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Issue of 3/26/2008

Cover Story:

From Warhol to war
by Rebecca Mazzei
A French kid's slick agitprop comes to Detroit


Diving for dollars by Sandra Svoboda
Who'll pay to keep Lake St. Clair's water safe?

Down in front by Corey Hall
The Ann Arbor Film Festival is alive and kicking

Fire on stage by Joanna McNamara
Two worlds collide in dance

It's about the music, man by Chris Parker
Why American Mars won't let go

Stop motion by Michael Jackman
Artist-animator Martha Colburn to mix up media

The perils of Brenda Goodman by Christina Hill
The painter as escape artist


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Sicilian Mafiosi, typescript porn and a bizarre love triangle

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

Oh, the irony! by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
How Jerry Springer shills Hillary between tranny midgets and onstage brawls

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

Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Our cultural critic is faster than a speeding bullet.

Dishonor roll by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Corporate accountability campaign shows Michigan's lows.

For the lakes' sake by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Sen. Stabenow asks feds to step up on environmental programs.

Worthy and unworthy by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Praise for the prosecutor

Night and Day by Meghana Keshavan (Night and Day)

Our future — maybe by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
The promise of Barack Obama's big speech.

Brother act by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Catching a cuckold's canard.

Coming out strong by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Readers’ advice for teens who want out of the closet

Hope for Detroit by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
Why we need truth and reconciliation.

The more things change ... by Walter Wasacz (The Subterraneans)
Thinking outside the, uh, box and the pleasure is all yours; plus Movement news



Red of Tooth and Claw - Murder by Death Reviewed by Marisa Brown (Record)

Live 1969 - Simon & Garfunkel Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)

Warpaint - Black Crowes Reviewed by Brian Smith (Record)


Steal a Pencil for Me Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
There are illicit love affairs and then there’s Jack and Ina. Michèle Ohayon’s Steal a Pencil for Me kicks things off with the now-elderly Jack quipping, “I’m a very special holocaust survivor. I was in the camps with my wife and my girlfriend; and believe me, it wasn’t easy.” The comment pretty much sets the stage for Jack and Ina’s incredible story, unfortunately told in a less-than-remarkable film. Director Ohayon reduces Jack and Ina’s tale to romantic melodrama, filling her documentary with schmaltzy music, gauzy montages and embarrassingly bad voiceovers of their love letters. The documentary’s best moments come when the now-elderly lovers recount their traumatic experiences. You can’t help but wish that Ohayon had taken her cue from candid moments like these and delved deeper — that she had the courage to confront this inspirational couple’s pain and suffering as well as to honor their storybook romance.

Drillbit Taylor Reviewed by Jason Ferguson (Movie)
The idea of a screenplay co-written by Seth Rogen that focuses on three hapless high school kids may promise Superbad-style laughs, but dredging up the same three teenage archetypes that inhabited Superbad, the boys in this movie are trying to get revenge on two relentless bullies. They hire Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), who’s supposed to be in the Special Forces, but’s really just a homeless Army deserter. Their protector is, of course, just pulling one over on them. Disappointingly, the primary conflict here isn’t between the kids and the bullies, but between the boys’ faith in Drillbit and his duplicity.

Shutter Reviewed by G. Brian Davis (Movie)
This remake of a Thai horror flick is the story of newlyweds Ben and Jane Shaw (Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor), who move to Japan for Ben’s new photography job, but on their honeymoon accidentally hit a woman (Megumi Okina) with their car. She subsequently appears in many of Ben’s photos and proceeds to haunt the couple relentlessly. For all its imperfections, Shutter does one thing undoubtedly well: It scares the crap out of you.

The Counterfeiters Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Stefan Ruzowitzky’s slick thriller is a “Holocaust” film in name only. Based on a true story but undeniably gussied up for the screen, The Counterfeiters charts the survival tactics of Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics), a Jewish criminal-turned-concentration camp inmate, whose counterfeiting talents spare him the gas chambers. As a character study, the film plays like a Semitic version of 1965’s King Rat, showing us a compelling but unsympathetic protagonist forced into an impossible situation. But as a treatise on survivor ethics, Ruzowitzky’s movie is sketchy at best, simplifying its moral drama to melodramatic plot turns and trading in countless cinematic clichés. All told, The Counterfeiters is much less than the sum of its best parts.

Snow Angels Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
We’ve all heard this downer story before: A small town, seemingly nice guy loses control of his marriage, becomes estranged from his wife, grows increasingly angry (and religious) and ends committing a murder-suicide. This could be a gripping drama, but, executed as it is, you have to wonder what in the world would attract a first-rate cast like Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale and Amy Sedaris to a disjointed and shallow rehash of domestic tragedies we see in countless news stories. Faithfully translated from Stewart O’Nan’s novel, each character, so carefully drawn by the talented cast, is only able to scratch the surface, leaving the darker undercurrents of their behavior wholly unexplored. The supporting cast is good. Amy Sedaris shines as Annie’s betrayed friend Barb, injecting every scene with lived-in humor and energy. Even better are Michael Angarano and Olivia Thirlby (Juno) as a pair of awkward teens in a budding romance. But, ultimately, Snow Angels disappoints because writer-director David Gordon Green has the talent to pull you along but doesn’t know where to take you.

Paranoid Park Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
It’s tempting to say Paranoid Park flirts with self-indulgent and pretentiously artful irrelevance, but that’d be a disservice to the poignant sense of guilt and alienation he so brilliantly captures in this tale of a numbed-to-the-world teen who may have caused the grisly death of a rail yard security guard. Adapting Blake Nelson’s novel into a purposely shapeless portrait of disaffection, Paranoid Park is controlled and lyrical. More than just another it-sucks-to-be-a-teen flick, Van Sant presents a tilted view of adolescence, where estrangement is everyday; these kids wear suspicions and loneliness on their sleeves. Simultaneously empathetic and creepy, Van Sant — like the film’s police detective (the terrific Daniel Liu) — never judges Alex (Gabe Nevins), the teen protagonist, instead seeking to understand his tortured state of mind.


Anita's Kitchen Reviewed by Todd Abrams (Restaurant)
In warm weather, a large, covered outdoor dining area allows outside dining. The bar serves beer, wine, juice and smoothies. For the harder stuff, examine the small but diverse wine selection and three Michigan craft brews. Salads and veggie-intensive appetizers fill a good portion of the menu. There are even a few unique pita pizzas. As with most Mediterranean cuisines, Lebanese is considered to be a very balanced, healthy diet. If meat is your thing, you can easily fill up with kebabs or shawarma. Lamb is prominent in the form of chops, shanks and kibbeh, a mixture of ground lamb and cracked wheat that can be ordered baked or raw. Of course, there are also a couple fish dishes. The ideal sampler is Anita’s “mixed mezza” — for $30 you get a plate of hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush and crunchy pickled vegetables with a touch of heat and a few other plates. Comes in a vegetarian version for $24. For an fine finish to a meal, order a pot of Turkish coffee and a tender, not-too-sweet piece of baklava. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Child friendly. No smoking.