WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 29 - OCTOBER 2
Edge Fest: Edged in Brass
FOUR DAYS OF WAY-OUT
It isn't that you can't hear cutting-edge jazz (and beyond-the-edge stuff that may or may not be jazz) a night here and night there in our neck of the woods, but four intense days and nights of Edgefest (now in its 14th year) throw the other 361 into deep shadow. Our answer to New York's Vision Festival and the like, this year's A2 gathering features almost 20 performances and events, bringing together out-cats from near and far. The theme is Edged in Brass, which is to say the brass players get extra play, their ranks including trumpeters James Cornish, Nate Woodley, Rob Mazurek and Amir ElSaffar; tuba player Joe Daley, and trumpeter-saxophonist Joe McPhee, to name a few. Expected highlights include McPhee (an elder statesmen who began recording in the '60s) and Trio X, and percussionist-composer John Hollenbeck with his own Claudia Quintet and with the University of Michigan Big Band. ElSaffar, who brings his Iraqi heritage to play in his music, is on a double bill of his own Two Rivers Ensemble (featuring critics' fave Rudresh Mahanthappa on sax) and (pictured) trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum's Spider Monkey Strings. Some events (such as the Edgefest Parade and discussions) are free; individual shows are $10 to $30; $135 covers the entire festival; $50 is good for all of Saturday. Mostly at Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2999; kerrytownconcerthouse.com.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 30
HAPPY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
Since the mid-'90s, Mark Everett, aka E, has been the master of cerebral despondency. The catchy melodies of his alt-pop tunes have served as a backdrop to intimate dissections of his own despair — often clever, sometimes quite funny, but always sad. Over the past 14 months, Everett has released a trio of concept albums exploring the end of a relationship; with the third, Tomorrow Morning, Everett emerged on the other side of heartbreak stronger and demonstrating an uncharacteristic optimism. Maybe things aren't as bad as his eight previous albums have made them seem? The new, shiny, happy Eels performs in support of the trilogy at 7 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $25.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 30
In Fabrications, the distinction between form and function is called into question, with the gallery space itself being used as a catalyst for the investigation. Artists — national and international, emerging and established — created installations, architectural structures, glass sculptures and paintings using gallery architecture, fixtures and construction processes as influences. Found objects and construction materials are combined with traditional art materials to create pieces that are recognizable in form, but invite unique interpretations by viewers. A reception takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, 480 W. Hancock St., Detroit; 313-993-7813; includes a symposium next door at the Shaver Music Recital Hall from 7 to 8 p.m. Displays through Oct. 15.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 1
Techno for a Cause
PARTY FOR MORE THAN THE HELL OF IT
Writes Carleton S. Gholz this week on MT's Music Blahg: "My fellow United Booty Workers! Let's make sure that [Jeff] Mills, our native son, leaves hopeful and not discouraged. It is not polite to stare at the DJ!" The occasion for the comments? Techno progenitor Mills is lamenting the state of dance music culture these days — from its (lack of) radio play to the (weakened) bond between DJs and dancers. Nonetheless, he's still got a thing for dance-floor rituals of the D, and homespun efforts like the Backpacking for Success program (which supplies packs and other basic school supplies for the needy). Support Mills while he supports the aforementioned in House and Techno for a Cause (with Dan Bain, John Collins, Greg Gow, Jenny La Femme, DJ Seoul, T. Linder, Sporeprint and A.O.D. Detroit). At the Works, 1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-1742; 10 p.m.-5 a.m. (estimate); scpmichigan.org.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 1
Fashion & the Automobile
DRIVING EN VOGUE
The place where sweet rides meet designer duds is explored in Fashion & the Automobile: An Exhibit in 10 Eras. The display examines automotive fine art, renderings, historic photos and historic fashions to highlight the relationship between auto design and fashion design, as well as the way that the evolution of the auto influenced pop culture and vice versa. Opens with a reception, including refreshments and entertainment, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens; 586-469-8666; $10, free for members. On Sunday, Oct. 3, historians Cindy Donohue and Don Green will give a free presentation in conjunction with the exhibit from 1 to 3 p.m.; runs through Oct. 22.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 1
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing
TALES FROM THE STAGE
Making its first stop on a nationwide tour, the Smithsonian's exhibit Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment chronicles the storied performance space and its impact on American culture since its inception 75 years ago. The exhibit uses videos, recorded music, photographs and memorabilia — including everything from James Brown's cape to Duke Ellington's score for "Black and Tan Fantasy" — to trace the evolution of the theater from segregated burlesque hall to legendary performance venue that helped launch the careers of countless African-American musicians. Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing opens with a reception, which includes a talk by Apollo Theater historian Billy Mitchell, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave,, Detroit; 313-494-5800; displays through Jan. 2.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY OCTOBER 1-2
Art Detroit Now
GET YER ART ON ALREADY!
