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Issue of 3/12/2008

Cover Story:

On guard
by Larry Gabriel
Stuckey and Afflalo are the new players who fit the mold of Pistons past — and they're key to the Pistons' future


Across the board by Samantha Cleaver
A Brazilian chess master finds his match in Detroit

An open letter to Martin Lawrence by Corey Hall
At 42, he's hitting career lows it took Chevy Chase decades to sink to.

Blowout bonanza! by Bill Holdship
What's in a word: Four days of nonstop musical mania

Copycat fight by Sandra Svoboda
Local printers want Wayne County to stop the presses

Pod people by Eric Harabadian
A quartet of jazz aficionados take D-town sounds to the masses

Subtext: Beauty by Andrew S. Klein
Exhibit shows not just art, but how the artists got there


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Dylan vs. Godard, ravaging chick skateboarders, a Malcolm McDowell fest and a tense Lumet debut

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Fun plates for local foodies.

Mother of invention by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
Gabriel Byrne's cranial intercourse and 'reality comedy' in the hood

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

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Platters that matter and leave you in tatters.

Motor City Rides by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Diminutive Alex Winston's 2006 Ford E350 van makes her 'that badass in the big truck.'

D.C. showdown by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Conyers: 'We will not allow the administration to steamroll Congress.'

Super duper site by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Web project tries to bring transparency to super delegates.

The mayor who cried lynch mob by News Hits staff (News Hits)
A response to Kilpatrick's State of the City address

Night and Day by Meghana Keshavan (Night and Day)

Hillary Rodham Nixon by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Yes, Tricky Dick has a disciple — someone just as ruthless and unlikable.

Out the hard way by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
The trouble with being gay and open.

KK's next gig: Pastor? Rapper? by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
A satirical look at Kilpatrick's future employment opportunities.



Cinnamon Girl - Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity - Various Artists Reviewed by Rob O'Connor (Record)

Do You Like Rock Music? - British Sea Power Reviewed by Leah Warshaw (Record)


10,000 B.C. Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The prehistoric visuals are lush, but trouble begins as soon as actors speak. A half-asleep Omar Sharif narrates the fractured yarn, which details a buff young buck named D’leh (Steven Strait) keen to steal his tribe’s title of top mammoth hunter from an all-mighty warrior named Tic Tic. He needs the mighty “White Spear” to get busy with his beloved blue-eyed cutie Evolet (Camilla Belle), who’s discovered the secrets of heavy mascara about 10 millennia early.

The Bank Job Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Terry (Jason Statham) is an auto repair shop owner over his head in mob debt. No stranger to smash-and-grab type crimes, he’s lured into a bank robbery scheme by sexy old friend, Martine (the impossibly angular Saffron Burrows). What Terry doesn’t know is that she’s been strong-armed into working for MI-5 by her lover (Richard Lintern), who’s trying to retrieve compromising photos of a royal family member from the bank’s vault. If that weren’t complicated enough, Terry and crew cross paths with a vicious Soho gangster (David Suchet), a corrupt policemen, a brothel madam and a black power revolutionary and pimp, Michael X (Peter De Jersey), who all have secrets they’d kill to keep hidden in the bank. Aussie director Donaldson gives his film a cockeyed, jazzy feel, highlighting the sleazy politicos, sexually tense atmosphere and murderous corruption of swinging London. Screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais’s (Across The Universe, Flushed Away) provide a straightforward tale filled with twisty contrivances and coincidences. Unfortunately, there are so many quirky characters with competing agendas, complicated backgrounds and political connections that as swiftly paced as The Bank Job is, the multiple plot threads start to undermine the central heist adventure.

Nanking Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Four years before Pearl Harbor, Japan was already flexing its military muscle, invading China and seizing its capital, Nanking. In the six horrific weeks that bridged 1937 and 1938, Japanese soldiers systematically looted, massacred, and raped an innocent population, killing nearly 200,000 civilians and committing upward of 20,000 sexual assaults. The filmmakers have used a unique technique to tell this story: Intercut with file footage and interviews with survivors, viewers will see a "staged reading" of first-person accounts from the 22 foreigners who set out to create a “safety zone” for the city’s refugees to protect them from the predatory Japanese. It’s an awkward mix of theatre and reportage, but the gravity of the topic and the words of the brave survivors win out.

