Best You’ve Never Heard: A Fall Preview

Molly-Jean
Folk, Detroit rock and classic songwriting-infused.[mollyj]
She’s a ’60s songbird at heart. Molly-Jean is the modern-day version of Joan Baez and Marianne Faithful, and it’s evident when she takes the stage, accompanied by only her guitar and a microphone.
She says she plays about 60 percent rock and 40 percent folk, which comes as no surprise after hearing her musical influences. Her music has been shaped by classic bands like The Beatles, especially George Harrison’s sweet, rhythmic melodies, Joan Baez, Margo Guryan, Simon & Garfunkel and early Motown recordings. Also evident is her love for Detroit rock, including The Sights and folksy songwriters like Elliot Smith.
Molly-Jean is a creative writing junior and finds inspiration while writing music in everyday life. “I’ve got lots of reasons [for playing music]; mainly it’s a way of expressing myself,” said Molly-Jean. “I’ve got some rather petty reasons why I play music, too, one of them being for the gratifying feeling I get after writing a scathing song about an ex-boyfriend and performing it while he’s in the audience. That’s always interesting.”
After picking up a guitar five years ago as a high school sophomore, she quickly realized she wanted to play music. But she didn’t start performing until she was a senior, with a girl band called Exit 110. Things didn’t pan out and she’s been performing solo for about 10 months.
Her debut album, Valley of the Doll’s House, is due out Oct. 18 and will cost $10. She said it will include 14 tracks, with special guests Marc Fellis of The Go playing drums; special cameos on lead guitar by Augie Visocchi from The Hard Lessons, Eddie Baranek of The Sights and Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry and backing vocals by Korin Cox of The Hard Lessons and Loretta Lucas of The Larkspurs. Molly-Jean plays both guitar and bass on the album.
The CD release party will take place at Jacoby’s in Detroit on Oct. 28, to coincide with her 20th birthday party. She will also play at the same venue on Oct. 15 for a WDET (Detroit public radio) benefit.
She is reachable at www.myspace.com/mollyjean3 and will be soon forming www.mollyjean.net. For contact purposes, Molly-Jean can be reached at (517) 974-4015 or schoenmo@msu.edu.
— Molly Benningfield
Know Lyfe
[know]Hardcore and metal band from Lansing.
They know one thing in life: music. Lansing’s Know Lyfe was started five years ago by drummer and back-up singer Nick Killips. The four-person band does not like to put themselves into one genre. They combine hardcore guitar riffs with screaming and melodies.
“We’re not afraid to play music that may not be popular right now, that may not be following the trends,” said Killips.
In the past five years, Know Lyfe has packed their schedules and played with a number of national bands. They say they are influenced by Poison, the Well and Dredg.
Lead singer, Alfonso Civile, writes most of the band’s lyrics, while guitar player Jerred Pruneau and drummer Killips write the music.
Lyrics to the new song “Balloons” can be found on their Web site: www.myspace.com/knowlyfe.
The song kicks off with a rocking guitar that fortes into the melody. The emo vocals blend well to create a melodramatic tone. The band also throws screamo into the mix to keep you on your toes.
I felt your hand touch mine and what came next was an unexpected rush of uncertainty but at that moment I felt a kinetic energy run for the tips of your fingers to my heart/Chorus: You’re feeling like the bitter silk that ran through my hands and I forgot to say what really matters is that you take my breath away like a balloon in the night sky…
Know Lyfe is not holding its breath until they make the big bucks. “All of us really want to be making enough money so we can go out on the road and be able to pay our own bills,” said Killips. After all, life is about the music.
Know Lyfe plays at the Temple Club on Oct. 7 around 10 p.m.
To contact the band, e-mail them at knowlyfedrums@hotmail.com.
— Melissa Talon
The Jaded Reason
[jaded]Rocking the college parties.
Coming to a party near you is The Jaded Reason, a trio of college students who just like to play music.
The band is a mix of mainly rock music, influenced by punk, emo and progressive stylings.
As a band, their musical influences are Foo Fighters, Weezer, Jimmy Eats World and Taking Back Sunday. Individually, they like everything from The Rush to The Smashing Pumpkins to The Beatles.
Derek Pallin said the reason he plays music is the way it makes him feel. “There is something amazing about writing a song, and then hearing people sing that song back to you,” Derek said.
