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Issue of 11/11/2009

Cover Story:

The Music Issue
by Metro Times music staff
The New Class: Snapshots from the recession, or what's new and how to win in 2010


Burn, baby, burn! by William E. Ketchum III
Burn Rubber' co-owner Roland 'Ro Spit' Coit sees a rap career revived via cross-marketing

Don't call it a comeback by Brian Smith
Eddie Baranek grows up with the (new) Sights in tow

Ducks in a row by Chris Handyside
Quack! Media's Al McWilliams plans on complete musical success in this new recession economy

Duped by Travis R. Wright
Hamtramck slips Xerox some acid

String theory by Detroitblogger John
A school where violins are windows on a wider world

Tread lightly by Curt Guyette and W. Kim Heron
Juan Cole argues against sending lots of troops to Afghanistan

Wax museum by Eddie Baranek
Eddie Baranek picks the albums that changed his life

When in Rome ... by Bill Holdship
We Came As Romans take a leap of faith to the next level


Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Paul Knoll (Couch Trip)
Harvey Keitel's crooked cop still gets skin crawling

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Vegan holiday cooking, pastrami deals and more

Night moves by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
George Lopez makes his bid for late-night talk supremacy

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Taking on big-box developers in Royal Oak, on Jack on Kevo, and more

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Black Milk's home-away-from-home at Studio 1

Goliath cuts a deal by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Belva Davis' fight against foreclosure may end on happy note

Soak it in by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Documentary about water privatization focuses on Highland Park

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

Education's last chance by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
How to prevent many Michigan school districts from being utterly ruined

Locking him up by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
On wanting to put her domineering husband in a chastity belt

Bowled over by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
This week: A guide to stews, chowders, chilis and gumbos


 No Reviews


The Fourth Kind Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Like a camp counselor telling tall tales to scare kids shitless, writer-director Olatunde Osunsanmi pulls the carnival hokum out right away with actress Milla Jovovich addressing the camera, insisting that we’re seeing re-enactments of actual events mixed with video footage of real documented cases. Supposedly Nome, Alaska, has been plagued with a series of mysterious disappearances for years, and Jovovich plays Abigail Tyler, a therapist who uses hypnosis to get to the bottom of it. Her patients all suffer disturbing visions of what they describe as an “owl” — but more sinister. Soon they begin having dangerous delusions, suicidal impulses and fits of floating and speaking in ancient Sumerian. Horrid.

A Christmas Carol Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
A Christmas Carol in 3-D computer animation? With Jim Carrey, no less? Oh, man, that's gonna KILL on Blu-ray! And thus we have director Robert Zemekis (Polar Express, Beowolf) mustering all the pixels and motion-capture technology he can find to breathe life into a classic tale that, frankly, didn’t need to be retold. The result? Pretty much what you’d expect: a tricked-out CliffsNotes approach that revels in its CGI bells and whistles but forgets to give its story a beating heart. Oops.

The Men Who Stare At Goats Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Apparently emulating the Coen Brothers, Grant Heslov’s effort sports two Oscar-winners (George Clooney and Kevin Spacey) and two nominees (Jeff Bridges and Ewan McGregor) as well as ace cinematographer Roger Elswit (There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton). Despite all that talent, this film is a shapeless and visually unimpressive dud that never delivers on the entertaining premise of its opening 40 minutes. Taken from journalist Jon Ronson’s nonfiction bestseller of the same name, Goats is a droll comedy about a top-secret wing of the U.S. military that initiated bizarre pseudoscience programs where soldiers were trained to become psychic “warrior monks.” Unfortunately, after the first 40 minutes, it's laughless.

The Box Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
A mostly happy young couple receives a package on the porch early one morning; inside is a small black box with a glass dome, which holds a large red button. That afternoon, a creepy older gentleman with severe facial burns (Frank Langella) turns up at their door with a proposition: If they press the button in the next 24 hours two things will happen; they will receive $1,000,000 in cash, and somebody they don’t know will die. In the wake of their choice, weird things start happening. They get followed by zombie-like people, a woman is murdered, and everyone starts getting mysterious nosebleeds. It’s all part of a larger riddle, a tangled nest of ominous connections involving a double-super-secret black ops NSA program, the NASA Viking Mars missions, lightning strikes, mind control and John Paul Sartre. Convoluted and, ultimately, kinda crappy.

Coco Before Chanel Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Tatou stars as Gabrielle Chanel, who was abandoned along with her sister as a child, and forced to scrabble their way through the gutters of turn-of-the-century France. As young ladies they got by warbling in saloons, including a tune called “Coco,” though Gabrielle never really mastered the personal graces of a hospitality girl. Somehow her icy charms manage to melt the heart of a wealthy idler (Benoît Poelvoorde) who takes her into both his bed and the halls of his lush country estate. There she rides horses, suffers through picnics and tea parties, and the rigors of being a kept woman, while quietly beginning to pursue her real passion as a seamstress. She also carries on a desultory romance with a dashing young twit. Chanel was a fashion revolutionary, stripping away the women’s bustles and feathery frippery for sleek, striking black-and-white compositions, a physical liberation that blazed the path for the spiritual liberation yet to come. That would have made for a fascinating movie, but instead we learn that what really matters about the future artist is who she was sleeping with one summer. It’s as if a you went to a biopic and a dime store novel broke out. Boo!

Afghan Star Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Entertaining and eye-opening, Marking showcases four Afghan Star finalists as they exhibit their incredible talents, navigate the rocky waters of newfound expression, and challenge both our and their own nation’s assumptions about cultural identity. Yes, much like American Idol, there are craven displays of hunger for fame and fortune (minus the entitled sense of narcissism), but given the context — this is a poverty-stricken nation that hasn’t voted for anything in more than 30 years — the film offers a fascinating socio-political portrait of a county trying to rebuild itself after decades of violence, intolerance and oppression. And, thankfully, Paula Abdul is nowhere in sight. But beyond who emerges victorious in the “Moment of Truth,” Afghan Star examines the impact of the phenomenon itself, delivering an incisive investigation into the hopes and fears of contemporary Afghanistan, where only one in ten Afghans even owns a TV.


Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery Reviewed by Todd Abrams (Restaurant)
While pub-like in atmosphere, the food is a bit more up-to-date. Expect tofu cracklings, French fries flavored with rosemary and truffle salt, and a butcher’s snack board of cured meats and more. There is no real entrée menu as such. A small list of daily specials are offered, such as broiled walleye and mushroom risotto. The rest of the list consists of salads, sandwiches and pizza. Children are considered with an entire section of their own. And, of course, there is the beer. Diners not yet familiar with Jolly Pumpkin beers might want to ease into the experience with something slightly tamer, like a North Peak Amber Ale. But hardcore fans will likely find the cask ale to be the liquid they want in their glass. Along with a few Michigan wines and spirits, and a list of non-alcoholic cocktails, there’s a drink for everyone. Open 11-2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, noon-midnight Sunday.