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    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

Scoundrel time

Mike Bishop has no problem costing us jobs to please political patron

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, an ambitious politician on the make with a law degree, a real estate license and grease in his hair, is more than happy to cost this region tens of thousands of mostly high-paying jobs, just to please one greedy, aging billionaire.

What's worse is that he is getting away with it, because he can, thanks to a corrupt Legislature and apathetic public. To pull this off, he also had to lie to the people, but he couldn't care less about that.

Last May, Bishop promised an up-or-down vote on legislation that, if approved, would allow a public-private partnership to build a badly needed new bridge across the Detroit River to move forward. Then, this month, he said, too bad. He wouldn't keep his word, and he wouldn't let the Senate vote. He was worried, you see, that they might act with the public's best interests in mind.

Bishop has always been against anything progressive, especially if big business or insurance interests wanted him to be. He tried to block the restaurant smoking ban until even his fellow Republicans revolted against him.

Naturally, he wanted to stop the new bridge, the Detroit River International Crossing. True, the new bridge is badly needed. Currently, billions of dollars in heavy manufacturing components move between Michigan and Ontario over the Ambassador Bridge, which was built in 1929, is not made for today's giant tractor-trailer trucks, and is in need of serious repair.

There's also little security to speak of, and one fanatic with a bomb could plunge our state and Canada's biggest province into an authentic depression. But none of that is important to Bishop. What matters to him is that Matty Moroun, the 83-year-old billionaire who owns the Ambassador Bridge, doesn't want anybody infringing on his monopoly; to protect it, he has shelled out vast sums to legislators, mostly Republicans, in the form of campaign donations. And that's only the money we know about. Moroun has also given money for legislative parties, Senate caucus events, and he is utterly ruthless.

Last month, Jeff Gaudette, a Canadian who had worked for the Ambassador Bridge for 20 years, ran for a seat on the Windsor City Council. He lost. So Moroun fired him. "I've been bullied by the biggest bully in town," said Gaudette. Actually, Gaudette, a steward for a Teamsters local, was directly fired not by Moroun, but by his chief henchman, Dan Stamper — who did so via speakerphone.

Gaudette's real crime was evidently not losing, though he thinks he would have kept his job ("those guys would be kissing my butt") if he had won. He thinks he was really fired for bringing attention to a crack in the concrete on the Canadian side. That's a hanging offense in Morounland. "I'm not an engineer, but I think we need to look at the bridge and the safety of it," Gaudette told the Windsor Star.

By the way, does it seem odd to you that our nation's most important border crossing should be owned and totally controlled by one shadowy businessman? If not, I'd say you are either spending too much time reading Ayn Rand or are receiving handouts from Matty Moroun.

Or, you might be Mike Bishop. He did offer a flimsy excuse for breaking his word and not allowing a vote: He said the Michigan Department of Transportation hadn't supplied him with enough information. MDOT said this was nonsense.

The Canadians were offended. They, after all, have gone out on a limb to make sure Michigan has nothing to lose. Canada knows how important a new bridge is to both nations' economic futures. Ottawa also knows how cash-strapped Michigan is right now, and stunned onlookers by announcing it would cover Michigan's share of the costs, as much as $550 million. We could repay it later via tolls.

That forced Bishop and his equally contemptible understudy, Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey, to claim this might infringe on our national sovereignty, and make other ridiculous arguments. Their fellow Republican, Senate Transportation Committee Chair Jud Gilbert, was working on a bill that would allow the DRIC bridge and allay any of those fears — when Bishop stopped the process.

Nobody has to look far for the reason why: According to the Detroit News and the respected Gongwer News Service: "Moroun and his family gave more than $400,000 this year to candidates and political action committees, and a significant portion of that went to committees controlled by Bishop, committees helping Senate Republicans or Bishop's unsuccessful campaign for attorney general."

The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce is generally a pro-business, pro-Republican organization, not given to emotion or sentiment. They know what Bishop has done to the region. "We're disappointed Bishop is blocking the creation of up to 35,000 jobs in the Detroit region, but we will continue to push for the DRIC bridge," said Sarah Hubbard, the chamber's senior vice president for government relations, adding, "This project has been debated for at least 10 years — there is no reason to delay any longer."

The chamber believes that there's no risk to the taxpayers. The tolls, Hubbard said, "would be more than enough to repay bonds used to build it and maintain and operate the bridge."

There may still be a glimmer of hope. The lame-duck session of the Legislature lasts a couple more weeks. If voters protest vigorously enough, the other senators could force Bishop to allow something called democracy to occur in the chamber. Or possibly not. Term limits mean most are leaving forever in January, and some may want a job from Moroun. Meanwhile, Bishop is reportedly scheming to run for Oakland County prosecutor in 2012. Remember who he is, if and when he does run for anything. Remember the 35,000 jobs that could have been created.

And this time, get off your asses and do something about it.

Michigan man to head the Republican Party?
Saul Anuzis, who spent four years as chair of the Michigan GOP, is challenging Michael Steele for the job of Republican National Committee chairman. Anuzis ran for the job two years ago, but pulled out after five ballots. Steele, who hasn't said whether he will run again, was seen as a laughingstock for much of his tenure. He was always rumored to be on the brink of being fired, but he may have gotten a new lease on life after the Republican landslide victories this fall.

Anuzis, on the other hand, may be at a disadvantage because he presided over a period when the Michigan GOP lost two elections, big time. But don't let that fool you: Democrats should quietly be hoping that he doesn't get the top national job.

That's because Anuzis has formidable skills. He is tech-savvy, a whiz at raising money, and excellent with the press, though he isn't interested in making himself the story or in running for office. A Harley-riding son of Lithuanian immigrants, he grew up in a blue-collar Detroit family. He can relate to constituents many Republicans can't. The national party would be smart to hire him. My guess is they won't be.

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