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48 Hour Film Project

After being assigned a genre, character, prop and line of dialogue, participants in the 48 Hour Film Project must crank out a four- to seven-minute short that will be screened and judged just a few days later. Started in 2001, the fest now visits nearly 80 cities around the world (this is its second year in Detroit). Judges choose the best filmmaking team in each city. Winners go on to compete against each other at Filmapalooza, the festival finals, for a chance to win $3,000 and a fancy-shmancy camera. The shorts created last weekend in Detroit screen Wednesday at the Main Art Theatre (118 N. Main St., Royal Oak) and Thursday at the Maple Art Theatre (4135 W. Maple, Bloomfield Hills); info at; $12 each night.

Highland Games

The St. Andrew's Society of Detroit presents the 160th Highland Games, a salute to all things traditionally Scottish. Festivities kick off Thursday with a free screening of family-friendly Nessie tale The Waterhorse: Legend of the Deep. Friday features the annual Ceilidh, a highland fling complete with Scottish music, dancing and eats. The Highland Games commence Saturday, with pros and a limited number of amateurs testing their strength with such traditional pastimes as the caber toss, the 56-pound weight for height, and the stone put (all variations on throwing really heavy objects). The day also features historical re-enactors, Scottish food (haggis, anyone?), dance competitions, pipers, Scottish animals, kids' activities and, new this year, a Scotch whisky tasting (tickets, an additional $20, must be purchased in advance). At Greenmead Historical Park, 20501 Newburgh Rd., Livonia; info at 248-593-5064 and

It's Not Perfect ... But We Try

The title of work•detroit's latest exhibit is perhaps as succinct a summation of life as you'll find. It's Not Perfect ... But We Try is described as being about "history, miscommunication,
misunderstandings, incorrect assumptions, contradiction and failure. Or maybe just about jokes." Sounds just like life to us. The multimedia exhibit features works by Bernard Brooks, Matt Doyle, Kristen Gallerneaux, JenClare B. Gawaran, Joshuah Newth and Daniel Sperry. The opening is from 6 to 9 p.m. at work•detroit, 3663 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-593-0940; on display through Aug. 28.

The Squared Circle Revue

No ordinary circus, the Squared Circle Revue mixes magicians, rockers and burlesque beauties with the usual sideshow freaks, tosses them all into the ring and then sells tickets to the resulting fisticuffs. Each night features different acts and an ongoing storyline that incorporates every strongman feat and nipple-tassel spin. This year's battle royal features Gunther T. Strongman versus a mysterious, masked opponent. Also appearing are burlesque diva Roxi Dlite, Glenda the Bearded Lady, Pogo the One-Legged Boy, Scarboni the Great, Clowntown, Haley Jane, music by the Terrible Twos and the Glass Orphans, and many more freaks and geeks for your amusement and titillation. Doors at 9 p.m. at Theatre Bizarre, 967 W. State Fair, Detroit; $15 or $25 for both nights.

Cristela Alonzo

This burgeoning Texan stand-up pairs her love of pop culture with a sarcastic delivery to dish on everything from phone-sex commercials to video games, Catholicism to drinking. A musical theater actress by training, Alonzo began doing stand-up in 2003, impressing comedian Carlos Mencia enough that he brought her on tour and gave her a job writing for his now defunct Comedy Central Show, Mind of Mencia. Aside from stand-up, Alonzo is also a filmmaker, who has utilized her keen sense of life's ridiculous ironies in a number of award winning short films. 8 and 10:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, 314 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-996-9080; $11 advance, $13 at the door.

Emergence Theater Grand Opening

Seven months in the making, the Emergence Theater celebrates its grand opening with an all day fete of art, music, food and performers of all kinds — even fire-breathers! Oh boy! The day will also include creative, recreational and sustainable-living workshops, demonstrations on such topics as gardening and yoga, open music jams, free massages and more. The theater founders have grand ambitions for the spot, which, according to the press release, will serve as a "multicultural creative space, community resource, and learning center for the emerging sustainable living movement." The theater will not only host artistic events, but also roundtable discussions and sustainable-living workshops. Noon at the Emergence Theater, 24918 John R, Hazel Park; 248-416-7737; $5 suggested donation.

