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| July 18-24, 2018
Vol. 38 | Issue 41 | July 18-24, 2018
News & Views Stir It Up................................. 6 News..................................... 10
Feature Jeff Gutt on joining Stone Temple Pilots....................... 18
Food Review: Culantro................. 20
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| July 18-24, 2018
NEWS & VIEWS Stir It Up
Dueling banjos By Larry Gabriel
I came home and heard what
sounded like banjo picking coming from my backyard. So I walked up the driveway and there was Mulenga Harangua, standing in the garden and plucking away at the instrument. “Hey Mulenga, I’m going to call the police and report a black man playing the banjo in my yard,” I said. “Just like that woman called the police on a brother who sat in his car listening to a yoga CD while waiting for his class.” Mulenga stopped and gave me a big grin. “They won’t come for that,” he said. “A black man with a banjo is nonthreatening. When is the last time you heard of a brother getting shot by the police because they mistook his banjo for a gun?” I held my hands up and shrugged. He had a point. Mulenga smiled an even bigger smile and strummed a chord — the tomato leaves seemed to vibrate with the sound. “First of all, it fucks with people’s heads because they just don’t expect to see a black man with a banjo,” he said. “Once they get their heads around that, suddenly they’re pacified by visions of cotton fields and mammies, and they start moving in slow motion. That’s the moment to take advantage of before things go crazy. Make your getaway.”
“So are you going to play some bluegrass music?” I asked. “Oh, I dibble and dabble,” Mulenga said, playing a few Western swing chords. “Nothing wrong with bluegrass. Bill Monroe, the biggest name in bluegrass, was influenced by a black bluesman. But what most folks don’t know is that the banjo was derived from instruments made by enslaved West Africans.” “Hmm, so it’s kind of ironic that these bluegrass and country musicians, whose audiences are extremely white, are playing with something from Africa,” I said. Mulenga nodded and picked a few more notes, stopped, and pointed. “You’ve got a groundhog over there.” I looked up and there it was, just about to chomp on a cucumber leaf. Apparently the creature didn’t care for the leaf, stopped eating, and waddled over to the fence to climb into the next yard. Mulenga continued. “It’s also pretty ironic that the banjo is the magical thing that makes me nonthreatening to white people, when it’s about the most African thing out of all the things I could be carrying,” he said. “It’s like having a voodoo root or something.” “Well, I guess that brother in Memphis should have been wearing some magic African socks when that property manager
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on sale friday:
coming soon concert calendar: 7/19 – femi kuti & the positive force w/ jive colossus
7/20 – armored saint @ the shelter w/ act of defiance
7/21 – ferg
limited tickets available
sept. 21 the struts
st. andrew’s w/ white reaper, spirit animal
sept. 27 after the burial st. andrew’s w/ the acacia strain
7/24 – l7 7/26 – attila w/ suicide silence, volumes, rings of saturn, spite, cross your fingers
7/28 – us the duo @ the shelter w/ justin nozuka
7/29 – ben harper & charlie musselwhite limited tickets available
8/2 – cky w/ slaves, awaken i am, royal thunder 8/5 – yelawolf w/ waylon & willie, struggle jennings, jelly roll second show added!
