THURSDAY, FEB. 6 >> ‘Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey’ Speakers Series

Rochelle Riley is a busy woman. She’s a Detroit Free Press columnist, a blogger, an author and advocate of improving race relations and the lives of children. She chats with Lansing audiences as a part of the “Slavery to Freedom” series, which explores the modern African American experience. Speakers to follow are pastor Frederick D. PART II Haynes III and journalist John Seigenthaler. 5 p.m. FREE. Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Big Ten A, 219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing. (517) 432-4000,

THURSDAY, FEB. 7 – SATURDAY, FEB. 9 >> Cooking Classes

What came first, the chicken or the steak? Better question: What’s the best way to prepare each one? Le Chat Gourmet holds three cooking classes this weekend that might help you answer. Thursday’s class mixes bourbon and birds with instruction on how to prepare a whiskey chicken topped with Jim Beam barbeque sauce. The main course will be served with soup, sides and a drunken dessert of peanut butter crème brulé with a bourbon brown sugar crust. Friday’s class brings out the Italian with a chargrilled steak, creamy gorgonzola orzo pasta, salad and chocolate-Kahlua crème brulé. Saturday’s class is for those with a major sweet tooth. Fix crepes, cakes and truffles with plenty of chocolate. 6 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 10 a.m. Saturday. $75-$95. Le Chat Gourmet, 11874 Bunker Highway, Eaton Rapids. (517) 663-7322,


Feb. 8 >> ‘Whatever Happened to Idlewild,’ viewing of film and discussion with Coy Davis.

1-3 p.m. FREE. South Lansing Public Library, 3500 S. Cedar St., #108, Lansing. (517) 272-9840.

Feb. 10 >> ‘Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,’ documentary on Angela Davis.

7 p.m. FREE. East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road, East Lansing. (517) 351-2420.

Feb. 11-12 >> LCC Black History Month Film Festival

Featuring: “Civil Rights and Black Power: The Two Nations of Black America”; “Civil Rights and other Minorities: A Struggle for Educational Equality”; “Citizen King”; and “Obama and Civil Rights: Change has Come to America.” Three locations — Tuesday, Feb. 11: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. LCC Library, Room 224, 400 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing; 4-8 p.m. LCC Arts and Sciences Building, Room 112, 419 N. Washington Square, Lansing. Wednesday, Feb. 12: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. FREE. LCC, Health and Human Services Building, Room 007, 515 N. Washington Square, Lansing. FREE.

SUNDAY, FEB. 9 >> ‘Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly’ at Wharton Center

The leading characters are a worrying worm, a smart and sassy spider, a martial arts ant, a gorgeous butterfly and a fun and fearless fly. Watch the individual journeys these critters go through as they grow and see what makes them special. Gain some insect intelligence about the spider that lurks in the corner of the kitchen or the fly that repeatedly bumps into the window. 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. $17.50. Wharton Center Cobb Great Hall, 750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing. (517) 353-1982,

SUNDAY, FEB. 9 >> Darwin Discovery Day

The MSU Fisheries & Wildlife Club give the lowdown on the conservation of endangered species with a live exhibit featuring snakes, turtles and other reptiles See what Detroit Metro Airport travelers have tried to sneak past airport security with a display of confiscated items that affect endangered species. The Darwin KidZone will have stories and hands-on activities to keep the tikes entertained. Cradle live critters from the MSU Bug House and unusual specimens from MSU Museum’s natural science collections. Feel free to bring in rocks, fossils or other earthy enigmas and an expert will describe the mystery behind it. FREE. 1-5 p.m. Michigan State University Museum, 409 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing. (517) 355-7474,

TUESDAY, FEB. 11 >> Lansing Symphony Orchestra presents the Blakemore Trio

The Blakemore Trio formed on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Okemos native Felix Wang began his cellist talents in the Lansing area before heading south to join the trio. Joining him on this visit are pianist Amy Dorfman and violinist Carolyn Huebl. 7:30- 9:30 p.m. $20 /$10 students. Plymouth Congregational Church, 2001 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing. (517) 487-5001,

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12 >> Omer Avital

Any chance to hear the energetic, visionary jazz performer Omer Avital is not to be missed, even if it means a drive to Chicago. Lucky for us, he’s coming to the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre to delve into music from “Suite of the East,” one of NPR’s top 10 jazz albums of 2010. The Israeli-born Avital and his explosive band bend and blend deep-energy jazz with Israeli and Arabic music. Avital plays stand-up bass and oud, a Middle Eastern lute. He’s part of a new generation of international musicians who brings the dust, jewels and joy of far-away places to the forms invented by Armstrong and Coltrane, but I forget — there is no such thing as a faraway place anymore. This is the future of jazz, or at least one of them. 7 p.m. $5-15. Wharton Center Pasant Theatre, 750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing. (517) 432-2000.