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  • Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark

    Oh, the irony — initially criticized as Marxist propaganda when Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted them for the Detroit Institute of Arts in the early 1930s, Detroit Industry has now been designated as a a national landmark. The announcement was made Wednesday, according to the Detroit News by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as part of National Park Week. The designation does not change the ownership status of the murals or grant any new protections or rights, leaving its place among the rest of the DIA’s art in possible bankruptcy negotiations in question. The work is considered the best of Rivera’s work in the United States (another mural Rivera had done in New York was destroyed by orders of Nelson Rockefeller). Rivera himself regarded Detroit Industries paintings as his finest work. In the midst of the McCarthy era, the DIA posted this sign outside the court: Rivera’s politics and his publicity seeking are detestable. But let’s get the record straight on what he did here. He came from Mexico to Detroit, thought our mass production industries and our technology wonderful and very exciting, painted them as one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. This came […]

    The post Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    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? […]

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Culture Feature

A cancer patient’s journey with medical marijuana.

Finding Relief through a traditional medicinal.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Anne Johnston, 56, was recently told she has approximately six months left to live. Medical marijuana has helped increase her quality of life in many ways.


My mom Anne was born in 1957 to a very middle-class family in a very middle-class town. She graduated from high school and, as was the way back then, was married soon after. She did all sorts of normal things that teenagers did in the 1970s, like going to concerts and hanging out with friends. One of her proudest accomplishments was chasing down Bob Seger from Toledo to Plymouth and getting his autograph on some rolling papers. Her other notable accomplishment, she swears, was having a daughter — me. To that, she jokingly adds, “… and that was more than enough for me!”

By age 30, my mom had gone through a divorce and was awarded full custody of me — and still everything was average. She struggled with her average job, making house payments and raising a child on $11 an hour (in 1987). Through the years, she eventually found her way into a job that, though one she hated with every fiber of her being, finally allowed her to start saving, take vacations, and live a slightly less stressful, less average life.

Unfortunately, average ceased at age 53 when my mom was told that she had the “C” word: cancer. And it was no run-of-the-mill melanoma; Stage III colorectal cancer that had spread to neighboring lymph nodes.

In September 2010, Mom began chemo and radiation treatment. The massive size and unfortunate location of the tumor meant that she was facing a permanent colostomy. For those lucky enough not to be familiar with a colostomy, it’s when an artificial port, or stoma, is created, into which a bag is attached on the outside of the body to collect feces — literally, a bag of shit.

As if dealing with this major life-altering surgery weren’t enough, my mother was also struggling with the crippling side effects of chemotherapy, namely nausea and vomiting, fatigue, nerve damage and diarrhea. After her permanent colostomy at the beginning of 2011, deep depression set in.

“I was ready to die at that point,” she confides. “I wished I would have died on the table.” A month later, she was back on chemotherapy, suffering the same side effects. “Predominantly, it was nausea and fatigue,” she explains. It was around this time my mom, my prototypically average mom, started smoking pot. Her old friend agreed to bring over a couple of joints. Trying weed wasn’t her go-to, nor was it without first seeking pharmacological alternatives. She had tried numerous drugs to help with the nausea: Compazine, Zofran, even synthetic THC.

“None of it really did anything,” she says. “At the time, I thought I was handling my diagnosis and everything pretty well. Well, [an old friend] brought this over, and I had about three hits off of the joint; all of a sudden — the pain was gone, the nausea was gone. I felt the anxiety going away. Anxiety that I didn’t even know that I had. Everything was really kinda OK. I was feeling like how a normal person should.”     

After her final round of treatment, my mom went back to work in August 2011. She worked full time, until March 2012. She was rapidly losing function in her left arm and leg, unable to walk but a few steps.

After an emergency trip to the emergency room, we discovered the cancer had come back. This time, though, with metastases to the lungs and liver, and a large tumor in her brain.

In July 2012, Anne became officially “legal” to smoke medical marijuana. Yet, she was faced with a difficult task: Where to go shopping?

“At first I had a bit of a problem. [Dispensaries] aren’t just in the phone book, and the ones I found online, half of them were closed,” she says. “The one I did find that was closest to me … closed, and that one wasn’t close to me, either … but the next closest one is like an hour-and-a-half away. I did find a caregiver that will now deliver to me and that’s been wonderful. I can’t thank him enough, ’cause he works with me and helps me find what works … for me.”

As far as the strains that treat her chemotherapy symptoms the best, my mom — it’s still hard to believe my average mom is offering opinions on weed — recommended, “ATF and Komondo Dragon. Those two take me where I need to be without getting me paranoid or anxious,” she says. “I only need about two to three puffs and I’m good to go.” She also faced an oxymoronic, secondary issue that might seem comical if its intended use wasn’t so gravely important: “Everything that I get is just too strong! If I smoke too much, I become too anxious, and that defeats the purpose.”

Today, as we enter the final months of 2013, with just 13 shopping weeks left until Christmas, my mom was told she has approximately six months left to live. She’s tried almost every chemotherapy concoction that exists. (Currently, she is on Stivarga, a brand-new oral form of chemotherapy. The side affects are much stronger and she has been struggling a little more each week.)

“God bless those people that supply it! Everybody that is going through this sickness should have the choice and the ability to get it,” she expresses. “It’s been a godsend; it just really has. I don’t smoke it every day, only when I need it and I’m so glad it’s there when I need it — and it should be available to everybody that needs it.”

Kelly Johnston is Metro Times events photographer and a contributor to the Chronicle Issue. Send comments to kjohnston@metrotimes.com.

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Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
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