Though his childhood played out like an episode of America's Most Wanted, Christopher Titus used the absurdity of his family's neglect, alcoholism and abuse to fashion a successful career. By forgoing the automatic-rifle-in-hand climb to the top of the bell tower and using comedy as his release valve instead Titus not only saved the taxpayers of California a cool $30,000 a year in prison costs, he's brought laughter and solace to an ample and effed-up contingent of Americans. His "anyone who doesn't drive a muscle car is a pussy" mantra not only snagged him the short-lived (but hilarious) FOX TV sitcom, Titus, it has also given him enough fodder to continue kicking stand-up style. At Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle, 269 E. Fourth, Royal Oak; 248-542-9900.
Benefit for Question Mark
By now you've probably heard that Flint-based rock 'n' roll legend, Question Mark (of ? and the Mysterians) lost his family home to a fire this winter. He had no insurance. Not only did the "96 Tears" singer lose several decades worth of music, gold records and irreplaceable memories; he lost four of his beloved dogs. Despite the tragedy, he has remained remarkably positive. He says, "I want people to know, don't let anything get you down. I don't cry tears, I sing 'em." Several fans and friends of the vocalist have organized a fund-raiser for him this week. Featured performers include Nathaniel Mayer, the Hentchmen, Fortune & Maltese, the Fondas, the Meltdowns, the Avatars, Outrageous Cherry, and Question Mark himself, backed by the Mysterians. At the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030. If you cannot make the show but would like to donate, please send checks or U.S. money orders to: Question Mark Official Benefit, P.O. Box 96, Clio, MI 48420.
Bluegrass Night at the Butcher's Inn
If you're a picker in need of an open mic night with soul, check out the newly opened Butcher's Inn Bluegrass Night. In contrast to the ocean of open-mic nights catering to the "underappreciated geniuses" (aka acoustic guitar-playing folk singers), this night is poised to be one for the folks who love music, not showin' off. This week welcomes the Don't Look Now Jug Band and the Syreens. Every Friday night at 1489 Winder (in Eastern Market), Detroit; 313-566-0966.
Where the Wild Things Are
THEATER/FUN FOR ALL
Max and his scary-but-sweet pals from Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are have long been favorites among young readers. This week, the famed children's story leaves the pages and comes to life in an eye-grabbing ballet from the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Plus, as part of a special educational offering, the Grand Rapids Ballet Company will conduct a parent-and-child movement class for ages 3-5 and a ballet technique master class for young dancers, ages 8-10. Both classes are $12 and take place at 11 a.m. (before the show) at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; 313-961-3500.
Taste of Chaos
The singer of the Used is best known for boning Ozzy's youngest daughter and Thirty Seconds to Mars is best known for having the pretty cock-knocker Jared Leto in the band; but that's the way it works these days. If you ain't from the Mickey Mouse Club stable, your best bet is to hop on some shiny Hollywood train. Enter Taste of Chaos ("chaos" as in thick contract riders and backstage vegan buffets) Tour 2007 with the Used, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Senses Fail, Saosin, Chiodos and others. At Cobo Arena, 301 Civic Center Dr., Detroit; 313-983-6616.
What better way to end Women's History Month than by spending an evening with the Stella Trio an all-girl threesome of classically trained musicians. The setting is the quaint Royal Oak Women's Club and the three-piece consists of Detroit native Jannina Barefield, cellist Laura Metcalf and pianist Monica Chung all active New York performers who have recently earned graduate degrees at the Mannes College of Music. 8 p.m. at 404 S. Pleasant St., Royal Oak. For tickets call 313-891-2514. Tickets are $20 ($10 for students and seniors). Please note: the Stella Trio will also perform at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 1 at Orchestra Hall (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-576-5111) for the James Tatum Foundation for the Arts 20th Anniversary Concert.
While the Buggles waxed prophetic way back in 1980 with "Video Killed the Radio Star," it took 26 years for the music industry to plop out a band that would disprove the new wave Nostradamus' forecast. In 2006, OK Go's ingenious treadmill-dancing music video for the song "Here It Goes Again" a decent but ultimately unremarkable rock 'n' roll tune made these dudes huge. They're now touring with the almost-as-huge Scottish rock band Snow Patrol. This week, they hit the D (onstage workouts unlikely). At the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-5450. Tickets are $30.
Tigers Opening Day
The lucky ones got their hands on a ticket, but if you're one of the thousands who head downtown just to be near Opening Day festivities, let's hope your boss ain't watching. After the irreproachable and much-needed gift of hope that the Tigers gave the city of Detroit last year, all kinds of fans true-blue and fair-weather alike will hit the city to take part in one of the greatest, most wholesome kickoffs of the entire year. Go get 'em, Tigers! Rrrrow! At 1:05 p.m. at Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-BALL.
Windows to Other Worlds
Art, especially abstract art, can be difficult to understand. But what's great about the Zeitgeist Gallery's latest exhibit, Window to Other Worlds, is that it's completely open to interpretation. The exhibit's central thesis is simply "viewing." Artists Carlos Bruton, Maurice Greenia Jr., Gwen Joy and Karl Schneider invite people to actually use their oddball works as portals into another world, a world in which their sometimes bizarre, but always beautiful ideas were born. Runs until April 21, at 2661 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-965-9192.
Eve Doster is the listings editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]