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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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Cover Story

The depths of debt

Is higher ed worth the cost?

Photo: , License: N/A

The way we think about college has changed a lot in the last few decades. Instead of graduation denoting entry into a bright world of new possibilities, today's graduation marks the time to begin paying back an insurmountable, suffocating debt of student loans.

College debt and the long-lasting role it plays in so many lives today isn't something that can be summed up easily, but the numbers are staggering. Last year, student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion, outstripping our nation's credit card debt for the first time in history.

Also, some aren't just swimming in thousands of dollars of debt — they're barely treading water as they struggle with loans of $100,000 or more.

Consider this: Since 1978, the price of tuition at U.S. colleges increased more than 900 percent, an astonishing 650 points above inflation, the literary magazine n+1 reported last year. Furthermore, in 2009 the Project on Student Debt found that, on average, college seniors left with $24,000 in outstanding loans upon receiving their diplomas.

Consider that the college grads of the baby boomer generation were often able to put themselves through school, and graduated with the then-reasonable possibilities of settling down, buying a home, a car, or even saving money before going for the aforementioned. 

Compare that to today's students, who not only graduate in debt, but often show surprising disregard for the enormous price tag of a degree as they sign loan after loan. 

What's more, today's graduates face a much different environment than a generation ago. The New York Times reported that, in May, researchers from Rutgers University released a study on recent graduates that found 40 percent of the study's participants had delayed in making a major purchase (house, car, etc.) because of debt from college. Nearly one-quarter said they stopped attending school or moved in with relatives to save money. Only half of those interviewed for the study reported they had full-time jobs.

In other words, The American Dream is becoming more a relic of the past than an attainable future goal.

The number of unemployed graduates mentioned in the Times article is consistent with data culled from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and the U.S. Department of Labor, the Associated Press reported this May. Of Americans 25 or younger with bachelor's degrees, roughly 53 percent, or 1.5 million, were either unemployed or underemployed.

Nothing encapsulates the overarching frustrations and concerns more pointedly than the comment Chelsea Grove, a Bowling Green State University student forced to drop out due to overwhelming loans, made in the New York Times report:

"I'll be paying this forever."

Grove, the story continued, accumulated $70,000 of debt in her tenure at Bowling Green and currently works three jobs to meet her $510 monthly obligation. She added, in regard to the possibility of finishing school one day:

"For me to finish it would mean borrowing more money. ... It makes me puke to think about borrowing more money."

Those who choose to buckle down and march on toward graduation with debt to the extent of Grove's face a heavy toll. A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank in New York found nearly 2 million people at least 60 years old are still paying student loans, arguably throwing all possibilities of retirement out the window. One-third, the study found, is represented by those 40 and older.

Even if a student accumulates the average debt-load of $24,000, the repercussions are still grim.

One of my friends, who has roughly $14,000 in debt, is currently making a $220 payment each month — about the equivalent of a car payment — and will do so over the next decade, meaning the load will be paid off in his mid-30s. The list of potential woes goes on and on when you consider the consumer activity lost to loan payments won't help stimulate a flagging economy. 

Furthermore, with a generation of graduates facing formidable debts, where will the baby boomer generation find prospective owners looking to purchase their homes?

The question for young people now is whether pursuing higher education to improve employment prospects later on in life — something that has been documented as being entirely true — is really worth the risk.

Ryan Felton is a Metro Times editorial intern. He is a recent graduate of Wayne State University. You can reach him at

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