Brian Olive

Under the pseudonym Oliver Henry, Brian Olive served as guitarist for the Greenhornes, and then for bluesy rockers and former White Stripes cohorts the Soledad Brothers. But on his self-titled debut, Olive steps out of the garage and showcases his songwriting chops with an eclectic blend of New Orleans jazz, '60s psychedelia and '70s-era rock 'n' roll. It's a dreamy and rich array that recalls flower children and love-ins, a feel-good romp for modern-day hippies who wish they coulda seen the Summer of Love. With Chris Bathgate, the Muldoons and Dooley Wilson at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668.

Safe Streets Youth Ride

The Hub, Detroit's nonprofit bike shop, provides a number of free biking programs to local kids, including Youth-Earn-a-Bike, which gives those ages 6 to 18 the opportunity to earn a donated bike by first learning to repair it. Serve as a cycling role model to graduates of the program by joining them on the Safe Streets Youth Ride, which will pedal past such notable Detroit sites as the Heidelberg Project, Eastern Market and the Riverfront. All proceeds will benefit the bikers of the future by funding the Hub's youth education programs. 2:30 6:30 p.m. at the Hub, 3611 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-879-5073;; $25 for adults, $10 with student ID, kids 14 and under ride free.


They've toured Europe and America. They've won hardcore, learn-all-the-words-and-shout-along fans in towns big and small. They got mad love in any respected magazine you can name, from Rolling Stone to Spin to NME, and all the band's albums made many critics' year-end top-ten lists. The songs penned by shouter-guitarist Wendy Case are as good if not better than those by any literate, sensitive, street-aware and experience-informed ex-toxins fanatic (which pretty much describes anybody great in rock 'n' roll history, doesn't it?). The Paybacks and their brand of fist-jacking rock 'n' roll were also supposed to conquer. That didn't happen. But isn't that always the case with any band that's truly exceptional in the leanest, most truthful sense? Hard to believe this quintet has not hit a stage in more than two years. So this show is a reunion of sorts — and an altruistic one at that — a benefit for breast cancer. At the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward, Ferndale; 248-544-3030, with the Octopus, the Sugarcoats and Go-Go Yugo.

ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day

Nearly 200 events will take place throughout the city of Detroit as part of the third annual Neighborhoods Day. Started by ARISE Detroit!, a coalition of more than 400 community organizations, Neighborhoods Day showcases the civic spirit of Detroiters through a variety of events — neighborhood clean-ups, health screenings, art projects, volunteer drives, service projects and more — hosted by various churches, block clubs and community groups. Noted events include a concert by the Mosaic Youth Theatre on the grounds of the Motown Historical Museum, a foreclosure prevention fair, a neighborhoods home tour, an automotive heritage site bike tour, a Tiny Tiger T-ball tournament and six public arts projects in the Skillman Foundation's Good Neighborhoods areas. For more information, visit or call 313-921-1955.

The Builders and the Butchers

The music of Portland five-piece the Builders and the Butchers recalls the ecstatic fervor of rural tent revivals, with desperate gospel shouts and twanging guitars joined by banjos, mandolins and washboards. The band's frenzied live show keeps the feeling alive, often enlisting the crowd as backup vocalists or leading a procession out into the street for the final songs. The group is touring in support of its sophomore effort, Salvation is a Deep, Dark Well, a dark and swampy anachronism of folk, bluegrass, death and the devil. With Illinois at 8 p.m. at the Crofoot's Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333;; $8.

John's Carpet House Blues Picnic

Every week, amid burned-out houses and abandoned factories, music lovers congregate in a freshly mowed plot of land for a grassroots blues festival and jam. A Detroit tradition, the jam is organized by retired autoworker and DJ Big Time Pete, and regularly features such notable local bluesmen as Harmonica Shaw and Howard Glazer. The eponymous John, who got the whole thing started, died five years ago, and the former location burned down two years back, and pheasants and weeds now run rampant through the neighborhood, but the music continues. Join in the ruckus, or simply grab yourself lawn chair, grill up some dogs and enjoy the blues on a summer day. The picnic takes place 3 p.m. until dark every Sunday through Sept. 13, at the corner of Frederick and St. Aubin streets, Detroit.

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