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Issue of 2/18/2009


Cover Story:



No heroics, please
by Chris Handyside
An author with a major new novel, likely to become a movie, rises quietly from the workaday Motor City

Features:

'Mother of the band' by Charles L. Latimer
Marion Hayden has a philosophy of the bass

Shine on by Detroitblogger John
Old customs endure in a storied west side parlor

Columns:

Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Alice Childress's big-screen yarn, a telekinetic in a coma, and some adult fluff(er) action starring tri-legged Lex

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Speedy, sassy summaries of music of note

Motor City Rides by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Lightning Love fits it all in an Escort

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

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
Now with 85 percent more 'Coming Soon!'

Deathwatch by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Sitting up with the Big Three

College try by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Dan fields questions from the university set

Sugar, sugar by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
In light of Paczki Day, an Eastern European smorgasbord

Jimbo's circus by Travis R. Wright (Sketches in Grit)
He's a punk rock artist, Dickensian roustabout, budding psychic and a 'dead animal' creator

Charity's limits by Katha Pollitt (Visiting view)
Philanthropy can't do it all

Reviews:

Music/Books:

The Leisure Seeker - Michael Zadoorian Reviewed by Chris Handyside (Book)

Woodland Scenics - Elm From Arm Reviewed by Aaron Shaul (Record)

The Black Path - Matt Jones Reviewed by Leah Warshaw (Record)

Movies:

The International Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
You gotta hand it to Hollywood, they sure know how to capitalize on the public’s anxiety. Serial killers and scarf-wearing terrorists are now officially passé. It’s time to focus on the truly evil villains of our time: bankers. In the tradition of ’70s paranoid thrillers like The Parallex View and Three Days of the Condor Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Perfume) brings us the well-crafted but relentlessly grim tale of a clenched-jawed INTERPOL agent (Clive Owen) who permanently sports a two-day beard and a serious hard-on to bring down BCCI, a Luxembourg bank involved in all sorts of nefarious shenanigans. You see banking is a lot more than just overdraft fees and free iPod shuffles. Controlling the destabilization of countries can send profit shares soaring — arms can be sold, money can be laundered, and debt can be manipulated. You think John Thain of Merrill Lynch was evil? At least he didn’t arrange for the assassination of a political leader.

Friday the 13th Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The nearly indestructible and hockey mask- wearing killer, Jason Voorhees, is back to his tricks, plodding about the woods, sharpening knives, ready to make teen tartar of any nit unfortunate enough to stumble into his path. The updated freak’s a bit smarter than before, setting traps and devising schemes in his underground lair, though the kids are the same sort of stupid bimbos and himbos he has diced up since ’80s. The genre’s real dirty secret is the ubiquitous cast of Pretty Young Things so thoroughly worthless and annoying that we begin rooting for Jason. A new crop of sexed-up drunken dipshits rides in, ready for a debauched weekend at a posh lakefront cabin. They’re led by alpha-male Trent (Travis Van Winkle), a sneering blond who could be Fred from Scooby Doo. The rest of the gang consists of nubile chicks itching to lose their tops and a trio of cartoonish stoners, including the standard-issue, comedy-relief Asian nerd. What passes for heroics are provided by the earnest hunk Clay (Jared Padalecki), a graduate of the Josh Duhamel School of handsome blandness. Nispel dishes all the depravity and gore you’d expect from the series; including, death by arrow, bear trap, a hot poker through the eye and — the show stopper — a topless chick hiding beneath a boat dock getting stabbed through the skull with a machete. The franchise is still total rubbish, but stupidly alluring.

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
You’d think a film giving away the outcome of its conflict in the title couldn’t build suspense. But that’s exactly what Kevin Rafferty’s entertaining, no-frills documentary does. A generational anecdote that celebrates Ivy League folklore, Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 reels you into its 1968 football faceoff while spooning on a pile of cultural and political milestones between game reminiscences and archival footage. It’s a simple and engaging sports memoir, and Rafferty’s approach is appropriately minimalist, eschewing the postproduction gimmicks of modern documentaries for talking-head interviews set against the game’s fixed-camera television broadcast. The play-by-play commentary of players (now in their 60s) from both teams reveals a fascinating backstory and surprising on-field dramatics. Rafferty also cleverly inserts period details like the advent of the birth-control pill, campus activism and the Vietnam War. It’s intriguing to see how this crew of footballers sat at the intersection of popular and political culture, drawing Al Gore, Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones (who was a Harvard point guard), George W. Bush and cartoonist Trudeau into their story. And yet, there’s something about their Ivy League-boomer entitlement that’s galling. Yes, the game was memorably exciting with dramatic twists and colorful recollections, but there’s no getting around the fact these are mostly privileged white guys trying to find profundity in an upper-crust college rivalry. Jones, in particular, comes off as pompous and self-important, quoting Dickens to describe the times. Rafferty tries to ground his story by including a 24-year-old Vietnam vet and a couple of working-class Harvard students, but, truth is, there are no significant cultural differences between the men. You are essentially looking at America’s ruling class.

Restaurants/Places:

Amici's Pizza and Living Room Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
Pizza crust made with bran, biodegradable dishes and soy candles, no smoking, no TV, even a couple of organic vodkas — Amici’s manages both to be virtuous and to pull it off without a hint of self-righteousness. It is a bar, after all, and it’s hard to say whether patrons are more interested in the vegan pizzas or the 64 cocktails, 35 beers and 5 premium tequilas on offer. They can combine the two impulses by ordering Red Bridge beer, gluten-free.

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