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    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

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    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

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    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.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

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

  • Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’

      There’s at least one city councilmember who’s less than pleased with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to increase all parking violation fines. Councilman Gabe Leland, whose district represents the city’s west side, issued a statement today, calling Orr’s plan a potential “deterrent” to attracting people to the city. I don’t believe the argument to raise the parking ticket fines from $30 to $45 and eliminate the $10 early payment fine are justification for this action. The emergency manager’s order to increase ticket fines places city government inefficiencies on the backs of our residents who need to do business in downtown and other parts of our city. And, this will increase the barrier for people to frequent Detroit-based establishments; likely to be a deterrent for some to shop and dine in our city. Leland suggested implementing a plan that maintains current rates for fines and reduces operating inefficiencies to collecting parking fines. “In my view, generating revenue by increasing fines when residents from neighborhoods must go downtown to get licenses and permits, attend court appointments and do other necessary business, is the wrong direction,” Leland said. “…Additionally, generating revenue using fines when we are trying to grow this city and attract […]

    The post Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Stir It Up

Crystal balling

Larry offers and early look at November

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It might seem a little early to cast our attention at the fall election in Detroit. After all there is plenty of drama in Washington, D.C., with the recently completed fiscal cliff negotiations, and the upcoming debt ceiling and gun control fights heating up. Right here in Detroit we’re still wondering if there will be an emergency manager or bankruptcy or both in the near future that will render whoever is elected less significant for the duration of the ordeal.

Political consultant Ron Scott — who is not currently working for any candidate but says he has given advice to several possible candidates for various offices — says, “I think that people are going to run anyway. Their resolve is to maintain as much democratic control of the city as they can. Basically they want a Detroit that is independent and the emergency financial manager law will bring greater resolve to fight for that. For example, many people ran for the school board although they were in court trying to see who will be in control. That’s going to happen in the mayoral race regardless of the emergency financial manager. The enmity to Gov. Snyder is so strong in the city that people will run.”

I’m particularly interested in seeing how our first vote for City Council members by district in nearly a century plays out. Whoever is running will have to file qualifying petitions with the city Department of Elections by noon on May 14. So while it may seem early, anybody who really wants to run has to be putting together an operation right now. Generally there are nearly 150 primary candidates for the nine-seat council, but with the new district system I’m curious how it will impact the number of candidates and the kinds of candidates who decide to run.

As it stands now there will be significant turnover in who is on council, and that’s after a pretty big turnover in the last election. Kwame Kenyatta has already said that he will not run this year, while Brenda Jones has already picked up her packet from the Department of Elections for the next election. I called four council members to ask how the district system is impacting how they expect to run, or not run, their campaigns. The only one who called me back was JoAnn Watson, to say that she had nothing to say on the subject at this time. So I’m curious.

District-wise, a few sitting members would have to face each other if they all run again. Brenda Jones and President Pro Tem Gary Brown both live in the 2nd District on the north end. Saunteel Jenkins and Charles Pugh are both in the 5th District in the central south side of town. Watson and Ken Cockrel Jr. live in the 6th District covering the southwest part of town. James Tate is in the 1st District on the far northwest side with no other sitting council members, as is Andre Spivey in the 4th District covering much of the lower east side. Kenyatta lives in the 4th, although, as I’ve said, he isn’t running. Two districts, the 3rd on the northeast side and the 7th on the west side, have no sitting council members.

“It’s too early to determine whether districts are going to change things,” Scott says. “Incumbents will still have access to large fundraising opportunities. … Detroit voters have fooled me, but the ability to get information out and have name recognition and so forth with districts will have an impact. This time around, a number of the incumbents are not going to run. In those districts where they are not going to run, we will see if money or program will actually decide the race. There will be a lot more popular democracy; there will be a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise think about running that will. That will be both good and bad. We’ll see if voters look at their program and not just their personality. For far too long in Detroit, people have been looking at the personality side and not the program the person is proposing.”

I have a feeling that a lot of people who belong to a large church or community group will consider a run for council. One significant organization could be the base that helps win an election for a newly minted politician. Or one significant issue for a community could catapult someone onto council. I haven’t digested the Detroit Future Strategic Plan; it’s hundreds of pages long and was three years in the making, but there have to be numerous issues for neighborhoods in there that could make or break a nascent politician who wants to champion or oppose how it works.

Or it could be one entity with a lot of money that makes the difference with a possible City Council member.

“I don’t underestimate the framework of corruption,” Scott says. “An organization that has a lot of money can dump it on a candidate.”

In addition to the seven district races, there are two citywide council seats that will be in contention to make things just a little bit more complex. It will take some gumption for candidates who believe they can win a district to decide they want take the chance on winning across the city. That may be one of the things keeping current members of council from tipping their hand as they eye each other to see who is running in their district and who is running citywide. The common idea would be those who got the most votes in the last election, Pugh and Brown, have the political capital for that, although Pugh has declared that he won’t seek a second term on the council. At the same time having garnered the most votes for City Council could embolden a candidate to decide to go for the mayoral office. Political observers have considered Pugh and Brown to have such ambitions. Not to mention Jenkins, who earned the third most votes in 2009. Cockrel was in fourth place, and actually sat in the mayor’s seat for several months replacing Kwame Kilpatrick when Kilpatrick left office before Cockrel lost to Dave Bing. He’s been reported saying he is keeping all options open.

Cockrel’s choice may impact Watson’s decision on whether to run or not. The same goes for Jenkins. Jones hasn’t waited to see what Brown will do; she’s the only incumbent who is openly running for re-election at this point. And we still don’t know who is going to come out of the woodwork from the neighborhoods.

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