My Brother's Wedding Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
The theatrical releases of Killer of Sheep (1977) and My Brother’s Wedding (1983) transformed Charles Burnett from elusive legend to tangible influence. His intimate tales of life in South Central Los Angeles have influenced indie filmmakers with their verisimilitude and heartfelt specificity. In this film, the Mundys are focused on the upcoming nuptials of their eldest son, a successful attorney marrying an equally accomplished litigator from an affluent family. Mrs. Mundy (Jessie Holmes) divides her time between church, family obligations, and running a dry cleaning and tailoring shop with her husband (Dennis Kemper). She’s a no-nonsense maternal figure, the kind of woman everyone turns to for clear-eyed decision-making. But Burnett’s real subject is the family malcontent, 30-year-old Pierce Mundy (Everett Silas), who dutifully works at the dry cleaning shop and cares for his sickly grandparents. His seething anger comes out only when dealing with his older brother’s fiancée Sonia (Gaye Shannon-Burnett). The film is episodic, jumping from vignette to vignette without narrative rigor, at once raw and accomplished, as the seemingly random encounters Pierce has with family and friends coalesce into a stark moral dilemma.

Richter: The Enigma Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Notoriously private, pianist Sviatoslav Richter spent his entire life shunning cameras and reporters only to finally agree to be interviewed near the end of his life. Through most of Bruno Monsaingeon’s documentary, the Russian pianist jokes, talks about his life, comments on contemporaries and discusses years of performance with only a hint of self-loathing. Like most greats, he’s critical of his achievements but more than happy to wax poetic about topics dear to his heart. It’s unlikely that audiences unfamiliar with classic music will enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour subtitled film featuring an elderly Russian pianist and mostly low-resolution footage of his performances. For fans of classical piano, however, there’s little doubt that this absorbing and sad portrait of musical genius will be viewed as inspiring, poignant, witty and ultimately frustrating. To watch him as an 80-year old man declare with resignation, “I do not like myself. That’s it,” is as baffling as it is heartbreaking.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
Miss Pettigrew tries mightily to capture a moment, not just in the life of woman whose small world is spiraling out of control, but of a nation on the precipice of World War II. The result is all froth and no substance, though. Adopting a British accent and a priggish, deferential demeanor, Frances McDormand (Fargo, Laurel Canyon) brings an innate strength to Guinevere Pettigrew, a down-on-her-luck nanny who finds herself in the unlikely role of social secretary to the tasty Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), a cabaret singer and gold digger in need of some strong moral guidance. Adams (Enchanted) makes this frisky sex kitten alternately coquettish and calculating, a bubbly throwback to the screwball era. Director Bharat Nalluri effectively frames characters in their glossy, art deco environs, and polishes their untidy lives until they gleam. But he’s so infatuated with the shiny surface that he forgets to look underneath, at the foundation crumbling with dry rot.

My Name Is Albert Ayler Reviewed by W. Kim Heron (Movie)
In the early ’60s, Albert Ayler went from being a nobody expatriate saxophonist to a jazz-world sensation. In 1970, his body was found floating in the East River. In the brief in-between he challenged conventions of musical beauty and order. Now first-time Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collins has stitched together the scant film and video of Ayler performances, snippets of silent movies, abundant audio interviews, still photos, period atmosphere shots and memories of a handful of Ayler friends and acquaintances. In My Name is Albert Ayler, he’s made a documentary as compelling as it is sparse, expansive in effect where its means are limited.


Bagger Dave's Reviewed by Mel Small (Restaurant)
Bagger Dave’s, which seats 108, is more a full-service restaurant than its fast-food, drive-in and take-away competitors. That said, Dave’s burgers, fries and sandwiches are often delivered to the table wrapped in paper bags. (That’s where bagger comes from.) Unlike most burger joints, you can purchase bottled beer ($3.50-$4.75) and wine ($5-$6.50) by the pour while you enjoy the sophisticated jazz playlist. Finally, the woodsy up-north interior includes a kiddy-pleasing electric train running above the two dining sections. Burgers are 3.5 ounces — one costs $3.29 and two $4.29 (turkey burgers are a dollar more), and a generous helping of hand-cut double-fried Belgian style Idaho fries is priced $2.19 a bag.