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.



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Politics & Prejudices

Political marketplace

When it comes to politics of the highest bidder, we have the best government money can buy

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What would you think if you learned, say, that Gov. Rick Snyder gave me a thousand dollars to write a favorable column about him?

Naturally, you'd conclude that nothing I wrote would ever have any credibility again. Not that you would be reading me any longer; the Metro Times would fire me or any other columnist immediately if they found out I was on the take. So would any decent publication.

Now what would you think if I could prove that your lawmakers were taking thousands of dollars in thinly disguised bribes to vote against a project very much in the public interest?

Keep reading; I am about to do just that.

First, imagine there was a badly needed project that conservatives and liberals agreed the state needed. The governor said it was not only necessary, it wouldn't cost us one cent.

Ford, General Motors and Chrysler endorsed this project. So did every chamber of commerce in sight. Economists said this would create at least 10,000 good-paying jobs, some of them permanent.

Both Washington and the Canadian national governments wanted this project so much they offered Michigan two incredible deals.

Canada would cover every penny of Michigan's costs. We can pay them back later, interest-free, when the project starts making money for the state. Washington said we could use the $550 million Canada was willing to loan us to qualify for $2.2 billion in badly needed highway funds to fix Michigan roads.

Yet the project was opposed by one 84-year-old billionaire, because while it would do wonders for Michigan, it might hurt his ability to make even more money. So he began paying off lawmakers.

He spent millions to run TV commercials to confuse the public, ads that independent analysts agree are lies from beginning to end. He poured cash into campaign coffers, and slipped money to officeholders in other ways. And that's still happening now.

What's more, we have documented proof of at least some of it, thanks to what flimsy campaign finance reporting laws we do have. For those of you who have been trapped in a mine shaft, I am talking, of course, about one Manuel "Matty" Moroun, who is to our community what a large and bloated tick might be to a poor little dog.

New campaign finance reports released last week show that last year, Matty Moroun, along with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, gave at least $242,000 to various state-related political funds.

The total figure was probably considerably higher, because under our inadequate laws, political action committee spending for the last two months of 2011 doesn't have to be disclosed until April. 

The Morouns didn't give this money to help democracy. They own the aging Ambassador Bridge, which was constructed in 1929 and remains the only way to effectively get mass amounts of heavy freight across the Detroit River — something like $125 billion worth every year.

There is no backup for that bridge, and no way we could avoid an economic disaster if anything happened to it.

That's why everyone agrees a second span is necessary. Except the Morouns, who might be forced to survive on the $1.5 billion they are worth now. They've been determined to stop it.

So for years, they gave lavishly to the campaign committees of lawmakers; including those who were most instrumental in preventing any bill supporting a new bridge from reaching the full Legislature. 

Take state Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) for example. He's the chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee, and did the most to prevent the bridge bill from reaching the Senate floor, where all the members could have voted on it.

Officially, the Morouns only gave him $1,000, considerably less than Democrat Virgil Smith (D-Detroit) who took $3,000 of the Morouns' money and also voted against the bill (he said, because he was concerned the new bridge wouldn't do enough for the neighborhood).

But in reality, Kowall and his wife Eileen, a state representative, got more — much more. Rich Robinson, who runs a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization called the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, helped me sort through the filings.

Records show that Moroun family members gave $50,000 to an organization called Knights of the Round Table two years ago. This has nothing to do with Camelot; it is a political vehicle for Mike Bishop, the former bumbling state Senate Majority Leader who slavishly did Moroun's bidding while in office.

Bishop's Round Table then gave $12,000 last year to something called the North Oakland Political Action Committee, which seems to exist solely for the personal benefit of the Kowalls. "It was used as a vehicle to get goods and services to the Kowalls' campaigns," said Robinson, who spends his time studying these reports, and attempting to bring information like this to light.

Indeed, the North Oakland PAC gave $6,144 in "in-kind goods and services" to the "Friends of Mike Kowall" and $3,144 to "Friends of Eileen Kowall." Nice when you can keep things all in the family.

By the way, ever wonder why, since our Republican governor wants a new bridge, his party hasn't supported him? No mystery here; the Morouns gave $100,000 to the Michigan GOP last year!

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