Most Read
  • 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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The Gift Guide

Season's greening!

Suggested ways to replace your cash with gifts for the holidays

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The Gift Guide

A groundbreaking historian of topics from labor to black liberation movements, Kelley is all about context, and if ever a musician's life needed context it's Monk's. And not just the context of his fellow musicians that Monk's life requires — Dizzy and Miles, Sonny and Trane are all here, as well as promoters, producers, publicists, record execs and the like. As Kelley makes clear, Monk's achievements are virtually unimaginable but for the supportive circle of the close-knit mother-headed family he was born into, a family that expanded with his marriage to his hard-working working-class wife, Nellie. Later came the well-heeled Baroness (seriously) Pannonica de Koenigswarter, whose closeness, too, made her, for practical purposes, family as well. The Monk family gave Kelley unparalleled access, and he's rightly made the book very much about them as well.

Monk may have marched to his own drummer, but it took this village to enable him on the road to brilliance (and ultimately success), what with clashes with cops, jail time, jobless stretches, house fires, and the obstinacy of Monk himself ... and then there's the mental illness. One of Kelley's constant balancing acts is in dealing with Monk's eccentricities, press and press agents prone to magnify them (and trivialize the man), and dealing with the fact that, through much of his life, Monk was, indeed, deteriorating mentally. (Bipolar disorder seems the most likely culprit, but a clear diagnosis was never rendered.)

Casual jazz fans recognize Monk's classic — written when he was in his early 20s — "Round Midnight." Moderately serious jazz fans know Monk as the music's second great composer after the Ellington-Strayhorn team, and that the estimation rests on a mere 70-odd songs to their thousands. Monk's improvisational style was as powerful as his compositional pen, and both profoundly influenced the course of jazz. Given Monk's import, this won't be the last word on interpreting his life and art — and sometimes one wishes Kelley would give us more synthesis for the mass of details — but it seems clear that those who follow will be riffing on Kelley's research for a long, long time. Released in hardcover last year, it has now been reissued in paperback. (And the book site, by the way, is far more than a promotion site, and a true resource worth the time of anyone interested in Monk or the book.) —WKH

Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series

Sci-fi fans love this British TV show about a time-traveling doc and his hot companion. And it's easy to see why: plenty of in-jokes, apocalyptic storylines and mind-warping theories about busting through the time-space continuum. This six-disc set includes 13 episodes, plus extras (like outtakes) that will have geeks drooling all over their space modulators. —MG

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
by Miranda Carter
Knopf, $30, 500 pp.

Nowadays, we take the irrelevance of monarchy for granted. Miranda Carter's George, Nicholas and Wilhelm looks at pre-World War I Europe, a time of yet some influence of the English king, and the Russian and German emperors. The three were cousins, each a grandson of England's Queen Victoria. Their cover photos show (as Carter says of King George) "melancholy, direct stares and unflinchingly upright deportment." The three dabbled in diplomacy and politics, though only the temperamental Wilhelm did so willingly.
One message of the book is how ordinary people (the royals) found themselves over their heads as "superior, high-bred" royalty. And their aides fed their illusions to maintain their own positions. The mystical, withdrawn Nicholas ended up with Rasputin as a guide. George loved nearly full-time shooting of birds and stamp collecting. Hence the irrelevant monarchy.

In July 1917, George changed his German-sounding surname, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to the neutral, made-up Windsor (then enjoyed some freedom fries?). George is credited with remaking the British monarchy into a domestic, ceremonial, symbolic institution.

Carter is thorough, some have said scholarly — the book front includes four pages of the overlapping family trees of the European monarchies — but she's also modern, with knowing, flip comments on many absurdities of the royals. Details on controversies, wars and nationalism of the time maintain interest because of the personalities involved. These monarchs often co-operated and opposed each other to fulfill their desires ... to preen in military uniforms: British naval, Royal Dragoons, Scottish army duds (with kilts!). They loved 'em.

Imagine the three on the paparazzi TV show TMZ: George in his favored naval uniform and hard stare, Wilhelm, alternately cloying and conspiratorial, and Nicholas, a country bumpkin type, but with regal calm. Disbelieving comments are provoked. Rolling of eyes is assumed.

Reality hit the three with the progress and end of World War I: Nicholas killed gruesomely in 1917; Wilhelm fleeing to neutral Holland; George's face lined and bagged with care, his stare ubiquitous. Fifteen pages of minute synopsis on the start of the war explain events and connections for baffled history buffs. And, once again, we can say, "Never again."—DS

Leica D-LUX 5
Digital Camera

No doubt, this is a big-ticket item. To put it in economical perspective, you could buy this classically styled yet state-of-the-art digital camera with HD video capability, or you could jump on the chance to scoop up a 1985 Chevy Celebrity wagon with 90,000 miles, new head gaskets and a relatively clean interior (well, at least you could find it on Craigslist the other day). But think about it: To the tune of 800 bones, you have an artistic tool almost 100 years in the making. Since 1913, Leica has produced innovative cameras with particularly magnificent lenses — that's a hot piece of glass. The aptly titled D-Lux is a slick digital single reflex (d-slr) camera. It's also notably compact for a camera that produces such high-quality photos. Rivaling professional DSLR cameras, the D-Lux shoots 10.1 megapixels, with an über fast f/2-3.3 DC Vario-Summicron 24 to 90 millimeter lens (equivalent to 35mm) lens, with an ISO as high as 12800. If those specs mean nothing to you, just know they're awesome enough to those in the know. The camera has also garnered high marks for a very bright, high resolution, three-inch LCD display. And if this baby weren't already sexy enough, Leica is throwing in Adobe Lightroom 3 for processing. If you got the dough, look no mo'. —TW

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