WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19
Multi-instrumentalist Emily Wells was inducted into the musical world at an early age. At 4, she took up the violin; by junior high, interest in hip hop had her experimenting with beats, samples and loops; at 17, record labels began sniffing around. But Wells eschewed the idea of becoming a cookie-cutter celebrity; instead, she self-released her debut, Beautiful Sleepyhead and the Laughing Yaks, in 2007. With layer upon layer of lilting strings, a hodgepodge of unusual instruments — from glockenspiels to toy pianos — and her sweetly quavering voice, Wells creates an eclectic musical hybrid of classically influenced electro-folk. And the hip-hop sensibility can still be felt, as seen on her latest EP, Dirty, which features an unironic and downright gorgeous cover of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy." With the Sisters Lucas at 8 p.m. at the Majestic Café, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; $8; all ages.
THURSDAY-SUNDAY AUGUST 20-23
Motor City Tap Fest
Now in its second year, this celebration of clicking toes and digging heels features four days of tap classes, a panel discussion on the tap biz, a tap jam, a faculty concert and a participants' showcase. The fest is being held in honor of Dr. Jeni LeGon, a star of the silver screen who was one of the first African-American women to sign a long-term contract with a Hollywood studio, dancing alongside the likes of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Fats Waller and Cab Calloway. The faculty concert, which is open to the public, takes place on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Wayne State's Community Arts Auditorium, 450 Reuther Mall, Detroit. All other events take place at Wayne State's Old Main, 4841 Cass Ave., Detroit. For further info, and to register in advance for classes, visit motorcitytapfest.com.
FRIDAY AUGUST 21
The Marriage Play(z)
HAPPILY EVER AFTER?
The art4artillery Theatre Company explores the institution of marriage using three Edward Albee plays — Everything in the Garden, The Marriage Play, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — that portray wedded bliss on the verge of breakdown. This adaptation joins the different plays together, so that they are performed simultaneously, questioning popular notions of marriage and deconstructing traditional gender roles. This preview performance takes place at 8:30 p.m., followed by an afterglow at the art4artillery Theatre in building 4, third floor of the Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay Ave., Detroit; further performances take place Thursday, Aug. 27 through Sunday Aug. 30.
FRIDAY AUGUST 21
Seventeen artists from India and the Indian Diaspora display works that explore a variety of issues, but always in a way that references their personal and cultural ties with India. In this way, Contemporary India not only explores contemporary Indian culture, but also poses questions about what makes a piece of art "Indian," and if such a definition can even exist in a world where borders are fluid and identities are constantly being redefined. Artists include Amina Ahmed, Neil Chowdhury, Ela Shah and Vijay Kumar. The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Gallery Project, 215 S. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-997-7012; on display through Sept. 20.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY AUGUST 21-22
Wyandotte Wine Crawl
IN VINO VERITAS
An annual fundraiser for the Josephine Ford Cancer Center, the Wyandotte Wine Crawl sends 1,000 wine nuts traipsing to various downtown businesses to sample Michigan-made wines. The event coincides with Wyandotte's Third Friday celebration, a monthly downtown to-do featuring outdoor entertainment and happenings at restaurants, bars and galleries. This year also features the addition of an official wine crawl afterparty, Belicoso's Backyard Bash, taking place on both Friday and Saturday nights. Wine crawlers get to wobble in free; everybody else must cough up $5, with a portion of the proceeds also benefiting the cancer center. Friday features music by Rachel May and Larry Lee & the Back in the Day Band; Saturday's performers include Carolyn Striho and the Sun Messengers. The crawl takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday in downtown Wyandotte, the commemorative wine glass and list of participating locations can be purchased beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Maple and Biddle. The afterparty begins at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Belicoso's, 3030 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-282-2244. Visit wyandotte.net for more info.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY AUGUST 21-23
Follow a Chicago cabbie through the daily tribulations of life on the job in Hellcab, the newest production in Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's Studio series. The 70-minute dramedy is comprised of a series of vignettes — many based on playwright Will Kern's actual experiences driving a Chicago cab — starring the various flotsam and jetsam of humanity who hail the cabbie throughout his 16-hour day. Cast members portray multiple characters; the only constant onstage is the tireless yet beleaguered cab driver. The fares include horny couples, threatening drug addicts and proselytizing religious converts; they evoke empathy, derision or laughter. They offer up a small slice of mankind that's not always pretty, but is surprisingly sentimental. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's Studio Theater, 322 W. Ann St., Ann Arbor; 734-971-2228; tickets are $10 general admission and $15 reserved; visit a2ct.org for further info.
