Night and Day 

WEDNESDAY • 18
GILBERTO GIL AND BROAD BAND
STRUMMING STATESMAN

Sadly, the closest thing we Yanks have to Gilberto Gil would be the late Sonny Bono, a lightweight '60s pop singer-turned-conservative congressman. Brazil's Gil, in comparison, has been a musical heavyweight since the '60s — threatening enough to be jailed and forced into exile for a spell by the dictatorial generals — and now a maverick minister of culture, pushing for a worldwide revamping of copyright laws, among other things. Moreover, he still keeps his electric guitar and his band. So after speaking on copyright issues at a U-M conclave Tuesday night, he'll be provocatively rocking out Wednesday. At 8 p.m., at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor; 734-647-3327; tickets $36-$48.

WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY • 18-21
PLANET ANT FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL
JUST DON'T CALL THEM MOVIES

Planet Ant rolls out its sixth year of films by indie (read as intellectually challenging) filmmakers. The four nights will showcase comedies, dramas, documentaries and animated works from around the country and the globe. Featured films range from the bizarre to the esoteric, with enough variety in between to keep every hipster Ebert and Roeper wannabe happy. Music videos will be screened on Thursday, at the "festival social" at Detroit's Park Bar (2040 Park Ave.; 313-962-2933). The rest of the fest, including the Saturday evening awards ceremony, takes place at Planet Ant Theater, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck; 313-365-4948; planetant.com/festival.

THURSDAY • 19
TRACHTENBURG FAMILY SLIDESHOW PLAYERS
NOT YOUR TYPICAL FAMILY SLIDESHOW

Simply quirky or perhaps seriously subversive, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players have found a shtick that sticks out in the anti-folk scene. The Family forages for old slides at garage sales and thrift stores, and then writes witty ditties about the lives of the people in the pictures — basically distilling the imagined memories of strangers into catchy ditties for hipsters to sing along to. The Family, by the way, is an actual family: father Jason handles vocals, guitar and piano; mother Tina rocks the projector; and daughter Rachel — only 6 when she first started performing, now a teen — plays drums. Check out their vaudevillian romp through other people's lives at 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7665; majesticdetroit.com; all ages.

FRIDAY • 20
LANGHORNE SLIM
BLUES, COUNTRY, FOLK OR PUNK?

If you didn't know anything about folk singer Langhorne Slim, you may conjure up a romantic image of a veteran blues man sitting by the Mississippi and singing 'bout hard times and evil women. In fact, the imaginatively named Slim is merely a twentysomething Brooklynite churning out blues-inspired folk-rock, complete with banjo and upright bass. Two full-length albums (2005's When the Sun's Gone Down and this year's Langhorne Slim) do a fine job of showcasing his old-soul sound, but it translates best in his charismatic and passionate live performances, which recall punk rock more than any of the many genres he's been labeled with. Doors at 8 p.m. at the Pike Room of the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-858-9333; thecrofoot.com; tickets $8.

FRIDAY • 20
SUMMER SOLSTICE BLOCK PARTY
SUNLIT CELEBRATION

In celebration of the maximum hours of daylight, Biddle Gallery is throwing its Second Annual Summer Solstice Block Party. Bask in the sun and maybe browse some of the new works by 100 Michigan artists on display. Short films by Dave Moroski, Davin Brainard and Elroy Grandy will be projected on the side of the gallery, and a performance by underground punk-blues sensation Jawbone is slated for 8 p.m. Hot dogs, sushi and beer will be served, and greenies can chill — no plastic cups will be used. Instead, purchase tumblers handcrafted by Peter Guerrier for $10. Just as effective for swilling beer and a cool souvenir to boot. The festivities kick off at 7 p.m. at Biddle Gallery, 2840 Biddle Ave.; 734-281-4779; biddlegallery.com.

FRIDAY • 20
WRITE WORD WRITE NOW'S SUMMER SOLSTICE READING SERIES
POETRY PERFORMED

Written poetry must be one of our less accessible art forms, as any high school student struggling through Leaves of Grass will surely attest. That's where performance poetry comes in — perhaps to save the day (or at least the art form). The Detroit Poetry Collective and the Detroit poets of Write Word Write Now present this free monthly reading series to encourage and celebrate local and national talent that blurs the line between the spoken and written forms. The kick-off reading will feature Kahn Davison, Ashaki Jackson, Vievee Francis and Jamaal May. At the Jazz Cafe at the Music Hall, 350 Madison, Detroit; 313-887-8501.

