Night and Day

Feb 3, 2010 at 12:00 am

Earl Lloyd Reception

In 1950, the four-year-old National Basketball League saw the first of its teams drop the bar on African American players. Of the season's three integrating pioneers, Earl Lloyd of the Washington Capitols gets a special place in history as the first baller to actually go into action. Lloyd, whose subsequent career included playing with and coaching the Detroit Pistons, published an autobiography, Moonfixer, last year — written in collaboration with journalist Sean Kirst — which includes an introduction written by another Piston of note, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. Lloyd spends the day with students at Friends School in Detroit, sponsors of his visit, before the 6:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception at Gleaners Community Food Bank, 2131 Beaufait St., Detroit; $25; call 313-259-6722.

Carrie Rodriguez

Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez and her velvety voice adeptly cover a wide range of Americana-based tunes, from mandoguitar-driven folk-rock to intimate country croons. The classically trained violinist-turned-fiddler was discovered by Chip Taylor in her hometown of Austin at an in-store gig. She recorded three duet albums with the legendary songwriter before undertaking a solo career, releasing two discs and writing with the likes of Dan Wilson, Jim Boquist and Gary Louis of the Jayhawks; touring with Lucinda Williams and Alejandro Escovedo; and working with renowned musicians such as avant-guitarist Bill Frisell. A third full-length, Love & Circumstance, is due in April; meantime, check out Rodriguez on the Acoustic Café Evening tour along with Ben Sollee and Erin McKeown at 8 p.m. at Callahan's, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills; 248-858-9508.

Bad Plus

With their uniquely ostentatious and often hard-rocking delivery (especially for an acoustic jazz trio), their pop inclusive repertoire and the big-label promotion (in the age of mid- to small-label jazz), Bad Plus made for big news in the early '00s. Jazz Times even made them a pro-con, sinners-or-saviors cover story. The fuss has died down, Columbia Records has moved on, and the music still shouts loudly and eloquently for itself, whether a cover of Nirvana's "Lithium," an interpretation of Milton Babbit or one of their originals (which reportedly will comprise the entirety of their next album). At 7 and 9:30 p.m., Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-164-2538;

Cirque du Soleil: Alegría

Yet another of Cirque du Soleil's mesmerizing European circus-meets-street performance shows, Alegría places a special emphasis on gravity-defying aerial acts. Performers spin, tumble, turn and twist through the air with incalculable grace and precision; it's exactly the kind of spectacle that audiences expect from Cirque du Soleil, which celebrated a quarter century of breathtaking bravura last year. Other acts include contortionists, gymnasts and the fire-knife dancers, who balance fire knives on various parts of their bodies. Yikes! At Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Dr., Detroit; tickets are $38-$95 from 800-745-3000 and

Nick Oliveri

Nick Oliveri is probably best-known as a founding member of stoner rock pioneers Kyuss and, before exiting the band in 2004, one-half of the creative force behind Queens of the Stone Age. Since then, Oliveri has dallied with various projects, including playing with the Dwarves and the Knives, and fronting punk-metal experimenters Mondo Generator. His latest effort sees the oft-nude bassist doing a stripping-down of another sort. October's Death Acoustic features a solo Oliveri lending his brutal howl to acoustic versions of hard rock songs, including the Misfits' "Hybrid Moments," GG Allin's "Outlaw Scumfuc" and "I'm Gonna Leave You," a track Oliveri co-wrote for Queens of the Stone Age. It's metal, unplugged, at 8 p.m. at Small's, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck; 313-873-1117; $10 advance; local metal lords Chapstik and Wolfbait open.

Breaking the Mold

Asia — China in particular — is closely associated with ceramics; for thousands of years, Asian potters have been creating vessels of utilitarian and aesthetic value, developing revolutionary firing and glazing techniques hundreds of years before Europeans. Breaking the Mold: Contemporary Japanese and Chinese Ceramic Sculpture features contemporary Japanese and Chinese artists who are both continuing and subverting the ceramics traditions of their countries. The seven Chinese ceramists have created works that comment on China's relationship with the West and on China's current social issues. The Japanese works come from nine artists, some of whom are working in traditional forms and others who are bucking traditions and creating works influenced by comic books, pop art and animation. Opening with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, 480 W. Hancock, Detroit; 313-993-7813; on display through April 23.

Artificial Geospatial Laboratory

A large-scale installation by Detroit multimedia artist Steve Coy, Artificial Geospatial Laboratory combines murals, sculptures and video projections for a heady examination of how consumption, technology and social status play out in perceived future spaces. Coy, a teacher at University of Michigan's School of Art and Design and co-founder of the Detroit Projection Project, often explores issues of commercialism, pop culture, fashion and corporatism in his work. The "laboratory" opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and displays through March 6, at Detroit Industrial Projects inside the Russell Industrial Center, 1610 Clay St., Bldg. 2, Detroit; info at

Trevor Dunn's MadLove

Trevor Dunn has spent the 25 years of his musical career ear-bending on the fringes, from the surreal metal escapades of Mr. Bungle, the group he co-founded, to clocking time with experimental supergroup Fantomas to recording extensively with prolific avant-garde composer John Zorn. After spending the first few years of the decade fronting a nominal jazz outfit, Trio-Convulsant, Dunn returns to his rock roots with his latest project MadLove. The group marries his experience with underground rock and avant-jazz, playing skillfully with droning feedback, sludgy riffs, off-kilter tempos and dissonant chords. MadLove plays in support of their debut disc, White With Foam, at 8 p.m. at the Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $10; with Child Bite.

Chicago Underground Duo

Cornetist Rob Mazurek and percussionist Chad Taylor have been making music together — improvising, we should say — since the mid-'90s, working at various times as a duo, trio, quartet and countless-members collective, collaborating with Chicago's best musicians across genres. Their music lies at the intersection of free jazz and avant-pop, seamlessly absorbing bits and pieces from electronica, indie rock and world music into their experimental, minimalist brew. The no-longer-Chicago-based duo (Taylor is based in New York, Mazurek in Brazil) performs two sets in support of their fifth disc as a twosome, Boca Negra, at Hott Lava, a night of experimentally mind-blowing films. At 8 p.m. at the Yellow Barn, 416 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor; info at; $8.

How to Blur a Line

We always hear about how the "other" half lives. But few consider whether we really do live in a world of polar opposites. Might it be possible that everything’s really the same, when you come down to it? That question gets artistic answers with How to Blur a Line, which curator Amanda Faye Cain hopes will strike a sledgehammer blow against misrepresented, racialized or similarly confused notions of "the other." Cain asked a bunch of artists to create works that would confront otherness through performance, photography, sculpture, painting and illustration, and the exhibit will have work by Cain and Marianne Audrey Burrows, Jay Harnish, Dave Sanders, Ian Swanson and Colleen Walters. Free, but donation requested. 7 p.m. at The Motor City Movie House at the Russell Indutrial Center, 1604 Clay St., Bldg. 1, Fifth Floor, Detroit.

Sam & Ruby

He's a Midwesterner from Green Bay, Wis. She's a musical artist from Ghana, West Africa. Together, the acoustical talents and soulful vocals of Sam & Ruby blend into a relaxed and honest sound. It's been most popularly recognized in their work "Heaven's My Home," a 2007 Grammy-nominated song that was the main feature on the soundtrack for The Secret Life of Bees. And 2009 was a breakout year for the Nashville-based duo, as their album, The Here and the Now, drew rave reviews and a place in the Associated Press's Top 10. Sam Brooker and Ruby Amanfu kicked off 2010 with a performance at the Sundance Film Festival and by winning the Sirius XM's "Coffee House" singer-songwriter of the year award. They open for bluesman Jackie Greene at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451; $20; doors at 7:30 p.m.

Films from Prelinger Archives: Lost Landscapes of Detroit

Comprised of archival film clips taken from newsreels, industrial movies and amateur films from the '20s through the '60s, Lost Landscapes of Detroit reveals images from a disappearing Detroit. But far from a nostalgia-fest, the screening is designed to be an interactive exploration of how Detroit's past can inform its future. Audience members are encouraged to shout out questions, observations and lessons learned as the ephemera of earlier times roll by. The clips are from the Prelinger Archives, started by archivist Rick Prelinger in 1983 and passed on to the Library of Congress in 2002 when it had reached more than 200,000 items. Prelinger will be on hand to give a brief talk before the screening on the value of forgotten films and the fluid nature of shared memory. At 7 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622; free.