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Issue of 9/24/2008

Cover Story:

Love is not the enemy
by Norene Cashen
Poet-performer Jessica Care Moore talks success, heartbreak and coming home. Plus: WDET author interview.


Ken Cockrel column excerpts by Kenneth V. Cockrel Jr.
Excerpts from Cockrel columns on gangster rap, fatherhood, Eddie Murphy and more, plus his complete columns on the challenges of being mayor in Detroit, on reactions to the verdict in the Malice Green case and on a first-hand encounter with stereotypes

Rainbow's end by Margaret Hundley Parker
Katerina Bocci brings the whole Detroit gang to NYC’s Fashion Week

Round four! by D.X. Ferris
Rap-rock pioneer Everlast gets his groove back while reflecting on that melee with Eminem

Separating rap from truth by William E. Ketchum III
Detroit hip-hop heads look back on the 'Hip-Hop Mayor'

Tax fact and fiction by Sandra Svoboda and Curt Guyette
A close look at the candidates' plans

Welcome to my nightmare by Paul Knoll
Legendary horror-film director Dario Argento talks of completing his trilogy and more


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Shirley when she sizzled, Argento faltering, 'Thank Heaven for Little Girls' (!?) and Nubian beauties

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

More than Muppets by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
PBS pres Paula Kerger talks Big Bird, TV longevity and seizing the moment

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

Jeffrey Morgan's Media Glamout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Tracing the tinsel timeline of Jobraith's career

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Ted Miller of the Pizazz shows off his Grosse Pointe Park digs

Cockrel the columnist by News Hits staff (News Hits)
What the interim mayor then thought about politics, hip-hop and crime

Election detection by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Democratic Party suit aims to balk alleged GOP vote challenges

Pooch out by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Grosse Pointe Park man says 'pit bull' ban barks up wrong tree

Up and coming by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Local speakers to address Palestine, labor and 'ageism'

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

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
Side projects assemble

Free market fall by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
On bailing out bad banks with our money

Dan too hard? by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Readers' outraged letters and Dan’s feeble attempts to respond

Keeping up by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
When libidos don't match, here's how to compromise

Special K by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
Ken Cockrel's heroic alter ego takes on Detroit's underworld



Across the Crystal Sea - Danilo Perez and Friends, Claus Ogerman Reviewed by W. Kim Heron (Record)

Recovery - Loudon Wainwright III Reviewed by Tim Grierson (Record)

Olly Oxen Free Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)


Igor Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
The premise is solid enough. In the blighted land of Malaria, where the sun never shines, evil scientists fuel the economy by blackmailing the rest of the world with monstrous inventions. Each year, the kingdom holds an Evil Science Fair, where the threat of the year is chosen. When his cruel but incompetent master (John Cleese) blows himself up in the lab, Igor (John Cusack) sees his chance to enter his own evil invention and prove, once and for all, that hunchbacks can be geniuses too. Assisted by Scamper (Steve Buscemi), a suicidal but indestructible bunny, and Brain (Sean Hayes), a defective brain in a jar, Igor does the unthinkable; he creates life. Unfortunately, his gigantic Frankenstein monster turns out to be Eva (Jennifer Coolidge), an aspiring actress who wouldn’t hurt a fly. If you were hip to the concept until that last sentence, you’re not alone. The monster-turned-thespian backbone of the story is so horribly from left field and so ill-considered that the film never recovers. Instead it throws one lame-ass pop culture joke at the screen after another while frantically counting down the clock with hyperactive shtick.

Ghost Town Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Ghost Town looks like a pretty obvious stinker with a goofy, hackneyed premise straight out of the 1940s, but it's really a shiny little gem, a sharply funny and very modern spin on timeworn supernatural comedies. As misanthropic dentist Bertram Pincus, the brilliant Ricky Gervais is allowed to exercise his singular gift for petty churlishness, a bite that lifts the movie miles above the standard studio fare. Bertram is a callow, fussy little shit, refusing to hold elevator doors, shunning eye contact, and recoiling at the most basic inquiries on a hospital questionnaire, as he checks in for a minor but embarrassing surgery. He wakes to find the staff lawyer and his ditzy, tanned-in-a-can-young surgeon (SNL’s gawky marvel Kristen Wiig) informing him that he died (technically) on the table for seven minutes, though he signed a release form and therefore can’t sue them. The tidbit doesn’t sit well with him, nor does the fact he can suddenly see dead people, and no, he doesn’t spot Bruce Willis, but he does see a smarmy Greg Kinnear. Turns out these sad spirits are still hanging around Manhattan to wrap up unresolved personal business. Kinnear’s Frank was a philandering husband while alive, but now he wants to look after his widow (Tea Leoni) from beyond, and he enlists Bertram to break up her impending marriage to a twit.