Dustin, Derek and Jeff started playing together three years ago, when Derek was searching AOL profiles for a bass player and found Dustin. As some people find their true love online, The Jaded Reason found their bandmates through the Internet.
Derek is a communications junior at MSU and the other two are seniors at the University of Michigan, with Dustin studying pharmacy and Jeff, education and music.
The three like to think of themselves as a tri-force, power, wisdom and courage forming the core of their being. Also noted as band activities are long walks on the beach and practicing with their pants off.
The Jaded Reason plans to record tracks for an upcoming CD and to make the music available on their myspace account at www.myspace.com/thejadedreason or www.umich.edu/~thejadedreason. They hope to start playing at bars and other venues after the release of their album, but are sticking to house parties where they play classic songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” while the animated audience sings along.
The band can be contacted at thejadedreason@umich.edu.
— Molly Benningfield
Autumn and the Wasp
Emerging from the urban chaos of Flint, all sound and fury signifying dance come Autumn and the Wasp.
The four-piece, featuring guitarist Matt Davis, bassist Chad Horton, keyboardist Randy Meteyer and drummer Chris July, formed in 2004, after the break-up of two other bands. Vocal duties are split between the members, with Davis taking lead vocals and Meteyer adding interstitial singing in a register usually reserved for Coheed and Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez or Rush’s Geddy Lee. Their vocal prowess is exemplified in “From Karate to Pilates,” which climaxes in a kaleidoscopic round of all four voices.
Autumn and the Wasp play with the emotional energy of their influences, Motion City Soundtrack and Coheed and Cambria, injected with hip-shaking rhythms and spacey synthesizers. It’s a sound that could seem jarring, but Davis said this gives the band a leg up.
“It’s nice ’cause we can play with any genre of music and still hold our own,” said Davis. “Also, fans of any genre are able to grasp on to some parts of the songs ’cause we cover the entire spectrum.”
They may have come along during an influx of dance-oriented rock bands, but Davis said Autumn and the Wasp should not be lumped in with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party or The Killers.
“When we first were mentioned as dance rock, we were thrown in with those bands, but once you take a listen you catch on to our originality,” he said. “At this time in music, to have those bands be popular, gives us that edge to put our foot in the door so we’ll grab people’s ears, but allows us to keep them listening.”
What lies ahead for Autumn and the Wasp? The recording of a full-length album, a “hectic schedule of shows in Michigan,” and a cross-country jaunt once recording is finished.
“Our show is always high energy and we give as much as we can to all of our fans,” said Davis. “No matter how big or small the audience.”
To find out when you can catch these guys next, check out their Web site at www.autumnandthewasp.com.
— Erik Adams

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2005: An Arts & Culture Preview

From theater to festivals, it looks like 2005 is going to be a good year. The following list is what we have to look forward to in the coming 12 months in literature, music, festivals, movies and theater.
FILM compiled by Brooke Lipsitz and Danielle Behr
[sundancefilm] In the past, the Sundance Film Festival has introduced the United States to a variety of critically acclaimed documentaries, soon-to-be cult classics and box-office hits. Last year alone, films such as Garden State, Super Size Me, Maria Full of Grace and Napoleon Dynamite have attracted an astounding number of viewers. True to form, the 2005 Sundance Film Festival was no different, showcasing several films with great promise.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire – This documentary looks closely at the Canadian influence on the United Nations mission to Rwanda during the genocide of 1994.
Grizzly Man – A documentary, Grizzly Man follows the story of grizzly bear activist Timothy Treadwell and the death of his partner while filming in Alaska.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room – This in-depth documentary is a look into the rise and fall of the Enron Corporation.
Inside Deep Throat – This is one documentary sure to garner much press as it examines the popularity and controversy surrounding the pornographic flick Deep Throat. As the film’s trailer points out, it was the “the $25,000 movie that became a $600 million phenomenon.”
The Squid and the Whale – This film is a story of two young boys coping with their parents’ divorce.
The Jacket –The Jacket is a sci-fi thriller featuring Adrien Brody and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The Dying Gaul – This film follows a screenwriter who gets involved with a film executive and his wife.
Layer Cake – Another thriller, Layer Cake is based on the story of a cocaine dealer who struggles to leave the business.
Matando Cabos – A critically acclaimed foreign film, Matando Cabos is a dark comedy about Mexican teens involved in a kidnapping.
