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  • Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark

    Oh, the irony — initially criticized as Marxist propaganda when Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted them for the Detroit Institute of Arts in the early 1930s, Detroit Industry has now been designated as a a national landmark. The announcement was made Wednesday, according to the Detroit News by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as part of National Park Week. The designation does not change the ownership status of the murals or grant any new protections or rights, leaving its place among the rest of the DIA’s art in possible bankruptcy negotiations in question. The work is considered the best of Rivera’s work in the United States (another mural Rivera had done in New York was destroyed by orders of Nelson Rockefeller). Rivera himself regarded Detroit Industries paintings as his finest work. In the midst of the McCarthy era, the DIA posted this sign outside the court: Rivera’s politics and his publicity seeking are detestable. But let’s get the record straight on what he did here. He came from Mexico to Detroit, thought our mass production industries and our technology wonderful and very exciting, painted them as one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. This came […]

    The post Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

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  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

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Best of Detroit 2013

Public Square - Staff Picks

Our staff picks for Metro Detroit

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Best Place To Turn if Facing Foreclosure or Eviction

Detroit Eviction Defense

Here’s the thing about Detroit Eviction Defense: They get the fact that neither the court nor the banks (especially the banks) can be counted on when it comes to helping people avoid foreclosure or eviction. Some members of this coalition — self-described as a “network of homeowners, union members, faith-based activists, and community advocates” — have been involved in this struggle for years, and they’ve learned that what does work is public pressure and resistance. Protesting in front of banks and blocking Dumpsters from being parked in front of homes and packing courtrooms — that’s what works. And their ranks continue to grow because those helped become part of the movement. But you don’t have to wait until the sheriff is pounding on your door to get involved. Contact them at or call AJ at 313-429-5009.


Best Detroit Statue to Visit

Hazen S. Pingree

Grand Circus Park

The statue itself is just some old-timey-looking guy in a double-breasted frock coat leaning forward on a chair trimmed with fringe. He looks kind of mean, actually. The words on the plaque attached to the statue’s base are the really striking thing about this tribute to the man who served as Detroit’s mayor and then Michigan’s governor at the tail end of the 1800s.  A successful businessman and war hero, what made him the “Idol of the People” that the plaque describes him as was this: “He was the first to warn the people of the great danger threatened by powerful corporations, and the first to awake to the great inequalities in taxation and to initiate steps for reform.” He was a courageous visionary who looked out for the best interests of common folk, and Detroit could so much use someone with his heart and mind today.


Best Investigative Reporter on TV

Ross Jones

WXYZ, Channel 7

The flash might be over at FOX 2, but the real goods are delivered by the investigators at Channel 7, with Jones’ work at the forefront. He’s the guy who broke the severance-pay scandal that led to a (still ongoing) FBI investigation of Wayne County government, and his scoop about the illegal real estate dealings of Diane Hathaway is the reason she’s a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice who recently pleaded guilty to felony bank fraud. All his good work has been earning Jones (who, to top things off, is a certifiably nice guy) bundles of awards. The Detroit Society of Professional Journalists named him the area’s “Young Journalist of the Year” in 2012, and he’s a big part of the reason WXYZ recently brought home an ultra-prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for excellence in broadcast journalism.


Best New Addition to the Detroit Media Scene

Deadline Detroit


This online-only effort features both original reporting and comment along with a daily round-up of all the top stories in the local, state and national media about metro Detroit. With Bill McGraw, who worked for the Detroit Free Press for 32 years, and Allan Lengel, who worked for the Detroit News and the Washington Post, at the helm, the quality is first-rate. The work of the irreverent, sharp-witted Jeff Wattrick is consistently a kick, and the lineup of contributing columnists features, among others, MT alum Sandra Svoboda.


Best Nonprofit Anniversary To Celebrate

Motor City Blight Busters

17405 Lahser Rd., Detroit


Come June, it will be 25 years since John George decided to address the decline of his Old Redford neighborhood on Detroit’s northwest side. He started by going over and boarding up an abandoned home that had been turned into a crack house. That act served as the starting point for what has become Motor City Blight Busters, one of the city’s most lauded — and downright effective — nonprofits. From that one-man crusade, the organization has become an institution that attracts some 10,000 volunteers a year who donate their time to, among other things, tear down or fix up abandoned homes. In this, its silver anniversary, Blight Busters is directing much of its effort into expanding its Farm City Detroit project from a pair of lots to two whole city blocks. They’d like nothing more than for you to come on down and help. Don’t forget to bring along your work gloves, because these folks are definitely focused on making many good things happen.


Best Way to Ensure Patients Have Access to Medical Marijuana

Support House

Bill 4271

In 2008, 63 percent of Michigan voters declared that people suffering from certain ailments should be allowed to use marijuana as medication. The referendum they approved, however, failed to address the issue of dispensaries, and after the law was implemented, scores of these distribution joints began operating under a legal haze. In February of this year, the Michigan Supreme Court, in the case State vs. McQueen, essentially ruled that dispensaries were illegal. In terms of patient welfare, that was a horrendous decision. Instead of having safe and secure access to their medicine, patients were left hanging. Sure, they could grow it themselves (if health and living conditions permitted) or they could try and find a caregiver. But crops fail, and other things can go wrong. Which is why dispensaries are vital. Fortunately, state Rep. Michael Callton (R-Nashville) gets it. His solution is HB 4271, otherwise known as the Provisioning Centers Act.  It seeks to give municipalities the authority to permit and regulate dispensaries. It is an important piece of legislation, and the best thing you can do to help a very large number of truly deserving patients is to urge your legislators to support it.

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