Friday, 10/15: Will this be the last time we write about beloved wearers of flame-retardant space armor and clown paint? It's possible, seeing that the members of controversial campy rock band KISS are finally saying goodbye to the touring life as their massive farewell world tour is finally passing through metro Detroit Rock City after they were forced to postpone the concert by a month because Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons tested positive for COVID-19. And even though Stanley was seen parading around Los Angeles days after his diagnosis, sans mask, everyone on the tour from band to crew are fully vaccinated, going as far as to have a "COVID safety protocol officer" on staff full time.
Formed in 1973 New York City thanks to an ad placed in the Village Voice, KISS has managed to be a contender on both "best" and "worst" rock 'n' roll band listicles for more than 45 years. Some hail the band for being harbingers of pseudo-satanic arena-rock and showmanship. Others are quick to chastise the band's tongue-wagging, blood-spitting, glam rock gimmickry, uncompromising pageantry (er, stagecraft), and undying misogyny. If you're Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, you likely fall into the former camp and might share the sentiment that Kiss is a "comic book rock band [with] spackled faces [and] a couple of hits."
"I believe we create unknowingly or knowingly, we create our destiny," Stanley told Metro Times in 2019. "It doesn't necessarily mean we wind up where we thought we would. We play a major role in determining our direction and that leads us to whatever we're going to go to. So, this was the path that I wanted and to believe that I would be doing it 45 years later is unfathomable. Yet, here I am and here's the band packing arenas and going down a storm because we're KISS and we're forever."
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. at DTE Energy Music Theatre; 33 Bob Seger Dr., Clarkston; 313-471-9700; 313presents.com. Tickets are $52.50+.
Motor City Comic Con
Friday, 10/15-Sunday, 10/17: We detect some magic. Fire up the Bat-Signal, pick up your invisibility cloak from the cleaners, and activate those lightsabers because a beloved metro Detroit event has respawned. For 32 years (well, not last year, which was practically Thanos's by a viral super villain) Motor City Comic Con has provided an exciting meeting ground for groups of people who once faced the same societal rejection that created the X-Men. Boy, have things changed because nerds, yes, nerds, now rule the world — and we love to see it.
For its 2021 iteration, Motor City Comic Con is going all out to celebrate pop culture and the people who immerse themselves in fantasy realms, mythical planets, and complex worlds that help us forget the pains and struggles of our own complex world. As usual, MC3 will host a bevy of notable names including Ice-T and Coco; N'Sync's Joey Fatone; Saved By The Bell hunk Mario Lopez; All Elite Wrestling's Britt Baker; the voice of Disney's Ariel, Jodi Benson; Smallville star Tom Welling; and, the hobbit of all hobbits, Frodo Baggins, aka Elijah Wood. The event also features a bunch of folks who craft and create the stories from behind the scenes, which includes a 2021 roster with writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Voodoo Heart); illustrator Greg Capullo; author E. Lockhart (We Were Liars, Again Again); and Marvel legend and creator of Thanos, Gamora and Drax (to name a few), native metro Detroiter Jim Starlin.
Like most conventions, MC3 is the perfect place to spend money as a fixture of the event is the artist alley, where folks can score some collectibles, prints, apparel, toys, and, of course, comics. There are cosplay contests, too, as well as an anime room, sketching duels, panels, Q&As, and a slew of Star Wars specific events. — Jerilyn Jordan
Event takes place noon-7 p.m. on Friday, Oct., 15, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17. at Suburban Collection Showplace; 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi; 248-426-8059; motorcitycomiccon.com. Tickets are $30-$50 for single-day passes and $85 for weekend passes.
The 5th annual Trans Stellar Film Festival
Saturday, 10/16: While Texas lawmakers continue to push for some of the most oppressive, unjust, and potentially dangerous anti-transgender bills, here in Michigan, we recently decided that our ethnic intimidation law does in fact apply to and protects transgender folks because one thing is certain: trans people are sacred. Returning to Detroit's cinematic landscape is the fifth annual Trans Stellar Film Festival, which shines a much-needed spotlight on queer filmmakers, subjects, and performers across documentary, animated, live action, and short films. This year, the single-day festival will share stories about asexuality, fictional non-binary pop stars, telepathic transgender metal workers, trans Asian diaspora, young love, catfishing serial killers, urban legends, loss, upending societal norms, anscestoral trauma and connection, furries, wet dreams with friends, Earth-ending pink clouds, hormone treatments, Zoom dating, human rights defenders in Honduras, rural trans communities, a modern retelling of Narcissus, and claustrophobic drag queens and impatient nuns. For anyone who wants to enjoy the films from the comfort of their home, the festival is offering a virtual option from Oct. 16-22 via transstellarfilmfestival.com
— Jerilyn Jordan
Screenings start at 2 p.m. through 11:30 p.m. at Planet Ant; 2320 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck; planetant.com. Tickets are $6. *Venue requires proof of full vaccination prior to entry.
