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Issue of 7/7/2010

Cover Story:

Hemingway's 'Last Good Country'
by John Cohassey
Northern Michigan as he knew it


Puff the magic by Kent Alexander
And then don't call 'em a jam band

Sheila & her ‘left-hand man’ by Charles L. Latimer
Latest Sheila Landis-Rick Matle disc showcases a creative partnership in progress


Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
What's on the menu around town

Morel support by Jeff Broder (Grilled)
Eastern Market's 'Mushroom Man' on the market, his niche and why truffles aren't trifles

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Our readers sound off on what's in MT

First lights by Metro Times book reviewers (Lit Up)
Papa Ernie's Mitten in pics and a local strip-bar revolutionary

Metro Retro by Metro Times staff (Metro Retro)
Looking back on 30 years of what was in MT this week

Motor City Rides by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Here's a band that bikes ... and brings along its piano!

Getting steamy by News Hits staff (News Hits)
The lowdown on a possible sale of the incinerator

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

State of corruption by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
State legislator moves to embalm new span before it can be born

Dawn's early light by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Author argues heteros are wired for multiple-male sex

Park's love match by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
Do-it-yourselfers have been taking care this Detroit park for years

Songs of the hour by Walter Wasacz (The Subterraneans)
Saving Detroit techno from the train station's fate


 No Reviews


The Last Airbender Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The setting is a fantasy world where rival kingdoms representing the cardinal elements are all at war for some arcane reason, and the key to lasting peace lies with the legendary “Avatar,” a one-of-a-kind mystic of great power. The menacing, technologically superior Fire Nation are the aggressors, having hunted the Air Nomads into near extinction, and now menacing the Water People, who are themselves split into feuding Southern and Northern tribes. As for the Earth Nation? Eh, nobody seems to give a crap about them. The elite warriors of these armies are capable of “bending” elements to their will, which mostly means throwing little fireballs while doing kung-fu poses, but even the strongest can master but one element. As it turns out, the mighty Avatar, who can control all four powers, is a 12-year-old boy named Aang (Noah Ringer) who has been frozen in an iceberg for a 100 years, until thawed out by a pair of personality-deprived teen siblings. With these new sidekicks in tow, Aang soars off on his flying bison to set things right, through a series of special effects set pieces and by using his most powerful weapon: an avalanche of exposition. Unfortunately, unlike a sweet, innocent kid, Aang is like Richard Gere’s idea of an action hero: a super-powered Dalai Lama full of beatific wisdom. You have to have holy patience to deliver this stilted dialogue, with each moment filled with earth-shattering import; at one point the fate of the world is dependent on a pair of magical carp. Umm ... OK ...

I Am Love Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
As far Euro-histrionics go, I Am Love is well-heeled, buttoned-up passion that revels in the sensual — shrimp is eaten with near orgasmic delight, rooms are sumptuously lit to accent their impeccable taste, lips linger on flesh, snow delicately falls on Milan’s picturesque avenues. The men are all clean lines and expensive suits, the women are walking benedictions to understated fashion, and Tilda Swinton is the resplendent eye in this storm of aesthetic perfection. Still, for all director Luca Guadagnino’s visual style and artful compositions, the film is a pastiche of pseudo-Shakespearean melodrama and high-brow adultery.

Everyone Else Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Young, attractive and woefully wrong for each other, German couple Chris (Lars Eidinger) and Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) are on an extended Sardinian vacation, where they lounge around as the Mediterranean sun slowly bakes their pale skin and curdles their uncertain love. Surrounded by natural beauty, they can only see imperfections in each other, and to a lesser extent within themselves. At first glance the pair is comically mismatched. But, as nothing much happens, aside from a pair of disastrous dinner dates with Chris’s smug school chum and his twinkly wife, the uncomfortably close vérité style begins to wear on you.The film is well-acted, handsomely shot and dreadfully, unforgivably dull.

