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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 slime time

Scheming and money-grubbing in Lansing

Photo: , License: N/A

The Ambassador Bridge is a monopoly. Matty Moroun wants to keep it that way.

Equal Justice Under Law. Those words are carved over the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., and when you see that majestic structure, and think of the great men once on the court, you can almost believe in that concept. Equal justice, under law.

Then there is Michigan. If our state government were to engrave a motto on the Capitol Building in Washington, it would take two lines. The first would say: Money Talks, We Listen.

Beneath that it would say, Screw Justice: We Protect Our Own.

We have a bunch of amoral hacks in this state, and a system that both rewards bad behavior and could turn Little Orphan Annie into a hardened cynic. Our Legislature is rapidly becoming both more corrupt and more and more irrelevant, which ought to worry you.

That's because for most people, state government is the branch of government that affects their lives the most.

Our lawmakers are supposed to act with the good of all the people in mind, study the issues, and look out for their interests. To be sure, some still do that. But not nearly enough of them.

Twenty years ago, we foolishly enacted a system of term limits, which have led to a vast increase in incompetence and corruption.

Lawmakers can stay in the state House for only six years and the Senate for eight, after which they are banned for life. This has meant three things: 1) There is no long-term memory of how to get things accomplished, 2) the special interests have far more power than they used to, since the lawmakers don't know as much, and at any rate, the lobbyists can wait them out, and 3) the legislators are even more prone to selling out, since they will need new jobs in a few years.

The best evidence of this is the well-documented case of Matty Moroun, the monopoly owner of the Ambassador Bridge. The need to build a new bridge over the Detroit River is perfectly clear.

It is essential for our long-term economic future. Canada will pay our share of the costs (we will pay them back later out of toll revenue from the new bridge, but only after it is constructed) and on top of that, we can use the $550 million from Canada to get $2.1 billion in federal matching highway funds from Washington. 

There is no downside, none. Except for Moroun, a man who is the moral equivalent of the spider Shelob in The Lord of the Rings. He is worth $1.8 billion, and is 85 years old, and wants more.

So to protect his monopoly, he has showered key legislators with lavish "campaign contributions" and managed to prevent the bridge bill from even coming up for a vote in the Legislature.

Never mind that Gov. Rick Snyder — whose party controls the Legislature — very much wants this bridge. Never mind that Ford, General Motors and Chrysler want the bridge, or that Jennifer Granholm, Brooks Patterson, Dave Bing and liberals and conservatives alike support the bridge. Money talks.

Matty bought the lawmakers; you can go to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network and look up who and how. In the end, Snyder went around them and found a way to do it anyway.

Even when lawmakers engage in even more blatant criminal-seeming behavior, the system, by and large, protects them.

Take the case of a particularly repellent creature, one state Rep. Roy Schmidt, from Grand Rapids. Schmidt was elected as a Democrat a few years ago, but his district has become more Republican. 

Lacking the loyalty of a sewer rat, Schmidt conspired with GOP Speaker of the House Jase Bolger to switch parties. 

While this was going on, Schmidt went right on raising money from his fellow Democrats. Lower than a snake's belly, yes. But that's far from the worst of it. He and Bolger wanted to make sure Schmidt had no real competition. So Schmidt not only waited to the last possible moment to switch parties, he attempted to offer what looked very much like a bribe to a phony candidate to run as a Democrat. 

His son offered Matt Mojzak, a store clerk he knew, $450 to file for the race. The idea, of course, was that he'd end up taking a fall. Mojzak, who didn't even live in the district, initially agreed — but then backed out. Desperate, the Schmidts offered him $1,000 instead, to be paid out of the lawmaker's campaign fund — money given to him by Democrats who thought he was one of them.

But Mojzak got scared or got a conscience — and stayed out of the race even after the legislator himself oozed into the store where he worked to try to get him to stay in. Schmidt then lied about even knowing Mojzak, a lie exposed when a prosecutor got hold of a long series of text messages. The state police were conducting an investigation, and Detective Robert Davis said in an affidavit that he believed both Bolger and Schmidt might have conspired to commit perjury.

I can think of a few other possible crimes as well. But not to worry, slime balls. Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth shut the investigation down, just before search warrants were executed. He said he concluded that none of his fellow Republicans had committed any crimes! Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, probably the most partisan AG in the office in my lifetime, was asked to reopen the investigation. He must have had to stifle his laughter.

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