The buttery smell of freshly popped corn, the waves of excited whispers, and the dimming of the lights blend into a sensory symphony of anticipation before each film at Lakeshore Cinemas. Then the darkness settles and the screen lights up in silver, bathing awestruck audiences in the 2-D and 3-D sights of first-run blockbusters whose actors have just been taken out of their packaging. Yet despite its lengthy roster of recently released flicks, Lakeshore still embraces old favourites. Occasionally the screens pay homage to the history of film by showing classics. The theatre also steps up its celebratory power for birthday bashes that dish up pizza in a party room or entice gamers with Xbox game play on an auditorium’s massive screen.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
The Detroit Institute of Arts takes the “s” at the end of its name seriously. The immense Beaux Arts building on Woodward Avenue isn’t only a setting for a top-tier collection of visual works that include Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry frescoes, a van Gogh self-portrait, and ancient sculptures from Africa and Asia. It also opens the doors of its lecture halls, event spaces, and auditoriums for craft workshops, wide-ranging talks from historians and people who know how to draw really good cubes, film, and music. The latter two art forms find a home in the Detroit Film Theatre, a gilded, neoclassical auditorium that preserves a sense of coziness amid the grandeur.
Initially conceived as a one-off event in 2010, The Smoker's Club has since expanded, presenting fans with tours that unite skilled rappers and expert beat makers. One of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grammy-winning wordsmith Method Man spouts off dexterous rhymes in a gravely voice obtained by chugging asphalt smoothies every day for breakfast. Curren$y gently cradles ears with laid-back flow, and frequent Smoker's Club collaborators such as Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA and Fiend buoy the evening with additional verbal fireworks. Rattling bass shakes the historic Congress Theater's gold-domed interior and main floor as fans dance and weave through the crowds to try to snag an autographed poster, CD, or security guard.
Touring in support of its newest album, Easy Wonderful, alt-rock darling Guster enraptures eardrums with catchy tunes, offbeat humor, and layered vocal harmonies. Adam Gardner and Ryan Miller meld vocal virtuosity with guitar-playing prowess alongside Brian Rosenworcel's multifaceted percussion and Luke Reynolds' keyboard strains. Guster charms ears with the skill of a prince in glass stilettos, crooning such popular songs as "Do You Love Me" and "Amsterdam.” Concertgoers get a double helping of euphonic entertainment, with piano-centered outfit Jack's Mannequin adding its shimmering sound to the evening's tuneful brews.