Night and Day

The New Yorker recently dropped by a studio where Wynton Marsalis, his all-star 10-piece band and classical pianist Cecile Licad were recording a CD of the music that they'll be playing live only in Detroit and four other cities. It's the accompaniment to a silent movie, Louis, by director Dan Pritzker, re-creating the life of young Louis Armstrong and his milieu — bordellos, cemeteries, lust, complications of race, etc. — the taproot of jazz and the classical compositions of Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Both musics figure into the score and the tricky back-and-forth negotiations were the subject of the piece, making the appeal of the live enactment with the film all the more intriguing. At 8 p.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111.

Dan Mangan
Vancouver singer-songwriter Dan Mangan gained a solid fanbase through years of near-constant touring behind his 2005 debut Postcards & Daydreaming. The results of that workhorse ethic — road weariness, loneliness, the desire to settle down — can be heard on his second disc, Nice, Nice, Very Nice, released stateside this month. But the gravelly voiced gravitas of his straightforward folk-pop is offset by a wry irreverence and a knack for unexpected musical flairs. Take the song "Robot," which starts out as a mournful acoustic ditty before unexpectedly ending in an exuberant horn-filled sing-along. Plus, it's a song about robots! Mangan performs in support of the disc with Wooden Birds at 8 p.m. at the Vernors Room of the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontaic; 248-858-9333; $8.

Planet D Nonet Annual Sun Ra Tribute
Just as some space advocates keep trying to return NASA to its glory days, their jazz counterparts rally to the original cosmos-politan big band, the Sun Ra Arkestra. Prime local advocates are drummer R.J. Spangler and his Planet D Nonet who present their second annual Sun Ra tribute while celebrating the release of their double-CD We Travel the Space-ways: The Music of Sun Ra on the Eastlawn label. While some think of Ra mainly for the otherworldly forays, Spangler and his crowd are sticklers for the swing-era roots of the music too. Must be why jazz scholar Jim Gallert endorses as emcee. At the Tangent Gallery/Hastings Street Ballrooom, 715 W. Milwaukee St., Detroit; 313-887-4377.

This group exhibit explores the relationship between the subjects of artworks and the environments in which they are portrayed. What does the setting depicted in a painting or photograph suggest about the person who is the ostensible focal point of the work? What does the background imply about the figure in the foreground? Works in a variety of media are included from artists such as Graem Whyte, Clinton Snider, Monica Breen, Taurus Burns, Adrian Hatfield and more. Select artifacts from Meadow Brook Hall will also be on display, including portrait photographs of Dodge and Wilson family members that will be used to explore issues related to the representation of status, wealth and family relationships. Figure/Ground opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens; 586-469-8666; displays through Sept. 24.

Hott Lava
For the fifth edition of this experimental film happening, the film provocateurs of Hott Lava join forces with the cinematic taste-makers of Detroit's Burton Theater to present two sets of odd, creepy and laugh-inducing shorts. Along with the eye-popping splendors, two musical guests will provide audio delights – Noveller and unFact. Noveller is the solo project of Brooklyn-based guitarist and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate. She'll perform her shimmering ambient compositions to a film of her own making. unFact is the new gig of David Wm. Sims, best known as the bassist for underground noise rock champions the Jesus Lizard. Sims will perform his atmospheric pieces of swirling guitars and endless loops to a film created by Hott Lava's Sean Patrick. When the films stop rolling, Forest Juziuk and Geoff Perrin, the DJs behind the Jury Duty dance party, will select the jams for a special Jury Duty afterparty. At 9 p.m. at the Yellow Barn, 416 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor; see; $8, $5 for afterparty only.

Duo Parnas
As the granddaughters of internationally renowned cellist Leslie Parnas, sisters Madalyn and Cicely Parnas could sport an unfair edge in the world of classical music. But the acclaim the pair has earned — both as soloists and as a violin-cello chamber duo — is more than justified by their musical chops, which combine superb technical skill with an artistry and passion that belies their young ages (both are under the age of 20). So far the winsome duo has won first prize in an international chamber competition at Carnegie Hall, released two critically praised CDs and had numerous compositions written for them by renowned contemporary composers. At their Ann Arbor stop, the sisters perform two works by Ann Arbor's Grammy and Pulitzer winner William Bolcom, who'll be on hand to speak of the pieces. At 8 p.m. at the Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-769-2999; $10-$25.

