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Issue of 5/6/2009

Cover Story:

Tangled up in cable
by Sandra Svoboda
How lawsuits, legislation and injunctions change the way your TV is watched and paid for


Head first? by Travis R. Wright
Portraits by Patrick Pantano are front and center at CAID

Railroad earth by Sandra Svoboda
Detroit author chronicles slavery and the African-American underground

Speed, not sugar by Brett Callwood
If you're sick of your kids fawning over the latest pop sensation, the Candy Band might save your sanity

This year's man by Travis R. Wright
But first he takes Manhattan ...

Weirdo beardos by Chris Handyside
The dudes in Child Bite take facial hair south and north


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

Comics (Comics)

Couch Trip by John Thomason (Couch Trip)
Full circle: Two winning Brit sitcoms want you to think they're like an American adaptation of a British comedy show

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Our readers sound off, call us names

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout by Jeffrey Morgan (Media Blackout)
It's Stevie's world; we just live in it

Motor City Cribs by Doug Coombe (Motor City Cribs and Rides)
Cream of Beats' Harper Woods home-studio

Why Di? by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Reporter Diane Bukowski gets the book thrown at her

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

Dead reckoning by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Leaders needed to make hard decisions

Sons and lovers by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Dating questions about my gay 14-year-old

Breaking some eggs by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
A guide to omelets, quiches, frittatas and all other things egg

El zocalo by Larry Gabriel (Stir It Up)
For Detroit to rise, walkable neighborhoods are key

We'll have a gay old time! by D'Anne and Laura Witkowski (Wonder Twins)
The Wonder Twins get all 'political' on our collective asses ... for good reason



Lucky Girl - Mei-Ling Hopgood Reviewed by Christa Buchanan (Book)

Wild Was Our Mercy - Flatfoot Reviewed by Laura Witkowski (Record)

Funland - Unknown Instructors Reviewed by Mike Villano (Record)

Bromst - Dan Deacon Reviewed by Tim Grierson (Record)

Country Club - John Doe & the Sadies Reviewed by Bill Holdship (Record)


Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Matthew McConaghey plays an aging, self-obsessed but irresistible rogue, one so boyish and playful that ladies can’t keep their paws off him. He’s Connor Mead, a studly celeb photographer who’s so busy bedding one gorgeous actress or model after another that he actually arranges a video conference call to breakup with multiple chicks at once. He takes a brief pause from shameless tomcatting to be best man at his brother’s wedding, where his first love, who keeps getting away, happens to be bridesmaid Jenny (Jennifer Garner). Sooner than you can say Scrooged, various spirits visit our cad — from his first brace-faced ’80s hookup (Emma Stone) to his late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), the creepy playboy role model who coached Connor into a player.

Is Anybody There? Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
As the Amazing Clarence, an elderly magician facing one final disappearing act, Michael Caine's every nod and grumble offering surprises beyond the limits of the predictable story around him. That story tiptoes on the precipice of treacle, as Caine checks into a creaky English country house, converted into a retirement community loaded with stock elderly eccentrics. There’s the old soldier, the guy who keeps repeating the same phrase, the house busybody, and Rosemary Harris (remember Aunt May?) as a spirited hoofer keen to keep dancing despite her failing legs. The house’s most interesting resident is the most problematic, the bright but morbidly obsessed 11-year-old Eddie (Bill Milner), who records the death rattles of patients and scribbling notes in his ghost journal. All his older pals here keep dying, but he still befriends the gruff and blustery Clarence, who’s secretly grateful for any kind of audience. The old wizard has a trunk full of tricks, and memories, especially of the ex-wife he never got to say goodbye to but never stopped loving.

Paris 36 Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Without an ounce of irony or insight, writer-director Christophe Barratier offers up a 1930s-style tale of a failing theater and the trio of misfits who come together to save it. There’s Pigoil (Gérard Jugnot), the head stagehand who loses his accordion-virtuoso son to a philandering wife, Milou (Clovis Cornillac), a womanizing leftist, and Jacky (Kad Merad), a third-rate impressionist who’s duped into rallying fascist thugs. Toss in a talented ingénue (Nora Arnezeder), a scheming gangster (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) and various song-and-dance numbers and you’ve the makings of a postmodern Busby Berkley musical, right? Wrong. There’s no cliché Paris 36 won’t embrace, and this old-fashioned tale of romance, parental love, social strife and (for the Oscar committee) anti-Semitism is as shallow as it is lumbering.

Lymelife Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Rory Culkin is Scott, the simultaneously innocent and brooding Caulfield-esque son of a philandering real estate developer (Alec Baldwin) and his stoic but unhappy wife (Jill Hennessey). While his parents’ marriage slowly disintegrates, Scott seeks the company of Adrianna (the wonderful Emma Roberts), the gorgeous and wise-beyond-her-years neighbor he’s always had a crush on. Little does he know that her mom (Cynthia Nixon) is boning his dad, while Adrianna’s sweaty pop (Timothy Hutton) spends his days hiding in the basement, incapacitated by Lyme disease. Things go the way you might expect: Slow, angry family breakdowns, angst-ridden coming-of-age urges and the inevitable gestures toward emotional reconciliation. While there are lots of moment-to-moment truths here, the parts are much greater than the predictable whole.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
The movie kicks off with an intriguing but ultimately irrelevant opener focusing on Wolverine’s childhood before launching into a terrific credit sequence montage, where indestructible Logan and his psychotically feral half-brother Victor, aka Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), do a headlong tour of duty in the Civil War, WWI, WW2, and Vietnam. Unfortunately, their combat experiences deliver them into the hands of a shadowy military squadron known as Team X, which employs mutants for covert government operations. Inevitably, Logan’s conscience wins and he decides to leave the violence behind to become a lover and lumberjack. As you might have guessed, the big bad past comes calling and Wolverine is forced to fight against his brother and former Team X pals. Director Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Rendition) is out of his league as he struggles to find consistent tone (or style) for his comic-book take on Cain and Abel. Thematically and structurally the movie is a mess, piling on so many preposterous plot points and so much heavy-handed dialogue that it doesn’t matter how convincing the actors are, they should be handed awards simply for keeping a straight face.


Evans Street Station Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
The restaurant’s philosophy is slow and local. If that sounds pretty fashionable these days, note that chef and co-owner Alan Merhar is surrounded by farmers, making it easy to make the most of them for his produce, in season. His relationship with Mike Prochaska of Prochaska Farms, for instance (it’s four miles away), is such that each winter the two pore over seed catalogs and decide what to plant and then serve. The resulting dishes are fancy in the sense that sophisticated measures have been taken, but (mostly) all-American if you look at the ingredients. Not everything’s local, obviously: Scottish salmon, scallops, certified Black Angus steaks. But many of the side dishes will be, come summer. Desserts are made in-house and include a rich cappuccino crème brûlée, pumpkin pound cake, tiramisu, Key lime cheesecake, and blood-orange or lime-ginger sorbets.