Most Read
  • Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark

    Oh, the irony — initially criticized as Marxist propaganda when Mexican muralist Diego Rivera painted them for the Detroit Institute of Arts in the early 1930s, Detroit Industry has now been designated as a a national landmark. The announcement was made Wednesday, according to the Detroit News by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis as part of National Park Week. The designation does not change the ownership status of the murals or grant any new protections or rights, leaving its place among the rest of the DIA’s art in possible bankruptcy negotiations in question. The work is considered the best of Rivera’s work in the United States (another mural Rivera had done in New York was destroyed by orders of Nelson Rockefeller). Rivera himself regarded Detroit Industries paintings as his finest work. In the midst of the McCarthy era, the DIA posted this sign outside the court: Rivera’s politics and his publicity seeking are detestable. But let’s get the record straight on what he did here. He came from Mexico to Detroit, thought our mass production industries and our technology wonderful and very exciting, painted them as one of the great achievements of the twentieth century. This came […]

    The post Once-controversial Diego Rivera murals now national landmark appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email


Surprise party

Booming dance music, flaming barbecue grills, and a stocked food tent for thousands of homeless? Yup!

Photo: , License: N/A

A party breaks out at the Cass Park barbecue.

It was supposed to be big, but nobody expected it to be this fun.

The plan was to throw a down-home, Memorial Day barbecue in Cass Park for the poor and the homeless, where they often gather. The event, organized by several local charities, had a rambler of a name: "Feed the People: Detroit's Red Carpet Backyard Barbecue for the Homeless and Hungry."

There was no conceit among organizers that this event would change lives. There would be no efforts to coax the recipients into programs or churches or shelters. The idea was simply to give struggling Detroiters a holiday meal like everyone else would be eating that day. 

The homeless and hungry are used to coming to this park for food. Church groups and volunteers and social organizations often pull up a truck or a van to hand out meals and clothes.

But none of them expected this. There were few cops, and no security guards. There were no social service agencies. No eager youth from church groups trying to draw them to Sunday services somewhere. None of the usual trappings of a public event for the poor.

Instead there was dance music booming from a stage. Barbecue grills smoking under the weight of thousands of free hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings and ears of corn. A red carpet leading to the food tent, befitting honored guests. And a crowd of poor people who suddenly found themselves at an actual holiday barbecue.

When they saw they weren't being watched or pestered or followed, when they realized this was indeed like a real backyard party, a festive mood set in, fed on itself and spread through the crowd. They thought they'd stand in a sedate line at a food tent, but instead they were at the biggest, liveliest celebration in town that day. By afternoon it would bring out thousands of people to be fed.

It brought out Ron Helton, sitting in a motorized scooter, sweating profusely in the rising heat, mopping his head with a cloth. "I'm from here! I'm from the Cass Corridor!" the 52-year-old shouts. He'd spent years volunteering as a barber for Fort Street Presbyterian Church, where hundreds of the homeless sat in his chair after getting a free meal. And most of them seemed to be here now.

"Hey, baby, you all right?" Helton says to a man who comes over to say hi. "I'm the barber down here," he explains. "I'm like the mayor around here. I know everybody." 

He used to live in a now-gone flophouse on Henry Street that catered to transients, then pulled himself up and out. But home, he says, will always be Cass Corridor, where a lot of people still stay in run-down rooms like he once did, and they could use a decent meal sometimes. "You got to remember, in this area a lot of people are still staying in hotels, so they don't have kitchens. This is great." 

The food line snakes through the park from one end to the other and out onto Temple Street, and the wait is over an hour. But when everyone in line is talking and having a good time, hanging out in line isn't so bad. "This is like a family reunion on Belle Isle!" Helton says, as another person reaches to shake the mayor's hand.

The party brought out Mary Weatherspoon too — "That's 'weather' like outside and 'spoon' like you eat with," she says by way of introduction. The grandmother stands quietly in the shade, eyeing her brother, who's standing in that long line, waiting to get meals for the family. Her grandchildren crouch at her feet. 

"Oh, it's so nice here," Weatherspoon says. "I love it. Everybody's getting along, talking." 

She lives near Houston-Whittier in the ravaged east side, and knows some of the people here, if not by name then by circumstance. "Some people don't have transportation, or family members, places to go, so this gives them someplace to go, get out, visit and see people, do something different," she says. "Like we got the wheelchairs, some of them are usually stuck in the house. I think it's wonderful."

The party brought out volunteer Mary Perry, who came over from her apartment on Washington Boulevard to help out when she heard what was planned. "You can see a lot of these people, they're not from Cass Corridor," the 64-year-old says. "These are people that don't have food and came down here because they probably couldn't afford a holiday dinner. I think it's wonderful, but it shows how bad things have gotten for us. People wouldn't be here today otherwise, with their kids. They'd be home barbecuing."

It also brought out Shirley Perryman, 63, a volunteer from Transforming Life Group, which drives around in vans and hands out meals to the homeless on the street, one at a time. Now her clients were all gathered here before her at once. Like everyone else here, she's stunned by the party that erupted. "I see a lot of the people I see on the street on a regular basis, and you can see the downtrodden heads, the way the spirits are just really down, but today it's a very festive spirit. Everybody is really upbeat today." 

And it brought out Mario Davis, who's homeless. "I'm a gypsy!" he corrects. This park is often his home.

He sits at a table with either friends or strangers. It's hard to tell which because he's been throwing his arms around everyone who passed through his airspace, so overjoyed was he about this celebration. There's technically no drinking allowed, but he, like so many here, found that a little beer in the sunshine at a backyard holiday party isn't such a bad idea.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus