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  • 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.

  • Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor

    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.



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Stir It Up

Go to health

We hear a lot about health care, but what about health?

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Last week's Supreme Court decision that essentially upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been getting lots of play in the media. That's an understatement when it comes to the right-wing media. That gang — Glenn Beck, Ben Shapiro et al. — has gone absolutely nuts. Blogger Shapiro wrote, "This is the end of America as we know it." Others have been no less sanguine, calling for armed revolution, declaring that the Supreme Court does not have the last word on what's constitutional, even threatening to secede from the union. 

Much vehemence has also been aimed at Chief Justice John Roberts (a George W. Bush appointee), who conservatives saw as solidly in their corner. Roberts sided with the liberal camp in saving the ACA and brought the right-wing thunder down on his head.

On the liberal side, there is crowing that the decision validates the righteousness of the Obama administration, which pushed the controversial law through in 2010.

The biggest question now is: How will the decision affect this fall's presidential election? Of secondary value, at least for now, is the question of how it will affect the cost of health care, especially in 2014 when the full provisions of the ACA kick in. What is not being discussed is the basic nature of our health care system and how it operates. And even more basic: How do Americans get healthy? Everybody is talking about health care, but few are talking about health.

And health is a big issue in the United States, where consumption of overly processed, salt- and sugar-laden foods has created an obesity and diabetes epidemic that threatens to make affordable care a sideshow in the face of overwhelming illness.

According to a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index taken in 2009, 63.1 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. That's almost two out of three people. The headline of a article discussing the well-being index said: "Americans Are Eating Poorly, Exercising Less, and Getting Bigger, Survey Finds." 

Obesity leads to numerous ailments, including breast cancer, coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, colon cancer, hypertension, kidney disease and stroke.

African-Americans are 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic whites, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, and four out of five African-American women are considered overweight or obese. All of the attendant disease linked to obesity is hitting the African-American community harder than other groups. One out of every three people with kidney failure is African-American. African-Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. All of the various complications that result from those diseases, such as being hospitalized, are higher for blacks too.

"In 23-plus years in emergency medicine and critical care nursing, I saw a lot of complications of diabetes," says Yvette Cobb, a local nurse practitioner who also teaches yoga and has trained in the Tree of Life therapy that claims to reverse diabetes through a raw food diet. "I saw a lot of limbs being cut off." 

The health care system will cut off your leg after you get diabetes, but will not do a lot to prevent your diabetes in the first place. Prevention takes a lot of education and lifestyle change. We actually got some leadership from the White House on that, but it wasn't from the president. First lady Michelle Obama took the lead when she planted the White House kitchen garden in 2009. She's followed that up with last month's publication of American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.

Michelle Obama's book will never get near the attention that the ACA has, but what she champions has the potential to make a bigger difference in the health of Americans. The ACA is about who gets how much money in a sick system. American Grown is about people taking charge of themselves and their health by eating the kinds of things that prevent disease. It's not quantifiable; we have no idea how many cases of cancer were avoided by eating healthy, how many did not become diabetic. But we do know it makes a difference.

American Grown also puts a focus on community gardening, something Detroiters have taken up with enthusiasm. It's hard to walk through a neighborhood and not trip over a community garden these days. The book also covers composting and beekeeping, another angle of the growing community/urban gardening phenomenon.

So how does this gardening business fit in with health? Consider the points made in the headline from WebMD: eating poorly, exercising less, getting bigger. It follows that the cure involves eating better and getting some exercise. Those are certainly the short answers. 

Mark Covington, founder of the Georgia Street Collective community garden on the east side, reports losing 40 pounds over the past couple of years from working in the garden and eating healthier. He wasn't trying to lose weight. His motivation in starting the garden was to clean up a vacant lot near his mother's house. But that's the beauty of this gardening thing; it can bring you unintended benefits.

Malik Yakini, director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, understands the dynamic between gardening and good health. The DBCFSN runs D-Town Farms, a seven-acre endeavor in the River Rouge Park area growing vegetables, fruit and herbs. It has an apiary and an ambitious composting operation. All of this is directed toward instilling self-dependence regarding food.

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