Most Read
  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • First Little League game at Navin Field today

    Today Navin Field (the Old Tiger Stadium) hosts its first Little League game on a new field made just to host the youngsters! Here’s a photo of the game happening right now, courtesy Tom Derry and Metro Times‘ copy editor extraordinaire, Dave Mesrey: Stop by the site (corner of Michigan and Trumbull) today to watch history in the making!

    The post First Little League game at Navin Field today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit

    Former American Idol contestant Vonzell Solomon weighs in on twerking, natural hair & CEO status. In 2005, recording artist Vonzell “Baby V” Solomon embarked on a journey that changed her life. At the age of 20, Vonzell made it to the top three on American Idol before she was eliminated. But that was not the beginning nor the end of her journey to stardom. Vonzell is one of more than two dozen artists on tour with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who is a former Idol contestant as well. Todrick gained notoriety for his fast food drive-thru songs and also for producing parody videos  —  based on popular Broadway musicals and songs. His tour, uniquely entitled Twerk Du Soleil (translation: twerk of the sun), is a combination of his popular YouTube spoofs. Both Vonzell and her ratchet alter ego,Boonquisha Jenkins, made an appearance in Twerk Du Soleil,which stopped in Detroit July 23 at Saint Andrews Hall. Boonquisha opened the show by facilitating a twerking competition among the audience. Next, Vonzell made a reappearance singing a fan favorite – Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Later, Boonquisha came on stage screaming “It’s so cold in the D! You gotta be from the D to […]

    The post Twerk du Soleil shakes up Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email


God on her side

She's run this record shop for nearly 50 years — and still it's like candy land

Photo: , License: N/A

Dory Bryant in front of her aunt's ransacked house.

A woman enters the record store, walks past the wall of CDs, past the sign that says "Buy 12 tapes in 1 year, get a cassette free," and over to the counter at the other side of the store to get what she really came here for.

"Hi, Miss Simpson!" says Charlotte Laurry to the woman who owns the place. "I want me some Jolly Ranchers. I'll take the dollar bag. And I want some fruities, and I want some of the fishes and the watermelons. You know you're the only one with the watermelons?"

Simpson's Records, just off the corner of East McNichols and Joseph Campau in Detroit, is two places in one. Most of the space is devoted to music, as it has been since 1966. But along the west wall, there's a thick wood bar still leftover from this old building's past as a saloon, and behind it is a kaleidoscopic array of colorful little candies bursting out of bowls and overflowing from boxes, all for some small change.

Both the candy store and the record shop are run by Dorothy Simpson — gray-haired, soft-spoken and grandmotherly. And any place where an 82-year-old grandma gives you candy when you come see her becomes cherished by those who grew up nearby.

"Miss Simpson is like mama to everybody," says Deshone Legion, 42. "Not just to her own kids, but she's mama of this whole neighborhood. And everybody recognizes it."

Legion is behind the CD counter on a sunny winter afternoon — stocking shelves, sweeping the floor and answering questions from customers, all after coming in early to shovel the morning-fallen snow from the sidewalk. And he's not even an employee. "I just come in and help out whenever I can. I love Miss Simpson."

The candy counter has been here nearly as long as the music. Simpson added it to draw the kids the way the music brought the adults. "I know you've seen the neighborhood — there's not many stores around here that sell this type of stuff, that kids can gather up a few pennies and buy some candy," says Laurry, 32, who grew up nearby but now lives miles away. She takes the long drive back regularly, though. "I think that's the appeal, having two different things to be able to attract different age groups and bring everyone together. It creates an atmosphere."

But now, after almost 50 years, the adults who spent childhoods here come back sometimes only for a handful of sweets, often with their own kids in tow, to relive their childhood memories and share a now-rare experience.

A back wall features snapshots of regulars through the years, some faded from being up for so long. At first there were just a few, but then customers started bringing their own pictures in, asking for them to be placed with the others. Now that wall is covered with hundreds of them, a collage of a community based on the woman everyone simply calls "Miss Simpson."

"This is family the way a family and a neighborhood is supposed to be," Legion says. "That's what's important and that's why this shop is so important. This shop is blessed. It's a wonderful thing." 

Half a century ago, Simpson's husband Calvin worked for General Motors and a security patrol company on the side. But his wife wanted something owned by the family that their kids could fall back on. So a record store was born.

In the beginning, Simpson would get a list of the top 30 requested songs from local radio stations and visit the local distribution offices of labels like Atlantic and Motown, who'd let her buy popular records just two or three copies at a time, all she could afford. Gradually she'd come back for more as her stock sold out and business took off, and soon she'd established the neighborhood hangout.

Kids would come in and excitedly ask how old they had to be to work there, drawn by the seeming connection to the singers they heard on the radio and the rainbow of candy behind the counter. She hired dozens of them over the years to teach them good work habits, and would ask them to bring her their report cards or lecture them if they got into trouble.

"She's done a lot of good around here," says Germany Bennett, a 33-year-old who grew up nearby and came by with his wife one afternoon for some candy. "She kept a lot of people out of trouble. Everybody respects Miss Simpson."

Meanwhile, the adults came for the store's obscure jazz, Delta and Chicago blues, and R&B. But the specialty here, announced in block letters on the outside wall, has always been gospel music.

"I always wanted to specialize in gospel," says Simpson, a regular churchgoer. "To me it's a great inspiration. Some of the gospel sounds like some of the blues in a sense, but when you listen to the words there's a difference, and I just think we're talking about a higher being in there, and you're giving honor and respect to him." All day, gospel songs pour out of a primitive outdoor speaker mounted on the front of the store, echoing down Six Mile like a soulful call to prayer.

Some customers still come in and sing only two or three words of a song they're searching for, or hum a few bars, and someone here will likely know what it is and find it for them, or special order it. Simpson's proud of that face-to-face service, and the institutional knowledge a half-century-old record store embodies.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus