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  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May 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 bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit MtBlowout.com to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

    The post City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Year of decision

Holding back the GOP, even as we wish the prez were more impressive

Compared to the high hopes we had, [the president] is a bitter disappointment. 

—Joseph Rauh, of the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action


Mitt Romney, whose wife Barbie affectionately refers to him as Ken, got something right the other day. Campaigning in Iowa, he said this election would determine what kind of nation we would be.

He was right about that, though pretty much everything he says about this is carefully calibrated, market-tested horse exhaust. "The question we will decide is this," he likes to say: "Will the United States be an entitlement society or an opportunity society?"

Naturally, he argues that Republicans want to expand opportunities for people who are smart and want to work and get ahead, while President Obama and the Democrats want to redistribute the wealth created by the productive people to the lazy and shiftless who feel "entitled to it." And while Romney, who is still the most likely eventual GOP nominee, will never say it, it is clear what kind of people he intends his voters to picture when they think about those in the "entitlement" culture.

The truth is just the opposite. Republicans, especially those running for president, really believe those in the upper 1 percent of incomes should be entitled to the opportunity to do pretty much whatever they want. The idea that someone whose father wasn’t the head of American Motors and the governor of a major state, as Romney’s was, starts life having an "equal opportunity" with a poor kid whose parents weren’t well educated is absolutely ridiculous. 

The only way poor kids can have anything like a shot at success is if society attempts to give them a playing field they can manage, through decent education and scholarship opportunities. Republicans largely want to do away with those.

Democrats are sometimes corrupt, often send mixed messages, and break their promises. Nor has President Obama been the same kind of great communicator as president that he was as a campaigner. Too often, he has seemed frustratingly aloof, and he has failed to explain to most Americans what his health care plan will do for them.

But this much is clear to anybody who looks at the record and thinks rationally what kind of nation we want: The best possible one for everybody, including multi-millionaires and billionaires who need to be saved from their own folly. Though they have been inarticulate about it, the Democrats recognize that we live in a world where we are, in fact, interdependent, and have a stake in one another’s welfare.

Nobody calls having an army or police force "socialism," though those are, in fact, both quintessentially socialist institutions. Society also needs good roads, good bridges, food that isn’t tainted, and some level of affordable education and health care for all.

Some of those running for president may sneer contemptuously at much of this as outrageously promoting the "nanny state." Some of the same people would, however, discriminate against those whose sex lives are different from what they think they should be.

Talk about nannyism gone wild! The vast majority of Republicans are totally against legalizing gay marriage — and also against allowing governments to provide "domestic partnership benefits" for those in committed gay relationships.

Essentially, then, virtually all the Republican presidential candidates, not to mention nearly their entire caste of political leaders at every level, are either too stupid to realize the consequences of what they are offering, or a bunch of hypocrites gleefully working hard to delude enough common citizens to give them the power.

Apart from sanctioning the continued transfer of wealth to the rich, the GOP today is a "social conservative war party," according to supporters of the only Republican candidate who is different.

That would be Ron Paul, the wizened, gnome-like figure who was coming on strong in the last week before the Iowa caucuses. Paul is essentially a libertarian who actually believes what he says.

Nor is everything he says wrong. He thinks correctly that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were an unlawful and illegal waste of money and blood, and that we have no right to bomb Iran just because we feel like it. However, he also apparently wants to abolish the Federal Reserve System, thinks that "probably 80 percent of what the government does is unconstitutional," and would try to shrink the U.S. government to the size it was in the 18th century. This might all be nice, if we didn’t have to live in a reality-based universe.

Thirty-two years ago, President Jimmy Carter told us that, like it or not, we were living in an age of limits, and the days when we could pretend to be cowboys on the open frontier were over. Ronald Reagan then emerged and offered us a "shining city on a hill" fantasyland, and while there were other issues in that campaign than that, we bought it. Twenty years later, we bought the bargain-basement version from George W. Bush.

We’re still paying the price.

Living responsibly isn’t always exciting, or flashy. Giving up the fantasy that you, too, might be a billionaire and concentrating on making sure your kids can get health care and a job someday may not give you the world’s greatest adrenalin rush. But it is important.

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