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  • 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.

  • 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 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.



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Malcolm X — still controversial

A recent biography stirs debate as the iconic black nationalist is honored in Detroit

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Malcolm X in 1960

Ask Herb Boyd about Malcolm X and he'll tell you about his first meeting with the man who forged a path for his political development. He'll tell you about being a young black man in late '50s Detroit enthralled by the magnetism and brilliance of the convict-turned-minister. Based at the Nation of Islam's Mosque No. 1 on Linwood, Malcolm X castigated the white man as a devil, called on the Herb Boyds of the world to rise up and embrace their blackness; the Nation of Islam's decades as an "obscure sect" were at an end, largely thanks to the dynamic proselytizing of its No. 1 spokesman.

Boyd will tell you about the power of the firebrand's handshake, the warmth of his smile — "I always remember the smile he gave me" — about seeing him a half-dozen or so times subsequently in Detroit and New York, about joining the Nation to follow Malcolm, leaving when he left ("it was over for me"). He'll tell you about once, while in the military, hitchhiking across Europe to North Africa in hopes of meeting up with Malcolm X's entourage in Casablanca. 

Ask Boyd about the late African-American scholar Manning Marable and he'll tell you that they worked together on radical causes. He'll praise Marable's seminal 1980s book How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, for instance, and his introduction to the reissue of Detroit I Do Mind Dying, about Motown radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s.

So Boyd, a noted New York-based author (and one of Metro Times' founding editors), admits to a certain discomfort about where he finds himself now, the point where the unfinished legacies of two men intersect in discord. 

"I was a member of the Nation of Islam and a member of the Black Radical Congress with Manning Marable, and I sort of have a bird's eye view on both of these individuals. I get sort of conflicted sometimes when I talk about both of them, both of whom never had a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labors."

Malcolm X died in a barrage of gunfire on the stage of the Audubon Theatre in New York in 1965. Gunmen connected to the Nation of Islam were convicted, but the identities of all the killers, plotters and possible government provocateurs are heatedly debated to this day. Also debated are Malcolm X's final positions and philosophy and the meaning of his life, notwithstanding The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the posthumously published book that has became a best-seller and a classic.

Marable died April 1, 2011, following a years-long battle with sarcoidosis, a battle that he'd lost despite undergoing a double lung transplant the year before. Three days after his death at age 60, his long-awaited biography of Malcolm X was published. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention should have been Marable's crowning achievement, and in some quarters it was received as such. It came with cover endorsements from leading African-American academicians Henry Louis Gates, Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson; laudatory mainstream press reviews followed, from The Boston Globe to The New Yorker. Finally, last month, Marable's Malcolm X won a Pulitizer Prize for history. The committee hailed "an exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history, a work that separates fact from fiction and blends the heroic and the tragic."

But the reception to the book has been far more complex among African-American activists and scholars, where besides praise there've been numerous critiques and outright dismissals. Dozens of errors have been underscored, conclusions attacked, interpretations challenged. Marable's suggestions of a homosexual liaison and marital infidelities, for instance — that elsewhere may have been interpreted as "humanizing" — have been challenged on evidence and intent. 

The controversy has led to what's largely a rebuttal of Marable's work in By Any Means Necessary — Malcolm X: Real, Not Reinvented (Third World Press), with Boyd as a co-editor along with Kwanzaa founder Maulana Karenga, political scientist and strategist Ron Daniels and poet-author-publisher Haki Madhubuti. 

Like Boyd, Madhubuti, who grew up in Detroit, will be enacting his own homecoming as he joins Boyd and others for a day honoring Malcolm X at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. 

For Madhubuti, Marable's work is "an attack on [Malcolm], his family and, by extension, all conscious Black people ... white supremacist slander." 

Boyd, talking by phone from New York the other day, recalled his own initial reaction to the book as "engrossing," despite the "sins of commission and omission" that jumped out for him. But he watched the controversy grow, including attacks on things as basic as the "reinvention" in Marable's subtitle. The view of the editors, said Boyd, was that "reinvention seemed to suggest a kind of manipulative self-promotion on his part for personal gain — and Malcolm was never about any kind of personal gain." 

Boyd wonders what kind of book Marable might have written had he not been racing to finish while battling for his life. He thinks Marable may have rethought some interpretations and certainly would have caught glaring errors. 

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