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    Detroit home-girl Lily Tomlin will perform at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, June 14. A press release reads, “Get together with Lily Tomlin for an unforgettable night of fun and sidesplitting laughter. “Tomlin is amazing” The NY Times and “as always a revelation.” The New Yorker This unique comic artist takes her audience on what the Washington Post calls a “wise and howlingly funny” trip with more than a dozen of her timeless characters—from Ernestine to Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann.” “With astounding skill and energy, Tomlin zaps through the channels like a human remote control. Using a fantastic range of voices, gestures and movements, she conjures up the cast of characters with all the apparent ease of a magician pulling a whole menagerie of animals from a single hat.” NY Daily News “Her gentle touch is as comforting as it is edifying.” NY Time Out She has “made the one-person show the daring, irreverent art form it is today.” Newsweek Her long list of awards includes: a Grammy; two Tonys; six Emmys; an Oscar nomination; two Peabodys; and the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Find more info here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor

    The Detroit Metro Times, Detroit’s award-winning alternative weekly media company, is proud to announce the recent hire of Valerie Vande Panne as Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning independent journalist and Michigan native, Vande Panne’s work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications. Previously, Vande Panne attended Harvard University and was a regular contributor to The Boston Phoenix, and a news editor of High Times magazine. She has spent years covering drug policy among other subjects, including the environment, culture, lifestyle, extreme sports, and academia. “Valerie understands our business and what we expect to accomplish in Detroit. She has an excellent sense for stories that will move our readers, as well as experience with balancing print and digital content. I’m excited to have her at the paper and trust her leadership as we move forward,” said Detroit Metro Times publisher Chris Keating.

    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

    She welcomes you when you enter Detroit, from every direction, with the one word that might just be Detroit’s biggest philosophical question: Injured? Joumana Kayrouz is deeper than the inflated image watching over Detroit, peddling justice to the poor and broken of the city. This Wednesday, Drew Philp takes us behind the billboard and into the heart of the Kayrouz quest. (And all of Brian Rozman’s photos of Kayrouz have not been retouched.) Check out MT‘s cover story, on newsstands Wednesday!

    The post Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt

    There was a fire in an upstairs apartment at PJ’s Lager House on Monday evening. No people were hurt, although three cats belonging to the tenants died after CPR. The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. during a show featuring Zombie Jesus & the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Curtin, and Jeffrey Jablonsky. “We just smelled smoke and someone yelled everyone has to get out,” 33-year-old Nick Leu told MLive. On the Lager House Facebook page in the early hours of the morning, a post said, “We at PJ’s lager House would like to thank everyone for their care and concern. Also, a very big THANK YOU to all who stepped up to do what they could this evening. The fire was contained to the upstairs but due to water damage in the bar, we will be closed until it can be assessed. Everyone is safe and we will keep you updated.” A later update read, “Update from the big boss. Since there was no damage to the stage side of the bar, the show will go on tomorrow! You may have to enter through the back door and there may not be a large selection of booze but we are going […]

    The post Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to The Sugar Clouds’ Partners Don’t Do That (They Watch and be Amazed) (Wax Splat) is a nostalgic look at the psychedelic days of ’60s grooviness. Even the album cover looks like a lava lamp. The male-female vocals have a sort of Jefferson Airplane feel, and the songs are blessed with both sugary sweet pop melodies and a garage-y earthiness. The story of the band’s formation is rather interesting; the two vocalists, Greg and Melissa Host, are a divorced couple who wrote the songs in their living room. The band is still together, so this divorce was a hell of a lot more civil than any we’ve ever known of. Steffanie Christi’an has friends in fairly high places. Her new Way Too Much mini-album is being put out by Nadir Omowale’s Distorted Soul label, and she is also a regular feature on Jessica Care Moore’s Black Women Rock revue. Maybe the choice of cover image isn’t the best – she looks a bit like a Tina Turner tribute act here. But that can and should be […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’

      There’s at least one city councilmember who’s less than pleased with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to increase all parking violation fines. Councilman Gabe Leland, whose district represents the city’s west side, issued a statement today, calling Orr’s plan a potential “deterrent” to attracting people to the city. I don’t believe the argument to raise the parking ticket fines from $30 to $45 and eliminate the $10 early payment fine are justification for this action. The emergency manager’s order to increase ticket fines places city government inefficiencies on the backs of our residents who need to do business in downtown and other parts of our city. And, this will increase the barrier for people to frequent Detroit-based establishments; likely to be a deterrent for some to shop and dine in our city. Leland suggested implementing a plan that maintains current rates for fines and reduces operating inefficiencies to collecting parking fines. “In my view, generating revenue by increasing fines when residents from neighborhoods must go downtown to get licenses and permits, attend court appointments and do other necessary business, is the wrong direction,” Leland said. “…Additionally, generating revenue using fines when we are trying to grow this city and attract […]

    The post Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

An Emergency Manager could be what Detroit needs

Maybe we should stop worrying and welcome the EM

"Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don't want an emergency manager making decisions for my city."

