WEDNESDAY • 20
As a member of theatrical noise outfits the Scissor Sisters and Bride of No No, Azita Youssefi made a name for herself as a seminal member of Chicago's famed early '90s no-wave scene. But her current first-name-only solo artist stint, which began with the LP Enantiodromia in 2003, finds her exploring more tuneful territory with piano-based songs that are decidedly pop, if an unorthodox strain that'll no doubt appeal more to fellow musicians than to the standard record store customer. Her latest, this year's How Will You?, was finally completed after a five-year span that saw Azita juggling numerous side projects, including touring with Will Oldham and composing the score to a musical. She'll perform her dreamy, dynamic din with Wrekmeister Harmonies at 8 p.m. at the UFO Factory, 1345 Division St., Ste. 101, Detroit; ufofactory.com.
WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY • 20-21
IT CAME FROM DETROIT
Brew & View, the weekly movie bar night at the venerable Magic Bag, hosts the area premiere of the director's cut of the documentary It Came From Detroit. Directed by James R. Petix and produced by Sarah Babilia, the film details the hyped rise and ignored demise of Detroit's garage-rock scene through interviews with more than 100 artists, including the likes of Mick Collins of the Dirtbombs and Jason Stollsteimer of the Von Bondies. The film debuted in a rough form in 2006 at the DFT and was most recently screened at the Music Doc Festival in Sweden. Rock like it's 1999, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030; $6; doors at 8 p.m.
THURSDAY • 21
HOBO FILM FESTIVAL
The sepia-toned glamour of riding the rails is ingrained in American pop culture, from the writings of Kerouac to the songs of Guthrie. But boxcar-hitching hobos aren't a thing of the past — illegal rail hopping is alive and well, as evidenced by many of the short films showcased at the annual Hobo Film Fest. Organized by North Carolina-based Agency Films, the festival highlights both the romantic allure and incipient dangers of the hobo lifestyle. The program includes Irish filmmaker John T. Davis' epic 1991 documentary, Hobo, as well as a number of shorts. At 7 p.m. at the Dreamland Theater, 26 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-657-2337; $7.
THURSDAY • 21
LIVE IN TIME
Who's to say how Movement 2009 shakes down? Could storm, could be hot as hell, could be a bust, could transcend your perspective on sweat, community, headspace and beats per minute. The constant is that we must account for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival's propensity to wear you out. And like any workout, you gotta stretch first.
Enter Live in Time, a tercet of inter-media art performances exploring the ways in which sound creates image and image creates sound. Virgil Moorfield will be bringing an entire sound lab with him — high-tech audio system, digital projectors and super-computers specialized for live performance, along with a full set of general rock ware. His new synchronized audio-video piece will project onto multiple screens, making for quite an encompassing experience.
Chris McNamara (of Thinkbox), with Jennifer A. Paull and MT scribe Walter Wasacz make up nospectacle, a team working together to shape dubs and drones with bottomed-out bass hums and a frantic stream of evocative imagery.
Rounding out the evening is Merge, a duo born out of the new Media Arts program at the University of Michigan. Alvin Hill and Colin Zykowski also dig deep into the aural-visual exchange. Both are accomplished musicians and inventive ones at that. Merge uses stuff they've invented themselves to make new sounds and images, programming live electronic music with 3D art, abstract image and live video.
Judy Adams provides added soundscapes. Doors at 7 p.m. at the Detroit Film Theatre inside the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900. Tickets available at the box office and at dia.org.
THURSDAY-SATURDAY • 21-23
ANGELS IN AMERICA
Nascent theater company art4artillery, founded by three Wayne State students, presents its ambitious premiere production, Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-winning play Angels in America. Company co-founder Kyle Holton created an original adaptation of the astounding and critically acclaimed two-part, seven-hour epic which discusses the onset of the AIDS crisis in America, as well as politics and morality at the advent of the millennium (a lighthearted romp this is not). At 8 p.m. each night, with additional performances at 8 p.m. on May 28, 29 and 30. At the Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay Ave., Building 4, Detroit; 313-872-4000; admission by donation. An afterglow reception will take place both opening and closing nights.
