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Issue of 8/13/2008


Cover Story:



Method to madness
by Rebecca Mazzei
Behind the scenes with Malcolm Tulip, our best and most bewildering clown

Features:

Blast from the past by Curt Guyette
Nuclear power and the 2008 presidential campaign

Body and soul by Samantha Cleaver
The story of Fisher Body 21

Schoolyard heroes by Daniel Johnson
Paul Green's School of Rock turns Detroit kids into tomorrow's rock gods

Spooked by Megan O'Neil
DJ Spooky remixes in Detroit

Columns:

Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by John Thomason (Couch Trip)
In the spirit of election season, here's an idiot's guide to the best and worst U.S. "presidents" Tinseltown has ever coughed up

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

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

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Fast, live and in concert

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Windy and Carl and their Dearborn home

Hot-buttered Kwame by News Hits staff (News Hits)
The questions left are how and when

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

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
Baby, let me be your one-man band ...

Sum of our parts by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
On the media meddling in politicians' private lives

Straight talk by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
She ran out and bought a strap-on, Dan, but I'm not gay!

Who's my daddy? by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
Larry explores his family saga in new book

Reviews:

Music/Books:

The Preface - Elzhi Reviewed by William E. Ketchum III (Record)

Treat Me Right - Robin Rogers Reviewed by Eric Harabadian (Record)

Pictures of You - The Romeo Flynns Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)

Movies:

Hell Ride Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
With Tarantino signing on as Larry Bishop's executive producer, the son of late comedian Joey Bishop gets to show the world that he is a true “grindhouse” filmmaker. Unfortunately, he’s not a very good one. As the writer, director and star of Hell Ride, Bishop skips irony and subtext to deliver a glossy, adoring tribute to the cheesy biker flicks he starred in during the late ’60s and early ’70s. Sadly, he seems to forget that there was a reason so few audiences came out for movies like Chrome and Hot Leather and The Devil’s 8. They sucked. Humorless, lethargic and mercifully short, Hell Ride can barely muster enough energy to reach a conclusion.

American Teen Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Documentarian Nanette Burstein tries to capture the complex, real-life dramas of America’s heartland adolescent. And while there’s much to criticize about her yearlong chronicle of Indiana high school seniors, American Teen finds enough genuineness and entertainment to be recommended. Burnstein follows a large group of senior-year teens in Warsaw, Ind., focusing mainly on five kids, capturing their insecurities, dramas and cruelties in full bloom. Among the more popular kids, there’s queen bee Megan Krizmanich, a privileged and pretty blonde with a mean streak and tragic backstory. There’s also Colin Clemens, the school’s affable star basketball player whose chances for a much-needed college scholarship become endangered by his overbearing dad (an Elvis impersonator, of all things). On the social flipside, band geek Jake Tusing fights severe acne and social ineptitude to land a girlfriend while Hannah Bailey, a creative and rebellious outsider, struggles to keep depression and boys at bay in order to pursue her film-school dreams. The link between these two social cliques is Mitch Reinholt, a sincerely likable (and Hollywood handsome) basketball player, who dates Hannah but worries about her impact on his social standing. The kids struggle as much with parental pressure as with each other. It’s this familial context that elevates American Teen from the long list of reality TV shows treading similar terrain — but not by much. Where American Teen ultimately succeeds is in capturing the incredible doubt, awkwardness and anxiety that defines adolescence.

Up the Yangtze Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
This film is an incisive and humane look at the emergence of China as a world power through the eyes of those displaced by the enormous Three Gorges Dam. This monumental hydroelectric project is said to be China’s largest feat of engineering since the ancient Great Wall, and it too has great symbolic significance. To build it, China has had to flood the communities on the banks of the Yangtze, with 2 million residents forcibly relocated. Director Yung Chang understands the scale of the Three Gorges Dam, but his focus is on the rising waters and how they are obliterating the China his grandfather once knew. He uses the experience of a farewell cruise, luxury riverboats that ferry mostly Western tourists up the Yangtze to witness the changing topography, as a way of examining the enormous shifts in Chinese society.

Tropic Thunder Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Tropic Thunder is Ben Stiller’s attempt to grab back some of the comic inspiration of his early cheeky years, taking pot shots at actors, sending up action flicks and mercilessly lampooning Hollywood in general. Stiller plays a solipsistic, semi-literate action movie star Tugg Speedman, who, after his career began to fizzle, disastrously attempted to branch out into drama. Now desperate for a comeback, he signs on with a pair of similarly vapid A-listers — heroin-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) and intense method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), an Oscar-winning Aussie (Russell Crowe anyone?) — to star in a Vietnam epic. Portnoy is looking to broaden his box-office appeal while Lazarus undergoes radical pigmentation surgery to literally turn him into his black character. That’s right; Downey Jr. spends most of the film in blackface. When Tropic Thunder’s limey director (Steve Coogan) gets the idea to move his diva-like actors into the jungle to shoot the movie guerilla-style, they unwittingly run afoul of local drug runners. Soon the fake firefights become real and Speedman is the last to understand that they’re no longer shooting a movie. While Tropic Thunder’s cast is uniformly good, it’s Downy Jr. who stands out. Nearly as good are Matthew McConaughey (stepping in for depressed Owen Wilson) as Speedman’s super smarmy agent and Tom Cruise as hairy, fat, balding studio boss Les Grossman.

Restaurants/Places:

Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
The traditional French pancake gets an American treatment here. Each crępe takes about two minutes or less, from first careful pouring to the moment it's handed to the customer. Biggest seller so far among the savories is the “Sarah.” “Vera” combines bacon and spinach with Boursin, and two other savories pile on Black Forest ham. For sweet crępes, which are the majority, customers like the “Fay,” similar to a nonalcoholic Bananas Foster, plus pecans. When eating these creations on the go, neatness can be a problem. The safest technique to avoid the innards’ spilling out is to roll the crępe up like a burrito, tucking in the corners if necessary. Feel free to call ahead for take-out orders. Call for reservations if your party is of six or more. One dollar off orders with a Detroit Film Theatre ticket stub, or with a student ID. Serves 50 different crępes available, with a full expresso bar and Intelligentsia coffee. Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.

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