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  • 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? […]

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

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Cue Mulenga

Harangua helps with a recap of a city year

Photo: , License: N/A

I was walking down Woodward Avenue near Grand Circus Park; the wind was cutting through my pants as winter finally started to show some teeth. I saw Mulenga Harangua walking along with what looked like an old, bent pool cue in his hand, peeping in the windows of storefronts. The cue stick looked more like something you'd use to shoot arrows than eight balls.

"Hey, Mulenga, what's up with the stick?”

He turned around looking a little wide-eyed until he focused on me. "Oh, I'm looking for a pool hall.” He waved his curvy cue stick in my general direction. 

"What's with this sudden interest in shooting pool?”

"I'm trying to get politically connected,” he said. "Apparently that's where all the political action is. Didn't you see that story about Ron Weiser, the Republican National Committee finance chair? He said that voters in Detroit get picked up at pool halls and barbershops and bused from 'precinct to precinct' to vote several times. I've been in lots of barbershops and never seen this happen, so I figure the real action must be at the pool halls. Plus, I figure if they have buses going from precinct to precinct then I can get a ride across town. They might be more dependable than the city buses.”

"Well, even though that doesn't really happen, it would just be on Election Day.”

"But you don't just show up on Election Day and expect to be successful.”

"You got that right.”

"So I went to the Magic Stick, Bill's Recreation, Paul's Recreation, El Bosque and Long Green Billiards. Nothing was going on at any of them. I can't seem to find a political connection. I'm over here because I heard there is a new billiards parlor on Woodward called Drive.”

"I heard about that place. But it's not a pool hall; it's a ping-pong parlor.”

"What? I never heard of something like that.” Mulenga tapped his stick on the ground a couple of times.

"Apparently they're hot in New York and other trendy places. Susan Sarandon is involved in a company that runs them. Drive is run by a minister, Diallo Smith, of the Awakening Movement church. They hold services there too.”

"Well, I guess my search is over. I should have figured it wasn't true about pool halls when I knew it wasn't true about barbershops.”

"You were looking for politics in all the wrong places. That Weiser guy is full of crap. It's just more of this Republican smoke and mirrors as they try to push voter suppression. Voter fraud at the polls is practically nonexistent. This summer News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found just 10 cases of in-person voter fraud out of an alleged 2,068 cases reported nationally. Plus, those kinds of stories sound good when they're preaching to the Republican choir. I guess they actually believe that stuff. That's probably why Romney was so surprised that he lost the election. They actually believe their own bullshit. So what's with this sudden interest in politics? The election is over.”

"There's always another election over the horizon,” Mulenga replied. "Regardless of that, I feel like I've got to do something about Gov. Snyder and all this crap the state Legislature has shoved down our throats in the past few weeks. This right-to-work law does nothing but let workers enjoy the benefits of union-negotiated contracts without having to support the union. They passed almost 300 laws and Snyder signed most of them. It's like the revenge of the nerd governor after President Obama won the election.”

"Yep, I feel like I'm living in some backward hinterland. If it hadn't been for the Sandy Hook school massacre, Snyder would have signed the law allowing people to carry handguns into schools and churches. They were putting new amendments into laws and substituting legislation with no debate or public input. They passed a new emergency manager law and business-friendly tax breaks for their corporate pals. They passed a law aimed at putting medical facilities that provide abortions out of business. They also privatized a state prison, and made it harder to recall state legislators — I guess just in case people got ticked off at them for bulldozing those laws through.”

"You ought to mention that when you do your year in review column for 2012,” Mulenga urged.

"I don't know if I'm going to write one this year. It's been tough.”

"What? Obama won re-election, and folks voted to legalize marijuana in Colorado, Washington state, and even right here in Detroit.” Mulenga put a couple of fingers to his lips and sucked in like he was smoking. "It's legal now.”

"I'm glad that Obama won. Romney would have been a nightmare. But at the state level it's like conservative Republican land in more places than not. And as far as marijuana is concerned, it's a wait-and-see proposition. There was a news report the other day that the state police have no intention of honoring that law, and the county and city cops have their lawyers reviewing it. They're probably looking for a way to get around it. City Council President Charles Pugh said it was a waste of time.”

Somebody blew a car horn and waved out the window as it went by. Mulenga waved his cue stick in the general direction. Neither of us knew who it was.

"So what was so bad this year?” Mulenga said as he tapped his pool cue against a parking meter as we walked along.

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