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.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Stir It Up

'Money talks'

The city can't respond to requests from everyday Detroiters, but jumps when the rich call

Photo: , License: N/A

The garden next to St. John Evangelist Temple of Truth. The church has been trying to buy adjacent properties since the Archer administration.

Photo: , License: N/A

A sculpture by Kef Parker funded by Kresge Foundation in the St. John's church garden.

Jerry Ann Hebron had a story to tell last week at the listening session sponsored by the Detroit Food Policy Council at Gleaners Food Bank.

Hebron is the executive director of nonprofit and community relations at St. John Evangelist Temple of Truth on Oakland Avenue, a couple of blocks south of the Bing Industries Complex. She says her job is to make sure the church is connected to the community. I spoke to her again the day after the listening session. This is her story.

About 15 years ago, the city tore down the building next to the church, backfilled the space and leveled it — making a total of 10 vacant lots along Oakland between St. John and Red's Jazz Shoeshine shop, a legendary parlor Motown entertainers were known to frequent back in the day.

Church members became concerned when the lots became overgrown; the area is one block south of Loving Elementary School. "We are a passageway to the neighborhood school, and there are seniors in wheelchairs in the area," Hebron says. "We saw the need to manage the land."

The church assumed the responsibility for mowing the lots during the summer and shoveling snow off the sidewalk along the lots during the winter. After a couple of years, the church received a bill from the city for mowing and upkeep of the property that the church didn't even own — and that the city had not been taking care of. Luckily the church had receipts from the landscaper and was able to prove its case. 

St. John is a small congregation with only 50 members, but they decided to buy the three lots closest to the church. They were already paying for the upkeep. Then, in 1999, they decided to buy the remaining seven lots. They applied to purchase the lots and began a dialogue with the city Planning and Development Department. They were told the city had to assess the value of the lots, which are in a commercial zone. Several months later the city told them the seven lots would cost $11,000. 

Although it was expensive, the church put down a $1,120 deposit and submitted a plan for off-street parking to the city. They never got a response — no letter, no phone call, no e-mail. After a few years, Hebron contacted Alvin Mitchell at the planning department. He told her he would get back to her but didn't. Her repeated visits garnered the same response for a couple of years. Then, in 2006, she was told that there was another developer interested in the property. A city official, whom Hebron declined to name, had put a hold on the property. That halted the church's plans, although they saw no development taking place on the properties. 

In 2009, Hebron checked to see what was happening and found out the hold had been removed from the properties. St. John was asked to resubmit its application. Hebron submitted a new application with pictures of the work church members had done on the property. Again there was no response from the city — no denial, nothing.

In 2011, Hebron was at the planning department doing business related to a house behind the church that the congregation had purchased. Members are planning a commercial kitchen there for church members to can vegetables from their garden and possibly develop a small business. She happened to be on the elevator with Mitchell and asked him about the seven lots they had applied for. Mitchell checked the status of the application and told Hebron it was old and the church should reapply. St. John was the only interested party, but was required to submit a development plan. Hebron says she resubmitted the application but has not received a response from the city.

St. John's congregation has put a split rail fence along the front of the lots they own, started the Oakland Avenue Community Garden, put in a hoop greenhouse, planted 16 lilac bushes, seven pear trees, and built benches for folks to relax. In 2010, thanks to a $40,000 Kresge grant, they commissioned a sculpture by artist Kef Parker that incorporates a 675-gallon stone cistern that uses a passive water collection system for watering the garden. St. John and Red's are the only establishments on the block. Across the street every building is deserted.

All the city seems to have done for St. John in this case is lose any record of the money that the church deposited.

How could the city's handling of this be considered anything but incompetence of the highest order? Not to mention unfair when a city insider was able to hold up the process. (Was it for personal gain? Likely we'll never know.) Several folks made similar complaints at the meeting, although none seemed to have suffered for the length of time that the good people of St. John have. Their woe has stretched through the Archer, Kilpatrick, Cockrel and Bing administrations.

Robert Anderson, director of the city's Planning and Development Department, seemed to agree with Hebron and others at the gathering that the city has fallen down on the job regarding land sales and management. "The City Charter says we sell land," says Anderson of his department. "I don't think I can walk you through that process." 

Anderson and Marcell Todd, director of the city Planning Commission (which is in charge of zoning issues), were apologetic to the 200 or so folks at the meeting, which was co-sponsored by Gleaners Food Bank, the Riverfront East Congregational Initiative and the Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. Part of the motivation for the session was the recent sale of about 1,900 city parcels to Hantz Farms for about $600,000 — approximately $300 per lot. Hantz plans to grow high-value hardwood trees on the properties. The Hantz sale is seems a slap in the face for many Detroit residents who for years have been trying unsuccessfully to purchase lots from the city.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus