutzes, stunning spins and graceful flying camels (seriously!) at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace of Auburn Hills, 5 Championship Dr., Auburn Hills; 248-377-0100; palacenet.com; tickets start at $25.
MONDAY • 9
LYMAN WOODARD ALUMNI MUSICAL TRIBUTE
MONDAY NIGHT SPECIAL
Hammond B-3 wizard Lyman Woodard rocked many a house on many a night, but his time at Cobb's Corner in the '70s and '80s is the stuff of Motor City music myth. While lots of his contemporaries dreamed of a wooden stake through the heart of disco, Woodard claimed to be playing "jazz with a disco beat" — if you can't beat 'em, subsume 'em. Alums and admirers of Woodard, who died last week at age 66, are to gather Monday to swing his praises. Organizers Leonard King and RJ Spangler have tapped Dennis Coffey, Ron English, Renell Gonsalvez, Robert Tye, the vocalist Royce, various members of the Sun Messengers and more, including organists Gerard Gibbs and Chris Codish. John Sinclair handles emcee duties and poetry. At 9 p.m. at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543. (And speaking of Cliff Bell's, regulars the Scott Gwinnell Orchestra make an occasion of their gig on Wednesday, March 11: It's a release party for the big band's long-awaited second CD.)
TUESDAY • 10
BUKOWSKI TRIBUTE NIGHT
In honor of the 15th anniversary of the death of Charles Bukowski — that debaucherous, down-and-out, "underground" literary celebrity who turned all things depraved into inspiration — Token Lounge's weekly cheap beer night known as Project Barfly is hosting a Bukowski Tribute Night. Fans are encouraged to bring in their favorite Bukowski poem, short story or passage to share while Bukowski films, such as Barfly and Factotum, play in the background and the empty beer bottles pile up (hey, it's only appropriate). At 8 p.m. at the Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Rd., Westland; 734-513-5030; free.
DR. SEUSS 105TH BIRTHDAY EXHIBIT AND SALE
WOULD YOU, COULD YOU IN A GALLERY?
March 2 marked the 105th birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, best known simply as Dr. Seuss. America's beloved children's author wrote and illustrated more than 60 books featuring fantastical worlds and outrageous creatures that are now indelible icons of American pop culture. This commemorative exhibit and sale features examples of Seuss' lesser-known works, including political cartoons and bronze taxidermy sculptures, as well as illustrations from some of the wackiest and most wonderful children's books ever written. On display though April 30, at Art Leaders Gallery, 33030 Northwestern Hwy., West Bloomfield; 248-539-0262; artleaders.com.