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  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Pit stop

Rewriting the rep of Detroit's unofficial city dog

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

Michael Hodges with his champion pit bull Pow.

To prove this, Smith walks up to Pow, who's vigorously chewing a slab of salted rawhide hanging from a chain. He grabs the dog's jowls, pats his face, smothers his snout. But the dog's whole being remains focused on that rawhide. "It's not even my dog, and he's not aggressive, as you can see," he says, still tugging at the dog's ears.

Smith, like everyone here, has a ready defense of the breed, their counterargument to the complaints they've all heard. It's obvious they've given these speeches many times before.

"It's just like guns don't kill people, people kill people," Smith says. "Look at the dog as a gun. His loyalty lies to his master, so he's gonna do whatever his master wants him to do. If his master wants him to fight, he'll fight. It's just a matter if he'll continue to fight. But he will fight."

In walks Angela Maddox with her pit bull. "China, come with your momma," the diminutive 43-year-old says in a baby-talk voice. She found her dog four years ago when a woman pulled up to a nearby abandoned house, got out and threw a wriggling trash bag inside the open door. "I thought it was a child," Maddox says, "so I ran over there to try to retrieve the trash bag, and she backed up on me and tried to run me over." She raised the puppy she found in that bag.

Maddox has gotten two more pit bulls since. They complement the cameras she's got set up to watch her house's perimeter. She lives alone, and a dog with a scary reputation makes for great security in the inner city.

"They're very protective," Maddox says. "They guard the house. If you treat them with respect and take care of them and don't train them to fight they'll be good dogs."

Maddox is the other side of the coin. Her dogs don't compete. They're not famous in the pit bull contest circuit. She's just someone vulnerable who feels safe with them around, a doting owner who treats her dogs like they're her protective children.

"I never had kids and I feel I have a lot of love to give," she says. "I just love them."

When Hodges
was growing up, the popular guys in the neighborhood fought their pit bulls.

"I first seen it when I was young," he says. "I was like, 'Oh, this is cool' because I grew up in an area where all the older guys doing it had the fancy cars, had all the money, so I'm like, 'I want to do it! I want to do it!'"

Dog fighting is the ever-present undertone to their hobby, the unvoiced accusation they see in people's stares. But every one of them here is adamant that the illegal sport is wrong.

"I do know a few who do it," Hodges says, "but that's what they do. Like you might know somebody that sells drugs."

Tilford says he can spot the dog fighters as soon as they walk in his store. "They come in here and ask certain questions," he says. He refuses to serve them. "And certain bloodlines are known as fighting bloodlines." The fighting dogs are covered in scars. That's the giveaway.

"If I find out somebody fights dogs I instantly distance myself from them," Smith shouts. "We want nothing to do with them. Somebody comes in here and we got any suspicions of any kind of illegal activity, if they walk in here with a dog with scars, he's gettin' up out of here."

Once Hodges grew older and got his own pit bull, any allure dog fighting might have held for him vanished. You can see it in the way he gently scolds Pow for pissing on the store's floor, how he scoops him up off the ground and holds him like a baby, the way he breaks into a boyish smile as the dog in his arms blissfully kicks its paws and licks his owner's face.

There are no scars on his dog. There aren't any on the other dogs milling around here. Most, in fact, have the lustrous sheen of a pampered pet. Even Pow the champion, who can pull a car's worth of weight.

Pow embodies the paradox of the breed, the contradiction between whether these dogs are pets or protectors, dangerous or misunderstood. It's the contrast between these guys' pride in their dog's toughness and the way someone like Hodges snuggles his like they're fuzzy babies.

For these men here training them to be champions, for the woman raising a dog left to die in a bag, pit bulls combine all those opposites. That's the allure of these dogs, they say, the thing that's unique about them. It's why they'll defend them to anyone who speaks badly of them. This is their chosen breed.

"There's a whole movement against them," Tilford says, as a video of a weight pull plays on the TV while his pit bull Sledgehammer sits quietly at his feet. "But there's a whole movement with them, too."

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