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  • 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.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. The Sugar Clouds’ Partners Don’t Do That (They Watch and be Amazed) (Wax Splat) is a nostalgic look at the psychedelic days of ’60s grooviness. Even the album cover looks like a lava lamp. The male-female vocals have a sort of Jefferson Airplane feel, and the songs are blessed with both sugary sweet pop melodies and a garage-y earthiness. The story of the band’s formation is rather interesting; the two vocalists, Greg and Melissa Host, are a divorced couple who wrote the songs in their living room. The band is still together, so this divorce was a hell of a lot more civil than any we’ve ever known of. Steffanie Christi’an has friends in fairly high places. Her new Way Too Much mini-album is being put out by Nadir Omowale’s Distorted Soul label, and she is also a regular feature on Jessica Care Moore’s Black Women Rock revue. Maybe the choice of cover image isn’t the best – she looks a bit like a Tina Turner tribute act here. But that can and should be […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’

      There’s at least one city councilmember who’s less than pleased with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to increase all parking violation fines. Councilman Gabe Leland, whose district represents the city’s west side, issued a statement today, calling Orr’s plan a potential “deterrent” to attracting people to the city. I don’t believe the argument to raise the parking ticket fines from $30 to $45 and eliminate the $10 early payment fine are justification for this action. The emergency manager’s order to increase ticket fines places city government inefficiencies on the backs of our residents who need to do business in downtown and other parts of our city. And, this will increase the barrier for people to frequent Detroit-based establishments; likely to be a deterrent for some to shop and dine in our city. Leland suggested implementing a plan that maintains current rates for fines and reduces operating inefficiencies to collecting parking fines. “In my view, generating revenue by increasing fines when residents from neighborhoods must go downtown to get licenses and permits, attend court appointments and do other necessary business, is the wrong direction,” Leland said. “…Additionally, generating revenue using fines when we are trying to grow this city and attract […]

    The post Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

The new reality

Now Michigan Republicans will have no excuses - and few checks

Let's start off by pointing out some new bad news for the Democrats most may not even know about yet.

One of their very few bright spots on election night was Congressman Gary Peters' narrow victory over "Rocky" Raczkowski. Peters, who represents much of Oakland County, easily beat a Republican fossil, Joe Knollenberg, two years ago, but almost lost this time to a candidate who was neither very strong nor well-funded.

What his supporters didn't realize election night is that their victory just postponed the inevitable. Michigan will lose a House seat next year, thanks to the shifting U.S. population. Lansing will redraw districts. Republicans will control the Legislature and the governor's office. Guess whose seat they'll eliminate?

They will almost certainly throw Peters into a district he has no chance of winning in the general election, or put him in the same district as fellow Democrat Sandy Levin, meaning one or the other will have to bow out, retire or lose.

Then the Legislature will draw boundaries to ensure the GOP captures as many seats in Lansing as possible over the next decade. They'll pass it; Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will sign it.

Now, if Democrats think that plan is unfair, why, they can always appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. But ... oh wait! Republicans now have control of that too.

Welcome to our new political reality. Last week was a GOP victory at every level. Democrats lost the governor's race by a landslide, as everyone knew they would. But having said that, here's something positive about Virg Bernero: Yes, he got creamed. But he did better than the last two losing Democrats for governor, Geoffrey Fieger and Howard Wolpe. That's amazing, given they had more money and ran against John Engler, closer of mental health clinics, an uncharismatic man with negatives of his own.

This time, Rick Snyder was able to run as Our Non-Political Savior, with the entire media establishment and business community serving as his public relations apparatus. He was effectively able to be all things to all people. Bernero had little money, a not-very-focused campaign and had to stand against a huge Republican tide. Not to mention the legacy of Jennifer Granholm, who rightly or wrongly had become a symbol for everything wrong.

With all that going for him, you would have thought Snyder would have done better than the 61 and 62 percent scores Engler racked up against a respected former congressman and then Michigan's best-known and most flamboyant attorney. Yet Snyder only beat Bernero 58 to 40 percent. That's significant, for this reason: During those larger Engler landslides, Democrats weren't wiped out at lower levels the way they were last week. Back then, Democrats were elected attorney general both times. They won at least some state education board seats too, and did better in the Legislature. This time, they were wiped out. This wasn't an anti-Virg vote. It was a vote against the Democrats.

They lost every statewide office. Jocelyn Benson, who may have been the best-qualified candidate ever for secretary of state, ran far ahead of the rest of the ticket, but lost by six points. Republicans gained more seats in the Legislature than in their wildest dreams. In perhaps the most significant blow, they took back control of the Michigan Supreme Court.

What does this all mean? Nobody really knows, and we won't for some time. But we do know this: First of all, Republicans — if they are united — can now do anything they want to when it comes to running the government. Democrats won't control a damned thing. In fact, their minority in the state Senate will be so small — less than one-third of the seats — they won't even be able to prevent any bills the Republicans pass from taking immediate effect.

However, there is a silver lining in all this, for either the state of Michigan, the Democrats, or both: Republicans now, finally, have to take complete responsibility for the mess we are in.

They are going to have to balance a budget with perhaps a $2 billion deficit, and do it without stimulus money. They will either have to take the responsible step of raising revenues, or wipe out what remains of social services, badly damage higher education, and ruin our state's ability to compete. Either the state wins or the Republicans will have demonstrated themselves to be a bunch of ideological fanatics, interested in only in the rich and super-rich.

Don't be surprised if our new governor finds his hands full with a lot of newly elected Tea Party know-nothings in the Legislature. It could be that he will only be able to succeed with support from some Democrats, if the Teabaggers revolt against him.

This much is clear. The voters decisively gave power to the Republicans, in Michigan as nationwide. I happen to believe they did so because President Obama and the Democrats at all levels did a piss-poor job of explaining what they really did accomplish.

They enacted a health care plan the vast majority of Americans would enthusiastically favor — if they understood it. They saved us from a Great Depression. Locally, the president saved the auto industry, and saved our state from financial collapse. But they apparently thought virtue would bring its own reward. Instead, the constant televised lies and their own inability to communicate brought us a GOP landslide.

So now it is their turn. Democrats won fewer seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than they have in any election since 1946. But take note of two other things too: The last three times the GOP made major gains in Congress in midterm elections, the Democratic president at the time was easily re-elected two years later.

And consider the big Tea Party Republican stars, the ones who were constantly on the all-news TV channels: Christine O'Donnell. Carl Paladino. Joe Miller. Sharron Angle. Think of Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, the rich women who were going to take over California.

Every one of them lost — badly. When people really saw what they were selling, they didn't want any of it. There might be a lesson there.


Could Comrade Mark be in trouble? The Detroit Free Press had an editorial last week urging the replacement of Mark Brewer, the longtime Democratic Party state chair. That found a lot of eager support from hardworking rank-and-file Democrats like one woman I spoke to who fought hard to get out the vote Tuesday.

She, like others, is upset that the Democrats under Brewer have squandered money on silly, doomed causes like the unconstitutional "Reform Michigan Now" amendment two years ago, and managed to make a mess of the presidential primary in 2008.

They are incensed that the party did very little for Jocelyn Benson, who really could have won with proper support, but instead threw money and energy (though they deny it) on a farcical attempt to add a phony Trojan horse Tea Party to the ballot.

So does this mean Brewer will finally leave when his term expires early next year? Probably not, I'm told. He is the unions' apparatchik, and they control much of the process.

And drifting sadly downward things go.

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