The only thing worse than the summer drought was the dry spell that ensued when MOCAD closed for installation back in July. The wait is now over and on 9/7 two shows will comprise the museum's fall exhibition. Perhaps we should say three, since Aria Sala:Two Films is listed on the schedule. Born in Albania and presently residing in Germany, Sala's works are often described as artistic metaphors that chronicle cities and people in crisis. The first film is entitled Long Sorrow and it concerns a Berlin saxophone player suspended from the window of one of those drab apartment dwellings that were built throughout the city during the Cold War. Dammi i Colori, Sala's second movie, is set in Tirana, the city of his birth and a European capital that was deliberately isolated from the rest of the world during years of dictatorship. Here the director permits himself a modest degree of optimism, showing how the focused efforts of artists revive the soul of a once moribund society. A much more expansive offering is Vision in a Cornfield. Prompted by an experience shared by Cary Loren and Mike Kelley of the rock ensemble Destroy All Monsters, it's a "reimagining" of a previous (and unsanctioned) Detroit art project by Ogun, an urban collective named after the Yoruba deity of iron, hunting, war and politics. In collaboration with the electromechanical guild Apetechnology, Ogun artists proceeded to transform abandoned autos into African fetishes called Urban Monumentz. Robotics allow these vehicles to move and to communicate with museum visitors – and to the best of our knowledge, none of them sound like Owen Wilson. 4454 Woodward Avenue.
Sleepless in Detroit
Matt Eaton must really love those energy drinks that get dropped off periodically at the Red Bull House of Art. There's simply no other explanation for what he's been doing and what he's been accomplishing during the past three months. First, he successfully curated two exhibits at the aforementioned gallery in the Eastern Market. Second, he found time to corral enough of his own works for another solo flight at 323East. And (perhaps?) third, he managed to stave off exhaustion long enough to give the exhibit a funny and ironic name. Useless Advice From a Stranger will showcase Eaton's latest pieces – canvases rich in subtle degrees of abstraction and imbued with visuals that unexpectedly remind us of a world filled with details we often overlook. In short, this is a valuable gift from a gentleman who is no stranger to our town's art scene. The opening reception is 9/8 at 323 East 4th Street in Royal Oak. Check 323east.com as well.
Enticing - and Not Harmful to Diabetics
Group shows are a rarity at the Robert Kidd Gallery, so the exhibit slated for 9/8 is definitely one to see. Sweet Spot came to our mailbox with an oil on canvas work by Dennis Wojtkiewicz that's so startlingly realistic we initially mistook it for a photo. The other artists submitted pieces of equal sweetness in a variety of mediums, so the entire package is a balanced and nourishing feast for the eyes. In addition to Wojtkiewicz, the creative chefs are Rick Vian, Laurie Tennent, Beverly Shipko, Otto Duecker, Stephen Duren, Todd Erickson, Stephanie Henderson, Ron Isaacs, Andrew Krieger, Louise Kruger, DeLoss McGraw and Cristin Richard. 107 Townsend in Birmingham. 248.642.3909.
And No, You Will Not Need a Bigger Boat
Graumann's has footprints of stars in cement. The Scarab Club has signatures of artists on wood - names that cover nearly every ceiling beam of the second floor lounge. On 9/7 you'll have an opportunity to witness the latest signing when Nancy Mitchnick ascends a ladder with pen in hand. A Detroit native and one of the original members of the fabled Cass Corridor movement, Mitchnick will also preside over an exhibit of her own works. Time Travel is a delightful array of reinterpreted masterpieces – or, to borrow a phrase from music, Mitchnick's own "covers" of familiar scenes and canvases. We particularly liked what she did with Copley's painting Watson and the Shark– and we were especially amused by the new name she gave it. 217 Farnsworth (across from the DIA). More: scarabclub.org.
No Need For An Affidavit Either
Popular movies turned into musicals comprise a pretty long list at present and we know it's only a matter of time before someone decides a Rob Zombie flick would really click with a few songs and a little tap dancing. Before that happens, however, you can enjoy more acceptable (and more entertaining) evidence of the screen/stage metamorphosis when Stagecrafters presents Legally Blonde – The Musical at Royal Oak's Baldwin Theatre. If you saw the mega-hit movie that starred Reese Witherspoon, no need to read our synopsis. If you didn't see it, here's a summation. Elle Woods, a golden haired and superficially empty-headed campus cutie, pursues an unworthy love interest to the ivy covered environs of Harvard Law School. However, her antics belie a genuine gift for judicial reasoning and she finds a worthier academic goal and a better target for her amorous heart. Book by Heather Hach with music and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and Lawrence O'Keefe. Court will be in session from 9/7 thru 9/30. Ticket info: stagecrafters.org. By the way, does anyone know if Sid Haig is a baritone or a tenor? | RDW