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 October happenings in the area.
Plus, find save the dates for concerts, stage performances, art exhibitions, and much more.
October means a new season for Detroit Public Theatre
Detroit Public Theatre will kick off its ninth season with Eight Nights, an award-winning play by Jennifer Maisel that runs through Nov. 5 at the theater company’s new facilities in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.
It’s set during the eight nights of Hanukkah, following the journey of a German Jewish refugee named Rebecca as she searches for family and a sense of community. It’s a celebration of the human spirit that doesn’t shy away from casting a spotlight on the cycles of oppression and erasure central to Jewish and other refugees’ stories.
Under the guidance of Detroit Public Theatre’s creative vision, this play will mark a memorable return to the stage for the company, which will continue its season through the spring of 2024 with two additional productions (Blues for an Alabama Sky and Clyde’s).
For tickets, visit detroitpublictheatre.org.
I’d never let an October slip away without rounding up a couple of scary events happening in the area.
At Greenfield Village, Hallowe’en evenings (multiple dates throughout October) match history with horror at a PG level for the whole family.
The entire village is filled with costumed storybook characters and performances, matched with fall markets and plenty of donuts and cider (for the adults, spiked cider). This event happens over 16 nights, with all of them sure to sell out, so get tickets early.
On the other side of the spooky spectrum is an event that sounds like the beginning of a Goosebumps book. It’s the seventh annual Movie in the Cemetery fundraiser at the historic Redford Cemetery (Oct. 14). This year’s films are Corpse Bride, at 7:30 p.m., and Friday the 13th, at 10:15 p.m.
Guests will enter through the main gate (which is only open on this day) and proceed down a candlelit path to the viewing area. Proceeds go toward preserving Redford Township’s history.
Highlighting a piece of history you’ve likely forgotten
Have you ever visited the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit? It doesn’t get the love it deserves. Plus, you don’t have to be a car buff to appreciate the level of historic preservation taking place in the city’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood.
There are over 65 rare vehicles on display in this former auto plant where the Model T was born and an early version of the assembly line was debuted.
On Oct. 1, it’ll celebrate the very day that the first Model T rolled off the line here with free Model T rides, plus food and music that works for the whole family.
If you’re a fan of the Henry Ford Museum, you’ll adore the small-yet-mighty Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.
Visit fordpiquetteplant.org for more information.
A bounty of live shows to fill out autumn in Detroit
If you’re like me, as you’ve gotten older you’ve gotten pickier about what bands you’ll go see live. This October, however, I’ll be tying up comfortable shoes and soaking up the scene because there’s an absolutely stacked schedule ahead.
Let’s start with Little Dragon (Oct. 8 at Saint Andrew’s Hall), the Swedish electro-pop band that released one of their best albums this year with Slugs of Love.
Alt-country stalwarts Band of Horses (Oct. 11 at Royal Oak Music Theatre) haven’t branched out much since their dynamic 2006 debut, Everything All the Time (which features the hit song “The Funeral”), but their live show is when they are at their absolute authentic best.
A pair of shows at El Club caught my ear, too, as Chicago punk/new-wave trio Dehd returns (Oct. 18) and Cameroonian American singer-songwriter Vagabon takes the stage (Oct. 21).
And if you’re wondering if 1960s British legacy band The Zombies can still bring it live, rest assured that they absolutely can and will when they return to the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Oct. 18.
It should be noted that all of these venues have never sounded better. The massive corporate live music promoters booking them (Live Nation Entertainment and AEG) continue to pump money into these music halls to improve facilities and sound as part of the never-ending battle to get our increasingly hard-earned disposable income.
More Top Metro Detroit Events in October 2023
Save the dates for comedy shows, film screenings, performances, and more.
Haunted Weekends at Blake’s Big Apple
The local orchard and hard cider producer will offer four weekends of spooky fun this month. Hunt ghouls during a round of zombie paintball, enter the three-story haunted barn (if you dare), get lost in the Spookyland 3D corn maze, or take a haunted hayride. Most activities are suitable for all ages with parental supervision. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October. Cost varies. Blake’s Big Apple, 71485 North Ave., Armada; blakefarms.com.
Impressions: The Palette and Brush Club
View fine-art paintings from members of the Palette and Brush Club, a group of southeastern Michigan artists, at this monthlong installment at the Northville Art House. In addition to its twice-yearly exhibitions, the club holds monthly artwork juries, online studio sessions, and friendly critique discussions. It also supports scholarship funds for promising young artists in metro Detroit. The exhibition will kick off with a reception on Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 28. No cost. Northville Art House, 215 W. Cady St., Northville; northvillearthouse.org.
This Italian pop-rock four-piece launched to international fame after winning the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest for its guitar-laden track “Zitti e Buoni.” Since then, the band has sold millions of records, accumulated billions of streams, and even garnered a nomination for best new artist at the 2023 Grammy Awards. The band will play tracks from its latest album, Rush!, when it makes a stop at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre this month. Oct. 1. $35+. Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre, 14900 Metro Parkway, Sterling Heights; 313presents.com.
