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  • Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor

    Detroit home-girl Lily Tomlin will perform at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, June 14. A press release reads, “Get together with Lily Tomlin for an unforgettable night of fun and sidesplitting laughter. “Tomlin is amazing” The NY Times and “as always a revelation.” The New Yorker This unique comic artist takes her audience on what the Washington Post calls a “wise and howlingly funny” trip with more than a dozen of her timeless characters—from Ernestine to Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann.” “With astounding skill and energy, Tomlin zaps through the channels like a human remote control. Using a fantastic range of voices, gestures and movements, she conjures up the cast of characters with all the apparent ease of a magician pulling a whole menagerie of animals from a single hat.” NY Daily News “Her gentle touch is as comforting as it is edifying.” NY Time Out She has “made the one-person show the daring, irreverent art form it is today.” Newsweek Her long list of awards includes: a Grammy; two Tonys; six Emmys; an Oscar nomination; two Peabodys; and the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Find more info here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor

    The Detroit Metro Times, Detroit’s award-winning alternative weekly media company, is proud to announce the recent hire of Valerie Vande Panne as Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning independent journalist and Michigan native, Vande Panne’s work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications. Previously, Vande Panne attended Harvard University and was a regular contributor to The Boston Phoenix, and a news editor of High Times magazine. She has spent years covering drug policy among other subjects, including the environment, culture, lifestyle, extreme sports, and academia. “Valerie understands our business and what we expect to accomplish in Detroit. She has an excellent sense for stories that will move our readers, as well as experience with balancing print and digital content. I’m excited to have her at the paper and trust her leadership as we move forward,” said Detroit Metro Times publisher Chris Keating.

    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

    She welcomes you when you enter Detroit, from every direction, with the one word that might just be Detroit’s biggest philosophical question: Injured? Joumana Kayrouz is deeper than the inflated image watching over Detroit, peddling justice to the poor and broken of the city. This Wednesday, Drew Philp takes us behind the billboard and into the heart of the Kayrouz quest. (And all of Brian Rozman’s photos of Kayrouz have not been retouched.) Check out MT‘s cover story, on newsstands Wednesday!

    The post Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt

    There was a fire in an upstairs apartment at PJ’s Lager House on Monday evening. No people were hurt, although three cats belonging to the tenants died after CPR. The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. during a show featuring Zombie Jesus & the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Curtin, and Jeffrey Jablonsky. “We just smelled smoke and someone yelled everyone has to get out,” 33-year-old Nick Leu told MLive. On the Lager House Facebook page in the early hours of the morning, a post said, “We at PJ’s lager House would like to thank everyone for their care and concern. Also, a very big THANK YOU to all who stepped up to do what they could this evening. The fire was contained to the upstairs but due to water damage in the bar, we will be closed until it can be assessed. Everyone is safe and we will keep you updated.” A later update read, “Update from the big boss. Since there was no damage to the stage side of the bar, the show will go on tomorrow! You may have to enter through the back door and there may not be a large selection of booze but we are going […]

    The post Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt 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. The Sugar Clouds’ Partners Don’t Do That (They Watch and be Amazed) (Wax Splat) is a nostalgic look at the psychedelic days of ’60s grooviness. Even the album cover looks like a lava lamp. The male-female vocals have a sort of Jefferson Airplane feel, and the songs are blessed with both sugary sweet pop melodies and a garage-y earthiness. The story of the band’s formation is rather interesting; the two vocalists, Greg and Melissa Host, are a divorced couple who wrote the songs in their living room. The band is still together, so this divorce was a hell of a lot more civil than any we’ve ever known of. Steffanie Christi’an has friends in fairly high places. Her new Way Too Much mini-album is being put out by Nadir Omowale’s Distorted Soul label, and she is also a regular feature on Jessica Care Moore’s Black Women Rock revue. Maybe the choice of cover image isn’t the best – she looks a bit like a Tina Turner tribute act here. But that can and should be […]

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

  • Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’

      There’s at least one city councilmember who’s less than pleased with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to increase all parking violation fines. Councilman Gabe Leland, whose district represents the city’s west side, issued a statement today, calling Orr’s plan a potential “deterrent” to attracting people to the city. I don’t believe the argument to raise the parking ticket fines from $30 to $45 and eliminate the $10 early payment fine are justification for this action. The emergency manager’s order to increase ticket fines places city government inefficiencies on the backs of our residents who need to do business in downtown and other parts of our city. And, this will increase the barrier for people to frequent Detroit-based establishments; likely to be a deterrent for some to shop and dine in our city. Leland suggested implementing a plan that maintains current rates for fines and reduces operating inefficiencies to collecting parking fines. “In my view, generating revenue by increasing fines when residents from neighborhoods must go downtown to get licenses and permits, attend court appointments and do other necessary business, is the wrong direction,” Leland said. “…Additionally, generating revenue using fines when we are trying to grow this city and attract […]

    The post Detroit councilman: Increased parking fines an ‘anti-growth strategy’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Opening Day Issue

Frozen in time

How a bone-chilling 31-1 home opener defeat was a team's greatest moment

Photo: Photo courtesy Peter Williams, License: N/A

Photo courtesy Peter Williams

In warmer climes: Oak Park Knights Matthew Waddell, Clayton Day, Earl Murrie and Robert Johnson with Coach Boyer in Florida.


