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Issue of 4/29/2009

Cover Story:

A day in the life
by Travis R. Wright
The M.L. Liebler interview


Bank on it by Curt Guyette
A system of give and take emerges — just in time for the hard times

Chapter and verse by M.L. Liebler
A collection of poems by M.L. Liebler

Etta James vs. Sasha Fierce: Who's the tougher diva? by Serene Dominic
'At Last,' in honor of Etta’s D-town performance, the ultimate diva catfight. It's claws for concern!

Last man standing by Detroitblogger John
Bait shop owner holds his ground against an ugly bridge-expansion project

Mr. Excitement by Don Waller
Meet Detroiter Bobby Murray, a guitar hero you've never heard of

Public Animal by Brian Smith
School's out and we can't even think of a word that rhymes!

Where the boys aren't by Julianne Mattera
Gaining a better understanding of the world, one dude at a time

Why can't Detroit cash in on music? by Bill Holdship
NPR raised the question. Do you have the answer?


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Philip Glass man-ups, Lexington Steele really does, and a killer horror flick wears a cowboy hat!

New Mexican by Jeff Broder (Grilled)
Chef Luis Garza on why Novi’s Rojo Bistro is much more than just another Mexican joint

Unreal by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
How councilwoman Monica Conyers is becoming a TV star

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Our readers sound off on our Best of Detroit issue and more

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Queen Bee's hive: Inside Karen Neal's ranch home

McFreep by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Low marks for newspaper's redesign

On the other hand … by News Hits staff (News Hits)
High praise for online newshounds

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

After the fall by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
We need to get past the hyperbole and denial if we're going to cope

No longer retarded by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Reader wants Dan to stop using that word



Music - Robin Horlock Reviewed by Brett Callwood (Record)

Love Me Tonight - John Nemeth Reviewed by Eric Harabadian (Record)

Invisible Cities - Nomo Reviewed by Chris Handyside (Record)


Sin Nombre Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The film tracks the intersecting paths of two young South American teens doing whatever it takes to find some kind of better future, though they approach that destiny in radically different ways. Sayra (Gaitan) is a sweet-natured Venezuelan girl, northward bound on a freight train with her father and uncle, and Willy (Flores), is a clever Latino kid trying hard to make his bones with a huge, lethal gang. Fearsome, face-tattooed leader Lil Mago (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) enlists Willy and his even younger protégé to hop the train and rob the hapless travelers. Sayra and Willy soon form a bond, and a sudden moment of violence turns the pair into fugitives, making the race to “El Norte” even more desperate.

Earth Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
This dazzling tour of troubled ecosystems around the world doesn’t shy away from the daily survival struggles for myriad creatures, from the tiny to the gigantic. This cinematic menagerie includes exotic tropical birds, majestic humpback whales, playful baboons, massive herds of Caribou that stretch to the horizon, as well as those cuddly moneymakers, penguins. James Earl Jones narrates with trademark authority, his deep baritone like the distant rumble of a herd of elephants.

The Soloist Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
This should’ve been an expansion of journalist Steve Lopez’s insightful populism, but director John Wright fills it with visual excess and artsy detachment. Based on a series of L.A. Times columns and an eventual book, The Soloist is an old-fashioned social drama chronicling the real life relationship that developed between reporter Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a musically gifted but mentally disturbed homeless man. In his younger days, Ayers was a student at Julliard until the voices in his head drove him, first, to his home in Cleveland and eventually to Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Lopez, in search of a good story, stumbled upon Ayers plucking away on a two-string violin and seized the opportunity to turn Nathaniel’s fascinating history into a series of popular columns. But real-life complications soon intruded, and Lopez found himself deep in Nathaniel’s precarious situation, learning that a donated cello and safe apartment would bridge the divide of race, class and psychological illness. Ultimately, The Soloist’s two aces are Downey Jr. and Foxx, whose talents elevate the material far above its worth.

The Informers Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Based on an Ellis short story collection, the film follows a large number of depraved pretty young things doing awful stuff to each other in 1983 Los Angeles, all very loosely orbiting a pair of concerts by a cultish new wave rock band called the Informers. Watching these scaly lizard people bake in the sun has the desensitizing effect of a slow morphine drip, but minus the high. The cast’s stuffed with vet actors who’ve seen better days, like Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder, Kim Basinger. And there’s Mickey Rourke, who’s determined to throw away newfound goodwill by playing a scummy kidnapper cruising in a rusty rapist van.


Lefty's Lounge Reviewed by Mel Small (Restaurant)
On the ground floor of the Belcrest, the lounge is decorated with beer paraphernalia and 14 flat-screen TVs, seating around 80 with space for 30 on a patio overlooking the Belcrest’s renowned art-deco swimming pool. Unlike full-service restaurants in sports bars, such as the Broadcast Booth and Harry’s, Lefty’s is primarily a watering hole that features a wide variety of items that fall under the bar-food rubric. This means that patrons should not expect house-made dressings, artisanal bread or elaborate preparations, even though Gary, one of the cooks, interned at the Golden Mushroom when he was in high school. On the other hand, many of the dishes created in-house are first-rate, with the exemplary beef, for example, fresh from Eastern Market. Not surprisingly, most of Lefty’s patrons are beer drinkers. They are well-served with 17 brews on tap and by the fact that a domestic pint goes for $2.75. The few wine drinkers who wander in have to make do with pours ($4) from jugs of Yellow Tail, a decent vin ordinaire.