Living legend Duke Fakir tells his side of the story
Duke Fakir — the last living member of Motown supergroup the Four Tops — is a Detroiter through and through. “Detroit has given me everything I have. This is my hometown. Any other place would just be me on the road,” the 86-year-old Fakir told me from his home in Palmer Woods, during a recent interview. His love for the city is the backdrop of I’ll Be There: My Life with the Four Tops, by Omnibus Press, out now. It’s a rich memoir that’s filled with the type of behind-the-scenes looks at Motown hits like “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” and “Bernadette” that many of us locals crave (albeit with a particularly rosy eye for a label well known for low-balling its beloved artists). Fakir’s favorite Four Tops song to sing? “Baby I Need Your Loving,” which was the group’s first hit. “We used to call it our national anthem,” Fakir says. “It changed my life. It changed my mom’s life. I was able to help her retire. It gave me a whole new world — a whole new world that I dreamed of.” You’ll no doubt fall in love with Fakir’s sincerity throughout this piece of required reading for Detroit music fans. Looking to go deeper? Supplement this read with How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter’s Reflections on Music, Motown and the Mystery of the Muse by Lamont Dozier, the legendary Motown songwriter who penned many of the Four Tops’ biggest hits. Find I’ll Be There at Source Booksellers or inquire with your local bookstore.
Changing the way we see the world, at the DIA
In a world flooded with images, what are the visuals that got us here and still resonate with us today? Led by photography curator Nancy Barr, Conscious Response: Photographers Changing the Way We See uses black-and-white and color photographs taken since the 1950s — many recent acquisitions for the Detroit Institute of Arts and never before displayed — to survey human experiences across the decades and find connections between yesterday and today. Heavy hitters like Gordon Parks, Bruce Davidson, and Diane Arbus are on display alongside emerging and mid-career artists like Farah Al Qasimi, Jova Lynne, and Brian Day. Take a break from the flood of content on your phone and feel the power of some of the world’s best photographers in the quiet context of the DIA’s hallowed halls. Opens on July 22; go to dia.org for more information.
The largest juried art fair in the country returns to Ann Arbor
July in Michigan means a bevy of art fairs to choose from — just throw a dart at a state map, and you’ll likely find one. Now, there are art fairs, and then there is the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which is returning to its full glory and blanketing about 30 city blocks. Nearly 1,000 artists will exhibit; that’s enough artistic firepower to attract half a million patrons over those three days, making it just as good for people watching as it is for art shopping. Consider this a perfect family day trip to eat street food, scope out the artistic wares, and visit some of Ann Arbor’s many cultural institutions while you’re there. As a bonus, the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens are in full bloom and offer an idyllic break from the droves of art fans. July 21–23; for more, visit theannarborartfair.com
MoPop brings the indie heat to Hart Plaza
All good things must change and grow. That’s the deal with this year’s MoPop, which is moving its headquarters to Hart Plaza, for the first time, and bringing a massive indie-alternative music line-up to downtown Detroit, across two days. Hometown hero Big Sean is one of the main headliners, joined by Glass Animals (you’ve heard their massively viral single “Heat Waves,” whether you know it or not). The top attractions here, however, are some of the smaller acts or the ones that hardly ever tour. That includes Canadian producer Kaytranada, UK export Wet Leg, and the rapidly rising star of indie troubadour Dominic Fike, whom you may know from his role in season two of HBO’s hit show Euphoria. Even if you’re not familiar with the lineup, it’s always special to have a festival of this caliber right in our backyard, so don’t be shy about trying something new. July 30 and 31; visit mopopfestival.com
Ryan Patrick Hooper is the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET Detroit’s NPR station (weekdays from noon to 2 p.m.).