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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Cover Story

Bruce Campbell - the man, the myth, the chin

Chronicling the rise of hometown hero

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


What is it about Bruce Campbell that makes him such a compelling actor? When he makes an appearance in a movie or TV show, it’s impossible to turn away and yet — let’s be absolutely fair and clear — when the lists of the great actors in history are made, Campbell isn’t going to be up there with the likes of Jeremy Irons and Daniel Day Lewis. He certainly has an “ingredient X,” an attractive quality and old-school cool. The man may have limited ability, yet he has mastered the art of milking every last bit of it.

So, again, what makes him so damned watchable? Is it that distinctive and admittedly impressive square chin? Perhaps, in part. Is it the fact that people of a certain age remember his performances as Ash in the Evil Dead movies with nostalgic glee and all else from then on is forgiven? That has a lot to do with it. But the truth is, sometimes hammy is fun and, because everyone around metro Detroit knows that Campbell is one of our own, there’s a feeling that we’re watching an old friend doing well every time we see Campbell on such TV shows as Burn Notice and Xena: Warrior Princess, or a movie like Sky High, even if we’ve never met him. It’s kind of like watching a relative doing community theater, just on a bigger scale. Appropriately enough, that’s where Campbell’s story begins.

Bruce Campbell’s dad was a member of the St. Dunstan’s Theatre Guild in Cranbrook, and it was while watching his father tread the boards that young Campbell caught the bug. “He joined because he was in the ad business but he felt that he wanted more of a creative outlet,” says Campbell, on the phone from L.A. “I think I saw him in a play around 1966 when I was about 8. I think it was Brigadoon. He was singing, dancing and acting goofy, and people were applauding. I was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ It left a big impression. Then I got older and during the summer they’d do plays outdoors in a beautiful Greek theater that they had there. They’d need kids for extras, so I got in my first play in my formative years when I was about 12. You had to be 18 to join, so I joined when I was 18. Then I could do what they called the ‘indoor shows’, which was where the real theater was going on. Outdoor shows were like The King and I, South Pacific, the classic musicals. With the indoor shows, you could do drama, and they had some farces that were really fun. It was a great proving ground, and my dad opened that world to me.”

Campbell, a warm and funny but no-nonsense man in conversation, was raised in Royal Oak, a city that he says bears little resemblance now to the one in which he spent his early years. “Oh, c’mon, in my day when I was there living near the railroad tracks, you got flat-top haircuts there,” he says. “This was not hip. Nothing was happening. You went to the Main Theatre, which is still there I guess. But there was nothing going on in Royal Oak. But it’s nice to see the town that you spent a lot of time in get better and better instead of worse and worse. Even fashionable Ferndale, when we had our offices there at Nine Mile and Woodward, I won’t call it a shithole but there was nothing fancy about it. Now Ferndale is getting all hipster on us. That’s better than watching it go down the toilet like a lot of our small towns.”

The story at that point was one that has been told a thousand times; the disenchanted and bored kid gets to high school and meets some other disenchanted and bored kids who have a similar interest in cinema, acting and making movies. In Campbell’s case, the first person he met was Josh Becker and the two would go on to make a short film called Oedipus Rex.

“My buddy Josh Becker, who I still work with [Becker is best known for his work on shows like Xena and B-movies with names like Harpies], was doing some Regular 8 movies (not even Super 8) for school, and we had both been in a school play in about 8th grade, The Lottery,” Campbell says. “He grew a beard by then so he got the adult role — he stole the adult role from me. I always hold that over him. He was making this movie and he knew I was an actor so he said, ‘Hey, can you get a toga?’ I said yeah, so I impressed him with my professionalism early on. I played King Creon. This was really like cutting to a title card with what everyone says. It was pretty primitive.”

Perhaps Campbell’s most significant school-time meeting came in the 8th grade, even if it didn’t stick right away. “Sam Raimi I saw in 8th grade dressed as Sherlock Holmes, sitting on the floor of our junior high school playing with dolls,” he says. “That was my first introduction. I specifically remember going way around him in the hallway, thinking, ‘This guy’s a first class weirdo.’ I never really met him in 8thgrade, I met him properly in 10th grade, during a radio speech class. We started performing announcements together, and we had a radio show that we would do. I found out that he was sort of doing little movies in his neighborhood, I was doing little movies in my neighborhood, and one other guy at Segal was doing movies in his neighborhood. High school is when all of the junior highs collide, so a bunch of us met and started to combine equipment, ideas, stories and just manpower. It became quite a little industry. We did about 50 of these movies that are all tucked away somewhere in various stages. But there were some really good little bits that came out of them that worked better than some of the movies, when we finally got to remake stuff into an actual movie. That was our proving ground: in high school. That was where we got everything started.”

The idea that there is a closet full of Raimi-Campbell collaborations locked away somewhere is mouthwatering, to say the least. The pair graduated in 1976, and in 1979 they made a short movie called Within the Woods, the seed of a much bigger idea. “Within the Woods was a Super 8 movie, and by then we were very good at making Super 8 movies. We had good cameras, the projectors were better, as was the sound. Within the Woods was what we used to raise money for The Evil Dead. We would show it to investors. It was a half hour movie, and we wanted to show people we could make something scary and effective. There wasn’t much in the way of sales tools. We were very skeptical to give them any kind of numbers of how well the movie would do, because we didn’t know. We used a visual tool to show them that we thought we knew what we were doing.”

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