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    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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Stir It Up

Free Obama now

Mulenga Harangua knows the prez is tied up in the basement at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


I was browsing the stacks at my local public library when I heard a hissing sound. I looked around at the people sitting at tables reading. There in a back corner I saw Mulenga Harangua waving his arm from behind a gigantic book that obscured most of his body. I went over and took a seat at his table.

"I see you finally showed up," Mulenga admonished me as though I were late for an appointment.

"I didn't know that we had plans together."

"I've been sitting in here all day for a couple of weeks waiting for you to show up," Mulenga said. "I wanted to talk to you but didn't want to take the chance of coming to your house. You've been writing about me in that column of yours. I speak too much truth, so I know that the powers that be are looking for me. I needed to run into you on the sly. I know you read books all the time, so I knew you would show up here sooner or later."

"Well I have been using our public libraries ever since I learned to read when I was 6 or 7," I said.

"I've been using them ever since I learned to read when I was 28. That's when I realized the man wanted me to be ignorant, so I fought the power and learned how to read. Learning how to read is like a stick in the eye of the oppressor. It makes it that much harder to fool us. " Mulenga stretched and twisted his head around until his neck cracked. The noise cut through the air like a gunshot. The folks sitting nearby bobbed their heads like they were ducking bullets. When no more shots rang out they returned to their reading as though nothing had happened.

"Well, you got that right," I said. "Sorry that I didn't get over here sooner. I didn't know I had an appointment."

"That's OK. It's actually been pretty nice. They have air conditioning and water and clean restrooms. All the comforts I could ask for as hot as it has been this summer. And I get to use a computer once in a while."

"So what did you want to see me about?" I asked.

"It's about Obama."

"What? Have you gotten on the bandwagon with Cornel West and Tavis Smiley going around on their poverty tour ripping the president? It's not like he doesn't have enough trouble with those Tea Party people barking at him about every little thing he does. What's that West called him, the 'black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs?' They want to call him names when it is West and Smiley who want to be the black oligarchs telling everybody what to think. Had the nerve to come around here talking shit when they didn't lift a finger to help any poor people in Detroit."

"No. I'm afraid it's much worse than that," he said.

"I know things are bad. Black unemployment nationally is 17 percent, closer to 50 percent in Detroit. People getting foreclosed out of their houses left and right, black people killing each other left and right. I'd like to get to the bottom of that."

 "I did. That's what I'm trying to tell you," Mulenga said. "I got a scoop that's gonna win you a Pulitzer Prize if it doesn't get you killed first."

"What?"

"They got the real Obama tied up in the basement of the White House."

"Who are they?" I asked.

"Them oligarchs you was talking about. You know the cabal that really rules the world. When Obama got elected talking about change and hope, they grabbed him the minute he moved into the White House. We have been seeing a body double for the president, like in that movie Dave where the president has a stroke and the guy who looks like him takes over. Except in this case I think it's the guy from Saturday Night Live who is impersonating him. Everybody thinks that's Obama caving in to the right when it's not him at all." 

"And you think West and Smiley are in on this?" I asked.

"Most definitely. Can't you see from the grin on Cornel's face that he's performing for massa? I was out there last week when they showed up in Detroit at the Young Municipal Center. There they were, carrying on and trying to rabble-rouse. I've always known that I could make a lot of money by masquerading as a black conservative; look what it did for Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas. Colin Powell was in on it too before they went too far and he had to cut that shit loose. West and Smiley have lined up for their share. They're masquerading as black liberals in service to the conservative cause. It's a brilliant move but I see right through them."

"So is that what West meant when he said that Obama is not a 'free black man'?" I asked. "I was kind of wondering about that." 

"He was just covering his backside. On the one hand he called Obama a slave as a put-down. But if it ever comes out that Obama has been kidnapped, he can jump up and claim that's what he was trying to tell us. Those two want their bread buttered on both sides." Mulenga pretended he was spreading butter on the book in front of him. "They're probably getting their checks directly from them Koch brothers who bought up all those Republican governors who are attacking the unions."

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