Unconscious – Unconscious is another critic recommended comedy that looks into sexual taboo and is from the director of Talk to Her, Joaquin Oristrell.
Outside Sundance, 2005 also has a wealth of upcoming films adapted from books, television, plays and other films. The year promises to be a cinematic grab-bag, releasing everything from King Kong, to The Dukes of Hazzard to Pride and Prejudice.
Books to Box-Office – Memoirs of a Geisha (December), In Her Shoes (October), Oliver Twist (September), War of the Worlds (June), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (May) and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (December) will all be adapted for the screen from their literary originals.
From the ‘60s – The Pink Panther (September), Bewitched (July) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (July) are all finding themselves reborn and back on screen after years of re-runs.
Part Two
[bigalow] Some long-awaited sequels are due out this year, along with some you never saw coming. Look out for The Ring Two (March), Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (May), Batman Begins (June), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (August), Legend of Zorro (November), Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (November) and Underworld: Evolution (December).
Fight Scenes
Contenders in the action/adventure arena include Sin City (April), which features an all-star cast including Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett. In Mr. And Mrs. Smith (June), Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt play a married couple attempting to assassinate each other.
Laugh Track
If you’re looking for laughs, Terry Gilliam (one of the minds behind Monty Python) directs Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as medieval con-artists in The Brothers Grimm (November). Zach Braff will cry wolf about the sky falling as the title character in Chicken Little (November).
AHHHHHH
If you can handle the horror, see Christina Ricci and Shannon Elizabeth as werewolf victims in Wes Craven’s Cursed (February), or Chad Michael Murray, Elisha Cuthbert and Paris Hilton (a horror unto herself) in House of Wax (April).
The Spectrum – In the “where the hell does this fit” department, Tim Burton will unearth Corpse Bride (September). In this stop-motion film, similar to The Nightmare Before Christmas, Johnny Depp’s character accidentally marries a corpse, played by Helena Bonham-Carter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon will Walk the Line (November) as they dramatize the life of Johnny Cash.[page]
MUSIC compiled by Dana Krozek
The CD releases of 2005 have a tough act to follow. The year 2004 was characterized by song lyrics fueled with a snowballing anti-Bush sentiment, an influx of indie rockers and Morrissey protégés, as well as the invasion of new faces on the hip-hop scene sporting more bling than the front window of Tiffany’s. Not to mention the instant stardom of a certain acid-reflux ridden, Saturday Night Live-botching “musician” who shall remain nameless.
Nonetheless, as we move into 2005, the lingering million-dollar question is: Will the album releases of 2005 have the potential to rake in the same success as their 2004 counterparts?
My clairvoyant predilections indicate 2005 will not only be characterized by the comeback of carbohydrates, hookah bars and Spanish wine, but also by the seemingly unstoppable indie rock revival and the return of a few artists breaking free from their recording hiatuses.
With that said, the following is a breakdown of some of 2005’s most anticipated albums.
[beck] Beck
It appears Beck is expected to release his eighth full-length studio album, Guero, in March, after postponing the fall 2004 release date due to incomplete videos, remixes and accompanying artwork. While his somber 2002 album, Sea Change, takes its listeners on a depressive, yet beautiful, rollercoaster ride down Melancholy Lane, the 2005 album deviates significantly from the previous release and channels the folk sounds characteristic of his previous albums. In addition, Guero explores funk and hip-hop vibes, along with a bit of Hispanic flavor, stemming from his childhood as the only white kid in an all-Hispanic Los Angeles neighborhood.
Bright Eyes
Bright Eyes vocalist Conor Oberst isn’t just an indie rock sex symbol for hormone-crazed college girls to throw themselves at after two Miller Lites on a Friday night. On the contrary, this overachieving lyrical genius is considered by some to be the next Bob Dylan.With that said, Conor Oberst has outdone himself by recording not one, but two new albums,-I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning/Digital Ash in a Digital Urn—being released simultaneously this week. I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning is typical of a Bright Eyes album. Oberst utilizes solemn vocals and periods of punctuated shrieking to exude more emotion than a four-eyed, brace-face high-schooler with no date for the prom. However, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn strays from Oberst’s distinctive style by incorporating sound effects foreign to any other Bright Eyes release. In fact, the drum machine used on the album was borrowed from Nine Inch Nails’ frontman, Trent Reznor.
