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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

Ask the right questions

Can both sides of the aisle focus on the bigger picture?

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Ask the right questions

As I write these words, members of a group called Michigan Forward are battling to collect enough signatures to get a statewide vote next year on the emergency manager law.

If they succeed in getting it on the ballot, the law will be suspended till after the Nov. 6 election. Meanwhile, there's also intense debate over whether Detroit needs an emergency manager, or whether it can get itself out of the current mess.

To counter this, the Snyder administration is considering some kind of quarterback sneak under which they would pass a new, slightly tweaked emergency manager law if the current one is suspended. (Opponents are crying foul.)

Meanwhile, the Republicans who control our state Legislature have enthusiastically passed a law barring state employees from including their unmarried partners on their health benefits, one more in a series of "let's bash gays under the guise of saving tax dollars" moves.

That done, they are weighing the merits of dropping all limits on how many charter schools universities can create. 

Pretty much everyone has an opinion on all of these issues. If you've been a frequent reader of this column, you likely have a good idea of mine. 

But the fact is that I have changed my mind.

Changed my mind, that is, about where our focus needs to be. These are not the questions we should be asking, not until we have answered the one that really matters:

What kind of society do we really want?

When we've decided that, then, are we willing to do what it takes to make it become reality? 

What we are doing now is driving along without a plan, lurching at this or that, sometimes worrying about quality, sometimes inequality, and sometimes about money.

Yet the bottom line is that if we don't know where we want to go, we aren't going to get there. 

Frankly, I don't think most of us have a clue. We lunge at things we think we want (tax breaks for the rich, jobs for the rest of us) and react instinctively against things we don't like.

Yet we have no long-term plan.

What kind of society do we want? What kind of city, state, nation do we want? Have we even thought about this?

OK, Republicans: You want tax breaks for businesses and the rich, and want as little money as possible spent on welfare and education and other things for the poor.

Coming right up. Yet think about this: Who is going to buy your products if they can't make a living? How does having roads and bridges that are falling apart help your business?

Even more to the point: Every year, tens of thousands of kids are leaving our high schools — whether they graduate or not — totally lacking the basic skills they need to find jobs.

What's worse, they have little or no ability to get the higher education they need (not necessarily college). Thanks to our lawmakers, they also have lesser means to pay for getting these skills if they do know where to get them.

So, free market worshippers, how can you feel safe and secure with a growing mass of hundreds of thousands of unemployed and unemployable people in your midst?

OK, Democrats: You have blasted Gov. Rick Snyder's program of "reforms" and tax cuts. What is your alternative, other than hoping they piss people off enough they return your team to power?

Do you have the guts to seriously propose raising taxes on the rich instead? Do you have the guts to say to your special interest groups, "You have to make sacrifices too"?

Do you have the guts to say to the teachers unions that the product they are delivering isn't cutting it, for one thing, and for another, they can no longer automatically expect better benefits than most of the rest of society? 

You want to get rid of the emergency manager law? Great. Then what do you do when Detroit and Pontiac and Flint go bankrupt instead? The fallout will damage the credit rating of every city in the state as well as the state itself, not to mention what it will do to the economy as a whole.

OK, Detroiters: You don't want an emergency manager. You say you can solve your problems on your own.

Prove it. The city has billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, bad and irresponsible debts racked up by mayors and city councils long gone. How do you plan to deal with that? The city isn't paying its vendors on time now. 

The city is literally falling apart, there's a large unionized city work force whose leaders don't seem to have a clue and are unable and unwilling to read a balance statement. 

The current budget deficit is increasing by $400,000 a day, and the city will literally run out of cash entirely in the spring. There are barely 700,000 people left; most poor and nearly half functionally illiterate. The mayor himself estimates that the real unemployment rate is more than 40 percent.

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