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Spelling Bee
S-P-E-L-L T-H-I-S!
Flex your orthographic muscles at this unorthodox version of an elementary school spelling bee where spelling under the influence is the true challenge. Prove to everyone that you can still spell onomatopoeia after downing five PBRs and you may emerge the champion, earning the envy and admiration of smart aleck scenesters everywhere, as well as a third of the door and other surprise prizes. Tunes will be provided by the fabulous and brainy Haute 2 Death DJs, and attendees are asked to bring used books and baked goods to swap or sell. Doors at 8 p.m., registrations for the bee at 9 p.m. at the Belmont, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966.

Lower Dens
Lower Dens is the new vehicle for Baltimore-based folk singer-songwriter Jana Hunter who, after releasing a couple of solo discs on Devendra Banhart's Gnomonsong label and contributing for the likes of Phosphorescent and CocoRosie, reinvents herself as the frontwoman of this dreamy, shoegazing quartet. Twin-Hand Movement, Lower Dens' debut, is a mass of fuzzy guitars, droning feedback and languid tempos, with the vocals barely discernible amid the atmospheric din. But even awash in the swirling waves of sound, Hunter's voice takes center stage — thoughtful and searching, its anxious yearning refuses to be obscured. Lower Dens performs in support of the disc at 9 p.m. at the Majestic Café, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; $8; with Inoculist.

A Bun a Day
Self-described lowbrow artist Heather Hansma presents a solo exhibition of paintings centered on her Puff Bun creations — rabbit-like characters with pear-shaped bodies, flat features, long ears and cotton-ball tails. The Puff Buns are almost always shown to be engaged in pop culture parodies, depictions that gently send up their subjects with a childlike innocence, and include everyone and everything from Marilyn Monroe ("Marilyn Bunroe," holding down her billowing white dress) to Batman ("Bun is the Night," with a Batman Puff Bun striking a heroic, rooftop pose). The exhibition features works that take Puff Bun approaches to subjects from Paczki Day to old-school PC game SkiFree to Jesus himself. A Bun a Day opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. at Five15, 515 S. Washington, Royal Oak; 248-515-2551; displays through Sept. 10.

Melting Moments Reunion
In case you never knew, Melting Moments was a quirky pop duo that consisted of poet and teacher Anna Vitale providing vocals and trippy Casio beats, and musician and radio host Jason Voss handling guitar. The duo released one disc, 2005's There is a Rat in Separate, called it quits for 2006 and briefly reunited for a handful of shows in 2007 before going on permanent hiatus. This one-off reunion show may be their last, so don't miss your chance to let these buoyant, good-time popsters break your heart one more time. The stellar lineup also includes master puppeteer Patrick Elkin, the Pretty Sexy Poets and Kelly Jean Caldwell. 8 p.m. at Arbor Vitae, 336 1/2 State St., Ann Arbor.

Layers features works by Jeremy Hansen, Dennis Jacobs, Rudy Salazer III and Eddie Thiel, four young artists who each have a few years of experience under their belts. The works on display were created both independently and collaboratively by the artists as they worked together in Hansen's studio at River's Edge Gallery. Creating in close quarters, pieces in progress were commented on and critiqued, so that even solo works bear, in part, the influence of artists other than the one who wielded the brush. As a result, disparate yet complementary styles meet on the canvas to intriguing effect. Meet the artists and watch live painting at River's Edge Gallery, 3024 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-246-9880; displays through Aug. 27.

Vernor's Ad-Venture
The Vernor's Ginger Ale Collector's Club (yes, such a thing exists) hosts its fourth Vernor's Ad-Venture, a carbonated stroll through the history of the oldest continually produced pop in the country. The fete begins at the Grand Trunk Pub for Vernor's floats, a chance to purchase memorabilia, a screening of a 1954 newsreel about the fizzy libation and an opportunity to snap pics by the giant Vernor's sign. The party then moves to the Guardian Building for a float drinking contest and a visit to Pure Detroit to see the original Vernor's gnome. The tour concludes at Hart Plaza, site of the Vernor's plant and soda fountain, with a walking tour and author signing of the historical tome, Vernor's Ginger Ale. 10:30 a.m. at Foran's, 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; free and open to non-club members, 586-615-9152 or [email protected] to register. 

