Culture Calendar: ‘Dilla Time,’ Mexican Dance, Lucy Dacus

Ryan Patrick Hooper, host of ’CultureShift’ on 101.9 WDET, curates your guide to the month in arts and entertainment
Lucy Dacus
“Hot & Heavy” is a single on Dacus’ latest album Home Video. // Courtesy of Lucy Dacus

Indie’s Next Big Things Arrive in Detroit

To call it “a moment” would be a major diss to indie songwriters who have consistently pushed the genre forward. One could say, however, that in this moment, there are few acts as compelling in that moody, guitar-driven, clever-yet-heartbroken-lyrics category of indie rock (think your college radio in the ’90s) as Lucy Dacus. You might know her as one-third of Boygenius, the short-lived trio of Dacus, Julien Baker (who also rules), and Phoebe Bridgers, who is currently the princess of this musical world. When Dacus performs at the Majestic Theatre this month, she’ll bring along Indigo de Souza as a supporting act — and de Souza might steal the damn show before Dacus even takes the stage. Lucy Dacus and Indigo de Souza land at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit on Thursday, Feb. 10. Tickets are $25;

Mexican Dance
Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández offers a taste of authentic Mexican folkloric dance. // Photograph courtesy of University Musical Society 

Mexican Dance Returns to Ann Arbor for the First Time in 15 Years

We metro Detroiters are spoiled with cultural powerhouses like the University Musical Society out of the University of Michigan. And this won’t be the last time we spotlight its 2022 spring season, starting with Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández. The company brings Mexican folkloric dance tradition to stages around the globe, led by the daughter of Amalia Hernández, who founded the group in 1952. This vivid, energetic dance performance is one of the greatest international gateways into Mexican culture. The ticket prices (seats start at $14) make this an easy, family-friendly trip. Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández lands at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Feb. 6, for a matinee 4 p.m. show;

J Dilla - Dilla Time
Detroit producer James DeWitt Yancy’s life and work is explored in the book Dilla Time. // Image courtesy of J Dilla

Legendary Detroit Producer Finds Spotlight in New Book

It’s not that the producer J Dilla is not a well-known entity in the music world — particularly for old-school hip-hop heads and especially in his hometown of Detroit. But the new book Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm marks the most high-profile literary dive into his life yet, courtesy of writer Dan Charnas, who previously explored the business of hip-hop with his 2010 book The Big Payback. Now, the author is mixing “equal parts biography, musicology, and cultural history” to explore the short but highly influential life of James Dewitt Yancey, who helped craft the sound of Detroit’s hip-hop scene and went on to be a Grammy-nominated producer before passing away at the age of 32 from a rare blood disease. Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm is out this February. Pick up a copy at your local bookstore.

Tammy Lakkis
Hamtramck artist Tammy Lakkis’ debut EP is considered one of the best records of 2021. // Photograph courtesy of Chloe Sells

The Rest of the World Gets to Know Tammy Lakkis

Each December, Barack Obama announces his favorite films and music from the past year, and there’s always a ton of fanfare. It was a delight to see Hamtramck’s own Tammy Lakkis land on that list from last year. Lakkis is a DJ and musician who may be one of the brightest talents to emerge from the city’s storied electronic scene in a few years (we’re so lucky in this town that every couple of years, we get to say that about somebody new). Her debut EP, Notice, is brief — four songs across 20 minutes — but it’s been hailed as one of the best records of the year, locally and nationally, via sources like NPR and is even on the former president’s heavy rotation. Her ability to write, produce, and vocalize her own works gives listeners the unique sensation of stepping into her mind, while also sweeping them out onto the dance floor. You can stream her music anywhere and purchase it through platforms like Bandcamp, which gives more proceeds to artists than other platforms.

Ryan Patrick Hooper is the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET Detroit’s NPR station (weekdays from noon to 2 p.m.).