2011 Opening Day Issue

Baseball home openers, with all the hot dogs, hot chocolate and hot corner clamor, stay with you for years. Like when I saw the Yankees edging the Tigers 2-1, April 6, 1987, despite Larry Herndon's colossal 500-foot blast soaring over my silent scream into the Tiger Stadium upper deck bleachers. The game on Opening Day can foreshadow truly unforgettable seasons, even when ending in a loss.

Speaking of lasting opening game memories: No one in Michigan should have played baseball on April 4, 2007. At least not outdoors, not when April so cruelly mimicked December. Thin batting gloves left my fingers freezing, so, as coach of the Oak Park Knights, I tossed mine to one of our most broke ("ghetto") players, one who kept batting barehanded, too shy to ever ask for a momentary loan. We grimly waited for the other team, the Avondale Yellow Jackets, to show. I kept turning to one of my volunteer assistants, Art Mellos, "This your coldest wind-chill ever for a game?" Art's long playing career culminated at Eastern Michigan University, but the chilly wind drowned out his glory days nasty weather boasting.

Like most high schools, baseball and softball are typically the least supported of any of the major sports programs offered. The American cliché of "football first, basketball second and everything else after" prevails. Due to the poverty and limited resources plaguing most urban settings, this means most city kids just don't play much baseball anymore. Somehow, for several years, I managed to recruit a small group of players willing to raise money and start spring training each February in Delray Beach, Fla., at the Bucky Dent Baseball School. Five weeks earlier, four of these players had been throwing beach sand after a week of throwing baseballs in the warm Atlantic sun, including two seniors who had never been on a plane before (I used to drive the guys down before marriage made me smarter). One player endured special teammate ridicule for believing socks were the preferred beach footwear. On this Opening Day, the guys were about to experience another lesson in a unique version of snow ball.

We had a brief head start, already fielding half a team, but at Oak Park High School, with no Little League, Babe Ruth or middle school feeder programs, and a Junior Varsity about to be terminated, we had to play harder preparing for a long-shot playoff run (every school qualifies for at least one initial playoff game). We had never won more than a half-dozen games per season in more than 20 years, which translated into at least a dozen defeats per season, some as 5-inning losses under the humane 10-run mercy rule. This included 19 years without a playoff win. This losing season streak should also have an asterisk, since, for much of the 1990s, baseball or softball did not even exist in Oak Park schools. The sport had been cut by an earlier school board and superintendent, along with various art, drama and music programs. A decade later, some of these programs had yet to return to the district.

The team survived on a barely playable dirt field with two boxes of baseballs, generic red and white pinstripe uniforms and vague reassurances that two umpires would be present for home games (with an available, if perennially late, school bus for the road). How we were able to compete at all was up to the head coach and my two volunteer assistants, Art and Ken "Mad Dog" Stechuk, a ball-playing friend since Little League.

Fan attendance had always been sparse enough to note who came to cheer the Knights. We usually drew only one or two noisy moms and one quiet dad per game, but in seven years, three different athletic directors had witnessed a combined total of only two innings of Oak Park baseball. No principal or assistant principal ever observed even one inning. Disgruntled coaches privately spit such trivia from dugouts furnished with the extra equipment they purchased beyond their meager allotted budget.

Less than a half-hour before game time, the metal stands and the adjacent running track were completely barren. The athletic director could have strolled outside and quickly postponed the contest with a couple of short phone calls. He instead drove home, leaving only the umpires with the power to delay or call the game.

Eleven courageous Oak Park players tried to stretch, throw and shiver through a feeble pre-game regimen, which proved to be a major tactical error. We should have warmed up inside the gym or, better yet, in an athletic field house and then on a hot bus like the belated visitors from Avondale, a considerably more affluent school district much farther north of Detroit. We also should have worn at least three undershirts beneath the long sleeve shirts under our jerseys. Avondale hailed from an upper division superior to Oak Park, so this typical Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) non-league game did not have to be made up if it was (understandably) canceled. "If the underpaid umpires arrive," we thought, "surely they'll call the game."

Two strangers resembling a darkly-clad ski patrol marched up five minutes before game time. Pleading, I stuttered how these conditions were unplayable.

They shrugged me off, muttering how the disadvantage affected both teams equally. The opposing manager, probably sensing a mercy-rule onslaught, simply clapped his gloved hands and buttoned his coat up to his chin. Shaking my head, I yelled at the team to take the icy field.

As a mini-snow squall began to swirl over the diamond, we quickly discovered the profound difficulty in catching and throwing a ball to first base. Everyone moved in close, as if somehow we might be a little warmer if we didn't stand so far apart. Their lead-off cracked a ground ball past our paralyzed shortstop. The ball rolled over the rock-hard tundra all the way to the fence as an improbable triple.

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