HIS LATEST NEW BOOK
There are certain clemencies made when you've got a prodigious writer — a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer — on your hands. Sure, the poetic prose of Michael Chabon might err on the side of the logorrheic, but it's a thrill to follow the "caterpillar schemes" woven through his novels. Author of The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Wonder Boys, The Yiddish Policemen's Union and others, Chabon will headline metro Detroit's annual Jewish Book Fair. He will be speaking about his latest book, Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure, at 8:15 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, 6600 W. Maple Rd., West Bloomfield. Tickets are $15 at the door. The book fair continues until Nov. 18; more info can be found at jccdet.org or by calling 248-661-1000.
An Evening with Adrian Tomine
ANGST IN THEIR PANTS
Adrian Tomine's career has run the alternative comics gamut, from teenage auto-bio mini-comics creator to indy wunderkind to critically acclaimed graphic novelist. His sophisticated work — from Montreal's prestigious comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly — has earned him praise from both comics and literary critics. It's telling that Tomine will be signing his latest book, Shortcomings, at an eclectic, upscale bookstore rather than a comics shop. Shortcomings is a cool, deliberate work, with no "comic-book-y" flash. But it's also accessible, thanks to Tomine's crisp art, clear storytelling and a familiar-feeling cast of characters — searching, lovelorn young urban types whose emotions, neuroses and libidos bump and grind against each other until no one is left unscathed. Complicate matters by adding the complexities of Asian-American sexual and cultural politics and add a dose of humor, and the result is a good example of why the comics literati say the artform is in a new golden age. At 7 p.m. at Shaman Drum Bookshop, 311-315 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-7407 for info.
DROPPED OUT, CAME BACK
She can be hard to pin down in more ways than one. For instance, after her initial flurry of success in the late '90s, she dropped out of sight and went back to busking in Paris for a spell. A master of subtly swinging understatement, she invites comparisons to both Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline. Last year, she released her third album in a decade, another wide-ranging affair, A Perfect World, rendering songs by Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell, all hauntingly beautiful. At 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University, Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538.
NOT JUST FIFTY CENTS
It's a story of college dropouts and concealed weapons, of drug dealings and burgeoning fame. Familiar? Yep, we wrote earlier this year about Stretch Money, one of Detroit's up-and-coming rap artists. (But shame on you if you were thinking of Kanye or Fiddy.) We wrote: "He began cooking at an Applebee's, and dabbled in drug dealing. Hot Lava [his label] gave him hope and opportunity, and he took a chance. Next he recorded a mixtape, Heat Rocks, which the HL team used to create a buzz with street giveaways. And then, in September last year, they released Stretch's debut, Take Money to Make Money. Stretch performed with such stars as Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and Rick Ross." He's got enough grit to maintain street cred, enough talent to win over a solid fan base. The baby-faced Stretch Money makes a weekly appearance with the Lodge Boyz at Zoo Bar, 415 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-5005 for info.
Their sound is a childhood meth trip, foreign and familiar: Think of the angry dwarves in Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits making music, and you're getting warmer. "Atlas," off their album Mirrored, from earlier this year, fuses Chipmunk vocals with frenzied guitars and a steady thud of drums. Critics call Battles an exercise in prog rock, math rock, post-rock, experimental, indie — basically, they've got complex rhythm structures, vocal distortions, '70s glam and a heck of a lotta strange. At the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555 for info. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. Performing with White Williams.
UP FROM BRAZIL
We call him Brazil's answer to Bob Dylan. Do the Brazilians call Dylan our answer to Caetano Veloso? Of course, differences abound. For one thing, where the aging Dylan evokes the wizened back-country rustic, Veloso is ever more the worldly cosmopolitan. Veloso's last album, Cê, was one of his more rock-oriented efforts. And though he's perfectly capable to holding his own with just voice and his own guitar, he's backed by a three-piece combo this time around. 8 p.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 North University, Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538.
Betty's Summer Vacation
SOCIETY TODAY, ALAS ...
"Stick a sex addict, an abusive mother, a rambling bimbo, an all-American sweetheart and a lonely guy who just might be a serial killer into a house together and it's not always Big Brother," write the guys at Ferndale's Who Wants Cake theater troupe of this staged parody of reality television. But isn't that what any reality TV situation provides? The scenario's pretty normal these days, at least to your typical rabid TV viewer, so you gotta wonder what the big deal is. But here's the catch — it was first performed in the late '90s, winning an Obie Award for Best Off-Broadway Play. Remember the '90s? Reality TV was still in its infancy — the most egregious spells of tube-related idiocy didn't hit till the turn of the century. But stomach-cramping laughs are still in order, as you're reminded how ridiculous society is today, in this zany satire which runs until Dec. 3, at the Ringwald Theater, 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-556-8581 for info.
BLOW YOUR SEMI-FOUND OBJECT
With well-worn horns and scuffed-up wooden sound-makers, artist Michele Crimi's installation of found instruments and other discarded accoutrements are intended evoke the spiritual traditions in Native American culture. Come celebrate the renewal of what's long been lost, buried or forgotten. Also, bring along whatever hideous holiday kitsch you may have stored in your basement or attic and donate it to the Abreact's X-mas Blowout, which promises to be one big, bad, beautiful storm of sucky decorations in the Boydell Building. Abreact Performance Space is at 442 E. Lafayette, Detroit, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Send an e-mail to [email protected] for more information.
Saturday, Sunday 10, 11
Native American Festival
STEP INTO MY WIGWAM
It's easy to ignore the countless references we see every day to the scores of Native Americans who lived in this state before it was a state. The word "Michigan," even, is derived from michigama, which means "great lake." The Ottawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi, three indigenous Michigan tribes, will share and celebrate their customs and culture at the 15th annual Native American Festival. Visitors can observe a "Mini Pow Wow," performed by dozens of Native Americans in authentic regalia, taste wild rice soup, "Indian tacos" and buffalo burgers, and visit tepees and wigwams. Tickets are $7.50. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Southfield Civic Center, 26000 Evergreen Rd., Southfield; call 248-398-3400 for more info.
The Section Quartet
OK STRING QUARTET
The Kronos Quartet opened the door back in the '80s for string quartets that wanted Hendrix in their repertoire along with, say, Haydn. Which brings us to a group like the Section Quartet that makes reworked rock classics its raison d'être. How many other string quartets play Bonnaroo or have Linda Perry as their producer? For this tour stop, they're slated to play Radiohead's OK Computer in its entirety. Sara Celina opens. Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-1991.
Where a lyric like "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard" would refer, indeed, to a chocolate float. Be warned, parents: Kidz Bop, so often seen on TV as a mind-numbingly irritating infomercial, now peddles its G-rated song-and-dance numbers onstage. It's a thoroughly kid-friendly affair — the pint-size performers are more of the Osh Kosh than Jon Benet variety. Performers will sing saccharine-sweet versions of popular radio hits — such as Justin Timberlake's "My Love," Nelly's "Dilemma" and Britney Spears' "Toxic." Tickets are $22, $30 and $38 for the 3 p.m. show at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-396-7901 for info.
BEND IT LIKE ...
"I guess that's how hormones work," Meshell Ndegeocello quipped the other day in a radio interview, explaining the title of her seventh disc: This World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams. A gender-bender and a genre-bender, she talked about the way the sensual and spiritual meet in her music, about how after being raised to expect the "man of my dreams" to solve her problems, she's learned to create her own world of happiness. Musically that world spans funk to jazz, soulful balladry to rocking noise squalls, anchored by her own indubitable bass playing. The singer of such hits as "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)" and "Leviticus: Faggot" is at the Majestic Theater, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700 for more information. Doors at 7 p.m. All ages.