THURSDAY JUNE 17
THE SISTERS WEIRD
With CocoRosie, sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady have managed to achieve a cultish success while still retaining their fringe cred. The sisters' unwavering commitment to eccentricity — toy instruments, distorted vocals, hip-hop beats and atmospheric electronica mashed together to create one freaky sound — has made them polarizing figures in indie circles — they're either lauded for being so completely left of center or condemned for their seeming disregard to song and listener. But the moments of fractured beauty that the duo's experimentations create shouldn't be dismissed out of hand; sure, the cerebral goop may seem impenetrable, but it's refreshing to see musicians so unafraid to let their freak flags fly. CocoRosie performs in support of the group's fourth disc, Grey Oceans, at 8 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $15; with Diane Cluck.
THURSDAY JUNE 17
Urban Farming: Fiction, Fable and the Facts
This panel discussion will cut to the heart of this hotbed issue, dissecting the romantic imaginings from the everyday realities. Savvy experts from local gardening initiatives will take part, including Mark Covington of the Georgia Street Community Garden, Patrick Crouch of Earthworks Urban Farm, Greg Willerer of Brother Nature Produce, Ashley Atkinson of the Greening of Detroit and more. Get the skinny on the pros and cons of plowing in the city at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622.
THURSDAY JUNE 17
YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH
Since the release of her 1996 debut album, Patty Griffin has earned a reputation as one of the premier singer-songwriters working today. Her emotive sound draws on everything from folk and country to blues and gospel, exploring the spaces where these genres intersect and influence each other. Her voice is beautiful but just enough world-weariness to make her songs about love, loss and heartbreak that much more convincing. And when not crooning her own tunes, she's wracked up songwriting credits for lots of femme folk, from Bette Midler to the Dixie Chicks to Jessica Simpson. Her latest, Downtown Church, is an album of gospel songs that utilize Griffin's wide vocal range to draw attention to a rich musical traditional oft-overlooked by pop aficionados. She performs with frequent collaborator Buddy Miller as part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival at 8 p.m. at the Power Center for the Performing Arts, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; tickets $30-$45, available at annarborsummerfestival.org or 800-221-1229.
FRIDAY JUNE 18
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT ...
The exhibit Animal Farm features multimedia works based on George Orwell's classic 1945 novel of the same name. The dystopian novel is specifically an anti-Stalin allegory, but it's also read more broadly as an anti-fascist work, addressing themes of power, control and intimidation. Participating artists were asked to respond to those aspects of the book as they relate to animal rights. How does the politics of power play out in humans' relationship with animals? What characteristics do people and creatures share? Are two legs really better than four? The exhibit features more than 20 local and regional artists, including Heather Accurso, Rocco DePietro, Gwen Joy, Frank Pahl and Alison Wong. Opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Gallery Project, 215 S. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-997-7012; displays through July 15.
FRIDAY JUNE 18
Sunset at the Zoo
THE LION PARTIES TONIGHT
Sunset at the Zoo, the Detroit Zoo's annual gala fundraiser, gives zoo supporters an opportunity to view animal habitats as the sun goes down while enjoying all the trappings of the ritziest of shindigs. To wit, the gala features deluxe cuisine from 40 area restaurants, zoo-themed martinis, music from Skyline & the Backstreet Horns, plus live and silent auctions that include such plum prizes as breakfast with the lions and polar bear and seal feeding experiences. Event proceeds will help fund the renovation of the lion habitat. Suggested attire for the adults-only party is "jazzy jungle chic." You figure it out. From 7 to 11:30 p.m. at the Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-541-5717; $150-$600.
FRIDAY JUNE 18
Wayfarer Roots & Bluegrass Festival
DOWN-HOME DONE UP!
