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Issue of 5/19/2010

Cover Story:

Banksy bombs Detroit
by Travis R. Wright
Sorting through rubble to uncover trouble


Demolition derby by Travis R. Wright
Can Detroit Derby Girls put 3,000 asses in Cobo?

Judgment dazed by Hobey Echlin
Guilty Simpson is writing new chapters for the Detroit 'Thug Life' saga

No place like home by Detroitblogger John
This west side folk artist fashions his vision of a dream world

Push and shove by Curt Guyette
Some legislators look to curb corporate dollars in state races


Cheat Code by Bryant Franks (Cheat Code)
Games that make us thankful for opposable thumbs

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Eateries with art, art you can eat, and food films in Eastern Market

Eastern grace by Jeff Broder (Grilled)
With decades of experience, Midtown Shangri-La's Raymond Wong is still ready to work the room

The bad guys by Jim McFarlin (Idiot Boxing)
FOX and funny, drunk cops strike out — and PBS hits a homer

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Our readers sound off on 'Matty' Moroun, Ernie Harwell and Ron Scott

Metro Retro by Metro Times staff (Metro Retro)
Gazing back on 30 years of MT

Operator's manual by Brian Smith (Motor City Five)
Pete Shelley and Buzzcocks are but 16 again

On the move by News Hits staff (News Hits)
As U.S. Social Forum draws near, here are some who are already on the way

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

Kill the illegals by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Crack-brained Michigan bill would inundate us with lawsuits

Gays & dolls by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Being a beard, being offended by 'gay,' and enjoying a Real Doll



The Courage of Others - Midlake Reviewed by Chris Parker (Record)

Live at the Troubadour CD/DVD Combo - Carole King & James Taylor Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)

That's All I Need - Andre Williams Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)


Robin Hood Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
In an attempt to tell the tale before the tale we already know, Robin Hood takes its cue from Braveheart and Elizabeth, tracking Robin Longstride’s morally ambivalent tenure in the crusade of Richard the Lion-Hearted (Danny Huston) and his subsequent return to England. Unwittingly pulled into the backstabbing intrigue of the English throne, Robin and his compadres (Little John, Will Scarlett, et al.) end up players in a plot to overthrow bad King John (Oscar Isaac). Manipulated by the treacherous Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong), England’s northern territories have been incited to rebel against the venal and ineffectual John while the French quietly prepare to invade and conquer the divided kingdom. After a well-staged opening castle siege, Scott spends nearly an hour setting up his convoluted yet simple-minded tale, with Robin assuming the identity of a fallen knight and heading to Nottingham, where he falls for the dead man’s wife, Marion Locksley (Cate Blanchett). Despite all this running time, however, we learn very little of our arrow-slinging hero — except that he’s troubled by the killing of Muslims, believes in income redistribution, and longs for his papa. These are unabashedly liberal-Dem ideas, but the film misses the opportunity to convincingly remind viewers of the endless ways the rich and powerful exploit the hell out of the poor and the weak. I mean, I’m all for exploring and expanding the mythical landscape, but how do you make a Robin Hood movie that has no regard for the beleaguered poor?

The Square Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
In a homey Australian suburb, Ray (David Roberts) runs a struggling construction business while catting around with his across-the-pond neighbor Carla (Claire van der Boom). When Carla stumbles across her criminal hubby’s (Anthony Hayes) stash of cash, she goads Ray into figuring out how they can take the money and run. Enter an arsonist named Billy (Joel Edgerton), who’s hired to burn down the house to cover up the couple’s robbery. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned. Sucked into a black hole of bad luck and bad decisions is a suspicious friend who’s got the hots for Carla, a contractor Ray is accepting kickbacks from, and Billy’s doormat of a girlfriend (along with other hapless victims).

