THURSDAY FEBRUARY 18
Saskia Olde Wolber
Drawing inspiration from news stories, TV shows and snatches of overheard conversations, Saskia Olde Wolber creates entrancing narrative films that combine the styles of documentaries and news reports with fantastical sets and surreal voiceovers. Lacking actors, the narration propels the films through a series of dreamlike visuals, which are actually intricate models painstakingly constructed by Wolber and then filmed underwater. The London-based Dutch artist will screen six of her films, including a new work, as part of University of Michigan's Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors Series at 5:10 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-TIME; free.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 19
THE CALM AND THE STORM
Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Annie Clark did time in Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' touring band before releasing her debut album under the St. Vincent moniker in 2007. Marry Me won critical acclaim with its complex orchestration, unsettling rhythms and esoteric lyrics delivered in Clark's beguiling and lovely voice. With her newly earned indie art-rock cred, Clark enjoyed stints touring with Grizzly Bear and Andrew Bird and recording with Bon Iver before releasing her sonically adventurous sophomore effort, Actor, last year. Filled with ear bending arrangements offset by eerie melodies and tales of anxious and frustrated characters, Actor showcases Clark's ability to combine opposites — the gentle with harsh, the orderly with the fractious — to produce endlessly fascinating results. With Wildbirds & Peacedrums at the Eagle Theatre, 15 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333; $12 advance.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 19
Devotees of Mystery Science Theater 3000 probably already know that Cinematic Titanic is the latest venture of the cult show's creator, Joel Hodgson (see this week's Screens section for a Q&A with him), and its original cast. The group has released a number of DVDs featuring their patented brand of "movie riffing," poking fun at some of the cheesiest B-movies ever made. The live show sticks to the formula with the five member cast engaging in their witty banter and side-splitting burns from the stage as the delightfully atrocious movies roll. The group will skewer two different films at their metro Detroit stop, one at 6 and one at 10 p.m. at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; $35 per show, $50 double feature.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 19
PERFECTION IN A GLASS
Whether you prefer it shaken or stirred, a martini is a work of art as worthy of study as any canvas on a gallery wall. Increase your appreciation of this untraditional art form while supporting the more usual arty pursuits at Artini, a martini bar crawl and fundraiser for the Ann Arbor Art Center. Six downtown A2 restaurants have been challenged to create the ultimate martini, with the pleasantly buzzed attendees voting on the winner. The Mardi Gras-themed crawl includes stops at Black Pearl, Goodnite Gracie, Melange, Rush Street and Vinology, followed by voting at an afterparty at Café Felix. Check-in begins at 6 p.m. at the Art Center, 117 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-8004; $45.
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 19
For the last two decades, Tortoise has defied easy categorization, confounding and astonishing fans and critics with their inimitable instrumental conflation of jazz, rock, techno, dub and dance. Once the forerunners of indie's experimental postrock scene, a flirtation now, thankfully, passé, the Chicago quintet continues to explore the endless possibilities of sound that can be discovered when both expectations and genres are ignored. The results can be heard on the group's latest disc, their sixth full-length and first in five years, Beacons of Ancestorship. Tortoise plays their freewheeling, inventive and expansive din at 9 p.m. at the Bling Pig, 208 N. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; $18; with Disappears.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY FEBRUARY 19-21
THE LEGALITIES OF LOVE
Alice Childress' bittersweet tale of interracial love marks the first performance of Plowshare Theatre Company's 20th anniversary season. Wedding Band tells the story of Julia and Herman, a Southern couple whose romance is illegal in Charleston in 1918. Picking up 10 years into their love affair, the play depicts the tragedy of the twosome's impossible dream of a life together, while exploring the racist responses to the forbidden relationship by both the white and African-American communities. Childress, a prolific playwright and novelist, wrote Wedding Band in the early '60s; the play was first staged at the University of Michigan in 1966. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; tickets are $21.50-$28 and are available at 313-506-2858; info at plowshares.org; performances through March 14.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 20
