Diners at Southfield’s Beans & Cornbread were pleasantly surprised Friday when Motown recording artist Kem popped into the popular soul food restaurant for carryout. But wait, there’s more. The restaurant was filled to capacity with a 50-minute wait for a table, but Kem took time to pose for photos with guests and sign autographs. As the piece de resistance, the singer picked up everybody’s tab in the restaurant — even those waiting to be seated. KEM is usually giving concerts to benefit the homeless, but hey — he’s spreading it around.

“He’s such a humble guy and we’re humbled that he calls Beans and Cornbread his favorite restaurant,” said owner Patrick Coleman. The generous gesture was to celebrate the release of Kem’s brand new Motown album, “Promise to Love.”

Wendy and Howard present Hertzstock 5

To celebrate his 65th birthday, noted entertainment attorney Howard Hertz and wife Wendy hosted a party, Hertzstock 5, Saturday at their Farmington Hills home. Some 150 friends and clients celebrated the legal eagle’s milestone by partaking in libations from two bars and nibbles from a long buffet table and tasty tacos from a big red truck. It was no surprise, given Hertz’s client list, that the entertainment was over the top, with BillyBrandt and the Sugarees as the house band and many Hertz friends and customers sitting in well into the early morning, including Dennis Coffey, Joan Belgrave,Carolyn Striho with Scott Dailey, Audra Kubat and Mike Galbraith. The birthday boy even took the mic several times throughout the night. “I loved singing with all these fine musicians, but the real highlight for me was being able to sing with my sons, Ryan and Adam,” said Howard. “It’s all about enjoying life and celebrating my birthday with my friends, family, food, drinks and music — great music — in abundance.”

Smiley, Carter to visit with new books

Tavis Smiley has a new book out next week, “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last Year,” written with David Ritz — and he’s coming to town Oct. 10 for two book events co-hosted by the Book Beat in Oak Park. The broadcaster asked specifically to come to Detroit to talk about his book documenting the civil rights icon’s last, tumultuous year — Smiley said he wanted to support the city. He will appear from 3-5:30 p.m. at the Detroit Public Library on Woodward. That evening, Smiley will give a talk at 7 p.m. at a ticketed event at the Southfield Library, 26300 Evergreen. For the price of his new book, folks will receive a signed copy of it and reserved seating at the Southfield event. For details, call (248) 968-1190.

Former president Jimmy Carter is doing a similar event Sept. 22 in Grand Rapids for his book, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power,” sponsored by Schuler Books. He’ll give a 3:45 p.m. book signing at Calkins Science Center, and then a 5 p.m. lecture at the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse. For the price of the book, you’ll get entry to the book signing and reserved seating at the lecture. Call (616) 234-3908.

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