Night and Day

Jan 27, 2010 at 12:00 am

Nouvelle Vague

While dreamy bossa nova renditions of new wave and post-punk classics may reek of schtick, if not downright sacrilege, Nouvelle Vague pulls it off with aplomb. French producers Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux employ a rotating cast of French and Brazilian chanteuses with smoky vocals and romantic naiveté (made all the more credible by their unfamiliarity with the original songs) to cover everyone from the Clash and Blondie to Echo and the Bunnymen and XTC. The graceful, lilting re-workings playfully, sometimes insightfully, bring new layers of meaning to both well-worn and lesser-known tunes. On Nouvelle Vague's latest disc, NV3, the songstresses are joined in duets on some tracks by the original singers, including Ian McCulloch, Martin Gore and Barry Adamson. The Frenchies and their Brazilian beats make their metro Detroit premiere at 8 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $15 advance; with Clare and the Reasons and DJ Jim Stone.

From Mocha to Latte: Coffee, the Arab World and the $4 Cup

From Mocha to Latte explores the history of the ubiquitous cup of joe, from the first purposeful cultivation of coffee plants in Yemen to the contemporary hyper-caffeinated obsession with grande triple-shot skim mochas. While the exhibit specifically focuses on the Arab world's contributions to coffee culture, it also considers coffee traditions from throughout the world, as well as the various ways these roasted beans have impacted global history and society. The opening — featuring complimentary coffee, of course — begins at 5:30 p.m.; at 6:30 p.m., the winter spring season of the Global Thursdays series kicks off with a performance by Lebanese multi-instrumentalist and flute virtuoso Bassam Saba. At the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-2266; on display through Aug. 15.


The second in a pair of one-acts by Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, Ravenswood depicts the goings-on at a high-end asylum — the eponymous Ravenswood — where troubled individuals come seeking cures for their various ills. The institution is presided over by an ominously silent doctor and two devilishly dysfunctional nurses who strap on straitjackets and administer injections with impunity. Also, patients are allowed to indulge in all their bad habits. Follow the kinked path to mental stability at 8 p.m. each night at the Studio Theatre, downstairs from the Hilberry Theatre, at 4743 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-577-2972;; $10-$12; performances continue Feb.4-6.

Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Now in its 33rd year, the Ann Arbor Folk Festival continues to raise funds for The Ark with a two night showcase of up-and-coming and well-established folk and roots artists. Friday leans toward the contemporary, with performances by wistful indie singer-songwriter Iron & Wine, and Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, performing songs from their album One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Music From Kerouac's Big Sur, which features songs inspired by Jack Kerouac's writings with lyrics taken directly from his novel Big Sur. Saturday, traditional heavyweights take the stage, including Rosanne Cash, Richie Havens, Doc Watson and Raul Malo. The fest begins at 6:30 p.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; for tickets and info contact the Ark at 734-761-1800 or


• The devastation in Haiti continues, but so does the number of (easy) ways to help. Detroit Rocks for Haiti is one in a number of local benefits. Proceeds from two Magic Stick shows and a portion of bar sales will be used to purchase medical supplies for the Klinik Sen Michel, a Haitian clinic founded by now-retired Detroit Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who's taking a group to Haiti at the end of the month to provide medical care to earthquake victims. Bands taking the stage Friday include Friendly Foes, Copper Thieves, Four Hour Friends, Secret Twins and Old Empire; Saturday's lineup stars Bump, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, Electric Fire Babies, Troy Gregory, the Juliets, Decibilt and more. Bands begin at 8:30 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; minimum $8 donation each night.

• The Jazz Café at Music Hall presents a music and spoken word benefit show for the cause Friday night, Jan. 29, from 7 to 10 p.m. The concert is free of charge; however, attendance will require a donation (either monetary or material goods) to help organizations directly supporting this. Covering the gamut from hip-hop, to rock, to gospel, musical performers include Kama Kazi, New Day Sun, RLW, Jasmin Barber, Jamin Bradley, Kevin Swazala and others, 14 in all, performing lightning-round sets from 7 to 10 p.m.; 350 Madison Ave., Detroit; 313-887-8500.

