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Issue of 8/20/2008

Cover Story:

Nice work
by Metro Times staff
Our search for metro Detroit's oddest jobs yielded some great stories


'Everybody's got to wipe' by W. Kim Heron
Somebody has to make money off it

Artistic bent by Norene Cashen
Gender benders take over Ann Arbor's Gallery Project

Dawn of the tramp by Laurie Smolenski
A dude tooling D-Town on the coattails of dead celebs

Dog-Tied by Detroitblogger John
Not exactly clothes-minded

Floating on the top by Curt Guyette
A designer lives his ambition to join the parade

Graveyard shift by Cherri Buijk
Putting names - and the occasional pooch - on tombstones

Inner-city sanctuary by Detroitblogger John
Detroit's paradise protector

Luck of the Lions by Sandra Svoboda
From Cuppy Coffee to Roary the Febreze-saturated mascot

No brown M & M's! by Bill Holdship
Liz Butsicaris Jackson: Queen of the rock 'n' roll caterers

Revenge of the nerd by Corey Hall
Chatting with the geek-turned-rockstar Rainn Wilson

Son of the street by William E. Ketchum III
Rap superstar Kanye West agrees that Big Sean may be Detroit's 'next big thing'

The queen of odd jobs by Sofia Raptis
Witness to an exhumation

Trauma calling by Sandra Svoboda
Blood, mangled body parts and crime scenes are this guy's specialty

We are family by Meredith Skrzypczak
Listening to Detroiters to learn our history

Witness to an exhumation by Sophia Raptis
A weird gig even for 'the queen of odd jobs'


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Some prophetic pop star forewarning, a trip through Guy Maddin’s goofy brain and some god-fearing mumbo-jumbo

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

He comes in colors by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
Snappy patter king Rod Allen is the Tigers' best TV commentator ever

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

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
From Alfred E. Neuman to James Brown

Legal limits by News Hits staff (News Hits)
State can't prosecute suspect in 1994 rape for which wrong man did time

Role models by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Even Third World dictators step down, but not Kwame

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

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
Digital flotsam

TV thriller by Sandra Svoboda (Out to Lunch)
WDIV's Paula Tutman pens a page-turner

Asleep at the switch by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Lansing pols' 'renewable energy' bills would give DTE and Consumers a virtual monopoly

Listen here, kid! by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
How to intervene with a homophobic nephew? Let him have it!



Ot Serdca K Nebu - Arkona Reviewed by Kent Alexander (Record)
Encased inside black metal's already principally European and nationalist heart is a group of acts committed to reviving the traditional folk tunes of their respective homelands. Unfortunately, too much of this "folk-metal" is just bland renditions of folk songs amplified over unfitting metal histrionics. But Poland's Arkona lays down a proudly strutting epic with Ot Serdca K Nebu, which combines the feverish and frenzied whirl of black metal with melodies snatched directly from old Polish minstrels and traditional songs. Wow.

Dear Emily, Best Wishes Molly - Prussia Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)
If you combine youthful vigor with a respect for '60s soul, a tie-dyed tee, and frenetic, tireless energy, you're apt to get Detroit's Prussia. Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly, the band's first full-length release, comes after a year filled with well-attended gigs and an earned distinction as one hell of a frantic and unpredictable live band. That kind of presence can be great onstage but occasionally leads to studio cacophony. A less disciplined band would've fallen prey to such trappings, but Prussia focuses its energy into a highly listenable and sonically adventurous record.


Fly Me to the Moon Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
It’s the summer of 1969, and these three teeny malcontents take a break from buzzing the scrap heap and munching on dung long enough to listen to Nat’s doddering Grandpa (Christopher Lloyd) rattle on about how he once rode shotgun with Amelia Earhart. Somehow this tale inspires the boys to flap over to the Kennedy Space Center to stow away on the historic Apollo 11 moon mission. Nat’s worrying mom — voiced by Kelly Ripa — is a major buzzkill who keeps saying “dreamers get swatted” and gives disapproving looks through oversized pink cat-eye frames, which, of course, lack the hundreds of tiny frames a real fly needs. (Such nitpicking’s moot on a picture loaded with fart jokes, cutesy maggots and evil Russian flies with borscht-thick accents.) Adding to the old-school weirdness is the sight of the real-life and NASA-shilling astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who pops in to assure us that no flies were really in space. The whole affair has a musty aroma, harking back to a creaky era before Pixar forever raised the bar for big screen cartoons with beautiful, clever amusements that can entertain adults and kids equally. To distract from the flat, dreary animation and lameness of the comedy, there’s some nifty 3-D, with the big rocket launch being only slightly outclassed by the bit where Scooter eats floating drops of Tang. Yet the modern whiz-bang can’t cover the generally tired plot and sorry-ass gags and the strangely retro “let’s beat the Russkies” jingoism of the piece.