FRIDAY-MONDAY AUGUST 21-24
PARTY LIKE IT'S 1996
The Who Wants Cake? Theatre Company kicks off their 09-10 season with the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera megahit, Rent. Based on the Puccini opera La Bohéme, the musical tells the story of a group of friends on New York's bohemian Lower East Side who struggle to find their places in life under the grim specter of the AIDS epidemic. One of the longest-running musicals in Broadway's history, Rent will run at 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 28 at the Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-545-5545; whowantscaketheatre.com.
SATURDAY AUGUST 22
Motor City Brew Tours
MICROBREWERY OR BUST
Connoisseurs of craft beer can expand their frothy knowledge and please their palettes tours of local breweries offered by Motor City Brew Tours. This month's edition features three of Detroit's finest — the Detroit Beer Company, Atwater Block Brewery and Motor City Brewing Works. The $45 ticket includes tours, tastings, lunch at one of the breweries, Q & A sessions with brewers and specials on pints and beer-to-go (don't worry, coolers are provided on the bus to keep your brewskies ice cold), as well as special offers to use on return visits. Tickets must be purchased in advance at motorcitybrewtours.com; all tours depart from the parking structure at the corner of Sixth and Lafayette streets in downtown Royal Oak.
SATURDAY AUGUST 22
The Ultimate Doo Wop Show '09
"THE SOUNDS OF LOVE"
Although it was once at the very vanguard of rock 'n' roll, today's youngsters may view doo-wop music as archaic. The more romantic among us, however, may view it as the ultimate sound of love … that is, when it's not some of the funniest music ever created under the early "rock 'n' roll" banner. Besides, musical practioners like Lou Reed (a huge doo-wop fan= himself; see "Coney Island Baby") have pointed out the similarities between doo-wop and hip hop, with both rising from black street culture. This year's bill at Freedom Hill uses the term somewhat loosely, given appearances by New Orleans teen idol Jimmy Clanton ("Venus in Blue Jeans"), the typically vanilla (but still mighty fine) Vogues ("Five O'clock World") and Detroit's own gospel-oriented Shades of Blue ("Oh, How Happy"). But some of the genre's legendary acts will also be on hand, all featuring at least one important original member, including Charlie Thomas' Drifters, Harold Winley's Clovers, and — perhaps best of all — the great Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs ("Stay" and the original "Little Darlin'") and East L.A.'s Penquins, the vocal group responsible for "Earth Angel," one of the most beautifully romantic songs in all of music. Take your honey and snuggle under stars. At the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy., Sterling Heights; info at 586-268-7820 or freedomhill.net.
SUNDAY AUGUST 23
The Dutchess and the Duke
This Seattle duo of childhood pals Jesse Lortz and Kimberley Morrison use little more than guitar, tambourine and harmonizing boy-girl vocals to create beautiful and bluesy folk-rock (yes, but good) that sounds both nostalgic and timeless. On the debut album, She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke, Lortz's raw and gritty voice is complemented by Morrison's sweet croon as he sings melancholy tales over melodies that entrance with their artless simplicity. The duo performs a free(!) show at 9 p.m. on the Magic Stick's Alley Deck, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.
SUNDAY AUGUST 23
The Cool Kids
THE NEW OLD SCHOOL?
Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish (originally of Mount Clemens, holla!) met on MySpace in 2005. A year later, the duo was performing at clubs and underground parties throughout Chicago, gaining a rep for their hyper live performances and old-school inspired beats. A 2007 performance at SXSW increased their national notoriety, leading to performances with De La Soul and touring with MIA — all before they'd officially released any of their rhymes. The Cool Kids finally released The Bake Sale EP in 2008, which earned praise for infectious beats and hook-happy rhymes. Their debut LP, When Fish Ride Bicycles, is due out later this year. The duo performs with fellow hip-hop twosome Clipse at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-6358; all ages.
Belle Isle: Soul of the City
GREEN IN THE CITY
In the 19th century, the idea of constructing parks to provide peaceful respite from the industrialization-fueled crowding and pollution of urban centers gained popularity, leading to the establishment of city parks such as New York's Central Park and Detroit's own Belle Isle. Belle Isle: Soul of the City not only traces the history of the island since it was purchased by the city in 1879, but also revisits the notion that the public park is a necessary component of a healthy community — as well as a major contributing factor in the revitalization of Detroit. The exhibit, which is presented by the Friends of Belle Isle, displays through the end of September at the Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-1805.
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