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  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Chewing the fat with Michael Ian Black

Black talks to Metro Times about fitness, Twitter, and fake jazz musicians, as well as his upcoming Magic Bag show.

Photo: Courtesy photo., License: N/A

Courtesy photo.

Before MTV was a parade of pregnant teens, it used to have some quality programming. The State, a sketch comedy show that would launch careers and spawn other hilarious television shows and movies is one example of that. The group was formed by drama and film students from NYU, including Michael Ian Black, who would drop out when MTV’s deal came along.

You might not know him by name, but you’d more than likely recognize Michael Ian Black by face. He was on that one show you started to like, then, out of nowhere, he was just gone. Despite his laundry list of short-lived shows, Black has remained a valuable member of the comedy community, releasing the stand-up albums I’m a Wonderful Man in 2007 and Very Famous in 2011. Black is also an author. In 2009, he released a collection of essays titled My Custom Van. In 2012, he penned his memoir, You’re Not Doing It Right, as well as a handful of acclaimed children’s books.

Black now co-hosts Duck Quacks Don’t Echo, a show that investigates unusual facts, which premiered earlier this year on NatGeoTV. He can also be heard on the Topics podcast with longtime collaborator and fellow member of The State, Michael Showalter. Black was gracious enough to talk to Metro Times — about fitness, Twitter, and fake jazz musicians. He performs at the Magic Bag June 12.

Metro Times: This is your first tour in a few years; is it in preparation for a new special?

Michael Ian Black: Not specifically. I’m not necessarily aiming to do a new special right away. I just wanted to get back on the road. I haven’t done it in a while, and I just thought it would be fun and healthy for me.

MT: How do you prepare for a tour?

Black: Well … obviously, I have to get myself in good aerobic shape. So that means hours and hours and hours of badminton. It means rock climbing, and I complete, I don’t know, a few triathlons before I hit the road. 

MT: Rock climbers have strange terms for things.

Black: Yeah, I know all those terms. 

MT: Instead of saying, “That’s cool,” they’ll say, “That’s choss.” Where does that come from?

Black: It’s a combination of things. “Chalk,” because climbers need chalk and, “oss,” which comes from gloss because it’s putting a happy shine on something. So, when you say something is choss, you’re saying it’s like happy chalk. 

MT: That makes sense. Is there an opener for the tour?

Black: There are different openers for different cities. I’m not sure who it is in Detroit. 

MT: Do you ever get an opener who doesn’t mesh well with your comedy?

Black: Umm, every once in a while, but most of the time, I think promoters and agents know me well enough to have a sense of what’s going to work and what’s not.

MT: On Very Famous, you say that you like doing stand-up “just OK.” Has that changed?

Black: It depends. Sometimes, I like it a lot, and sometimes it’s just OK. You can get burned out on it, and I was getting a little burned out on it. So that’s why I haven’t been doing it for a while, but absence does make the heart grow fonder. So I’m excited to reignite my love of it. It’s gonna blow your mind.

MT: I hope so. How do you write for stand-up?

Black: I sit down and I write. Then I try to memorize what I’ve written and then I try it out. There’s no big mystery to my process. 

MT: You starred in You’re Whole. Is there a plan to make more?

Black: We did a bunch of them for Adult Swim, and I think it’s kind of run its course. It’s an infomercial that I created for a life system for viewers, and it’s real dumb. 

MT: Was the 4 a.m. time slot intentional? 

Black: Yeah. Adult Swim, I think, wanted to throw weird things on at odd times, and we were one of those things. 

MT: Did you watch a lot of infomercials as research?

Black: No … no. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I think it would have ruined some of the stupidity if I thought too much about it and, you know, I’m nothing if not stupid. 

MT: On the Topics podcast, when do you choose the topic of discussion?

Black: As we’re hitting record is generally when we do it. 

MT: That doesn’t give you much time for research.

Black: Zero research. Zero forethought. Zero planning of any kind. 

MT: You did an episode on jazz and, I’ll be honest, I spent a good hour Googling your fictionalized Moonshine O’Shea. I was completely fooled.

Black: It sounded plausible. I’m seeing what happens when you Google “Moonshine O’Shea.” The two top hits are “’Moonshine O’Shea” and “’Moonshine O’Shea jazz.” Let’s see, there’s six results for “Moonshine O’Shea.” 

MT: A large portion of your fan base is twentysomethings. To what do you attribute that?

Black: I wish I could take the credit for it, but I think it’s my rugged good looks. 

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