As a benga beat pulses through the crowd, the Kenya Safari Acrobats defy gravity and the body's limitations as they leap through hoops, tumble from human towers, and limbo under bars. In one of their most famous and startling acts, a single performer stacks, climbs, and then balances on a single-file tower of rickety wooden chairs. Meanwhile, other performers juggle up to six straw hats, bend metal with their hands and teeth, or walk across a bed of nails. As artistic ambassadors of their native Kenya, the acrobats tie educational relevancy to their school performances in stories that highlight the importance of physical fitness, respect for elders and the true meaning of the Swahili phrase "hakuna matata," which The Lion King incorrectly translated as "get rich or die trying."
Shakespeare in the Park in Royal Oak bills itself as Michigan's only professional outdoor Shakespeare event, and for two remaining weekends this summer, the professional players will take to the open-air stage in a re-imagined version of the Bard's classic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The 1960s-styled production features a cast of actors that bring the 16th-century play to life through vibrant, sleek, Mod-motifs. The lawn-style seating of the outdoor theater allows visitors to bring blankets or lawn-chairs to enjoy the arts in casual, summer style, with free parking nearby. Water Works is offering a special August 6 performance of the production, specifically designed for the hearing-impaired, in which costumed members of TerpTheatre's shadow actors interpret the lines onstage while the action plays out.
Pump It Up's indoor inflatable arenas launch socked striplings into the air with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Staffers supervise fun-filled visits, during which adult counterparts leap around with their kids through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an inflated obstacle course.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties and private team parties, each themed to please the partygoers in question. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. The birthday boy or girl even gets to blow out the candles on their cake seated in their blow-up throne. Relying on the staffers' vigilant, watchful eyes, guardians can rest assured that their charges will stay safe, and each piece of the inflatable playground is held to the floor and one to the ceiling by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards.
What was once the meeting spot for the Saint Andrews Society of Detroit now hosts the hottest live acts and dance parties, including performances by Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Iggy Pop. The Main Ballroom sports a tricked-out sound-and-lighting system, a VIP balcony, a hardwood dance floor, and a bar more than 35 feet long. The lower level of The Shelter lives up to its name, as red curtains and a cabaret offer an escape to mellower pastures. Upstairs at The Burns Room, patrons chill out on lounge furniture under chandeliers while savoring views of Congress and the RenCen.
Keyshia Cole's soaring vocals and raw, emotion-laden R & B have netted her a platinum album and four Grammy nominations. Channeling experiences of passion and heartbreak into her powerful voice, Keyshia lets loose with cannonades of soulful singing, tugging on heartstrings and teaching even the most logical robot what it means to love. Coming off her recent album Calling All Hearts, Keyshia will draw on hits from her four studio records, including such chart-toppers as "Let It Go," "Heaven Sent," and "I Remember." Up-and-coming R & B wunderkind Miguel complements Keyshia's set with his own dulcet tones, rounding out the evening with melodious aplomb. Rhythms and blues swirl together at Chene Park on the banks of the Detroit River, which fills the open-air venue with cool watery breezes and the bubbly murmurs of ticket-scalping merfolk.
• For $16, you get two tickets to No Sex Please, We're British!, valid Thursday, September 8, through Saturday, September 10, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 11, at 2 p.m. (up to a $32 value). • For $16, you get two tickets to Survive Another Day, valid Thursday, October 20, through Saturday, October 22, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 23, at 2 p.m. (up to a $32 value). • For $29, you get four tickets to No Sex Please, We're British!, valid Thursday, September 8, through Saturday, September 10, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 11, at 2 p.m. (up to a $64 value). • For $29, you get four tickets to Survive Another Day, valid Thursday, October 20, through Saturday, October 22, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 23, at 2 p.m. (up to a $64 value).