What to do in Detroit this week: DLECTRICITY, film...

What to do in Detroit this week: DLECTRICITY, film fests, beer run and more

How to stay busy in Detroit, Sept. 22-28.

DLECTRICITY Light Bike Parade. Via

Don’t let the incessant rain get you down. Blue skies and better weather are ahead, just in time for a jam-packed weekend of indoor and outdoor festivities. What’s on tap: neon art all night in Midtown for DLECTRICITY, two different film fests, a visit from a renowned voting rights activist, the DIY Street Fair, a beer run, marathon opera, plenty more modern music and, of course, lederhosen.


🎬  The Freep Film Festival kicks off Wednesday night with the world premiere of “Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale” — the in-person screening is now sold out, but you can stream it virtually through Sept. 29. The documentary is narrated by Motown legend Martha Reeves and explores the rich history of the island and its boats, as well as the stories of the preservationists trying to save them from the scrapyard. Other films we’re looking forward to: ‘A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks,” looking at how the iconic Black photographer’s legacy influenced artists after him; “Company Town,” about General Motors union workers’ battle to save the Oshawa plant; and “Hamtramck, USA,” a doc focused on the 2017 Hamtramck election. We talked to the filmmakers of the latter back in 2019, so we’ve been waiting awhile! Find more than a dozen other films in the full Freep Film Festival schedule, with in-person indoor and outdoor screenings, as well as virtual passes. Sept. 22-26, ticket prices vary, info. 


🎥  The Detroit Black Film Festival also opens this week, with screenings Thursday through Saturday at the Marlene Boll Theatre downtown, where you can check out films like “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” from Jeffrey Robinson and Joseph E. Austin II’s “Sundays in July.” Sept. 23-25, $25 day passes/$50 fest passes, info

🗳️ Just in time for the upcoming local election, voting rights activist, author and politician Stacy Abrams is hosting a conversation at the Detroit Opera House on Thursday. She’s sure to have some inspiring words and a call to action. Sept. 23, $29+, info.

🍻 After hearing from Abrams and getting pumped up about democracy, head over to our Keep Detroit Local partner PizzaPlex’s patio for a Detroit Election Happy Hour hosted by We The People – Michigan. Sept. 23, free, info.

💃 D.Cipher, a local music collective, is hosting their Rock the Block Party at Detroit City Distillery Thursday. The event will feature local artists and DJs, including House Shoes, the NLR Experience, Donavan Glover, BC Keez and more. Celebrate the return to live music and local Detroit artists by attending! Sept. 23, suggested donation, info.

🎭  If you couldn’t get enough of “LuLuRich,” the Amazon Prime docuseries about cultish mid-level marketing company LuLaRoe, you’ll want to check out “Glamway,” showing at Planet Ant this week. Written by Ellen Stachowicz, the one-act comedy “tells the story of a lonely 20 something woman, Tiffany, who finds herself wrapped up in a chaotic mess of a multi-level marketing scheme — with the backdrop of glitter, glam and classic ‘70s rock and roll.” Sept. 23-25, $16, info.

This weekend!

🎸 This weekend, local indie rock chick Stef Chura is joined by other local acts Milk Bath and Jeremy Wuan at Outer Limits Lounge. Presented by Party Store Productions, the show is bound to get your feet moving on the dancefloor. Sept. 24, $8, info

🎨 The DIY Street Fair is back for its 13th year this weekend! Check out the artists, makers, crafters, local food trucks and music while you celebrate everything do-it-yourself in funky Ferndale. Sept. 24-26, free, info.

⚡ You may remember DLECTRICITY, the major light-based art and technology festival hosted in Midtown in 2012, 2014 and 2017. It’s back for 2021, and the spectacular outdoor visual light and art celebration takes place in Detroit’s Cultural Center and DTE’s Beacon Park. Attendees will be immersed in a landscape of light through groundbreaking installations of video art, new media, lasers, interactive design and engineering. Sept. 24-25, free, info.

🚲  And if you’re heading to DLECTRICITY on Saturday you may want to check out (or be in!) the Light Bike Parade! Illuminate and decorate your bike on your own for the 3-mile ride, or register to grab a limited light kit on site. Sept. 25, free, info.

🎻 Take in Mozart’s most heavenly moments with “BLISS,” a performance conceived by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson where the cast and orchestra repeat three minutes of “The Marriage of Figaro” for 12 hours without pause. Be warned: attendees who drop into the event downtown may experience an “eternal looped moment of repentance and grace, of free-falling in sublime transcendence.” Sept. 25, $20 suggested, info.

🇩🇪 Get out your lederhosen, because Oktoberfest is back at Eastern Market Brewery for two weekends this year! This Saturday, enjoy live German music, an Oktoberfest beer release, German-inspired food and more! Can’t get enough? Come back next weekend too! Sept. 25-26 and Oct. 2-3, free, info.

🏃 What’s a run without a celebratory beer — or a full growler? Run (or walk) for suds this Sunday in the 8th installment of Atwater Brewery’s Growler Gallop, a 10 mile and 5k race. Sept. 26, $30-$68, info.

Next week

🍲 Coming up on Monday, American Liquor Co. will be at Two Birds in West Village raising money for High Road Restaurants, a national organization committed to racial and gender equality in restaurants. The event will include a DJ set by Mister Drew, all night happy hour and food from Satellite Food Truck! Sept. 27, free, info.

📚As the weather turns, it’s time to get back to books. Don’t miss out on 27th Letter Book’s Ampersand Book Club. This month they’re meeting on Wednesday and chatting about “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward. Sept. 29, free, info.