The Girl Who Played With Fire Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
In adapting Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy for the big screen, The Girl Who Played With Fire clearly suffers from middle-child syndrome. Lacking the assertive inventions of its predecessor or the breathless energy of its sibling sequel, this second chapter ratchets down the mystery to parcel out the unsavory details of Lisabeth Salander’s past — while letting her kick a little more ass. Picking up a year after the last film, Lisabeth returns from her globetrotting vacation to discover that she’s wanted for a trio of murders she didn’t commit. Former lover and valiant journalist Mikael, of course, believes she’s innocent, and he spends most of the movie tracking down the suspects and evidence that will exonerate her. In fact, he neglects his investigations into a sex-trafficking cover-up that may reach into the upper branches of government. Or are the two connected? (Don’t count on an answer until November when the third chapter hits art-house screens.) Meanwhile, the Swedish authorities are plenty convinced that Lisabeth is the culprit. Fingerprints and an extended stint in the looney bin tend to make you a prime suspect. For fans of the books, this film delivers enough mood, character and action to hold them over for the big finale. For the rest of us, it’s Lisabeth who compels us to return, if only to see how the whole lurid thing shakes out.

The Killer Inside Me Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
In bringing Jim Thompson’s 1952 nihilistic noir to the screen, genre-hopping director Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, A Mighty Heart) spares the audience nothing, not even the abstraction of words, when it comes to violence. As brutal and disturbing as the novel’s above quote is, the film’s naturalistic approach to the murder leaves the viewer profoundly shaken. Unlike the smirking brutality of Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth and their imitators, it’s delivered without a hint of irony or glee. When Lou Ford (played by Casey Affleck) beats in Jessica Alba’s way-too pretty face, Winterbottom forces us to witness every moment of its horrible ugliness. He is, indeed, honoring Thompson’s pitch-black amorality, while arguing against the idea that movie violence can exist in a just-for-fun moral vacuum. And though I admire the filmmaker’s unwillingness to compromise the primal impact of the author’s prose, the scene simply doesn’t work. At least, not within the context of what Winterbottom seems to be doing with The Killer Inside Me. With Affleck’s psychopathic deputy sheriff providing play-by-play commentary, we watch as Lou descends deeper and deeper into madness after he brutally murders his prostitute girlfriend (Alba) and her suitor (Jay R. Fegurson) in order to get revenge on the local developer (Ned Beatty) he believes killed his brother. But in order to cover up his crime, Lou weaves together a complicated web of lies that too easily unravels. So, he’s forced to kill again. And again. Something he clearly enjoys more than he should. There are highly effective moments where he reveals flashes of Lou’s underlying sadism, but Winterbotttom’s determination to show us how things are rather than how Lou imagines them to be undermines any chance for psychological insight.


Loon River Café Reviewed by Mel Small (Restaurant)
The café, which seats 160, creates its own rustic atmosphere with a shingle and stone exterior and a lodge-like interior flaunting the obligatory moose head over a huge stone fireplace, fishing and hunting prints, stuffed animals, a full gun rack, and other outdoorsy paraphernalia. Those looking for a light meal can choose Buffalo chicken salad with slightly assertive pieces of chicken, along with onions and blue cheese, mercifully not drowned in a ranch dressing. Cobb, Caesar and grilled-salmon Dijon Caesar are among the rest of the greenery. Most of the mains range from $11 to $19. The Lake Shore portion of the menu is highlighted by walleye from renowned Red Lake, Minn., and Keewanaw whitefish from Lake Superior. Both can be ordered in a variety of ways, with the moist and nutty-sweet sautéed walleye a winner, while the whitefish is enhanced with bacon. You can sample a mini-sirloin steak, one large pork chop and a half portion of one of the fish specialties in the Midwest mixed grill, which is quite reasonably priced at $16.99. The majority of the bottles on the short but well-selected wine list are less than $30. These can be drunk, along with a nice array of beer and spirits, at the handsome elevated wood-paneled lounge adjacent to the dining space.