Guitar man Markus James grew up in Virginia, but he had to cross an ocean to find his personal sound. It was in Mali yes, Mali that he found the signature style that has won a following on the world-music circuit. He recorded his blues-infused records with some of West Africa's finest players, including legendary calabash player, Hamma Sankare. The result juxtaposes American blues and the traditional sounds of the Wassoulou and Sonrai people. He has also co-produced several programs for Afropop Worldwide, most notably on the late Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré, who knew a few things about the blues as well. 8 p.m., Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-624-0200; $12.
Between their weighty recordings as leaders (saxophonist Andrew Bishop and guitarist Ryan Mackstaller) and collaborators (drummer Alex Trajano with Blue Dog, and saxophonist Dan Bennett with Larval), the quartet Bottomed Out raises high hopes for smart composing and let-it-rip improvising. They celebrate their debut release, Push (envoi recordings), with a Thursday gig at the Firefly (10 p.m., 207 S. Ashley, Ann Arbor; 734-665-9090; Chicago's Goran Ivanovic shares the bill; $8) and a Friday gig at the Thrilla Park Recording Lab (8 p.m., 828 W. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson; 248-435-9331; Bright Out shares the bill; free). And there's more: Monday Bottomed Out performs a live sound track for the 1926 silent flick Faust at Motor City Brewing Works. They share that gig with the Insight Trio (Skeeter Shelton, Mike Carey and Abdul Hareem) who improvise to Der Golem from 1915. Flicks and kicks start at 7 p.m., 470 W. Canfield, Detroit; 313-832-2700. Free.
After a successful off-Broadway run, the award-winning Mamaleh! makes its Detroit-area premiere after playing to sold-out houses across the country. The musical comedy centers on Frieda, a suburban wife and mother, and her relationships with her mother Sonya; her daughter Debra, a new mother herself; and her three best friends (a serial-marrying ad exec; a newly widowed woman, and a space cadet with a thing for plastic surgery). Seligman Performing Arts Center, 22305 W. 13 Mile Rd., Beverly Hills; 248-646-2458; $39.
Black and White
Neal Davis Gallery's latest exhibit, Black and White, is a simple iteration of a well-known adage: Less is more. Featuring contemporary abstract art and sculpture executed entirely in black and white, these works convey a powerful message while using a limited palette. Artists include Dolores Carlson, Jeanette Strezinski, Robert Mirek, Martyn Bouskila, Rick Boffman, Scott Hullinger and Stephanie Holloway. Opening reception is 6-9 p.m. at 314 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-298-0326.
FUN FOR ALL
Friday Nights at the DIA has had a successful run, and it's due in no small part to the mix of events they've offered. This week, oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen will perform a variety of music, including traditional Arabic sounds, jazz and classical music (6:30 and 8 p.m.), and artist Vito Valdez demonstrates how to draw using a live model. As always, the all-ages Paper Bag Sculpture Workshop where you learn to turn a brown paper sack into art will be in session. (Kids age 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.) 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900.
Improv with the Vegans
If you think that improv comedy troupes are pretty much all the same, you're probably wrong. Especially when you're talking about Vegan Meat Locker, an arty comedy ensemble out of Ypsi. This bizarre assemblage of funny folks performs its own brand of entertainment based on audience suggestions. Expect the unexpected. 8 p.m. at the Dreamland Theater, 44 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-657-2337. $5.
Schoolhouse Rock Live!
One of the best parts of being a child of the '70s and '80s was the ultra-cool Saturday morning TV lineup, including the absolutely brilliant and educational series of shorts Schoolhouse Rock! The three-minute animated segments taught kids everything from their multiplication tables to how a bill is passed in the U.S. government. The cartoon series has come to life as Schoolhouse Rock Live!, now being interpreted by Warren-area high school drama students. 7:30 p.m. at Warren Consolidated Schools Performing Arts Center, 12901 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-825-2525; $7, children and students, $10, adults.
Of Ill Repute: Conscious Deviance and the Reclamation of Feminine Desire
The latest show at 555 Gallery takes the theme of female sexuality a step further. This multimedia event delves into the some of the more unconventional attitudes on sexuality, sensuality and desire. Of Ill Repute is gay-, lesbian-, bisexual-, straight-, pansexual-, poly-, trans- and queer-inclusive. Opening reception at 8 p.m., 4884 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-894-4202. Ends April 22.
Gogol Bordello's huge success among arty New York rock types has overflowed into the mainstream, but that doesn't mean they've lost their charm. The so-called gypsy punks have played the "We dig the Eastern European sound, we wear huge mustaches and play the accordion" card so well that it's almost easy to forget that Nick Cave did it first. Definitely worth a look-see. Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700. With Dub Trio and Zox. $12.Send comments to [email protected]