Culture Calendar: Top Events in Metro Detroit for March 2023

The host of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET offers a curated list of this month’s art and entertainment. Plus, score details on big events happening all March long.
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Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis will play at Third Man Records this month in a double-billed show with The Messthetics. // Photograph by Ben Pier

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 to share his top March happenings in the area. Plus, save the dates for comedy shows, film screenings, performances, and more.

Community and culture: Another spring, another chance to chase away bad luck

It’s been remarkable to watch the Marche du Nain Rouge grow into a full-fledged Detroit holiday in the city’s Cass Corridor neighborhood. For the uninitiated, the Mardi Gras-esque affair brings thousands marching down Second Avenue to chase away the mythical, devil-like character known as the Nain Rouge, who, it is said, has been bringing bad luck to Detroit since the city’s founding.

Each year, participants don ever more elaborate costumes and fashion even more makeshift floats, and the event has evolved from a midafternoon street parade into a daylong party. Many of the local businesses and eateries are known to offer specials in the weeks leading up to the Marche, adding to the overall theatrical atmosphere.

The event, which returns at the end of the month, on March 26, is completely free, open to the public, and family friendly.

For more details, visit marchedunainrouge.com.

Live music: Two must-see shows at Third Man Records

We’ll stick around the neighborhood, as I’m excited to have the opportunity to finally include Jack White’s Third Man Records in Culture Calendar. It’s part retail, it’s part vinyl pressing plant (you can schedule a Friday tour for $15 per person), and it’s one of the coziest, best-sounding music venues in the area.

This month, you’ve got two excuses to finally visit if you’ve yet to do so: Os Mutantes is a Brazilian psych-rock group that influenced everyone from Beck to Kurt Cobain — your favorite band’s favorite band, if you will. From one of the greatest guitar licks of all time on the “Oh, I’ve heard this before” jam of “A Minha Menina” to the rest of its fuzzed-out catalog, Os Mutantes will bring one of the best feel-good, dance-all-night shows around to Detroit.

If you’re looking for something a bit more experimental, allow me to introduce you to the double billing of the James Brandon Lewis Trio and The Messthetics, who combined forces last year to put out the jazz-tinged progressive instrumental single “Fear Not.” Featuring former members of the influential punk band Fugazi, The Messthetics deliver some of the sharpest instrumental rock you can find on stage. Saxophonist and composer James Brandon Lewis dropped his best work to date with his latest album, Jesup Wagon. Expand your musical palette by attending one (or both) of these shows.

You can catch them at Third Man Records on March 8 (Os Mutantes) and March 16 (James Brandon Lewis Trio and The Messthetics).

For tickets, visit Third Man Records in Detroit or thirdmanrecords.com.

Downtown event: Detroit Spring Home & Garden Show is like Comic-Con for the HGTV crowd

As with the boat and RV shows, such huge events at downtown Detroit’s Huntington Place offer the ultimate window-shopping experience, and this one is ideal for anyone who is heavily invested in home-improvement projects, or just absolutely obsessed with HGTV (guilty as charged).

Attendees can expect big-time displays, appearances from big-time personalities (Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas, the co-hosts of HGTV’s hit series Bargain Block, among them), and an array of industry professionals showing their wares.

Even if you aren’t ready to tackle a home-improvement project of your own just yet, you’ll get plenty of ideas; think about it like walking through a giant Pinterest board. Plus, it’s a surprisingly fun way to spend a weekend (March 18 and 19) in downtown Detroit.

For more details, visit YourHomeShows.com.

On my Playlist: Local electronic music icon Theo Parrish brings Detroit together for his latest project

Last year, Detroit electronic music stalwart Theo Parrish put out a DJ-Kicks mix (basically a mixtape of his own music, plus that of his favorite artists), and it’s a de-facto showcase for the abundance of talent characterizing our current music scene.

From the excellent kickoff track by saxophonist and composer De’Sean Jones and singer Ideeyah (“Pressure”) to Jon Dixon’s gorgeous progressive house number (“Wind Drifts”), each track feels like its own world existing in harmony within this multi-disc galaxy from Parrish. It’s certainly worth a listen.

Not only will you discover new players in the local music game (it is titled Detroit Forward, after all), but you’re also sure to enjoy a barrage of “Wow, I love this — who is it?” when you make it the background track for your next dinner party. Available to stream wherever you listen to music.

Detroit Forward can be purchased in digital and vinyl formats via Bandcamp.

More Top Events in Southeast Michigan This March

Chicago is coming to the Fisher Theatre March 28-April 2. // Photograph by Jeremy Daniel, courtesy of Broadway in Detroit

Luenell and Kym Whitley

Arkansas-born comedian and actress Luenell Campbell first entered the public eye in the early ’90s when she made regu- lar appearances on the Oakland, California, cable station KSBT. Since then, she’s appeared in dozens of big-and small-screen comedies, including Borat, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Dolemite Is My Name. She will bring along fellow funny woman Kym Whitley, who is best known for her role in the 2003 comedy film Deliver Us from Eva, when she stops at the Sound Board theater for a night of stand-up. March 2. $40+. Sound Board at MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.

Paw Patrol Live: Heroes Unite

Help the animal cast of Paw Patrol solve puzzles and travel the globe at this family-friendly stage production. Incredible visual effects, a catchy musical score, and engaging storytelling will entertain and enthrall kids of all ages. A VIP package, which includes premium seats and after-show photo opportunities with Paw Patrol characters, is also available. March 3-5. $30+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.

