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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 party at the end of the world

From Burning man to Detroit in time for the rapture

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: Photo: Travis R. Wright, License: N/A

Photo: Travis R. Wright

In the dragon's mouth: Artist Ryan C. Doyle

He'd also spend two months a year working for Burning Man's Department of Public Works.

"It was a staff of 120 people then, and it's probably about 300 now," Doyle says. "They need everything for a week that a city needs, including a metal shop, generators, golf carts, fencing, shade structures." The DPW job also got him gigs building art cars for Burning Man for private individuals.

"It seems mixed-up," Doyle says, "but that's how my life was: traveling, trying to learn as much as I could, and to build as much as I could before I was 30."

By 2004, when he was 25, his work had already been featured on TLC's Junkyard Wars, and he started doing more stuff on his own for Burning Man and Coachella.

But after 10 years of fabricating and globetrotting, dividing his time between the Bay Area and New York, Doyle has decided to put down roots in Detroit. It helps that his wife, Canadian performance artist Zarah Ackerman, has a home base just across the border. The cheap rent and property don't hurt either. And, as Doyle points out, "It made sense to build a really big art car in the Motor City."

'A good crew'

It's a bright, sunny spring day on Moran Street in Detroit, just north of Hamtramck. And 13169 Moran St., the art house Doyle had helped with last October, is a neighborhood oddity, a house artfully plastered with castoffs scavenged from torched houses. The front porch is brightly painted, adorned with, among other things, a bicycle seat, a plastic pony, a whirligig, old boxes, table legs, a drawer or two, antlers, an upside-down nightstand and much, much more. It's the kind of abandoned house that neighborhood people slow down to look at when they drive by. It's mostly quiet at 1 p.m. A cracked water main gurgles a river of city water into puddles under the curb. Starlings alight for a quick bath.

Suddenly, though, the house is the center of ferocious activity. The artists who gave it its makeover are back to turn it into a home for Doyle, his wife and their infant daughter, Dynamite. The upper floor will be a rotating hostel for artists who work at Detroitus. In fact, three entire art houses are to be fenced off in an artists' complex.

There's much to do. Shortly after pulling up in a fully loaded 1-ton Chevy van, a platoon of tattooed, bearded art dudes and resale-chic ladies start trooping into the house with supplies. Doyle roars into the alley with his 1967 International Travelall. A mammoth fallen tree and heaping piles of brush lie behind the building, and Ryan Carmichael, Ryan Oliver and Sarah Sue Simeon quickly build a fire pit of bricks to burn as much as possible. Ackerman is raking up years' worth of dead leaves along a house set near the back.

Canilao and Harrison Bartlett, two of the artists who'd originally decorated the house, have just come in from Canilao's recent art show in Milwaukee. A wiry, agile blond with a breezy, humorous manner, Bartlett is suddenly hopping all over the place, rushing upstairs to pop the plywood out of the windows, downstairs in a flash to cut a gate apart to join the two backyards, or standing on a rickety chair to move a plywood barrier. Soon the fire pit is blazing, and Carmichael is using a chainsaw to prune back an overgrown apple tree. The neighborhood residents are taking notice, aloof for the most part, except for the occasional curious child who strolls down the alley to get a good look. Some friends of the group drop by to donate windows, or to help out with the work, including Miles Michael and Sean Digger.

These folks aren't exactly risk-averse. At one point, a 100-pound branch comes loose from a tree, grazing Carmichael's head as he holds a running chainsaw, and sending Oliver skidding just out of its way. A half-hour later, Carmichael is seen standing atop a rickety-ass fence, chainsawing a mulberry tree bit by bit while trying to free it from the wires streaming down from a utility pole. Doyle walks by, genially muttering something about "not telling them to do that, but not telling them not to." At moments like this, it's clear the crew lives a charmed life and knows it.

Carmichael wants to know if they're going to the weekly barbecue and fire party at Flynn's space north of Detroit's Woodbridge neighborhood. That's the plan. The bearded twentysomething, a native of Kodiak, Alaska, laughs as he heaps more wood on the fire. "That's how we live. We make one fire, then go on to the next."

Carmichael, who'd make a bundle on Alaskan fishing boats some years, had met Doyle after subletting from him in Oakland when he was in Europe. "He moved back and, after a day, he was like, 'Want to work on a dragon with me?' And it's turned into this."

Canilao realized after the fact that there were no real plans for the art house they'd created. "The house was bought originally for $900, and it was in OK condition, as it has been abandoned for two years. And Harrison and I came first and left last, and thought, 'What if we bought it from Powerhouse?' It cost us $2,000, but we also have to pay $6,000 in back taxes."

She says she and Bartlett intend to visit the complex as often as possible and to try to get to know the neighbors. "It's funny — coming here and starting a project and having it stay in your life ... forever," she says, with a laugh.

She and the others meet to discuss plans for the mini-community. They're often fanciful, always interesting. In addition to the garden on the southernmost lot, there's discussion of a greenhouse or solarium, a chicken coop, and even talk of raising perch in the basement. The group's nothing-is-impossible spirit is infectious and fun, enough to make you root for them, if not to want to join their circus.

After a hard day of work, it's off to Flynn's space for grilling, burning wood and celebrating. Last week, Carmichael and Oliver kicked apart palettes of wood with their sneakers, hurling timber toward the fire with a crash in a sheer portrait of exuberance.

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