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Issue of 1/20/2010


Cover Story:



Winter of his discontent
by John Cohassey
Before On the Road, Jack Kerouac drank, wrote, loved and lost in Detroit

Features:

Crazy from the heart by Corey Hall
How Scott Cooper wrote his directorial debut Crazy Heart — specifically for Jeff Bridges

In so many words by Detroitblogger John
Books, sentences and ideas forever flow from this unjaded and sprightly octogenarian

Shooting starlight by Amy Elliott
Filmmaker Katie Barkel captures some of the city's finest rock stars forever

Artifact in verse by Travis R. Wright
From Clairmount to crack, Ken Meisel still mourns

Columns:

Comics (Comics)

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Fundraisers, familiar faces and more

Out of the past by Jeff Broder (Grilled)
Cliff Bell's owner Paul Howard talks about rejuvenating a Detroit classic

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Why TV's 24 actually sucks, plus a defense of Kid Rock

Metro Retro by Metro Times staff (Metro Retro)
Charting the past 30 years in the pages of Metro Times

Food fight by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Workers at Andiamo's Dearborn protest over gripes

School time by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Money for schools, but the strings attached cause worries

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

Unstoppable Matty by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Like a zombie, Moroun takes a beating and shambles forward

Savage for a day by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
A guests host joins the fun

Going underground by D'Anne and Laura Witkowski (Wonder Twins)
The Wonder Twins rock some chick's basement

Reviews:

Music/Books:

Popular Songs - Yo La Tengo Reviewed by Chris Parker (Record)

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel - Mariah Carey Reviewed by Tim Grierson (Record)

Mad Mike Monsters Volumes 1-3: A Tribute To Mad Mike Metrovich - Various Artists Reviewed by Michael Hurtt (Record)

Movies:

The Book of Eli Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
The setup is pure Fox News Fantasy, only instead of Christmas, America goes after the Bible, angrily burning every copy in the fiery aftermath of the “Great War.” For those of you with a scorecard, that means six billion copies were remaindered in 30 short years. AK-47s, however, are in abundant supply. Enter Eli (Washington), who has been walking west all that time, toting the very last copy of the King James Bible. Guided by divine providence, he keeps his head down and finds small moments of peace listening to his still-functioning iPod (which prompts the question: What about e-books?). Denzel is playing Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name,” a brutally efficient loner who is reluctantly drawn into the calamities of preyed-upon innocents. Only instead of villainous Lee Van Cleef, we’ve got Gary Oldman’s Carnegie, desperately seeking the “good book” to do bad deeds. See, Carnegie understands that a man with all those pretty words of faith will be able to charm the masses and build an empire — or some such nonsense.

The Spy Next Door Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Chan plays “Bob Ho,” a Chinese covert ops ace implausibly on loan to the CIA. Even more implausibly, George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus are his best pals in the agency, forming a perfect union of inept line readings. When Ho’s not helping his bozo buds raise the security level to orange, he enjoys kicking it with the fetching MILF next door to his safe house, played by the statuesque Amber Valletta, which makes for a really odd couple. Not hip to his real day gig, her trio of yapping kids think Ho’s a total and complete nerd. Clearly, these brats have never seen Armor of God or Drunken Master 2.

The Lovely Bones Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The heroine is young Susie Salmon, played with ethereal grace and smarts by Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), a bright, gawky but otherwise normal ’70s suburban teen. Her world revolves around her new camera, homework, friends, the mall, and an all-consuming crush on a dashing older boy. All of those things are cruelly stolen from her one day when she takes a shortcut home through a cornfield, where an unassuming neighbor (Stanley Tucci) lures her into a bunker, and she descends down into the pit of hell. From that point on Susie becomes a ghostly observer, watching over her ruined family, and trying to gently nudge them to the truth from beyond. Jackson has the audacity to render exactly what a still-innocent girl’s heaven might be, a shimmering realm of lush cascading hills, quaint gazebo’s and twinkling rainbows, that looks like a million Trapper Keeper scribbles come alive.

Youth in Revolt Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Saddled with the Dickensian name Nick Twisp, our hero’s a hyper-bright teen, painfully aware of his loser status, but too timid to do much about it. He lives in Oakland, Calif. with his floozy Mom (Jean Smart) and her string of deadbeat boyfriends, until her latest scuzzy beau (Zach Galifianakis in a plum part), pulls a scam that forces them all to split town for awhile. But the bum deal turns into a life-changing epiphany the moment Nick lays eyes on his pretty trailer-park neighbor Sheeni, played by the startlingly fresh-faced Portia Doubleday. She’s beautiful, whip smart, and confident with a casual attitude toward sex that drives virginal Nick crazy with lust. She’s a heartbreaker and he’s the sap to pedestalize her, telling a nerdy pal that she’s “a comely angel sent to teach me about all the good things in the world.”

WR: Mysteries of the Organism Reviewed by Greg Baise (Movie)
Makavejev’s visit to the Reich Orgonon compound in Maine leads to some small-town moments straight out of Vernon, Florida, like a discussion with the town’s deputy sheriff-cum-barber regarding Reich’s distinctively gravity-defying coiffure. Reich’s son Peter remembers the townspeople’s hostile reaction to his dad, who, the Main Street rumor had it, spearheaded “a secret Jewish organization that was masturbating patients in orgone accumulators.” Scattered throughout, and appearing at opportune moments for the film’s radical montage, are interviews with some of Reich’s disciples, an appropriated 1946 drama about Stalin, the anti-authoritarian antics of Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs, the plaster-casting of the penis of a Screw magazine editor, and transgendered Warhol star Jackie Curtis revealing intimate details about her love life.

Big Money Rustlas Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Big Money Rustlas may be the year’s best clown-related sci-fi, revenge thriller, hillbilly kung-fu western action comedy, featuring the epic showdown between low-down crime baron Big Baby Chips (Violent J) and the baddest gunslinger in the west, Sheriff Sugar Wolf (Shaggy Two Dope). It’s all a bunch of silly, high-energy nonsense; loud, stupid, crude and sporadically hilarious. The script borders on incoherence, like something someone’s dumb little brother wrote, but also shows flashes of real wit and satiric punch. It’s also packed with allusions to all the junk culture genres that ICP clearly love, from spaghetti westerns, to WWF showmanship, ’80s sci-fi, ninjas and cartoon slapstick. If you don’t get all the inside jokes, or hoot when producer Mike E. Clark, or some ICP flunkies, pop up on screen, you just might learn to relax, realize that civilization isn’t over yet, and just let the clown love do what it does.

Restaurants/Places:

Big Beaver Tavern Reviewed by Mel Small (Restaurant)
It was another sign of the times when Mark and Sue Larco closed their upscale Italian chophouse after 19 years on Big Beaver, after being involved in Italian restaurants in our area since the ’50s. However, they quickly reopened last July as the Big Beaver Tavern in the same, spacious, brick-and-stone stand-alone building. Now an informal sports bar, they did retain son Peter Larco in the kitchen, where the graduate of the Culinary Institute of America turns out some of their old Italian favorites along with ribs, burgers and sandwiches. Not surprisingly, the tavern’s pastas are not perfunctory, especially the crunchy baked penne palmina, which is Larco’s creamy-marinara-sauced version of the ever-popular mac and cheese. There are also plenty of options among the hamburgers, although most diners may find daunting the signature Big Beaver burger, two half-pound patties with bacon, Swiss and cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, lettuce and tomatoes.

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