The Georgia-based rapper first broke through in 2017 with his singles “Magnolia” and “Wokeuplikethis.” Known for eschewing typical lyrical structure in favor of flow and atmosphere, Carti delivers a sound characterized by frenetic energy and high-pitched vocals with unclear pronunciations. Carti will receive support from his Opium label signees Homixide Gang, Ken Carson, and Destroy Lonely on the international Antagonist tour this fall. Oct. 4. $44+. Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.
John Raymond and S. Carey
After meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire nearly 20 years ago, musicians John Raymond and S. Carey took different career paths: Carey went on to collaborate with some of folk’s biggest figures, including Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, and Low, while Raymond blossomed into a Grammy Award-nominated jazz composer and trumpeter. The pair reunited in 2019 to record their new collaboration, Shadowlands, a genre-defying album that combines Raymond’s penchant for improvisation with Carey’s warm, atmospheric sound. Hear the stunning tracks live when the pair stop at The Ark for an intimate performance this month. Oct. 5. $25. The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; theark.org.
Band of Horses
Formed in 2004 by singer-songwriter Ben Bridwell, this Seattle-based indie rock mainstay is best known for its 2010 album Infinite Arms, which garnered the band a Grammy Award nomination for best alternative album. Fans can expect to hear tracks from the group’s latest release, 2021’s Things Are Great, along with beloved back-catalog songs like “The Funeral” and “No One’s Gonna Love You.” Oct. 11. $39+. Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. 4th St., Royal Oak; royaloakmusictheatre.com.
Known for his searing deadpan one-liners that often hit nerves, British-Irish comedian and actor Jimmy Carr first began his career in the late ’90s as the host of several popular U.K. television shows, including 8 Out of 10 Cats and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Since then, he’s appeared on numerous Comedy Central shows and has released three Netflix stand-up specials. His most recent, 2021’s His Dark Material, was simultaneously lauded and lambasted for its controversial topics. Oct. 12. $48+. The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; livenation.com.
One of rock’s biggest acts says farewell to its more than 50-year career as the Don Henley-led five-piece heads out on its last-ever headlining tour. Touting six Grammy Awards, 200 million records sold, and five No. 1 singles, the Eagles are commonly regarded as one of the best and most enduring American rock bands of all time. Enjoy a smattering of hits from the band’s rich body of work, including “Hotel California,” “Heartache Tonight,” and “One of These Nights,”when the band stops at Little Caesars Arena with support from jazz-rock legends Steely Dan. Oct. 13. $350+. Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.
This R&B singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist rose to fame as one-third of the multiplatinum-selling group Tony! Toni! Toné! On this tour, Saadiq will reunite with bandmates D’Wayne Wiggins and Timothy Christian Riley for the first time in 25 years, treating audiences to live renditions of classic R&B hits like “Feels Good,” “Anniversary,” and “It Never Rains (in Southern California).” Fans will also hear selections from Saadiq’s solo albums as well as new, yet-to-be-released songs. Oct. 13. $55+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.
Known for his distinctive baritone voice and a lyrical fixation on death and love, Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave continues to pump out emotionally charged music at the age of 65, both as a solo performer and as front man of his band, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His most recent release, 2021’s Carnage, is a collaboration with composer and Bad Seeds bandmate Warren Ellis. Oct. 15. $89+. Masonic Cathedral Theatre, 500 Temple St., Detroit; axs.com.
Widely known in the U.K. for his BBC show Russell Howard’s Good News and his Sky Max series The Russell Howard Hour, this English comedian, actor, and presenter was named as one of the world’s top comedians by The Sunday Times. Howard blends biting political commentary with observational comedy, citing comedic greats such as Lee Evans and Richard Pryor as his greatest influences. Oct. 19. $39+. Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; livenation.com.
Disney Junior Live on Tour Costume Palooza
Join Mickey, Minnie, and all their Disney friends for a costume party at this new interactive stage show. Featuring singing, dancing, 3D effects, and jaw-dropping acrobatics from world-renowned acrobatic director John Brady, the production highlights characters from Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends along with other beloved Disney Junior shows. Costumes are encouraged. Oct. 20. $20+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.
All-Star Comedy Festival
Presented by radio station 97.9 WJLB, this year’s edition of this annual Sweetest Day tradition will feature comedians Corey Holcomb, Lil Duval, Bruce Bruce, Tony Rock, Blaq Ron, and Bubba Dub. Oct. 21. $69+. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313presents.com.
Dance Theatre of Harlem
After making history as the first African American principal dancer of New York City Bal-let, Arthur Mitchell went on to found this classical ballet company and school in the borough in which he came of age. Fifty-four years later, Dance Theatre of Harlem is an internationally acclaimed dance institution, having performed in 44 states and 40 countries on six continents. The Detroit premiere of Robert Garland’s Return is part of the program. In addition to being a renowned choreographer, Garland was recently named the company’s new artistic director, only the second in its history. Oct. 21-22. Cost TBA. Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway St., Detroit; detroitopera.org.
View works by 100 jury-selected artists at this outdoor fair on Ann Street and North Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor. Guests can browse jewelry, paintings, ceramics, fiber art, and more while enjoying live entertainment and a selection of food and beverage vendors. A children’s activity area offers kids a chance to paint and decorate their own succulent pot. Oct. 28-29. No cost. Downtown Ann Arbor; theguild.org.
This story is from the October 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.