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Best Of

Community values

SEE ALSO
More from Metro Times staff

Metro Retro (10/6/2010)
Looking back on 30 years of MT coverage

Metro Retro (9/29/2010)
Looking back on 30 years of Metro Times

Metro Retro (9/22/2010)
Looking back on 30 years of Metro Times

 

Published 9/29/2004

Best place to see the beauty of pre-Detroit Detroit
Elmwood Cemetery
1200 Elmwood, Detroit
313-567-3453

What did Detroit’s hilly landscape look like when Cadillac arrived in 1701? The closest glimpse remaining of pre-colonial Detroit is Elmwood Cemetery, where burial plots and roads have largely observed the original topography (such as the cemetery pond, where Chief Pontiac and the redcoats got it on in 1763 for the Battle of Bloody Run). Those burial plots, of course, are also a major reason for visiting the cemetery even if you have no relatives in residence. Canfields, Joys, Lodges, Woodbridges, Buhls and other names out of city history dot the landscape. Some 29 former mayors are there — beyond applause and recall petitions — including Coleman A. Young.

Best place in the city to get away
Behind the Lighthouse at Belle Isle
Detroit

In the Motor City, it’s just about impossible to get away from the relentless heartbeat of the internal combustion engine. Belle Isle, as readers have told us year after year in Best of Detroit polls, is as good as it gets when it comes to getting away. (Not that the roadways of the island itself aren’t gridlocked on some summer weekends.) But after many hours surveying the island, we’re sure we’ve found the best get-away spot on the get-away island park, the spot of secret solace for those in search of tranquility. A path behind the abandoned hot dog stand on the island’s eastern end winds out past the lighthouse. There, by a spit of wooded land, you can sit on chunks of broken concrete and pretend you’re somewhere far away.

Best place to see that politics ain’t pretty
Detroit City Council
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
Detroit

Former Detroit City Council member Clyde Cleveland used to greet visitors to council chambers by citing the late German leader Otto von Bismark: To enjoy laws or sausages, don’t watch them being made. The attribution to Bismark may be apocryphal, but the council regularly lives up to the aphorism. On more than one occasion, Council members Kay Everett and Sharon McPhail have threatened to pummel each other. Council members Sheila Cockrel regularly opposes everything Council President Maryann Mahaffey proposes. And JoAnn Watson apparently has no regard for the separation of church and state as she regularly hails, “Amen!” Sessions begin weekdays at 10 a.m. on the 11th Floor of the municipal center. Who knows, you may drop by to hear members challenging one another to duke it out, accusations the mayor is trying to electrocute them — or maybe even a serious discussion of issues.

Best political slogan to adopt
“Do you know who the fuck I am?”

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s chief of staff and longtime chum Christine Beatty allegedly greeted two Detroit police officers with this warm query when they pulled her over for speeding earlier this year. Considering the enormous amount of publicity the question brought Beatty and her boss, it would be wise for the mayor to adopt it as his own political slogan. It’s succinct, unforgettable and sure to make headlines. As they say, there is no such thing as bad press.

Best morning spot to spot Detroit’s movers and shakers
Atlas Global Bistro
3111 Woodward Ave., Detroit
313-831-2241

The Bistro not only serves a fabulous breakfast for a steal, but provides a quiet, elegant space for muck-a-mucks to powwow. Detroit Medical Center CEO Michael Duggan (formerly Wayne County prosecutor) was seen with a couple cohorts this past summer. The sharply dressed Detroit Police Commissioner Arthur Blackwell II had a corner table a month or so ago. Around that same time, midtown developer Bob Slattery ate with a hip-looking woman. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appeared relaxed in a T-shirt and baseball cap on a Saturday morning this past spring. If you want to rub elbows with big city cheeses, get here early.

Best place for good deeds and doughnuts
Dutch Girl Donuts
19000 Woodward Ave., Detroit

Was former Dem Party mover-and-shaker Melvin Butch Hollowell helping a woman in distress (his version)? Or was he engaged in a cash-and-carry dalliance with a hooker (version of said hooker as relayed by Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies who pulled them over)? We don’t know. But we feel obliged to note that Dutch Girl Donuts, where the couple-in-the-news apparently hooked up, is toughing it out on a stretch of Woodward Avenue just below Seven Mile Road that needs good deeds indeed. We especially recommend the old-fashioned glazed doughnuts — and the experience peering through bulletproof glass in the morning’s wee hours to watch the delectables being made.

