What to do in Detroit this week: Fire and Ice medi...

What to do in Detroit this week: Fire and Ice medieval extravaganza, euchre, s’mores, MLK Day art and history

Get toasty by the fire, watch a classic film or play your trumps -- it's a classic Detroit winter lineup in our event picks for the week of Jan. 12.

The Fire and Ice medieval festival takes over Valade Park this weekend. Credit: Detroit Riverfront Conservancy via Instagram

We’re halfway through Dry January and still not tired of the mocktail and N/A options this town has to offer! Our friend Megan Klein, owner of Little Saints Co., had great success in 2021 creating plant magic elixirs of four varieties. Another tried-an-true favorite is Casamara Club, which just launched two new flavors of their line of leisure sodas. If you’re itching to sit at a bar, enjoy an extensive N/A menu at local spots like Bumbo’s and Grey Ghost.

With omicron taking new turns daily, it’s hard to manage events, restaurant closings and canceled shows these days, but you know a Detroit party don’t stop, and there is still plenty for you to safely do around town this week. If you’re a competitive euchre player, show off your skills at Eastern Market Brewery this week. The fires are blazing at The Congregation and Valade Park’s Fire and Ice festival, basically a free winter Ren Fest. For art enthusiasts, there are a number of exhibitions open to browse. Of course, this coming Monday we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy at a variety of memorial and service events.

The silver lining to all this is that masking up in the winter gives you an extra layer of warmth! Enjoy, stay safe and we’ll see you next week!

Wednesday and Thursday

Kwame Brathwaite, Sikolo Brathwaite wearing a headpiece designed by Carolee Prince, African Jazz-Art Society & Studios (AJASS), Harlem, ca. 1968; from “Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful” (Aperture, 2019)

💻 This Wednesday evening, enjoy a livestream program in conjunction with the Detroit Institute of Arts exhibition “Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite.” Moderated by Yvette Rock, founder of Live Coal Gallery in Detroit, the conversation will feature Kwame Brathwaite Jr., director of the Kwame Brathwaite Archive, and Dr. Kenneth Montague, founder and director of Wedge Curatorial Projects. Follow along on the DIA’s social media channels and go behind the scenes of this powerful exhibition. Jan. 12, free, info.

♠ As a former euchre night host, I can attest to the intensity of real euchre heads. But you don’t have to be a fanatic to join in the fun this Thursday for a good old fashioned Euchre Tournament at Eastern Market Brewing Co. Grab a beer, put a 5 on it and play your way to prizes! Jan. 13, $5, info.

🥇 Give some props to local writers and support youth writing programs at the same time during the inaugural Detroit Writing Room Awards ceremony Thursday night. Meet the honored poets, screenwriters, novelists and more and take part in some live literary trivia (with prizes!) All proceeds go to DWR youth nonprofit Coaching Detroit Forward. Jan. 13, $20, info

This weekend

🍗  Get medieval this weekend at Valade Park for the Fire and Ice extravaganza, with oversized fires, turkey legs and a 6-foot-tall iron throne for royal pics. Find Renaissance Fest faves, including roaming characters, a LARP meetup, blacksmith and glassblowing demos, mixed with some winter fun like an ice-carving competition, live music and a techno dance party on Saturday night. Jan. 14-16, free, info.

🍸 Join the Detroit Young Professionals for a social hour at the “secret” bar, Cash Only, located underneath Prime + Proper. You can expect an intimate gathering with complimentary appetizers from Prime + Proper and exclusive access to a cash bar. If you’ve been awaiting your chance to see below the deck, here it is! Jan. 14, $20+, info.

🔥 We’ve been getting some chilly weather lately, but you don’t have to stay inside – warm up every Friday evening with Firedays at The Congregation. Enjoy adult beverages and complimentary s’mores around the campfires. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Jan. 14 and every Friday, free, info.

👩🏼‍🎨  “Continuing Narratives” is a solo exhibition of new work by Detroit-based multidisciplinary artist Melissa Jones. Jones’ work transfixes us in dream-like delight, youthful melancholy and philosophical vignettes. “Continuing Narratives” opens this Friday at Galerie Camille. Jan.14- Feb. 5, free, info.

🎥 Cinema Detroit is paying tribute to the late great Sidney Poitier with two shows of “In the Heat of the Night” (1967) as it was meant to be seen. Visit the independent cinema in Midtown this weekend for a viewing of this revolutionary film. Jan. 14-15, $10, info.

🍳 Every Sunday, Two Birds in West Village opens early to do brunch with local pop up Egg Hunt. Start your Sunday Funday with a weekly rotating selection of breakfast and brunch options along with a damn fine cup of coffee. When you’re ready to switch to booze, Two Birds will have their full craft cocktail menu in addition to mimosa and bloody mary specials. Jan. 16, free, info.

🎳 Fleatroit Junk City is back for a monthly market at The Majestic Complex this Sunday. Discover vintage clothing and housewares, bins of vinyl, tables full of houseplants and hand-crafted goods, scads of jewelry, knickknacks and heaps of unique treasures! There will be DJs all day, a bloody mary bar, and two Detroit bands playing over the lanes. Rock, shop, and bowl till you drop! Jan. 16, free, info.


✊🏿 Minister, activist, and humanitarian Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated the use of nonviolent civil disobedience to achieve social change in America. Every year on the anniversary of King’s birthday, The Charles H. Wright Museum celebrates his works and strives to continue his legacy. Visit the museum this Monday to hear keynote speaker Andrew Young, explore the exhibits and learn from the impactful history. Jan. 17, $12+, info.

🚌 You can also celebrate the legacy of Dr. King at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn on Monday. View the Rosa Parks Bus and listen to the story of her brave act. Make your statement in the interactive program “Minds on Freedom,” highlighting the contributions of civil rights champions like the Freedom Riders. Then explore the proud and often-challenging evolution of American freedom in the exhibit “With Liberty and Justice for All.” Jan. 17, free, info.

🖼️ Also on MLK Day, dive into a work that explores race in the present during a conversation with Detroit artist Jonathan Harris. Harris’ “Critical Race Theory” painting went viral last month – but it’s worth going beyond the headlines in this chat with Harris, Omo Misha and Cornelius Godfrey presented by Irwin House Gallery, Chene Parc and the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship. Attend in person at the First National Building downtown or watch the livestream. Jan. 17, free, info

Find even more MLK Day events all over Metro Detroit.

🎷Enjoy a lowkey Monday night with live jazz music at Marble Bar. Admission is free and the vibes will be high. Jan. 17, free, info.