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    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.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to The Sugar Clouds’ Partners Don’t Do That (They Watch and be Amazed) (Wax Splat) is a nostalgic look at the psychedelic days of ’60s grooviness. Even the album cover looks like a lava lamp. The male-female vocals have a sort of Jefferson Airplane feel, and the songs are blessed with both sugary sweet pop melodies and a garage-y earthiness. The story of the band’s formation is rather interesting; the two vocalists, Greg and Melissa Host, are a divorced couple who wrote the songs in their living room. The band is still together, so this divorce was a hell of a lot more civil than any we’ve ever known of. Steffanie Christi’an has friends in fairly high places. Her new Way Too Much mini-album is being put out by Nadir Omowale’s Distorted Soul label, and she is also a regular feature on Jessica Care Moore’s Black Women Rock revue. Maybe the choice of cover image isn’t the best – she looks a bit like a Tina Turner tribute act here. But that can and should be […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’

      There’s at least one city councilmember who’s less than pleased with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to increase all parking violation fines. Councilman Gabe Leland, whose district represents the city’s west side, issued a statement today, calling Orr’s plan a potential “deterrent” to attracting people to the city. I don’t believe the argument to raise the parking ticket fines from $30 to $45 and eliminate the $10 early payment fine are justification for this action. The emergency manager’s order to increase ticket fines places city government inefficiencies on the backs of our residents who need to do business in downtown and other parts of our city. And, this will increase the barrier for people to frequent Detroit-based establishments; likely to be a deterrent for some to shop and dine in our city. Leland suggested implementing a plan that maintains current rates for fines and reduces operating inefficiencies to collecting parking fines. “In my view, generating revenue by increasing fines when residents from neighborhoods must go downtown to get licenses and permits, attend court appointments and do other necessary business, is the wrong direction,” Leland said. “…Additionally, generating revenue using fines when we are trying to grow this city and attract […]

    The post Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Lansing’s closet Reds

Republicans must actually want to start a revolution among have-nots

When I was very young, I thought for a while I might become an entomologist, that is, someone who studies insects for a living.

Unfortunately, I did not have the math skills for the hard sciences, and so I ended up getting paid to watch politicians instead. There are certain drawbacks to this. Few of them are anywhere near as lovely, say, as a luna moth. Politicians often engage in odder and more unsavory sexual behavior than most insects.

True, the female praying mantis does eat her partner while they are having sex. Most male politicians destroy themselves instead.

But the main difference between bugs and politicians is that most insects engage in more or less rational behavior.

Yes, they may fly into a streetlight by mistake, but generally they look for food and shelter, and try to lay their eggs where the young will have the best chance at survival their parents can give them.

That's something our kind doesn't always do these days, especially the subspecies known as the Republican Party. I've been studying a colony of these creatures found in the Michigan Legislature, and have made some fascinating discoveries:

First of all, they aren't very concerned about our survival as a species. Every study shows that this state's citizens are woefully undereducated. Young adults in Michigan have, on average, less education than those in nearby states.

That's largely the legacy of the days when you didn't need a lot of learning to bend metal on the assembly line. You could be ignorant as a box of rocks and still make good money. But those days are gone, and are never coming back.

The jobs of the future will require more education and higher skill sets. If we are ever to attract them, we need a better-educated work force. If our young people are to have any hope of making it, we have to give them the tools to succeed. So what are our leaders doing?

Cutting what we spend on education! Elementary, high school and university education. They can make do with less, the lawmakers say. Anyway, they can make up the money if they adopt "best practices," which seems to be Governor Snyder-speak for "screwing the teachers and the staff out of their benefits."

That would be bad and irrational enough, but the bizarre behavior of the Republicanus parasiticus lawmakers doesn't stop there. They are determined to make sure that those struggling not only don't learn well enough, they don't get fed well enough.

Last week, they voted a lifetime ban on welfare for anyone who had gotten benefits for a total of four years, a ban that will take effect Oct. 1. The lawmakers' reasoning was that this should be enough time for anyone to find a job.

Conservatives, most of them writing on their blogs, gleefully did handsprings at the thought of the boom being lowered on all these welfare cheats, some of whom were even suspected of being black.

Unfortunately, they are about two decades too late. Yes, there used to be a program called General Assistance, under which able-bodied adults could get welfare money. But that ended long ago.

The people on welfare now are poor families with minor children. Perhaps anyone could find a job in a world where a strong mixed economy included a vibrant public sector complementing and helping the private sector lead us to full employment.

That was the America that existed back in the 1960s. However, there have been precious few jobs available for anyone, even college graduates, over the last four years in Michigan.

So according to the state, 11,162 people will be cut loose without any assistance on Oct. 1. One Sheryl Thompson, the acting deputy director of the Department of Human Services, said she thought virtually all these households could produce "some earned income."

That's probably true; they could sell drugs, their bodies or their children. Maybe the odd pint of blood here and there.

Actually, what the politicians hope is that these people will just go away and leave the state. They won't, of course, not most of them.

Together with the unskilled and unemployable coming out of our underfunded schools, they'll join a large and growing group of desperate citizens with no stake in the present system.

Suddenly, it struck me with the force of revelation.

Our leaders are secret Marxist-Leninists. They have to be! This is just what Marx predicted in Das Kapital! The capitalists will throw more and more workers out of work. More and more wealth will be concentrated into fewer and fewer hands.

Finally, with no stake in the system whatsoever, there will be mass and bloody revolt. The capitalists will fight back, but will be overwhelmed, till the day when, and as the bearded one predicted, "the expropriators are expropriated."

How silly of me not to see this. For years and years, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, rational private businessmen who wanted to stay rich and prosperous realized the way to do so was to see that the workers had a stake in the system.

That's why socialism and communism failed in this country. But now a secret band of terrorists masked as right-wing Republicans are driving our system to destruction and us to revolution.

Either that, or they are a bunch of cold, stupid, callous and unfeeling bastards who couldn't care less about us or our children.

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