Annabelle & Bear
SHOT IN THE MITTEN
Thanks to cushy tax credits, Michigan has been a hotbed of filmmaking lately. Add Annabelle & Bear to the list, but take note of one exceptional difference — the film is 100 percent a Great Lakes product, featuring an entirely local cast, crew and soundtrack. Directed by Birmingham resident Amy Weber and produced by Royal Oak's Radish Creative Group, the film tells the story of Bear, a rough and tumble biker who suddenly finds himself raising his 2-year-old daughter, Annabelle. This preview gala includes a screening of the film and an afterglow reception. The event benefits Starfish Family Services, a nonprofit that helps struggling families create better futures for their children. At 8 p.m. at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison St., Detroit; 313-887-8501; $15.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 20
Islamic Gallery Preview Party
MIDEAST VISUAL FEAST
The Detroit Institute of Arts celebrates the opening of its long-shuttered gallery of Islamic art with a special preview party. The evening features a halal dinner that travels along the Silk Road, from Chinese dumpling soup to Persian stew to tiramisu; a talk by Dr. Sheila Canby, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's curator of Islamic art; and a performance by Palestinian-American oud and violin virtuoso Simon Shaheen. The gallery, which includes work from the Middle East, central Asia, India and the Mediterranean, has been expanded to allow large works to be displayed for the first time, and includes pieces on loan from nine private and public collections, as well as a special section on sacred texts that includes Islamic, Christian and Jewish manuscripts. The preview begins at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-7900; $250. The gallery opens to the public on Sunday, Feb. 28.
SUNDAY FEBRUARY 21
City of Glass
Local fashion cohorts Lost & Found Vintage and Pure Detroit have joined their keen style savvy to present a winter fashion show that raises funds for the Detroit nonprofit Alternative for Girls. The show will focus on fashions suitable to freezing temps, including cocktail dresses, winter outerwear and metallic couture from Lost & Found's private collection, along with vintage jewelry from Pure Detroit's Vera Jane store. Models will strut to sounds provided by the gritty and glam Haute to Death DJs, followed by a performance by psych-rockers Octopus. Doors at 8 p.m. at Cliff Bell's, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; $10 or $5 with donation of plasticware, scarves, gloves or unused body wash. All proceeds benefit Alternatives for Girls.
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 23
Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche's love of pure pop is often cited when describing his seemingly innate ability to write winsome, engaging ditties. But across the span of fives discs, Lerche has been able to eschew any one label by adeptly exploring a variety of sounds, from chamber pop to jazz to straightforward rock. On his latest album, 2009's Heartbeat Radio, Lerche combines the best elements of his previous experiments, crafting sophisticated, nuanced modern pop that showcases Lerche's quick wit and unusual vocals. He plays in support of the critically acclaimed disc with JBM at 8 p.m. at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; $12; all ages.
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 23
"IT'S PRONOUNCED 'FRONKENSTEEN'"
After the walloping success of The Producers, it's no surprise that Mel Brooks would adapt another of his films for the Broadway stage. This time, it's the iconic horror spoof Young Frankenstein. Named the Best Broadway Musical 2008 by the Outer Critics Circle Award, the play sticks close to the plot of the film — scientist Frederick Frankenstein inherits a spooky castle in foreboding Transylvania from his grandfather and, after some hesitation, decides to continue his grandfather's macabre experiments on the dead with the help of the hump-backed Igor and the voluptuous Inga. But now, the laugh-a-minute shtick is peppered with raucous musical numbers including "The Transylvania Mania," "He Vas My Boyfriend" and the unforgettable performance of "Puttin' on the Ritz." It's alive through March 14 at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit; info at 313-872-1000 or broadwayindetroit.com; $25 $85.
FUNNY (not funny)
A LAUGH TOO FAR
Funny (not funny) features works by more than 20 artists who use the somber and the sacred for comic fodder. The artists challenge the conventionally humorous by pairing it with the conventionally unhumorous, producing some uneasy laughs along with a thought-provoking look at the nature of humor and the makeup of chuckles. Artists include Ivan Brunetti, Susan Coe, Chris Cilla, Jonathon Rosen, Lisa Hanawalt and Dave Ficsher. Through Feb. 26 at Work • Detroit, 3663 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-593-0940.