WEDNESDAY MARCH 3
Lyman Woodard Organization Orchestra
BIG BAND REVIVAL
Here's lost treasure being rediscovered: The late organist Lyman Woodard has a monumental rep as the leader of high-octane combos, but even most buffs who can chant "Don't stop the groove" as a mantra aren't aware of the short-lived Paradise Theater Orchestra of 1978-79, in which Woodard was a ringleader. Drummer Leonard King presented a septet version of the PTO for a truncated jazz-fest set last year, but he's back with a star-laden, 16-piece ensemble and the guarantee of a full evening to let the cats blow through the late-'70s orchestra charts and later Woodard material. In addition to King, the Woodard alums and admirers on tap include Ron English, Gerard Gibbs, Chris Codish, Rick Steiger, Johnny Evans and John Douglas. From 7 to 11 p.m. at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, 111 E. Kirby St., Detroit; 313-871-8600.
THURSDAY MARCH 4
Hamtramck: Then & Now
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Blowout isn't the only Hamtramck event going down this week. Author Greg Kowalski will also be in the increasingly multicultural city-within-a-city to promote his new book, Hamtramck: Then & Now. Drawing on the archives of the Hamtramck Historical Commission, this volume tells the story of how the 2.1-square-mile municipality grew into a city, illustrated with more than 160 photographs, new and old. Kowalski knows his stuff, and the book showcases a city that came together to work, worship, shop and, often, just to let the good times roll. The author will be present to sign copies of the book and answer any questions. At 7 p.m. at the Hamtramck Public Library, 2360 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-365-7050. Can't make it? He'll also appear March 13, at Borders Books, 31150 Southfield Rd., Beverly Hills; 248-644-1515.
THURSDAY MARCH 4
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
HILL COUNTRY HOEDOWN
Hailing from rural southern Indiana, this trio — guitarist Reverend Peyton, his wife Breezy on washboard, and his cousin Aaron Persinger on drums — performs country blues a la Charlie Patton with both authenticity and ferocity. Centered on Peyton's guttural-yet-soulful vocals and his devilish finger-picking, the group uses its vintage sound to address contemporary issues, from the death of local businesses on "Wal-Mart Killed the Country Store," to rising health care costs on "Can't Pay the Bill." But this serious fodder is balanced out by the band's shit kicking live shows, where unflagging energy and flaming washboards are the norm. The Big Damn Band's fifth full-length, The Wages, is due out in May. Starts at 8 p.m. at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030; $10.
FRIDAY MARCH 5
Berkley resident Sarah Trahan is a multimedia artist with a particular interest in mixed-media works and digital collages. Combining scanned photographs with drawings and other media, she creates images populated by invented figures in often-bizarre landscapes — images telling stories that are up to the viewer to interpret. A graduate of the College of Creative Studies and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Trahan is a faculty member at CCS and Oakland Community College, teaching digital media and alternative processes. This solo exhibition includes recent works and a number of her singular digital collages. Opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts, 407 Pine St., Rochester; 248-651-4110; on display through April 10.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY MARCH 5-6
Detroit Be Dammed: A Beaver's Tale
HISTORY FROM THE TRENCHES
An original comedy penned by Detroiters Mikey Brown and Shawn Handlon, Detroit Be Dammed: A Beaver's Tale follows one Detroit family through 300 years of the ups and downs of life in the Motor City. When Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac lands his canoe on the banks of the Detroit River in 1701, he's accompanied by Jacque LaMerde, a fur trader who plants his roots in the nascent city. And though the LaMerdes never achieve the fame of the Fords or Fishers, they do bear witness to the city's landmark moments. A multimedia comedy, the play features 10 songs, animation and video, and, hey, it just might teach you something! At 8 p.m. at Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; $20, $15 students, seniors and Hamtramck residents. Performances Saturdays and Sundays through March 27, with Sunday performances at 3 and 6 p.m. March 14 and 21.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY MARCH 5-6
Ballet Folklórico de Mexico
The late dancer and choreographer Amalia Hernández founded the Ballet Folklórico de Mexico in 1952, performing the regional folk dances of Mexico with just eight dancers. In the subsequent 50-plus years, her dancers have become international ambassadors of Mexican dance, performing in more than 80 countries and earning more than 200 awards for their beautiful and artistic presentations of Mexico's dance traditions. See 76 dancers in elaborate and colorful costumes twirl and spin their way through history and geography, combining folk and modern forms to create a fast-paced celebration of Mexican culture. Olé! At 8 p.m. at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8500; $30-$50.
