High culture is classically defined as the culture of the elite: the aristocracy or intelligentsia; it includes the literary classics, painting (especially the old masters), architecture, sculpture and traditional forms of the performing arts.

Becoming highly cultured is an achieved status, and cannot be purchased.  You need time and dedication to master the Western canon, but fortunately for Detroit residents, you don’t necessarily need a lot of money.

Fathom Events

(credit: Metropolitan Opera)

We are told in Francis Bacon’s Essays of 1625: “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” Things have gotten much easier – Fathom Events places digital cameras at the most spectacular cultural events and transmits them, via satellite, live to HD cinema screens in the Detroit area. HD technology means you see dazzling colors that no 35 mm film projection can produce.  For example, a seat in orchestra to see Verdi’s La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera in New York costs more than $300. You can watch the opera live in Detroit on April 14 for $22 on a massive HD screen (find theaters here), with a view that might be even better. La Traviata runs almost three hours, which is a taxing amount of time to sit poised in a tuxedo. At the cinema presentation, you can come in lounge pants and t-shirt if you wish. Fathom Events relay art exhibitions, opera, ballets, and world-class symphony concerts regularly to Detroit.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Detroit Symphony Orchestra. (credit: http://www.dso.org)

Orchestra Hall
3711 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 576-5111

Live from Orchestra Hall, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra webcasts its finest concerts to the public, free of charge. The symphony also performs live in beautiful outdoor locations during the summer months, such as at Lake St. Clair Metropark, free of charge.  Orchestra Hall offers seats for the Symphony at reduced rates for students, Detroit residents and selected suburbanites.

Related: The Detroit Symphony

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair

(credit: Thinkstock)

Ballroom of the Michigan Union
530 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI
(734) 763-5786

Price: $5
Hours: Sun May 20 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All of the literary classics can be downloaded free at www.gutenberg.org, but sometimes people like the presence, smell and texture of a traditionally bound paper book in their hands.  One day each year, the Ballroom of the Michigan Union transforms into a fairy-tale village laden in books, ranging in price from a couple of dollars to several thousand dollars. Bibliophiles seek first-edition prints by esteemed authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde [Oxford comma intended], and the Brontë sisters.

Detroit Institute of Arts

(credit: dia.org)

5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 833-7900

Hours: Monday and Tuesday: Closed Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays: 10 a.m.-5p.m.
Prices: $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and $4 for youth ages 6-17. DIA members are admitted free.

The Detroit Institute of Arts trains Interpretive Programs Volunteers (IPV), also referred to as docents. Docents are able to spend days at leisure when off-duty, enjoying the multi-billion dollar museum in all its glory. Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert described the DIA’s film theatre series as “brilliant” – student rates are offered, and volunteers are welcomed.

The Cultural Beacon

(credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The Cultural Beacon is the arbiter of high culture in Southeast Michigan, guiding aspiring cultural scholars to the premium events and cultural soirees that toast the arts. To manage your discretionary funds wisely, save your money for the very best events instead of attending those which fail to provide the best return for your time and expense. The Cultural Beacon’s suggested events draw on recommendations from European nobility who now reside in Michigan, Royal Consulates, and members of high IQ associations. If time = money, then this guide can save you a mint.

Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law. He has seasonal residency in Detroit Michigan, The Italian Riviera, and Honolulu Hawaii. His work can be found at Examiner.com.