WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 18
An internationally renowned designer, Stephen Burks has earned a rep not just for the creative and forward-thinking design projects, from retail interiors to lighting and home accessories, that spill forth from his Readymade Projects studio, but also for his commitment to encouraging sustainable design in the developing world. Through his work with the nonprofit Aid for Artisans, Burks helps local artisans find an international market for their works. He also regularly collaborates with these faraway creators, designing products that join handmade components with manufactured parts. Burks will speak about his sustainable design philosophy as part of the Toyota Lecture on Design series at 6 p.m. at the College for Creative Studies' Walter B. Ford II Building, 201 E. Kirby St., Detroit; free, but RSVP at 313-664-7465.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 19
GET YOUR GEEK ON
If your last trip to the state's largest hands-on museum was a class trip in elementary school, Science Rocks! provides the perfect opportunity to check out the new and improved Detroit Science Center, adult-style. The after-hours shindig features a stellar lineup of local music including New Grenada, Lightning Love and I, Crime, as well as a screening of the IMAX film The Alps with a live score provided by Zoos of Berlin. Neat! Admission includes drink tickets and access to the museum, so you can refresh your memory regarding cell replication before drinking them away with some frothy brews courtesy of the Woodward Avenue Brewers. From 7 to 11 p.m. at the Detroit Science Center, 5020 John R St., Detroit; 313-577-8400; detroitsciencecenter.org; $20, $15 for DSC members.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 19
Found Footage Festival
The forgotten ephemera easily accumulated from thrift stores, garage sales and roadside dumpsters has spawned an entire subgenre of entertainment, from Found Magazine to the found photo inspired music of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. The Found Footage Festival covers the VHS end of the spectrum, showcasing clips from salvaged tapes that, this year, include horrible Saturday morning cartoons, a 1987 video dating reel (found by comedian David Cross), home video of a heavy metal concert circa 1985 and a comp of exercise videos starring Milton Berle and the Bushwhackers of WWF fame. The fest was founded five years ago by Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, who have written for The Onion and Entertainment Weekly. They serve as hosts for an evening of hilarious film oddities that kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Main Art Theatre, 118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111; $10.
THURSDAY-SATURDAY NOVEMBER 19-21
Small's 10-Year Anniversary
A DECADE DONE RIGHT
To commemorate 10 years in business, umpteen-hundred ear-bleeding rock shows and about a gazillion beers served, Small's is throwing down with a weekend of kickass music guaranteed to please both bar stalwarts and scene newbies. On Thursday, booty-core practitioners Haf/Life take the stage along with the Luckouts and Devilfish; the Almighty Lumberjacks of Death perform Friday, and the celebration culminates Saturday with a night of balls-out Detroit rock featuring the Hentchmen, the Muggs and Shakey Jakes. Doors at 8 p.m. all nights at Small's, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-873-1117.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20
Holiday Gift Gallery
THE ART OF SHOPPING
Works by artists from across the state are featured in Paint Creek's annual holiday gift gallery. Traditionalists can peruse Pewabic Pottery tiles and hand-blown glass ornaments, while the more daring can check out modern creations from the state's burgeoning artists. The opening includes music that'll get your mood on (for the holidays, that is), hors d'oeuvres and sweets from local merchants, and a silent auction of ornaments donated by participating artists. All that and you don't even have to set foot in a mall! From 7 to 10 p.m. at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, 407 Pine St., Rochester; 248-651-4110; on display through Jan. 2. On Saturday, PCCA members can enjoy shopping discounts at a shopping extravaganza taking place from 9 a.m. until noon.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20
This Brooklyn-based quartet explores the complete range of roots music, from old-time country and Western swing to ragtime and Tin Pan Alley. And while the appropriation of vintage American sounds has become something of a tired fad, the Wiyos' seamless integration of so many styles, combined with their superb musicianship, songwriting and boundless energy, make them something wholly new (yes, new). After a summer spent on the Bob Dylan tour, the quartet continues on the road in promotion of its highly recommended fourth full-length, Broken Land Bell. At 7 and 8:30 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20
Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony
LIT UP LIKE X-MAS
Detroit officially commences its holiday season with the sixth annual tree lighting at Campus Martius. The evening's festivities include ice-skating shows, family-friendly activities and music from the Cass Tech marching band, the Michigan Opera Theatre Children's Chorus, country duo Bomshel, aptly named sax-man Alto Reed and more. But said hoopla is but a sideshow for the main event — the illumination of the 18,000 lights adorning the 60-foot spruce. Hot damn! Activities take place from 5 p.m. to midnight, the tree gets lit at 8 p.m. at Campus Martius Park, 800 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-962-0101; campusmartiuspark.org; free, but $10 preferred seating tickets are available at the Rink House.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY NOVEMBER 20-21
Mary Stallings & Eric Reed
A GREATNESS TOO LITTLE KNOWN
Note the company she's kept: early stints with Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and a classic recording with Carl Tjader; her last two discs had the backing of pianists Monty Alexander and Geri Allen — and her keysman for these gigs is the brilliant Eric Reed. Often compared to Carmen McRae, vocalist Mary Stallings balances McRae's matter-of-factual bluesiness with her own more buoyant ways of rollin' and swiningin'. She's also, rightly again, often cited as the great jazz singer known to far too few ... "perhaps the best jazz singer alive," crowed The New York Times. At 8:30 and 11 p.m. at Jazz Café at Music Hall, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8501; $27.
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21
The Few Records One-Year Anniversary
"WE ARE THE FEW"
The idea of a record label with a genre-spanning roster of quality musicians first occurred to founder Dominic Arellano in 2002, but it wasn't until last year and the release of Will Sessions' Many Faces that the Few actually materialized. Today, the label boasts an eclectic roster: six acts that embody its motto of "no genres, just good music." The one-year anniversary party showcases the label's signees — contemporary music collective New Music Detroit, synth-pop twosome Silverghost, Will Sessions Funk Big Band, indie-folk outfit Adieu and DJs Patrick Russell and Steven Robert — along with special guests Carl Craig, Kevin Reynolds, Zoos of Berlin and the Replicas. Public art collective Access Arts will also be on hand with multiple performance and art installations. At 9 p.m. at the Magic Stick and the Majestic Café, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; admission to both venues is $8 before 11:30 p.m., $10 after; all ages.
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21
Co-curated by MOCAD and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the premier Shadowbox Cinema features 90 minutes of short films "spanning the wide-eyed world of new indie and underground cinema." Indeed. From cynical animations to experiments in unabashed surrealism, these never-before-screened films are sure to offer spectators a more than sufficient dose of eye-boggling entertainment. A cash prize will be awarded to the champion film, chosen by the audience. At 7 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; $6.
MONDAY NOVEMBER 23
Blind Pilot founders Ryan Dobrowski and Israel Nebeker first began to garner some national attention when the Portland duo embarked on a West Coast tour by bike, pulling their instruments behind them in custom-made trailers. Having their rides stolen in San Francisco didn't deter the twosome, who completed a Vancouver to San Diego tour on two wheels shortly after recording their debut, 3 Rounds and a Sound. Beefed up to six members, Blind Pilot continues to garner critical acclaim (despite their relocation to a van) thanks to their warmly captivating indie folk, which maintains a sparse and intimate sound despite the additional members. The Portland-based outfit performs with Laura Veirs at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451; $13.50; doors at 7:30 p.m.