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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 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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Broken home

A 71-year-old aunt gets kicked out of her house the hard way

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Dory Bryant in front of her aunt's ransacked house.

There once was an old woman who lived alone in a house. One winter day, her niece stopped by to take her to church, and when she got inside she found that her aunt's furnace was broken. It was almost as cold inside as it was outside.

"I took her hand to try to help her out of the house, and her hands were just ice-cold," says Dory Bryant, her 56-year-old niece. "So when she got out of the house and I saw her, she was just shivering. I said, 'Oh, no, you cannot go back in there.'"

So she put 71-year-old Betty Brock in her car and drove her back to her apartment to warm her up, get her to a doctor, check out the old house and see about getting the furnace fixed. 

And when some neighbors saw the old woman leave, they tore her house to pieces.

They kicked the front door in and stole the TV and the computer and the fridge. They tore the iron bars off the windows and the iron door off the front, then stole the windows themselves, frames and all. They pulled down the rain gutters, stole all the aluminum siding, walked off with the metal fence that circled the yard. They even took the electric meter from off the back of the house. 

She'd been gone only about a week.

And what they didn't steal, they destroyed. The rooms inside are a blizzard of thrown clothes and books and hoarded mementos and belongings, feet high in the impassable front rooms. Debris spills out of missing windows and scatters throughout the yard. Cans of food from the kitchen lie as far as the sidewalk out front. Some of her clothes are outside in the mud. Even her little red Bible was thrown out to the front porch, its pages bent and wrinkled and fluttering in the wind.

Scrapping is rampant in the city. Abandoned houses and foreclosed homes are routinely invaded and destroyed by thieves, who steal anything that can be traded for a little money. But it takes real brazenness to scrap a house that someone still lives in. 

"It's kind of a spiritually bankrupt mind if they can do stuff like that," says Chris Burns, 41, a family friend. "I mean, I can't even understand that. It's really sad, but I always knew that with that area being so desolate, that it was just a matter of time before something happened to the house. They were just waiting for the opportune time."

A few days after bringing her aunt to her small apartment, Bryant had gone back to the house to grab some things, and that's when she discovered the destruction. Now she had to bring her aunt there to show her she didn't have a home anymore. 

"When she went the first time she sat down — there was a crate like a milk crate — and she just sat in the yard on the side of the house, and just looked at the house, and just started crying," Bryant says.

Brock came to Detroit from Arkansas in 1959, spent most of her life as a seamstress and later as an upholsterer for Chrysler before retiring. She has no kids and never married. "All by myself," she says.

She bought a house on Arizona Street in 1973, by John R and East McNichols, back when it was still a good neighborhood. "Oh, yeah, the neighbors was neighbors," she remembers. "And then they started selling and renting their properties, and anything and everything started coming in."

Almost all her neighbors fled long ago, and their houses disappeared. Whole blocks in the area are completely empty and smothered in grass. Drug dealers sell openly on the street, and prostitutes roam John R in the daytime. Brock was just another elderly person trapped in a bad part of the city, too poor to move away. Now she had no choice.

"There's so much damage 'cause they've taken all the windows out, and it's just too expensive," Bryant says. "There's no way we can redo that, so it's just a wash at this point. We can't do anything with it."

Bryant originally thought her aunt would stay with her a few days at most. Suddenly she had a homeless elderly woman living with her indefinitely, one who struggles to walk, shows signs of dementia and needs constant care. 

To make things worse, Brock's identification, her Social Security card, her health care info, were back at the house. Now they're either stolen or buried in waist-high debris. Without them, Bryant can't get her aunt health care, can't access her bank account and its Social Security checks, can't use her aunt's Bridge Card to get her food, nothing.

"I can't prove she is who she is," Bryant says "I'm just stumped at every level. I can't do a thing."

Aunt Betty really missed her home. So one day, she decided she was simply going back.

Her niece came home from work on a Saturday afternoon, after only a few hours gone, and her aunt wasn't in the apartment. Or the hallways. Or outside.

"This is Dory. I am calling about Aunt Betty," Bryant said frantically into the phone. "She wasn't here when I got back to the apartment and I have no clue where she is, how she got out, or nothing. I'm trying to keep my mind from thinking crazy but I don't know where she would have gone. You know she can't walk. I don't know how far she could've gotten."

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