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Issue of 1/13/2010

Cover Story:

Knot what you think
by Travis R. Wright
After a decade in Detroit, Bethany Shorb extends beyond the fethishistic, but she can still tie you up


Chasing the buck by Travis R. Wright
Banking on Facebook, area nonprofits compete for a cool million

Moody's mood by Charles L. Latimer
Saxophonist James Moody will never stop performing the song that put him on the map

Peters, principally by Sandra Svoboda
He was one of the freshmen congressmen who rode in on Obama’s coattails. What happens next?

Stop the madness! by Brian Smith
Outhouse-quality albums from the last decade that should be forgotten


Comics (Comics)

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Fresh pie, gala times and more for foodies

In the midnight hour by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
Will America ever let Jack Bauer retire? Plus, a Jackie Earle Haley sighting!

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Our readers sound off on free parking and more

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)

Getting charged at the Auto Show by News Hits staff (News Hits)
In which we find no free booze, but something better

Night and Day by Megan O'Neil (Night and Day)

A tale of two cities by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Ferndale and Pontiac prepare for even tougher times

Untying your tongue by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
How to open up to 'hot girls' and more

Adaptive Obama by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
Why we shouldn't give up on change just yet



Honesty - Carolyn Striho Reviewed by Brett Callwood (Record)

Sunset/Sunrise - The Dutchess & the Duke Reviewed by Chris Parker (Record)

Ignore the Ignorant - The Cribs Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)


House of the Devil Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Ti West’s retro-flashback creepfest goes like this: Nubile but sweet-faced college sophomore Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) is in desperate need of cash. She’s got a pig of a roommate and the perfect relocation spot, but needs $300 in less than a week. No easy task in ’80s America; minimum wage is $3.35. Answering a flyer ad for a high-paying emergency babysitting gig, she’s driven to the outskirts of town by her unruly best buddy Megan (mumblecore mainstay Greta Gerwig). There she meets the creepy Ullmans (Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov), who reveal that it’s actually their elderly, antisocial mother they’d like her to look after. When Samantha balks, they offer her enough dough to solve all her housing dilemmas. Note that it’s the night of a total lunar eclipse, and that town is the best place on earth to view it. Oh, also, Tom and Mary are Satanists.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Terry Gilliam’s latest cinematic sideshow is biography as metaphor, an exhilarating, deranged and indulgent mess of a movie that giddily reflects both the filmmaker’s strengths and weaknesses. For anyone who knows Gilliam’s work (Brazil, 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King, etc.), it’ll come as no surprise that his movie is filled with delightfully acid-laced visuals, vaudevillian zaniness, thematic musings on the power of imagination, and, of course, at least one character who’s below normal height.

Leap Year Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
With her singsong disposition and chipmunk cadence, the always likeable Amy Adams glimmers like a golden-age matinee starlet. It’s too bad her scripts seem stuck in the 1940s as well. This fish-out-of-water yarn finds Adam’s trademark cheerfulness tested by inclement weather and the twinkly folk of Ireland, an enchanted place which turns out to be an isle of right proper arseholes. She’s there in pursuit of her arrogant boyfriend, chasing him to a Dublin cardiologist convention, where she intends to finally force him into marriage by way of an old Irish folk tradition that says ladies are allowed to propose on leap day.

Red Cliff Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Using dirt-cheap labor, repatriated director John Woo outfits 10,000 actor-extras in ancient weaponry for Red Cliff, the most expensive Chinese-language movie ever produced. Of course, by Hollywood blockbuster standards, its $80-million budget is chump change, but in today’s global economy, Woo gets to work his hyperkinetic magic on a truly epic-sized canvass. Magnificent battle sequences, astonishing hand-to-hand combat scenarios, masculine psychology, and virtuous heroes facing impossible odds are all part of his operatic mix. Set in 208 A.D., during the end of the Han Dynasty, Red Cliff opens with the ruthless general Cao Cao (Zhang Fengyi) browbeating the Emperor into letting him march an army of 800,000 men into the peaceable southern kingdoms on the false charge of insurrection. After defeating the noble warlord Liu Bei (You Yong) and turning his people into refugees, he sets his sights on the neighboring kingdom Red Cliff. But Bei’s crafty military strategist Kong Ming (Takeshi Kaneshiro from House of Flying Daggers) has brokered an alliance with Red Cliff’s noble general Zhou Yu (Tony Leung from Lust/Caution and Hero), setting the stage for a David versus Goliath showdown. Shifting allegiances, miraculous reversals of fortunes, a tense spy mission and superhuman skirmishes all set up the great and final nighttime naval battle.

Broken Embraces Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Pedro Almodovar’s latest film is both ravishing and ridiculous, introducing us to blind screenwriter and former director Harry Caine (Lluis Homar), who is visited by mysterious young filmmaker Ray-X (Rubén Ochandiano). He’s making a documentary about his father, a jealous and controlling millionaire (José Luis Gómez) whose gorgeous young wife (Penelope Cruz) had an affair with Harry 15 years ago. Needless to say, the outcome was tragic. Almodovar bounces his narrative between 2009 and 1994, expertly threading the convoluted plot twists, time shifts, flashbacks and characters into a sumptuous tapestry of betrayal and voyeurism. Never mind that he’s recycling ideas, motifs and themes, he’s peerless in his ability to echo and reference other movies (including his own).

A Single Man Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
As 50-year-old gay college professor George Falconer, Firth is buttoned down and bottled up, a precise man who keeps his emotions as deeply buried as his sexuality. His lover (Matthew Goode) of 16 years recently died in a car crash. It’s a loss George can’t begin to mourn in public nor private. Firth delivers a rich, adult and lived-in performance, a feat of agility made all the more remarkable because director Tom Ford steps on his toes with his slightly grating in his directorial style.

Crazy Heart Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Playing a boozed-up, down-and-out country legend who finds love, loses love, then struggles for redemption, Jeff Bridges is a miraculous and soulful train wreck of a character. After years of successfully collaborating with a rising country star (Colin Farrell), crusty old Blake is in professional and personal freefall. He has so abused his musical gifts that he’s reduced to playing bowling alley gigs and rushing from the stage mid-performance to vomit out back. At a Santa Fe gig, he meets budding journalist and single-mom Maggie Gyllenhaal, and a relationship sparks. Bridges injects just enough dignity and weary charm that we find ourselves rooting for him to overcome each self-destructive heartbreak.


Phat Sammich Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
What do Funyuns, soft-shell crabs, bananas and grilled cheese sandwiches have in common? They’re all ingredients in one or another of Phat Sammich’s 60 selections, a mishmash of retro and stylin’-five-years-ago sandwiches with a decided tilt toward the calories-be-damned. Yes, grilled cheese sandwiches are an ingredient. Open since 2009, Phat Sammich is the brainchild of Jeffrey McArthur, owner of Farmington Hills’ Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. It’s a small and simple spot with a cheerful staff, an exposed kitchen, counter stools for seating, and everything served in plastic; most business seems to be take-out. These sandwiches are tall.