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  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May 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 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 […]

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

  • 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 […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Cover Story

Girls of Summer

A blown cycling career in the glimpses of a teenage fool

Photo: Justin Rose, License: N/A

Justin Rose

It was never an option to not saddle up and not go it alone in the rain, cold and wind, or in 100-degree heat with a group of toned and mad-eyed masochists. You hit an 80-mile training ride before strolling late into third-period chemistry class with no notebook or pencil, nor any interest at all in being there, and find a desk at the very back with the stoners and retreat into the sweet endorphin overload that washes over you. That was, basically, your high school life until that day in 10th grade when you strolled out of there for good.

You learn there's nothing like, say, descending Colorado's mighty Independence Pass on your racing bike at 50 miles per hour, heading straight for Aspen, at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon in May when your fellow high schoolers are back in that chemistry class, bored right out of their skulls.

Then comes summer and that's when the bike-racing season really begins. And little compares to Los Angeles in late May, especially racing in a category for 17- and 18-year-olds when you're all of 15. Southern California is to you an elevated existence of oceanside utopia, an untouchable idea of life where images of TV shows you grew up on reappear like ghosts on palm-tree-lined boulevards that disappear into hills strewn with vine-covered Spanish homes and gated driveways. What is this place? It's like Raymond Chandler, but colored in with soft lines and edges. You long for the Cali girls whose beauty is so rich and well-bred that it produces an ache in your gut that stays for weeks. You wonder: Will that interfere with my performance?

Worse, the California cyclists are bankrolled and arrive behind the wheels of German cars; they look cooler than you, and always, always have super-hot, sparsely clothed chicks from west L.A. on their arms. You're outclassed even before you saddle up. They win.

Do they?

There's something inside you that's winding itself up. The race begins and you long to prove how an obsessive bike-racing kid can be put together like a pro cyclist. You feel alive. Your legs feel great. So you fucking go for it and attack after 35 miles. You're on the day's second climb and you still have 30 agonizing miles of fighting the road's elements — and yourself — to go. But you manage to stay clear of the 60 riders. You cross the line more than a minute ahead of second place.

Later, the 18-year-old So Cal cyclists are stunned and humiliated to learn your age, but they want you on their teams. Yet their perfect summer girls, and the incalculable number of beautiful chicks, never look at you. Don't even acknowledge your presence. It's a pain as great as that which you suffer on the bike. 

You soon learn of the adrenaline from the frightening chaos of alloy and bones crashing to asphalt. You're in the midst of a bloodbath in downtown Long Beach. Some promoter had the bright idea to stage a massive bicycle race on closed-off, fuel-and-oil-slicked freeways during a break in the Long Beach Grand Prix. You understand quickly that the course wasn't mopped up after the last Formula One contest. Shoulder-to-shoulder, figures in your periphery collide and crack. On a lethal hairpin curve one rider clings desperately to your jersey before he nails the concrete siding, and you just catch that fierce look of absolute panic on his face. Christ! Another lap and you see that guy strapped to a gurney getting loaded into an ambulance. His face and body parts are raw hamburger. 

One hundred starters; 30 finishers. By some inexplicable fluke you stay upright, finish top five. 

Another summer and you learn there's nothing like negotiating the slick, rain-wet turns on streets in downtown Green Bay, flat-out hammering — heart rate a steady 160 — legs, lungs, arms, back cramped with ache and sting. You're soaked, streaked with the mud spinning off rear wheels ahead of you. But you're sick of the splatter so you risk the street's edges; you bump other riders, slide on corners, nearly eat shit, but it pays off. Suddenly you're doing the lion's share of the "work" in a three-man breakaway that could stay clear of the group to the finish. You're taking insane chances because you're racing in Cat. 1, the best of those over the age of 18, and you're only 16. You've only read about a lot of the guys in the main group behind you. You want the pain and the race to end but there are 10 laps left. Anguish displaces fear displaces nerves. You single-handedly keep up a pace to ensure that your three-man break stays clear to the finish line — only to get edged in the sprint finish for the win. But still. Second place. You could be home learning to be a teenager.

There's nothing like leading a group of chasers by 25 seconds over a final climb in Utah. That is until a deadly pothole crosses your path, snaps the top of your forks so it's impossible to steer. But you continue on, and then things go blank. You wake up hours later in a hospital. The road burns on one side of your body between chin and ankle look like a medley of raspberries and roses. You're told you have a concussion. All you think about is how you lost the event. 

You keep racing because this is your career. But girls get to you. Their mere presence hits you like blows to the abdomen, and why can't you touch them? By the end of the next summer a woman finally touches you. Not a chick, a much older woman. She's in love with your sinuous lines, and a physique reserved only for those with 4 percent body fat. She can't get enough. You're cooked. Your cycling coach and teammates do everything to save you. No such luck. You got a taste and it ended your cycling career in less than 48 hours. You sell off the bikes, tires, wheels, shoes ... anything to remind you of what regret might one day feel like. Besides, you now need the money.

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