Most Read
  • 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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Higher Ground

Barry and the Wacky Weedus

Obama escalates the War on Drugs

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

When Barak Obama became president in 2008, there was hope among marijuana activists that federal authorities would not concern themselves with medical marijuana facilities and individuals in states that legalized the plant for medical use.

After all, this was a president who had admitted to smoking pot and inhaling (the last three presidents have smoked marijuana, although Bill Clinton claimed he didn’t inhale). Then there was the so-called Ogden memo that declared medical marijuana a “low priority” in states that had legalized it. Activists thought they felt a breath of fresh air out of Washington regarding the War On Drugs.

That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Actually, the feds later overruled the Ogden memo, so it should be no surprise that the feds have been hitting large dispensaries and facilities. In fact, most marijuana activist organizations report that Obama’s administration has been more aggressive than George W. Bush’s against facilities that, by all accounts, are in compliance with state law.

That kind of stuff has been happening in California and Montana, but it came home to Michigan recently when several individuals were sentenced in federal court for their involvement in marijuana growing operations.

The members of a group known as the Lansing 7 all pleaded guilty to federal charges for their involvement in a medical marijuana growing operation and recently were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one day to four years. The Lansing 7 had a plan they believed was compliant with state law involving growing some hundreds of plants at several different properties. They met with law enforcement and lawyers to make sure it was legal. Unfortunately marijuana of any kind is illegal under federal law.

Another case involves Monroe farmer Jerry Duval and his son. Duval, 53, is a medical marijuana patient whose juvenile diabetes led to kidney and pancreas transplants. He also suffers from glaucoma and neuropathy. He grew marijuana on his farm, partly to supply his own needs. But in his federal trial he was convicted of distributing marijuana after being barred from mentioning his medical use.

Duval was scheduled to report to a medical prison facility in Massachusetts on June 11, to begin serving a 10-year sentence that will ultimately cost taxpayers an estimated $1.2 million, due to his special needs. The Michigan Chapter of Americans for Safe Access held a press conference outside Detroit’s federal building to publicize his case.

“Jerry Duval and his 10-year sentence are emblematic of how the Obama administration has been undermining state medical marijuana laws,” said Brandy Zink, chair of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana advocacy group.

Duval’s son and daughter are both registered medical marijuana caregivers. His son received a five-year sentence and his daughter was not charged in the case.

As I have previously observed, it seems like the feds will tolerate individual use but once someone gets enterprising and there is significant money changing hands you had better watch out. It will be intriguing to see what happens in Washington State and Colorado as state-licensed businesses start to distribute recreational marijuana. The feds have been publicly mum on their reaction, although I’m sure things are humming behind the scenes. In the meantime, a word to the wise is to keep things on the down low. Even people who are certain that they are legal under state law can never be sure of how safe they are.


From Microsoft to Marijuana


IT’S KIND OF STRANGE to see the feds taking down people who, on the surface, seem to be lawfully going about their business in medical marijuana states and, at the same time, someone is actively promoting a nationally-branded chain of marijuana stores.

That’s what former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively proposes. Shively recently held a press conference announcing his intention to create his Diego Pellicer marijuana brand across the country. Shively claims that his great, great grandfather, Pellicer, was a governor of Cebu in the Philippines in the late 1800s and the largest hemp grower in the world. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox attended the news conference in support of Shively, whose plan calls for marijuana supplies to come from regulated commerce with Mexico.

“This historic step today is to be observed and evaluated closely by all of us, because it is a game changer,” Fox said. “I applaud this group that has the courage to move ahead. They have the vision, they are clear where they’re going, and I’m sure they’re going to get there.”

One news source reported that the Mexican marijuana would be coming from a Fox-owned farm. That would explain why Fox, who has come out against the War On Drugs, would bother showing up in Seattle to support Shively. However, Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive, claimed that he had no involvement in the venture that would be bigger than anything the feds have gone after.

“Yes, we are Big Marijuana,” Shively said.

It may be more that he hopes to be Big Marijuana. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in March, the company reported having raised $125,000, although Shively claims the figure is outdated. He says that he will invest $100 million in the business over three years and create 1,000 jobs in Seattle. That seems big enough to warrant some federal attention if my analysis of federal motivation is correct. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.


Marijuana News Roundup


ANOTHER DECRIMINALIZED STATE: Last week Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill decriminalizing marijuana in that state. As is getting to be pretty standard in decriminalization — Vermont is the 17th state to do so — possession of less than 1 oz. will be a civil offense similar to a traffic ticket.

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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.
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