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  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey

    Fans of the latest Superman franchise got a treat at Pig & Whiskey this weekend. Actors Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were spotted amid the crowds of the festival that took place in downtown Ferndale as well as a local restaurant. Cavill, who plays the man of steel in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, stopped to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon and evening. He was wearing an inconspicuous black polo shirt as well as a signature Superman-style ‘do. Other fans spotted Amy Adams at Ferndale’s Imperial on Saturday night, some were even seated next to her at the restaurant’s communal benches. Adams reportedly was slightly annoyed that patrons continuously asked for her photo, but she smiled while cell phones snapped images nonetheless. The Zach Snyder film the two are starring in together is currently filming in Birmingham. Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, has been spotted around town with his wife Jennifer Garner recently as well. The closed movie set is under intense security and Brett Callwood attempted to infiltrate the filming last month, but was forced to give up his camera’s memory card, lest he make off with telling photos.

    The post Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Lit Up

Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock

Bob Kealing’s biography of Gram Parsons won’t let the legendary alt-country singer’s life be defined by its tragic end.

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When Bob Kealing met Margaret Fisher to talk about her relationship with legendary country-rock singer Gram Parsons, it was sort of a moment of epiphany. Kealing was working on a book about the legendary singer who never found the success he thirsted for until after his tragic death in 1973, and he could tell that Fisher had become weary of telling the same story over and over.

“At one point, we’re sitting in this café … and I told her: ‘You know, I really don’t want to know about Gram’s death,’” Kealing recalls. “And that’s when she said to me: ‘Imagine being defined by the worst day of your life.’”

Fisher first met Parsons when the two were students, and they reunited a decade later and picked up right where they’d left off. They were living in California, and both were heavy partyers — Parsons, in particular, had become such an abuser of drugs and alcohol that he’d become heavy and bloated, and his marriage was in a shambles. The 26-year-old musician had recently left his wife behind to record his album Grievous Angel, with Emmylou Harris. When recording was complete, Parsons and Fisher holed up in a room at the Joshua Tree Inn to celebrate the new record. Parsons, who’d been drinking all day, had scored some morphine and apparently he took too much. By the time Fisher was able to get help, it was too late. The up-and-coming young singer had overdosed, and Fisher’s name has been tied to that moment ever since.

Likewise, so has Parsons’ brief musical career. Though he’s been noted as a highly influential musician who helped establish modern country and alt-country music, Parsons never had a hit record — his most popular album, Gram Parsons Archives Vol. 1: Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969, wasn’t released until more than 30 years after his death. Other than that, Grievous Angel was his most successful album, and even that wasn’t released until after he died. It only reached No. 195 on the Billboard charts. As a result, his melancholy persona, drug addiction and — mostly — his untimely death have become as much a focal point of his fame as his music.

Indeed, imagine being defined by the worst — and last — day of your life.

That’s part of the reason that Kealing’s new book, Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock, is so refreshing. While most retellings of the Parsons story let the tragedy of his drug abuse and death define the narrative, Kealing wanted to tell a different story. That’s a point he had to make clear in many of the interviews he conducted with Parsons’ family, friends and former bandmates, all of whom have grown accustomed to the typical lines of questioning about their relationship with Parsons.

Kealing traces Parsons’ life from childhood through death using letters, images, music and an exploration of the musical climate in the South that helped influence the young Parsons and his peers. Born to a well-off family plagued with substance-abuse issues, depression and dysfunction, Parsons is alternately looked at by those around him with admiration or disdain — he’s either a mythical musical genius or a poor little rich boy who squandered the opportunities presented to him. But Kealing’s matter-of-fact approach creates a sympathetic human portrait of the man that neither glosses over nor sensationalizes him. Kealing allows interviewees to pay their respects or air their grievances without stripping them of dignity. There is no sense in reading the book that Kealing approached this project to prove a point — and that’s one of the beauties of it.

During his life, Parsons brushed elbows with some of the biggest names in rock and country — the Rolling Stones, Roger McGuinn, Charlie Louvin — though he never enjoyed the same success as a lot of the people he knew and worked with. “The more I researched him, the more I found he was like a Forrest Gump figure,” Kealing says. “He was in and out of so many music scenes in the ’60s … and he always seemed to be in interesting places at the right time.”

Much of that element of Parsons’ life has been well-documented, but some of the more mundane musical and personal relationships hadn’t been explored. Kealing talks to Parsons’ childhood friends, schoolmates and neighbors, as well as early musical colleagues. Encouraging them to talk openly was cathartic for some — particularly those former friends who took part in the drug abuse and drinking but don’t care to sensationalize it these days.

“There’s really an element of redemption in this book,” Kealing says. “Whether it’s Polly Parsons [Gram’s daughter] running a substance-abuse center or other musicians saying, ‘Hey, that could just as easily have been me.’”

Erin Sullivan is editor of Orlando Weekly, where a version of this article first appeared.

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