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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 PlanetAnt.com. 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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The Gift Guide

Season's greening!

Suggested ways to replace your cash with gifts for the holidays

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The Gift Guide

Contributors: W.K Heron, Brian Smith, Michael Jackman, Bill Holdship, Michael Gallucci, Nathan Phillips, Megan O’Neil, Dennis Shea, Norene Smith, Tim Hill, Travis R. Wright, Bret McCabe

Funk & Soul Covers
Joaquim Paulo and Julius Wiedemann
Taschen, $40, 432 pages

You want to get a gift for someone who loves music, but it's like they've already heard or own everything you throw at them. They're kind of funky. They own a record player. When they hear the name Foxy Brown, they think voluptuous '70s sultress Pam Grier, not the ill-fated '90s rap nymph. Though they know her catalog too. If you were in New York and wound up on the trivia show Cash Cab and didn't know the answer to a music-related question, this person would obviously be your "phone a friend" selection. They need this funktastic collection. It's another hardbound home run hit from Taschen. The book has more than 500 phenomenal funk and soul record covers to consider. We get the art and the story behind it. Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson are covered, as are the Temptations, Earth, Wind & Fire, James Brown, Prince, P-Funk and many more. These records were produced in an era when albums were king, and their 12 inch-by-12 inch canvases served as a visual gateway to the music. With the digitization that permeates modern music today, it's no wonder that vinyl is seeing a resurgence. What's more, the book features interviews with industry figures, including performers, producers, designers and writers, in an attempt to purport a cultural context while analyzing design decisions for each iconic cover. It's soul-satisfying. —TW

The Magnetic Fields  
69 Love Songs [2010 Vinyl Remaster]
Merge
Here's the perfect gift for your turntable-owning indie lover. 69 Love Songs, the Magnetic Fields' seminal sixth album, is a relic of the CD era that seemed nutty in 1999, spread over three discs and packaged with a thick booklet. Triple albums were not an option for bands who weren't the Clash, but cantankerous songsmith Stephin Merritt wouldn't budge. When the record turned out to be brilliant, acclaim and legend followed. 69 became popular enough that tiny Merge Records couldn't keep it stocked, and finally so popular that Merge was no longer tiny.

This beautiful vinyl revamp adds considerable class without violating the presentation's musty, homemade charm. Now on six 10" discs, it still looks vaguely like a bootleg, but a lovingly made bootleg that is conscious of its ingratiating secrets. The listener will be thrilled at the new dimension in the remastered songs, and the booklet remains a treat, encompassing a lengthy interview with Merritt by Fields accordionist Daniel Handler, soon to be rechristened Lemony Snicket.

Merritt's sixty-nine songs arrive from the school of ABBA, Pet Shop Boys, and Cole Porter — simplistic emotion eloquently, perhaps sardonically, expressed. His lyrics have the temperance of a man determined not to be caught with irrational feelings — "The book of love is long and boring," he drones — but on masterworks like "All My Little Words" and "When My Boy Walks Down the Street," the debate of sincerity versus sarcasm becomes irrelevant. "Amazing, he's a whole new form of life/Blue eyes blazing, and he's going to be my wife." It sounds so sweetly direct and fragile that its absolute truth doesn't matter. That's the way a love song should be.—Nathan Phillips

Rock Band 3
(Harmonix/MTV)

Is this the best music game ever? It sure seems like it. Long after rhythm games lost their foothold, Rock Band strikes back with a terrific outing (for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii) that features bigger drums, more vocals, and — drum roll, please — keyboards! All of which make the Cure, Devo and Tears for Fears songs more awesome. Whip this, Guitar Hero. —MG

H.L. Mencken: Prejudices: The Complete Series
by H.L. Mencken
Library of America, $70, 1,408 pp.

Though reading Mencken's endless skewering of the buffoons, charlatans and pretenders who populated the country's political and intellectual scene in the 1920s and '30s has a palliative effect — damn, we've been here before, haven't we? — it's hard to imagine a man of his intellect getting a word in edgewise today. Back then, Mencken could use an obituary to savagely dress down a figure like William Jennings Bryan — as he did in one of the more famous essays in Prejudices, the collection of editorials, essays and articles recently published by the Library of America — and it would have a ripple effect. In today's logic- and debate-deprived climate, a Bryanish character like Glenn Beck could simply box Mencken as an atheistic, out-of-touch East Coast snob and that'd be the end of it. You could buy this elegantly republished two-volume collection for yourself or for someone who'd appreciate the caustic (and, indeed, rather prejudiced) Mencken, or you could send it to thatbombastic, e-mail-forwarding boob in your family, and wait for the fireworks — if they get around to reading it. —TH

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
by Robin D.G. Kelley
Free Press, $18, 624 pp.

Robin D.G. Kelley's gripping biography of Thelonious Monk (1917-1982) is so detailed that if you're a fan you half expect to run across yourself buying your first Thelonious Monk record. Branford Marsalis gave the book a hearty endorsement from the stage of last summer's Detroit Jazz Festival, praising Kelley for relying on facts not anecdotes, but, in fact, the book actually brims with anecdotes — the thing is that they're of the vetted, questioned and contextualized variety. Myths, though, he cuts to pieces.

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