Our good friend Tony Roko recently completed a marvelous canvas inspired by the youthful dreams of Louis Armstrong – a poignant work that pays tribute to both African-American Music Appreciation Month and to Roko's own ongoing projects with the students at Spain Elementary/Middle School in Detroit. It will be featured along with 20 other Roko pieces at the grand opening of the new Birmingham Gallery on 6/9. Roko, an artist with an almost uncanny insight into the myriad things that make up the soul of the Motor City, will also be on hand to explain how the reuse of discarded materials is not only an eco-friendly approach for young painters, but also a method that complements most (if not all) of urban art's thematic motifs. A warm welcome, by the way, to the new gallery and a special note of thanks to Nikki Hansen-Paluch. 33772 Woodward. 248.792.3375
The release of Snow White & The Huntsman nicely coincides with a certain anniversary this year, and the latter is being celebrated in grand style at the Funhouse Gallery on 6/9. It was in 1937 that Disney threw caution to Depression-era winds and created a full-length animated motion picture based on the fairy tale of Snow White. Needless to say, Grimm translated nicely into green at the box office and everything we've enjoyed (or endured) since is indebted to Uncle Walt's casting of the die. We'll let the Buena Vista cartel pump up the rest of THAT story; our concern here is with Poisoned Apples, one of the biggest group shows ever assembled and our go-to event for the week. A collective tribute to The Original Princess, it references not only the movie, but the original sources of the story and all the post-modern deconstruction we toy with now. And running like a talisman through the exhibit is the titular fruit itself – that sweet, shiny jewel that is forever associated with pleasure and the inevitable loss of innocence. As we said, the roster on this occasion is a very LONG one, so forgive this criminally abbreviated list of participants: Diane Irby, Marcus Concernicus, Brian Lewandowski, Betina Hex Engine, DVS, Mark Maness, JoJo Smedo, Elizabeth Lottman, Todd Parnell, Resa Latour, Void Pop and JJ Plush. The opening reception will also benefit from the spirited presence of Lushes LaMoan, Meredith Lorde, Emily Infinity, Lula la Rose and Izgreyala. This abode of jolliness, we hasten to add, is also Mike Kelly's HQ at the Russell Industrial Center. Check funhousedetroit.com for more info.
Do Crickets Even Have Bones?
Several of you have been clamoring for a MAB update, so here's the current dossier: First, Marianne is feeling restless and spiritual, so she's brushing up on her Castilian and shopping for a scallop shell. Contact the secretive pilgrim for more details. Second, Hamtown's favorite B-Girl is slated to be showcased at the Scarab Club on 6/21. Third, the Cass Cafe will give up its walls on 6/9 to The Mad and Random Stylings of Marianne Audrey Burrows – and an awful lot of it is going to be spanking new. Someone equally new to us is J. Oscar, whose X Decimal Factor pieces will be on display as well. Praising the healthy menu at the Cass is a moot point, so let's just leave you with 313.831.1400.
Fab Four and Flora
Speaking of the Scarab Club, it still amazes us that many of you are unaware that the place boasts one of the loveliest enclosed gardens in Detroit – a modest plot that's carefully tended throughout the year and filled with quite a few rare specimens. On 6/8, the club will host its annual stroll among the petals – and this year the Beetle is flavoring the event with an appropriate twist ... of Lennon? An Octopus' Garden Party will feature Beatles-themed entertainment and some of the best cuisine the town has to offer. NOTA BENE, PLEASE: This is a ticket-required gala and there are two tiers at two different prices. Information regarding that and more may be (and should be) obtained first with a call to 313.831.1250. And if you DO go, please don't pick the daisies!
In the wake of Patti Smith's marvelous photography exhibit at the DIA, there's something rather nice about the name Matt Zacharias chose to give his ambitious 6/9 exhibit at Re:View Contemporary Gallery. Childhood, Boyhood, and Sonic Youth is, in many respects, a summation of everything this talented fellow learned and mastered during his creative years with AWOL, an agitprop collective that thrived here and elsewhere from 1996 to 2002. An eclectic and original commentator who utilizes both the metaphorical and literal in his pieces, Zacharias acknowledges his debt to pop art (and the more sane nuances of Dada), but his overall focus has a precision that is conspicuously absent from the works of many contemporaries. More to the point, there is a humane element to his approach – not for him the cold and aloof perspective of a cynical spectator. | RDW