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  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Unchained riff

Larry on Django and what it means

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I don't go to a lot of first-run movies, but since I was hearing so much chatter about Quentin Tarantino's, I thought I'd check it out myself. Seemingly in recognition of the film's controversial subject matter, director Tarantino and lead actor Jamie Foxx got out in front of the criticism and released an hour-long promotional video that takes on many of the concerns that folks have about the subject matter, the liberal use of the N-word and, somewhat less, about the film's depiction of slavery's brutality. 

Tavis Smiley tweeted a disparaging comment about the movie, referring to is as "a spoof on slavery: Hollywood's Christmas gift for Negroes. Thanks, you shouldn't have."

Perhaps most intriguing is that filmmaker Spike Lee told Vibe magazine the movie is "disrespectful to my ancestors." Lee didn't expand on the theme because he hadn't seen  and claimed that he will not see it. Lee is probably the most influential black film director in the country (unless you think Tyler Perry has passed him by), so it's news when he speaks about such a high-profile film with slavery as its subject matter. Of course, dissing the movie and announcing that you haven't seen it in practically the same sentence doesn't give Lee much credibility. It would be different if he'd been able to say, "I saw it and here is where it goes wrong."

With Lee having not seen the movie, we're left to guess at his motivation. Is it just a general thing that white guys aren't allowed to make movies about slavery? Maybe it's that white guys aren't allowed to make movies where the N-word is used so frequently — although in Tarantino's case that train left the station long ago in works such as Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. Maybe Lee has become the grumpy old man of black filmmaking. He's always come off as a bristly kind of guy when dealing with the media and the public, but more and more it seems like he should be sitting in a Minnesota ice-fishing shanty grousing with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Then again maybe Lee just likes to say controversial things to raise his media profile.

I saw  and thought it was a pretty good cowboy movie. It was certainly entertaining, and I only found its two-hour-and-45-minute running time to drag once. I tend to like Tarantino films, and this is pretty much what he does. His movies are ultraviolent with a humorous twist — it contains the funniest Klansmen scene I've ever seen — and he must buy fake blood by the shipping container and spray it around with a fire hose. And the N-word is all over this movie, although, historically speaking, that's the way folks talked back then. Heck, plenty of black folks talk that way now.

Uplifting films like Roots, Glory and Amistad notwithstanding, it's fun to see a brother in a movie about slavery jump up and just whup some ass, even if he splatters blood all over you in the process. And pretty much everybody who gets killed in this movie has it coming, except for a couple of brothers who are the victims of slave-master brutality.

It isn't a perfect movie, and as a shoot-'em-up Western set mostly in the pre-Civil War South, we're not talking about generating a lot of introspection. Still, Tarantino does manage to present images of dynamics that don't get much discussion outside of academic circles. For instance, we get a peek at the relationship, and gulf, between free blacks and the enslaved during that period. What we see in the movie isn't the end-all be-all of that dynamic, but that it was even broached is a rare experience. Also, the spectacle of Mandingo fighting — wherein white men force black men to brutalize each other for sport — brings up another aspect of slavery's ugliness. We also witness the docile manner in which many of the enslaved accepted this way of life and found the Django character so astounding and foreign to their own experiences. And finally there is the Samuel L. Jackson character "Stephen," who brutalizes his own people yet also masterfully manipulates Massa from the moment he steps in front of the camera. His performance may be the most multifaceted of any in the entire film. 

Most of the characters in this movie are stock cartoon caricatures. Certainly Jamie Foxx's Django is as one-dimensional as Chuck Connors' Rifleman. But that is the country inhabited by cowboy movies. Mario Van Peebles' Jesse Lee in Posse is a more intriguing character in his motivations and actions, but not as emotionally cathartic because Django serves up retribution against slavers. And that's where the power of  the film comes from. 

Anyone who wants to quibble with the portrayal of blacks in the media should pay more attention to stuff like the Oxygen network's upcoming All My Babies' Mamas featuring rapper Shawty Lo, his 11 children, and their 10 mothers. I can't imagine that it is any more uplifting than the old Being Bobby Brown reality show, in which Brown and Whitney Houston display themselves in a manner more crass and unimaginable than most characters in Django.


Let's move on to another divisive subject: Wayne County Sheriff and could-be mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon began poisoning the waters last week with an attack on the candidacy of Mike Duggan. Napoleon claimed that Palmer Woods, where Duggan has lived less than a year, was "not Detroit." Napoleon backpedaled over the next few days — probably thinking about his fundraising possibilities in Palmer Woods — in a Facebook post and elsewhere, sucking up to deep-pocketed developers in town and denying any racial motivation in his comments. He bent over backward, although he'd already achieved his goal in painting Duggan as a white carpetbagger trying to take over the city. Napoleon didn't say anything about Mayor Dave Bing, who hasn't made any announcements about his own re-election aspirations, and who happens to be a black carpetbagger. Napoleon didn't come out and call Duggan white, but his claim that, "It's our Detroit, and we're going to keep it for Detroiters," is as surely code as the word "urban" means "black." If Napoleon doesn't know what those words imply, then he's not smart enough to be our mayor. 

This attack shows that the impending mayoral election is getting ugly early and will probably get uglier as things progress. It also prompts the question: Is Sherwood Forest, where City Council President Pro Tem (and anticipated mayoral candidate) Gary Brown lives, in Detroit? Are Rosedale Park, Greenacres and Indian Village in Detroit? Napoleon's comments at New Bethel Baptist Church on New Year's Day seemed to say that if you don't live next to a crack house, then you are not a Detroiter. That's bringing us all together. I'm not a Duggan or Napoleon fan at this point. But we've already seen the ugliness of Birthers who claim that President Barack Obama is not American. That shouldn't be the focus of the mayoral race in Detroit. Let's hear your positive ideas, sheriff.

Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former editor of Metro Times. Contact him at

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