Coldplay
A celebrity marriage and fatherhood haven’t deterred Coldplay frontman Chris Martin from churning out lyrics for the band’s much anticipated March follow-up album to 2003’s A Rush of Blood to the Head. While some suggest that the yet-to-be titled album has the potential to reinforce the band’s reputation as the next U2, it remains unknown whether Chris Martin’s celebrity marriage, life as a tabloid icon and initiation into fatherhood will affect the band’s identity. However, Martin has assured fans that, although becoming a dad has changed his life, he will refrain from singing about breastfeeding and changing dirty diapers.
The Flaming Lips
What do you get when you combine a few middle-aged, neo-psychedelic, Oklahoma natives who know their way around a synthesizer and can beat a drum more ferociously than most would dare to try? One answer: the Flaming Lips. And they’re on a mission to battle the supernatural musically, with a little help from computers, gadgets and vocal machines that create an electronic, yet organic, post-punk album. At War With the Mystics is slated for release in late 2005.
[lauren] Lauryn Hill
While Lauryn Hill was considered the female face of hip-hop during her on-again, off-again stint as the lead singer of the Fugees, it was not until her 1998 solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, that she proved herself an independent, innovative musician, successfully integrating rap, reggae, R&B and soul into her musical style. The 1999 Artist of the Year is slated to drop her sophomore studio album late this year, thanks to the production genius of hip-hop’s newest poster boy, Kanye West. The king and once-queen of hip-hop have collaborated on at least two of the album’s tracks. Given both West’s and Hill’s spiritual slant, it is speculated that the album will have an ethereal undertone.
The Mars Volta
Third time’s a charm for the skinny-legged, afro-sporting progressive punk deities Cedric Bixler Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, who have teamed up with bandmates to create the third, and what has been deemed the best, album by The Mars Volta. Slated for release Mar. 1, Frances the Mute is a 77-minute compilation of five tracks that integrate rocking guitar solos, salsa and jazzy organ riffs with both Spanish and English prose. And get this: the band does it effectively. The Mars Volta has kept the central theme of the record under wraps, stating that the funkadelic concept album is open to interpretation. Nonetheless, the progressive salsa-jazzy-rock album aims to please as one of 2005’s most highly anticipated releases.
Nine Inch Nails
It remains unknown whether the release of Nine Inch Nails highly anticipated album, White Teeth, will recapture the glory that fell to the band’s only official member, Trent Reznor, following the release of the 1999 double CD, The Fragile. NIN’s Reznor, one of the artists responsible for bringing industrial music to the forefront during the ‘90s, uses powerful lyrics to offset the harsh electronic beats characteristic of industrial music, creating an aesthetically pleasing sound. The new album, taking more than two years to complete, is expected to feature the Foo Fighters’ lead singer Dave Grohl, who will draw from his musical experience as a former member of Nirvana by playing drums on several tracks. The album is slated for release this May.
Queens of the Stone Age
Despite rumors of drunken bar fights and excessive partying, as well as dating the lead vocalist of the Distillers, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and fellow band members cranked out their fourth album, Lullabies to Paralyze, set for release March 15. The album incorporates unique sounds, including horns, a few creepy vocal effects and even a sporadic clanking cowbell (step aside Blue Oyster Cult). Rest assured the exotic sounds have yielded what has been deemed the band’s most adventurous album yet.
The Strokes
It’s official. The Strokes have announced they are in the midst of recording their third album as a follow-up to 2003’s Room on Fire. The chain-smoking, five-member band of misfits has revolutionized rock through their distinct musical expression, pairing unique lyrics with vintage guitar melodies. Since the release of the 2001 debut album Is This It, The Strokes have reached iconic status and paved the way for up-and-coming rockers the Von Bondies, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Franz Ferdinand.[page]
THEATER compiled by Kristin Cain
Michigan theater-goers have an incredible selection of Broadway’s best this season, in addition to many stage classics. From Andrew Lloyd Webber to William Shakespeare and everything in between, theaters will be filled with Tony Award-winning productions and what should prove to be many satisfied audiences. Check out the listings and the shows’ websites for more information on this season’s incredible offerings.
[movinout] Movin’ Out
Now through Feb. 6; Wharton Center, MSU Campus; http://movingout.uvision.net/
Created by Grammy Award-winning artist Billy Joel and Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp, Movin’ Out follows five lifelong friends through their relationships, torn apart by war. However, it deserves fair warning there is no dialogue (they don’t even sing) but rather the action is tied together through Joel’s music, sung and played by Darren Holden, who hit the tour straight off the show’s Broadway run.
On the Record
Feb. 8-7; Fisher Theatre, Detroit; March 1-6; Wharton Center, MSU campus; http://disney.go.com/disneytheatrical/ontherecord/
A montage of Disney tunes both new and old, On the Record is primarily a revue. The staging and costuming of the show are minimal (especially by Disney’s standards) and are meant to highlight 64 songs that are the true “stars.”
Suddenly Last Summer
Feb. 22-27; Arena Theatre (Auditorium), MSU Campus
Next month, the MSU Theatre Department will perform Suddenly Last Summer by great American playwright Tennessee Williams, who’s famous for works like A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Phantom of the Opera
March 2-7; Masonic Temple Theatre, Detroit; www.ThePhantomOfTheOpera.com
Making its debut in London nearly 20 years ago, Phantom of the Opera has garnered seven Tony Awards and has made it arguably the most popular musical ever made. Although the new movie does a great job staying true to Weber’s vision, there is nothing like seeing this incredible production on stage.
Little Shop of Horrors
[horror]March 29 – April 3; Wharton Center, MSU Campus; May 17 – 22, May 31- June 12; Fisher Theatre, Detroit; www.LittleShopOfHorrors.com
Based on the 1960 movie by Roger Corman, this production has taken different forms on the big screen and the stage. The most recent show opened on Broadway to rave reviews in Aug. 2003 and has now taken its love story and infamous blood-guzzling plant on tour.
The Comedy of Errors
March 31 – April 17; The BoarsHead, Lansing; www.boarshead.org
In true comedic Shakespeare fashion, this mixed-up play employs several cases of mistaken identity (twins, slaves, spouses) and several crossing stories to create a tangled and entertaining plot. Yet somehow each element works together to create a romantic, funny and, of course, happy ending.
Thoroughly Modern Millie
April 4- 10; Devos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids; www.ModernMillie.com
Winner of six Tony Awards in 2002, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a wonderful, feel-good show about small town girl Millie Dillmount and her misadventures in New York City. Set in the Roaring Twenties, the show features great flapper costumes and charming lyrics about life and love.
Schoolhouse Rock Live!
April 14- 24; Passant Theatre (Wharton Center), MSU Campus
Everyone’s favorite super-catchy, educational tunes like “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction” will be brought to life on the Wharton Center stage by an MSU student cast this spring. The G-rated show stars “Tom,” a new schoolteacher seeking inspiration from the throwback cartoon. Schoolhouse Rock Live! is a perfect performance for all ages.
Hairspray
April 26 – May 15; Masonic Temple Theatre, Detroit; www.HairsprayOnTour.com
Based on the 1988 movie starring Ricki Lake, the stage show follows chubby and hairspray-happy Tracy Turnblad in her quest to become a celebrity on the Corny Collins dance show. Tracy’s lovable personality, the costuming (especially the knockout wigs) and the show’s songs have made it a nine-time Tony Award-winning hit.
Les Miserables
May 24- 29; Devos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids
www.LesMis.com
Set in pre-revolutionary France, Les Miserables has become a world-wide favorite known for its amazing staging and soundtrack. The plot follows criminal Jean Valjean as he starts a new life and becomes entrusted with the life of young Cossette, woven through the political turmoil of Paris in 1832.
La Boheme
Opera Grand Rapids
Performed for the first time in 1897, this opera by Giacomo Puccini has gained a renewed following with the advent and wild success of Jonathon Larson’s Rent, which closely follows the characters and plot of its Italian predecessor. True to its original form, the opera will be sung in Italian with projected English translations.[page]
LITERATURE compiled by Lindsay Tigue
Whether mysterious, poetic, magical or astonishing, 2005’s book releases could make a book lover out of anyone. Here are some of the most interesting and anticipated titles to look forward to over the next 12 months.
[harry] J.K Rowling
If there is one new novel that has people of all ages in a literary frenzy, it’s this one. Though the book will not be released until July 16, many fans of Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series are already pre-ordering Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This is the sixth book in the series and, according to Amazon, Rowling says she has been imagining the first chapter for 13 years!