Xerxes

This classic, fast-paced opera by George Frideric Handel features a blend of comedy and drama that was truly ahead of its time when it debuted in 1738. Experience this opulent production from director Tazewell Thompson, featuring dynamic countertenor Key’mon Murrah as Xerxes and internationally renowned soprano Lauren Snouffer as Romilda. March 4-12. $29+. Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St., Detroit; detroitopera.org.

Alvvays

This Canadian indie pop band’s 2022 album Blue Rev landed on multiple year-end “best of” lists, thanks to richly layered power pop sounds and a witty, nonchalant lyrical style. Hear standout tracks like “Pharmacist” and “Easy on Your Own?” when the band stops at Detroit’s Majestic Theatre this month. March 5. $25+. Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; majesticdetroit.com.

Druski

Following recent collaborations with Lil Yachty, Jack Harlow, and Drake, comedian and internet personality Drew Dawit Desbordes will embark on his first-ever headlining comedy tour. The show will feature Druski’s original stand-up routine as well as a live rendition of his “Coulda Been Records” segment, which offers up-and- coming performers a chance to showcase their talents before a live audience. March 10. $35.75+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.

Sarah Silverman

The Emmy Award-nominated comedian, actress, and writer will make a stop at The Fillmore during her upcoming Grow Some Lips tour. Best known for her Comedy Central variety show, The Sarah Silverman Program, Silverman also boasts four full-length com- edy albums and appearances in various films, including School of Rock, Funny People, and Space Jam: A New Legacy. March 11. $45+. The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; livenation.com.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Enjoy a screening of the cult classic 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, followed by a live appearance from special guest William Shatner. Fans will have the chance to ask questions and hear behind-the-scenes tales from throughout the actor’s celebrated career. Photo opportunities and autographs are available for an additional charge. March 11. $39.75+. Redford Theatre, 17360 Lahser Road, Detroit; redfordtheatre.com.

Vanessa Carlton

This Pennsylvania-born singer-songwriter first achieved mainstream success with her breakthrough hit “A Thousand Miles” in 2002. The track charted in the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and the album from which it was plucked — Be Not Nobody — later went platinum. Carlton has since released five more studio albums, including 2020’s Love Is an Art. March 12. $30. The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; theark.org.

All Things Equal: The Life and Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This new play by Tony Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes — who also penned and sang “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”—follows the storied career of the late Supreme Court justice, played by actress Michelle Azar. Witty, fascinating, and funny, the production offers a chance for audiences to get acquainted with an American icon and the tribulations that shaped her professional life. March 14. $49+. Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; michigantheater.org.

The Book of Mormon

This hilarious musical by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won a whopping nine Tony Awards upon its Broadway debut in 2011. These include Best Musical and Best Original Score. It follows the comedic misad- ventures of a pair of Mormon missionaries as they attempt to spread “the good word” to the uninterested inhabitants of a rural Ugandan village. March 14-19. $40+. Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; broadwayindetroit.com.

Ari Lennox

Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer Ari Lennox will be supporting her 2022 album Age/Sex/Location when she embarks on a North American tour this month. Her neo-soul single “Pressure,” which landed her on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 2021, draws inspiration from Motown harmonies and ’80s drum-machine beats. March 16. $45+. The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; livenation.com.

Northville Student Art Exhibitions

Northville Art House will feature two student displays this month: the Northville High School Student International Baccalaureate Art Exhibition, featuring pieces cre- ated by more than 30 students enrolled in the school’s IB visual arts program, and the North- ville Public Schools Student Visual Art Exhibition, which recognizes young local artists in grades six through 12. March 20-April 1. No cost. Northville Art House, 215 W. Cady St., Northville; northvillearthouse.org.

Keshi

This singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi- instrumentalist is known for his distinctive falsetto vocals and richly textured instrumentals. Hear his unique fusion of R&B, hip-hop, and alternative musical styles as he supports his debut studio album, Gabriel, which premiered last year. March 21. $24.75+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Enjoy a screening of one of Studio Ghibli’s (Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service) most renowned films at Ann Arbor’s State Theatre. The movie tells the story of a ninth- century orphan girl found in a stalk of bamboo by a bamboo cutter and his wife. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, five suitors compete for her affection. It will be shown in Japanese with English subtitles. March 23. $8.50+. State Theatre, 233 S. State St., Ann Arbor; michigantheater.org.

Chicago

After nearly 50 years, Chicago remains one of Broadway’s most beloved and acclaimed musicals. Touting six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, and one Grammy Award, the show was also made into an Academy Award-winning hit film in 2002. Experience all the catchy songs and jaw-dropping choreography when this production arrives at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre. March 28-April 2. $30+. Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; broadwayindetroit.com.

Jill Scott

Following COVID-related cancellations in 2020, the three-time Grammy Award-winning R&B artist is setting off on a belated celebration tour for the 20th anniversary of her groundbreaking 2000 debut record, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. Hear the album in its entirety, including standout tracks like “Gettin’ in the Way” and “A Long Walk,” when Scott performs at the Fox Theatre this month. March 31. $49.75+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.


This story is part of the March 2023 issue of Hour Detroit. Read more in our Digital Edition