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  • Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers greats Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race

    If a poll released this week is any indication of how the August 5 primary election will turn out, current Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has reason to worry, Fox 2 reports. Ficano, who’s seeking a third term, polled in fourth place — behind former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, Westland Mayor Bill Wild and Wayne County Commissioner Phil Cavanaugh, according to Fox 2. The poll by Strategic Solutions LLC, showed 6.7 percent of respondents said they’d vote for Ficano, which isn’t so bad: He finished ahead of County Commissioner Kevin McNamara (who came in at No. 6) and someone literally described as “a candidate not named here” (who polled at No. 5.) If you’re planning to head to the polls — which you should! — and need some input on the candidates and ballot proposals, you can read for our election coverage in this week’s Metro Times.

    The post Poll shows Bob Ficano behind in Wayne County Executive race appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • A Mad Decent Mixtape

    Mad Decent Block Party will roll through town on Saturday, August 16, bringing to town artists like Dillon Francis, Diplo, Flosstradamus, RiFF RAFF, Keys N Krates, and Zeds Dead. Thugli, a Canadian duo, will perform on the Toronto leg of the tour and they put together a 45 minute mix that features songs by some of the tour’s featured artists as well as a host of others.  Listen to it here. 

    The post A Mad Decent Mixtape appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders

    Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host a special event this Saturday, July 26 in hopes of raising money for the local faction of an international nonprofit, Burners without Borders Detroit. Breaking Borders is a one-evening-only event that will feature live music, performance, and art. Satori Circus will perform along with spoken word artist ZakAndWhatArmy. Music by Tartanic, Dixon’s Violin, and Servitor. Fire dancers, hoop performers, and acrobats will provide a certain mysticism to the ambiance as old Victorian steampunk and tribal art is shown in the main gallery. There will also be a runway fashion show and the evening will end with a dubstep rave featuring DJ Forcefeed and Dotty. Truly, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps more importantly, there will be a full service bar. The event is open to those 18 and older and IDs will be checked at the door. Admission is $25 at the door, or $20 with the donation of a canned good. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the party goes until 2 a.m. A 20 percent commission will be taken from all art sold at this event and donated to Burners without Borders. The Tangent Gallery is located at 715 Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; 313-873-2955;

    The post Tangent Gallery to host Breaking Borders appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Stir It Up

Undercover brothers

"It’s very humbling to have someone donate a kidney to you."

Photo: , License: N/A

Carter (l) and Bowman. Bowman knew "people routinely die when on that transplant list."

Reggie Carter is tall, and his lanky body cuts a commanding figure walking down the street. He was something of a ladies' man back in the day, and the black eye patch he wore back then gave him a swashbuckling air. That patch was no tool of seduction. Carter lost his right eye at 4 years old after a stick propelled from a piece of inner tube rubber destroyed it. Now, at 61 years, he has a prosthetic eye and usually wears sunglasses, though he can still turn the ladies' heads. 

When I ran into him on Nine Mile Road in Ferndale a few months ago, he was wearing a white surgical mask. I knew Carter was on kidney dialysis, spending some four hours a day, three days a week, on the time-consuming but life-saving process that cleans patients' blood. When I saw the mask I wondered if he'd had some kind of downturn, although to tell the truth he seemed to have gained weight and lost that gaunt look. 

Carter informed me that he'd recently had a kidney transplant and had to wear the mask to keep germs out of his recovering body. I was surprised to hear the kidney donor was mutual friend Art Bowman Jr., a juvenile and family practice attorney who is the son of former Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Arthur Bowman. We all met in the 1970s while hanging out around Wayne State University with a political, activist-minded crowd. As happens with most crowds over time, relationships change and folks drift away. But Carter and Bowman stayed close.

"I always knew we were the same kind of brother," laughs the jovial Bowman. "Reggie and I are both quirky people. I think we each appreciate the unique qualities of the other's personality."

Whatever may have made them alike is not apparent to others. Bowman, 57, has been married 31 years and has two grown children. He's an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of guy. On Sundays you find him at Greater Quinn AME Church. "I don't want to hang out with the boys," he says.

Carter seems a confirmed bachelor. He's a former dean of students at Loyola High School in Detroit, but he's also promoted jazz shows around town and is often seen walking the streets around Wayne State and the New Center area, where he resides. 

Carter is diabetic and has hypertension. For years he ran five miles a day four or five days a week to stave off the effects of those diseases, but eschewed taking medication for his blood pressure. He's run a few Detroit Free Press marathons. When his work obligations became time-consuming, Carter stopped his running and walking regimen.

"I paid the price," he says. "I didn't compensate" by taking medication. 

His health took a quick nosedive and he ended up on dialysis for more than three years. His name was on the transplant list, but most people who are on the list wait five or six years before a matching kidney becomes available from a cadaver. The only way to beat the list is to find a live donor. Bowman knew this and, unbeknownst to his wife Phyllis, decided to donate a kidney to his friend. When Bowman first approached him with the offer in fall 2010, Carter declined. 

"I wasn't asking for a kidney," he says. "I was trying to make the best of the situation. I didn't feel comfortable asking."

After Bowman came back with the idea a few times, Carter relented and Bowman started a series of tests to see if he could be a donor.

"I knew that people routinely die when on that transplant list," says Bowman. "I told my friend we don't need no stinking list."

Because matches for transplants are difficult to come by, Bowman and Carter expected that they would go through the "match pair" process. In match pair's simplest terms, Bowman would donate a kidney to a third party that he matched, and that third party would help provide a donor who matched Carter. Bowman started into the testing phase, and in December found out that he and Carter were indeed the same kind of brother: They were a direct match. Carter could directly receive Bowman's kidney. 

"The chance of a direct match was less than one in 10," says Bowman. "The pre-surgery testing is very involved, very impressive. They desperately want make sure that my health is not compromised. They did an excellent job at Henry Ford Health System."

Dr. Jason Denny, the Henry Ford surgeon who removed Bowman's kidney, says, "Our first obligation is to Bowman, to make sure his health is not compromised. ... People are a little bit scared when it comes to donation. You can live a perfectly normal life with one kidney. That's borne out by the data."

Once the testing indicated a match, there was one more hurdle to leap: Bowman's family.

"Phyllis was against it," says Bowman. "The thing that pissed her off the most was I didn't even bother to tell her about it until February or so when I'd been taking tests since October.  My son was mildly against it; my daughter was close to neutral. Nobody was in favor."

But Art was adamant that he wanted to do it. A meeting with Denny and a hospital psychologist brought the family around, and the transplant was performed April 8. Everything went well and Bowman went home after three days. Carter was preparing to go home a day later when he got a call that his mother, who lived in California, had passed away. His only sibling, a brother, died a few years ago, so Carter found himself making arrangements for his mother as he recovered from surgery. The first six months after a transplant are critical because of the possibility of rejection as doctors adjust medication. Recipients must control their environments as much as possible, so travel was out of the question.

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