Looking for Eric Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
British Director Ken Loach tells the story of Eric (Steve Evets), a lonely, scruffy, middle-aged Manchester postman, saddled with two rowdy teen boys and a lifetime of defeats and regrets. Many years earlier, he abandoned his pregnant wife, a mistake he chews on every day, made even bitterer since his second wife ditched him, leaving him stuck with his shiftless stepsons. One of those boys has gotten jammed up with an unhinged minor crime boss, and it’s more of a pickle than poor Eric can manage. His life in shambles, one night he smokes a joint and consults a bedroom poster of his idol, Eric Cantona, a dashing center forward whose speed and scoring panache elevated Manchester United to championship excellence in the 1990s. Through the magic of cinema clichés, the footballer appears, as Sam Spade did for Woody Allen in Play it Again, Sam, and doles out confidence-building pep talks with the same poise he used on the pitch. A reinvigorated Eric starts tackling his problems head on, and he patches things up with his lost-love Lily (Stephanie Bishop). To deal with a thug who’s jeopardizing things with Lily, Eric calls in back up from his rancorous crew of fellow United supporters, who manage to pull themselves away from their pints long enough to lend a hand. The finale is memorably chaotic.

House (Hausu) Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Director Nobuhiko Obayashi throws in every insane trick — wipes, dissolves, freeze frames, strobe lights — including rivers of blood that resemble Hawaiian Punch. The result is phantasmagoric nonsense, as if Sam Raimi, Dario Argento, Russ Meyer and Roman Polanski had randomly edited together clips from a soap opera, a slasher flick and a feminine hygiene commercial. There are still unnerving gory moments and dizzying technical tricks that have clearly influenced later day gonzo J-horror stylists such as Takashi Miike. If House may be an aggravating, un-watchable curiosity to some, but somewhere out there lurks a genre-loving kid hungry to have his mind scooped clean out.

Letters to Juliet Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Amanda Seyfried is a blond tabula rasa, a comely vessel to contain the anxieties and aspirations of the target audience, and her Sophie isn’t content with simply having a media job, but dreams of writing and landing the big scoop, Jean Arthur-style, except minus any spark or verve. She also has an unspoken disaffection with her relationship with a passionate, slightly scattered chef, played by the hipster dreamboat Gael García Bernal. His great crime? He’s distracted by the trivial task of opening a gourmet restaurant in midtown Manhattan, and doesn’t have a lot of time to daydream about sconces with his fiancee. Still they take a “pre honeymoon” to quaint Verona, Italy, where she declines to tag along as he hunts for truffles and bids on rare wines, and thus busies herself getting in other people’s business. Anyway, Sophie stumbles on a courtyard where tourists leave letters to Juliet Capulet, expecting advice, as if she were some Shakespearean Ann Landers. She quickly lands her first creative writing assignment, crafting tender replies to the lovelorn alongside a room full of chatty old biddies who call themselves the “secretaries of Juliet.” One of those letters was stuck in a crevice for 50 years, but Sophie still dashes off a reply, leading its elderly British author Claire to rush off to the continent and search for her long-lost summer fling. She’s played with enormous charm by the graceful Vanessa Redgrave, and accompanied by her stuffy twit grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan), who spends a lot of time sticking his stiff upper lip out at Sophie, before surrendering to her giggly charms.


My Sisters and Me Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
Lois Hattaway, long ago an immigrant from Pine Hill, Ala., says that her mama had to work when her nine children were young, so they weren’t allowed to have friends over. They had to learn to play with each other and get along. Fifty years later, six of the siblings — Annie, Bettie, Lois, Martha, Sadie, and brother Ester — run My Sisters and Me on the east side. They attract big Sunday groups looking for “nourishment for the spiritual and physical body,” as the menu explains. The luxury dish is ultra-tender beef short ribs for $11.35, no knife required, swimming in gravy. A half-slab of pork ribs is also tender, but it comes drenched in sauce — no chance to add it to your taste. (There’s a roll of paper towels in each booth in case you’re not a finger-licker.) Southern-fried pork chops are nice and peppery but, like the catfish, they curl up in the pan. My Sisters and Me does a thriving carryout business, but there’s plenty of space to sit down in comfortable booths, with caricatures of the sisters on the wall. It may be the only restaurant in Detroit that’s open later during the week than on weekends: 4 p.m. till 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and noon to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday.