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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 PlanetAnt.com. 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? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2011

Public Square - Readers' Choice

Our local riches, from media to politics to business and more, as judged by our readers

Photo: Photo: Marvin Shaouni, License: N/A

Photo: Marvin Shaouni


Every year we ask: What more could there be to say? What could be new in the 25th anniversary edition of Best of Detroit, that hasn't been said before. But then we print up the readers' ballot and put a version online, and watch as the returns begin. Then we start free associating, opening our eyes to what's around us, letting our ears perk up when someone tells us about a new shop, a new club, a new insight. By the end, this year, we were checking with the production department to see where we might pry loose a little more space. By the end the ideas were flowing. We have to get in the Detroit Party Marching Band, right? And Autotune Karaoke. Got to get that. Tom's Tavern hasn't fallen down yet? Gotta get that. Meanwhile, we're harvesting what 1,000-plus readers have said in our ballots, reminding us of great places, interesting people, important ideas. When we asked for a new slogan for the city, one response was: "A great place to visit, even when you live here." If that makes sense to you, hold on to this as your visitor's guide until we bring you a newer one a year from now.

Contributors: Todd Abrams, Jeff Broder, Curt Guyette. Evan Hansen. W. Kim Heron, Patrick Higgins, Michael Jackman, Jim McFarlin, Megan O'Neil, Marvin Shaouni, Dennis Shea, Jane Slaughter, Brian Smith, Sandra Svoboda, Travis R. Wright

Plus: Detroit Derby Girls & 1,000-plus Metro Times readers

Photos of the Detroit Derby Girls by Marvin Shaouni

with thanks to Eastern Market, Showtime Clothing, Iridescence, Roast, and the Detroit Princess

 

PUBLIC SQUARE - READERS' CHOICE

 

Best Local Music Festival

The Hamtramck Blowout
metrotimes.com/blowout

This coveted award has seesawed in recent years from Movement to Blowout. Both create a weekend festival community at once hip and inviting. After this year's Blowout, your head was spinning from the Hard Lessons' passionate farewell (for now) show, the sonic sprawl of JSB Squad, the Yardbirds-at-Chess vibe of Jeecy and the Jungle, Prussia's odd pop propulsions, the frenetic antics of Carjack, the digable debut of electro-pop duo Phantasmagoria, hip-hop conglomerate Cold Men Young and more.

 

Best Place to See a Mainstream Film

Uptown Palladium 12
250 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-723-6240; palladium12.com

When there's a blockbuster release, metro Detroiters flock here for the contour-hugging seats and other amenities (Starbucks, Little Caesars, etc.) that make worshipping at the big screen a big event. Here you behold a cinema that delivers the shock and awe that the latest generation of high-tech movies require. This is a temple to the cinema of today as much as, say, the Fox Theatre, 17 miles south on Woodward Avenue, was in its cinematic heyday.

 

Best Place to See an Indie Film

Main Art Theatre
118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111; landmarktheaters.com

As downtown Royal Oak has revolved around it these past 14 years, this remains a cinematic oasis, not a relic frozen in the past, but a place with a sense of memory — and cinematic mission. It all fits the kind of big screen flicks that are the stock-in-trade on their three screens here — the slightly off-kilter, where the explosions are emotional more often than literal. (And there's even some free parking.)

 

Best Local Film Festival

Ann Arbor Film Festival
aafilmfest.org

As our award-winning film writer Jeff Meyers wrote of the 2011 festival: "Ultimately, AAFF is both an experience and a scene; '40 programs over six days with 188 films, videos and live performances.' Whether it's the after-hours parties or crazed installations or interactive displays, the festival does a damn good job of transforming a corner of downtown Ann Arbor into a celebration of independent cinematic expression. Good or bad, at the very least, it'll be a hell of a lot more interesting than most of the stuff you'll find at the multiplex." And chances are it will be grander-than-usual next year, which will mark the 50th festival for this vital-as-ever institution.

 

Best Place to See Local Theater

Who Wants Cake? Company's Ringwald Theatre
22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-545-5545; whowantscaketheatre.com

Fans flock here to to take in the absurd, surreal and sarcastic productions. Most recently, Mercury Fur, starring Jon and Nico Ager, was talk of the town. The company is again taking submissions for their groundbreaking Gay Play Series, which last year featured work by playwrights from across the nation, a reading of Valley of the Dolls and the first Motown MisCast Cabaret. To be or not to be ... there for their next production?

 

Best Bowling Alley

Garden Bowl
4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; majesticdetroit.com/garden-bowl

Sure, it's got history as part of the entertainment complex built just before World War I. While it's got that historic vibe, it's totally up-to-date with 16 recent vintage lanes — compared to the original 10. And where else does sonorous rawk from nearby music mingle with the roll of balls and the clatter of the pins?

 

Best Bingo Night Venue

Drag Queen Bingo at Five15 Media Mojo & More
515 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-515-2551; five15.net

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