Forbes magazine just put Detroit in its Top 10 cities for the deadly sins of gluttony, sloth and wrath. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, right now we're declaring the D in the Top 10 Extravaganzant Cities in the Universe. As in: There's almost always an extravaganza goin' on. In the summer, if it's not the Festival of the Arts it's Cityfest or Concert of Colors. February brought on Winterblast, followed by the Dirty Show, leading to Blowout ... and now the Fringe Festival: a 14-hour extravaganza at Music Hall that collates the edgy enthusiasms of art forms from the visual to the theatrical to the musical.
Where to begin? Top of the bill there's the classically foul-mouthed Sandra Bernhard — and she's the big-name concession to the mainstream. From there it gets wilder and weirder.
The musical center of gravity promises to be DJ Afrika Bambaataa. Apparently not trusting sufficient appellations from the press, he's billing himself as "The Amen-Ra of Universal Hip Hop Culture Father of Electro-Funk Sounds." Can we argue with that? No. Other musical acts include Little Bang Theory (Frank Pahl's elliptical eclecticism played out on toy musical instruments), Minnie Krueger Buys the Farm ("Captain Beefheart meets Edith Piaf," we're told), Larval (former Detroit avant-art-rocker Bill Brovold returns with a lineup that includes Billy Ficca of Television and Ernie Brooks of the Modern Lovers), Champions of Breakfast (quirky techno-pop that set this year's Blowout buzzin') and Polka Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon performed in you-know-what style). Also Paxahau, DJ Jenny La Femme, Fluent and Nadir's Distorted Soul, among others.
Film and theater offerings include neo-vaudevillians Torch with a Twist, fetish fanciers in the Noir Leather revue, and early videos by the West Coast weirdos the Residents.
Visual artists include Detroit legends Niagara, Glenn Barr, Topher Crowder, Renata Palubinskas, Mark Dancey and many more. Matt Feazell, whose Cynical Man ran in Metro Times for several years, will be there hawking comics of his stick-figure main man; Tracee Mae Miller of Blanche will show her paintings; Jerry Vile will be displaying his art rather than running a show for a change. Dolce Moda puts on a runway show.
Tickets are $35 for all 13 hours, which starts at 2 p.m. Saturday and finishes at 4 a.m. Sunday. Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8501. More info at detroitfringefestival.com.
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