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Issue of 12/10/2008

Cover Story:

Let's be Frank
by Serene Dominic
Detroit-raised David DeCosta goes all the way as your surrogate Chairman of the Board


A jingle bell rock by Bill Holdship
The best Christmas releases of '08 ... or the case to retire 'Run, Rudolph, Run'

Measuring the Rouge by Joel Thurtell
A $1.6 billion cleanup, but what did we get?

One man's junk ... by Glen Mannisto
Following Richard Stankiewicz from the shadow of Dodge Main to serenity

Ring-a-ding-ding! by Bill Holdship
An excellent tribute to Frank, Dino, Sammy and Joey

Rising up by William E. Ketchum III
From child star to local rap player, Nick Speed has flown ahead of the curve


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

Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
Glenn Beck’s an asshole, Suvari shines, and Mizoguchi’s discourses on the female condition rule

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

Lit up by Metro Times arts staff (Lit Up)
Graham Swift's latest twee offering, some geek-world attractions and an undeniable Márai opus

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
Cheers and jeers for slabs of note

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Inside the sun-splashed Midtown studio of painter Tom Thewes

Bench change by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Virgil C. Smith Jr. to replace Wayne County Circuit Court Chief Judge William Giovan

Bridge too far by News Hits staff (News Hits)
More on the Ambassador Bridge's land grab

Paperless newspapers? by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Will Detroit's dailies ditch newsprint editions?

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

Blaming the workers by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
UAW not behind Big Three's woes

Face time by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Savage on harnessing a lover's kink

Short Order by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
Places featuring soul food and Southern-inspired menus



Dig Out Your Soul - Oasis Reviewed by Mike Villano (Record)

Fasciinatiion - The Faint Reviewed by Paul Knoll (Record)


The Punisher: War Zone Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
This film jumps right in with special forces-trained avenger Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson), who's on a one-man takedown of the vicious Rusotti crime family. After painting a warehouse red with splattered mobster guts, Frank gets inventive and tosses cocksure boss Billy “the Beaut” Russotti (Dominic West) into a spinning glass bottle recycler that turns his face into fleshy confetti. Once stitched back together (a la Frankenstein), madman Billy adjusts by slapping on a white snakeskin Nehru jacket and dubbing himself “Jigsaw,” then breaking out his even crazier brother James “Loony Bin Jim” (Doug Hutchinson), for a bit of payback. And both have practiced their embarrassing goombah accents by listening to Andrew Dice Clay albums.

Cadillac Records Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Movie)
Based on the story of Chicago’s legendary Chess Records label, which gave rise to such monumental musical figures as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James, and, despite a host of errors that will irritate the rock and blues historian, it still manages to capture the essence of the story it’s trying to tell. Adrien Brody portrays Leonard Chess, a Polish immigrant junkyard owner who opens Chi-town’s Macomba Lounge in 1949 and begins presenting local blues artists (although, historically speaking, the club was originally a jazz hang; both Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington played its stage early on). At the same time, Muddy Waters (played by a terrific Jeffrey Wright), after being recorded by folk music archivist Alan Lomax (Tony Bentley), leaves his sharecropping life in Mississippi to seek something better in the Windy City. The movie — as narrated by Cedric the Entertainer playing Chess songwriter, bassist and producer Willie Dixon — then tries to tell the entire Chess story in the remaining 90 minutes, which, among other things, probably explains the absence of such pivotal Chess figures as Bo Diddley if not the dramatic license it often takes with facts. But Wright definitely gets Waters, reflecting the man’s nobility and quiet dignity, despite his character flaws, throughout the film. Brody, meanwhile, is merely serviceable as Leonard Chess, although he looks absolutely nothing like the real man.


Toast Birmingham Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
The hype is true: Toast serves great food and wine “with humor in a fun, casual environment.” There’s a lounge called the Blue Room that’s full of candles and sports a stark white deer’s head over the fireplace. The menu is a mix of such firm favorites as burgers and mac & cheese (with Gruyere, of course) and less-common options, such as duck pie and venison sausage. The menu is mostly American, with a few ringers such as carnitas and forbidden rice, originally Chinese. Top of the line are a pair of over-the-top burgers. “The Joint” is Piedmontese beef stuffed with blue cheese and topped with basil aioli, tomato jam and skinny crisp onions. It’s pungent and mellow at the same time. “Burger Madame” comprises smoked Gouda, romesco (a Catalan sauce) and a fried egg, served on toast. Not for the faint of heart, or those watching their hearts, but categorically worth it. And Toast shines in the bakery department. Pastries baked daily are displayed in the lobby and can be taken home. A warm apple Betty was so scrumptious that I broke reviewers’ rules and had it again on my second visit (they’d run out of rum-butter cake with rum pecans and fresh berries). The candied nuts are pecans this time, and the brown-sugared apples are drowning in melting homemade cinnamon ice cream. It’s all served in a bowl-size crockery teacup that makes you think of Alice in Wonderland, or of childhood dessert dreams come true. Open 7-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 8-2 a.m. Saturday, and 8-4 p.m. Sunday.