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."
Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up pulses with inflatable play sets and actually encourages kids to bounce off the walls. Within the indoor playground, a stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce houses and air-filled playthings, such as a classic bounce castle and slick inflatable slide that cushions children's heartfelt reenactments of Cool Runnings. Throughout the week, families can pop in for open play, or tote along their own mini entourage for birthday-party packages complete with private rooms and complimentary invites. Parties come as straightforward packages or as themed events that place the birthday child in structured story adventures where they take on the role of a mighty and clever superhero or pirate captain that drank too much saltwater.
What was once the meeting spot for the Saint Andrew's 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.