FRIDAY • 22
SLICK & STICKY
Forcing raw sexuality to the forefront has always been Peaches' forte. The Berlin-based, Canadian-bred electro-punk vet has never shied away from the raunchiest of lyrics for her dance floor beats. But her music is almost secondary to the message, which comes on full-throttle during her beyond over-thetop live shows which have been known to feature the vicious vixen wearing a jumpsuit complete with glowing crotch, dancers dressed as lampshades, Peaches levitating across the stage or simply just cussing into the mic with a growl and a smirk that can mesmerize the most naive of spectators. She performs in support of her latest LP I Feel Cream at the Majestic Theater, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; all ages.
FRIDAY • 22
PHIL KLINE'S ZIPPO SONGS
POEMS FROM THE FRONT
During the Vietnam War, American GIs inscribed their Zippo lighters with terse sayings, from the morbidly humorous to the mystically hopeful. New York City-based composer Phil Kline, whose career has included writing music for orchestras composed of boom boxes and iPods, used 26 of these brief poems to create Zippo Songs, described by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as "one of the most brutally frank song cycles ever penned." The otherworldly music and oddly echoing vocals make it seem as if the soldiers are speaking from the afterlife, providing a chilling commentary on the despair and depravity of war. Featuring vocals by Theo Bleckmann — a "mad genius" says Downbeat — who's proved he can sing anything from Charles Ives to bop to alien sounds for the Men In Black soundtrack. At 7 & 8:30 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900.
FRIDAY • 22
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
A PHISH STORY
On an early disc in the early '90s, they did a medley of Bob Marley's "Lively Up Yourself" and Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing," and covered a King Sunny Adé juju classic along with a Coltrane composition, and tossed in freaky-leaning originals, one of them apparently a shout-out to Sly Stone. Not your typical keyboards-bass-drums trio. And in subsequent years they've upped the freak factor. Thanks to Phish playing them as intermission music, they caught on with jam band fans as well as with the more predictable fans of outré jazz. In fact, few bands have been so successful — artistically and commercially — in snagging followers from both of those two camps. "Very surreal," says bassist Chris Wood. With the Wood Brothers at the Sound Board in the Motor City Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-237-7711 Doors at 7, show at 8 p.m. $32-$37.
SATURDAY-MONDAY • 23-25
CIVIL WAR REMEMBRANCE
THE 1860s ALIVE!
Memorial Day was originally created to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War, so it's only appropriate to take a break from grilling and trek through the Civil War era at the Henry Ford. The weekend includes an exhibit of Civil War artifacts, a historical fashion show, military reenactments, live music, theatrical presentations, scads of hands-on activities and a recognition ceremony for current members of the military and veterans. At Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-271-1570, a complete schedule for the weekend can be found at hfmgv.org.
SUNDAY • 24
GINO ROBAIR 10-PIECE CONDUCTION
CONDUCTIONIST SAYS, ALL-ABOARD
Last week we reviewed the New York band Burnt Sugar as rare practitioners of "conduction," an approach to music wherein a hand-signaling leader guides groups of musicians through improvisation the way a traditional baton-waver leads musicians through a composed score. Believe us, it can be more visceral than it sounds. To the best of our knowledge, the system has only been displayed here during Sugar's two tour stops in the last decade — until now. West Coast conductionist Gino Robair gives the hand signs for this tenet featuring Ian Ding (DSO and New Music Detroit), Charlie Draheim (from the post-Wolf Eyes Michigan noise underground) and some familiar out-improvisers including Mike Khoury and Ben Hall. At 8 p.m. at Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID), 5141 Rosa Parks, Detroit; 313-899-2243.
I HAVE A CRAVING FOR YOU
I Have a Craving for You explores gay sexuality through ceramic objects by Howard Kottler and the sculptures of Aaron Peterman. The late Kottler began using ceramics to explore sexuality in the '60s, finding inspiration in the lowbrow. Works from his "ball and shaft" series (oh my!) and a selection of his famed decal plates are on display. Recent Cranbrook grad Peterman uses images from the Internet to create patterns representing facets of gay culture that he then forms into sculptures and installations. Two of his works are exhibited — Hanky Codex, which references colored bandanas worn to reflect particular sexual interests, and Harem, a work comprising five totemic structures containing repeated sexual images. On display through June 6, at Paul Kotula Projects, 23255 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3020.