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Issue of 9/30/2009

Cover Story:

Capital offenses
by Corey Hall
Michael Moore talks up his new film, Reagan's destruction, Jimmy Carter and getting booted out of GM


Another one bites the dust by Detroitblogger John
A landmark gets demolished, and more Detroit history is lost forever

Fulgurites, asparagus and zaniness by Travis R. Wright
Remembering the newspaper art of Nolan Ross

Holocaust by bullets by Sandra Svoboda
A race to record the untold stories of aging survivors

Industrial tools by Walter Wasacz
Krautrock originators mark their Detroit debut with cement mixers and power drills

The cuddly bunch by Brett Callwood
Detroit art rockers Javelins prepare for a Euro jaunt

The jazz age by W. Kim Heron
A roundup of redoubtable recordings

Whip it good by Jeff Meyers
Drew Barrymore talks of her directorial debut shot in Detroit, her family lineage, bonding and old boxing movies


Backwash by Brian Smith (Backwash)
Reintroducing the D.I.s and the Gears

Comics (Comics)

Food Stuff by Metro Times food staff (Food Stuff)
Cheap wine lunches and new chefs in town

Letters to the Editor by Metro Times readers (Letters to the Editor)
Rube Waddell corrections, anger at Jack and laughs over KISS

Crimes and punishments by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Man suspected in 1994 rape goes to jail

Murder and cover-ups by News Hits staff (News Hits)
Kwame link alleged in Greene case

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

Merrily down the drain by Jack Lessenberry (Politics and Prejudices)
Lansing sharpens the cleaver for social programs

Complications ensue by Dan Savage (Savage Love)
Sticky situations and how to face them directly

Fabulous fare by Metro Times food staff (Short Order)
A selection of restaurants in Ferndale, from our database



Places - Light in August Reviewed by Scott Bragg (Record)

Detroit Life - John Sinclair Reviewed by W. Kim Heron (Record)


Bright Star Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
John Keats was arguably the greatest poet of the 19th century romantic movement, but he wasn’t exactly lucky in love. A swooning and romantic period weeper where nary a bodice is ripped, Bright Star gushes with submerged passions and longing. Ben Whishaw plays Keats, a wispy deep thinker with bedroom eyes and poetry in his soul, and Abbie Cornish is Fanny Brawne, the young lady who inspired all that artistry. Their love notes form the backbone of Jane Campion’s intellectual exercise, which shines brightest when it gets beyond its historical grandeur and down to true, messy intimacy.

Surrogates Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
Old Willis is Tom Greer, a cynical FBI agent in an alternate modern world where much of the population are homebound shut-ins plugged into perfect robotic duplicates who wander around doing their dirty work. Alongside his fashion-model-prim partner robo (Radha Mitchell), Willis investigates a twisty conspiracy involving a flashlight-like weapon capable of shorting out the droids and killing their users with feedback. This high-concept setup offers plenty of room to consider such heady cultural themes as identity issues, race and gender confusion and youth obsession, at least before director Jonathan Mostow gets bogged down in procedural murk and noisy explosions.

The September Issue Reviewed by Corey Hall (Movie)
The September Issue is about hideous people obsessed with glamour, and the occasionally ugly business of keeping the world awash in beauty. As the preeminent guardian of the fashion industry’s bible Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour quite literally controls the fate of thousands of careers and millions of dollars with a withering glance, and she bears the tortured visage of a soul so committed to snooty disapproval. Her Cruella Deville furs and couture coats are her battle armor, with comically severe bangs atop her head drawing a harsh, symmetrical line over the perpetual scowl she flashes at designers and subordinates. Under her stewardship, Vogue has placed an ever greater focus on celebrity, and much high drama here revolves around a photo shoot of actress Sienna Miller for the cover of the pivotal fall issue.

The Burning Plain Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Depressed but promiscuous restaurant manager Sylvia (Charlize Theron) mopes in blue-hued Oregon, self-injuring and banging her way through the week. Cut to the brilliant New Mexico plains, where philandering Gina (Kim Basinger) and Nick (Joaquim de Almeida) hook up for sex in a trailer halfway between their two homes. They perish in a horrific fire, which leads their teenage children, Mariana (Jennifer Lawrence) and Santiago (J.D. Pardo), to find love … then, inevitably, even more tragedy. Meanwhile a Mexican crop duster (José María Yazpik) and single dad who dotes on his young daughter, heads to the states after his brother is injured in a plane crash, and begins to stalk Sylvia. How do these stories all fit together? Arriaga fragments and disjoints the narrative so completely, he hopes you won’t figure it out until the final reel. More overwrought than overwhelming, The Burning Plain is heavy on symbolism (fire, rain, dead birds — oh, my!) and theatrics but light on ideas or meaningful emotions. Arriaga practically parodies himself as his film drowns in joyless themes of guilt and redemption. More amazingly, he convinces both Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger to get naked, and still the film is a rudderless downer.

Tony Manero Reviewed by Jeff Meyers (Movie)
Raúl (a riveting Alfredo Castro) is a pallid, brooding, 52-year-old slacker; living in a squalid Santiago cantina, waiting for his opportunity to compete on an American Idol-type TV show. Each week the local program selects a top celebrity impersonator and Raúl is determined to become Chile’s own Tony Manero (John Travolta’s character in Saturday Night Fever). So twisted are his expectations of fame that Raúl impulsively and brutally murders anyone he perceives as thwarting his mission. Meanwhile, Augusto Pinochet’s police squads have got the country locked down, hunting for anyone who opposes the regime.


Maria's Comida Reviewed by Jane Slaughter (Restaurant)
Food doesn’t have to be authentic to be tasty, but some may find Maria's not quite authentic enough for their pedigreed palates. Just in case, you may want to ask the kitchen to hold the cheese, which does tend to overwhelm many of the dishes. Better than most choices are the jalapeños stuffed with lime cream cheese, the verde sauce for enchiladas, and the house-made desserts. If you like the kind of tamales where the masa is dry, which is more common around here, Maria’s serves the best I’ve found of that genre; they come from Mexicantown Bakery. For made-to-order fried ice cream, an American-born dish, the chef coats ice cream with Frosted Flakes, to good effect.