Michigan's best fiddle-torturin', bass-thumpin' and foot-stompin' bluegrass, roots and folk acts will tackle two stages for a night of acoustic mayhem at the inaugural Wayfarer Roots & Bluegrass Festival. The shindig's headlined by local 'grass powerhouse Greensky Bluegrass; other highlights include Cornmeal (bluegrass with a twist), the Ragbirds (folk with a global flavor) and Steppin' In It (swingin' Americana, and whatnot). The lineup's rounded out by the Billy Brandt Acoustic Mission Band, Rootstand, Catfish Mafia, Black Jake & the Carnies, the Northern Skies and Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful. Doors at 7 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; $15 advance, $20 day of show; all ages.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY JUNE 18-20
Dearborn Arab International Festival
More than 300,000 people are expected to attend the 15th Annual Dearborn Arab International Festival to have their fortune read in coffee grounds, watch a halal hotdog-eating contest, munch on schwarma and other Mediterranean goodies and groove to Arabic music performed by local and international musicians. The fest, which showcases and celebrates the cultural heritage of metro Detroit's bustling Arab community, also features ethnic dance performances, carnival rides, kiddy activities, artisan booths and Arab merchandise. The free cultural hullabaloo takes place along Warren Ave. between Schaefer and Wyoming in East Dearborn. Contact the American Arab Chamber of Commerce at 313-945-1700 or americanarab.com for more info.
FRIDAY-MONDAY JUNE 18-21
River Days Festival
Now in its fourth year, River Days returns to the Detroit waterfront with a variety of family-friendly events, including carnival rides, tall ship tours, the Pooch-a-Palooza pet walk, the Parade of Lights, sand sculptures, $5 bike tours and three stages of music. The genre-spanning lineup includes both local and national acts, including the Spin Doctors, Lonestar, Whitey Morgan & the 78's, MC Hammer, Blues Traveler, the Twistin' Tarantulas and the DSO. New this year is a 5K run and walk on Saturday morning that will showcase the RiverWalk and Milliken State Park. (Also new is a $3 entry fee, which will help offset costs for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.) The fest culminates with a bang (wah wah) on Monday with the 52nd annual Target Fireworks. Festivities take place along the Detroit Riverfront in downtown Detroit. Info, including ways to avoid the entry fee, at detroitriverdays.com.
SATURDAY JUNE 19
The Great Balancing Act
With The Great Balancing Act, local paint-slingers Audrey Pongracz and Ryan G. Hill present new works that explore, appropriately enough, the overarching theme of balance — balancing life's realities with personal perceptions, balancing conflicting facets of one's personality, finding inner balance throughout life, despite struggle and unforeseen hardship. The soul-searching display opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. at River's Edge Gallery, 3024 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-246-9880; it'll be on the walls through Aug. 13.
SATURDAY JUNE 19
Colin Hubbell Memorial Bike Ride
LANCE THE DAY!
This 12.5 mile ride benefits the Colin Hubbell Fund, which supports community development projects in the Midtown area. Cyclists will of course peddle through Midtown, but the jaunt will also cruise through Woodbridge, Corktown and Downtown. It's like Critical Mass, but with a philanthropic tinge! Well, sorta. Registration at midtowndetroit.com or at 9 a.m. the day of the ride, which starts and ends at Traffic Jam & Snug restaurant, 511 W. Canfield, Detroit. $20 advance, $25 day of.
SATURDAY JUNE 19
Where Furrows Run Deep
Jeffrey Sauger began photographing African-American farmers in 1999, when he was a grad student at Ohio State. The Detroit-based photojournalist viewed it as an objective anthropological project — a visual account of the dwindling ranks of black farmers, who have been losing their land at a rate three times faster than the national average. But as Sauger continued the project, the black-and-white photos have not escaped either the subjects' or the artist's humanity; deeply moving and starkly emotional, they reveal what Sauger describes as "a shattered American dream," as well as the perseverance of the American spirit. Where Furrows Run Deep opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Museum of New Art, 7 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-210-7560; displays through July 17.
TUESDAY JUNE 22
With 100 performers — acrobats, aerialists and stilt-walkers among the dancers — Syria's Enana sounds a little bit like a Middle Eastern Cirque du Soleil, but literal and opulent where Cirque is surreal and opulent. The 20-year-old ensemble, which melds popular and traditional folk forms with classical ballet, has become a magnet for dancers throughout the Middle East, and has performed extensively through the Middle East and as far afield as India and China. This benefit for the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn is their U.S. debut, and their only U.S. stop of their current tour. 8 p.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111. Tickets — $50 and up — at arabamericanmuseum.org or 313-842-4748.