SATURDAY MARCH 6
Po' Girl uses a mishmash of country, blues, jazz and folk to craft its prettily relaxed din, a sound the Canadian group has dubbed "urban roots." With gliding melodies, arresting female harmonies and instrumentation that runs the gamut from clarinets to accordions to glockenspiels to bicycle bells, Po' Girl offers the feel of homespun Americana laced with a modernish complexity. The quartet has released five discs, with a sixth due in spring. The current tour is an effort to raise awareness about child abuse; partial proceeds from merch sales will benefit the National Children's Alliance and Canada's Little Warriors. Doors at 7:30 p.m. at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451; $15; with special guest JT Nero.
SATURDAY MARCH 6
All About Bees
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ GOES THE HONEYBEE
Explore another facet of Detroit's burgeoning urban farming movement at All About Bees. The daylong conference hosted by City Bees Detroit will clue you in to the intricacies of urban beekeeping in chilly climes, providing info relevant to newbies and experienced bee-wranglers alike. Workshop topics include beekeeping in community development, building beehives, working with the local government and meadmaking. The conference will also feature a honey tasting and a Q&A with the workshop presenters. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waldorf School, 2555 Burns St., Detroit; for info and registration visit citybeesdetroit.com; $20.
SATURDAY MARCH 6
The catchy, messy pop delivered with just a hint of twang by Ohio quartet Wussy is the result of a musical collaboration between Chuck Cleaver (of the Ass Ponys) and Lisa Walker. The songwriting couple trades off vocal duties, often singing combative and accusatory lyrics that create an implosive he-said/she-said tension, irresistible both for its poignancy and the up-tempo melody that undermines it. The critically acclaimed quartet released its third disc last year, a self-titled effort oozing with heartbreak, honesty and Midwestern earnestness. A pared-down version of Wussy featuring just Cleaver and Walker performs at 10 p.m. at the Majestic Café, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; $8.
SUNDAY MARCH 7
A Space Family Hootenanny
3-2-1 … BLASTOFF!
This intergalactic bash features activities and lots of free swag for cosmonauts of all ages, including pool, face-painting, snacks, crafts provided by Handmade Detroit, comic books courtesy of Detroit Comics and family-friendly jams thanks to the Mydols and the Space Band. A portion of the proceeds from admission and a raffle (prizes include a family membership to the Detroit Science Center) will benefit Ferndale's J.F. Kennedy School. From 3 to 6 p.m. at the Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-546-3644; $10 adults, kids 12 and under are free.
Tradition Transformed: Chang Ku-nien, Master Painter of the 20th Century features the work of Chang Ku-nien, a painter and calligrapher who, until his death in 1987, faithfully and proficiently continued the ancient tradition of Chinese painting. After the Communist Party of China took power in 1949, Chang, who was trained in Shanghai, resettled in Taiwan, where he carried on styles that were being suppressed during China's Cultural Revolution. As a member of the renowned Seven Friends Painting Society, Chang also experimented with new techniques, promoted and encouraged art appreciation, and portrayed the landscape of his adopted homeland in his sparse and graceful paintings. In his later life, Chang often traveled to the United States to find new landscapes to commit to paper in the traditional method, but with his own expressive style. Tradition Transformed provides an overview of Chang's career and artistic evolution. Most of the exhibited works are gifts from Chang's son, and include large works rarely displayed due to their size and fragility. On display through April 18, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-764-0395.