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    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at PlanetAnt.com. According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.

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Politics & Prejudices

Unpleasant truths for the Occupy Movement

And could 2012 mean the end of Michigan’s black reps. in Congress?

Just about everybody seems excited about the Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests currently sweeping the nation. Michael Moore himself, filmmaker and patron saint of Flint, has been dashing around various cities, attempting to inspire the protesters.

"There's no turning back, is there?" he challenged the occupiers in Oakland, Calif., where, last week, a poor veteran of our war on and in Iraq nearly got killed when he was apparently hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired by the local police.

"NO," the crowd roared back enthusiastically. No turning back. Right on. Moore claimed the movement, if that's what it is, has already "scored a number of victories in our first six weeks."

Like what?

Well, "we've killed despair and we've killed apathy," he said, claiming this was the start of a "watershed moment."

That would be nice, if it were true.

But I doubt it. Here's a contrary view, from a cranky old cynic. The high priests of greed, the bailed-out bankers and the plutocrats who own the nation aren't really worried about Occupy Wall Street.

Not one bit.

Sure, a few nervous right-wing editorial writers and radio talk show clowns are railing against the movement and telling lies about the demonstrators, in part because they think that's what their masters want. But the smart capitalists, while they are keeping a watchful eye on the protesters, aren't really concerned.

Here are three reasons why: 

First, the Occupiers have no coherent agenda. They think bailing out the rich was a terrible thing, especially since so many people have no jobs, nor prospects of jobs.

But what are they demanding the government do about it? Do they have any program? Not that I can see. Two weeks ago I blundered into an "Occupy" protest on a crisp fall day in Traverse City, of all places. They were a band of mostly merry folk holding signs, waving and trying to get cars to honk, and having a good time.

What their demands were, if they had any, was not at all clear.

Occasionally they ducked into a nearby bookstore and ordered hot chocolate. If I were a bailed-out banker or other parasite, I might even think the Occupy protests were a good idea.

They haven't really threatened anything — so far — and allow those screwed over by the system to let off steam.

The second reason J.P. Morgan's successors aren't quaking in their tuxedos: No politician of any stature has stepped forth to lead the movement and propose a coherent program of action.

Not even, for example, making the rich "1 percent" or even 5 percent pay their fair share in taxes, or suggesting we use some of the money we are using to destroy Afghanistan to rebuild Detroit.

Again, do you see anyone, even U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, stepping forward to rally these folks around an agenda? Nope, uh-uh, can't be bothered. Yes, inequality is bad, but what do they want to do about it?

And, finally, the third reason the plutocrats aren't breaking a sweat is simply this: It is getting cold outside. That's right. Winter is coming. Are Muffy and Brian and their grandma going to be out in those tents in Grand Circus Park in February? Especially without any one thing they are pressing the government, any government to do?

You know the answer. Think back. Remember the big globalization protests in Seattle in 1999? Remember the round of protests against globalization that swept the nation and the world in 2007? What did they accomplish? Did they stop globalization?

Are the protesters still on the job, demonstrating, agitating, demanding equal pay for equal work nationwide? Again, you know the answer. They went back to school or back to work.

Or back to el barrio. That doesn't mean all this is hopeless. Some stupid police brutality might help energize this movement.

Somebody with guts and brains could still come forward and seize this moment to try and remake the world. But it won't be easy.

Consider this: The civil rights movement of the 1960s and the anti-Vietnam War movement of the '60s and '70s were coherent and focused, and the demonstrators knew exactly what they wanted.

They eventually succeeded. But getting there literally took years. Overthrowing this corrupt system might be a lot harder.

No one fights harder than those who have money and want to hang on to it. I'm not putting the cause down; this may be the most important battle we could ever wage, if we want to save democracy. 

But if you think it's going to be easy, think again. 


No black congressmen? Last week, I wrote about state Sen. Bert Johnson's decision to challenge longtime U.S. Rep. John Conyers in next year's Democratic primary in the 13th District, which is primarily Detroit and western Wayne County.

Since then, state Sen. Glenn Anderson of Westland has also jumped into the race, and state Rep. Shanelle Jackson of Detroit is making noises about running. Anderson is white; the rest are African-American. This is a district that is about 56 percent black. 

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