Culture Calendar for September 2023

Our carefully curated guide to the month in arts and entertainment.
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Greta Van Fleet returns to Detroit at Little Caesars Arena on Sept. 8. // Photograph by Neil Krug.

Metro Detroit is always so full of events and other fun things to do that it can be tough keeping track of it all. To help you plan your weekend itineraries, we’ve asked Ryan Patrick Hooper, the host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR station (weekdays from noon-2 p.m), to share his top September happenings in the area.

Live Music: One of the best festivals of the year is right around the corner

The return of the Detroit Jazz Festival is here! This is, without a doubt, the best festival that happens downtown. There are plenty of reasons — jazz, maybe more than any other genre, can bring Detroiters from all walks of life together.

This year, the artist in residence is Karriem Riggins, a multihyphenate musician young fans will know from his work with Kanye West and older fans may know from his work with Paul McCartney.

The Detroit Jazz Festival is also free to the public (a radical idea), thanks to the generosity of Gretchen Valade, the Carhartt heiress, who passed away last year. (Want an upgrade? The VIP package is worth every penny.)

Highlights include Riggins, who will perform multiple sets, as well as Regina Carter, John Scofield, Samara Joy, and many others.

The 2023 Detroit Jazz Festival happens Sept. 1-4. For the full lineup, visit detroitjazzfest.org.

Culinary: A trip to Thailand without leaving Warren

For a culinary item to pop up in our Culture Calendar, it’s gotta be worth it — a true trip into culturally diverse fare. The vast and still-growing Thai market at the Midwest Buddhist Meditation Center in Warren fits that mold.

It’s easily the best spot for Thai street food in the area — you’ll find steamed buns, papaya salads, meat skewers of all sorts, curry rice and noodles (which travel best with you for lunch or dinner later that day), steamed banana cake, Thai iced coffee, and more.

The market, which boasts two Sunday dates this month (and three more this year), is always evolving, so come ready to graze. What’s there one Sunday may not be there next time. If there’s a line for something, go there first — it’s popular, it’s going to be great, and it will sell out.

Bring cash. Many vendors prefer it, as most items are cheap and they don’t want pesky service fees from credit cards eroding their margins. All proceeds benefit the meditation center.

The Thai market at the Midwest Buddhist Meditation Center (29750 Ryan Road in Warren) takes place on Sunday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with three more dates later this year on Oct. 8, Oct. 22, and Nov. 12. Entry to the market is free.

Architecture: A free trip inside Detroit’s largest art object

This free guided tour is heavy on narrative storytelling and is led by Jacob Jones and Ted Groustra.

Albert Kahn’s iconic art deco skyscraper is a definitive piece of the city’s skyline that represents our opulent automotive past and our need to preserve what’s left (the recent acquisition by Michigan State University has all but assured the building’s future).

The tours have become top ranked on sites like Tripadvisor as “things to do when you’re in Detroit,” and even The New York Times included them in its acclaimed travel series “36 Hours.” Consider it a staycation treat to get to know your own backyard after a busy summer.

Free guided tours of the Fisher Building are Saturdays at noon and 2 p.m. For additional dates and details, visit Pure Detroit’s Eventbrite page: eventbrite.com/o/pure-detroit-3623406533.

On my playlist: Greta Van Fleet? Yes, Greta Van Fleet.

I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with the global success of the Frankenmuth-bred band. The throwback rock outfit even caught the shade of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant.

“Beautiful little singer — I hate him!” Plant joked about lead vocalist Josh Kiszka in a 2018 interview. “He borrowed [his voice] from somebody I know very well, but what are you going to do? … At least he’s got a bit of style.”

Greta Van Fleet’s been called worse — like a direct rip-off of Led Zeppelin, which ripped off their sound from a bevy of blues musicians — but the band has also been embraced here locally and beyond. I see the appeal of “influence” and “inspiration.”

If you’re tired of the same 100 songs on classic rock radio, here’s a new group with an old sound. They’ll make a hometown return on Sept. 8 in support of their third album, Starcatcher, released back in July. It’ll be their first Detroit show in almost five years and their largest show here yet when they take the stage at Little Caesars Arena supported by Los Angeles group Surf Curse.

No matter where you stand on Greta Van Fleet’s sound, they do deliver the decibels live.

Greta Van Fleet’s new album, Starcatcher, is out now. The band will play Little Caesars Arena on Sept. 8.


This story is from the September 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.