We’ve Saved Your Spot on Woodward Avenue

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Newsroom

The sights and sounds of August are as familiar as the heat that accompanies them: cicadas and folding chairs, revving engines and traffic jams … ah, it’s summer’s singular event — the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Where else but Detroit, in the city that drives the world, can a supposed one-day event showcasing our automotive past be stretched into nearly a week of trying to avoid traveling anywhere on or near Woodward Avenue?

We kid the Dream Cruise, of course, as it is one of summertime’s most popular activities. But, we are so much more than cars, Detroit. There are some very cool things happening during this very hot month.

Get down to the Boston-Edison district and see the grand homes of the auto magnates. Live your star-studded dreams vicariously through the current crop of American Idols.

Impress her with a romantic tour of the zoo at twilight — because nothing guarantees getting some action like the smell of monkeys.

YOUNG AMERICANS

With a new crew of judges, including J. Lo and Steven Tyler, American Idol is still going strong — remaining the No. 1-rated show in America — and it’s bringing fans a dose of Season 10 talent, with its diverse Top 11 performing in American Idol Live! Tour 2011.

Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, James Durbin and more season favorites hit Joe Louis Arena at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7. Get ready. $45-$65. (800) 745-3000; olympiaentertainment.com; ticketmaster.com.

LIVING LARGE, IF ONLY FOR A NIGHT

Home to Detroit’s prominent industrialists, politicians and auto tycoons during the city’s early boom years, the Boston-Edison neighborhood represented the height of urban residential design when most of its 900 homes were constructed in the first three decades of the 20th century.

Today, the 36-block area maintains its “value, character and appearance,” thanks to the work of the Historic Boston-Edison Association, which recently launched an innovative approach to showing off the neighborhood.

Held right inside the stately homes of Boston-Edison, The Sounds of Music house concert series gives you an opportunity to take in jazz, big band and classical music in a historic, intimate — and supremely stylish — atmosphere.

The second of this year’s three performances, taking place Saturday, Aug. 6, features Leo Rea and his Rea Deal Big Band, plus summer picnic fare. 7:30 p.m.; $30/advance sale only. (313) 883-4360; historicbostonedison.org.

DATE NIGHT AT THE ZOO

Sip a cocktail accompanied by live music while strolling amidst apes, wallabies, dinosaurs (animatronics, of course) and more — at Summer Zoomance. The 21-and-older set are invited to an after-hours, no-kids visit to the Detroit Zoo from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25. Guests can also ride the DinoSimulator at the Wild Adventure Ride and the Wild Adventure 3-D/4-D Theater (for an additional fee). $8; $5/parking (free for Zoo members). (248) 541-5717; detroitzoo.org.

FOODIE FUNDRAISER

Sample signature dishes from more than 35 local restaurants, bid on prizes in a silent auction and gaze at a spectacular fireworks show at Shir Shalom’s annual Food, Fun & Fireworks fundraiser. No babysitter necessary; bring the kids for bouncy houses, cotton candy, remote-control race cars and a Good Humor truck. 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, at the West Bloomfield temple. $20/adults in advance; $25/adults at the door; $10/children 5-12/, $15/at the door. (248) 737-8700; shirshalom.org.

DRIVE TIME

Over one million people; more than 40,000 cars. Two options: Embrace your inner gear-head or get out of town. On Saturday, Aug. 20, just like every third Saturday in August for the past 17 years, the Woodward Dream Cruise takes over Woodward Avenue (technically from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but anyone who lives near the affected area knows it’s more of a weeklong event).

Collectors, restorers and other proud owners show off their antique or souped-up wheels to the delight of local residents, out-of-town visitors and the restaurants and stores lining the avenue from Ferndale to Bloomfield Township.

Find a spot to park and watch the show, or ease into traffic and cruise (FYI: those not driving a classic car are asked to stay out of the right lanes.). It’s probably the only time you’ll enjoy bumper-to-bumper traffic. And it’s free — minus the cost of gas and a Hot Fudge Cream Puff at Duggan’s. Woodwarddreamcruise.com.

MAKE ’EM LAUGH

Detroit-bred comic (and brother of this columnist) Ben Konstantin plus a fleet of other top locals, including Martez Lareece and MC Nate Fridson, help out headliner Ted Alexandro — who was featured in Time magazine’s article “Comedy in the Age of Obama” and has performed on Letterman, Conan and two half-hour Comedy Central specials — at the seventh annual Laugh-A-Palooza at Meadow Brook Music Festival. 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26. $19.50/reserved pavilion; $10/general admission pavilion. (800) 745-3000; palacenet.com; ticketmaster.com.

BLAST FOR A BENEFIT

Saks Fifth Avenue takes on cancer in two countries. Benefiting both the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Canada’s Transition to Betterness, the Saks Blast will roll out the red carpet for live entertainment, strolling cocktails and hors d’hoeuvres, and a full-production runway fashion show atop the rooftop parking deck at Saks at the Somerset Collection in Troy.

The finale will feature the fall collection from Rag & Bone, whose designers, Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, top the event’s guest list. 6-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26. $175. For details or tickets, call Karmanos Cancer Institute at (313) 576-8106, or visit karmanos.org/saksblast.

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