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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

Feel the Music

Just because they’re deaf doesn’t mean their world is without music

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Getting his name out there was a challenge. Forbes was used to people telling him no.

“There is prejudice out there,” Forbes says. “People have told me my entire life that I was not going to make it in the music industry, and that only fueled the fire even more. I didn’t sit back and listen to ‘No, no you can’t, Sean, it’s not going to happen. You need to continue college and get a 9-to-5 job.’ I really had to make this happen for myself.”

Forbes’ big break came when he bumped into Joel Martin, Eminem’s publisher, at the Detroit Music Awards. They exchanged emails, and Forbes eventually found himself in Martin’s studio.

“He had a video of myself signing two Eminem songs, ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’ and ‘Lose Yourself,’ Forbes says. “I went over to the studio and Eminem was sitting there with his engineers and his producers. They loved it.”

Martin decided to hire Forbes as an intern at the studio. He helped put Forbes on the map after watching his music video “I’m Deaf,” a song Forbes verbally raps while performing in ASL. Cartoonish lyrics dance across the screen while he rhymes, another visual aspect that makes the music more entertaining for the deaf and hard of hearing. His lyrics are witty and play on his deafness: “I’d rather not hear, rather not listen, I’m the perfect imperfection, never restricted.”

“Just from that one song, I signed a record deal,” Forbes says.

Although Forbes considers himself a musician rather than a rapper, his current projects focus strictly on rap and hip-hop.

“The bass and the drums are the rhythm track of any song,” Forbes says. “With the guitar and singing you have melodies, but to me it’s all about the backbeat. Those are the true things you can feel. The guitar and the piano usually get lost in the mix with me.”

Since he got his start, Forbes has written more than 30 songs and put out six music videos. His recent video “Let’s Mambo” features award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, the first deaf actress to win an Oscar for best actress in a leading role.

“I have met everybody from Ted Nugent to Alice Cooper to Bob Seger. All the important people that have come out of Detroit,” Forbes says. “I met Stevie Wonder at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Being a deaf musician and meeting a blind musician, it was crazy. Growing up, a lot of the Funk Brothers who were on backing tracks for Motown used to come over to my house. I was talking about all these people with Stevie and I could tell by the look on his face that he was blown away by everything that I knew.”

Forbes continues to make new music and perform live for packed crowds across the country.  He was a featured cast member of  Motor City Rising, a documentary series focusing on the struggles and accomplishments of a group of Detroit artists and creatives, which ran June 1-15 on Ovation TV.

“Music is not something that is heard. It is something that is felt,”

says Forbes. “Music is for everybody.”

A small studio on Nine Mile Road in Ferndale houses the Deaf Professional Arts Network (D-PAN), a nonprofit organization co-founded by Sean Forbes and Joel Martin. D-PAN’s goal is to make music more accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing. Its website,, provides music videos by deaf performers from around the nation.

Music videos are produced in the studio via a green screen. Performers sign along to popular songs, such as John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change,” and most recently, a video featuring children who are deaf and hard of hearing signing to the White Stripes’ “We Are Going to Be Friends.” There are also several artists that create their own music.

One of artists featured on D-PAN is Nyke Prince, a drummer and songwriter from Los Angeles. She works as a successful model, and is the assistant to celebrity stylist Ken Paves.

Prince was born hearing and became deaf as a kid. She has been a dancer since the age of 3, mainly ballet and hip hop.

“When I would take a dance class, they would actually count out the rhythms,” says Prince, who communicates through a signed video service. “I have a hearing aid, and that’s helped a lot. I’ve always been motivated. I’ve taken speech classes, and they explained the music.”

Later, Prince decided she wanted to learn an instrument. She became interested in the drums.

“I play rock ’n’ roll, because it’s loud,” Prince says. “I try to play drums without the hearing aid. I can feel the vibrations in my chest and I put my feet on the ground and feel the vibrations. There are times I will have to use my hearing aids, like if I’m doing a performance at a live venue. I always look around to make sure that everything works out, and that it’s in sync. It’s not easy.”

Prince eventually met and dated Gil Sharone, the drummer from Stolen Babies. Sharone began to teach Prince how to better hone her skills.

“We did a one-on-one session for about three years,” Prince says. “He was willing to write notes and speak very clearly. That’s why I chose him as a teacher. He was willing to take the time compared to other tutors. Actually, he told me that there are a lot of deaf players that play music that we are not even aware of. Famous pianists, drummers, and so forth … they all have hearing loss.”

Even though Sharone is hearing, Prince insists there were no communication barriers.

“I’ve always made sure hearing people I date know some sign,” Prince says. “I typically date hearing people because the deaf community is very small — you’re always dating someone’s ex.”

Prince has a cochlear implant, a device she says is controversial in the deaf community. This is because the listening device requires major surgery, which can cause complications such as dizziness or tinnitus, to more extreme side effects such as meningitis or seizures. Also, some members of the deaf community believe that the device takes away the identity of a deaf person from deaf culture.

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