WEDNESDAY APRIL 28
The Apples in Stereo
HEY, JEFF LYNNE ...
One of the foremost ensembles of the Elephant 6 collective, the Apples in Stereo are revivalists and revisionists (in the best way) of sunny '60s pop and psychedelia, creating joyful hook-heavy tunes that are both ambitious and accessible. The group released its seventh studio disc last week, Travelers in Space and Time, an effort described by brainy frontman Robert Schneider (the dude even created his own musical scale based on logarithms!) as a "futuristic pop record." But its sound is firmly rooted in the mid-'70s, thanks to vocoders, disco beats and synths, all performed with an ELO-like exuberance that makes it nearly impossible not to like (that is, unless you hate ELO). The Apples perform in support of the disc with Generationals and Laminated Cat at 8 p.m. at the Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $12 advance, $15 day of.
FRIDAY APRIL 30
Detroit Dance Collective 30th Anniversary
PIROUETTING INTO A NEW DECADE
The Detroit Dance Collective celebrates three decades of making contemporary dance both accessible and affordable with a gala anniversary concert. DDC dancers will perform the metro Detroit premiere of José Limón's 1971 work Dances for Isadora, a series of four solos set to the music of Frédéric Chopin and inspired by the life of renowned dancer Isadora Duncan. The company will also premiere In the Moment, a multimedia work by DDC artistic director and co-founder Barbara Selinger, and A Traditional Duet (love), a series of duets created for the DDC by Chris Masters, artistic director of the Mack Avenue Dance Company. Starts at 8 p.m. at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-943-2354; $20-$30; a pre-concert Champagne reception at 7 p.m. is an additional $15.
FRIDAY APRIL 30
TAKE THE TOUR DE PANTS AT CYCLE BOUND
Any cycling enthusiasts who'd gripe in offense about the objectification of their bikes better just steer clear. For the rest of us who like to pump, lube, drop, lock and ride, ride, ride — with or without protection — well, the third annual Bike Smut tour will present more faster and harder cycling exploits than would be street legal. Touring the country, the show is a collection of short films of bicycle erotica produced by amateurs. Sometimes the riders are the characters, sometimes the bike itself is part of the storyline, sometimes the bike is the ex. A new fetish? Perhaps. An evening of creativity, humor and avant-garde art? Absolutely. Bike Porn rides over the established genres of porn and takes it down — or maybe up — a couple gears. With some clips intended to get you tuned up for where the road takes you later that evening, other segments cruise through more complicated issues of sexuality, sport and lifestyle. There's a cash bar and live performances along with the films. The Bike Porn 3: Backlash Tour Detroit screening begins at 9:30 p.m. at the Hastings Street Ballroom, 715 E. Milwaukee St., Detroit. $6, $5 with a bike, $4 without pants.
FRIDAY APRIL 30
The Last Drag Bar Crawl
Whether you're applauding or cursing Michigan's new smoke-free status, the last bar night before ciggies are banned ought to be marked in style, no? The Last Drag Bar Crawl (get it?) does just that with local drag queens leading attendees on a tour of Ferndale's smoky hot spots, including the Emory, the WAB, Dino's, Como's, Gracie's Underground and Club 9, for one last night of first- or second-hand inhaling. Crawlers receive special discounts and promotions, and all proceeds benefit the Ruth Ellis Center, a social service agency that provides residential space and support to at-risk LGBT youth. Tours depart at 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. from the Loving Touch, 22364 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; $10 advance, $12 at the door, call the Ruth Ellis Center at 313-252-1950 to purchase.
SATURDAY MAY 1
Uno de Mayo Bike Ride
We're not sure what cycling has to do with a Mexican army victory over French forces nearly 150 years ago, but the Uno de Mayo ride has everything to do with appreciating Detroit's Mexicantown and its developing Greenlink. As such, Detroit Bikes! is organizing this fifth annual ride as a kickoff to the neighborhood's Cinco de Mayo celebrations. The 10.5-mile ride (at a beginner's pace) includes visits to Fort Wayne, Riverfront Park and St. Anne's Church before a celebration at Clark Park at about 1:30 p.m. You'll need your bike, a helmet and a liability waiver. Registration at 9 a.m., ride at 10 a.m., from Clark Park near the baseball fields, 11340 Clark St., Detroit; visit detroitsynergy.org.
SATURDAY MAY 1
Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
THE NIGHT THEY'LL CALL IT A DAY
After roading together since early February with just a two-week break, the latest lineup of the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour sails into Detroit for their 36th and final show. Are they all frayed and tired of each other? Anxious to end the tour? Or have they sharpened the music to a razor's edge that they'll be sorry to relinquish — and pour that emotion into the gig? It'll be the latter, knowing this crew of all-stars, all of whom have been associated with the prestigious California fest. And within the sextet, we'll call out in particular the synergistic possibilities of Regina Carter on violin plus Kenny Barron on piano, as they dueted on the dazzling Freefall nearly a decade ago. Kurt Elling, the scatting ex-seminarian, sings, and, rounding out the band, there's Russell Malone on guitar, Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass and Johnathan Blake on drums. At 8 p.m. at Music Hall, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8501; $27-$47.
