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Issue of 6/18/2008

Cover Story:

Discovering Connie Calloway
by Sandra Svoboda
As Detroit's school superintendent completes her first year, is her honeymoon over?


Considering growth by Christina Hill
Poetry, 'crushed paintings' and a faux-faux factory in Detroit show

Going green in southeast Michigan by Constance C. Bodurow
7 architectural projects and a number of questions

Spontaneous creation by Chris Handyside
Bill Frisell still views music as humanity's common ground

Tales of industrial din by Michael Hurtt
Canadian proto-punk legends Simply Saucer finally hit town


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
A Taiwanese dadaist porn take, McCarthy-era kiddie shows, Jaws on wheels, and what if America gets attacked?

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

Growing great by Jeff Broder (Food Stuff)
Small farming is big business for Judy Day.

Rush for the gush by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
New reality show turns derrick crews into TV stars

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

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Frankie Bank$ lives in a loft

007 garbage by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Why is GDRRA treating public information as if it were "James Bond stuff"?

Court and sparks by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Sexual harassment suit hits Third Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan.

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

Kwame's future by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Dragging out a mess is consuming and impoverishing Detroit.

Talk it over by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
No permission to cheat for sex-starved husband.

Keeping distance by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
As Obama rises, Detroit lacks a leader who can deliver him votes.



Pleasure Mountain - Champions of Breakfast Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)


Bigger Stronger Faster* Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
The public debate over the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports has been reduced to a simple equation: steroids are cheating, and cheating is wrong. Not only wrong, but un-American. In the insightful, mind-altering documentary Bigger Stronger Faster (The Side Effects of Being American), Christopher Bell shows there’s a lot more to this story than what’s been reported in the mainstream media and discussed during Congressional hearings.

The Animation Show Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Not to be confused with Spike and Mike’s endless spool of fart jokes, violence and misogyny, Mike Judge ("King of the Hill," "Office Space") curates this fourth anthology of traveling animated shorts gathered from around the world, light in tone and comic in spirit. The program runs the gamut from Grant Orchard’s Atari-meets-Jackson Pollock "Lovesport: Paintballing" to Steve Dildarian’s "Angry Unpaid Hooker," from Matthew Walker’s very British "John & Karen" to Satosho Tomioka’s criminal bunnies, which are as creepy and cute as only Japanese animation can be. After nearly two-dozen shorts, the program wraps up with Smith & Foulkes’ wonderfully choreographed computer-animated "This Way Up," a gothic, stylized short that has Oscar-nominee written all over it. Whatever your taste, you’re never more than seven minutes from the next selection.

The Happening Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
M. Night Shyamalan’s long slide into filmmaking irrelevance picks up speed with The Happening, a poorly titled, apocalyptic horror misfire. Mark Wahlberg plays high school science teacher Elliot Moore. John Leguizamo is Julian, his best friend and fellow math teacher. Neither has much personality, but they sure do talk about “science” and “math” a lot. When people start committing mass suicide in cities all across the Northeast, Elliot and his wife, Alma (Zooey Deschanel), go on the run with Julian’s 8-year-old daughter, while Julian tragically goes in search of his spouse. They are all fleeing what, at first, seems to be a terrorist attack but soon turns out to be an environmental event. As the paths to safety become narrower and narrower, the trio find themselves stranded in rural Pennsylvania, clinging to survival while everyone around them either kills themselves or one another. And then it ends. No kidding. The Happening is all setup and no story. It’s sad to say, but an episode of "What’s Happening?" would be a better use of your time.

Stuck Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
It takes talent and skill to turn a sick joke into a successful 90-minute movie, but the prowess of B-movie director Stewart Gordon (Re-Animator, From Beyond, Space Truckers) make "Stuck" a satisfying foray into gallows humor and squirm-inducing violence. Tom Bardo (Stephen Rea) is a down-on-his-luck middle-aged project manager who’s been kicked to the curb for not paying his rent after his unemployment ran out. Then there’s nurse’s aide Brandi (Mena Suvari), in line for a promotion at the nursing home she works at if she can prove herself worthy to her exploitative boss. The two meet when Brandi, driving home from the club, plows into Tom, embedding him in her windshield. Panicked, she races home unnoticed, parks the car in her garage then reassures him she’ll call for help. But once inside, she chooses to leave Tom where he is: impaled on her wiper blade and writhing in agony. Then things get really weird.

The Promotion Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Seann William Scott grinds off the more abrasive parts of his persona to play Doug, a long-suffering assistant manger at a Chicago-area supermarket, marked as a “shoo-in” for the head job at the chain’s newest outlet. Unfortunately, there’s a speed bump in the shape of John C. Reilly’s aggressively chipper Richard, who sweeps down from Quebec to cast a cloud over Doug’s dreams. These instant rivals engage in a cold war of increasingly ridiculous extremes, which quickly begins to degrade their careers, home lives and moral centers. The movie follows this basic route to its conclusion, but not without numerous side trips. These subplot detours include Richard’s obsessions with glass bottle boats and tap dancing, and a near race riot as a consequence of Doug’s ongoing battle with the local thugs who menace the parking lot. Writer-director Steve Conrad attempts the tricky tone of Alexander Payne’s modern classic "Election," a style at once ironic and detached, but rooted in squirmy, warts-and-all reality — and it’s never entirely clear whether Conrad is rooting for or sneering at his working stiffs.

The Incredible Hulk Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
In 2003's "Hulk," director Ang Lee favored a dark, analytical approach that made the Hulk an expression of deep childhood trauma. This new version is more about adult anger management, with heavy nods to the beloved late ’70s Bill Bixby TV version. Edward Norton is a superior choice for the part, in which Dr. Banner isn’t simply trying to suppress the beast within, but actively attempting to find a cure. He’s been hiding out in Brazil, with a day job at a soda bottling plant, but a drop of his gamma-tainted blood contaminates the assembly line and tips off the feds, and the chase is on, led by General “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) and gung-ho Lieutenant Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). Banner’s true love, Betty (Liv Tyler), just happens to be Ross’ daughter, natch, and the usual complications ensue, including Blonsky using a dose of Hulk blood to become the very nasty, unstoppable Abomination, just in time for the slam-bang finale. It makes for smashing, if a bit shallow, entertainment.


Pollo Chapin Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
Pollo Chapin serves black beans, store-bought tortillas, and chicken, chicken, then eggs and then more chicken (100 pieces for $92). But mixed in with the wings and thighs are some typical Guatemalan delights, such as tamales, (masa made with broth and lard, stuffed with pork or chicken and, sometimes, an olive, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed) and chicken "chapin," barbecue and milanesa (breaded cutlets). House-made chicken soup comes free with every meal, with broad noodles, carrots, a rich orange-yellow broth and not a whole lot of chicken, as befitting its origins. Weekends will feature other specials, such as a milanesa de res (beef) or carne guisado for $7.49. Prices are breathtakingly low — two pieces of chicken, a roll, two sides and soup for $5, for example — but if you really want to scrimp, breakfast is available any time.