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    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Last days

A legendary downtown bar and its owners remain entwined until the end

Photo: , License: N/A

Steve and Sophie inside their longtime bar.

The decor hasn't changed in decades. Lime greens, bright chartreuses and patterned wallpaper on wood paneling create its surreal backdrop. 

The long bar gleams with pale, distorted reflections of the Christmas lights on the wall. Yards of hallway lead to the bare-bones bathrooms. And filling out the space are restaurant-style tables and booths, dozens of them, persistent reminders that this place once served meals but hasn't in at least a decade. A sign on the wall lists old lunch specials now frozen in time: roast beef and chicken noodle on Mondays, meatballs and spaghetti on Wednesdays, and so on; a connection to a past before the couple got too old to cook, before the lunch crowd stopped coming by.

Several vintage tin lunchboxes, including decades-old originals featuring such pop-culture figures as Nancy Drew and Fat Albert and the Monkees, gather dust above the bar. They were new when Steve bought them for decoration; now they're collectors' items that sometimes draw spontaneous offers of cash from visitors. "But I cannot sell them," he says. "If I sell them it would be empty in here."


Steve himself is the very essence of his bar. He's a renmant from Old Detroit — a charming, grandfatherly, Old World gentleman who still wears a tie and a checkered shirt to work every day, who hitches his baggy trousers high, who glides in little shuffles across the floor in scuffed dress shoes.

He was born in Oregon but was raised from an early age in Greece, and in his younger days he'd regale customers with his battle stories from the German occupation in World War II and the Greek civil war after that. "I was in the service almost six years fighting against the Communists," he says. "I lost everything to the Communists — my house, my job." 

He came back to America in the '50s, settled in Detroit, married Sophie and worked in high-end restaurants like the London Chop House and Caucus Club until he'd saved enough money to buy his own bar. 

Somehow he's managed to retain his thick Greek accent through his years here, and combined with the softening of his voice with age, he's nearly impossible to understand when he speaks. He can't hear so well either anymore, so most interactions between him and his customers are wordless conversations of shared expressions, a nod to generously poured drinks, gestures of politeness.

His age is beginning to show more now. Even only a few months back, on a bright summer weekday, he seemed more lively as he sat outside his bar on a chair that leaned against the brick wall, smoking a cigarette, his legs crossed elegantly, smiling as he watched the life of the street. Not long before, he had the sign outside repainted to say “Mr. Steven’s Place” in a curious attempt at freshening things up.

He sprang to life when a regular customer walked up with his 1-year-old son in tow. The sight of the boy caused a sunburst of a smile on Steve's face. He reached into his baggy pants pockets and pulled out a dollar bill, and with a trembling hand reached out and gave it to the child. The elderly bartender was so delighted at the sight of the toddler he wanted to express his affection in a tangible way, and this was the gift he spontaneously came up with. It was likely more money than he'd made so far that day. 

As father and son left, an elderly man walked over from somewhere in Greektown, and the two began speaking animatedly in Greek to one another. It was just like the old days for a moment, one immigrant catching up with another, old friends in a Greektown that's become less Greek by the year. Once, this area was filled with thousands of others like them, but every year there are fewer of them around to talk to like this. 

That day's just a warm memory now as Steve sits huddled inside the bar on a cold November weekday night, hunched into himself for warmth, unable to sit in his chair outside because of the chill. Sophie is upstairs, sleeping.

"She's not feeling too good," he says. When she wakes up it'll be his turn to nap. And he can use the rest. He's not feeling well either right now, he says. "Health," he says, simply. "But for the age, not bad."

He and his wife could've retired years ago, but then what? They live upstairs; the bar is their home and this is all they've done half their lives. Despite worsening health and advancing age, their bar is going to remain here as long as they do. "I have no choice," Steve says. "We've worked hard all our life over here. I work like slave over here. This is my job and my house."

He gets up slowly from his table and makes his painstaking way to the back booth, by the open doorway that leads to the couple's apartment, where he sits and stares forward again, a man waiting out the clock, both on this day and in this life. But this time, as his only visitor gets up to leave, he suddenly breaks into a sweet, friendly smile, and waves and waves with a wide sweep of his hand until the customer is all the way out the door, leaving Steve all alone, waiting patiently by the apartment door for his sleeping wife to awaken.


Detroitblogger John scours the city for Metro Times. Send comments to

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