THURSDAY MAY 27
MOCAD Opening Night
KICK OFF THE ART PARTY
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit celebrates three fresh-to-the-walls exhibitions with an opening reception featuring performance, music and, well, art, of course! Exhibits include Woodward Avenue, a Detroit-specific installation by acclaimed Belgian artist Jef Geys that explores plant growth along Woodward Avenue from downtown to Pontiac; Mother May I, photographs and films by LaToya Ruby Frazier that document her home life and family relationships; and Too Much of a Good Thing, a project by husband-wife team Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope that continues their ongoing exploration of art and community. The opening features a performance by Frazier, who will present a narrative performance accompanied by a slide show of her work, and music by locals Tyvek and Brooklyn's sweaty punk-party duo Japanther. Member preview begins at 6 p.m., doors open to the public at 8 p.m., at 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; $6; all ages.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY MAY 27-30
Little Shop of Horrors
FEED ME SEYMOUR!
Performance Network Theatre's production of the sci-fi musical Little Shop of Horrors, based on the ultra-low budget 1960 cult flick, has received rave reviews from local critics and been extended twice from its original May 9 closing date. This weekend is your last chance — really! — to check out this tale of geeky florist Seymour and his talking Venus flytrap, Audrey II, who garners him overnight fame with her fantastic ability. But only one thing will keep the plant — and consequently, Seymour's popularity, alive — human blood! But how far will Seymour go to satiate the bloodthirsty flora? Kitschy, creepy and with a catchy soundtrack that runs the rock 'n' roll gamut, Little Shop of Horrors plays at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Performance Network Theatre, 120 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-0681; performancenetwork.org.
THURSDAY-MONDAY MAY 27-31
DIY Street Fair Launch Party
FALL FEST HEAD START
In September, Ferndale's DIY Street Fair will celebrate the scrappy can-do spirit; it'll be kicked off with feel-good vibes early during a five-day launch party that's a veritable festival in its own right. It all begins Thursday with an opportunity for interested vendors and volunteers to meet the DIY crew and learn about the fest, as well as an art show by local collective Buy This So We Don't Have to Rob You. The fun continues Friday with performances by DIY Fair alums, including Computer Perfection, Silverghost and Pop Project; on Saturday, Bellyache Candy Shoppe hosts a showcase featuring the Swamp Sisters, Woodman, the Muggs and the Electric Fire Babies; and Sunday's all-day extravaganza includes a fashion and vintage accessories party, a fashion show of threads from Lost & Found Vintage and performances by Johnny Ill Band and the Infinite Land of Make Believe. The mini-fest wraps up Monday with a daytime record show and a nighttime lineup of bands and surprise DJs hosted by the Loving Touch's resident Tuesday-night DJ Richie Wohlfiel. At the Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-546-3644; info at diystreefair.com; various cover charges apply Friday through Monday, with funds benefiting the fair.
FRIDAY MAY 28
Ellen Allien is a globe-trotting DJ, producer, label owner and fashion designer who cut her teeth in the '90s, working the clubs in the heady days of Berlin's nascent techno scene. She ended the decade by forming BPitch Control, a label that boasts a roll call of boundary pushing, international producers such as Sascha Funke, Apparat and Modeselektor. Since 2001, she's released five albums of her own hard-to-classify breed of techno, ranging from cold, mechanical glitches to moments of lush dance floor dreaminess. Berlin's acclaimed techno queen makes one of only three U.S. appearances in support of her latest disc, Dust, at 10 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; with Stimming, Patrick Russell and more.
FRIDAY MAY 28
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
Once viewed as a mere offshoot of the mighty Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra — in all its various name-changing incarnations — has now outlasted and outproduced the presumed-defunct band that it originated from. Since issuing its first LP in 2000 — an instrumental effort featuring layers of strings, sparse guitars and melancholy melodies — the Montreal collective has evolved into a brooding orchestral rock band, placing an increasing emphasis on both vocals and songcraft. The quintet's sixth and most recent disc, Kollaps Tradixionales, is made up of seven epic tracks featuring slow-building crescendos, intense sonic explorations and ragged, politically-charged vocals. But while the din may differ, Thee Silver Mt. Zion's commitment to authenticity and idealism has never varied, making them a rare breed in today's commercial world. With Jura at 8 p.m. at the Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $12.
