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  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Saluting Motown spirit

Thick as a brick: Awards heaved in worthy Detroiters' general direction

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the first annual Motor City Brick Awards, a totally random acknowledgement of things that happened in Detroit this past year. We're holding the ceremony in front of Belle Isle's Scott Fountain because there's a lot of space out here, and people are milling around bonfires chatting, snacking and having a genial good time. We've got some grills roasting up Detroit-grown vegetables and some Indian Village free-range chickens. Don't ask me where in Indian Village and I'll tell you no lies. There is also a garbage can full of grog created from the dregs of liquor bottles collected from 500 local New Year's Eve parties. Just dip your paper cup in and scoop up some swill.

The awards are made from bricks we've recovered from a number of crumbling buildings. Several of our local artists have lent a hand to paint them with mysterious designs of their own origin. So without further ado, let's get on with the Motor City Brick Awards.

Who Woulda Thunk It Award: This one goes to the Detroit Lions. Who would have thought the most feel-good story in Detroit sports as we enter the New Year would be the Lions? The fact that our Honolulu-blue-and-silver gridiron warriors managed to win six games isn't such a big deal. Many pre-season pundits put them in that territory going into the season. However, they way they did it, pulling off four of the wins in a season-ending streak, defied belief. They broke loss streaks — road losses, division losses — had a four-game win streak for the first time in over a decade, and they won with whichever quarterback was healthy enough to tape up and throw out there on a given week. They gave us a reason to smile on a New Year's weekend when the Wolverines and Spartans stunk up their bowl games so badly they were bigger jokes than the Lions. Michigan coach Rich Rod may well have been run out of Ann Arbor by the time you read this. Michigan State looked so lame in its 49-7 shellacking by Alabama and former coach Nick Saban that it's hard to feel like its 11-1 regular season record really represented where this program stands. Those aren't sugarplums dancing in your head; those are Lions footballs and the dreams of next season.

Miss Congeniality Award: She almost lost this award for not showing up for a pre-Christmas roll call, but considering more than 70 members of Congress skipped out early for the holiday, I'll let it slide and make outgoing U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick Miss Congeniality. I know there isn't a lot of love out there for Cheeks; after all, voters tossed her out in the August primary election. However, she took her medicine without a lot of twitching and moaning, although had it not been for the problems of her son, former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, she'd probably still be in Congress for another term. Aside from coming up with that "y'alls boy" comment during Kwame's 2005 re-election run, she pretty much stayed out of the Kwame muck. That was borne out when the federal indictments came down and her name was not on the list. I'm not saying she was the greatest legislator ever, but she lost her seat because she happened to be the mother and ex-wife of a couple of gangstas. You might say that showed bad judgment from the start, but I hear that she counseled Kwame not to run for mayor in the first place (he didn't listen) and also told him to stop running around with Christine Beatty (he didn't listen). Like I said, she took her medicine and didn't start yowling about God's plan or a comeback, and showed more class than anybody else around here named Kilpatrick.

Best Thing That Happened in Detroit This Year Award: In an admittedly tough year, it was hard to get large groups of people to come to the city for any reason not related to physical freaks who are paid incredible amounts of money to throw balls or score goals, but the United States Social Forum 2010 managed to get about 15,000 leftist activists to come to town for hundreds of workshops, mostly at Cobo Center, focused on learning from each other how to continue the fight for social justice in the face of the globalized economy. They also spread out to help clean up the city, add numbers to several protests, and party in some of our cultural enclaves in the course of dropping some cash into the local economy.

Yeah I Said it Award: Few folks in Detroit took as much heat as Ron Scott and the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality did for not taking the knee-jerk easy reaction in the wake of the tragic killing of police officer Brian Huff last May. Scott always seems to stand strong on controversial police issues, but it must have taken extra nerve when a media circus and war of words sprang up between Scott and then-Police Chief Warren Evans after Scott questioned police activities leading up to the tragedy. The war of words continued as a diversion from the real issues surrounding Huff's killing. In the long run, Scott is still out there doing good work in the community, rightfully questioning a police force with a history of questionable behavior, and Evans ... well, I'm not sure what he's up to these days, but he's no longer police chief.

Medicate Me Now Award: This one goes out to the medical marijuana movement. Although medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan two years ago, a lot of the action around it sprang up in 2010 with the proliferation of compassion clubs, big-time busts, cities taking their stand for or against it, lawsuits challenging some of those laws, and activists coalescing into a movement. We'll know a lot more about how this is shaking down in the next year, but journalists have to give up the overused metaphor "hazy" for their description of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

Alexander Haig Memorial 'I'm In Charge' Award: Robert Bobb's attempt to be the Detroit Public Schools czar of everything rather than just its emergency financial manager was pushed back in early December, when Wayne Circuit Court Judge Wendy Baxter ruled in a suit by the Detroit School Board against Bobb. It was one of the few things that has gone the board's way in recent years.

Cee Lo Green F-You Award: This award goes to former state Attorney General Mike Cox. The position of state attorney general can be just a few steps from the governor's office — that was Jennifer Granholm's route — but Republican voters gave state AG and suave ladies' man Cox the boot in his bid for governor, in favor of the Nerd, who easily swept into office on the tails of his own fortune.

Local BS Political Ploy Award: For a minute, there was faux drama when Mayor Dave Bing threatened to close 77 parks during a budget standoff with City Council. It was never a serious threat, but it kept people like me going for a couple of news cycles.

Those are the winners for our highlight broadcast. There are many other winners. You'll know who you are when I toss a brick on your porch.

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