THURSDAY APRIL 22
Running and Run-ins
Back 19 years ago, John Telford's maverick efforts promoting social justice and racial diversity in Rochester Schools made him an MT cover story. Hate mail, death threats, bullets fired at his home and his resignation were all noted along with his clashes with residents and the powers that be. In his recent memoir, A Life on the RUN — Seeking and Safeguarding Social Justice, the former WSU track star lays out a life of clashes and agitation in several school systems, including Detroit's. Telford reads and speaks at 6 p.m. at Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1805; detroithistorical.org.
THURSDAY APRIL 22
The oft-used phrase when describing Trans Am is "tongue-in-cheek." The trio, which formed in Washington, D.C., in the early '90s, plays with conventions and clichés of the '70s and '80s, creating mostly instrumental synth rock that either spoofs or pays homage (or does both, for that matter) to genres from Kraut rock to new wave to stadium rock. Over eight full-length albums, the irony-to-sincerity quotient has shifted — see 2004's Liberation, a grim critique of post-9/11 politics — but the analog knob twirling, Casio bleeps and monster shredding have remained, resulting in some damn entertaining tunes, ironic or not. Trans Am plays in support of their ninth disc, Thing, released Tuesday, at 8 p.m. at The Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $15; with Nice Nice and Jonas Reinhardt.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY APRIL 22-25
MI Earth Day Fest
Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day at this annual expo that showcases eco-friendly options in everything from food to transportation. The fest kicks off with a ticketed preview party Thursday, with comedian Dave Couiler, a green fashion show and organic food and drinks. Regular expo starts at 4 p.m. Friday and includes more than 200 exhibits and vendors, entertainment, kid-friendly activities, a farmer's market, a petting zoo, films, classes and more. Events coinciding with the fest include a career fair Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, a trail run at 10 a.m. Sunday and afterparties Friday and Saturday at Rochester Mills Beer Co. In downtown Rochester at Third and Water streets; more info and pre-party tickets at miearthday.com.
FRIDAY APRIL 23
A SPLENDOR OF CONTRASTS
Once the solo project of singer-songwriter Peter Silberman, this Brooklyn trio emerged last year with its debut LP Hospice, a dense concept album exploring the relationship between a terminal patient and a caretaker. The solemnity of theme is matched to impossibly beautiful music filled with sharp contrasts — shimmering ambient tones erupt into epic soundscapes awash in distortion; Silberman's halting falsetto is brought to the foreground only to disappear into crashing drums and a crescendo of horns. Even in the more delicate moments, it's often a grandiose and monumental noise, appropriate to the weighty questions the protagonist wrestles with. And while no easy answers are found, the music offers something akin to transcendence. The trio, which went from self-releasing Hospice to stardom on an indie scale, performs in support of the disc at 9 p.m. at the Blind Pig, 208 N. First, St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; $13 advance, $15 day of; with Phantogram.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY APRIL 23-24
The New Way Bar 75th Anniversary
The New Way Bar opened in 1935; 75 years later and with the third generation of the Kourtesis family at the helm, the bar continues as a watering hole and music venue. To celebrate, the bar's offering a weekend of rock, beginning Friday with Lucky Brown, Light in August, Green Collar, Exhaustone and Yours Truly. Party ramps up Saturday with Crud, Circus Boy, Grommet, Stellar Drive and Yankee Soil, as well as 75 cent drink specials. At 23130 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-9870; $5 cover Friday, $10 Saturday.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY APRIL 23-24
Motor City Vaudeville Revue
MUSIC, MAGIC AND MONKEYS!
According to the multi-talented folks behind the Motor City Vaudeville Revue, they're taking sideshow performances back to the circus heyday of the 1920s and '30s, when scores of itinerant performers crisscrossed the country. The old-school storyline centers around performances by two rival families, one circus and one gypsy, and includes burlesque, comedy, belly dance, contact juggling(!), magic, music, contortionists and all manners of sideshow spectacles. Rumor has it there'll even be monkeys! Doors at 8 p.m., performance at 10 p.m. at the Motor City Movie House inside the Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay St., Detroit; $15 advance, $20 door; visit detroitfireguild.com; additional performances April 30 and May 1.