SATURDAY MAY 29
FLICKS WORTH GRILLING
The outdoor movie-viewing season officially begins Memorial Day weekend or, at least it should, with Burton Theatre's inaugural Cinema Barbeque. Showing on the large, outdoor screen will be Russ Meyer's artfully campy '60s send-up Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and cheese-ball 1980 musical Xanadu, featuring both Olivia Newton-John and a huge disco roller rink. Oh boy! Gourmet sausages, burgers and a variety of veggie options will be on the grill. The films roll at 10 p.m. at the Burton Theatre, 3420 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-473-9238; $5 admission, food individually priced; lawn chairs and blankets are recommended.
SATURDAY MAY 29
Belle Isle Botanical Society Plant Sale
The 18th annual plant sale provides city dwellers with the opportunity to stock up on annuals, perennials, shrubs, vegetables — including more than 80 varieties of tomatoes! — and more, all under one impressively located roof. The volunteer-staffed event is hosted by the Belle Isle Botanical Society, a nonprofit that raises funds and helps care for the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and gardens, as well as provides educational opportunities for both adults and children. Proceeds from the sale will go toward the ongoing restoration of the 105-year-old conservatory. The sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Belle Isle Greenhouses on Belle Isle in Detroit; see bibsociety.org or call 313-331-7760 for details. Can't make it to the sale? Any leftover plants will be available for sale at the greenhouses beginning June 1.
SATURDAY MAY 29
All the Splendors of the Earth, Part 2
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
Last year, Brooklyn-based, Michigan-born artist Jeffrey Tranchell co-organized an exhibit at the College for Creative Studies that showcased the artistic community that Tranchell himself was part of — for the most part, CCS grads that were now, for the most part, based in New York City. For All the Splendors of the Earth, Part 2, Tranchell has co-opted that concept to again showcase a community of New York-based artists, but this time deliberately excluding any former Detroiters. In this way, Tranchell hopes to expose Detroiters to an active community of nonlocal artists, and nonlocal artists to Detroit's equally vibrant art scene. Opens with a reception from 7 to 11 p.m. at Cave, located in building 4 of the Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay Ave., Detroit; 248-755-1207; displays through June 12.
SATURDAY-MONDAY MAY 29-31
Civil War Remembrance Weekend
Bone up on the 19th century at this annual event which provides exhibits, activities and re-enactments that educate on every aspect of American life and culture during the Civil War. Along with presentations by Union and Confederate soldiers, the weekend includes tactical, artillery and cavalry demonstrations; exhibits of Civil War artifacts; presentations on topics such as Civil War-era fashions, 19th century funerals and battle flags; and hands-on activities, including researching Civil War ancestors and taking part in military drills. Music, storytelling and dramatic presentations will also take place. At Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 800-835-5237; free with admission; visit thehenryford.org for a complete schedule.
William Gropper and More: Dissent and Satire
CREATING IN PROTEST
William Gropper and More: Dissent and Satire showcases artworks that question the status quo, agitate for societal change or highlight injustice and inequity in American society. The exhibit is organized around Wayne State University's collection of works by William Gropper, a renowned American social realist artist and illustrator. Gropper's work often portrayed the struggles of the working class and the organized labor movement, as well as satirized the wealthy and powerful. Labeled as a "subversive" artist, Gropper was called to testify before the McCarthy committee and his work was subsequently boycotted by both the public and galleries. Along with Gropper's works, the exhibit includes artists Carol Jacobsen, Kristin Kurzawa, Joanne Leonard, Tequila Minsky, Eric Mesko and Karen Sanders. Displays through June 25, at Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, 480 W. Hancock, Detroit; 313-993-7813.