Corn Roast & Country Fair
Now in its 12th year, the Corn Roast & Country Fair offers families a day of traditional merriment and delectable eats. Local bands, a beer tent, more than twenty artisan booths, a chocolate chip cookie contest, a chance to land a cop in a dunk tank and plenty of kids' activities are all on the bill. Attendees can also enjoy traditional fair munchies, as well as hand-squeezed lemonade and fresh roasted corn. Proceeds from various activities benefit the Royal Oak Police Honor Guard, the Boys & Girls Club and the Royal Oak Farmers Market.  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-246-3276.

The Rolling Roadshow
This nationwide tour takes famous films and screens them — for free! — outdoors in the locations where they were shot or set. The Detroit stop will feature a 35mm screening of (what else?) RoboCop. Bask in the urban setting of today's Detroit while on the screen a cyborg crime fighting machine ruthlessly brings justice to the crime-ridden and financially depleted "Old Detroit" of the future. Or is the future now? 8:45 p.m. at the Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay St., 313-872-4000; bring your own seating. 

D.O.T.S.: Dancin' On the Street
The Heidelberg Project hosts this outdoor festival amid the surreal setting of Tyree Guyton's neighborhood block-turned-art installation. The all day fest is an eclectic celebration of Detroit, featuring music, food and kids' activities. The lineup ranges from hip hop to rock to salsa and includes Invincible, Nadir, the Sun Messengers with Marcus Belgrave and the CutTime String Quartet featuring DSO bassist Rick Robinson. A "Taste of Detroit" will be provided by Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes, Oslo, El Barzone, Creole Gumbo and more. The fest culminates at 7:30 p.m. when the Zone Dance Company will lead festival-goers in a group rendition of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance. Noon-8 p.m. at The Heidelberg Project, 3600 block of Heidelberg Street, Detroit; for info; discounted parking and shuttle service available from Orchestra Hall.

Bizarre Bazaar
This inaugural fest promises to be decidedly different than your average art fair. After all, its location on the grounds of Theatre Bizarre practically guarantees the show's distinct flair. The fair will feature crafts, music and art by local artists, musicians and performers, with offerings that will appeal to nearly anyone's taste, no matter how eccentric, unusual or disturbed. The self-proclaimed "extravaganza of the senses" takes place rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Theatre Bizarre, 949 W. State Fair, Detroit; admission is $3 and all ages before 7 p.m., $7 and 21 and up after; for info. 

Neutral Uke Hotel
Spearheaded by Shawn Fogel, frontman of power-pop act Golden Bloom, Neutral Uke Hotel is a cover band of a very peculiar sort. They only perform Neutral Milk Hotel's seminal 1998 album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea — and they only do it on ukulele. Is it kitsch? Mockery? Perhaps even blasphemy? Indeed, Jeff Magnum's lo-fi outfit, one of the founding bands of the Elephant 6 collective, is held sacred by many indie fans, and Aeroplane is considered his opus, a gut-wrenching collection of songs with an emotional immediacy that impacts nearly everyone who hears it. But it's this very attribute that Fogel's project reverentially recreates; stripped of their original, varied instrumentation and Magnum's distinct warble, the songs are pared down to their very essence, creating reproductions that are faithful in spirit, if not in sound. Neutral Uke Hotel performs at 9 p.m. at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; $8.

Haiku Middle Passage
In 2006, poet Mursalata Muhammed wrote seventeen haiku about the Middle Passage, the part of the trans-Atlantic trade triangle that sent imprisoned Africans across the Atlantic as slaves. She then asked artists from throughout the country to create works responding to her poetry. The result is Haiku Middle Passage, a multimedia exhibit that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The display includes paintings, drawings, collages, digital works, sculpture and photography. The pieces, despite their different mediums, all speak to the horrific effects that human trafficking had — and continues to have — on people everywhere. Through Sept. 18 at the Brown and Juanita C. Ford Gallery, 1001 Fort St., Detroit; 313-496-2634.

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