Trending
Most Read
  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

Calendar

Calendar

Search thousands of events in our database.

Restaurants

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Nightlife

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

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

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

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

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

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.
comments powered by Disqus