A Caribbean Winter Carnival fundraiser for Haitian relief runs all day on Saturday, Jan. 30. The groups Roots Vibrations, Universal Xpression, Zoumountchi and Millenium Steel Band are to play, while Black Star Sound, Infinity Sound System, Roots Rock Sound and WD Production Sound System will also rock the house. Costumes from Caribbean Mardi Gras will add extra color. Minimum donation is $10. Noon to 2 a.m. at West Indian American Association Hall, 2015 E. 7 Mile Road (between Ryan and Dequindre), Detroit; 313-255-2226;

Adam Franklin

Adam Franklin is best known as the singer and guitarist for oft-overlooked British shoegaze pioneers Swervedriver, who reunited in 2008 after a decade-long hiatus. During that off-time, Franklin kept busy, spearheading the ambient pop project Twoshack Highway, collaborating with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino under the moniker Magnetic Morning, and forging a solo career, releasing two discs of languid and low-key tunes that, despite their restrained sound, wield a rather stunning (yes, stunning) emotional force. Franklin and his band, Bolts of Melody, perform in support of last year's Spent Bullets; a third solo effort is due this year. With Oblisk and Solar Temple Cult at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668; $6.

Cape Farewell: Art & Climate Change

The Cape Farewell project was created by artist David Buckland in 2001, a sustained cultural response to global warming which brought together artists, educators and scientists on three Arctic expeditions. The Cape Farewell exhibit, which has never before been displayed in North America, includes works by artists such as Kathy Barber, Peter Clegg, Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, Nick Edwards and Alex Hartley, who responded to both the beauty and destruction of the natural world that they witnessed on the voyages. The opening will feature a lecture by David Harwood, the U.S. principal investigator of the Antarctic Geological Drilling (ANDRILL) program, an international team of more than 300 scientists that has recently drilled two research holes in Antarctica, reaching more than 1,100 meters beneath the sea floor. A complementary exhibit examining the science of climate change, The Changing Earth, will also be on display. Harwood lectures at 1 p.m. and Cape Farewell displays through June 13 at the Cranbrook Institute of Science; 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills; 248-645-3200.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

This South African choir formed in the early '60s, slowly gaining international fame for their inspired compositions that blend South African rhythms with Western gospel music. The group seeks to both entertain with and preserve the musical traditions of their country; to that end, they draw heavily on isicathamiya, a type of a cappella singing that originated in the mines of South Africa, when workers would join together in song as their only reprieve from grueling labor. Ladysmith Black Mambazo recorded more than 40 albums, earned three Grammy awards, performed for dignitaries throughout the world, and have continued to expose South African music to a wide audience by collaborating with a number of Western artists, most notably with Paul Simon on Graceland, which opened up the group to worldwide fame. Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs their striking harmonies at 4 p.m. at Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-764-2538;; $10-$44.

A 'Spirited' Evening with Rebecca Rosen

If you were Rebecca Rosen, you'd know that you, a renowned psychic medium, are coming back to Detroit, your former hometown, to kick off the national promotional tour for your first book, Spirited: Connect to the Guides All Around You (HarperCollins) — and maybe you'd also know which readers of this very Metro Times blurb would be coming to see you. Rosen, a psychic-to-the-stars whose celebrity clients include Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox Arquette, has been heard locally on the Mojo in the Morning radio show and has made national TV appearances on Entertainment Tonight and The Rachael Ray Show. Here Rosen will give her Novi audience a preview of the book, conduct a guided group meditation and connect with spirits through audience readings. But then, you knew that, didn't you? At Rock Financial Showplace, 46100 Grand River, Novi; 800-838-3006; $30 in advance, $45 at the door;

Opera on Tap

By melding the highbrow, in the form of opera, with the lowbrow, in the form of beer, Opera on Tap ditches classical music's stuffy reputation and presents it as an easily accessible and fun form of entertainment. The free shows feature up-and-coming opera and classical artists performing in low-frill venues, such as bars, parks and festivals. Besides exposing new audiences to these old arts, the shows also allow artists to experiment with new pieces in low-pressure, relaxed settings. Opera on Tap began in 2005 and has chapters in Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, and, as of November, Ypsi, where artists perform on the first Tuesday of every month at 8:30 p.m. at Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-1035; free; info at

William DePauw

Ceramics artist William DePauw creates his porcelain sculptures using molds of objects he created himself, joining them in unusual ways to form his beautiful and sometimes bizarre abstractions. The works recall elements of human and animal bodies, appearing as odd amalgamations with smoothed glazed surfaces that gleam with an otherworldly whiteness. DePauw studied at Northern Michigan University, Wayne State University and Tulane in New Orleans, where he now teaches. His works will be on display through March 7 at Pewabic Pottery, 10125 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-822-0954;