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Issue of 8/5/2009

Cover Story:

Blonde devotion
by Serene Dominic
New stateside reissue does right by do-right baby Chris Clark, the white sheep of the Motown family tree


Animal farm by Detroitblogger John
An urban tranquility that's born of chickens, a garden and a history in racism

Blood, sweat and tears by Jeff Meyers
Talking horror with the creators of Saw and The Collector

Cover me by Bill Holdship
New twists on classic tunes

Finding innocence by Sandra Svoboda
Two men celebrate freedom from prison, and U-M law clinic celebrates its first victory

Second coming by William E. Ketchum III
Royce Da 5'9" returns despite jail time and misfortune. Some say he's bigger, better and more defiant than ever.

Stay Sikh by Corey Hall
Detroit director-doctor talks diversity, Ocean

Too poor to parent? by Curt Guyette
Critics say when the state takes kids away, the real problem is poverty.


Cheat Code by Bryant Franks (Cheat Code)

Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Grindhouse meets the art house, gloriously, and too many creepy children

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Nickel-and-dime beer, a ballet fund-raiser and more.

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Readers sound off on motorbikes, Lessenberry and more.

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Hip-hop vet 5 ELA and his Elements gallery in Corktown

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

The newspaper scam by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
It's more than an online paper: It's a pile of illiterate crap.

Deceiving appearances by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Dishonest online photos, missing body parts and more

Ciao time! by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
A shortlist of Italian eateries for your dining pleasure

Helter shelter by Travis R. Wright (Sketches in Grit)
Living life sketch to sketch

The pious beat by Walter Wasacz (The Subterraneans)
And the gods shtupped ...



The Hazards of Love - The Decembrists Reviewed by Serene Dominic (Record)


The Merry Gentleman Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Michael Keaton directs and stars as Frank Logan, a morose hired gunman who’s lost the will to live, and after a bit of rooftop sniping, hops up on the ledge, ready to leap off. Lucky for him he’s got an angel of mercy on the ground who happens to be looking up, in the form of sweetly skittish Kate (Kelly Macdonald), and whose scream jolts Frank out of his stupor. He seeks her out, perhaps to simply rub out a witness, but ends up helping her with her Christmas tree and becoming her unlikely friend and protector. And Kate needs protecting, from a vaguely stalker-like cop (Tom Bastounes) who keeps asking her out, and from the abusive husband she’s run away from. If he actually had a budget Keaton might have been able to hire some better actors to fill out the supporting cast, but everyone outside of the leads feels distinctly summer stock.

Funny People Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
As Hollywood’s reigning sovereign of comedy, Apatow has made his Almost Famous, a rambling rumination about making it in showbiz, and how jealousy, loneliness, true love, mortality and other stuff get lost in the mix. Adam Sandler is George Simmons, a thinly veiled version of himself, a middle-aged movie star stuck in a hell of childish hits he’s too afraid to quit making. He spends his days brooding around his ocean-side villa, watching tapes of himself in happier days, between trips to the oncologist to treat terminal leukemia. Still addicted to limelight, George haunts comedy clubs where he stumbles on promising, shlubby comic Ira Wright (Seth Rogen), whom he hires as a joke writer, errand boy and confidant. It’s a dream job for the young and thoughtful Ira, who's soon having a blast, while George is battling illness and regrets. Funny People is humane, hilarious and warm, but it’s also disjointed, dark and overlong. Every good comic knows when to exit the stage as much as great directors know how to say “cut.”

Ocean of Pearls Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Omid Abtahi (24) stars as Amrit Singh, a young Sikh surgeon struggling between the currents of career, personal ambition, family and tradition. He’s been picked to head up a new experimental organ transplant unit in Detroit, but that means breaking free from the comforting bubble of his close-knit suburban Toronto Sikh community, and away from his hardcore old-school father. Relocating stateside also means braving the TSA airport security, who red-flag his beard and turban and hassle him until his skills are needed in a medical emergency. Once in the D, he faces all sorts of new complications, including a flirtatious co-worker who tempts him from his longtime girlfriend back home, and a heartless medical system that often puts profits ahead of lives.

The Collector Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Here the “hero” is Arkin (Josh Stewart), a cat burglar who cracks into a plush country house for a precious gem, but instead runs headfirst into a masked mystery man with a penchant for laying elaborate, Rube Goldberg-style traps. More, Arkin faces a midnight deadline and a moral dilemma: Does he steal the goods and pay off his wife’s gambling debt to the mob, or risk his life rescuing the family held hostage by the cloaked madman. Despite arty touches, it’s clear Dunstan’s aiming for pure butt-squirming shocks, such as nails through body parts, a mean jar of cockroaches, and one spectacular death by bear traps. There are buckets of old-school gore. But it’s the promise of violence that’s creepy, and plenty of revolting moments here will amuse hardcore horror buffs and leave everyone else feeling trapped.

In the Loop Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
UK writer-director Armando Iannucci (producer of the British sitcom The Thick of It) delivers a deliciously corrosive backstage view of the Iraq War years. Firing off jokes, insults and F-bombs with giddy aplomb, his bitter and twisted film is a whirlwind assault on the Machiavellian double-dealings, egotistical chest-thumping, and the dimwitted scheming of political middle managers who care less about ideology and ethics and more about jockeying for position. A low-level cabinet minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) deviates from the party line during a radio interview and offers the cryptic comment; “War is unforeseeable,” setting off a political shitstorm. On the home front, the Prime Minster’s chief policy strategist (a gleefully profane Peter Capaldi) goes into damage control mode while the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Diplomacy (Mimi Kennedy) sees an opportunity to use Foster to end-run a Rumsfeldian State Department head (David Rasche), who is holding secret war meetings. With the aid of a dovish general (James Gandolfini), she hopes to help thwart the rush to war. Foster, clearly out of his league and saddled with a blundering new assistant (Chris Addison), just struggles to keep his job without appearing to endorse a war his government clearly wants to be part of. A raucous and funny film, but what might prove the biggest problem for U.S. audiences is the idea of laughing at and with people who lie, cheat and betray without compunction.


Jumps Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
The Grosse Pointe regulars have been waiting a long time for this day — neighborhood staple Jumps has expanded, spruced up and acquired a liquor license. Jumps was long an oddity — fine dining in a basement, with no booze. Hordes of Grosse Pointers ate there anyway because of the excellence of owner-chef Chad Stewart’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. But as of summer 2009, those who need a cocktail or a glass of wine can be as happy as the rest. The new restaurant is one floor up from the basement digs, with a refined GP-style decor. The best choices, and best deals, are the appetizer samplers. Though, just after reopening, our reviewer found the entrees a bit uneven (except for the thick and moist pork loin and fettuccine with chicken and house-made Italian sausage in cream sauce) the soups are more reliable, and can include a big bowl of cream of asparagus, complex and rich, or a sweet roasted corn chowder, thin and buttery, with whole kernels. And the service is excellent, displaying a willingness to oblige by tweaking the dishes to patrons’ desires. For dessert, Jumps serves ice cream from Ray’s in Royal Oak as well as house-made treats made by co-owner Mavelle Stewart’s son Brandon Kokoscki, once of Seldom Blues.