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."
Founded in 1991 by acclaimed actor and playwright Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose Theatre Company enriches its community with original and classic productions that range from light-hearted comedies to poignant dramas. Resident artists elicit laughs during Escanaba in da Moonlight, a revival of Daniels's deer-camp comedy about a group of hunters competing for the first shot at a buck and the most creative camouflage pattern. Starting January 19, A Stone Carver introduces us to a retired stonemason named Agostino who resists being evicted from his home in the face of planned highway construction, even at the risk of alienating his only son. Converted from a 1900s-era auto garage, The Purple Rose Theatre Company distributes sight lines evenly throughout its 168-seat auditorium and grumbling Model T ghosts throughout its marbled 1930s-style lobby.
PJ's and Gracie's join forces on a nightly basis to saturate Southeastern Michigan with rotating genres of live and recorded music. Travel between the establishments without paying double cover, enjoying Gracie's eclectic mix of acts and PJ's spacious dance floor. Depending on the night, you may swing to a big band, sway to a rock group, or juggle the rave ball to the sounds of a DJ. Check the website for upcoming ear enticers. With your bucket of beers, you can raise a glass to a gleeful guitar solo or toast to a toe-tapping tympani roll. Scoop up this side deal for a cover-charge-less jaunt through two of Ann Arbor's most aurally aware bars.
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.