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    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

Michigan primary follies

The mess is nothing new — Henry Ford won twice

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Suddenly, Michigan's presidential primary may actually turn out to mean something this year. If Mitt Romney loses, in the state where he was born and won easily in 2008, he could be finished.

Those behind-the-scenes strategists and money men who have been backing him in the belief that he has the best (if not only) chance to beat President Obama, may reluctantly conclude that the rank and file just aren't willing to buy their plastic Ken doll, and turn elsewhere.

That, as Curt Guyette ably explains elsewhere in this week's cover story, is a situation that could lead to anything from a dark horse candidate to a brokered convention. "I never believed this would happen," Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, told me. 

Now a word of caution — it is far from certain that Romney is really on the ropes. Polls in a primary contest are all but worthless, especially those taken more than a few days before the voting.

Most people have jobs and lives and only pay sporadic attention to politics and elections anyway, especially primaries. The one thing that's relatively certain is that most registered voters won't vote.

Won't vote at all, that is. That means that those who do turn up to vote in February tend to be the strongly committed and often stridently ideological, along with a few party faithful and a dwindling number who think voting in any election is their duty.

Fanatics do vote in primaries, which is why Rick Santorum has been doing so well. This is a man who is not only against abortion, he is against contraception, mothers having careers, and has equated gay relationships with "man on dog" sex.

Santorum looks like a nice, charming, unthreatening youngish man, who promises to return us to the well-scrubbed world of the family TV shows of the 1950s, a world that never actually existed.

But he really is right-wing religious extremism in a sweater vest, and terribly frightening to those who look behind his soothing words. 

However, he doesn't have the money or the organization, nor do the professionals really think Santorum can be elected president. Ballenger thinks it possible, even likely, that things can be turned around for Romney in time to give him a victory and shove him toward Super Tuesday on March 6. 

But regardless of who wins, the good news is that the primary apparently won't be an irrelevant farce this year. Four years ago, Michigan politicians of both parties conspired to make our presidential process the laughingstock of the nation.

Not for the first time, either. Here's what they did. Top Michigan Democrats and Republicans wanted to look big, get a piece of the action, and impress their buds on the national scene.

Saul Anuzis, the then-GOP chair, had ambitions of being elected chair of the national party. 

On the other side, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Democratic State Committeewoman Debbie Dingell and State Party Chair-for-Life Mark Brewer figured Hillary Clinton was the certain nominee. They wanted to ingratiate themselves with her. So they broke party rules and held the primary in the middle of January.

The National Democratic Party was furious. They stripped Michigan of all its delegates. (They gave half of them back months later, when that was utterly meaningless.) Every serious Democratic candidate kept their names off the ballot, except for Clinton.

National Republicans weren't happy either, and took half Michigan's delegates away, but otherwise didn't interfere.

Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney, who had not yet shown any desire to let the auto industry die, won, mainly on the strength of his family name. Less than two months later, his campaign was over.

The only thing Michigan got out of its early primary was the distinction of being the only state in the nation that didn't have Obama on the ballot. Say, were you surprised that Granholm wasn't even offered a job as White House doorkeeper afterward?

Actually, Michigan's primary has been Massasauga-rattlesnake pit pretty much from the start, largely because the politicians keep tampering with it. Primary elections first came about during the Progressive era a century ago, when muckraking journalists advanced the idea that the people should have a say in picking the nominees.

So who do you suppose won the very first Michigan GOP primary, back in 1916? Why, Henry Ford, of course! He wasn't a candidate, but, hey, he provided lots of good-paying jobs.

Just to show our good bipartisan spirit and a continuing devotion to the cause of making Michigan irrelevant, Henry Ford won the Michigan Democratic primary eight years later.

When the Great Depression hit, Michigan abolished its primary, largely because we could no longer afford it, and the bosses went back to picking convention delegates and candidates in smoke-filled rooms. However, then came 1968, when the will of the people was pretty much totally ignored by Democratic bosses.

That led to a revolt that brought back the primary in 1972, in Michigan and other states, and we had a far higher turnout, in both actual votes and percentage turning out, than in any year since.

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