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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 […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 2011


Photo: Marvin Shaouni

Nutritional Value - Staff Picks

From style to fare to special dishes, our staff picks what's best


Best Ribs

Vicki's Bar-B-Q
3845 W. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-894-9906

Vicki's is a small storefront shrimp and ribs joint. The sides are perfunctory, but the ribs are spectacular. They serve their slabs hot or mild, cleaving each rib, leaving a fringe of meat to hold it all together. Then they dunk them in their special sauce — hot slabs get a dusting of spices on the top and bottom, as well as one more generous pour of hot sauce for good measure. The sauce and ribs create a nearly perfect package. The meat is perfectly cooked, not too fatty, not too crispy; the sauce imparts a sweetness, but doesn't overwhelm the meat's smoky flavors. They're a bit pricey, costing $19.62 a slab, but with quality like this, who'd argue over pennies?


Best New Barbecue Restaurant

Lockhart's BBQ
202 E. Third St., Royal Oak; 248-584-4227;

Giving a nod to Lockhart, Texas, considered by some to be the barbecue capital of the Lone Star State, this Royal Oak joint is drawing crowds for top-notch 'cue. Start with a plate of the burnt ends, double-rubbed and double-smoked chunks of brisket, then move on to the usual suspects: ribs, chicken, pulled pork and house-made sausage, hot or mild. Go for the hot. The full bar has a selection of cold beer, perfect with barbecue. A side of collards, unlike the usual smothered style, is crisp and tender. A slice of chocolate Dr. Pepper cake is a fitting finish.


Best Raw Food

Red Pepper Deli
116 W. Main St., Northville; 248-773-7672;

She has more competitors than in the past, but Carolyn Simon is still serving the best raw-vegan-organic around; she can convince even omnivorous skeptics that it's possible for a restaurant to eschew cooking. So for a Greenwich sandwich, she'll food-process seeds into "cheese," add spinach, cucumber, avocado and sprouts, and put it on thin crunchy "bread" also made of seeds. It's funny that she keeps the titles — pizza, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs — for dishes that don't resemble their namesakes — they're delicious in ways that are surprising and inventive. They have to be.


Best Street Food Destination

Eastern Market

Detroit is hardly the best city to find street food, but you wouldn't know it walking around Eastern Market on a Saturday. Follow the enticing aroma of Bert's outdoor grills as they send wafts of mouthwatering smoke into the market. Inside the market you can find baked goods, soups, sandwiches, and other hot eats from Russell Street Deli, People's Pierogi Collective, Good Girls go to Paris Crêpes and J & M Farms. You can also explore the shops around the market for quick eats. Eastern Market is a living, evolving thing. Even regular patrons are surprised on a weekly basis.


Best Hot Dog Stand

Gourmet Hot Dogs
2 E. John R, Detroit; 313-646-8055

This downtown hot dog stand is self-dubbed as the "Home of the Cleveland-Style Polish Boy" — that's a pre-grilled Polish sausage that's dunked into a deep-fryer for crisping, then topped with a heaping layer of cole slaw and fries, and finished with a barbecue-based sauce ($4). They also serve Italian sausage with grilled green peppers and onions, the "Detroit Dog of Champions" with cole slaw, cheese and chili, a turkey Polish dog, a "Hot and Spicy Dog," a slaw dog, a New York dog, a veggie dog, and an "All-American Hot Dog" with onions, relish, mustard and ketchup. One of their biggest sellers is the "Big Lew," an all-beef, quarter-pound hot dog with add-ons to order. All dogs come in an easy-to carry plastic case, wrapped inside tin foil. Be sure to ask for extra napkins. You'll need them.


Best Throwback Diner

24060 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge; 248-548-5288;

Mae's is clean and decent and suggestive of a fairy-tale land where young love is measured in baseball euphemisms and cigarettes aren't yet bad for your health. Natural light washes across the white counter and the vibrant aqua vinyl stools and chairs. Vintage wooden soda crates and a milkshake mixer lie among the shelves of kitchen tools and foodstuffs. Though the menu is more eclectic than what you might have eaten in a real 1950s diner, the vibe is all old-fashioned neighborhood wholesomeness with plenty of good food.


Best New Lebanese Restaurant

Le Chef Restaurant
32621 Northwestern Hwy., Farmington Hills; 248-932-1300;

Hidden from view in a small strip center lies a culinary oasis. The contemporary decor, the white tablecloths, and the welcoming staff all give you a sense of the food that follows. The flavors exhibit a refinement, subtly seasoned, with emphasis on the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Begin with the ubiquitous mixed appetizer. The tabbouleh is pristinely fresh and crisp; the hummus creamy and the baba ghanoush smoky, both with just the right proportions of lemon, garlic and tahini. There's also lamb shank stewed with okra, eggplant stuffed with meat and rice, and a variety of seafood dishes in addition to the shawarmas and kebabs, as well as numerous vegetarian dishes.


Best New Indian Restaurant in the Suburbs

Mazza Indian Cuisine
3354 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-543-6299;

There's no dearth of Indian food in these parts anymore. Located in the former digs of Passage to India, Mazza Indian Cuisine is a recent addition to the pack. The front is now glass, eliminating the cave-like atmosphere. The food, too, has been transformed. The meat and poultry dishes are assertively seasoned, although some are not spicy enough unless you request them so. The chicken tikka masala is first cooked in a tandoor, adding an extra layer of flavor to the sauce that it is finished in. Several of the vegetarian entrées are available as sides. Do not pass on the mulligatawny soup.

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