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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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Politics & Prejudices

Jenny take a ride

After an almost leadership-free stint in office, Granholm departs

Flashback to a cold New Year's Day in Lansing two decades ago, where newly elected Gov. John Engler has just been sworn in after winning the upset of the century.

Old George Romney, a trailblazing governor from the 1960s, sweeps up, grasps his hand, and offers two words of advice: "Be bold."

Many people would have given Engler, who won by less than 1 percent of the vote, very different advice: Be careful, move to the center, be moderate, woo Democrats in the Legislature.

John Engler didn't listen.

Instead, he was bold. Though Democrats solidly controlled the House when he arrived, he pushed through an agenda that sent Michigan government barreling far to the right.

True, he was able to do so in part because he knew the Legislature better than the back of his hand; he had spent his entire adult life in it before being elected governor. But he was also forceful, and decisively. Politically, I was strongly opposed to virtually everything he accomplished. Nor did I like his brutal style. But he was a very successful governor.

Jennifer Granholm's positions on most issues are much closer to mine — and, I would guess, to those of most readers of this column. Yet two weeks from now, when she leaves the governor's office for the last time, the verdict of history is likely to be harsh. Not because she was governor during a terrible recession; that certainly wasn't her fault. And not because she was in the least bit corrupt in any way — everything I know indicates she is squeaky clean. But she was a howling disaster as a governor, for three reasons.

Nobody knew what she stood for, really, especially as far as the big picture went. Nobody in the Legislature feared her, and as time went on, fewer and fewer even respected her.

But to me, Jennifer Granholm's biggest failure as a leader was simply this: She was anything but bold. Instead, she was weak, vacillating, indecisive and nearly always ineffectual.

We are paying a heavy price for that. The baffling tragedy of all this: It didn't have to be that way. Here's one story that illustrates that, from the long-vanished era of ... December 2006.

Four years ago, soon after her landslide re-election victory, Dan Mulhern, aka the "First Gentleman," called out of the blue and asked if I would have dinner with him in Detroit. That mildly surprised me. After all, I had sometimes been critical of our governor — and even of Mulhern himself.

My questioning of the propriety of some of her husband's consulting gigs caused Granholm, not yet governor, to call up and literally scream at me, an act which made me suspect (correctly) I was unlikely to make the media Christmas Party list if she was elected.

But now, four years later, her man wanted to dine with me. What was this all about? I asked while munching something bland at the Traffic Jam. "The state is really in a mess," he said.

He meant, primarily, state government, which wasn't taking in enough money to pay for the things it needs to do, such as educating our children and fixing Michigan's crumbling infrastructure.

"You are one of the few people who really understands that," Mulhern said. He added that while he thought I had been unfairly critical of the governor and of his own gentlemanly self, they, or at least he, wanted my advice as to how to get this across to the people.

Simple, I said. There's nobody in politics today better at directly communicating with the voters than Jennifer Granholm.

Here's what she needs to do: Ask for, or buy if necessary, a half-hour of television time to lay it all out for the citizens of Michigan. You know, sort of a modern-day "fireside chat." Tell the citizens where the state really stands, perhaps with the aid of a few charts and graphs. Tell them how this massive "structural deficit" gradually evolved, and that none of the politicians, including you, have been completely honest with them.

Then tell them what has to happen now — and that it will cost them. That Michigan has to be fixed so your children and grandchildren can have a future. Tell them it will cost them more now, how you expect to pay for it and why it will be worth it, to everyone. Then be prepared to launch a campaign to get the public behind you, and to push the Legislature to back you.

That's what I told the First Gentleman, in so many words.

"Well, we thought we'd do something like that in the State of the State speech," he finally said. I stared at him. No one listens to or reads the governor's annual state of the state speech except the reporters who have to cover it — and not even all of them. In the end, Jennifer Granholm didn't even do that.

Timidly, she instead had her budget director offer a proposal to increase the sales tax or extend it to services a few days later. The Legislature contemptuously ignored it.

With the passing of years, the governor became less and less relevant to the budget process. She kept busy running around the globe, bringing promises of a few handfuls of jobs. But she never tried to achieve any of the sweeping, massive changes state government needs. Never took the system on.

Which is sad, baffling — and utterly inexcusable. Here's why: Jennifer Granholm had the political capital to make something happen in January 2007. Remember, she had just been re-elected governor by a landslide. Yes, Republicans controlled the state Senate. But their leader was the pipsqueak Mike Bishop, who represented a small district centered in Rochester Hills.

Jennifer Granholm really could have blown him away. She had a rare opportunity to put it on the line and make things happen.

Why? After her huge landslide, she had political capital and nothing to lose. Thanks to term limits, she couldn't run for governor again — or for much else. Democrats held both seats in the U.S. Senate. Nor could she run for president or vice president.

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