Detroit Mower Gang
A grassroots movement gone literal, the Detroit Mower Gang takes the weight of Detroit's unkempt lawn upon their tractor blades, mowing, cutting and trimming the public parks and lands that the city's no longer able to maintain. To join the gang, whose first mow successfully uncovered the velodrome at Detroit's Dorais Playground, just show up with your grass-whacking gizmo and sense of community spirit. The next group mow will tackle the unruly grass and weeds of Riverside Park, where games, contests and other nonsense will accompany the landscape maintenance. 1 p.m. at Riverside Park at W. Grand Blvd. along the Detroit River, just south of the Ambassador Bridge. For info, visit

Come Hear Belle Isle
Come Hear Belle Isle features a handful of local bands performing in the green and lovely environs of Belle Isle, showcasing the nation's largest island park and raising funds to maintain it. But more than just an outdoor benefit concert, the event aims to show off organizations working to make Detroit a better place, providing a space for like-minded citizens to socialize, connect and find out how they can get involved in the community. Groups represented include Detroit Synergy, Inside Detroit Tours, Detroit Lives, Green Trees Detroit, Access Arts and more. Bands providing the tunes include the Sights, Champions of Breakfast, the High Strung, Chris Bathgate and Doop & the Inside Outlaws. From 1 to 7 p.m. at the Remick Music Shell on Belle Isle, Detroit; visit for info; free, but donations to the Friends of Belle Isle are encouraged.

Safe Streets Youth Ride
The young graduates of the Hub's Earn-A-Bike program lead cyclists through the streets of Detroit on this second annual ride. The seven-mile route cruises through downtown, Eastern Market, the Heidelberg Project and the Riverwalk; the novice bikers serving as guides earned their bikes by building and repairing them with the help of Hub staff and volunteers. Refreshments and Avalon goodies will be provided after the ride; all proceeds will be used to support the Hub's youth education programs. From 2:30 to 7 p.m. at the Hub of Detroit, 3611 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-879-5073;; $25.

People's Arts Festival
140 artists and 40 bands are slated to participate in the fourth annual People's Arts Festival, taking place amid the cavernous concrete of the Russell Industrial Center. Along with locally grown visual artists and craftspeople, the fest will feature an area devoted to the Michigan film industry where film-related businesses can showcase their services. Local indie films will screen each day, accompanied by filmmaker Q&As and panel discussions. The sounds to accompany all these sights will be provided by a bevy of local noisemakers, including Troy Gregory, Crud, the Ruiners, Satin Peaches, Odayin, Street Justice, Cap't Jerry & the Mermaids, Twistin' Tarantulas, Pewter Cub and more. Aerial yoga displays, international cuisine and a fashion show are also on the agenda. From 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Russell Industrial Center, 1600 Clay Ave., Detroit; for info; rain dates Sept. 11 and 12.

Guelph, Ontario duo Memoryhouse creates gauzy layers of sounds that float in the atmosphere, barely anchored by the wispy, lilting voice of singer Denise Nouvion. Memoryhouse started out as a multimedia collaboration between Nouvion, a photographer and videographer, and classical composer Evan Abeele. The idea was to pair Abeele's ambient compositions with Nouvion's photography; over time, the duo veered into the world of dream pop. So far, they've released just one EP, The Years, four songs steeped in nostalgia, sweetly wistful and strangely disconnected. The twosome performs with the equally dreamy Twin Sister at 9 p.m. at the Majestic Café, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; $8 advance, $10 day of.

The two comely chicks of Harptallica have been performing Metallica songs on the harp since 2006, when founding member Ashley Toman decided to arrange "Fade to Black" for two harps as a graduate school project. But the single song exercise turned into a full CD of Metallica covers, and thus, Harptallica was born. Toman and fellow metal harpist Mollie Marcuson have taken their novelty act across the country in hopes of increasing the accessibility and fan base of their angelic axes, and have branched out to cover songs by Megadeth, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. When not rocking out on their harps, the ladies each maintain busy careers as traditional harpists, performing with symphonies and orchestras, and teaching. At the Belmont, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-871-1966.

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