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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 PlanetAnt.com. 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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Higher Ground

Outlaws we remain

Despite Prop 19 defeat, we've still come a long way

It was kicks to see my caricature on the cover of last week's Metro Times, and I'd like to thank my editors for the honor as well as the many friends who've called the cover to my attention since the issue appeared.

Seeing the Metro Times pot issue and reading the fervent editorial by my esteemed colleague Curt Guyette sort of took some of the sting out of the extremely disappointing defeat of Proposition 19 in California the night before.

Combined with the even more chilling effect of the right-wing takeover of the House of Representatives and many of our governorships — including the victory of the "Tough Nerd" and his slate in our own state — the rejection of the "Tax and Regulate Cannabis" initiative means that we're in for at least two more years of the invasive police-state assault on marijuana smokers that we'd hoped so fervently would begin to come to an end last week.

There remain many positive signs that the idiocy and viciousness of the War on Drugs with respect to marijuana users may finally be overcome sooner rather than later. A respected poll released last week revealed that nationwide support for legalization of recreational use of weed has reached a new high of 46 percent.

And in California, David Borden reports in AlterNet that the list of mainstream organizations that endorsed Proposition 19 includes California NAACP, Latino Voters League, National Black Police Association, National Latino Officers Association, California Young Democrats, several trade union organizations, and a number of current and former California politicians from the local level up through Congress.

"Win or lose this time," Borden concludes, "a page in history has turned — drug policy reform is an issue whose time has come, and time is on our side."

In the meantime, however, those of us who enjoy a smoke without the benefit of possessing a Medical Marijuana Patient ID card will continue to be ostracized and victimized by the greedy mongers of the War on Drugs and the morality police, suffering the consequences of workplace drug testing and job loss, unreasonable searches and seizures, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, impoundment of homes and vehicles, mandatory subjection to the vast drug treatment industry, and the entire range of humiliating and repressive treatment they have in store for us.

"The simple truth about America's marijuana prohibition," radical historian Harvey Wasserman points out in a recent essay, is that "any law that allows the easy incarceration of any citizen any time those in power want to do it is the ultimate enemy of democracy. With 800,000 annual arrests over an herb used by tens of millions of Americans, it is the cornerstone of a police state."

It's worth following Harvey's argument further as he enumerates the forces prosecuting the War on Drugs, starting with "the drug dealers who profit directly, ... the prison builders and operators, plus the lawyers, judges, guards and street cops who make their livings off the human agony of this endless stream of meaningless arrests.

"Then come the alcohol and tobacco pushers who don't want the competition from a recreational substance that can be raised and controlled locally. Ditto Big Pharma, which fears marijuana as a superior anti-depressant with healing capabilities far beyond a whole multibillion-dollar arsenal of prescription drugs with deadly side effects.

"Ultimately it's the politicians who cling to a prohibition that enhances their power. One after the other, they endorse more arrests and fiscal insanity."

Consider the economics of this pitiless drive to control our lives and curtail our mental activity that has absolutely no chance of succeeding.

In an era when law enforcement has been forced to lay off staff, reduce patrols and even release jail inmates, officers have found that going after marijuana growers and smokers makes them eligible for hefty federal anti-drug grants, Justin Scheck reports in The Wall Street Journal.

"The U.S. Justice Department is spending nearly $3.6 billion this year to augment budgets of state and local law-enforcement agencies," Phillip S. Smith reports in Drug War Chronicle at stopthedrugwar.org. "In addition, the federal government last year set aside close to $4 billion of the economic-stimulus package for law-enforcement grants for state and local agencies.

The White House also is spending about $239 million this year to fund local drug-trafficking task forces, Steve Elliott adds at newsjunkiepost.com, "which in the real world, usually means local cops dressing up like Rambo and tramping through the woods in a wasteful, quixotic and doomed attempt to stop the burgeoning marijuana industry."

The sickest thing about this situation is that you can stack up huge piles of shocking facts about the evil nature and heartless tactics of the War on Drugs, and it doesn't seem to make a whit of difference. These mind-boggling sums are regarded as money well-spent by the people who run our country, and the relentless persecution of recreational drug users will continue as part of the Judeo-Christian proscription against people getting high so long as the current laws remain in effect.

The organizers of the California Marijuana Initiative, led by Richard Lee of Oakland, promise to take up the cudgel again in 2012 in a serious attempt to gain the support of another 5 percent of the voting population to take legalization over the top. The losing side in the 46-54 decision reflects the national poll numbers cited above and reveals just how close we are to achieving our goal.

In a fascinating aside, the California polls before the election showed a 42-47 for-and-against split, but that was when the question was asked by a person. The response to automated polling devices minus the human interrogators was more like 57-43, demonstrating the reluctance so many citizens share about identifying themselves as smokers or even supporters of legalization.

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