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  • 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? […]

    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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Culture Feature

All-star oddballs

Brawling, clowning, kicking high and spacing out — here’s a look at 10 offbeat Tigers worth remembering

Photo: Desiree Kelly, License: N/A

Desiree Kelly

Ty Cobb

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Desiree Kelly

Norm Cash

Photo: Desiree Kelly, License: N/A

Desiree Kelly

Mark Firdych

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Desiree Kelly

Gates Bown

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Desiree Kelly

Dave Rozema

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Desiree Kelly

Canny McLain

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Desiree Kelly

Billy Martin


 

Norm Cash

Some guys just like to have fun. Norman Dalton Cash was one of them.

A power-hitting lefthander from Texas, the player affectionately known as “Stormin’ Norman” spent nearly his entire 16-year big league career as a Tiger.

A first baseman who could field as well as hit, Cash had a breakout year in 1961, when he led the American League with a .361 average, hitting 41 home runs. Only afterward did he reveal that the feat was accomplished with the assistance of bats illicitly lightened by a mixture of cork, sawdust and glue. He even demonstrated his technique for Sports Illustrated — after his retirement, which came in 1974.

In fact, he once summed up his career by saying, “I owe my success to expansion pitching, a short right-field fence, and my hollow bats.”

What he’s most remembered for, though, were his playful antics. Like the time he attempted to steal second base and got caught between the bags. Trapped by the opposing players, he put his hands in the shape of a T in an attempt to extricate himself from the predicament by calling a time out.

It didn’t work, but it made for one hell of a story. It’s also said that there was at least one time when, after being on second base at the start of a rain delay, he could be found trying to occupy third once play resumed.

The crowning moment of his career as a prankster came on July 15, 1973, when Nolan Ryan, then an ace for the California Angels, had a no-hitter going with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

That’s when Cash stepped up to the plate. His bat wasn’t corked that day; in fact, at that moment he didn’t hold a bat at all. Instead, he had the leg of a clubhouse table in his hands. When the ump told Cash he had to get a real bat, he reportedly said, “Why not? I won’t hit him anyway.” Then, using a regulation bat, he proceeded to pop out with a weak fly to left, giving Ryan a no-hitter and earning himself an indelible place in baseball lore.

Cash met an untimely death in October 1986, when he drowned in an accident off Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. He was only 51. According to press accounts from the time, then-Tigers President Jim Campbell had this to say about Stormin’ Norman: “Norm was a well-liked, free spirit. He was everybody’s friend, and along with it one of the great players to ever wear a Tiger uniform.”

 

Tyrus Raymond

“Ty” Cobb

In the history of baseball, nobody earned the description “infamous” quite like Ty Cobb, who played with the Tigers from 1905 to 1926. Nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” the ballplayer may as well have earned the moniker for his sweet swing (his career batting average remains a baseball record: .366) as for his heart of stone. He was known as a bigot with a short temper and a penchant for sadism. One local sportswriter described his style of play as “daring to the point of dementia.” A later Tiger player said Cobb regarded the game as “something like a war,” recalling that “every time at bat for him was like a crusade.” Cobb inspired fear in his opponents and hatred in his teammates. His reputation as a dirty player was well-known — his contemporaries described how he’d sharpen his cleats in the dugout, then slide feet-first into a bag with those razor-sharp spikes aimed high. Given his thirst for blood and spurred soles, it’s hardly surprising his career record for stealing home (54 times) still stands. It’s also not a shocker he retains the dubious honor of committing more errors (271) than any American League outfielder.

Some say that the tales of Cobb’s violence were amped up by ambitious sportswriters who wouldn’t let facts get in the way of good copy. But some unflattering accounts of Cobb’s behavior are undeniable, and illustrate an almost sociopathic personality that traded in violence that was completely out of proportion to the perceived insult. In 1907, when a black groundskeeper greeted Cobb too familiarly during spring training in Georgia, an infuriated Cobb attacked him; when the groundskeeper’s wife intervened, Cobb began choking her. The conflict only ended when the catcher knocked Cobb out cold. In 1908, when a black laborer complained about the ballplayer walking on freshly poured asphalt, Cobb attacked the man, earning a battery charge. Perhaps most famously, in 1912, while playing against the Highlanders in New York, Cobb was so incensed by one remark from a heckler that he bounded into the stands and attacked the man. The crowd protested, as the man had lost all of one hand and most of the other in an industrial accident. Undeterred, Cobb reportedly yelled, “I don’t care if he got no feet!”

Novelist W.A. Berger, in his recent book of historical-inspired fiction The Purples, included Cobb in a scene. One of the Jewish gangsters, attending a ballgame at Navin Field, gets Cobb’s attention and asks, “Is it true you hate Jews?”

With a big smile, Cobb replies, “I hate everybody!”

It rings true.

 

Mark Fidrych

It is not just baseball lore that a no-hitter was once thrown by a pitcher flying high on LSD. The story of that peculiar exploit has been around for decades.

If you were to guess which big league pitcher actually accomplished that psychedelic feat, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych might naturally come to mind. It is, after all, not too far-fetched to think a guy who would hold conversations with baseballs might be tripping his brains out on some powerful purple microdot.

But you would apparently be wrong. For the record, it was former Pittsburgh Pirates hurler Dock Ellis who, after his playing days were over, copped to being on acid the day in 1970 that he pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

Fidrych is described this way on the jacket of Doug Wilson’s new book The Bird:

“Lanky, mop-topped, and nicknamed for his resemblance to Big Bird on Sesame Street, Fidrych exploded onto the national stage during the Bicentennial summer as a rookie with the Detroit Tigers. He won over fans nationwide with his wildly endearing antics, such as talking to the ball (and throwing back the ones that ‘had hits in them’), getting down on his knees to ‘manicure’ the mound, and shaking hands with just about everyone from teammates to groundskeepers to cops during and after games. Female fans tried to obtain locks of his hair from his barber and even named babies after him.”

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