SATURDAY APRIL 24
Belle Isle Annual Spring Clean Up
SO FRESH AND SO GREEN
Help get Detroit's natural gem ready for spring at the annual Spring Clean Up. The city will provide rakes, picks and trash bags; you just need to bring yourself and your community spirit … and gloves might help too. Volunteers are also needed to organize activities, shuttle helpers and handle refreshments. Afterward, enjoy hot dogs, chips and beverages courtesy of Friends of Belle Isle. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Belle Isle Casino; contact the Friends of Belle Isle at 313-331-7760 or fobi.org for more info.
SATURDAY APRIL 24
JUICE JOINT JOHNNY
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company and the Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company have teamed up to throw one swanky soiree in honor of the 77th anniversary of Prohibition's end in Michigan. The Jazz Age-themed evening includes unlimited access to 13 Kuhnhenn brews, food, live music, a floorshow and brief improv routines. Dress in 1920s garb and be ready to Charleston the night away. 8 p.m. to midnight at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; $75, $140 per couple; visit kbrewery.com for tickets and further info.
SATURDAY APRIL 24
I Don't Believe in Art. I Believe in Artists
THE COOPERATIVE AESTHETIC
Featuring the work of six young metro Detroit artists, I Don't Believe in Art. I Believe in Artists includes works created in collaboration with each other and with the likewise young curator Cedric Tai. According to Tai, Ian Swanson, Megan Heeres, Justin Marshall, Janine Surma, Adrian Hatfield and Isaac Richard were chosen for "their diversity of aesthetics, willingness to collaborate and ability to address a unique space with their work." Tai was awarded the chance to curate through CAID's curatorial competition, which required participants to organize and install a prototype exhibition in just two days. The winning result opens with a reception from 6 to 11 p.m. at Whitdel Arts (formerly the Ladybug Gallery), 1250 Hubbard St., Detroit; for info contact the CAID at 313-899-2243 ext. 151; displays Saturdays through May 22.
SATURDAY APRIL 24
Detroit Soup Invitational and Auction
SLURPING FOR A GOOD CAUSE
The Detroit Soup Invitational lets great D eateries vie for the title of Best Soup in Detroit. Proceeds benefit Detroit Waldorf School and Gleaner's Community Food Bank. Along with soup sampling, the evening includes a strolling supper and silent and live auctions. Restaurants include Mudgie's, Roast, Inn Season Café, Russell Street Deli, Slows, Sprout House and Mind, Body & Spirits. 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Gleaner's, 2131 Beaufait, Detroit; tickets, $50 and $125, must be purchased in advance: 313-822-0300 or detroitwaldorf.org.
SUNDAY APRIL 25
St. Pat's Irish Festival
BLARNEY OR BUST!
Now in its 33rd year, the St. Patrick Senior Center's annual Irish Festival celebrates the heritage of the Emerald Isle with more than 300 singers, musicians and dancers; authentic food and drink; a raffle to win $1,000, $300 and $200; and games and activities suitable for the whole family. It's a benefit for the center, which supports more than 2,000 seniors with meals, transportation, medical and legal advocacy, classes, social activities and a gathering place. From 1 to 9 p.m. at the St. Patrick Senior Center, 58 Parsons, Detroit; 313-833-7080; $3.
MONDAY APRIL 26
Crazy Dreams Band
PUMP OUT THE JAMS!
The Crazy Dreams Band comprises a group of musicians and performance artists from Baltimore's noise rock scene; they create heady psychedelic jams tinged with the fist-pumping catchiness of classic rock. The group is fronted by vocalist Lexie Mountain, founder of Lexie Mountain Boys, an avant-garde a cappella group that is as much about the riveting spectacle they produce as the clicks, grunts and screeches emerging from the singers' throats. With Crazy Dreams Band, Lexie proves her chops as a rock singer, matching her band's funky, rambling racket with bluesy Janis Joplin-like howls and gritty, guttural crooning. The joyfully noisy quartet plays at 9 p.m. at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668; $5; with Druid Perfume and Wiccans.
Detroit Experiences: Robert Frank Photographs 1955
Detroit Experiences showcases more than 50 rare black-and-white photographs taken in Detroit by Robert Frank during his 1955 travels throughout the country snapping pics for his book, The Americans. The legendary Swiss-born photographer captured the everyday lives of everyday Detroiters, from families cruising Belle Isle and hanging at drive-ins to factory workers on the job and lined up at drugstore lunch counters. One of the few shutterbugs allowed to take photos inside the River Rouge Factory, Frank referred to it as "God's factory," although he added, "I'm sure the devil gave him a helping hand to build what is called Ford's River Rouge Plant." On display through July 4 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900.