Most Read
  • 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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Politics & Prejudices

How this came to pass

Mikhail Gorbachev and Christmas 1991 set the stage (no kidding)

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Ever wonder how our country ended up like this? As this year sputters to its end, that is, and children are being thrown off cash assistance forever in the dead of winter, and we are letting our roads fall apart, and few seem to give a damn about the next generation.

How did it come to this? It wasn't always this way. Fifty years ago, we were a strong and confident country, committed to making this a better world, thinking we could educate more kids.

Thinking we could help the rest of the world too. Presidents could propose programs like the Alliance for Progress to help lift up Latin America. The statesman Sargent Shriver led a major effort to conquer poverty in this country, and continued to believe, until the day he died earlier this year, that's something we could have done.

Today, any politician who even suggested that we do something to help the nation's poor would be sneered at as a socialist. For the last 30 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the poor and the fast-disappearing middle class to the super-rich. Do you see any major effort to suggest moving toward even a slightly more level playing field?

Does any major Democratic politician, in Lansing or Washington, dare to stand up and say, "It's time to increase taxes on the super-rich so students can get scholarships and poor children can get milk?" Don't be silly. They'd be afraid of losing votes because bloated radio fools like Rush Limbaugh would call them names.

How did we get to this place from the idealistic nation we were? For a large part of the answer, look back to a Christmas exactly 20 years ago, to an event that set the stage for everything that has followed. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of the USSR, appeared on television screens across the globe that Christmas morning.

Everything was truly over. He announced he was resigning, and that the nation that had been our mortal enemy had ceased to exist.

Nobody paid a whole lot of attention at the time. The Soviet Union had been dying since a failed coup that summer. The Cold War, which even eight years before still had the power to grip us with nuclear terror, had ended when the Eastern European states gave up communism and opted for what they saw as freedom, more or less, two years before that. When the end of the USSR became official that Christmas morning, we barely glanced up from our presents.

But something very fundamental had changed. A few years after that, Dick Wright, who taught journalism with me at Wayne State University, stopped by my office. He had studied the Soviet Union in army intelligence and spoke and understood Russian.

He also cared about the labor movement, and about workers in America, and he made a casual comment that I instantly saw held the key to a lot of what was going on in this society.

"You know, I really felt that people here didn't realize how bad it was when the USSR ceased to exist," he said. "It was corrupt and all that, of course, but it was officially a workers' state. They had gotten rid of the capitalists. And while you never would have wanted to live there, I always felt it was a good thing that it existed.

"That's because as long as it was there, there would always be the thought in the bosses' minds that maybe we better show some decency to our workers, pay them a decent wage."

Dick Wright, a truly decent man, died a few years later. I'm not sure whether he was right about the example of the Soviet Union serving as a deterrent to the nation's exploiters. I know that Franklin D. Roosevelt and a lot of other people believed in the 1930s that either we do something for the ordinary man, or we risked communism or, more likely, some form of fascism.

But most of the exploiters of his day were too stupid to see that the patrician FDR and his New Dealers were working hard to save them from themselves. If anything, today's seem even stupider.

Corporate America and the Republican Party seem to think they can export all the jobs overseas, end unemployment insurance and welfare for those they've screwed over, all with no negative consequences to themselves. The not-so-big-three are now paying newly hired autoworkers salaries too small for them to be able to afford new cars, much less a house and a family.

Let's see ... doesn't all this remind you of a book by Karl Marx called Das Kapital? Does anybody other than me remember how it turned out? We are creating an ever larger, ever more desperate class of unemployed and unemployable people.

We need to wake up and remember that we are all in this together, or, once again, as John F. Kennedy said half a century ago, "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it can't save the few who are rich." We desperately need leaders who are not too stupid or greedy to understand that, and need to find them soon.


Snyder puts his foot in it: Whatever you think of his policies, our governor has had a remarkably successful year.

The Legislature enacted virtually his entire program, from the huge business tax cut to the pension tax. His only main setback was over the needed New International Trade Crossing bridge, where he evidently miscalculated Matty Moroun's ability to buy the lawmakers.

Look for more of that epic struggle soon. Up to now, Snyder has avoided messy social legislation, or hatefully attacking the unions to the extent that the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin have.

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