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  • 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 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 […]

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  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

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  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

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  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

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Down by law

Old-school bodybuilder fought the FDA and the FDA won

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

Ron Kosloff with a picture of his idol.

It's not the same anymore for Ron Kosloff. Not since they came after him, ruined his livelihood, broke his spirit.

"They don't like me," he says, ominously.

They are the Food and Drug Administration. And several years back, they paid him a series of unpleasant visits from which Kosloff still hasn't recovered, financially or emotionally. Suddenly he pauses and says nervously, "Please don't get me in trouble."

Kosloff, 72, is gentle and soft-spoken, a big man with a graceful walk. He's owned Research Nutrition on Seven Mile near Hayes on the city's east side since 1974, selling products based on what he calls "old-time bodybuilding," the workouts and diets that were made famous in the 1940s and '50s by fitness icon Vince Gironda, Kosloff's idol.

The store sells oddities like dried bee pollen and glandular extracts, and chlorine shower filters, and reprinted pamphlets describing years-old exercise techniques. Kosloff's against most prescription drugs and believes good nutrition can prevent or cure most physical ailments. Diabetics come to him for pancreas extracts, and alcoholics come to him for liver pills. Both believe the supplements will regenerate their poor, punished organs.

The store is nestled in a small strip of storefronts, hard to spot if you're not looking for it. Open the front door and you're in a tiny, dim lobby with a small counter. The nutrition products he sells are stacked in a storeroom in the back. There's no showroom to browse. Most of his sales nowadays are by mail anyway, ordered online.

Kosloff admits he's an eccentric. "I'm a little bit different," he says. He detests sugar and iodized salt and says fiber is actually bad for you. He thinks all pro athletes are on steroids. And he doesn't believe in calorie counting. Or calories, for that matter.

"There's no such thing as calories," he says. "That's a fabricated theory. Calories is the amount of heat needed to raise one gram of water one degree Fahrenheit. What's that got to do with losing weight? It's got nothing to do with losing weight, but our society has turned into a society where lies are told to make money."

It's a recurring theme with him. Madison Avenue and big corporations, he insists, have brainwashed us, told us to eat carbs and drink sugary pop and kill ourselves just to make themselves rich. They're against nutrition and vitamins because they need us to be sick so we'll have to pay costly visits to the pharmacy.

"The medical profession spends zillions of dollars every day hawking drugs," he says. "They don't want to talk about the holistic way. They want to talk about drugs. It's only the intellectual who's going to say, 'This is not right.'"

Kosloff's the author of dozens of articles espousing these convictions. They're on his store's website, with titles like "Grains: the Great Coverup of an Insidious Sickness," and "The Coming Conspiracy of a Planned Pharmaceutical Menace." The FDA was one of his favorite targets.

Little did he know when he wrote those things that the FDA would one day show up at his door.

Kosloff grew up scrawny and took up bodybuilding to change that.

"I was skinny and I didn't have that much going for me," he says. "I just wanted to look better, just so people wouldn't pick on me, and naturally if a girl looks your way that's a little helpful."

And that's when he first set eyes on Vince Gironda. Back in the 1950s and '60s, Gironda was an iconic bodybuilder. He'd operated the famous Vince's Gym in Hollywood since just after World War II. Movie stars flocked to him for training. They called him "the Iron Guru."

Gironda was unorthodox and became more so as his life went on. He was opposed to training abdominal muscles at all. He drank raw milk and suggested eating three-dozen fertile hen eggs every day. He claimed kelp pills help increase muscle definition. But mostly he preached against steroids. The natural way, he declared, is the only way.

He was temperamental, and would suddenly throw someone out of his gym if he thought they were doing an exercise incorrectly. When a young Arnold Schwarzenegger visited him, Gironda told him he was a "fat fuck" just because he hated arrogant celebrities.

Kosloff was so impressed by Gironda he got him on the phone, made an appointment to see him, flew from Detroit out to California and wound up staying there for six weeks for one-on-one training. They became lifelong friends.

But in the '80s, modern fitness centers sprouted up everywhere, and suddenly Vince's Gym seemed old-fashioned. It closed in the '90s, and Gironda died a broke and broken man, soothing himself with the bottle until his last days.

Kosloff still looks up to him, even in death. There are photos of Gironda, posing or flexing, framed and hung on the walls throughout his store. Gironda's pamphlets on diets and workouts are neatly arranged on display at the front counter. And when Kosloff speaks of him, his tone is flush with affection.

"Nobody had definition like he did. I mean, he was just a phenomenal man. If you read those articles that I wrote about him you'll see what a great, great man he was."

Today Kosloff is the keeper of Gironda's legacy. He sells his workout courses, lives his advice, sells the products his mentor helped formulate. His answering machine fills every day with calls from such places as Hawaii and Delaware, England and Canada.

"It's still a cult," he says. "All the people that call me, they embrace Vince Gironda, they embrace old-time bodybuilding. But he was attacked viciously for the things he preached."

In a way, he likes to note, he's now suffered the same unfair fate as his hero.

The infant formula in the stores offers poor nutrition, Kosloff says. "Babies are being fed garbage." So eight years ago, he came up with his own blend, packaged it and sold it.

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