THURSDAY APRIL 1
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM
The Baltimore duo of guitarist-keyboardist Alex Scally and singer-organist Victoria Legrand debuted in 2006 with a self-titled disc of blurry, ethereal dream-pop that instantly made waves in indie music circles thanks to Legrand's hushed, almost somber vocals and Scally's careful instrumentation. Their rep was bolstered even further with 2008's Devotion, which saw Beach House raising its emotive languidness to cinematic heights. The upward swing continues with the band's third effort, Teen Dream. The increased production values that moderate success brought them didn't diminish the pair's scrappy, homemade charm, but it did allow their music's understated majesty to truly shine, in all its beauty and all its hopeful sadness. Beach House performs in support of the disc with Bachelorette at 8 p.m. at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $12 advance.
THURSDAY & SATURDAY APRIL 1 & 3
THE BIG WHEEL RANKS!
Eight-time All Star and Golden Glove-winning catcher Lance Parrish spent 10 years crouched behind the plate for the Tigers, playing an integral role in the '84 World Series win. Parrish, who also served a brief stint as bullpen coach during Alan Trammell's ill-fated tenure as manager, returns to Detroit to sign copies of his new book, Few and Chosen: Defining Tigers Greatness Across the Eras. A bible for stats geeks, the tome features Parrish's selections of the five best players at each position, as well as numbers and commentary to back up his claims (and no, he doesn't include himself in the list of catchers). Parrish will sign copies and defend his rankings Thursday at 6 p.m. at Borders Novi (43075 Crescent Blvd., Novi; 248-347-0780) and Saturday at noon at Barnes & Noble (2800 S. Rochester Rd., Rochester; 248-853-9855).
THURSDAY-SUNDAY APRIL 1-4
DOWN FOR THE COUNT
First performed in 1980, English playwright Claire Luckham's feminist rock 'n' roll wrestling comedy may have preceded wrestling's 1980s popularity boom, but it aptly capitalizes on the sheer entertainment that the four-cornered ring provides. The play follows its eponymous hero Tanzi, from working-class town Trafford, from her days in diapers to married womanhood. Her parents raise her to be the model of femininity, but Tanzi gravitates to boyish pursuits. The gendered conflict culminates when she challenges her husband, a professional wrestler, to a match in which the loser must become the "housewife" of the relationship. Set in a ring and performed in 10 rounds, with sparring — verbal and physical — in every one, Trafford Tanzi is a spandex-suited battle of the sexes ... British style! 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Arthur Miller Theatre, 1226 Murfin, Ann Arbor; 734-764 2538; music.umich.edu; $24, $9 students; further performances April 8-11.
FRIDAY APRIL 2
On her late night talk show, Chelsea Lately, Chelsea Handler offers off-kilter commentary on all things pop culture, from entertainment news to the latest rumors surrounding Hollywood's elite. But when not dishing the dirt, Handler turns her wit on her favorite subject — herself. Family foibles, vodka-fueled misadventures, one-night stands gone awry — she lays it all bare with self-deprecating charm and gut-busting delivery. Her latest book, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, centers on the always-hilarious subjects of sex, family and career. She signs copies at 3 p.m. at Borders Birmingham (34300 Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-203-0005) before her standup gig at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theatre (2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611; $49.50-$69.50 available through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000).
FRIDAY APRIL 2
Robert Cray and Shemekia Copeland
2 STARS, 1 RISING
No dis to headliner and (well-deserved) multiple Grammy-winning star Robert Cray, but Shemekia Copeland's "Never Going Back to Memphis" on her latest album, Never Going Back, is the best new blues song we've heard in ages: a noirish tale with police sirens, a dog on a chain, fingerprints rubbed off a pistol, a close escape in the rain, the fading promise of a rendezvous down by the tracks, etc. And Shemekia (daughter of the late Johnny "Texas Twister" Copeland) has the gift of blue-light mental projection to make you shiver in the cold rain along with her, same way she makes you believe just about anything she sings. At 8 p.m. at the Sound Board at Motor City Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-237-7711; $32 and $35.
