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Queer Things to Do: Solve a Murder, Join a Banned Books Club, Create Cathartic Art

Sarah Bricker Hunt

The stresses of life can take a toll on well-being and happiness, but self-care in the form of entertainment, creation and juicy conversation with interesting people can make all the difference. Shake up your routine by solving a murder mystery over an Italian meal, grab tickets for the Elton John Broadway production, “Rocket Man,” work through trauma while creating art or dive into literary pursuits like a banned book club or a virtual discussion with an up-and-coming local author who is making a big splash.

1. Solve a Murder Mystery Over DinnerA 1950s prom has gone drastically wrong (as in, there’s a dead body on the dance floor), and it’s up to you to solve the murder — in between dinner courses at Andiamo in Warren. The three-course Italian meal includes short rib braised in a Barolo sauce and a rolled chicken dish featuring sundried tomato and spinach. You’ll also enjoy a glass of wine and raspberry cheesecake for dessert. The restaurant encourages guests to wear their best “sock hop” formal wear, including puffy-sleeved prom gowns and black and white suits.Thursday, March 30, 6:30 p.m., Andiamo Warren, 7096 E. 14 Mile Road, Warren. Ticket link at andiamoitalia.com/locations/warren.2. Create Cathartic ArtAffirmations

invites trauma survivors to participate in a unique art project. Constructive Destruction is a series of workshops and an art gallery installation featuring the work of self-identified survivors. The project explores the concept of directing the negative emotions associated with trauma at a canvas, says organizer Sara Pezzella. “I'm excited to gather with other survivors to express ourselves and share art with the world. This project isn't just for trained artists, and I hope that this is an opportunity for people to access art in a new way,” she adds. The exhibit will be anonymous and workshop participants are not required to share details about their trauma.



April 1, 15, 22 and 29, 12-3 p.m. at Affirmations, 290 West 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale. Pre-register at bit.ly/trauma_art.3. Marvel at the Talents of Elton John’s Body Double 

If you missed Elton John’s farewell tour last year (or if you just can’t get enough of the bespeckled international treasure), be sure to grab tickets for “The Rocket Man Show,” set to play the Fisher Theatre in Detroit on April 13. The Broadway in Detroit show features Scottish actor Rus Anderson, who actually worked as John’s body double, playing a 1973 version of the superstar. The show recreates a ‘70s concert, down to John’s actual costumes (including his iconic glasses and boots from that era) and live musical performances.

April 13, 7:30 p.m., Fisher Theatre, 3011 West Grand Blvd., Detroit. Ticket link at rocketmanshow.com/dates.4. Join a Banned Book Club

Certain politicians seem to have a kink for cosplaying 1940s-era pearl clutchers, pushing for bans on “subversive” and “confusing” content in school libraries, classrooms and, in some locations, even pressuring public libraries to pull books off the shelf that are just too much for the general public. All too often, queer books are in their crosshairs. “Stand with Trans decided to launch this book club in an effort to not only come together, expand community, and connect– but also to fight back against the banning of accessible information from and to Trans folks. Too many of these books being banned hold life saving information to young Trans people that there are others out there in the world who understand our experiences and that we're not alone,” says Stand with Trans Program Manager Danica. The Discord discussions will focus on a different book each month — to start things off, the group will chat about the frequently-banned book, “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe.

March 31, 7-8 p.m. and then the last Friday of every month on Discord. Sign up link at standwithtrans.org/event/banned-books-book-club.5. Meet the Author of a Haunting Queer Horror Novel

Queer author Gerardo Sámano Córdova is having a moment. The University of Michigan grad’s debut horror novel, “Monstrilio,” out now, is the talk of the literary community lately, with reviewers doling out descriptors like “haunting and often bleakly humorous.” The story features a Frankenstein-esque vibe related to a grieving mother and her recently deceased 11-year-old son. One reviewer wrote that the book “combines queer themes touching on identity, kink, and consent with Latin American mysticism for an unusually visceral coming-of-age tale.” Read the book now (available at an independent bookstore near you) and then meet the author when Ann Arbor bookstore Literati hosts Sámano Córdova April 3 for a virtual discussion.

April 3, 7 p.m., online. Visit bit.ly/40uDfqI for more information. Pre-registration is not required.



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