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Issue of 12/17/2008

Cover Story:

Tour de Xmas
by Brian Smith
Sometimes it's the season of complications


Band of gypsies by Charles L. Latimer
Hot Club puts its stamp on the tradition of Django Reinhardt

Hang time by Detroitblogger John
Social club gives old pals a place to spend their days

Howling for the holidays by Chris Parker
This year's Howling Diablos' Christmas show will celebrate the band's past and present

Virtual courts by Sandra Svoboda
Making the case for high-tech changes

Will Weighs in by Cole Haddon
Personal triumph, Middle East peace and tears for Obama


Now what? by Jack Lessenberry
The state of the last-minute auto loan

Talkin' Trash by Michael Hurtt
The Trash Brats — the guys that loved to be hated — are back!

Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by Metro Times film writers (Couch Trip)
A trio of worthy disasters including foxy-era Kristy McNichols, Costner's world and a Tarantino send-up

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

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Fizz-out by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
A Morgan shortlist of fo-shizz fizzlers

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Supergrouper Marty Morris' interior decorating chops

Don't (land) bank on it by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Property transfers stall in Wayne County

No news is bad news by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Why reporting cutbacks affect us all

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

On the Download by Chris Handyside (On the Download)
'Tis the season for free jams!

High anxiety by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
My girl thinks life's a gas; I think it stinks

On the run by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
Field of contenders for mayoralty line up for a first look



Places on the Side - Bear Lake Reviewed by Brett Callwood (Record)

Death Set the Beginning of my Journey - Dodsferd Reviewed by Kent Alexander (Record)

Chinese Democracy - Guns N' Roses Reviewed by Brett Callwood (Record)

Fordlandia - Jóhann Jóhannsson Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)


The Day the Earth Stood Still Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
It’s not Keanu’s fault. Really. As far as emotionless aliens go, he’s fine. Sure, actors such as Jeff Bridges (Starman) and David Bowie (The Man Who Fell to Earth) did something interesting with their extraterrestrial roles while Keanu … well, let’s say his performance here is a good exercise in minimalism. Still, you’ve got to envy the guy for cashing in on what was probably the easiest paycheck of his acting career. For an effects-laden blockbuster that’s supposed to save us from the onslaught of high-minded Oscar-ready releases, The Day the Earth Stood Still is a remarkably lethargic and intensely boneheaded remake of a sci-fi classic.

Nothing Like the Holidays Reviewed by Serena Donadoni (Movie)
For members of the Rodriguez family, no matter what they do beyond the walls of their home in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, their most important function is in relation to each other. It doesn’t matter that the children of Eduardo (Alfred Molina) and Anna (Elizabeth Peña) are grown and gone. As soon as they walk through that front door, they fall right back into their old roles. Mauricio Rodriguez (John Leguizamo) may be a successful Manhattan lawyer on a partnership track, and his wife Sarah (Debra Messing) may be managing a Wall Street hedge fund, but this power couple fears his traditional Puerto Rican mother Anna, who openly advocates for grandchildren, and doesn’t hide her disdain for the Jewish daughter-in-law who tries, in her own brittle way, to fit in.

Frost/Nixon Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Richard Milhous Nixon was no ordinary politician; the notoriously secretive exec openly hated the press, yet in the aftermath of Watergate he was eager to get back in the spotlight and in need of a splashy way to do it. The opportunity for a political rehab came from the unlikeliest source in David Frost, a guy desperate for a bit of respectability. The film succeeds on good source material, adapted from Peter Morgan’s hit 2006 play, and features the original stage stars. Frank Langella nimbly nails Nixon in all his awkward, jowly, glowering menace, a man convinced of his great superiority, but completely uncomfortable in his own skin. Michael Sheen has the tough task of adding gravity to a seeming flyweight, but he’s brilliant, conveying a fierce intelligence in the eyes behind Frost’s cheesy showbiz twinkle.


Mon Jin Lau Reviewed by Mel Small (Restaurant)
Mon Jin Lau seats 175 (not counting the spacious warm-weather patio) in several large and lively rooms. It's is one of the most extravagantly decorated of all the Chinese restaurants on this side of the river, with striking modern art on the walls, stone columns, art-deco chandeliers and palm trees all set against vibrant colors. Once a Chinese restaurant, Mon Jin Lau has features noveau Asian fare, including Korean, Thai and Japanese specialties. The menu is long, ranging from mundane golden oldies like egg foo young to the elaborately prepared roasted Chilean sea bass with lemongrass, red peppers, and Thai curry sauce, including more than 20 appetizers averaging around $8. Problems begin when you have to decide among the roughly seventy-five mains, which average around $16. It pays to go to Mon Jin Lau with a crowd to maximize sampling opportunities. If you stick to the section that lists 15 wines by the glass or bottle, you can score a decent Albarino for $35 or even a musky Chilean gewürztraminer for $31. Though Mon Jin Lau is not especially sedate, for some the boisterous atmosphere provides as much entertainment as the versatile kitchen.