January 2024 Culture Calendar

Our carefully curated guide to the month in arts and entertainment.
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Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza’s staging of Carmen takes place at the Detroit Opera House on Wednesday, Jan. 17. // Photograph courtesy of Detroit Opera House

Looking for something fun to do this month? Ryan Patrick Hooper, the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR station, offers his top upcoming happenings including a stage show, dance performance, live music, and more.

Check out his picks here — and be sure to check out our 2024 events preview for details on other events coming to our area throughout the year.

Comedy

Coming into the new year with a laugh

For years, Patricia Williams (aka Ms. Pat) couldn’t find a job because of her lengthy arrest record. So, she went with what she was good at — making people laugh. She’s turned her time behind bars into sharp stand-up material, becoming one of the brightest comedic talents working today.

I’ve never missed Ms. Pat when she comes to Detroit. And every time she lands back here, the shows get crazier (like the last time she performed at Music Hall, calling out people in the crowd and ripping their outfits to shreds) and the venues get bigger (I first saw her at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle).

Her fan base has grown quickly with the help of her hit sitcom, The Ms. Pat Show, on BET+. When you see her live, you see why she is a star — but be ready to become the butt of a joke if she catches you tripping.

Ms. Pat is performing at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 12. Tickets are available at musichall.org.

Dance

Detroit Opera does Carmen through dance

Here at Hour Detroit and in this column, we’ve been major boosters of what’s happening at Detroit Opera under the creative direction of Artistic Director Yuval Sharon and Associate Artistic Director Christine Goerke.

In March, I’m extremely excited for Sharon to direct Europeras: 3 & 4, a wild collage concept by pioneering composer John Cage that blurs the lines between where one opera ends and another begins. This month, I’m focused on dance.

Detroit Opera has been rounding out its performance schedule with creative approaches to dance, like this one: Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza’s staging of Carmen, one night only on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Choreographer Johan Inger’s reimagining of Georges Bizet’s opera sees the production through the eyes of a child.

This will be the only U.S. performance of Inger’s Carmen during the company’s North American tour, so don’t miss it.

Tickets for Carmen at the Detroit Opera House on Jan. 17 are available at detroitopera.org.

Music

Live music at the Fisher Theatre — glad we’re seeing more

The Fisher Theatre is the de facto home of Broadway in Detroit, so (pretty much) every touring Broadway musical makes a stop at the historic theater inside Detroit’s art deco masterpiece skyscraper the Fisher Building. But it’s actually a quiet month for Broadway.

The touring show of Wicked, landing at the Detroit Opera House on Jan. 24, is simply too big for the Fisher’s stage. Instead, at the Fisher, we’re treated to live music — a throwback to how the theater functioned decades ago, when performers like Sammy Davis Jr. and David Bowie would grace the stage.

The 85th anniversary of the legendary jazz record label Blue Note will bring the Blue Note Quintet to the Fisher on Jan. 19. The show will feature a band led by pianist Gerald Clayton, running through Blue Note’s historic catalog but also the new generation of songs, too.

If you’ve seen a Broadway show at the Fisher, you already know the venue sounds great. Now experience live jazz at the height of the art form and expect the same sonic immersion.

Tickets for the 85th anniversary Blue Note tour are available at broadwayindetroit.com.

On My Playlist

Speaking of Blue Note … check out Jack White’s reissues from the label

I’m at your service, ready to bring you new music — or old music that’s being presented in a new way — every month as part of our Culture Calendar. This month, let’s stay thinking about jazz and highlight the reissues of Detroit-centric jazz albums from Jack White’s Third Man Records in collaboration with Blue Note Records. They’re under the banner of the 313 Series partnership, focused on city-themed records.

There have been five announced since last year, including trumpeter Donald Byrd’s jazz-funk odyssey Electric Byrd, Thad Jones’ excellent Detroit-New York Junction from 1956 (a true hard-bop classic by yet another trumpeter with Detroit roots), and Grant Green’s Live at Club Mozambique, which features recordings of the iconic guitarist performing live over two nights in Detroit in 1971.

Maybe it’s your first time hearing these records; maybe you’re rediscovering and dusting off old favorites. Either way, Third Man Records has reissued these records with a lot of love, all handpicked by Don Was and available now.

Learn more at bluenote.com/announcing-the-third-man-blue-note-313-series.


This story is from the January 2024 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.