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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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Politics & Prejudices

The lost election

Deafening silence surrounds the GOP fight against Stabenow

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Michigan's quiet senate race: Incumbent Debbie Stabenow

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...versus recumbent Pete Hoekstra.

You may not have realized this, but there is actually an election for the U.S. Senate in Michigan this year.

Well, sort of an election. But really not much of one. The GOP candidate either seems to be sleepwalking, or to have decided that he really doesn't want to be a senator after all.

This is the race between U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat trying to win a third six-year term, and Republican Pete Hoekstra, a former congressman from the west side of the state who used to chair the House Intelligence Committee.

If you've forgotten this was going on, that's understandable. Hoekstra was last seen campaigning in Israel.

Why? Well, when he came back, he told one reporter he felt that getting the latest information on what was happening in the Middle East was more important than campaigning in Michigan. You never know. He could be on to something.

It just might be that hundreds of thousands of unemployed Michiganders are most intensely interested in the next Knesset elections, or how the mess in Syria turns out.

But I kind of doubt it. Meanwhile, Stabenow, who is now chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, locked up the endorsement of the usually Republican Michigan Farm Bureau.

One recent poll showed her up by 53 percent to 37 percent, about the same margin by which she beat the hapless Oakland County Sheriff "Six Gun" Mike Bouchard last time.

When he came back from Israel, Hoekstra sat down with The Detroit News, his best bet for an endorsement. "I think I'm behind," he told them. "It's an uphill battle."

Can't say that guy isn't perceptive. Well, actually you can. This was supposed to be a competitive race. Hoekstra had won high marks as chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence in the years after Sept. 11.

He finished a distant second in the GOP primary for governor to Rick Snyder last year, but did beat out Attorney General Mike Cox and the by-then shopworn Bouchard.

Yet, from the moment the Senate race began, Hoekstra seemed determined to put his foot in it. First, there was his racist-seeming Super Bowl ad, featuring a pretty Asian girl with an accent straight out of a 1930s Charlie Chan movie.

"Sank you, Debbie Spend-It-Now. You borrow so much money from us your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs," she said, grinning evilly.

Ironically, it turned out that Hoekstra spent about nine times as much to air the ad as it brought in, in terms of contributions, making him non-Senator Pete Spend-it-Now.

Quietly, Michigan soon disappeared from the national Republican Party's lists of seats they hoped to pick up. This summer, Hoekstra further made a fool of himself by running ads claiming Stabenow was the "worst senator ever."

Detroit Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson said, "mostly, I'm embarrassed for the guy." Hoekstra's agony will be over, mercifully, in less than a month. Unless there is a sudden surge of write-in votes from Israel, he is clearly toast.

The agony of the Michigan GOP, however, continues. His defeat will mean Republicans have lost 11 of the last 12 U.S. Senate elections in Michigan. The only exception in the last 40 years was in 1994, when Republicans won every open Senate race in the nation. Hoekstra won't starve; he could perhaps go back to his old job as a furniture executive at Herman Miller.

More likely, he becomes a lobbyist. For nearly four decades, Republicans have sneered at Debbie Stabenow, back to when she first ran for a seat on the Ingham County Commission in 1974. They pick on her non-flashy style and her weight.

Then she beats them, every time.


Bottom feeders: In past years, we've had some decent Republican secretaries of state. Candice Miller and Terri Lynn Land were competent and non-ideological enough that I found myself voting for both when they ran for re-election.

However, Ruth Johnson, — the third blond, middle-aged GOP SOS in a row — is something else. She's obsessed with the need to prevent non-citizens from voting, though there is little or no evidence that more than a handful ever have.

Earlier this year, the governor vetoed a law that would have required voters to check a box affirming that they are U.S. citizens when they vote. That didn't matter to Ruthie.

She decided to impose the requirement anyway in the August primary. This caused howls of protest and some principled voters, like the Michigan Campaign Finance Network's Rich Robinson, to be denied a ballot.

Things were confused further when she then issued new instructions, now saying voters didn't have to do that, in the middle of Election Day. Unlike my dog, however, Johnson seems incapable of learned behavior, and announced she was bringing the check box back for the November election.

Not so fast. Last week, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman told her to forget it. After first compelling Johnson to show up in court, Borman told her what she was doing wasn't legal.

"The bill was not enacted because the governor vetoed it," he said, explaining that her move created a lack of equal protection under the law. As for her order, "it's clear that a lot of clerks aren't following it because it wasn't legally enacted." 

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