Best 50¢ amusement ride/urban tragedy
The People Mover
Downtown Detroit

Once upon a time, in the age of Coleman Young, it was prophesied that southeast Michigan would have mass transit, a light-rail system from Pontiac to downtown Detroit. And on arrival at the city on the river, riders would traverse the downtown on a little loop of rail. But it did not come to pass, and, lo, that promise would be dashed — and only the tiny loop would be built as a taunting reminder of what might have been. And parents would discover it as a convenient entertainment for small children, who are quite content to go round and round in circles — by ruins and mighty buildings, through a tunnel and along the river — without being saddened by the promise failed.

Best way to revitalize Southeast Michigan
Light rail

Not that the mass transit story needs to end with the People Mover. There are still good arguments for building light-rail lines running out from Detroit to Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb counties. It would take great political will, but it would cut the time we spend sitting in traffic jams, reduce air pollution and produce huge savings by curtailing highway construction and expansion. It is way past time for Detroit to join the rest of America’s major metropolitan areas and produce a public transportation system that is suitable for the 21st century.

Best custom to eliminate
Cruises

We know that we’ll be pilloried for suggesting this — car culture is southeast Michigan’s lifeblood, after all — but it needs to be said nonetheless: Stop the damn cruises. It may have escaped your attention, but American soldiers are dying daily as they fight to keep (relatively) cheap oil flowing from the Middle East, and what do we do? And is anyone paying attention to the glacial meltdown being caused by global warming? Instead of conserving — remember World War II and rationing? — we guzzle away, burning up countless gallons, preening in our muscle cars, those big V-8s chugging down gas faster than you can say energy crisis.

Best reason to swell with pride
Pistons

Coach Larry Brown and crew won it all, making it look easy as they crushed Los Angeles to take the NBA championship and revive Detroit’s b-ball glory days. The Lakers — stuffed with future Hall of Famers — were no match for a team that, well, played as a team and not a collection of all-stars. Now, let’s do it again.

Best way to spend a leisurely Saturday outdoors in early fall
Franklin Cider Mill
7450 Franklin Road, Franklin
248-626-2968

A national historic site built in 1832, Franklin Cider Mill is a fall tradition to many Detroiters. Weekends, in particular, draw everything from college-football-jersey-wearing types to dog-walkers to scenesters out for a stroll to the dentures crowd. Fresh apple cider — warm or cold — is the main attraction, but the mill also offers tasty baked cinnamon donuts, beef snack sausage, caramel apples and jarred, homemade spreads. Plus, the old apple press gives regular demonstrations of how cider is made. Open late August through November.

Best place for a bookworm to enjoy spring
The Burton Collection
Main Branch — Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit

With the trees on the grounds of the library coming into blossom, you can sit in heated comfort before the tall windows of the Burton Collection’s reading room. While reading your book of choice, you can take breaks from the lines of text to rest your eyes outside on an inviting greensward within the city. Watch the trees fluttering with their first green, their limbs reaching out with unfolding petals against a backdrop of soft, cloudy skies — and thank God that you’re a nerd.

Best outdoor gathering for Christmas carols and hot chocolate
Noel Night at the Detroit Cultural Center
Approximately 6 to 10 p.m., traditionally held on the first Saturday in December

Detroit’s last regularly scheduled outdoor festival of every year, “Noel Night” began in 1975 and became one of the city’s most treasured holiday traditions. A sort of pre-Christmas celebration organized by the University Cultural Center Association, the event also incorporates elements of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah for all ages and ethnicities to learn about and appreciate. The Detroit Library’s Main Branch, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and many other surrounding cultural institutions, churches and businesses keep their doors open after hours, as participants wander between storytelling, music, dance, food and gift vendors. The highlight is a sing-along of Christmas favorites, led by the Salvation Army on Woodward Avenue near Warren Avenue.

Best artistic representation of Motown’s productive id
“Detroit Industry” by Diego Rivera
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
313-833-7900

Arguably the single most important artwork in or about Detroit, Rivera’s epic mural cycle, installed in what was once the Garden Court of the Detroit Institute of Arts, depicts Henry Ford’s moving assembly line as a colossal machine for harvesting surplus value from mass labor power. Executed between 1932 and 1933 at the height of the Great Depression, the murals speak directly to the city’s collective unconscious, encapsulating the social, political and economic conditions of the age of mechanical reproduction in which Detroit figures prominently. The definitive take on Rivera’s masterpiece has yet to be written, but Terry Smith’s reading in Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (University of Chicago) is a damn good start.

