Most Read
  • 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 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 problems that remain

From Detroit to across the nation, there is much to be done

The votes are in — except, that is, for 10 million or so absentee, mail-in and provisional ballots that won't be counted for days or weeks. Still, odds are you know something I didn't when I wrote this column: You probably know who won.

That is, unless we are hip-deep in another disputed presidential election, in which case we will have final proof that we and our nation are hated by all the gods.

But the odds are pretty good that by now, you know either that President Obama is going to serve a second term, or that Mitt Romney will be our first Mormon president.

No matter which is the case, the talking heads on all the cable channels are chattering away about why the election went the way it did. Tomorrow, they'll have moved on to predicting what the next administration will do — though based on history, they won't have much of a clue, especially if it's Malleable Mitt.

But here's what I know: Regardless of who is president, regardless of who controls the Michigan Legislature, regardless of how Michigan voted on the six ballot proposals and regardless of who controls the U.S. Senate, ...

We still have problems. Big problems. Now that the last lying campaign commercial has assaulted our brain cells, it's time to get real about some of what lies ahead:


Detroit: The voters on Tuesday either reaffirmed or pulled the plug on the tough Emergency Manager law the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder created last year.

That law was suspended when those who hate it — mainly unions and their supporters — collected enough petition signatures to slap it on the ballot. Everybody knows the main reason the governor wanted it: Detroit can't go on much longer the way it is.

Two months ago, I went to see Mayor Dave Bing. I could see how he might balance the budget by using the consent agreement, I told him. But I didn't see how that could do anything about — his figure — $12 billion in unfunded liabilities.

Essentially, he agreed. There's no way the city will be able to come up with that money. It seems inevitable that at some point the city will pass into some kind of state control, with or without a session in bankruptcy court.

If the emergency manager law is back as a result of the election, and an EM is named, what will his or her mission be?

And if the voters have repealed the EM law, what then becomes of Detroit? How does the city get out of this immense hole? How does a city function when it doesn't have enough police to ensure even minimal public safety?

How does a city with no trustworthy public school system attract new middle-class families?

How does a city that is totally broke turn down an offer from the state to fix up and restore its once-beautiful, now crumbling signature public park, i.e. Belle Isle?

And having done that, thanks to an insular and irrational City Council — how do the ruins of that once great city even begin to attract any rational investors?


Michigan's forlorn proletariat: Thirty years ago, this was a nicely humming, brawn-based economy. Men with sometimes less than a high school education could make $60,000 to $70,000 a year, with minimal skills and no overtime.

Then the world changed forever. No matter how far the economy recovers, there will never again be hundreds of thousands of high-paying, low-skilled jobs in the automotive industry here. When the automakers do hire nowadays, the new workers make less than $30,000 a year.

You can't buy a house on that. You can't even buy much of a new car on that. Yet we haven't a clue what to do about the hundreds of thousands of kids who come rolling out of our high schools every year, wanting to find careers and stay in this state.

We've cut scholarships and raised tuition, so that kids who could once have almost paid for college by working good summer jobs now come out $40,000 or more in debt.

Despite laying out all that money, they too often are finding that there aren't any good jobs available.

And what about those who aren't cut out for a traditional four-year school? How do they find and afford training programs that will actually lead to a real job?

What about the tens of thousands who come out of inner-city (and some suburban) high schools every year, basically illiterate and without work ethic and life coping skills?

What about them? Did either presidential candidate indicate they'd do anything to give them the skills they need to have a shot at becoming productive members of this society?

Did any candidate for any office say anything about helping these people, sometimes called the lumpenproletariat?

Does it ever occur to anyone living in the Grosse Pointes that their lives might not be utterly secure forever, living next to a huge and growing mass of desperate people with no future?

How much do you think the next president is thinking about those leading lives of quiet desperation in the ruins?

How long do you think their desperation will be quiet?

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