Leap of Genius ... and Magnificent Artistry
The thesaurus on our desk is 50 superlatives short of the number we would happily use to praise Shen Yun Performing Arts, but adding them to it would prove inadequate. A classically trained ensemble whose history and spirit go back more than a few centuries, Shen Yun presents classic Chinese dance and music against a background of color that is simply breathtaking in its overall design. An audience is swept up by imperial processions, palatial visions, a veritable thunderstorm of percussion and costumes almost too exquisite for the eye to behold. Cirque du Soleil paid Shen Yun the ultimate compliment when it acknowledged the latter as its only rival in the world of theatrical entertainment. And something else should be emphasized here: Based in New York, Shen Yun is independent of China's current political regime and is proud to include artists who practice the Falun Gong meditation. Detroit is proud to welcome them to our city and delighted that the Opera House will be their stage on 1/20 thru 23. More: motopera.org.
Leap of Terror
Several of you who took our advice and checked out The 39 Steps (and 1,000 laughs) at Meadow Brook were kind enough to suggest that a trip to Royal Oak's Baldwin Theatre would prove equally rewarding. It was! The Stagecrafters have crafted a superb production of Wait Until Dark — and this Frederick Knott thriller is just as terrifying on the stage as it was when Audrey Hepburn played the starring role in a film version. A blind Greenwich Village housewife is visited by a trio of unwelcome house-guests seeking a heroin-filled doll. This deadly cat and mouse game quickly turns into an extraordinary battle of wits, because the "challenged" heroine has a survival instinct that is definitely 20/20. Thru 1/30. More: stagecrafters.org.
"Dr. Sketchy and Dr. Mabuse enter a bar ..."
And quite a few of you were pleasantly surprised to learn that our city DOES have an exemplary troupe of hot performers called The Detroit Fire Guild. If you weren't able to catch their pyro-artistry at the Eagle Theatre last week, be advised that two members are expected to raise the centigrade a notch or two at LIFT on 1/20. That's when the Royal Oak gallery plays host to a Dr. Sketchy session with the DFG's Jade and Olive Oyl providing kinetic entertainment. However, be equally advised that (due to safety considerations) the juggling and hooping will be of a non-flammable nature. Still sounds like a hot date to us. 7 pm at 228 W. 4th. Note: $5 fee before pencils are raised above sketching pads.
Chassis and Sensibility
By our reckoning, the Auto Show has directly or indirectly inspired several art events in this area, with several of them (like that glorious Hot Rod extravaganza at District VII) actually preceding the party at Cobo by a month or two. We recently parked outside Hamtramck's Public Pool to see Automobiles: Shaping Our Landscapes, Designing Our Lives — and after kicking the tires, we're prepared to recommend a test drive between now and 2/26. Nine Detroit artists examine the subtle degrees of impact that cars have had on our existence over the years; the displayed works are imaginative, eclectic and intriguing at any speed. The talented nonet: Bethany Shorb, Ian Swanson, Rod Klinglehofer, Kate Daughdrill, Carrie Dickason, Amy Kelly, Brain St. Cyr, Steve Coy and Christina Burch. Alas, George Barris missed his deadline for a submission. 3309 Caniff. Open Saturdays.
Shirts and Skins and The Suds of Utopia
Two of our favorite libation stations have generously surrendered their walls to three of our favorite artists! On 1/25, the Belmont in Hamtown is clearing its runway for Jerry Shirts and his first solo show. A gentleman who combines astute pop culture referencing with works of a more personal nature, Shirts will be joined on this occasion by musical guests Smackmadam and Subourbon Son. Clawson's Black Lotus will have a formal reception for Jon Pickell and Anita Andersons on 1/30, but you can drop in anytime before that date for lunch or dinner or simply to see superb photographs and collages created by these two talented individuals. The Belmont tolls at 10215 Jos. Campau; the Lotus blossoms at 1 East 14 Mile.
And This Is Where We Stand On the Matter
Detroit deserves and needs a world class symphony orchestra — but not at the expense of musicians who have been badly treated by management for far too long. Support those who continue to play by going to detroitsymphonymusicians.org and copying out a schedule. A letter or two to the right people wouldn't hurt either. Anything and everything to keep Boisvert and her violin in this city! | RDW