WEDNESDAY • 6
Japanese collective Ghost defies simple explanation — its sound is mutable and ever-changing, exploring everything from free jazz to acid rock to folk to world music beats. Since 1984, the group has been at the forefront of Japan's psyche-rock scene, improvising its fetching din at temples or abandoned warehouses until releasing its first album in 1991. Since then, the band recorded a handful of releases and toured sporadically, swearing off U.S tours four years ago, promising to return when Bush was no longer president. True to its word, this six-member incarnation of Ghost will perform at 9 p.m. at the Crofoot's Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com; $12 advance.
WEDNESDAY • 6
A HISTORY OF WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY IN PHOTOGRAPHS
First-time author and Wayne State University alumna Evelyn Aschenbrenner has a new book out on Wayne State's press that traces the evolution of Michigan's third largest university from its Civil War-era roots to the present day. Given access to the university's trove of wonderful old photographs, Aschenbrenner complemented a scholarly, researched text with scads of historic images. In a lecture at the Dearborn Historical Museum, she'll give a presentation on the book, projecting "rare and intriguing images of Wayne State that reflect milestones from the organization of colleges into a university in the 1930s, to its emergence as a modern research university." At 7:30 p.m. at the McFadden-Ross House, 915 Brady St., Dearborn; 313-565-3000.
THURSDAY • 7
MINGUS DYNASTY BAND
DOWNBEATS WITHOUT BEATDOWNS
Three decades after his death, the music of Charles Mingus has become a cottage industry with an orchestra, a big band and the Dynasty septet all keeping it alive. And though the bigger groups have an exciting heft and can render Mingus' most ambitious works, the great bassist spent most of his career toiling with combos where every musician had plenty of space to solo and show off his or her stuff. When Mingus was around, that meant space to fail and the possibility of a berating or worse from the volcanic leader. To the best of our knowledge, no musicians are fired on the bandstand or punched in rehearsal like in the old days. That means all the action is in the music, which, as this group has repeatedly proved, is action enough. At 8 p.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111. Tickets $19-$99.
FRIDAY • 8
Composed of American vocalist and guitarist Alison "VV" Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie "Hotel" Hince, the Kills became indie darlings with the release of their 2003 debut Keep on Your Mean Side. Its sound has been variously described as gritty, raw, sexy and trashy in just the right way. The band's third album, last year's Midnight Bloom, added a dash of electro pop hooks to the signature snarling guitars and drum-machine beats, but the Kills signature down-dirty aesthetic still prevails. With the Horrors and Magic Wands at 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; $15; all ages.
FRIDAY • 8
IAN SWANSON: LAQUERS
Adding to the hive of creativity that is the Russell Industrial Center is the newly installed Org Gallery, started by Detroit artists Ian Swanson, Chris Samuels and Lindsay Yeo. The trio plans to showcase contemporary artists, both local and national, at regularly occurring exhibits, beginning this Friday with Laquers, featuring the paintings and sculptures of gallery director Ian Swanson. According to Swanson, his current work "deals with notions of repair, utilizing impossible models of fictional structures; hovering in the space between the slickness of mass production, and the intimacy of labor and chance." Word. The show opens 6-10 p.m. at the Org Gallery, on the third floor of Building 2 of the Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay Ave., Detroit; 313-872-4000. And if you're in the mood to double your artistic pleasure, check out the concurrent opening taking place down the hall at the Detroit Industrial Projects, Thwarted Soul, an installation by Diane Whitehead featuring figurative drawings on paper.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY • 8-10
LOVE SPRINGS LAUGHS
Just in time for Mother's Day, Hamtramck's Planet Ant has a terrific twofer featuring two one-act comedies penned by Michigan playwrights. The Perfect Solution, from Michigander Kim Carney, was originally performed at last year's BoxFest and stars Jackie Strez and Jaime Moyer. The other half of the show, One Man's Trash, is written by Michigan playwright Joseph Zettelmaier, author of the award-winning play All Childish Things. This show stars Beth and Brian Thibault, with Patrick Cronin as the leprechaun (yes, we said "leprechaun"), and is directed by BoxFest co-organizer Shannon Ferrante. On Sunday, they'll even have free coffee and donuts for Mother's Day, for moms who like theirs with mirth. At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, with more shows at 8 p.m. May 15-16, at Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; $15 general admission.
SATURDAY • 9
ROCK AND RUMMAGE SPRING CLEANING SPECTACULAR
DRINK, SPEND, DRINK!
Those barroom merchants of memorabilia and miscellany known as Rock and Rummage present their second shot-andshop- a-thon — the Spring Cleaning Spectacular. The event features 10 vendors selling everything from pop culture ephemera and vintage clothing to records and retro rock magazines, with DJ Dougie Tangent spinning the soundtrack to your spending. Doors at 9 p.m. at the Belmont, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966; free.
TUESDAY • 12
BONNIE "PRINCE" BILLY
Will Oldham (aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy) is an American troubadour of sorts whose distinctive post-Appalachian warble, rich with plaintive sorrow and heartfelt joy, can be heard on the more than a dozen albums he's released under various monikers since the early '90s. The latest, Beware, features 45 minutes of lush, country-infused Americana, complete with a backup choir. He'll sing his aching melodies at 8 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com; $15 advance; with Lighting Dust.