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  • 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 PlanetAnt.com. 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? […]

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Higher Ground

The Marijuana Two-Step

The 42nd Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


The 42nd Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor was the highlight of a flurry of activities around marijuana the past few weeks. A reported 3,000 people were at the University of Michigan Quadrangle for the Bash — part pep rally, part political effort and part toke-down.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, was one of many speakers at the well-organized and well-run event, which included local and national activists. Mason Tyvert, who works for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, and who headed up the legalization campaign team in Colorado, spoke; other speakers included National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws founder Keith Stroup and seed geneticist D.J. Short.

Irwin got the crowd cheering when he said, “I believe we should legalize marijuana. … The good news today, on the 42nd anniversary of Hash Bash, is we’re winning. We’re winning the battle against marijuana prohibition.”

He cited electoral victories for legalization in Washington state and Colorado as evidence of the changing tide. Then he talked about how activist involvement had made a difference in softening some of the more draconian measures in bills passed by the Michigan state Legislature last December regarding medical marijuana, adding that he would introduce a decriminalization bill in the state Legislature. Irwin asked for help in pressing other legislators to support decriminalization.

“We’re going to end the drug war,” Irwin said. “We’re going to legalize marijuana here in Michigan. The amount of blood and treasure that we’ve spilled in this failed drug war are an embarrassment to our country.”

The Hash Bash came on the heels of a Pew Research Center poll showing that 52 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized. Speaker after speaker referenced the poll that, for the first time, showed a simple majority in favor of legalization. In the past, polls have shown a plurality of Americans in support of legalization but never a majority.

“It smells like freedom,” said Tyvert. “This is not just the tipping point; this is the tip of the iceberg.”

 

No fool’s day: Things aren’t quite so friendly for the herb in the Michigan state Legislature, where folks still seem to look at certified medical marijuana patients as possibly criminal. Bills passed in December 2012, which went into effect April 1, 2013, put strictures on medical marijuana in Michigan. HB4856 stipulates that marijuana transported in vehicles has to be in a container in the trunk. If the vehicle has no trunk, then marijuana must be “enclosed in a case that is not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle.” That seems to follow the model of alcohol law, which prohibits open containers inside cars; however it doesn’t seem to regard marijuana as medicine because I don’t know of any laws forbidding carrying any kind of medicine inside a car.

That thinking seems to follow the same path with HB4851, which requires doctors who recommend marijuana use to establish a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” that involves reviewing patient records. This is all well and good, except it seems as if it’s more a view that medical marijuana patients are criminal.

Its (unstated) aim seems to be restricting access to patients seeking cannabis as a medical solution. For instance, in last week’s Higher Ground column, I discussed a medical marijuana patient who was addicted to painkillers. His pain management doctor knew nothing about marijuana and would not recommend it for him. The patient found another doctor who would. He then got off the prescribed opiates he was addicted to. He went back to his pain doctor and showed that he was off the drugs. Now, the doctor understands that marijuana can be useful. Still, with little training or understanding of marijuana, and legal issues remaining unsettled, many doctors are loath to recommend it.

A couple of years ago I reported about an HIV doctor who had been recommending marijuana for patients. After State Attorney General Bill Schuette said that federal law trumped state law, the doctor stopped recommending marijuana for fear of prosecution. In another case, a patient who had previously been recommended to use medicinal cannabis went back to his doctor for recertification. The doctor wouldn’t do it because he had been told that if he recommended marijuana to his patients he could no longer work at that clinic.

Doctors are being ostensibly pressured to eschew a course of treatment for fear of retribution should they prescribe — or even recommend — a substance that is purportedly “legal.”

There currently exists a punitive atmosphere toward physicians who choose a “legal” medical protocol, which effectively places undue hardships on patients who may be forced to “shop” for doctors who are even open to the idea that marijuana is a useful therapy.

Another part of the same bill allows outdoor grows. However, the garden must be enclosed on all sides and not visible to the unaided eye. The enclosure must be locked and anchored to the ground. Anyone planning to grow marijuana should be warned to take a close look at the law — as there are specific materials required for use in making the enclosures.

 

April 1 was actually a good day in Rhode Island:  A law that was passed last year decriminalizing possession of as much as 1 ounce of marijuana went into effect. The law, first introduced in 2010, makes possession a civil offense punishable by a $150 fine.

 

Getting spacey with time: We all know that time is relative, and that marijuana users’ time perception may get a little rubbery while under the influence. It seems like the federal government has fallen into that time-vortex when it comes to having anything to say about last November’s legalization votes in Colorado and Washington.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said at least a few times since late in 2012 that the Obama administration would “soon” have something to say on the subject. Last month, Holder said the administration was “still considering” its response. I’m wondering what “soon” means to those folks. Maybe they’ve inhaled and don’t realize that it’s been five months since the historic votes. On the other hand, they have been busy with the fiscal cliff and the sequester  — not to mention North Korea threatening to toss a nuclear weapon at its neighbor. So maybe we just have to hold our breath a little longer. As the old western swing song says, “Anytime you’re thinking ’bout me. That’s the time I’ll be thinkin’ of you.” … Anytime, Mr. Holder.

We may not have to wait for him. Last Friday, rumors began circulating about a proposed bipartisan bill in Congress that would protect marijuana users and businesses from federal laws as long as they are compliant with state laws. Like I said, anytime.

 

They really meant it: Meanwhile, things seem to be moving along in the legalized states. That is if you consider the 25 percent tax in Washington state and the 38 percent tax they’re considering in Colorado (in the Denver area) to be moving along. They must have really meant it when they said they wanted to “tax and regulate” the substance. Then again, the Colorado law allows folks to grow their own in an “enclosed, locked space.” Am I having déjà vu here?

 

Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former editor of Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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