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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

What if Cannabis Oil Cured Cancer?

As more stories like Alysa Erwin's become known, maybe medicinal marijuana will finally become formal protocol.

Photo: The Erwin family after Alysa's diognosis, License: N/A

The Erwin family after Alysa's diognosis


IN JANUARY 2011, then-14-year-old Alysa Erwin began having intense, debilitating headaches. By that spring she was diagnosed with Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma — brain cancer — at University of Michigan Medical Center.

According to information at mdguidelines.com, “Individuals with grade 3 astrocytoma have a median survival time of 18 months with treatment (radiation and chemotherapy). … Even with aggressive treatment, astrocytomas of all types tend to recur, making the prognosis generally poor.”

Alysa’s tumors were spread throughout her brain like ivy or a spider web. There was no local tumor that could be targeted for radiation. The Erwins, including Alysa’s parents Carly and David, returned to their northern Lower Peninsula home with five days worth of Temedor, an oral chemotherapy pill, to begin treatment.

“We were told she could live 18 months to two years on chemo,” says Carly. “We thought that was a death sentence to her.”

Still, seemingly without options, the Erwins figured they would give the chemotherapy a try.

“She was deathly sick,” says Carly of her daughter after taking the Temedor. 

Carly was bedridden with terrible headaches and couldn’t keep food down. The Erwins were devastated. A few days later they got a call from Carly’s father, who lives in southeastern Michigan, saying he’d recently gone to a meeting with the group now known as Michigan Compassion and heard about Rick Simpson Hemp Oil, a cannabis extract that some people are using to treat cancer. The Erwins then watched the videos “What If Cannabis Cured Cancer” and “Run from the Cure,” both available on YouTube.

“This is the end, we thought,” says Carly. “If this is all that chemo can do, at least we can make her comfortable for the months that she had left with us.”

At first, the Erwins couldn’t find cannabis oil. Eventually they met Gersh Avery in the Ann Arbor area, who facilitated the Erwins in finding what they needed. In early August 2011, Alysa had her first dose of oil. Carly mixed about eight milliliters of cannabis oil with about a half-cup of peanut butter. She gave her daughter about a half-teaspoon, once in the morning and again in the evening. After the very first dose there was a miraculous transformation in the sick girl. 

“About 30 minutes after taking cannabis oil she was out of her room eating and smiling,” says Carly. “We knew what we wanted after seeing her, but we wanted to see what she wanted because it was her body. The light was back in her eyes again. She was back to herself. She said she wasn’t doing chemo anymore; she was only doing cannabis oil.”

Starting out, Alysa slept a lot as her body became accustomed to the high levels of cannabinoids in her body. And, as she was able to tolerate it, her mother upped the dosage until Alysa was getting about one-and-a-half milliliters a day for a year, then upped it to three milliliters each day.

At first they didn’t tell Alysa’s doctor. They were afraid and unsure of the legal implications. At her first three-month checkup, the MRI showed that the cancer was not growing. The Erwins told her doctor that Alysa was doing the chemo. The subsequent exam showed the same result, but the doctor had questions because Alysa’s blood work was not showing the indications expected of someone on chemotherapy. The Erwins admitted then that they had stopped the chemo in favor of cannabis oil. The doctor’s response was cautious because cannabis oil is not a condoned treatment. But she said, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.”

After a year, the cancer had evolved into five identifiable tumors at the back of Alyssa’s head. One of the tumors was near her brain stem and threatened her ability to breathe and walk. The Erwins agreed to have radiation treatment. 

“After six weeks, I wished we’d never done it,” says Carly. “Her brain started swelling.”

They continued the cannabis oil treatments. In January 2013, two years after the onset of her headaches, Alyssa’s MRI showed no cancer. Subsequent MRIs, the most recent in October, have shown no cancer. Her next scheduled test is in April.

“The doctor looked at the MRI and she just smiled,” says Carly. There were a lot of smiles going around.

During this time it was usually a scramble to get cannabis oil. According to information available on the Internet from Rick Simpson, one pound of high-grade marijuana produces about 60 milliliters of oil; at one-and-a-half milliliters each day, a pound would last only 40 days. And with the cost of a pound of good quality marijuana somewhere north of $3,000, you can see the problems. With help from Carly’s father, the Erwins have spent about $17,000 on cannabis oil medicine. Some of what they got was donated to them. Avery, from Ann Arbor, helped the Erwins find a good strain and advice on how to produce oil.

Today, Alysa lives a pretty much typical teenage life, except she takes cannabis oil. She took driver’s training and passed her licensing test during this period with no problems.

“I didn’t really know anything about it,” says Alysa. “I started watching videos and seeing other people’s stories. I thought I should try it. I was excited to try it. I didn’t want to do that chemo anymore because of the way it was making me feel. I think I would have gave up if I had to keep doing that chemo.”

In the past year, she has started speaking publicly in support of the therapy that saved her life.

“I’m trying to spread the word around what this medicine can do; what it can help,” says Alysa. “The last time I spoke, it was trying to fight for the oil. I’m trying to help people out to get a second chance like I got. I know my family was really scared. I was too. Once I found out about this oil it just gave me hope. That’s what gave me hope for this cancer being gone. I like to let other families know that so they can have that kind of hope.”

In a few weeks, Alysa Erwin will have been officially cancer-free for one year. It will have been more than 36 months since her 18-month death sentence. She continues her cannabis oil treatments.

Need I say more?

Note: A previous version of this article said that Alysa was 4. She was 14.

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