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22 years ago in Metro Times: Just as Richard Milhous Nixon releases a book and prepares for his subsequent re-entry to the political sphere, Chuck Wilbur delivers a straight-faced satire that sees Richard Nixon covering Prince's 1999 album. Wilbur jokes, "If you liked the book, you'll love the album. Who cares if Nixon doesn't have anything new to say? His real strength is as interpreter. Only a man who has had his finger on the button while experiencing intense paranoia could wring all the irony out of the album's title tune. The record also shows he has finally learned how to get his magic down on tape, overcoming the technical problems that plagued his earlier recordings." What was happening: White Zombie at Bookie's, Otis Day & the Knights at River Rock Café, and Burning Spear at St. Andrew's Hall.
16 years ago in Metro Times: Herb Boyd recounts his trip to Cape Town, South Africa, as millions waited to vote in the election that first made Nelson Mandela president. "Many said they had waited a lifetime to vote; a few hours more was of little consequence." Boyd says although Mandela's election is an all-but-official bright spot, real turmoil will begin after he takes office, as nearly half of South Africans are without a decent job. In today's headlines, South Africa will play host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Cape Town and Johannesburg next month, where five new stadiums have been built for the tournament. What was happening: Johnny Cash at The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts on tour with his album of covers including "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails, who played The State Theater the following day.
10 years ago in Metro Times: Ann Mullen investigates the movement to clean up Belle Isle Park with an annual charge for cars. Area architect Kent Anderson says the park's annual $4.5 million budget is not enough to maintain the island in the current state, let alone make any improvements. In 1999, about 2.7 million cars visited Belle Isle, and the proposed fee of $15 a year (or $3 daily) would have generated $8.1 million. In our 2010 Best of Detroit issue, we asked readers to vote for the Best Way to Improve Belle Isle, and we saw a strong showing for charging an entry fee; the ultimate winner, however, was simpler: "Clean it up." What was happening: Ween at Clutch Cargo's, Dilated Peoples WSG Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek at St. Andrew's Hall, and Danzig at Harpo's.
Special thanks to editorial intern Pietro Truba for his help with this column.