Best public artwork the public can actually use
“Hip and Spine (Stone Chair Setting)” by Richard Nonas
Kirby Street (between Woodward Avenue and John R), Detroit

This 1997 work by the noted New York sculptor is an arrangement of massive rough-hewn granite blocks, formed into a seating and table area that evokes the primal circles of tribal gatherings. Installed outside the Kirby entrance of the Detroit Institute of Arts, “Hip and Spine” makes the idea of human community a reality, rendering viewers simultaneously as audience and functional users. The piece really comes alive during events like the Detroit Festival of the Arts. That’s when you’ll see people meeting, eating and greeting against a backdrop of musical performances on the stage nearby.

Best public-art reminder of a public that’s no longer there
“Victory and Progress” by John Massey Rhind
Old Wayne County Building, 600 Randolph (Cadillac Square, corner of Congress), Detroit

Perched atop the Beaux-Arts-style Wayne County Building on Randolph St. at Cadillac Square, these two bronze statue groups feature youthful male figures leading horse-drawn chariots, which in turn carry female allegorical figures dressed in flowing robes. They are among the oldest public sculptures on view in Detroit and they exhibit the sumptuous jade patina of more than a century’s passing. Created between 1898 and 1902, the sculptures represent a time of visionary expansion in Detroit, when the city was emerging as ground zero for the utopia of modern industrial production. Rhind, a Paris-educated, New York-based sculptor, was a leading figure in public art during the Progressive Era; his “Victory and Progress” embodies the period’s civic ideals which these days have been largely forgotten.

Best contemporary curator of Detroit art
Dick Goody
Meadow Brook Art Gallery
Oakland University, 208 Wilson Hall, Rochester
248-370-3005
www.oakland.edu/mbag

Very quietly over the past few years Dick Goody has worked diligently to document some of the best art and artists that Detroit has to offer with a series of outstanding exhibitions and accompanying catalogs. The catalogs are especially important. Profusely illustrated and featuring critical essays and artist interviews, they constitute an archive that will be invaluable for collectors and historians in times to come. Goody, a British-expat painter and director of Meadow Brook Gallery on the campus of Oakland University, was the prime mover in 2003’s “Detroit Now” exhibit of talented city artists; he’s also offered insightful surveys of artists like Ted Lee Hadfield, Wendy MacGaw, Stephen Magsig and Peter Williams. Last year’s show and catalog of work by sculptor Sharon Que was exemplary. The current exhibition of paintings by Deborah Sukenic keeps the winning streak going. Cheers to this “outsider” coming in, boning up fast and doing the dirty work that has long been needed in this town.

Best place to synergize your tastes for art and food
Cass Cafe
4620 Cass Ave., Detroit
313-831-1400

Real bohemians hang out downtown. Some artists go to Cass Cafe to break bread and others to make a little by working the joint. The food is good enough and reasonably priced, but the real reason to come is to catch up on the local art scene. As opposed to Starbuck’s, Cass Cafe serves alcohol, and there’s always someone around to argue aesthetics with. Or, you could simply kick back and check out the latest work on the walls, often done by well-known names from the Detroit art world.

Best place to hear jazz by the river for free
Mt. Elliott Park
Foot of Mt. Elliott, south of Jefferson, Detroit

Located exactly where Mt. Elliott would fall into the river if it stretched that far, Mt. Elliott Park is a relatively new park (not much more than three years old) that offers one of the coolest venues to hear live blues and jazz outdoors throughout the summer months every Thursday evening. Sponsored by the City of Detroit’s Parks and Recreation Department, these free shows have drawn a loyal, and regular, following of music lovers who faithfully bring along their lawn chairs, blankets, coolers, and appreciative cheers. The sound system leaves something to be desired, but with the river serving as a beautiful backdrop, this is still a great time and makes for a nice after-work hang. And with the future of the Ford Detroit Jazz Festival in doubt — at least as it’s been known on Hart Plaza — this may be the best opportunity for free swinging on the riverside come 2005.

Best place to hear live music by the Detroit River
Chene Park auditorium
2600 E. Atwater, Detroit

From the Concert of Colors to the UniverSoul Circus, Detroit’s Chene Park is home to Detroit’s biggest annual entertainment events. There’s just nothing like watching a concert on the steps of the outdoor theater — the backdrop to the stage is the beautiful Detroit River, and visitors sit along the river under trees. Performers ranging from adult contemporary vocalist Will Downing to R&B heartthrob D’Angelo have drawn boaters who sail out behind the outdoor stage, hoping to catch a tune floating up toward the night sky. Those unable to get tickets for chair or lawn seating will even camp out in their vehicles on the street or in nearby parking lots. And recent upgrades to the sound system have made a marked difference.