Monday, 10/18: Everything is beautiful, bitch. Or is it that everything sucks? For New York rapper Princess Nokia, who is one of few people to master Korn's Jonathon Davis-style "Da boom na da noom na namena," both are true. Destiny Frasqueri, who performs hype emo rap as Princess Nokia, is all about duality. In 2020, she dropped back-to-back companion EPs, Everything Is Beautiful and Everything Sucks, both of which are expressions of her self-described multiple personalities. Big Gemini energy, anyone? Across the records, she tackles personal traumas (she grew up in the foster system and has been candid about the abuse she's suffered as a result) to wrestling with insecurity ("I hate social media, I wish it all would end / I'm not like those other girls, in fact I'm fucking worse," she confesses on "Heart"), to an affectionate ode to "Green Eggs & Ham" which is an ususpecting "fuck the cops" anthem. We have a feeling this princess is on her way to queendom. —Jerilyn Jordan
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre; 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; Tickets are $29.50+. * Venue requires proof of full vaccination prior to entry.
Tuesday, 10/18: After 2020 we have a new rule: positive vibes only. OK — so, while we're actually super dark and twisty and want daddy to choke us, we also desperately need to feel shiny and happy every now and then. Thankfully, R&B crooner, The Voice coach, and Chrissy Tiegan's less insufferable better half (but also we, like, really love her and want to be her bestie and eat her food?), pianoman John Legend is headed our way with a big, er, bigger love. The first ever Black man to receive the honor of EGOT status — that means he's won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony — Legend, 42, was last in Detroit when he served us some holiday cheer via his Legendary Christmas tour (sorry for saying the C-word in October) in 2018. A lot has changed since then, but one thing has remained the same: Legend's commitment to making songs you will absolutely hear at every wedding and/or tunes to respectfully start a family to, if you catch our horny drift. Why? Well, just look at 2020's Bigger Love, which finds Legend turning the spotlight on joy, hope, resilience, and the power of the human spirit. Tingling in your jeans yet? The album, which was recorded largely prior to the pandemic, takes big swings and is an upbeat nod to old school and contemporary genres championed by Black artists. Soul singer Kirby is also on the bill. —Jerilyn Jordan
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Masonic; 500 Temple Ave., Detroit; 313-638-2724; themasonic.com. Tickets are $50.50+. *Venue requires proof of full vaccination prior to entry.
Wednesday, 10/20: St. Vincent discourse in 2021 has been, well, rather exhausting. Do you remember when the Texas-born indie rock darling Annie Clark, who performs as St. Vincent, "killed" a rather benign interview with a U.K. music writer while doing press for this year's '70s-steeped record Daddy's Home, which, the performer had said, was inspired by her father's release from prison after doing time for a stock manipulation scheme? The reason she killed it? Because the interviewer asked questions about her father ... which she had publicly spoken about previously.
Well, if you don't remember this, then good for you! You managed to avoid one of the most annoying — albeit enlightening for us music writers — "scandals" in the indie rock world, which distracted from the real star of the show: Daddy's Home. Sure, it's clunky at times, and derivative of David Bowie's Thin White Duke era, but it might also be Clark's most personal entry yet, making it worth listening to. St. Vincent, who stunned us all with 2017's critically acclaimed Masseducation is a gifted performer, which is why we are willing to overlook Daddy's Home reviews because, well, mama's back.
The tour coincides with the release of Nowhere Inn, St. Vincent's cinematic collaboration with Sleater-Kinney performer and Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein ,which is an aimless, surreal, and meta tour mockumentary. Just take us to the gig, sis. —Jerilyn Jordan
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Fillmore; 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5451; thefillmoredetroit.com. Tickets are $29.50+. *Venue requires printed proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result 48-hours prior to entry.