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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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Cover Story

Detroit Stars in Low Winter Sun

AMC’s newest drama has gritty Motown as a setting

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

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Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Much of the first episode’s action is set near Greektown; bad guys stroll down Randolph Street with impunity, and the timeworn Baltimore Lunch bar on that street, site of several pivotal moments, is renamed “The International” in the script.

“It was nuts in here,” says Hilga Nada, who co-owns Baltimore Lunch with her actor son, Ted. “Me and Teddy were here morning till night. We came in at around 6 in the morning and left when they got done. It took them almost three days.”

The Baltimore staff was given an extended Thanksgiving holiday so the one-time November shoot could be accomplished — not that they could have worked anyway.

“They rented the whole parking lot and they had trucks and everything inside it,” Nada marvels. “We have two bars, and the back bar is where they put all the recordings. They took out everything I have and put their own things in here, made the bar look completely different. It was really amazing.”

 

The gravity of star power

 

Lennie James made national pop culture headlines this month for his surprise return to The Walking Dead as hardened survivor Morgan Jones, a character he hadn’t played since the show’s 2010 debut.

The Walking Dead producers really wanted to bring Morgan back and asked would I be interested,” James relates, in his neatly trimmed South London accent. “They gave us a rough idea of when it would happen and we managed to coordinate dates. The only thing they asked was that I not tell anybody I was coming back, so I had to lie to people for 11 months, for which I apologize profusely. But now the cat’s out of the bag, so I can stop lying to my friends and family.”

His joining the cast of Low Winter Sun was far more transparent. “If you get the option and the opportunity, the things that attract me to a project are the same every single time,” he says. “It’s a really good story, it’s really well told, and it’s a character I really want to play, a guy I can learn something from playing and can do something interesting with. And, it’s a rock-solid cast.”

James says one big enticement was the opportunity to work again with Strong. “Although I’ve known Mark for a very long time, I haven’t worked with him in a good few years,” he says.

They have been in two films together, one in which they shared scenes (1999’s

Elephant Juice) and one where they didn’t (The Martins, 2001).

James opted not to watch the British version of LWS until long after he completed the pilot, “because I didn’t want there to be any crossover or muddled thinking. I wanted to come at the character clear-eyed.” However, after watching the original, which is set in Edinburgh, Scotland, he understands why Detroit was a prime choice as this show’s location.

“It’s a very specific story, told in a very specific city,” James says. “The city of Edinburgh is a big character in that production in the way I think we hope Detroit will be. The characters we are dealing with, the stories we are telling, are in some way fueled by the fact that they’re happening in a city that has the characteristics of Detroit. In the sense that it is, for want of a better phrase, a desperate city, trying both to save itself and to move forward. I think that follows a lot of the themes of Low Winter Sun in that there are characters who have made mistakes, who have suffered from bad luck, who are trying to save themselves and move forward.”

The perspective of a black man from another country who makes his living through detailed observations, coming to work in this desperate city — with a population that is more than 80 percent African-American — could be compelling. However, although he previously spent time around Detroit when he played the pimp Charlie in the bygone HBO series Hung, James is prudently noncommittal. “On one level I haven’t spent enough free time in Detroit to really comment,” he submits.

“It’s the same when I’m in Atlanta where The Walking Dead shoots, a city that has a very prolific African American persona. Again, I haven’t spent a huge amount of time there, but you do feel it and it is a very different vibe than other cities. But so far my experience in Detroit has been very much about the work I’m doing there. We set up in Greektown, and although we traveled to other locations, and on days off did our best to try and see the city that we potentially will work in for a while, I can’t in all honesty say I know enough.

“What I do know is, I suppose everything I’ve read about Detroit, all the things that people are saying now, it’s kind of become the poster city for decay and the need for renewal. How a once powerful and rich city can decline over a short space of time. White flight, black middle-class flight, all those things. So far, almost everything I’ve read about Detroit is true, and that includes its passion and desire to bounce back.”

The people make the difference, James believes. “A lot of times with the Detroit actors and crew we were working with, the people in the hotel we were staying in, the people when we went to the [Eastern] Market, or to meet the cops to do research and have barbecues with them, everybody really wanted the show to come to Detroit,” he says. “In a way, to be one of a number of film and television productions that will come in and help Detroit get back on its feet. I hope that’s what Low Winter Sun is part of.

“But ask me at the end of the next nine episodes, because by then I may feel like my feet have been on the ground long enough to make an informed comment. At the moment, I’m a newbie. I’m just sucking it all up and seeing what there is. But my early experience of Detroit is that it’s a strangely exciting city and one I‘m looking forward to working in.”

 

Detroit: More than just tax incentives

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