Best one-stop date for dinner and a movie
Uptown Palladium theater’s Premiere Entertainment Auditorium
250 N. Old Woodward, Birmingham
248-723-6240

While known for its extravagant facade, spacious multi-level screening rooms and plush theater seats, the Uptown Palladium 12 has a weekly highlight for the most dedicated meal-and-movie fan. The Premiere Entertainment Auditorium hosts patrons who seek a little more than candy and hot dogs. The special dinner package includes a gourmet buffet meal (with a menu that changes weekly), coat check, designated seating and unlimited servings of popcorn and soda, along with the special featured film. The Premiere Entertainment Auditorium experience makes for a convenient, comfortable afternoon or night out.

Best same-day marriages
“I Do” Weddings
Bloomfield Hills
800-964-0303 • tobewed@hotmail.com

Can’t wait to get hitched? The Rev. Wayne Anderoos, a nondemoninational minister, says if you call him in the morning, he’ll meet you in the afternoon — pick a place: a beach, a park, your mom’s backyard — and perform a civil or religious wedding ceremony for you and your betrothed. This officiating service, based in Bloomfield Hills, promises to help you to say “I Do” in any Detroit-area location.

Best time for self-indulgence
National Masturbation Month
May

Just as charity begins at home, surely indulgence begins with the self. We suspect the 10th anniversary of this event will finally put it on the map, making slogans like “Come for a cause” as popular as they deserve to be. The whole thing started at the San Francisco company Good Vibrations (you can guess what they sell), where folks were taken aback by the sacking of former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders for saying that masturbation should be discussed as part of young people’s sex education. “It’s safe, it’s healthy, it’s free, it’s pleasurable and it helps people get to know their bodies and their sexual responses,” as the GV folks put it on their Web site. Doesn’t metro Detroit need a Masturbate-a-thon, or maybe a parade with Elders waving from an appropriate float?

Best gay youth outreach program
The Ruth Ellis Center Drop-In Center
16501 Woodward Ave., Highland Park
313-867-6936

By one estimate, there are about 5,000 homeless LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered and Questioning) youth roaming the harsh streets of Detroit, and this is their haven. Headed by Executive Director Grace McClelland, the center feeds, clothes, educates, nurtures and provides shelter for kids who have been discarded by their families and mainstream social service agencies. This nonprofit runs both a drop-off center, where kids can come in to get off the streets — if just for a few hours — and a residential program that gears youth to become independent, productive members of society.

Best entertainment train
Michigan Star Clipper Dinner Train
840 N. Pontiac Trail, Walled Lake
248-960-9440

Got a party, luncheon or just a get-together of some old friends coming up? Try the Clipper. The 3-hour journey offers some mighty fine grubbing, fine wines and some great entertainment, which includes hilarious murder mysteries, comedy weddings, smooth jazz stylings and music revues from the 1950s and 1960s. This creative concept offers an elegant atmosphere. The Clipper operates on the Coe railroad, located on Pontiac Trail, and reservations are a must.

Best hood getaway
Le Cafethé House of Gifts and Restaurant/Les Soeurs Maison Inc. Bed & Breakfast
Le Cafethé House of Gifts and Restaurant
2445 and 2449 W. Grand Blvd.
313-897-7813 and 313-895-7814

Heaven’s in the hood now. Lorna Page created it, along with her mother Allene, and sisters Lenice Okey and Bonita Brown. The group purchased two neighboring Victorian homes near Northwestern High School three years ago, converted them, and gave each a very long name, Les Soeurs Maison Inc. Bed & Breakfast, and the quaint Le Cafethe’ House of Gifts and Restaurant. But “heaven” works for us. The five-room bed & breakfast is a great place for Detroiters seeking an overnight respite from the workforce, or the family. You get a room without a telephone, your own robe and slippers, a Jacuzzi in your room, and a home-cooked meal delivered to your room, or served community-style in the dining quarters. For a full menu, walk next door and enjoy a selection of salads, entrées and appetizers. Good food, good service, good sleep.