For its third incarnation, Art Detroit Now has expanded from a weekend of artsy happenings to a weeklong celebration of metro Detroit's contemporary art scene. While the week kicked off last Monday, things really heat up over the weekend, with openings, artists' talks, gallery crawls and open studios taking place practically nonstop. Highlights include Friday's Midtown gallery crawl, featuring 13 galleries hosting exhibits and special events, and the College for Creative Studies-sponsored art parade, featuring students, alumni, faculty and staff marching with all manner of artistic spectacles from CCS to MoCAD. Saturday, three separate gallery crawls showcase different art hot spots; Access Arts hosts its second outdoor exhibit on Belle Isle from noon to 5 p.m.; Pioneer Studios open its doors to the public from 2 to 8 p.m.; and so does the Russell Industrial Center from 6 to 10 p.m. For a complete schedule and gallery crawl maps, visit artdetroitnow.com.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 2
Detroit Party Marching Band Benefit
GUERILLA BRASS ATTACK!
This ragtag band of musicians rocks secondhand trombones and cymbals while performing as uninvited guests at bars around town, serenading drinkers with raucous and joyous marching tunes. The band, which first started popping up around Detroit in late winter, has fast gained both notoriety and fans. The rotating posse of players — which includes both amateurs and skilled musicians — led by John Notarianni is even making the trek to Boston's Honk! Fest, an annual celebration of anarchic street music. This show will help raise the funds to get them there. With Ian Link Sings, the Reelers, Charlie Slick, DJ Larry Williams and more at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 2
FRIGHTFULLY FINE ART
Now in its fourth year, Ghoultide Gathering is a juried art fair featuring Halloween-themed artwork in a variety of media. Trick-or-treat junkies can peruse one-of-a-kind works by 23 artists, whose offerings span the spooky spectrum, from the downright ghoulish to the whimsically retro. The chilling display takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the historic buildings of Mill Race Village, 215 Griswold St., Northville; admission is $5; visit ghoultidegathering.com.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 3
CURVES FOR A CAUSE
Some of Detroit's comeliest burlesque performers show off fashionable coifs and form-fitting corsets to raise funds for Gilda's Club of metro Detroit. The event is part fashion show, part burlesque display, featuring bombshells Lushes LaMoan, Ms. Chantel and Meridith Lorde, as well as performance artist Satori Circus. Presented by Bleach Hair Studio and Ivy's Custom Corsetry, the Bijou Revue takes place at 9 p.m. at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; $35 advance tickets available at Bleach Hair Studio in Royal Oak; $40 at the door.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 3
Slows Five-Year Anniversary Party
BARBECUE FOR THE MASSES
Slows Bar-BQ marks five years of pulled pork, lip-smacking ribs and perhaps the best macaroni and cheese this side of the Mason-Dixon Line with a free outdoor shindig. The party features the Corktown eatery serving up its signature mac 'n' cheese and pulled pork sandwiches, along with grub from Mind Body Spirit, 24-plus beers on tap, a cornhole tournament (!?) and an art opening at the Imagination Station. The musical lineup includes Will Sessions and Guilty Simpson, Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, the Amino Acids, Conspiracy of Owls, Melvin Davis and United Sound, Grupo Escobar and itinerant art punk trio Liars. The celebration takes place, rain or shine, from noon to 8 p.m. at Roosevelt Park, 2200 Michigan Ave., Detroit; contact Slows at 313-962-9828 for info.
MONDAY OCTOBER 4
Ra Ra Riot
Ra Ra Riot honed its exuberant chamber pop playing basement frat parties on the campus of Syracuse University before releasing debut disc The Rhumb Line in 2008. The quintet tempered danceable pop with bittersweet lyrics, and the tremulous, heartfelt voice of singer Wesley Miles combined with the swooping sounds of both violin and cello provided drama without deterring from the indie rock appeal. The trend continues on this year's follow-up, The Orchard, which features luminous compositions resonating with heartfelt emotion. Ra Ra Riot performs in support of the disc at 9 p.m. at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; $15; with Chikita Violenta and We Barbarians.