SATURDAY • 21
MINDLESS SELF INDULGENCE
GOTH PUNKS

After 10 years, the first batch of Hot Topic-wearing teens really should have grown up and outgrown electro punk rockers Mindless Self Indulgence. Instead, old fans have stayed along for the wild and destructive ride and new ones keep jumping on board. MSI's fourth album, If, released this year, features more of the same danceable industrial songs with such thought-provoking titles as "Get It Up" and "Evening Wear." Their live shows have become legendary thanks to frontman and songwriter Jimmy Urine who routinely strips, swears at the audience and occasionally lights his pubic hair on fire. Now that's rock 'n' roll. With the Birthday Massacre and Julian K at Harpo's, 14238 Harper Ave., Detroit; 313-824-1770; $20; all ages.

SATURDAY • 21
RETURN TO FOREVER
THOSE '70S FUSION STARS

In their '70s heyday, a handful of bands — particuarly Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Return to Forever, and Herbie Hancock and his Head Hunters — seemed like the future of jazz. In retrospect, they were more of a blip in musical history, a period when well-seasoned acoustic-rooted players could plug-in, strip-down and rock-out jazz while pushing record and ticket sales to new heights. Getting crossover radio play, even. There've been no big-success heirs to those '70s groups, nor have any of them reconvened for a full-fledged original-member reunion tour. That's why the RTF tour — the classic lineup of Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White — is a Freedom Hill-size jazz deal. 7:30 p.m. at 14900 Metro Parkway, Sterling Heights; 1-866-820-4553.

SATURDAY • 21
FRESH RHYMES AND VIDEOTAPE
BACKPACK HIP HOP

Creative agency, production company and independent record label Decon Media unleashes its first national tour this summer with a lineup of underground hip-hop artists of the intellectual variety. While Dilated Peoples headlines, the spotlight will most likely be trained on 88 Keys, finally poised for his (allegedly) much-anticipated solo breakout after years of producing for the likes of Mos Def and Talib Kweli. His first full-length LP, Death of Album, is due out this August and just happens to be executive-produced by one Kanye West. (I'm sorry, did we say underground?) The Alchemist and Aceyalone round out the onstage talent, and Decon, of course, promises a multimedia experience with video premieres and installations. Doors at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit; 313-961-8137.

SUNDAY • 22
SEVERED UNICORN HEAD BIRTHDAY PARTY
CUPCAKES, ART AND DECAPITATION

The story goes that the unicorns were too busy frolicking to make it onto the ark. Perhaps it's best they didn't survive, considering the gory fate that the folks at the Severed Unicorn Head Superstore (severedunicornheadsuperstore.com) have imagined for our horned mythical friends. Colorful stuffed unicorn heads, mouths agape and tongues sticking out, are sold in what must be the dozens (at least) by this surreal and amazing website (no, we didn't know it existed either). This art show of stuffed unicorn heads and paintings kicks off at 6 p.m. with a birthday-themed opening featuring an instructional video on how unicorns lose their heads, various headless unicorn-themed works of art, vegan cupcakes and performances by TeamScience, Laserbeams of Boredom, and Manhole. The exhibit runs through July 17 at Dreamland Theatre, 26 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti; 734-657-2337; dreamlandtheater.com.

MONDAY • 23
BARBECUED MOVIE NIGHT
PASS THE ... HAMBURGER?

Summers are brief here in Michigan, so it's important to cram in as much time outdoors as the fickle weather gods allow. Thanks to Barbecued Move Night at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, even moviegoers can now sit under the stars. Mondays through Labor Day, CAID fires up the grill and shows every oddball cult flick and B-movie they can get their hands on. This week's feature is Eating Raoul, a 1982 dark comedy about a couple that takes to killing wealthy swingers for their money. It sounds so bad, it must be good. Grilling starts at 9 p.m. and the feature rolls at 10 p.m. at 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; 313-899-2243.

ONGOING
CHOCOLATE: THE EXHIBITION
HISTORY FOR THE SWEET TOOTH

The Henry Ford's latest exhibit explores the history of everyone's favorite indulgence with video, interactive displays, photos and more than 200 mouthwatering artifacts. Follow chocolate's creamy trail from Mexican rain forests to the grubby hands of American kids. Learn how the American entrepreneurial spirit transformed chocolate from an elite treat into yet another addiction for the masses. Ponder the age-old question — chocolate or vanilla? Through Sept. 7 at the Henry Ford Museum, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001; www.thehenryford.org.

More by Megan O'Neil

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