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Stage & Canvas 

Urbanity

Okay, we're a little more than biased when it comes to Royal Oak. With the exception of that eager flying squad keeping a sharp eye on the parking meters and a crying need here and there for a piper from Hamelin, the RO is a sweet community to dwell in and enjoy. If you'd like to investigate this matter yourself, please drop by the Urbane Art Show on 12/28. The titular downtown apartment building is hosting the event and inviting the public to see works by Joshua Hanford, Alvyn Maranan, Marucs Tice, David Derue and Larry Farely. You'll also be getting versification from slam poet Lianna, electronic melodies from Jaws That Bite and much more. By the way, if all this prompts a desire to sign a lease and move in, we're cool with that. Feel free to dial 248.506.8001.

Buy, Collect, Cherish – Repeat

The N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art introduced quite a few of us this year to the life and works of abstract artist Ed Clark. Whether you caught those exhibits or not, the panel discussion devoted to Clark that's planned for 12/28 should be duly noted in your own schedule. Collecting Ed Clark will also address and answer the many questions you have about properly starting a private collection. Do you approach an artist directly? Will galleries help you? What does an agent do? Will buying drinks for impoverished reporters aid you in this noble quest? The answer to one of those queries, by the way, is a resounding affirmative. 6:30 to 8 p.m. 52 E. Forest in Detroit.

Drink and Draw Responsibly

We made you fans and avid students of the illustrious Dr. Sketchy in 2011. Well, 2012 is just around the corner – and you'll be happy to learn that additional lessons in the timeless art of drawing are now available at another mobile classroom in the Detroit area. Motor City Sketch was started by Bill Pulkovski, Jay Shimko, Tony Mielo and Bruce Gerlach as a social network for creatives and a complementary feature to business events. "The purpose of the group," explained Pulkovski recently, "is to bring the active and imaginative members of the city together to share ideas and socialize. And no, you don't have to be a full-time artist or painter, but we'd be delighted if this turned out to be your first step towards that goal. We try to bring MCS to coffee shops, bars, comic stores, galleries – whoever wants to host us. We also try to support local, independent establishments and charities. We recently did a fundraiser at Detroit Fanfare where we raised $200 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation." More info for you, dear reader: motorcitysketch.blogspot.com. Incidentally, although this column is a die-hard supporter of traditional (and vanishing) photography techniques, we know that being familiar with digital cameras is a must these days. If you'd like to be more adept with the pixels and such, look into taking a course or two at the Grosse Pointe Art Center. Some of the arcane matters addressed: how to hold the camera, how to change the lens, how to focus properly – you know, all that kung fu stuff that makes Joe Gall look so damn sexy when he's out and about. More: 313.821.1848.

The Mayans Want You to See This ... ASAP, Of Course

Only art can make pessimism bearable and give a welcome patina of beauty to the dubious pleasures of schadenfreude. Two things recently reminded us of this two-fold observation. First, a well-meaning individual gave us a framed reproduction of the Karadashian Christmas card. Second, we motored down to A2 for Post Apocalypse, a collective effort/group show by the Gallery Project that simply resonates with a refreshing post-imperial gotterdammerung. Myriad questions are brought to the floor with this colorful exhibit which takes the end of the world as its starting off point. "Whether considering an apocalypse as the world without man, the fall of civilization, life after the deluge, fiscal catastrophe, personal tragedy, zombies or religious prophecy, these are speculations and ruminations on the questions of what might follow life-altering events. What is left behind? Who, if anyone, is left to pick up the pieces? And most importantly what happens next?" We have a somewhat belated question to ask. Is that really Jesus wielding a laser gun? A stellar roster contributed pieces to this project; we're singling out Jason DeMarte, Mike Arrigo, Dan Hernandez, Heather Accurso, Andrew Thompson, Robin Wilt and sending out a chorus of hallelujahs to all the others. It's up till 1/22. Relax, that's still a long way off from the Guatemalan deadline. More: the galleryproject.com.

And Two Other Names for The Coming Year

Jennifer Haver first came to our attention with a portrait of rocker Bob Seger and then dazzled us with an ambitious mural project at a Detroit middle school. Tony Collias creates vivid and colorful portraits drawn from nature and from the everyday world. Note both of them, please, in your book of memory and keep an eye on this column. Happy 2012! | RDW

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