—Detroit Mayor Dave Bing


"The city of Detroit DOES NOT need an Emergency Manager!!! BING JUST NEEDS TO SHOW SOME DAMN LEADERSHIP..." —City Council President Charles Pugh, via Facebook.


What I am about to say may get me a lot of hate mail but, sorry, I disagree. I think having the right emergency manager for a time might turn out to be a good thing for Detroit.

That's not a popular opinion among the people I naturally respect, hang with and gravitate toward. Ron Williams, the founder of this newspaper, and a man for whom I have infinite respect, sent me a plea recently to help fight this law.

He — like lots of other people — are outraged about the beefed-up emergency manager law passed this year, which, in his words, "allows the governor to appoint an 'emergency manager' to take over any city, town or school district."

Williams, who these days is fighting to create sustainable communities (, correctly points out that such a manager now has the "power to dismiss elected officials, shred union contracts, sell public property, and even dissolve local government entities."

That's all true. The proposition that appointing an emergency manager to run Detroit would be awful is pretty much an article of faith among those who call themselves progressives, liberals or identify with those communities dedicated to civil rights and civil liberties.

So why do I think this might be a good thing? For the following reasons:

Detroit government is terribly broken and dysfunctional in a way it has so far proven impossible for elected leaders to repair. The basic problem is this: What was once a prosperous city of nearly 2 million people is now a largely dilapidated and shrunken one of barely 700,000 mostly very poor people.

In addition to vast debts and a current budget deficit, the city has a social services and public employee sector built for a larger, richer city, and can no longer sustain it. Especially not in the face of massive revenue cuts from the state.

There have been layoffs and more salary cuts and layoffs and salary cuts, and as I write this, the mayor and the council are squabbling further about how many more workers to dump.

Alas, none of this will work, except to slightly postpone the inevitable. The city is trying to deal with its problems by using "salami tactics" — cut a little and then a little more — and is instead dying a death of a thousand cuts.

Whether the city runs out of cash next April or July or limps along to September really doesn't make very much difference. What's needed is to start all over again — some equivalent of zero-based budgeting, and that can only realistically happen under an emergency manager.

Yes, they may throw out union contracts that are no longer sustainable; this will happen in some form anyway.

There are two recent, real-world examples that have helped me come to this conclusion — one from the public sector, one from the private. The first is Hamtramck, which landed under what was then called an Emergency Financial Manager back in 2000, largely because of the irresponsibility of many generations of its politicians. Lou "Bud" Schimmel was appointed EFM then, and made a lot of decisions that were wildly unpopular. But they also got the city back on its feet, and it emerged much healthier seven years later.

Everybody — all the politicians — hated Schimmel, but when he was there they would take me aside and say off the record, "Look, he's an SOB, but we know we needed him; the place was a mess."

The even bigger example was what was once the world's biggest corporation, an outfit called General Motors. Less than three years ago, it too was on the rocks, and it went to the government and begged for a bailout. Essentially, President Obama became GM's emergency manager, and soon sent in a surrogate.

What was the result? The company was reorganized; dead wood was pruned; it became leaner and meaner and today has returned to health and is making billions of dollars.

Ideally, that's what will happen with Detroit too. Not without pain, lots of pain. But that may be a good thing too. The needs and suffering of the Motor City may be laid bare for all to see.

Now, there are, of course, risks. Williams believes the emergency manager law is really all about protecting and advancing corporate interests. There is certainly some truth in that.

But while Gov. Rick Snyder does seem to have an almost childlike faith in the private sector's ability and eagerness to create jobs — a faith not justified, in my opinion — he is not a union-hating ideologue, like his counterparts in Ohio and Wisconsin.

He also knows that, in the case of Detroit, a rational plan for "protecting and advancing corporate interests" means restoring the city to the point where it can provide services and educate and provide jobs for its people. A public version of the "cushioned bankruptcy" that GM went through might help get us there.

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