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  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

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  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 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.



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Hockey in the Holy Land

For Huntington Woods resident Ira Schlussel, strapping on the blades for an Olympic-like competition in Israel has been years in the making.

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There are two things you should know about Ira Schlussel: The man loves God and he loves hockey. A passion for the fastest game on Earth happened around age 6, thanks in no small part to the players of the day, including Gordie Howe, Dale McCourt and the rest of the winged wheelers; it’s been his passion for 40 years. His relationship with God happened (most likely) at birth.

Schlussel, an observant Jew, will combine his two loves on the only ice rink in Israel — “The Star Spangled Banner” bellowing from the speakers, Stars and Stripes draping his chest — as a participant in the 19th Maccabiah Games, which begin this year on July 21.

The Maccabiah Games, known by some as the “Jewish Olympics,” began in 1932; the event was forced to take a near two-decade hiatus after 1935, however, due to the Holocaust. They returned in 1950 and, after the 1953 competition, became quadrennial, like their Greek predecessor.

This year, the Maccabiah Games will host more than 9,000 athletes from 71 countries, making it the third-largest sporting event in the world. Included are Schlussel, 46, and nearly 70 other athletes and coaches representing the United States’ three hockey teams. 

Though Schlussel admits he never paid much attention to the games, they’ve paid attention to him.

“My first trip to Israel was in 1977, I was 10 years old; I went to one of the swimming events at the Maccabiah Games,” he says. “It’ll be neat, after 36 years, going back and now participating.”

Twenty years after that first visit, Israel — and the games — found Schlussel again, but this time with an opportunity to compete.

It was 1997. A newlywed Schlussel, along with wife Cara, headed to Israel for their honeymoon. It was also the year of the 15th Maccabiah Games. Schlussel figured he could make the trip doubly special; but it wasn’t meant to be as he didn’t make the team — a decision you can tell he still disagrees with years later, but only if you pay close attention. (Schlussel is pretty mild mannered, but a subtle change in his voice’s timbre was the tell when he said, simply: “I didn’t make the team.”)

And, to underscore his belief, he sought out opinions.

“The guy who’s running the team now was on that [1997] team,” Schlussel says. “I had a conversation with him in Philadelphia at the first tryout and he said, ‘You should have played in ’97!’ and I said, ‘I tried out in ’97 and I didn’t make that team!’”

It turns out that one of the major factors in Schlussel not making the ’97 team had little to do with his level of talent, but what he’d done — or not done — in the past. Schlussel didn’t play college hockey, which served as a glaring omission on his sports résumé for the deciders of the team.

While other members of the Maccabiah hockey team typically spent their college years on skates, Schlussel, who now spends his days as general counsel for the digital engagement agency ePrize, instead focused on earning his degree and going to law school; hockey had to take a step back.

Since he began playing the sport, Schlussel says he has only spent one year blade-free, and that was at age 22 when he first moved to Washington, D.C., to begin his first year of law school at Georgetown University.

Sixteen years after the disappointment of being passed over for the ’97 team, the games would come calling again. Schlussel says he really paid little attention to the games after that; it wasn’t even on his radar when he got a call in August 2012 about a tryout in Philadelphia. On a lark he decided to go and, after the three-day tryout, Schlussel was all but guaranteed a spot; he just had to decide if he wanted it. Several factors played into his decision to compete, he says, starting first and foremost with the team itself.

“I wanted to play on a team that was sufficiently talented to make the trip worthwhile,” he says. “And then there was the significant cost factor and time away from work.”

After another round of tryouts, Schlussel felt comfortable that the team would be strong enough to warrant the trip. The only hurdle remaining was significant costs: He knew the expense wouldn’t be that significant if he traveled alone, but the tried-and-true family man knew that wasn’t an option.

“I wasn’t going to ‘just to play hockey in Israel’ — I really wanted to take my family,” he says.

And so the trip took on a third passion. It began as an opportunity to play hockey for his country, in the Holy Land of his faith — and now it included his family in the stands.

“This will be my fifth trip to Israel, but it’s the first family trip and maybe the only family trip. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Israel through my kids’ eyes.”

The competition begins on July 21 and ends four days later. There are four teams competing this year, so the chances of Schlussel coming back to Michigan with a medal around his neck are fairly good, though he acknowledges the Canadians might run away with the gold. Either way, medaling doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of his mind.

“I’m very passionate about hockey, but I have a similar, maybe even more, passion about Israel. It’s really combining two of my passions,” he says. “To stand on the ice with the big USA jersey, listening to the national anthem, and then the Israeli national anthem I think will be a really moving experience. It’ll be a culmination.”

Eric Walters is an editorial intern at the Metro Times. Send comments to

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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.
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