A Festive Gift from Spilt Sugar
Cheryl Willard's photographic skills have not gone unnoticed by us – or by you, as so many emails received here in recent days so readily attest. In addition to Cheryl's talent with the camera are her equally admirable abilities as an aerialist and circus performer. She chose that latter vocation as the subject for a series of photos, and invited a number of her peers to participate in the project. The finished results are now collected within a beautiful book entitled Feast Your Eyes – An Illustrated Collection of Detroit's Circus Performers, which will be the centerpiece of a fun-filled release party at I3 Detroit on 1/7. This is a fantastic volume of captured motion and joyous emotions, as well as a collective portrait of this city's kaleidoscope of talent. The party itself will illustrate this as well, what with a roster that includes Flec Mindscape, The Weird Sisters, Kylie Djinn and many others. By the way, here's a shout-out to I3 itself, which is a member-supported art and technology cooperative that has done much to foster and encourage creative initiatives in this area. 1481 Wordsworth in Ferndale. Please check i3detroit.com for additonal info.
Requiescat in Pace
Helen Frankenthaler passed away last week. One of the world's foremost abstract expressionists, she developed the Color Field method of painting that gave a rich resonance to both her works and those of her contemporaries.
Nine Inch Heels
There are two reasons why we like Topher Crowder. First, his political opinions are funnier and frequently more flamboyant than ours. Second (and more importantly), he is an artist of the first rank – something we've pointed out in this column since we first encountered him, his hair, and his canvases at C-Pop Gallery back in the day. Currently an adjunct professor at Schoolcraft, Crowder's resume reads like a somewhat inverted and surreal American success story, what with such sundry matters as beer merchandiser, Christmas ornament designer, and Saturday morning cartoon aficionado mentioned in no particular order of importance. If we haven't frightened you off yet, allow us to extend the following invitation. Etch, Sketch & Stiletto: The Work of Topher Crowder will be on display at the Northville Art House starting 1/6. Mr. C. has structured his exhibit in the following fashion: Shoe paintings that touch upon certain dichotomies involving gender; biomorphic plexiglass creations; sculptural "weavings" from the detritus of the universe; and reverse vandalism signs which have been described to us as "unfinished boards branded with messages left intentionally in forgotten public spaces as unspoken invitations for public interaction." Great. Now WE'RE frightened. 215 W. Cady Street.
Frank ... as in Frankincense, remember?
Among the many welcome Christmas gifts we received last month was the 2012 schedule for the Redford Theatre. Our favorite retro-bijou and temple of the pipe organ will screen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on 1/6 and 1/7. Two good reasons to go: The classic barn-raising scene choreographed by Michael Kidd and a young Julie Newmar before she became a siren in spandex. 313.537.2560.
Speaking of Sirens
Since we've already mentioned the Redford (and because we really like you!), here's an important early announcement. The aforementioned location is also where the Wonderland DVD Blue Carpet Premiere Party will take place on 1/13. This perennial Detroit favorite that REALLY goes down Lewis Carroll's rabbit hole is a glorious celebration of burlesque, cabaret and vaudeville. Tickets are now available at Noir Leather in Royal Oak or online at whoooareyou.com.
They Had Wimples Then!
We're so nun-friendly at this desk that several of you have suggested that we rename the column Blue Cloister Cult or something. We'll mull it over. In the meantime, may we suggest a pilgrimage to Meadow Brook Theatre between now and 1/29 for Nunset Boulevard. The Little Sisters of Hoboken (the same happy-habits we glimpsed in Nunsense) arrive in sunny Cali to perform at what they presume will be the fabled Hollywood Bowl. Alas, it turns out they're headlining at a strike & spare lounge inside the Hollywood "Bowl-a-Rama" and have to compete with both a PA system and the dull echo of countless gutter balls. Add to this the unexpected chance to audition for roles in a musical based on the life of Dolores Hart, and you have an entertaining, surreal and touching comedy. More: mbtheatre.com. What? You NEVER heard of Dolores Hart?! For your penance, go to Wikipedia.
The Boys Are Back in Town, Too!
The Definition, a talented and eclectic ensemble we've praised in the past, is (happy days!) still intact and still very much in the groove. They'll be sharing the Royal Oak Music Theatre stage with Wu-Tang Clan on 1/4. See you there! | RDW