Henry Poole is Here Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) has recently overpaid for a run-down house in his bland, aging suburban L.A. neighborhood, where he holes up all day on his black leather couch accompanied by his buddies Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. Despite his insistence that he “won’t be here that long,” his super-perky real estate agent Meg (Cheryl Hines) has the outside stucco redone when Henry isn’t looking, leaving a curiously shaped watermark that just won’t go away, no matter how hard he scrubs. Equally hard to lose are his neighbors, the insistently nosy Esperanza (Adriana Barraza) and comely single mom Dawn, whose cherubic little daughter never speaks but likes to run around taping people’s conversations on her giant tape recorder. Since, apparently, every woman in town wants to save him, the poor guy can’t even buy booze in peace, since a cute — but frightfully myopic — young supermarket cashier named (ahem) Patience (promising newcomer Rachel Seiferth) persists in offering him chirpy sermons about faith. The intrusions only get worse when Esperanza decides that the water stain is actually a heavenly sign, and starts leading bingo ladies, her priest (George Lopez) and hordes of parishioners on daily pilgrimages into Henry’s back yard. The end result is likable but hokey. The mid-film shift from moody dark comedy to a basic “love conquers all” theme is fine, but Capra usually showed miracles rise from people not from divine intervention.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Finally, by going totally CGI, George Lucas can spin his sparkly tales of galactic conflict without the nuisance of human actors gumming up the works. In lieu of flesh and blood we see stiff CG marionettes, who fly about the screen with dizzying, ADD swiftness but who sport faces as rigid and unchanging as action figures. The story is set between episodes II and III, in the long-discussed, never-seen nerd fantasia known as the Clone Wars. As cool as the prospect sounds, the clones are merely the Galactic Republic’s army of tube-grown stormtroopers. Not so clear are the arcane machinations of the war waged between a nefarious “trade federation” and the slowly crumbling Republic; as space feuds go, it’s a pretty ho-hum affair, yet we get pummeled with loads of exposition about it anyway. Leading the charge for the good guys are our intrepid Jedi Knights, stalwart Obi Wan Kenobi and future cyber-goth bad-boy Anakin Skywalker; who are continually dispatched across the cosmos to put out brushfires. The mission now is to rescue the kidnapped infant son of slimy crime lord Jabba the Hutt, since his clan controls vitally important trade routes, or some such crap. Along for the ride is Anakin’s newly appointed “Padawan” trainee Ashoka Tano, cheerfully voiced by teen star Ashley Eckstein. Though only a youngling, she has the enormous lips of a Bratz doll, a street-walker’s wardrobe and the snarky ’tude of a ninja turtle, incessantly referring to her boss as “Sky Guy.” She’s also got a nickname ready for Jabba’s baby boy, she calls him “Stinky,” and stench aside he’s a cuddly larva with giant anime eyes, just cute enough to be turned in a plush doll, if he hasn’t been already.

Man on Wire Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)

Elegy Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)

Vicky Christina Barcelona Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)

The Rocker Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on "The Office") stars as Robert “Fish” Fishman, a drab, fortyish tech worker who, 18 years ago, was unjustly ousted, Pete Best-style, from a band on the edge of stardom. The band went on to become Metallica-sized arena rock icons, leaving a wound that just won’t heal. Redemption comes in the form of Fish’s portly dweeb nephew, who just needs a drummer for his band’s upcoming high school dance gig. Given a foot in the show-biz door, Fish proceeds to kick the door down by molding his reluctant teen prodigies into a tight pop combo, and capitalizing on the popularity of an unbelievably awkward YouTube video. The one big bummer that keeps The Rocker from, um, really “rawking” is the unbelievably lame music, which sounds as if it was extruded from a teeny-bop production line.

Stealing America: Vote by Vote Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)

The Singing Revolution Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)


Luigi's Reviewed by Todd Abrams (Restaurant)
The somewhat kitschy setting of checkered tablecloth, faux grapevines and strings of small red and green lights don’t prepare you for the quality of service. Whether you’re dining in the dark and boisterous front room or the more sedate and well-lit back, you’re sure to be impressed by the efficiency of the waitstaff. Children are welcomed with crayon-based activities and ample menu options. You’ll want to try one of the appetizers like rice-mozzarella-and-sausage balls baked in a breadcrumb crust and covered with tomato basil sauce (arancini). Of course, Luigi’s offers typical Italian fare as well: various pasta dishes, ravioli, veal or chicken done in your choice of Parmesan, marsala or picatta. The menu veers further American with steaks, chops and the ubiquitous slab of baby back ribs. For seafood options, you have whitefish, steamed mussels, Cajun crawfish, or fish and chips. Then you have Luigi’s exceptional pizzas. Complement your meal with a bottle from the adequate wine list or the decent range of beers. With both food and drinks, Luigi’s just about covers everyone’s taste sensibilities. Opens at 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, opens at 3 p.m. Sundays.