Lakeview Terrace Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Writer-director Neil Labute made his name with scabrous satires of sexual politics, wherein men and women not only can’t be friends, but are sworn enemies. Here he turns his venom towards race relations, though the poison goes down slightly easier thanks to the standard-thriller coating it’s given. Samuel L. Jackson dominates the action as Abel Turner, a widowed veteran L.A. cop vainly attempting to protect his kids by remaking the world around them in his image. He’s got rules: The first and most important one being “There are rules” and anyone who fails to observe this code will feel his wrath. Of course, nobody sent a memo to the progressive yuppie couple who moves into the scenic McMansion next door. They’re blissfully unaware that there’s a viper in this suburban Eden, or that the simple nature of their relationship — she’s black, he’s white — is enough to set Abel off on a dangerous path. At first hubby Chris (Patrick Wilson) tries to make nice, though his attempts are met with subtle scorn, minor threats and taunts about “stealing brown sugar” and other less-than-friendly jibes. Wife Lisa (Kerry Washington) is less forgiving, but lets hubby do it his way, at least until the petty squabbles over flood lights and landscaping get very ugly.

I Served the King of England Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Any attempt to infuse World War II-era atrocities with an ironic sense of whimsy is a risky gambit. Filled with affecting grace notes and gentle gags, this episodic tale of a young man’s dreams to become a hotel magnate is frustratingly superficial, unable to reconcile its past- and present-time storylines to deliver a message worth ruminating on. The film opens with aging Díte (Oldrich Kaiser) as he is released from prison. He has served 15 years for an unnamed crime and is banished to a dilapidated cottage in a deserted, wooded village. There, among other outcasts and misfits, he reflects back on the fickle finger of fate that pushed him through life. Bouncing between Díte’s growing desires for exiled Marcela (Zuzana Fialová), a budding intellectual and former nymphomaniac, and flashbacks to his youth, Menzel attempts to present a portrait of the man who was and the man who is. What we quickly discover, however, is that Young Díte (Ivan Barnev) is far more likable and interesting than his senior counterpart. A rail station hot-dog seller, this diminutive everyman has the remarkable ability to fall upward, capitalizing on unexpected and often ridiculous opportunities. And when the machines of Hitler’s war intrude, Díte is brought into the fold by his ultra-nationalistic fräulein (Julia Jentsch).

Towelhead Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
There’s a difference between provocative and profound, and writer-director Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under) seems to confuse the two. Towelhead, as its in-your-face title implies, sets out to shock the audience with its sexually frank and purposefully dark coming-of-age story. Presenting a scornful view of American suburbia, Ball’s graceless and contrived exercise in cynicism is also unexpectedly honest and, at times, quite moving. Based on the novel by Alicia Erian and set during the first Gulf War, Ball’s film follows 13-year-old Jasira (newcomer Summer Bishil), the mixed-race daughter of a neurotically selfish white mother (Maria Bello) who ships her off to live with her abusive Lebanese-immigrant father (Peter Macdissi). A NASA engineer, Rafit lives in a well-groomed Houston suburb surrounded by Bush-cheering rednecks. There’s an odious little boy and his predatory Army-reservist dad (Aaron Eckhart), an overprotective pregnant neighbor (Toni Colette), a black boyfriend and, of course, the relentless taunts of bigoted schoolmates. In other words, it’s another example of Ball’s obsessively bleak view of suburban decay. Caught in this exhaustive obstacle course of human ugliness, Jasira experiences the first pangs of sexual desire, encouraging Ball to launch a full-out assault on our puritanical sense of propriety. Porno magazines, masturbation, bloody tampons, used condoms and, tragically, rape are all stirred into a heady broth of claustrophobic melodrama.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Mention Roman Polanski in mixed company and you’re just as likely to hear “child rapist” as you are “Oscar-winning director.” As with all things, the facts of the case are a bit more complicated than most realize. And it’s to Marina Zenovich’s considerable credit that her documentary approaches Polanski’s story as something other than a sordid morality tale of fallen genius or a sympathetic whitewash of a misunderstood artist. Instead, this doc makes no bones about the filmmaker’s crime, but rather puts it within the context of a life blindsided by both outlandish fortune and unspeakable tragedy. The result is a convincing and nuanced re-evaluation of a complex and controversial man. More importantly, however, Zenovich’s terrifically constructed film acts as a subversive and, at times, shocking exposé of judicial misconduct and media abuse. Through archival footage, cannily inserted film clips, and unbelievable access to still-living witnesses, the doc presents a convincing rationale for Polanski’s flight from the U.S.


Allegro Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
Though the menu bills the place as “European,” Allegro is patronized mostly by people from the former Soviet Union, though the staff is more than hospitable to the occasional interloper. On the menu are herring and potatoes, blini with caviar, pilimeni (veal dumplings), smoked fish, sturgeon, and lamb, chicken or pork shashlik (marinated and on skewers). (Lamb chops, steaks, salmon and shrimp scampi are the nods to more standard fare.) Given geography, you’d expect Russian cuisine to be hearty, and it is. Chicken Kiev is a pound of chicken breast wrapped around a chunk of butter, then breaded and fried. Beef Stroganoff has a rich mahogany sauce, oddly sprinkled liberally with cilantro. Many appetizers are more expensive than the very reasonable entrées (almost all under $15), but that’s because they come in mass quantities. Allegro is open only Thursday-Sunday and hosts many large groups and private parties, so call ahead for reservations. Needless to add, vodka can be had.