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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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Stir It Up

Mulenga's tinfoil hat

Harangua goes green, dons foil and wants Osama's death certificate

I picked up a flat of strawberries cheap at Eastern Market and figured I'd swing by Mulenga Harangua's place to share the wealth and find out the latest scuttlebutt. He's squatting in a west side house that looks like it's about to fall down — peeling paint, boarded windows, graffiti-covered. He didn't answer the door when I knocked, so I went around to the yard, figuring to leave the strawberries on the back porch.

When I got to the yard it was as if I had been transported to a verdant paradise. Mulenga is a black man with a green thumb. There were flowerbeds along one side of the lot with yellow and purple blooms already brightening up the view along with blossoms from a peach tree. Planting beds framed with scavenged bricks formed neat rows across the lot, and into the next one. No one lived next door, and the fence was long gone. Spring greens were already springing up in one bed while parsley thrived in the next one.

Looking farther back, I noticed a young lady who looked to be in her teens planting seedlings from a box. Four thick plaits hung from her head and she was very obviously pregnant. She moved with the easy elegance of someone who is very comfortable in her body. She wore a hat that looked like one that children would fold together from newspaper, except it seemed to be made from tin foil. Just then Mulenga stepped out of the garage, wiping his hands off on an oily rag. He wore a similar hat.

He gave me a big smile and came right over. "How ya doing?"

"Not bad. I got a good deal on these strawberries and thought I'd drop a few off here."

"Thanks, I appreciate that. My strawberries won't be coming in for a couple of weeks yet." He indicated a leafy hillock in the next yard before plucking a berry from the box I carried. He bit into the berry and made a face. "I don't mean to criticize your gift, but my berries are a lot sweeter and more flavorful than these. You need to come back when they're ripe."

I set the box of strawberries down. "So what's with the tin foil hat?"

"Oh, this is to protect us from radiation."

"The sun's rays are too much for you?"

"No. I'm talking about radiation from those damaged Japanese nuclear plants."

"But that doesn't pose a threat to us."

"That's what they'd like us to believe. They've found radiation spikes in this country. And when you add that to the daily radiation we already endure, well, I'm keeping the hat on."

"Suit yourself, but I don't think aluminum foil is going to help."

"Can't hurt."

The young lady had stopped planting and was looking in our direction. One hand held the shovel and the other rested on her hip as the sun glinted off her hat. My curiosity kicked in.

"Who's the young lady? And tell me you're not the father."

"Man, do you think I'm some kind of child molester. She ain't but 16."

"And who is she?"

"That's Christy. She's one of those girls from the Catherine Ferguson Academy. You know the school for pregnant teenagers."

"What's she doing here?"

Mulenga spread his arms wide to indicate his fiefdom. "She is making this happen. It started last year when I went by the school to check out what they were doing. She was in the field and I started asking questions that she had answers for. After I went by there a few times, she asked to visit my garden. She's got the know-how. I can make things grow, but she's helped me turn this into a garden of paradise."

Mulenga indicated a pile of grayish clumps next to the garage. "See that; it's bird droppings. There's plenty of it in some of these abandoned buildings. It makes decent fertilizer. Then I've got a compost pile over in the easement where I throw all my cuttings, clippings and kitchen waste. Christy got me doing that. As much as this girl knows about agriculture, I can't believe they're closing down that school."

"If they don't turn it into a charter school."

"That just goes to show you that the city doesn't want urban agriculture to take off. If they did then why would they close up the best training program we have here in the city?"

"The mayor has expressed his doubts about the city going in that direction. However, the mayor doesn't run the schools. That's the EFM's bailiwick."

"Regardless, urban agriculture is something that people want so I guess it's something for the city to scoff at. I see people getting into this and it changes their lives. People who seemed lost to the world suddenly get connected to it. Christy is so much into it I think she's gonna be lost if they close that school."

"So where does she live?"


"What? Are you crazy? You can't have a 16-year-old pregnant girl living here with you. What about her family?"

"They put her out."

"What are you going to do when the baby comes? It looks like it could be any day now."

"We're still a few weeks away. I met these Muslim midwives at the produce market where I drop a few things off on consignment. I'm going to take her over to them when the time comes."

"So are you ready to be a baby's daddy?"

Mulenga squirmed uneasily. "We'll see how that goes. But in the meantime, she's been helping me, and I'm gonna help her. It would help if I could get some cash flowing through here. She's got some ideas, but they're going to take some time."

"You're not growing marijuana here, are you?"

"That would be one hell of a cash crop — that's for sure. But I'm not trying to go to jail. There's probably somebody growing weed nearby, but I'm not one of them. I need to keep myself free and unencumbered for my political activism."

"What political activities."

"I've decided to become a Deather."

"What does that mean? You want to die?"

"You've heard of the Truthers who believe the real story about what happened on 9/11 has been covered up; and the Birthers who believe that President Obama wasn't born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president. Well, the Deathers want proof that Osama bin Laden is really dead. Obama could start by releasing the long-form death certificate."

"Why do you want to do that? Do you really believe bin Laden isn't dead?"

"They could have him locked up in Montana somewhere as far as I know. I am for full disclosure of everything no matter what."

"Does that include those shoplifting convictions you had from when we were teenagers?"

"Well, maybe there are some things we don't need to talk about."

"You know what? I think that tin foil has gone to your head."

"I'm a Tin Man with a heart. And, this," he indicated the yard with a sweep of his arm, "is my Emerald City."

Hmm ... I guess there's no place like home.

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