FRIDAY APRIL 2
As a celebration of Easter and sugary sweet excess, more than 20,000 marshmallows will be dumped from a helicopter at the annual Marshmallow Drop. Children, separated into groups by age, are then set loose to grab as many of the sweet treats as possible, turning them in for the chance to win prizes. This year marks the 26th edition of Wayne County Parks' family friendly event. At 9 a.m. at Elizabeth Park (on Jefferson east of I-75 and south of West Road in Trenton) and 11 a.m. at Nankin Mills (33700 Ann Arbor Trail, Westland); info at 734-261-1990.
FRIDAY APRIL 2
Michigan Fine Arts Competition
The Michigan Fine Arts Competition features works in various media by 160 artists chosen from approximately 500 applicants. The annual juried exhibit — under the auspices of the Detroit Institute of Arts until 1982 — awards cash prizes to some of the most notable artists currently working in the state. This year's display was juried by Sondra Freckelton, a New York-based artist originally from Dearborn, known for her realist watercolor paintings and work as an educator. Opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, 1516 S. Cranbrook Rd., Birmingham; 248-644-0866; displays through May 7.
FRIDAY-MONDAY APRIL 2-5
THE BATTLE LOST AND WON
David Rabe's 1984 black comedy follows the lives of four bit players in 1980s Hollywood, where the road to success is paved with crassness, cruelty and boatloads of coke. Eddie and Mickey, casting agents and roommates, and buddies Phil (an actor) and Artie (a producer), teeter on the edge of oblivion, where ostensibly clever banter helps them avoid the bleak meaningless of it all. A still-relevant take on finding meaning in a world of fuzzy morality, Hurlyburly plays at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-545-5545; whowantscaketheatre.com; $10-$20; runs through April 26.
SATURDAY APRIL 3
WHO ARE THOSE MASKED WRESTLERS?
In 2001, photographer and filmmaker Charles Fairbanks began photographing lucha libre, Mexico's acrobatic and highflying form of wrestling. In 2004, Fairbanks donned his own luchador mask and began wrestling as El Gato Tuerto — the One-Eyed Cat. Along the way, he continued to capture the sport on film, from both outside and inside the ring, sometimes wrestling with a camera built into his mask. This video exhibition combines both perspectives for a near-total sensory experience, an examination of how the complex holds, quick moves and sheer drama relate to the highs and lows of daily life. Flexing Muscles opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. with screenings at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at 2739 Edwin Gallery, 2739 Edwin, Hamtramck; on display Saturdays through May 1.
TUESDAY APRIL 6
THE SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS
Just why Sonny Rollins released so little live-recorded material from the mid-'70s through the last few years is a bit of a mystery, but the arrival of Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert in 2005 and Road Shows: Vol. 1 in 2008 did nothing but further elevate the rep of a player who was dubbed the saxophone colossus half a century ago. He's a fount of improvisational — and inspirational — genius as he approaches his 80th birthday on Sept. 7. And though he's been no stranger to the Detroit area over the years this is being billed as his debut at Orchestra Hall. At 8 p.m. at Orchestra Hall in the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit, preceded by the DSO's Civic Jazz Orchestra at 6:30 in the center's Music Box; 313-576-5111; $22 to $108.
TUESDAY APRIL 6
CCS alumnus Tim Flattery has spent more than two decades in the film and television industries working in all aspects of production art, including designing costumes and creatures for sci-fi flicks, working as a visual effects artist and overseeing the construction of vehicles used in Back to the Future II, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Batman Forever. But he's especially known for his contributions in the sci-fi and superhero genres, including work on Spiderman II, X-Men, Transformers and the upcoming The Green Lantern. Flattery speaks as part of the Toyota Lecture on Design series at 6 p.m. at the College for Creative Studies' Walter B. Ford II Building, 201 E. Kirby St., Detroit; 313-664-7400, free. Prior to his spiel, he'll hold a workshop for prospective CCS students; call 313-664-7427 to reserve your spot.