If you've been following a certain Facebook page, you're well aware that this month marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic – a maritime tragedy that (in many respects) was the 9/11 of its time. The episode had everything: A vessel that was considered the last word in seagoing safety; the golden opulence of an era that would vanish after the first World War; the stark line of demarcation between the social classes – and how that line would be called into question after the survivors were tallied up; extraordinary bravery; craven cowardice; and most of all, the plethora of facts, stories, legends and theories that have generated near-countless books, songs, plays and (oh, yes) movies. It's always a rare pleasure to see all these elements gathered together in one show, and the Henry Ford has succeeded admirably in setting up a first-rate one called Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. In keeping with the museum's traditional focus on technology, the exhibit will emphasize the "matter" of the ship; there is an extraordinary reproduction, for instance, of the Titanic's grand staircase, as well as actual relics from the steamer itself. But these physical objects run parallel with the human story of that night to remember and to the collective soul of those who perished. Indeed, every visitor who proceeds along the exhibit's timeline is formally paired with one of the Titanic's passengers; only at the conclusion does one learn if that individual survived or died. The exhibit also offers a special centennial dinner, scheduled for 4/14, that will feature the food and musical entrees of the voyage, as well as the IMAX Theatre's screening of James Cameron's 1997 motion picture. Tickets and more info: thehenryford.org/titanic.
The Band Played Until the Very End
The same year Mr. Cameron launched his banal and historically inaccurate epic (damn, that felt good!), Maury Yeston and Peter Stone brought something unexpected (and much better) to Broadway. Titanic: The Musical went on to win five Tony Awards and gave David "Married ... With Children" Garrison a role worthy of his gifts. Now 49 actors drawn from the Detroit area will take to the boards at Royal Oak's Baldwin Theatre starting 4/13 for a Stagecrafters production of this gem. In addition to the 14 scheduled performances, there will be a fundraiser on 4/12 featuring Titanic historian Ron Bartsch, a silent auction and a final dress rehearsal. Tickets and more info: stagecrafters.org.
Circuitry & Corsetry
If RMS Titanic had possessed just one gizmo from today's labs (anti-gravity life preservers, for instance), things might have ended differently. Hindsight like that will probably occupy your mind when you go to Twisted Toys & Mad Scientists on 4/7. A Victorian steampunk soiree from Kristine Diven and her energetic entourage at District VII, it has one of April's best lineups. Phoenix Café's Michael Wiggins will serve as host; Zeb the Ringmaster will formally unveil his charming book, Kingdom of The Fools; our beloved Spilt Sugar will float thru the air; Emily Infinity will present "Spherical Harmonics"; side-show sensation Christopher Bogucki will show us a thing or two; Lulu La Rose plans to shimmy; and there will be music and art courtesy of Doc Colony, Bethany Shorb, A. Owen Layne, Micho Detronik and others. To keep things really cozy, Kristine is setting up a robot-making station for your nimble brains. And should you build one that looks just like Sofia Vergara, send it along. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 2690 Wight in Detroit. Check Facebook for further details and tickets.
Two Retro Rockets
A pair of notable exhibits will remain in place for the rest of April and both (in their own different ways) are out of this world. Spacetimewarp at the RIC's Funhouse Gallery is a collective effort by over two dozen artists to re-imagine the wonder of early sci-fi and the art it once inspired. Here's a Sgt. Sacto Triple Salute going out to Beth Amber, Brian Lewandowski, Mike Kelly, Jerry Shirts, Karl Kanai and everyone else. Note: There is also a special sideshow devoted to the graphic genius of Richard M. Powers. Be certain also to check Detroit Music: A Photographic Retrospective, which Doug Coombe, Marvin Shaouni and Trevor Long scored without a single false note at Whitdel Arts. If you ask Lisa Marie Krug nicely, she'll show you several "forbidden" snapshots of Insane Clown Posse. 1250 Hubbard in Detroit.
The Tigers have returned to Comerica and odds are you'll be downtown five or 50 times this year to cheer them on. While they satisfy their hunger for a championship, satisfy your own hunger at Small Plates and feast your eyes on a trio of new murals created by Antonio "Shades" Agee. The Detroit artist has fashioned three different dream-flights of imaginative color and line – so while our sluggers roar, let your inner spirit soar. Incidentally, the new menu found at 1521 Broadway is pretty impressive too. | RDW