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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

Raising up this city

Neighborhoods Day brings out people who want to rebuild Detroit

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

Belle Isle tug-of-war and the MLK High School marching band during past Neighborhoods Days.

The Motor City Blight Busters, a nonprofit organization in the Old Redford neighborhood of Detroit, has bought seven houses it plans to demolish in order to create a community garden. Those demolitions will be the centerpiece of the group's efforts on Saturday as neighborhood groups across the city observe Neighborhoods Day.

Neighborhoods Day, the brainchild of ARISE Detroit!, and its director Luther Keith, seeks to highlight community service in the city. This year's event will be the biggest of its six years, with 200 events and thousands of volunteers doing what their organizations mostly do quietly in neighborhoods year-round.

"This year has taken a quantum leap," Keith says. "We have more sponsorships than we've ever had. It's grown literally right out of the streets of the city."

Neighborhoods Day events run the gamut from cleanups around schools and home renovations, to baseball, golf, soccer and boxing tournaments, public art projects, health fairs and environmental projects. Some 30 churches and mosques, the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, the Belle Air Theater, Cobo Cleaners, Marygrove College and many others are involved. Even attorney Jamouna Kayrouz, whose billboard and bus-side advertising seems ubiquitous around the city, is pitching in with her staff to do service at Beckham Academy Public School. You can get more information on events near you, and there will be something near you, at or call 313-921-1955.

"If Detroit is so without hope, so without any future, why are these people doing this?" Keith asks. "These are the people who truly have not given up. These are the stayers; these are the fighters. They know that, with the condition the city is in, there's not a lot of hope out there. They need the help that comes from helping themselves. Even in neighborhoods without a lot of resources, that creates the energy that draws folks together. What we have is a message to encourage people to get involved."

The Motor City Blight Busters has been involved with improving Detroit for 24 years — clearing away debris, demolishing run-down houses, fixing up others and rehabbing buildings clustered around the Redford Theater, where it supports the Artists Village and the Motor City Java House. It's also supported urban gardening recently, and the six houses it plans on demolishing this year are the first step in an ambitious plan to create the two-acre Farm City Detroit. It's an outgrowth of its partnership with the Fertile Ground collective and Detroit Arts City.

"There are many, many groups that work on these projects," says John George of Blight Busters. "Our goal is not just to clean up the city, but to really create a community where we can turn a liability into an asset."

That's how urban gardening works. Vacant lots and empty houses are a draw for crime, dumping grounds for unscrupulous individuals and an eyesore in the community. But it doesn't take much to turn those negatives into a net positive with a community garden. They've already done that with two lots where crack houses once stood to create the Royal Garden, a community space where they grow food but also have a barbwcue pit, tables and benches. The wood used to build a fence around the garden and the raised garden beds is recycled from the crack houses. It demonstrates how you can get things done on slim resources.

"Gardens get people to see what they could do with a space and also to introduce them to growing their own food with the anticipation that they take those skills and do stuff in their own back yards — which they've started to do," says Cofi Royal, the master gardener from Fertile Ground. "It's also a means of bringing the community together in terms of communications and personal exchange. Sometimes people bring their kids in to show them the vegetables and how they grow. The kids play there. Sometimes people just sit and meditate."

The coalition in Old Redford is also focused on young people in the area, paying 15 of them to work on various projects this summer. The Artists Village has a stage where they put on music performances or short plays. It's a positive outlet that beats standing around on the corner waiting for something to happen.

"Urban farming isn't only about food," Royal says. "It's an excellent way of providing a nonprofessional therapeutic endeavor for youth while they develop skills, a counseling modality. It gives us a chance to work with them and kind of develop a relationship. What we want to do with the Farm City is use that site to create an oasis in our community, a family-friendly cross between a park and growing space."

Handyman Ministries, a group that has partnered with Blight Busters in the past, is another Neighborhoods Day participant that will be returning with a big project this year. They're bringing 300 volunteers from General Motors' Electrical Division to do five full-block cleanups, board up 21 houses, and cut down trees and bushes. Neighborhoods Day features similar efforts around 17 city schools.

"Some of those houses are dangerous and an eyesore," says Timothy Addy of Handyman Ministries. "It makes me nervous to walk by them, so you can imagine how the kids feel when they walk by them."

Last year Handyman Ministries rehabbed a full block of houses on Tennessee Street. The action sparked a block club there, and that club has become a participant in Neighborhoods Day. Addy hopes this year's project will help engender something similar around Clark School. The group started the weeklong project on Monday, July 30, and is having a barbecue each day and inviting neighbors to eat for free. 

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