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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

Pot on the left and right

Can conservatives and liberals agree on legalizing weed?

Could medical marijuana be the issue that brings us all together? I'm not talking about everybody sitting in a circle, passing a joint around and swaying back and forth to Michael Franti tunes — although that wouldn't hurt anything either. I'm talking bipartisan politics. Something almost all politicians talk about but toss into the trash the minute anybody actually tries to get something done.

Rabid partisanship has dogged our political process pretty much since the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964. The issue of drugs and marijuana has played into that since Richard Nixon used it successfully as part of his core platform in his 1972 re-election bid. Neither side wants a soft-on-drugs image, but the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has pushed its politicians further on medical marijuana.

"The party that tends to be more responsive on the issue of medical cannabis has been the Democrats," says Alan St. Pierre, director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, D.C. "Democrats, generally speaking, have been more supportive than Republicans. But to get anything done there has to be two to tango. When Republicans do cross the aisle they are generally the libertarian, pro-business types rather than the moral holy rollers. Regarding out-and-out legalization, neither party takes this with any degree of seriousness and urgency."

This is still the case in most instances. And as a Republican administration prepares to take over in Lansing, there is real concern among medical marijuana activists that it will be unfriendly toward their cause. That could happen, but one activist doesn't see it.

"The Democratic Party is pretty solid as far as following the will of the people," says medical marijuana activist Tim Beck. "As far as Republicans are concerned, we've gotten the same signals. For instance James Bolger [a southwest Michigan state representative] is a Rick Snyder Republican. His focus is on the economy; his focus is on jobs. There are also some libertarian Republicans. They know fighting medical marijuana does not need to be a major focus. There isn't going to be a big push to see this overhauled as much as [Oakland County Executive] L. Brooks Patterson and [Oakland County Sheriff] Mike Bouchard would like to see."

Indeed Oakland County has pushed the pedal to the metal in confronting medical marijuana facilities in busting two alleged dispensaries — and indicting 16 people connected to them. While Michigan law allows for medical marijuana patients and caregivers, it does not address distribution outside of the patient-caregiver relationship. Those trials and a suit by the ACLU in support of medical marijuana patients against ordinances that essentially prohibit the use of medical marijuana in Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills should go a long way in defining what will and won't be allowed in Michigan.

Other than litigation, the only way to further define how the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act works is with a three-quarters majority vote in the state Legislature. Voters passed the MMMA by a 63 percent average across Michigan, but a look at conservative Ottawa County illustrates the act's bipartisan support. In 2008, straight party ticket voters favored Republicans 72 percent to 27 percent, and John McCain won the county with 51 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Obama; yet the MMMA passed 50.55 percent to 49.45 percent.

"The ballot proposition did pass here in Ottawa County," says attorney Dan Martin in interpreting those results. "Support for the law is not a Republican-Democrat split. There had to be a number of Republicans in Ottawa County who voted for it. Otherwise it couldn't have passed in our county."

Martin, an attorney for the Scholten Fant law firm in Grand Haven, addressed a crowd of 100 mostly west Michigan local government representatives at the Allendale Township Hall. Martin played Peter Tosh's reggae classic "Legalize It" and advised the leaders in the audience they could be sued if they ban all medical marijuana. "Lawful uses are permitted," he said.

It's not just the Republican voters who have lightened up about marijuana. Over the years, some heavy national conservatives have come out in support of legalizing marijuana, or at least downsizing the costly drug war, such as Ron Paul and the late William F. Buckley Jr. and Milton Friedman.

In a 2004 column in the National Review, Buckley opined:

An estimated 100 million Americans have smoked marijuana at least once, the great majority, abandoning its use after a few highs. But to stop using it does not close off its availability. A Boston commentator observed years ago that it is easier for an 18-year old to get marijuana in Cambridge than to get beer. Vendors who sell beer to minors can forfeit their valuable licenses. It requires less effort for the college student to find marijuana than for a sailor to find a brothel.

Even Sarah Palin, the darling of the conservative right, in June said, "If somebody's going to smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems we have in society."

Closer to home, The Detroit News, with its traditionally conservative philosophy, published a column a few weeks ago in which editorial page editor Nolan Finley called for the legalization of marijuana so it could be taxed and regulated. Wrote Finley:

Critics of medical marijuana have called it the first step toward legalizing all pot use. They're right. And it should be.
It's absurd for Michigan to still be arresting and jailing pot growers and users whose only real crime is that they were too stupid to apply for a medical marijuana certificate.

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