WEDNESDAY MAY 19
The Ride of Silence
MAKING NOISE QUIETLY
At the risk of scaring people by highlighting the potential dangers of traveling on two wheels, cycling advocates have organized this annual event to honor riders injured or killed while biking. It's also to raise awareness among motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways, and that, when that right is violated, it's often at great harm to the riders — not to the vehicles that hit them. As part of the ride, groups in more than 30 Michigan cities, 20 countries and all seven continents will ride side by side wearing helmets along roughly 10-mile routes at a relatively slow pace. (Oddly enough, the home state of the Motor City has the highest numbers of organized Rides of Silence of any state, and more than all other countries, according to organizers.) At 7 p.m. in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Rochester Hills, Westland and Ypsilanti. See rideofsilence.org for meeting locations.
THURSDAY-SATURDAY MAY 20-22
Purgatory: Cinema & Theatre of the Damned
Damned: An Exhibition of Enlightened Darkness offers voyeuristic art viewers the chance to look into the darkest depths of artists' souls. This year, the organizers mark the halfway point to Damned with Purgatory, a screening of 28 short films that are "deeply introspective, beautifully disturbing and darkly enlightening." The showings are complemented with live performances by Satori Circus, Warrior Girl and more; and the ambience of a classic moviehouse will be created, complete with ushers, candy girls, complimentary popcorn and special alcoholic (including absinthe!) slushies. Filmmakers include the Brothers Quay, Voltaire, Brian M. Viveros and more. At 8 and 11 p.m. each day with a 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, at the Hastings Street Ballroom, 715 E. Milwaukee St., Detroit; $10 advance, $15 or $10 with canned food donation at door, $5 advance for matinee showing; visit thatdamnedshow.com/purgatory.
FRIDAY MAY 21
WHILE MY UKULELE GENTLY WEEPS
The likening of Jake Shimabukuro to Jimi Hendrix is bunk if you take the essence of Hendrix as having something to do with harnessing the power of howling electricity. But if you're just talking instrumental mastery, well, yeah, the lithe guy bent around the short four-string instrument is its Hendrix and ... Segovia ... Ravi Shankar. You get the idea. And consider that the two biggest names on Shimabukuro's ax are Arthur Godfrey and Tiny Tim: Doesn't the uke deserve a star virtuoso after all these years? At 7 and 8:30 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; free with admission.
FRIDAY MAY 21
MEET MATTE BLACK!
Monthly dance party Private Joy gets deep with the "Dark Edition" featuring the debut of Matte Black, the latest incarnation of performer and producer David S. Blunk II. Blunk made a name for himself in the underground electro scene with his knack for fusing opposites (punk meets disco, high art meets low fashion, etc.) in extravagant multimedia performances. Currently, Blunk satisfies his schizophrenic tendencies with multiples projects — he's part of dark electro darlings Dethlab, he's one half of Berlin-Detroit dance duo Vernichtung, and he runs and contributes to labels God Club and Undone Enterprise. And now, with Matte Black, Blunk will again marry a diverse range of music — '80s punk and modern techno, synth pop and industrial — to "sonically tie old with new to create the future." Yeah ... at 10 p.m. at Menjo's, 928 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; 313-863-3934; free before 11 p.m., $5 after; with resident DJs Mike Tee and Dre.
FRIDAY MAY 21
PEDAL TO THE MOTOR CITY
As the marquee event of May's National Bike Month, the annual commute-by-cycle draws seasoned Detroit bike commuters as well as new cyclists looking for safety in numbers. The ride — with its three different courses into Detroit — is a chance to discover routes, try this green and growing form of transportation, and meet riders with whom you might "bike pool" in the future. Support vehicles and mechanics will accompany riders, rain or shine. All routes finish at 8 a.m. at Campus Martius. The Boll Family YMCA also offers showers and lockers for riders that day. The East Jefferson Route starts at 6:15 a.m. at American Cycle & Fitness (20343 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods) and has three "joining" points. The Michigan Avenue Route starts at 6:30 a.m. at Dearborn City Hall's North Entry Plaza, with one joining point at 7:25 a.m. at Café Con Leche (4200 W. Vernor Highway, Detroit). The Woodward Avenue Route starts at 6:15 a.m. at American Cycle & Fitness (29428 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak) and has three joining points along Woodward. Helmets required. After-work rides home leave Campus Martius at 5:30 p.m. More information at detroitsynergy.org.
FRIDAY MAY 21
The Heidelberg Rock Project
OUTSIDER ART IS IN!
Ten bands take to two stages to raise money for the Heidelberg Project, Detroit's east side neighborhood block turned evolving outdoor art installation. Funds raised will directly benefit two of the project's latest initiatives — ACE2, a 12-week program teaching third-graders about community art, and Cultural Village, a space at the Heidelberg that includes a café, amphitheater and more. Local heavyweights on the lineup are the Hard Lessons, Mick Bassett & the Marthas, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, the Frustrations, Duende!, Troy Gregory, the Deadbeat Beat, the Handgrenades, Black Lodge and Marco Polio & the New Vaccines going head-to-head (mic-to-mic? drum-to-drum?) in a one-off battle of musicianship. All that for a measly $5! Presented by Pure Detroit at 7 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; all ages.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY MAY 21-23
Staged Reading Festival
Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company's staged reading festival gives theater devotees the chance to jump in and get their hands dirty with new works by Michigan-based playwrights. Readings of the in-the-works plays will be presented, followed by workshop-style discussions, audience included. Plays include both dramas and comedies, are full-lengths and one-acts, and explore heady subjects such as race, sexuality, obesity, family and religion. Whew! At the Abreact Performance Space, 1301 W. Lafayette, Detroit; info at 313-408-7269; migentagiraffe.org for schedule; admission by donation.
SATURDAY MAY 22
TEARS IN YOUR BEER
Boston-based singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell harks back to the days of whiskey-soaked juke joints with her adept interpretation of classic country and bluesy folk. She's been compared to Lucinda Williams and Peggy Lee, and heralded as a torchbearer in the Gillian Welch tradition of Americana music. But while country, folk and western swing dominated her first two discs, her third effort, last year's Sea of Tears, explores the sounds of British invasion rock, reflecting influence by the Kinks, the Zombies and the Animals. It may seem like an odd departure, but, with her sweet and slow vocals, Jewell manages to combine the disparate sounds of bygone days into a modern day din that's distinctly her own. Doors at 7:30 p.m. at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451; $15.
SATURDAY MAY 22
Mid-May Oh! My! Carnivale
STEP RIGHT UP!
The creative lasses of art collective the Wonder Women of Detroit present the Mid-May Oh! My! Carnivale, an entertainment extravaganza featuring talented ladies of all sorts. The lineup includes burlesque from the Tickled Fancy Burlesque Company and the Detroit Dizzy Dames, comedy from Jen House, Mary Alice's shadow puppet menagerie and DJ Shane Bang spinning "girlie" tunes. The carnival theme will be carried out with a variety of midway activities with proceeds supporting the Wonder Women, including pin the tail on the pin-up, face painting, a 50/50 raffle and carnival foodstuffs. And of course, Wonder Women members will be on hand, slinging their crafty merch. At 8 p.m. at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668.
SATURDAY MAY 22
The Golden Casket of Earthly Marvels
MENAGERIE OF ARTISTIC ODDBALLS
Outdoor art space the Lot and Hamtramck mixed-use art venue Popps Packing have teamed up for an indoor/outdoor exhibit-cum-performance known as The Golden Casket of Earthly Marvels: Bulging the Question. Artistic delights include drawings by Miroslav Cucovic, an 8mm film collage by Guillotine Productions, a dusk dance performance by the Tzarinas of the Plane, an installation by Graem Whyte and Scott Hocking, Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope's Heartland Machine (documenting of the couple's travels exploring artist initiatives throughout the Midwest) and, at 7 p.m., artist David Prince will launch a hot-air balloon made of biodegradable materials. Neat! From 6 to 10 p.m. at Popps Packing, 12138 St. Aubin St., Hamtramck; 313-733-6793; displays Saturdays through June 5.
SATURDAY MAY 22
MUSICAL MIXED BAG
Brooklyn-based genre-jumping musician Tim Fite combines bargain bin samples, live instrumentation, social commentary and an active sense of humor to create tunes that run the gamut of country to folk to hip hop. In 2001, as half of the rap duo Little-T and One Track Mike, he scored an MTV-friendly hit, "Shaniqua," before the group disbanded and he embarked on a ramshackle solo career. His 2005 debut LP, Gone Ain't Gone, was sample-heavy indie-folk; he followed it with critically acclaimed, free-to-download hip-hop disc Over the Counter Culture, a scathing critique of contemporary consumerist culture. And 2008's Fair Ain't Fair departed from hip hop completely, instead offering musical collages of twanging guitars, electronic beeps and rich instrumentation. At 8 p.m. at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; with the Wailing Wall; $8.
The exquisite jewelry of North Africa is put on display in Noble Jewels, an exhibit of jewels from Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Egypt, all collected over the span of three decades by Xavier Guerrand-Hermés, director of fashion powerhouse Hermés of Paris. The ornate pieces were crafted from beads, stone, silver, amber and semi-precious stones, and include bracelets, necklaces, hair ornaments, rings, earrings and fibula — an ornament used to keep veils in place. The collection showcases both the superb craftsmanship of the region's silver workers and designers, as well as the diversity of North African cultures. Along with the jewels, the exhibit includes late 19th and early 20th century photographs of the region, illustrating the landscape and culture of North Africa at the time when its jewelry first caught the eye of Western collectors. Through Aug. 8, at the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-2266.