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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 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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Politics & Prejudices

Snyder house rules

The massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich continues

Well, Governor Rick Snyder pulled it off. He got the Legislature to enact his massive tax cut for business and slap a tax on future pension income. This will be paid for — in part — by shortchanging education at all levels, from elementary to graduate school.

Film industry tax credits are out the window, as are breaks for cleaning up brownfields. This follows earlier legislation making it easier to appoint emergency financial managers, and giving them broad new powers. Public employees, especially teachers, are bound to see their benefits cut as well. All this has people in a tizzy.

Most of the business community is ecstatically happy. Most of those who care about education and the poor — or those who are part of those communities themselves — are apoplectic.

You can hardly blame them. If this state has any future, it lies not only in attracting new jobs; it is having a better-educated workforce. On top of that, the Snyder house rules continue an ominous trend in America that began with Ronald Reagan: the massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. State Rep. Maureen Stapleton of Detroit put it eloquently. With Michigan struggling to recover from the long recession, "Snyder and the Legislature threaten to derail it by ramming though the largest redistribution of wealth in our state's history."

True, that. But Stapleton is not a leader in the Democratic caucus, and neither she nor her party's leadership is putting forth any kind of alternative plan. Democrats, by the way, have essentially no power whatsoever in Lansing today. But you'd think they'd offer some kind of alternative people could buy into.

That's what an opposition "shadow government" would do in most parliamentary democracies. That would give something to responsibly rally people around. But they aren't.

Yes, the Democrats are denouncing Snyder. State Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren said the governor is "shifting the tax [burden] to those who are least able to pay in society." Again, that's true enough. But why isn't his leader, the charismatic Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, putting forward a plan?

Simple. She, and they, don't want to commit to anything. Standing for something is bound to alienate somebody. They prefer to bleat "Snyder is bad," and hope to pick up the pieces when the state economy runs off the rails.

This may not be bad short-term politics. America would have voted for almost any Democrat after eight years of George W. Bush. Michigan would have voted for a spotted Republican gerbil after eight years of the vacant charisma of Jennifer Granholm.

Yet not standing for anything is not responsible policy, nor does it help people believe the system can still fix things and help them. That's why you have frustrated hordes either joining irrational protests like the so-called Tea Party movement, or wasting their energies on an almost-certainly-doomed effort to recall Snyder.

What we need is honesty, straight talk and a program to reinvent the state without trampling the poor in the dust. This state badly needs to attract new business — Snyder isn't wrong about that.

The auto industry isn't ever going to supply jobs in sufficient quantity again, and the Democrats haven't a clue of how to create any. But that doesn't mean we should leave those who are displaced to starve in desperation amid rusting abandoned machinery.

Even worse, shortchanging our kids on education and further neglecting our infrastructure is just plain stupid — even from the standpoint of job creation. Does the governor really think he is going to lure high-tech job creators to a state with king-size potholes on the roads and concrete falling off overpasses?

Does he think middle-class people are going to move to a place where the schools are inferior and declining everywhere?

Let's make shared sacrifice have some meaning, damn it. So in the absence of any intellectually coherent opposition to the Snyder reforms, let me present my program. We'll call it the Fair and Responsible Program for Michigan's Economic Reconstruction.

Leave the lowered business taxes where they are. We need to take a gamble to get new industry and jobs, and since the governor was elected on a platform of doing this, we'll try it.

However — we need to raise the Michigan Income Tax rate to make sure we provide a decent education, decent services, and an acceptable quality of life. Those of us who are still working ought to carry more of the burden. I'd boost it from 4.35 to 6 percent now.

We might index this to the unemployment rate so it gradually declines to 5 percent — but no more than that. That will raise a few hundred million dollars, but we can responsibly get much more.

Drop the sales tax from 6 to 5 percent — but extend it to most commercial services. No, not education, business-to-business or medical expenses. But if I buy four new tires, I pay sales tax on them but not on the cost of installation. That doesn't make sense.

Not having raised the beer tax for half a century, even to adjust it for inflation, makes even less sense. Beer drinkers, those with good jobs and lives, should be asked to pay a little more to help bring Michigan back. That means me, by the way, and I hope you too.

Incidentally, I am never running for office, ever, in case anyone has any suspicions. I will cheerfully and enthusiastically support anyone who supports some reasonable program that combines shared sacrifice with trying for a better future. I love this state passionately, and intend to spend my life here. So let's fix it.

Unpleasant reality: Michigan is losing a seat in Congress with the next election, and since the Republicans control every branch of government, they get to determine the shape of the new districts. Odds are that they will throw Sander Levin and Gary Peters in the same Oakland-Macomb county district.

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