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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 […]

    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 […]

    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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Extreme makeover

Meet a woman who can dress just about anyone for success

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

Photos: Detroitblogger John

Alison Vaughn, left, and Betty Henderson.

The teacher has her work cut out for her today.

Betty Henderson's students look as though they'd rather be somewhere else. One girl sits with her eyes closed. Another's cell phone rings, and she eagerly leaps up and leaves the room as she talks to the caller. Others giggle at not-so-funny things at the wrong time. Some have wild colors in their hair, or sport obscene tattoos, or wear dirty gym clothes.

They're in class at Jackets for Jobs, an eastside nonprofit that provides dressy clothing for needy job seekers who don't have a professional outfit to wear for an interview. But the price of getting that free outfit is sitting through this 90-minute lecture on proper job etiquette. Dress clothes will mean nothing if the applicant walks into an interview and begins swearing.

"They don't know how to fill out an application," says Karen Terry, a volunteer here, of the typical clients who come through. "They don't even know how to talk."

There are 16 women in class today, all but a few in their late teens or early 20s. Most are single mothers. Seven of them never graduated high school. Most haven't worked in at least a year or two. Some get fired a lot. A couple of them have never held any job at all.

The little rules of work life that are obvious to others are new to many here. Don't flirt with the interviewer or ask for his phone number, Henderson tells them. Don't lose your temper and start yelling at the interviewer. Don't light a cigarette in the interviewer's office. Don't bring your child to the interview.

"If you couldn't find a babysitter for the interview, what are you going to do when you get the job?" Henderson asks them. The 68-year-old former schoolteacher's tone is motherly but firm. "You've got to have your ducks in a row. I don't care if the kid is 10 or 2. Leave the child at home. Find a babysitter, someone that's responsible."

Woven into the etiquette instructions are segments on improving self-esteem. After years on welfare or without a job, after countless rejections and firings, the staff here find that many of these women have little or no self-confidence.

"A lot of the women, some like myself — homeless, unemployed, single mothers — you're going through these things that you have to go through daily, culminating in how you're feeling as a woman and your emotions," says Terry, 50. "See, people don't address those issues, and here they address those issues as well as give you clothes."

But Henderson faces an uphill battle. In many cases, years of bad habits, poor social skills and street behavior have to be undone, and it's hard to do that in an hour-and-a-half.

"I have students that literally fall asleep, and I know this class is not that boring because you're looking for work," Henderson lectures the students. "This is good stuff for you. You should have a page full of notes by now. You can't say, 'Well I didn't know I couldn't do that.' You need to know this."

The girl with the pink hair giggles.

Alison Vaughn
was a model and flight attendant when 9/11 happened. Airline business dropped off significantly for a while, and she accepted her employer's offer to take a leave of absence.

She had just reunited with a stepsister who had fallen on hard times, was subsisting on assistance checks, and then died six months later of cancer. Seeing her sister trying to survive physically and financially made her want to do something to help women in similar circumstances.

"Every woman that walks through this door, I'm reminded of my sister," says Vaughn, 44. "I want to help them become a better person and get off welfare and be self-sufficient, 'cause some of them have kids and they're trying to make it, and they're struggling."

She started Jackets for Jobs 11 years ago in her apartment with a few outfits to give away, moved to space above a church as the donations started coming in, then found offices in a former hospital building at Connor and Shoemaker.

"I just saw a need in the community," Vaughn says. "It was kind of like a Catch-22. A person was going for an interview, they needed a suit, but they needed a job to get the suit." Once they get a job, they're entitled to two more free outfits.

She estimates that 10,000 people have come to her so far; about two-thirds have succeeded in getting a job, she says. Henderson, Vaughn's mother, joined her early on as the organization's career wardrobe director, as they call it. Most of their clients are women, though they've been expanding their program for men, many of whom are just-released ex-cons.

The Jackets for Jobs offices are laid out like a small department store. Women's business suits are neatly hung on department store racks bought at a Montgomery Ward going-out-of-business sale. Most clothes are new; some still have the tags hanging on them. Clothes and donations come from retailers in the area, from corporations, from individual donors who believe in her mission.

Vaughn's real task, though, is getting the women who come through here to believe it too.

"You feel frustrated because you're trying to get a person to step out of their comfort zone," she says. "And we tell them we know that you're used to wearing miniskirts and tight-fitting clothes, but there's a difference from date wear and daytime wear to interview wear, and so we try to explain the difference. You know, if you're going on a date you can have your cleavage hanging out, but when you're going for a job interview, that is not appropriate at all."

The class
comes to an end, and the students leap up and swarm to the racks of new clothes. Henderson and Vaughn help each one match their outfits properly, pick out clothes that fit, get shoes that the women can walk in gracefully.

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