WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 30
Club Bart's Eve of Eve
RAISE THE GHOST OF GRAM PARSONS!
Prep your liver for "amateur night" at Club Bart's Eve of Eve, a boot-stomping night of Detroit's finest country rock. The lineup includes the white-trashin' Don "Doop" Duprie of Doop & the Inside Outlaws, the aptly named singer-songwriter Katie Grace, the Sights' Eddie Baranek, and whatever honky-tonkin' musician decides to hop on stage. It's sure to be a tootin' good time. At 9 p.m. at Club Bart, 22728 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-8746.
WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY DECEMBER 30-JANUARY 3
The Lens of Impressionism
This week is your last chance to view The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850-1874. This pioneering exhibit posits the theory that a singular convergence of forces along France's Normandy coast transformed forever the course of fine art. The exhibit uses paintings, drawings and photography of beach scenes, seascapes and seaside resorts to argue that the development of fine art photography in that specific time and place led to the new approach to painting that came to be known as Impressionism. The exhibit includes works by painters such as Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Edouard Manet, and photographers such as Gustave Le Grey and Henri Le Secq. At the University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-763-UMMA; closed on New Year's Day.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY DECEMBER 31-JANUARY 3
Piano Channel Surfing
We caught the pianist Johnny O'Neal the other day, just as word was circulating that the Detroit piano legend Terry Pollard had passed away. O'Neal reminisced how, as a young player back in the 1970s, he didn't feel worthy of playing in Pollard's presence, then proceeded to apply all his keyboard prowess to render a tribute that would have made her proud — and maybe channeled something of her spirit. An alum of the Blakey Jazz Messengers, and the stand-in for Art Tatum in the movie Ray, O'Neal channels the elders into his own style for an extended run to finish one decade and start the next. At the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, 97 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms; 313-882-5299; reservations a must.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY DECEMBER 31-JANUARY 3
ROCK 'N' WRITE
Mittenfest IV features more than 40 bands from throughout the mitten (and the country) performing over four days to raise funds for 826michigan, a nonprofit tutoring center that helps students with their creative and expository writing skills. The New Year's Eve kickoff features folkie faves Matt Jones and Chris Bathgate, who'll be joined by a full band to lead the crowd in an "Auld Lang Syne" sing-along; Friday includes performances by the Great Lakes Myth Society, Champions of Breakfast, Lightning Love, Silverghost, Prussia and the Juliets; on Saturday, Detroit staples Child Bite and Friendly Foes will share the stage with west siders Drunken Barn Dance, Jim Roll and Black Jake & the Carnies, among others; and Sunday features the banjo-slinging Frontier Ruckus, a solo set by Fred Thomas, Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful, Secret Twins and more. The fest is presented by the Detroit Red Wings; tickets and limited edition merch will be available on all four nights, along with raffles of autographed goodies and other fun stuff. Doors at 4 p.m. daily at the Elbow Room, 6 S. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374; $9 New Year's Eve, $7 other nights; $25 wristbands good for all four nights available at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair in Ann Arbor.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY JANUARY 1-3
The Last Five Years
THE GIRL THAT I MARRY
Presented by the Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company, The Last Five Years, by new-school musical theater composer Jason Robert Brown, explores the anatomy of a failed marriage, dissecting how love falls apart when lives move in opposite directions. A struggling actress and an up-and-coming author tell the story (through song!) of their recently ended five-year relationship, from first date to divorce. The two move in opposite directions through their shared timeline, creating a he-said/she-said song cycle featuring tunes that run the gamut from mournful ballads to show-stopping Broadway numbers. Performances at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Furniture Factory, 4126 Third St., Detroit; info at 313-408-7269; tickets are $25, $22 for students and industry members; runs weekends through Jan. 23.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY JANUARY 1-3
Cycle World International Motorcycle Show
RIDE, CAPTAIN, RIDE!
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about two-wheeled rides at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show. A plethora of sports bikes, dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters, ATVs and more will be displayed, with experts providing info and advice. The show also includes seminars, interactive family activities and death-defying displays of motorcycle tomfoolery. Attendees can eyeball vintage rides and custom bikes, meet Ultimate Fighting Championship fisticuffer Kendall Grove, and enter for a chance to win a Suzuki V-Strom. Neat! So cover your hangover with a helmet from noon to 9 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. At the Rock Financial Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi; 800-331-5706 and motorcycleshows.com for info.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY JANUARY 2-3
Shen Yun Performing Arts
TANG DYNASTY DANCE
The rich cultural history of Imperial China is brought to life by Shen Yun Performing Arts, a New York City-based Chinese dance and music company. With elaborate costumes, digital backdrops and original scores that combine traditional Chinese and Western instruments, the group dances its way through thousands of years of Chinese history, combining classical, ethnic and folk dances with story-based compositions that depict ancient Chinese legends, historical events and the lives of folk heroes and other mythic figures. The international cast is composed of dozens of dancers and musicians who meld ancient art forms with modern flash-and-dazzle spectacle. Shen Yun Performing Arts takes the stage at 2:30 and 7:30 Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-961-3500; $33-$204.
SATURDAY JANUARY 2
After the most successful year in their history (including setting 62 box-office records), the Harlem Globetrotters bring their Magic Circle, half-court hook shots and iconic red-and-white striped balls back to the Palace for the tip-off of the 2010 season. Globetrotter regulars such as dribbling expert Scooter Christensen, funny guy Special K Daley and ball handler extraordinaire Handles Franklin will entertain audiences with their mix of on-court antics and athletic prowess. Offering wholesome, silly entertainment — "the sports equivalent of comfort food," according to Sports Illustrated — the Globetrotters still retain their luster after more than eight decades of goofing off for the masses. At 7 p.m. at the Palace of Auburn Hills, 6 Championship Dr., Auburn Hills; 248-645-6666; $15 and $24.50.
TUESDAY JANUARY 5
January Scholar Series
A TYPER'S SHOWCASE
Local authors Dorene O'Brien, Bill Harris and Michael Zadoorian are the scholars of choice for the January edition of the Detroit Historical Society's monthly series. O'Brien is the author of Voices of the Lost and Found, a short story collection that uses a diverse set of characters — from a graffiti artist to a prostitute — to explore themes of alienation and loss in urban America. Zadoorian's most recent work, the short story collection The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit, features characters coming to grips with the mistakes of their past in the flawed surroundings of our city. And poet and playwright Harris is the author of the forthcoming Birth of a Notion; Or, the Half Ain't Never Been Told, a work that combines prose and poetry to explore the provenance of racist stereotypes in contemporary American culture. The authors are all part of the Wayne State University Press Made in Michigan Writers Series and will read short selections from their works at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1801; $10, members free.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
MOTHER NATURE EXPOSED!
This annual exhibit features 95 awe-inspiring photographs from the world's largest wildlife photography competition. The winning photos, culled from more than 40,000 entries, represent 83 photographers from 24 countries, all striving to capture the raw majesty and drama of the natural world. Organized by London's Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife magazine, the competition has taken place for more than 40 years and makes its North American premiere for the sixth year at the Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-541-5717; on display in the Zoo's Ford Education Center through April 26. Before checking out the exhibit, be sure to download the corresponding education family guide from detroitzoo.org.