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  • 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? […]

    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.

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Screens

Review: Mama

Leap of wraith. Horror film is formula-filled

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Mama: Not a real horror film so much as a sporadic and unmotivated series of jolts.


Mama C

If you kick your cinema spookfest off with a title card that reads “once upon a time,” you’d better deliver the fairy tale goods. Executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s own work (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) has mixed horror and fable to good effect, providing scares while enriching his fantasies with political subtext. Unfortunately, first-time feature filmmaker Andy Muschietti’s Mama isn't really worthy of the del Toro imprint. An expansion of Muschietti’s three-minute short, the movie (which Muschietti co-scripted with his sibling, Barbara Muschietti, and Neil Cross), while effectively creepy, is formulaic and woefully underdeveloped. In many ways, it feels like a modern update of last year’s Edwardian-era ghost story, The Woman in Black. But instead of a grieving and soulful Daniel Radcliffe, we get Jessica Chastain as a dark-haired, beer-swilling, tattooed anti-mom who wears a Misfits T-shirt and plays bass in all-girl punk band.

The film opens with a businessman killing his wife and fleeing into the snowy mountains with his two young daughters. Speeding along icy roads, the car crashes, stranding the trio. In the woods they find an abandoned cottage, oddly decked out with Eames-era furniture. Mad with despair, dad decides this is where he’ll put an end to his family —only to be stopped by a shadowy force. Flash forward five years. The girls, 8-year-old Victoria and 5-year-old Lily, are found in a dirty, feral state. Their dad’s twin brother Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Jamie Lannister of Game of Thrones) and his girlfriend Annabel (Chastain) agree to take them in with the help of an ambitious psychiatrist, who sees a unique opportunity for research. Everybody assumes that the girls survived on their own and need only to be gently reintroduced to society. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. Something took care of them all those years, a possessive and vengeful wraith they call Mama, and it has decided to move in with them.

There’s a rich vein of maternal instinct and parental fear to mine here, but none of it is exploited —literally or allegorically. Lucas and Annabel are shallow characters who aren’t given much of an opportunity to explore, fight over, or fail at being care-givens. Similarly, Victoria’s guilt over embracing her new parents and the friction that results from Lily’s decision to remain loyal to Mama goes nowhere consequential. Instead, their apprehensions and worries are papered over with witless exchanges, story contrivances and unexplained events. The Muschiettis and Cross never convincingly expand on their original short, choosing to present a backstory we’ve seen before, plot mechanics that are beyond formulaic and supporting characters, like the psychiatrist, who serve only to explain what’s going on. As each contrivance piles on —a vindictive aunt, stolen files, a handy coma, a records office where dark secrets are kept, conveniently delivered dreams that fill us in on Mama’s origin —it becomes clear that the filmmakers are just padding an otherwise sporadic and unmotivated series of jolts.

In terms of scares, Mama is of the “what’s under the bed?” variety. There are vulvic orifices, big black moths, and sickening organic sounds. But the aesthetic mostly falls somewhere between the del Toro-produced Spanish horror The Orphanage and J-horror like The Ring or The Grudge. Muschietti does a decent job of conveying the sad eeriness of the situation, and strikes an effective balance between startles and suspense —even with his PG-13 rating. If a grotesquely contorted, bone-thin, scraggly-haired ghoul rushing at the camera gives you the heebee-jeebees, then Mama may provide enough creeps to justify a night at the cineplex. But if you’re looking for the kind of fantastical weirdness that del Toro is known for, the kind that haunts your dreams, you’re bound to be disappointed.