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Issue of 4/30/2008

Cover Story:

Random riches
by Metro Times staff
Our grab-bag issue has the same great Metro Times flavor


Are you experienced? by Bill Holdship
Will Motor City guitar hero and blues scholar Cetan Clawson revive the power trio concept for a new generation?

Fired up by Curt Guyette
Detroit incinerator's long-simmering opposition

Ho-hum, again by Bill Holdship
Great acts can’t save an award-show stinker

It's about the music, dude by Brian Smith
AK Fest brings hi-fi-heads to Livonia.

Manifest cuteness by Sean Bieri
'Craft is the enemy' and other James Kochalka bylaws to piss off the pros

Spin out by Norene Cashen
Motor City beauty and awe on two-wheeled rentals and an elevated heart rate


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
From feces-slurping and fu kicks to color noir and mammary worship

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

Lawyers? Oooh, scary by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
But don't erect a tombstone for Wolfman Mac's local scare show just yet

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

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Where reviews fly fast and thick

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Dave Buick's 1896 Woodbridge home has art and bloodstains

And then bless us by News Hits staff (News Hits)
MT series on questionable murder conviction earns honors.

Hypochrists by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Parishioner booted for being transgendered.

Pass the petitions, brethren by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Churches get behind drive for guaranteed health care.

Night and Day by Meghana Keshavan (Night and Day)

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
A new column, with tasty links

Wright and the truth by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Controversial pastor is warm, smart as hell and deeply intellectual.

Playing charades by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
If women want sex without head games, forget it.



Only Love Can Break Your Heart - David Samuels Reviewed by Brian Sholis (Book)

The Good Life - Justin Townes Earle Reviewed by Mike Villano (Record)

Transmiticate - Donita Sparks & the Stellar Moments Reviewed by Janiss Garza (Record)

The Sky is Mine - Alpha Reviewed by Hobey Echlin (Record)

Boo! - Was (Not Was) Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)


Deception Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
When done right, cinematic sex can be pretty hot. But Deception, despite the hunky presence of Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman, doesn’t offer much originality. Working late one night, lonely corporate accountant Jonathan (McGregor) meets suave Wyatt (Jackman) and strikes up a friendship over a joint. Before long, he’s getting dragged to swank nightclubs and borrowing Wyatt’s $4,000 suits. When the two accidentally swap cell phones, Jonathan stumbles into a high-class sex club. The buttoned-up accountant quickly finds himself sucked into a daisy chain of trysts before meeting blond bombshell, S (Williams), whom he falls for, which is, of course, against the sex-club rules. Murder, blackmail, double-crosses and kidnappings ensue.

The Visitor Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
As Walter Vale, a numbed-to-the-world economics professor who hasn’t quite recovered from the death of his wife, Richard Jenkins returns to his long-neglected apartment only to find it occupied by “illegals” — Syrian Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend Zainab (Danai Gurira) — who’re victims of a real estate con. Sympathetic to their plight, Walter offers them shelter until they find another place and a quiet friendship develops. But The Visitor throws us an emotional curveball when Tarek is arrested and locked away in a detention center in Queens. Though it’s usually clear where The Visitor is headed, it still surprises you with small revelations and unexpected choices. McCarthy has a political point of view but he never preaches or sentimentalizes. Instead, he takes very real people and addresses the disillusionment, dislocation and insularity of modern American culture and suggests that finding your place has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the way people connect.

Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
It could be that the title locale, for all its cutting-edge state-of-2003 relevance, is a surefire comedy-killer, and no matter how you spin it, racial profiling won’t beget gut-busting guffaws. The bad vibes begin when BFF Jersey grad students — straight-laced Harold Lee (John Cho) and wild card Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) — catch a flight for Amsterdam where Kumar’s amazing high-tech “smokeless bong” gets mistaken for a bomb and the boys are mistaken for terrorists. Faster then you can chirp “Dick Cheney,” the guys end up in an Army hellhole where a goat drops pellets on their pillows and the sadistic guards enjoy making like Pulp Fiction’s gimp. No matter how funny the words “cock-meat sandwich” are, all giggle value is lost when our heroes are on their knees facing the business end of a savage redneck jailer.

Young@Heart Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Few things in this world could sound more depressing on paper than the prospect of a feature-length senior-citizen talent show. So consider it a triumph that Young@Heart overcomes it’s dauntingly cutesy premise — a doc about a chorus of old-timers singing punk, hip-hop and rock tunes — to succeed as both rousing entertainment and a poignant reflection on aging. Brit Director Stephen Walker caught the Young@Heart tour on a stop in London and was instantly enchanted by them — and chances are even the flintiest soul will be charmed by them by the second reel.

My Blueberry Nights Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
Blueberry centers on the malleable Elizabeth, who reflects different facets of her personality in diverse locales. (She’s alternately Lizzie, Betty and Beth.) Elizabeth would have made an excellent femme fatale, with an innate ability to draw strangers into her sphere, but Wong and his co-screenwriter, crime novelist Lawrence Block, have chosen another archetype: the innocent. As Elizabeth, musician Norah Jones displays an oddly engaging anti-charisma. She has a heart-on-her-sleeve eagerness, but the acting novice is mostly reacting to Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman. Their emotional intensity sometimes borders the hammy, yet all give achingly real performances. Dusting off her Where the Heart Is twang, Portman is magnetic as a duplicitous gambler. As in Closer (2004), she excels at portraying a winning woman whose straight-talking brashness masks a manipulative nature. Weisz (The Constant Gardner) also thrives when portraying duality and her desperate floozy is a lost Tennessee Williams character, married to an alcoholic state trooper (Strathairn) who clings to this tarnished belle as his salvation. These damaged folks make the honest, unvarnished Elizabeth their confidante, just as she relies on greasy-spoon proprietor Law (who regains his charm by forgetting that he’s a movie star) to provide comfort food and unwavering compassion.

Frontier(s) Reviewed by Paul Knoll (Movie)
So, what makes Frontier(s) any different from torture porn churned out by overrated hacks like Eli Roth (Hostel)? Well, here’s where a short French history lesson may come in handy: In October and November of 2005, there were a series of large-scale riots in France that stemmed from the death of two teenagers who lived in a low-income suburb of Paris. They were suspected of a construction site break-in, got chased by cops and electrocuted while hiding in a power substation. The plot of Frontier(s) feels culled together from other more high-profile horror films, but don’t hold that against it. Amid a riot in Paris, Yasmine, along with brother Sami, ex-boyfriend Alex, and two friends, steal a large sum of money. Yasmine is three months pregnant and plans to use the money for an abortion because she can’t see bringing a baby into a world that only claims to offer freedom and equality. Soon the cops shoot Sami forcing Yasmine and Alex to take him to the hospital while their partners head for the Danish border. The latter pair lands at a secluded motel and text their location to Yasmine. But the stop is, of course, a mistake when the motel owners turn out to be an especially sadistic Neo-Nazi family. One by one, our gang of thieves is hunted down and tortured in some of the most despicable and blood-soaked ways imaginable.


Tre Monti Ristorante Reviewed by Mel Small (Restaurant)
For a mini-state with fewer than 30,000 inhabitants, San Marino has made a lot of history. Founded in 301, it is the oldest republic in the world; its 400-year-old written constitution claims another longevity record, and its citizens once elected a government dominated by their communist party. With the opening in March of the Tre Monti Ristorante behind the San Marino Club on Big Beaver just west of John R, Detroiters will have an opportunity to sample its venerable culture and cuisine.