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    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.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers 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 Former 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.



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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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