Culture Calendar: New Rashaun Rucker Work, a Cousin Mouth Album, & More

Ryan Patrick Hooper, host of ’CultureShift’ on 101.9 WDET, curates your guide to the month in arts and entertainment
“Resting Black” by Rashuan Rucker, whose linocut prints will be on view at M Contemporary Art in Ferndale. // Courtesy of Rashaun Rucker/M Contemporary

Rashaun Rucker’s Latest Work in Ferndale

Rashaun Rucker might be the most captivating artist working in metro Detroit today, and that’s just the visual side of things. Rucker’s medium is original enough on its own — you don’t see many artists pulling off solo shows around drawings. His subjects add yet another layer of appeal — striking portraits done with clarity, purpose, and feeling. And now for the art within the art: In his 2019 show American Ornithology at MContemporary Art in Ferndale, Rucker drew apt connections to the slavery roots of this country, the struggles of Black men, and the rock pigeon — a marginalized person and a marginalized animal, Rucker says — in a way that made heads buzz with new insight. His latest body of work, Up from the Red Clay, also at M Contemporary Art, will expand on themes of race but will offer a much more personal window into the artist and his upbringing in the South. Family photos inform the linocut relief prints he’s created for this show, which will be a must-see. With Rucker’s work, it always is. Rashaun Rucker’s Up from the Red Clay runs March 26-May 1 at MContemporary Art gallery in Ferndale. Visit mcontemporaryart.com for hours and additional details.

Ann Arbor Film Festival Goes Virtual

If there’s an upside to everything going virtual, it’s being able to watch movies in your comfies that you’d otherwise have to drag yourself to. Case in point: the Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF), now in its 59th year, will be a virtual event for the second time since the pandemic started. Filmmakers from over 65 countries submitted their films for consideration this year. The festival will show more than 100 selections in all lengths and genres. The short film programs on offer are especially intriguing. Out Night offers a collection of flicks celebrating LGBTQ+ experimental film, while the Almost All Ages program will serve up oddities of experimental film that are outside the norm of your regularly scheduled programming. While it might take some searching through the abundance of content to find something you like, it’ll be worth the digital dig.March 23-28. All-access passes and passes to individual films are available at aafilmfest.org.

Cousin Mouth
Alex Burns’ duo Cousin Mouth stakes its place in the psych-R&B territory otherwise cornered by British acts like Arlo Parks. // Photograph courtesy of Andre Moor

The Psychedelic R&B of Detroit’s Cousin Mouth

It was inevitable that a generation raised on hip-hop, R&B, and indie rock would pick up instruments and create a sound that blended this trio of influences into something new. Cousin Mouth is Detroit’s finest answer to the psych-R&B mashup that’s been cornered by U.K. acts like Arlo Parks, Cleo Sol, and Cosmo Pyke. Cousin Mouth is the project of musician Alex Burns, whose sophomore album, MayflowerPeacemakerHolyredeemer, is out now on the Feeder Loft Records label. On Mayflower, Burns has created a set of 10 songs that feel like walking into a lo-fi tent revival. The gospel he’s preaching musically is fully realized on songs like “Undiagnosed” and the single “New Memories.” Definitely a homegrown artist to keep your eye on. MayflowerPeacemakerHolyredeemer is available on all streaming platforms. Buy it at cousinmouth.bandcamp.com.

A Night Out at the Symphony

The world of classical music notoriously lacks diversity. Black and Latinx musicians make up just 4 percent of orchestras in the U.S., according to data from the League of American Orchestras. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has been ahead of the curve in reaching out to communities that traditionally haven’t embraced (or been embraced by) the genre. Now in its 43rd year, the DSO’s Classical Roots Celebration will pay tribute to the work of classical musicians and composers of color with a digital concert and fundraiser to support its programs to nurture Black musicians. The guest of honor will be living-legend jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who will perform with his septet as part of a weekend of live entertainment that you can enjoy virtually. New York Philharmonic principal clarinetist Anthony McGill rounds out a star-studded event. It’s tough to match the feeling of classical music swirling around you in the DSO’s century-old digs in downtown Detroit, but there are few institutions that have made the leap to virtual entertainment as well as our local symphony. Get dressed up, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy one of the finest annual events the city has to offer. Classical Roots Celebration will be streamed live from Orchestra Hall on March 6 beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at dso.org.



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

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