SATURDAY MAY 1
AUDIO JUNKIES UNITE
There is no mot juste for what drives an audio junky. For some it's almost sexual, or like a crazy kind of toxic candy that hits the senses from inside the gut and rises slowly, collecting goose bumps along the way, until it sort of erupts in the head and transcends place and time. When music you love sounds perfect, there's nowhere else to go.
The argument is that star "audiophiles" including Axl Rose, Jack White, Neil Young, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder and Norah Jones and others, and countless music producers such as Rick Rubin, understand that when you hear music how it should sound — that is, how the artists wanted you to hear it — you'll give yourself over to its power and pull.
For some, high-end audio starts at an iPod wired through bad computer speakers and ends at an entry-level audiophile stereo and turntable; or it continues on to become a hobby, or a full-on obsessive chase for some unattainable sonic holy grail, a monomania not easily kept in check — but hey, at least it's legal.
The annual, well-organized AKFest 2010 in Novi accommodates those wants, hobbies, and personal monomainias, and offers what's basically an audio fetishist's dream. Look for more than 40 hotel rooms on multiple floors outfitted with clean lines from dozens of manufacturers such as Holland's Yara Design and U.K.'s Harbeth or American companies' McIntosh Labs and Wadia Digital, or the Michigan-based tube amp specialists of Nos Valves. Stroll room-to-room and discover the best in digital download technology, LP-based or digital component systems, from modestly priced to the stupid, sell-your-house kind. Two rooms will feature home theater/surround.
AKFest is sponsored by the locally based audio forum Audio Karma (audiokarma.org), a site boasting more than 49,000 members worldwide. The forum caters to many audio do-it-yourselfers, and goes lengths to erase misleading clichés that the audio hobby is but overpriced elitist toy fodder for rich folk.
AKFest chief organizer Dave "Grumpy" Goldstein agrees and says much of the fest reflects that attitude. In fact, the fest has grown from a local beer-drinking get-together in 2003 to the Midwest's ace audio event that's gaining international traction and youth interest. But that rise hasn't been easy.
"We've been bustin' our ass to stay afloat, Goldstein says. "About 25 percent" of those showing at AKfest now are Michigan-based manufacturers or dealers so there was no way the fest could stay local.
In last year's sour economy, the fest drew nearly 1,000 paid attendees and Goldstein says more than half were out-of-state.
If you come, as the AKFest site says, "Don't be shy about asking the room host about his or her system. The exhibitors are there for you. You can arrange to purchase almost anything you see." There'll be swap rooms selling gear, used vinyl and CDs. Bring your favorite music to try out different systems.
"It's about as much fun as a bunch of audio geeks can have," Goldstein says.
Saturday, May 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, May 2, from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Live music on Saturday evening from the David Gerald Band. Tickets are $20 at the door. At the Novi Sheraton, 2111 Haggerty Rd., Novi. Look at akfest.org for more info.
SUNDAY MAY 2
Cinco de Mayo Celebration
THE FIESTA GOES ON
While organizers have scaled back Southwest Detroit's annual Cinco de Mayo festivities, a number of events are still being held to celebrate this traditional holiday. The parade — a cavalcade of Mexican bandas, low-riders and school marching bands — will march between noon and 2 p.m. down Vernor from Waterman Street to 24th Street, and will be immediately followed by the blessing of the low-riders in the Mexicantown International Mercado parking lot. Revelers can then attend the opening reception for the exhibit Inside Southwest Detroit, featuring photographs by local artist and community activist Erik Howard. The reception takes place from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Mexicantown International Mercado, 2826 Bagley St., Detroit, and will be displayed through May 28. For more info on Cinco de Mayo events, visit insidesouthwest.com.
MONDAY-TUESDAY MAY 3-4
Drink Well, Do Good
PARTY WITH A CONSCIOUS
The International Society of Africans in Wine is hosting this multi-city tour that celebrates local food and culture while raising funds to build a viticulture training center in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The shindig comes in two forms — on Monday, enjoy a classy evening on the town at Drink Well, a wine tasting featuring beverages, both global and local, cuisine by area chefs, and African chocolates and coffee. Sip and sample from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-494-5800); $100 advance, $115 day of. Then on Tuesday, get down to global sounds at the Do Good benefit concert featuring the Chicago Afrobeat Project and Detroit's own Odu Afrobeat Orchestra. At 7 p.m. at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700); $15; all ages. Info and tickets for both at detroitsynergy.org.
Art, Anti-Art, Non-Art
A CREATIVE REGENERATION
The exhibit Art, Anti-Art, Non-Art: Experimentations in the Public Sphere in Postwar Japan, 1950-1970 highlights the creations of a period when the norm was eschewed and innovation was seemingly unlimited. As Japan emerged from war and then allied occupation, Japanese artists responded to their transformed nation by discarding the traditions of the past, instead experimenting with multimedia forms in works that defied the accepted definitions of art. This period saw the rise of many notable artistic groups – such as Gutai Art Association, Tokyo Fluxus, Group Ongaku, New Dada, Hi Red Center – that experimented with video, sound, performance and other forms of new media, often presenting their work in non-traditional settings, such as the stage or street. Art, Anti-Art, Non-Art displays through June 6 at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-764-0395.