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Issue of 9/3/2008

Cover Story:

Cross-examining the charters
by Sandra Svoboda
An unlikely advocate questions spending, management and accountability


Groove is in the heart by Laurie Smolenski
Peoples Records, a time capsule of D-Town musical history, is back

History lesson, part two by Mark Deming
The Plastic People of the Universe are still kicking it into the 21st century

New queen of noir by Norene Cashen
Local writer hits Hollywood paydirt and turns on James Ellroy

Old-school pool by Detroitblogger John
Table talk with the old-timers

Sonically different by Megan O'Neil
Contemporary classical music takes to MOCAD.


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

Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
A heady noir-doc, disemboweled Suicide Girls and a Dallas mindfuck

Amateur night by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
TV 20's ten o’clock news improves to inferior

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
The column your mother warned you about

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Detroit noisester Viki's Midtown apartment

Dick'n around in Flint by News Hits staff (News Hits)
In wake of droopy drawers crusade, top cop imposes gag rule on department

Newton's law by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Why Wayne Newton's plane is grounded in Oakland County

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

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
Turning Japanese and other online wonders

Days of future passed by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
How would Dr. King react to Obama?

Indian shivers by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Fulfilling Native American fantasies is a challenge



There's Only One - Buff1 Reviewed by William E. Ketchum III (Record)

The Globe - The Silent Years Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)

Cheat the Gallows - Big Elf Reviewed by Kent Alexander (Record)

Forth - The Verve Reviewed by Cynthia Hawkins (Record)

That Lucky Old Sun - Brian Wilson Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)


Disaster Movie Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
The latest pop culture regurgitation from the team who made "Date Movie" finds the world coming to an end, and the audience asking for their hour-and-a-half back. This stream-of-consciousness parody's problem is that its humorous twists just aren’t fresh. Questioning the sexuality of naked warrior Beowulf? Adding racy lyrics to a chirpy High School Musical number? Making Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw a drag queen? It doesn’t make for cutting-edge comedy. Deflating these images only works when they’ve overstayed their welcome in the cultural landscape. The actors here are merely joke facilitators, although MadTV vets Crista Flanagan (the sullen Juney), Nicole Parker (a cranked Enchanted Princess) and Ike Barinholtz (dead-on as hero and villain alike) really understand the skewed logic of spoofery.

College Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
Using Animal House (1978) as her model, commercials director Deb Hagan takes an adolescent rite of passage and turns it into a primer on collegiate sadism, pushing the R rating to new raunchy lows in the process. Screenwriters Dan Callahan and Adam Ellison have created three archetypes for this hellish adventure: serious-minded photographer Kevin Brewer (Drake Bell), browbeaten science nerd Morris Hooper (Kevin Covais) and brutish horndog Carter Scott (Andrew Caldwell, in the John Belushi role). If any of them believed a trip to Fieldmont would be about academics, that idea is soon dispelled by their encounters with the inhabitants of the disgraced Beta Phi Tau fraternity, where humiliation’s always on tap. The the characters suffer constant abasement, they are so sketchy that any audience goodwill is forged solely through the force of their personalities.

Babylon A.D. Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
This muddled, brain-dead piece of sci-fi slop is so bad that director Mathieu Kassovitz recently disowned it. Some undisclosed disaster has left Eastern Europe a grungy, bombed-out crater, where Toorop (Vin Diesel), a surly, mumbling mercenary has his door down as he's dragged off to chat with a crime lord named Gorsky, who charges him with escorting a mysterious young woman named Aurora (Melanie Thierry), some kind of psychic cyber Madonna miracle child or something. Her guardian-mother is a pacifist nun (Michelle Yeoh) who conveniently knows how to kick major kung fu ass. And trouble comes about every eight minutes or so in the form of hoods, thugs and creeps assaulting our trio, who escape across the Arctic via flying limo, submarine and, best of all, turbo-boosted snowmobile! By the time they hit New York, the confusing religious-techno messiah plot has been completely buried under flaming-rubble CGI missiles and the requisite throbbing metal and rap soundtrack.

Frozen River Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
Writer and director Courtney Hunt’s debut feature is a bracing reminder that independent film once existed as a defiant middle finger to cultural hegemony. She takes a cold, hard look at two difficult women who are chafing at the limitations imposed on their lives by men, facing grinding poverty with a defiant sneer, and determined to make things better for their children. Shot on location in rural upstate New York, Frozen River is as stark and bare-bones as the winter landscape. Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo)and Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham) are unlikely allies who become smugglers, a link in the chain of human trafficking, taking illegal immigrants (from China and Pakistan) across the river from Canada to the United States in the copious trunk of their Dodge Spirit for $600 a head. And as the story unfolds, Hunt’s greatest strength is not judging her characters.

No Reviews