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  • Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark

    Oh, the irony — initially criticized as Marxist propaganda when Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted them for the Detroit Institute of Arts in the early 1930s, Detroit Industry has now been designated as a a national landmark. The announcement was made Wednesday, according to the Detroit News by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as part of National Park Week. The designation does not change the ownership status of the murals or grant any new protections or rights, leaving its place among the rest of the DIA’s art in possible bankruptcy negotiations in question. The work is considered the best of Rivera’s work in the United States (another mural Rivera had done in New York was destroyed by orders of Nelson Rockefeller). Rivera himself regarded Detroit Industries paintings as his finest work. In the midst of the McCarthy era, the DIA posted this sign outside the court: Rivera’s politics and his publicity seeking are detestable. But let’s get the record straight on what he did here. He came from Mexico to Detroit, thought our mass production industries and our technology wonderful and very exciting, painted them as one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. This came […]

    The post Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 […]

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  • 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? […]

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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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