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Issue of 9/15/2010

Cover Story:

Transplant energy
by Metro Times staff
Artists putting down roots in Detroit look to the seasons ahead


Dancing back by Larry Gabriel
Aku Kodogo sees her hometown anew

Firestorm of questions by Bill McGraw
How can a cash-strapped city squelch the flames?

French connection by Michael Walton
One Paris resident's daring gamble — visiting Detroit in search of a career as a stuntman

Got Milk? by Jonathan Cunningham
How a dark 12 months in this producer-rapper's life spawned the 'album of the year'

Kristine Diven and District 7 by Ryan Patrick Hooper
Sexuality meets technology vs. art

Little bar on the prairie by Detroitblogger John
An iconic restaurant keeps a piece of old Detroit alive

Soup's on by Travis R. Wright
Kate Daughdrill and the art of networking

Teenage lament by Pietro Truba
Kevin Barnes from of Montreal talks growing up in Detroit, indie crossover and post-race society

The ambassador by Travis R. Wright
Adman and author Toby Barlow has become a leading spokesman for his adopted city


Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Corktown brunch, the pickle biz, and much more

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Our readers sound off on judges, the Tea Party and fatherhood

First blood by Travis R. Wright (Lit Up)
A2 author's debut kills

Metro Retro by Metro Times staff (Metro Retro)
Looking back over what's been in our pages

Free Daisy! by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Pro-pot protesters blast Bouchard's busts

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

Obama's image crisis by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Why the president should ramp up his PR — and his populism

Mouse in the house by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Man likes sex better with a cooter plug up his pooper

Grand River runs through it by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
A shortlist of restaurants in Novi, Farmington and Farmington Hills

Bing's open-secret plan by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
The word on the street vs. the actual facts


 No Reviews


The Extra Man Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Louis Ives (Dano) is a wannabe transvestite and F. Scott Fitzgerald devotee who’s dismissed from his university teaching job after being discovered in a bra. Moving to New York City to become a writer, he rents a room from the flamboyant and imperious Henry Harrison (Kline), a failed playwright and aging gigolo. What follows is a tale of the insane leading the bland, as Henry teaches Louis how to become an “extra man” and Louis struggles to reconcile his sexual desires with his wish to be seen as a gentleman. Escorting wealthy elderly women, pining for a navel-gazing co-worker (Katie Holmes in serious need of a meal), and colliding into a rogues’ gallery of misfits, Louis slowly learns to shed his inhibitions and embrace the possibilities of life.

The Virginity Hit Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The Virginity Hit was shot entirely with handheld DV cameras in formats of varying quality, from lush widescreen to scratchy stuff meant to look like Internet video. The title refers to the most excellent naked devil-lady water bong the gang uses only for very special occasions; namely when one of them successful pops his first nut. Gradually that magical piece of paraphernalia gets a good bit of use, despite these guys being unappealing goons, until only the perpetually shy and brainy Matt (Matt Bennett) has yet to inhale the sweet toke of victory. Despite being a mega-nerd, Matt actually has a smart and adorable girlfriend (Nicole Weaver), but their plans for that special moment keep getting interrupted by their nosy, camera-happy friends. Worse, Nicole has a few too many Jell-O shots at a frat party rager, and allegedly “hooks up” with a slick college guy. Dude, that blows. This act of heinous treachery sends Matt and his adopted brother/BFF Zach on a series of increasingly baroque escapades in order to lose Matt’s cherry, including road trips, petty larceny, assault, breaking and entering, and other harmless pranks. Don't think; just go with it.

Kisses Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
When his dad punches his mom in a fit of anger, young Dylan (Shane Curry) fights back, only to unleash the full force of his father’s brutal fury. With the help of the girl next door, Kylie (Kelly O’Neill), he flees, and the two hitch a ride with a friendly barge-driver. This sends them on a runaway odyssey into Dublin, where they search for Dylan’s older brother, encounter a busker and sympathetic young woman, go on an illicit shopping spree (who says money can’t buy happiness?) and, possibly, run into Bob Dylan. But as night settles in, the kids discover that for every good-natured person who’s willing to help them, the streets are filled with those who would do them harm. Simultaneously sweet and tough, Kisses is like Before Sunrise as imagined by Roddy Doyle, an incisively written drama with strangely magical moments and memorably offbeat characters that’s never afraid to cross into unsettling instances of danger. Dylan and Kylie’s developing relationship is both authentic and moving, a tribute to extraordinary resilience and open-heartedness of kids, and their inevitable naïveté. It’s also the glue that holds Daly’s film together, as he spices their foul-mouthed dialogue with sparks of humor and humanity.