Best garden with a view
Grosse Pointe War Memorial
32 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe

If you have a green thumb or appreciate those who do, take a stroll through the War Memorial gardens, with their sweeping view of Lake St. Clair. The flower pots and patches of soil, packed with coralbells, purple fennel, rosebushes, cosmos, pansies, impatiens, and other assorted blooms, are set off by the rippling blue water. A morning visit will calm and sustain you for the day.

Best retro hangout on the east side
1417 The Village
1417 Van Dyke
313-579-1009

What feels like a sugar shack, smells like fresh coffee and dresses customers with more flava than licorice? Answer: 1417 The Village. We’re not exactly sure what kind of place it is, but it feels good just being there. A converted house nestled in Detroit’s West Village (an East Side neighborhood), many patrons stop by to visit, and happen to shop while there. Owners Kizzi Martin, Nuah Stanley and Najiyyah Sharpe provide coffee and smoothies free of charge while folks relax, listen to music and make conversation. Meanwhile, Martin operates Kizzi’s Kloset, a vintage clothing store, in a back bedroom-turned-boutique. Occasional entertainment is provided on the back patio, but good vibes are served up consistently.

Best place to recite your poetry for the first time
Camillian Café
300 Monroe St., Detroit
313-964-4185

You wanna “spit” your most cherished written work, but you’re afraid of rejection. Bring it to the Camillian Café, where everybody welcomes you with a smile, a handshake and an invitation to share. Cassie Poe hosts the intimate gathering of bards and bardwatchers at this small, intimate space on the edge of Greektown every Thursday. There are great sandwiches and tea assortments to enjoy, and some of the city’s most exciting spoken word artists consider the place their creative home.

Best place to hear poets at the top of their game
The Unopen Mic
25849 Lahser Road, Southfield
248-945-9464

The poets who come through the Unopen Mic are so polished they can only be invited. Started in 2003 by Ben Jones and Metro Times freelancer Kahn Davison, it’s one of the few poetry venues that goes so far as to fly poets in from out of town, put them up and pay them. This effort should be applauded by anyone remotely familiar with how broke poets can be. Faces on the stage have included Brooklynite Talaam Acey, Def Poetry alum Michael Ellison and Funk Brother Joe Hunter. Upstarts like Versiz, who also recently released his first rap album, Organic Weapon, have also brought their fiery prose to the stage.

Best place to have your poetry publicly critiqued
Broadside Poets Theater at Le Cafethé
2445 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit
313-897-7813

On the third Sunday of each month, Le Cafethé is the place to be for poets and poet wannabes looking to get the hard line on their work. Hosted by longtime Broadside member Willie Williams, this workshop will slice, dice and chop up what you thought was a masterpiece, and piece it back together according to the official rules of the scribes. You, then, can stick around for the open mic, which follows, or go home and decide whether or not you want to write according to their rules. Or your own. Keep in mind, some of your critics are published by Broadside Press, so they might know what they’re talking about.

Best way to know the rhyme scheme of things
Springfed Arts-Metro Detroit Writers
detroitpoetrynow.org

With M.L. Liebler and Mary Ann Wehler at the helm — director and assistant director respectively — this group takes up where the old Writers Voice office of the Detroit YMCA left off. This is a center of gravity, creative vortex and central clearinghouse for poetic doings in metro Detroit and beyond. Whether you’re looking for classes and workshops or you’re wondering who’s looking for manuscripts or you want to know where the readings are happening — these are the folks to be in touch with.

Best way to relive (and maybe revive) the ’60s
The 40th anniversary of the Detroit Artists Workshop

Various locations
detroitartistsworkshop.org

Think of the the Detroit Artists Workshop as ground zero for the Detroit counterculture, with its shock wave radiating from the Cass Corridor and through the region, and its echoes being heard down the years. Jazz and rock, poetry and visual arts, politics and lifestyles were all rattled by the collective of artists who signed onto a 1964 manifesto written by (of course) John Sinclair. With concerts, art gallery shows, talks and poetry readings, the survivors of the era will return to the area beginning at the end of October and continuing through November. Poster artists Mark Arminski, Gary Grimshaw and Carl Lundgren will show their works; national poets Ed Sanders and Amiri Baraka will hook up with their Detroit counterparts. The events kick off Saturday, Oct. 30, with the opening of an exhibition of photography (by Leni Sinclair and Emil Bacilla) at Book Beat in Oak Park.

Best place to get in touch with the city’s past
Detroit Historical Museum
5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit
313-833-1805

Ever wonder what it would be like to walk down Woodward 100 years before Comerica Park was built? Or what the heck a cobblestone street looks like? The Detroit Historical Museum answers these questions and many more. Offering free guided tours on weekends and many permanent exhibits for public viewing during all hours of operation, at least one visit to the museum should be a mandatory requirement for Detroit residents. Exhibits include 19th century store and auto assembly line replicas. There’s also a pilot house from a Great Lakes freighter and a 1700s fur trading post. Photographs help tell the city’s story. The book and souvenir shop lets visitors take home memories of yesteryear. Open Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Best piece of the city’s past to tear down
The Eight Mile and Woodward Underpass/Bridge
Detroit-Ferndale

Impatient, horn-pounding motorists will shriek that we need this monstrosity to facilitate nonstop traffic, but is ensuring that motorists never stop for a red light worth the price of obstructing pedestrian and bicycle traffic at what could be a vital intersection? This obstacle may save time for a leadfoot in a pickup, but makes a walk from pedestrian-friendly Ferndale to the State Fairgrounds dangerous and dispiriting. It emphasizes the divide of city and suburbs, the triumph of concrete over citizens. Long a shelter for purse-twirling hookers and the homeless, it’s time this decaying abomination were leveled. Of course, the Michigan Department of Transportation is moving ahead to spend millions to upgrade the overpass rather than toppling it. We’re still rooting for common sense and the project’s opponents.

Best place to see Bauhaus housing
Lafayette Park
Detroit

Lafayette Park, initially built between 1955 and 1963, has the world’s largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architectural giant and the last director of the famed German design school before the Nazis shut it down in 1933. The 26 Mies van der Rohes include the Pavillion and Lafayette Towers apartments and the park’s townhouses. After a fight by residents and preservationists, plans underway to refurbish the mall shopping center and add new townhouses have to comply with a historic district review and preserve the district’s character.

Best place for aquatic adventure without getting wet
Belle Isle Aquarium
Belle Isle Park, Detroit
313-852-4141

Built in 1904, the aquarium on Belle Isle is the oldest public aquarium in North America, featuring 1,500 individual animals and 146 species. Many of the water dwellers are endangered, threatened or extinct in the wild. Some, however, are more common local fish, including trout, bass, pike, perch and walleye. There are also freshwater stingrays, Bambu Sharks and any number of goldfish. The electric eel is a crowd favorite. The place is a little dingy and hardly the innovative show-and-tell palace that wowed the nation a century ago. In fact, the city has slated it for closing because of low attendance. So go before the aquarium itself is extinct. It’s oh-so-Detroit. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Best alternative to corporate health clubs
Punk Fitness
punkfitnessdetroit.com

Sick of gym memberships that break your bank? Tired of the tanned and shallow masses that populate them? Fed up with that awful Top 40 shit they play? Then Punk Fitness is your salvation! Instructor Julie Hecker is a certified full-time aerobics instructor and an old-school Detroit punk rock gal. Her Punk Fitness class melds cardio and resistance training with the likes of the Sex Pistols, AC/DC, the Clash, and Iggy. Plus, it’s interactive: Hecker creates the set list from her Ipod, so show up early and pick the songs yourself. Hecker is also a devoted fan and supporter of local music, and you’ll find selections from the Hentchmen, Broadzilla, KO and the Knockouts, Nice Device, Haf/life, and the Mydols (who occasionally show up at class!) on her music list. Each hour-and-a-half class is a mere $5, and happens every Tuesday, alternating between the Belmont and Small’s in Hamtramck. Swearing is encouraged! And so is sticking around and having a beer after class! How cool is that?

Best place to confront dentophobia
Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry
Within the Kellogg Building of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry
1011 N. University, Ann Arbor
734-763-0767

Creeped out by the thought of that little drill whirring away at your teeth, and the image of your dentist leaning over you, his protective goggles flecked with tooth chips? Well, be thankful for modern technology. If you want to see the lower-tech alternatives, check out the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry at the University of Michigan. That’s where you can contemplate, for instance, the good ol’ days of the 1800s when tin foil was used for fillings and when dental instruments – by today’s standards — looked like they should have been used for woodworking. Closed Sundays.

Best news for indie film buffs’ butts
New seats for the Detroit Film Theatre
Inside the DIA, 5200 Woodward Ave.
313-833-7900 • dia.org/dft

This expansive, lush auditorium attached to the DIA first opened its doors in 1927, playing host to all manner of lectures, film series, and performances. The Detroit Film Theatre program is now 30 years and counting, making it the oldest f

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