Joyce Carol Oates
Oates’ new book, Sexy, will be available Feb. 15. Oates is the author of many successful novels, including the bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys. Some critics are labeling Sexy a young adult book, but others think this story of one teenage boy’s personal revelations is appealing to an even broader audience.
Rebecca Wells
Wells, the author of the bestselling Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is coming out with another book about the lovable women called Ya-Ya’s in Bloom.
Chuck Palahniuk
Palahniuk’s work, Haunted: A Novel, has a release date of May 17. Many are excited for the newest book by the notably shocking author of several past knockout novels like Fight Club. Haunted is about people that end up at an old, rundown theater, where they thought they were going for an artist’s retreat, and the horrifying stories they have to tell.
John Ashberry
Intermingled between novels this year will be a few new poetry collections, as well. Renowned poet, John Ashberry, has a collection coming out March 1 called Where Shall I Wander.
Torey Hadden
Also available March 1 is a new book by Torey Haden. Haden has written numerous bestselling books such as One Child, detailing her experiences with children as a special education teacher. Her newest book, Twilight Children: Three Voices No One Heard Until a Therapist Listened, is about her experiences working in the psychiatric ward of a city hospital.
Robert Crais
For mystery lovers there will be a new novel by Robert Crais in 2005. The Forgotten Man is coming out Feb. 15 and is the newest book about his character Elvis Cole.
Charles Chadwick
New authors are also making quite a showing in 2005, alongside old favorites. Charles Chadwick’s debut novel It’s All Right Now is garnering praise. This general fiction work follows three decades in the life of the main character.[page]
FESTIVALS compiled by Amy Oprean
Mark your calendars! Here are some festivals that will guarantee a great time in 2005.
[elff] East Lansing Film Festival – March 30 – April 3
Showcasing over 30 full-length independent films from around the world, the showings are divided between Wells Hall on the MSU campus and the Hannah Community Center. Movie fans are also welcome to attend filmmaking and screenwriting seminars.
East Lansing Art Festival – May 21-22
Featuring 200 visual arts exhibitors, three stages of continuous performances and free art activities, the festival highlights the art community of East Lansing.
Movement: Detroit Electronic Music Festival – Memorial Day Weekend
Electronic music was born in Detroit and so the city celebrates its gift to the world every year with a free three-day event in Hart Plaza. Applauded for its use of visual artistry and innovative creativity, this event is a blender of all electronic music, gathering world-renowned musicians and over a million dancing music lovers every year.
Detroit Art Festival – June 10-12
Spread out along 20 city blocks, the festival features avenues full of fine arts and crafts from around the world, as well as local submissions from Detroit area artists, and musical, dance and theatrical performances notorious for their global diversity.
East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival – June 18
The Summer Solstice Jazz Festival offers a night of free live music in the streets of downtown East Lansing, featuring popular jazz musicians from across the state, with a touch of swing and New Orleans.
Michigan Shakespeare Festival – July 22-24 and 29-31, Aug. 5-7
Located in Jackson, local professional actors perform Shakespeare’s plays on an outdoor stage that is a replica of the Elizabethan Courtyard Theatre. Plays for the 2005 festival have yet to be announced.
Michigan Renaissance Festival – Weekends, Aug. 13 – Sept. 25
[ren] Located in Holly, the Renaissance era festivities are bawdy fun without the beheading! If authentic atmosphere and widespread merriment isn’t enough to please you, the sword fights, belly dancers, jousting tournaments, fortune-tellers, musicians and comedians will be. The festival takes place each weekend with a different theme, ranging from Wine, Romance, and Song to Highland Fling and Buccaneer Beer Fest. The festival is abundant with exceptional novelty items such as kaleidoscopes and feather boas. Art of all forms— jewelry, oils, perfumes, period costumes and henna and other body art—are also plentiful. There may be a pixie or two lurking around in the trees, so beware. And, if you happen to own a corset, wear it, you won’t be alone.
Pontiac Arts Beats and Eats – Labor Day weekend
This Labor Day event is a sophisticated collaboration of three essential parts of life. Art of every form, including digital, glass, sculpture, wood, ceramics and 2D and 3D mixed media, diverse cuisine and music that is truly across the board. The lineup will include rock, R&B, country, jazz, traditional Celtic, Latin, rockabilly, pop, Motown progressive rock, Flamenco, African, Middle Eastern, eclectic, psychedelic rock, blues and acoustic jamming.

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