Valhalla Rising Reviewed by Paul Knoll (Movie)
Set between the eighth and 11th centuries against the stark, gloomy and filth-ridden world of pre-Christian Denmark, we’re introduced to One Eye (Mads Mikkelsen, the villain in Casino Royale). He’s a fearsome and mute warrior and slave for a Norse clan, and he disposes of his opponents with frightening efficiency while earning coin for his captors. One Eye is sold off, but after the sale he gets free of his shackles (literally) and makes a bloodbath of his new owners, except for a young boy named Are (Maarten Stevenson), the one sympathetic person who’d bring him food and water. Up till this point, Valhalla Rising plays like some sparse deconstructionist version of Gladiator — hyper-realistic violence, stunningly filmed desolate landscapes and little to no dialogue. One Eye soon encounters an army of Vikings who’ve been sent on a holy mission to spread Christianity and have been slaughtering the Danes (who were pagans) as part of their crusade. The Vikings enlist One Eye in their religious journey promising him that his sins will be forgiven once they reach Jerusalem. They’re barely on their boat before the journey turns sinister.

Alamar Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
A slow-burn that shows us connections between what’s real Not quite a docudrama (there’s little drama here) and not quite a documentary, this personal travelogue of sorts is a lovely and gorgeously wide-shot exercise in subtle activism, immersing the viewer in an idyllic world, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Natan is the unquestionably beautiful son of Italian mother Roberta Palombini and Mayan father Jorge Machado. From the couple’s opening voiceover we learn that their relationship ended because they lived in two very different worlds. It’s the only part of Pedro González-Rubio’s film that relies on words to tell its story. From there we watch as city-dwelling Roberta prepares her son for a summer with Jorge, a fisherman who lives in a small hut on stilts in the Banco Chinchorro, an immense coral reef off the Mexican coast. Subtly fictionalized by González-Rubio, Alamar is a gentle, unhurried and observant examination of love, separation and the bonds between man and nature, and father and son.

Soul Kitchen Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
The “Soul Kitchen” in question is both a restaurant and state of mind. A low-rent grease-pit eatery run by rumpled but cuddly Zinos Kazantsakis (Adam Bousdoukos), it’s far from health code-compliant, but the regulars like their beer, fried food and potato salad from a bucket. Nevertheless, even this threadbare slice of heaven is destined to come crashing down. The tax man — or woman, as the case may be — comes calling, Zinos’ girlfriend Nadine (Pheline Roggan) takes off for China, his ex-con brother Ilias (Moritz Bleibtreu) shows up looking for a work-release job, a violently temperamental but brilliant chef (the amazing Birol Ünel) drives away his customers, he slips a disk in his back, and a sleazy Aryan real-estate speculator (Wotan Wilke Möhring) sics health inspectors on him in order to steal the property. To say complications ensue would be redundant.

I’m Still Here Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
You may remember when infamously intense method actor Joaquin Phoenix had a prolonged tabloid meltdown, shambling around like a drug-addled caveman through a series of embarrassing public appearances, as he became increasingly unhinged. "I’m Still Here" is the allegedly “real” account of Phoenix’s career suicide. Looking like a homeless Zach Galifianakis, with a huge mountain man beard growth, Joaquin stalks the Hollywood Hills, sporting a chaotic, expansive, dirty mangle of hair. In between coke binges, he starts spewing rambling, anti-showbiz diatribes to anyone within earshot, as he goes through the motions of promoting a film he swears will be his final film work, except for the camera crew following his every misstep. What little “plot” there is involves the effort to track down P. Diddy, or whatever the hell he’s calling himself these days. For all this, Phoenix will likely find himself in the same career jail that Mickey Rourke once inhabited.


Ajishin Sushi & Noodle Reviewed by Todd Abrams (Restaurant)
You can choose among about 20 different nigiri, priced between $1.50 and $3 apiece, and about 20 rolls at $2.50 to $6. Missing are the fantastic and pricey specialty rolls you find at so many of the hip sushi lounges catering more to a Western palate. The nigiri are well-constructed, with mildly sweet rice, excellent seafood and wasabi paste already incorporated into the bite. But soup lovers have reason to rejoice! Ajishin’s udon soup is extraordinary. There are also a few cold noodle dishes where the flavor of soba is better illustrated. Arashi, for instance, combines soba, grated yam, seaweed and green onion in a tangy dressing for a deep, almost smoky noodle salad. Open 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Monday; closed Tuesdays.