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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

20110427_best-main_01.jpg

Photo: Marvin Shaouni

Public Square - Staff Picks

Super people, places and things, picked by our team of critics

Best Detroit Headline to Recycle

"The Incredible Shrinking City"
Monthly Detroit, July 1979

Some 32 years ago, writer Kirk Cheyfitz laid out the then-vexing problems of a city whose revenues and political clout mirrored a population decline "from a high of 1.85 million to less than 1.3 million today." The article reminded readers that the city, in its time of largesse, had built the burbs, from supplying water and sewer lines, to for a time busing in and educating "at Detroit's expense" students from Harper Woods, East Detroit and parts of Grosse Pointe. Already in 1979, the concept was emerging of two Detroits, "a small private city and the larger public city," the former then epitomized by the Renaissance Center and the then-new New Center. Mayor Coleman Young may be remembered by some as divisiveness embodied, but his final words from the piece still resonate: "I think there is recognition in the area that the area cannot survive and prosper if Detroit does not survive and prosper. But we in Detroit must recognize that the surrounding suburbs have a key role to play and we must between us define those roles so we strengthen each other and don't tear each other apart."

 

Best Introduction to the City

Detroit Orientation Institute
3075 Faculty/Administration Bldg., 656 W. Kirby Detroit; 313-577-0171; doi.wayne.edu

There's no way to "get" Detroit in a day or two. But there is one intensive program to get any newcomer started and prod all but the most knowledgeable long-timer. Directed by Detroitist Ann Cuddohy Slawnik in conjunction with Wayne State University and Inside Detroit, the three-day Detroit Orientation Institute unpacks our epochs, delving into the history of the city, tracking how we got to where we are, while ferrying participants around town to talk to some of the most involved and informed folks around.

 

Best meme to kill

There are no supermarkets in Detroit

It's true that there are no major chain grocery stores in Detroit, but in the national media that fact has sometimes been simplified to no grocery stores in Detroit. Oops. And even the accurate "no major chain supermarkets" exaggerates the importance of major chains in a city with Eastern Market and independent grocers like Honey Bee La Colmena, not to mention affiliates of Spartan distributors and of the Aldi stores (a chain operated by the owners of Trader Joe's), etc. Detroit author James Griffioen laid it all out in detail at the Urbanophile website (urbanophile.com or tinyurl.com/4nb5o94 to go directly to Griffioen's piece). That's not to say that access to healthy food isn't a problem for many in this city without real mass transit. But let's keep things in perspective.

 

Best Detroit Rock Radio Recycling

Jim Johnson
WOMC-FM (104.3)

He may have gone all Karl Rove on us as a "conservative political commentator," but J.J. has owned the best radio pipes in the city since he captained "The Morning Crew" on the old WWWW in the '70s. When he and Lynne Woodison were dumped by WCSX in 2008, it looked like he might go off to form his own Tea Party, but you can't keep a good voice down. While Johnson seemed like an obvious frontrunner to replace Dick Purtan last year when the morning legend laid down his headphones at oldies-rock WOMC-FM (along with fellow Detroit airwave faves Chris Edmonds and Kevin O'Neill), WOMC did the next best thing, installing him as its 10 a.m.-3 p.m. weekday host. Rock on, J.J.

 

Best Time to Appreciate a Detroit Radio Institution

Now

"The Great Voice of the Great Lakes" has passed through more hands than Lindsay Lohan in recent years, but the latest WJR-AM (760) ownership change may be the most menacing. In February, WJR, as well as Detroit FM stations WDVD (96.3) and WDRQ (93.1), were sold by Citadel Broadcasting as part of a multibillion-dollar merger with Cumulus Media. Atlanta-based Cumulus, which built its fortune with broadcast properties in medium-sized Southern and Midwest markets, has a reputation for not valuing on-air talent, and the feeble economy could be an excuse for downsizing and cost-cutting. WJR morning monarch Paul W. Smith has discussed the sale and transition openly on his show. If he and the station's other high-priced personages are concerned, we may have reason to be.

 

Best Detroit TV Hair

Lauren Podell, WDIV

Who are we to argue with the opinion of experts? Earlier this year, David Humphries (aka "Hump the Grinder"), impresario of Detroit's "Hair Wars" stylist competitions, conducted an online poll to determine who possessed the most luscious locks among our city's TV heads. After the voting, mostly from hair care professionals, Podell, Local 4's blond traffic reporter, was judged a cut above the rest — by a mere .5 percent over her WDIV airmate, Rhonda Walker. At least for this year, blondes had more fun.

 

Best Blog for Bicyclists

M-bike.org

The stated goal, says author Todd Scott, is to promote safe and convenient bicycling in metro Detroit. Whether it's announcements of community forums, analyses of master plans and their inclusion (or exclusion) of cycling, collections of media reports about cycling events and policies or just plain funny cycling tidbits, find it here.

 

Best Way to See the Great Lakes

On a freighter

And not necessarily as a stowaway. The freighters are normally only certified to carry customers and family members. But it turns out that various nonprofits raffle off tickets for cruise slots donated by the shipping companies. You can still get in on a raffle closing May 1 for a seven-day, six-night trip for two on one of the Great Lakes Fleet Inc. ships out of Duluth; $10 a ticket, three for $25. Check for details on that and other raffles at boatnerd.com, a source for followers of the big ships on the Great Lakes.

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