oct. 20 minus the bear
st. andrew’s the farewell tour w/ caspian
oct. 29 gwar w/ miss may i, american sharks st. andrew’s
8/6 – pusha t w/ sheck wes & valee 8/9 – sunny sweeney & ward davis w/ tennessee jet
8/10 – nothing, nowhere. @ the shelter w/ wicca phase springs eternal, bogues, jay vee, lil west
8/19 – mighty mighty bosstones limited tickets available
8/23 – plain white t’s w/ bfe, stories untold, undesirable people
8/23 – saved by the 90’s 90’s beach party! nov. 7
w/ at the gates, wolves in the throne room
8/24 – sucre & dk the drummer dec. 5
@ the shelter
8/25 – 888 @ the shelter
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NEWS & VIEWS called the police on him for wearing socks in the pool,” I said. “Who knows, it might have helped,” Mulenga shrugged. “Truth is, I feel for the brother. He probably didn’t want anyone to see his raggedy toenails. I know if I showed my toenails to some folks they’d be calling me ape-foot or something.” “Well, the lady who called the police on sock man lost her job,” I chimed in. “Damn straight, Mulenga said. “And there’s the Subway employee who called 911 on a black family when they were using the bathroom too much. She got placed on leave.” “There you go,” I pointed out. “Black people causing trouble for her even when she is trying to do the white thing.” “I swear that white people are scared of black people even when we’re spending money,” Mulenga said. “You notice the Subway employee didn’t call the police before they bought their sandwiches.” “But they will call the police when you’re trying to make some money,” I said. “Did you see where somebody called the police on an 11-year-old kid who was delivering newspapers? That’s working while black. How can it get any worse?” “And then you got that congresswoman
in Oregon who was going door to door and some white lady called the police on her,” I said. “Campaigning while black. Pretty soon the problem is going to be breathing while black.” “Well, it’s come to that,” Mulenga pointed out. “The brother who was sitting in his car listening to a yoga CD while waiting for his class to begin was doing breathing exercises.” “You know,” I said. “A common thread through all of this and incidents regarding Latinos is this sense that we don’t belong; that we shouldn’t be there. It’s like segregation with no dark people allowed. You aren’t allowed to share in the common goods of this nation.” “Tell me about it,” Mulenga testified. “I’ve been doing my own little experiments just to see how far this can go.” “What?” “Yeah,” Mulenga said. “I’ve been going out to Grosse Pointe and letting myself be seen.” “You are letting people see you?” I couldn’t believe it. Mulenga’s been vanishing around white people for decades. I don’t know how he does it, but when he wants to vanish he can vanish. “So what I do is I’ll walk around to see
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if someone calls the police on me for being in a white space,” Mulenga said. “For instance, one time I had an ice cream cone. I was just standing there licking it when a woman called the police. She told them I was taking long, slow licks and it looked like I was casing the place and that there was something vaguely sexual in the licking. Police said they were coming, so I vanished right off. No sense taking these things too far.” “So now you’re teasing them with your powers,” I said. “I’ve never known you to play around with that. I thought you were serious.” “I am just doing research,” Mulenga said. “So the next week I went back with my banjo. The same woman came out with a big smile, gave me $20, and told me that her favorite uncle used to play the banjo.” “So all this is for science?” I asked. “Yes.” “Then you certainly didn’t accept her money,” I said. “Remember when we were kids and we helped that old lady move some boxes around in her garage?” Mulenga said. “She offered us a dollar and I told her she didn’t have to pay us. Then later you told me if
somebody offers me money then I should take it.” “Yep.” “Well, it has since been my policy to take money when people offer it to me,” Mulenga said. “Besides, somebody has to fund the research.” “So what do you call this little experiment?” “I call it ‘The Banjo as a Factor in Saving a Brother From Arrest for Just Being There.’” “That is indeed a weighty subject,” I agreed. “But couldn’t your vanishing technique work better to save lives? It’s kept you going all these years.” “My skills have been developed over decades of training,” Mulenga patiently said. “I can’t teach this stuff in an afternoon. Besides, I’m too paranoid to let anybody inside my life. Carrying around a banjo is much simpler. It’s something anybody can do. I think you should give it a try.” Mulenga set the banjo down among the vegetables and stepped in the direction the groundhog had gone. I looked at the banjo to see if it was crushing the plants. Then I looked up to Mulenga... but he was gone.
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NEWS & VIEWS Decision 2018
Why slow and steady could win Gretchen Whitmer the race for governor By MT staff
Ahead of Michigan’s 2018
gubernatorial election, the Metro Times editorial staff has interviewed the race’s top contenders. Gretchen Whitmer entered Michigan’s gubernatorial race as the Democratic party establishment favorite, having served 14 years in the state legislature as well as a stint as interim Ingham County prosecutor — more political experience than her Democratic rivals Abdul El-Sayed and Shri Thanedar. Yet despite her experience, it turned out Whitmer hasn’t been quite a household name for many Michigan voters, with early polls finding her and Thanedar more or less neck-and-neck after her millionaire rival aired a TV spot during the Super Bowl. But as her opponents’ campaigns were rocked by various controversies, Whitmer stayed largely out of the fray. For Thanedar, those were past allegations that one of his companies abandoned dogs and monkeys in a lab when it went bankrupt; for El-Sayed, it was a question of his eligibility to run that has since been resolved. In June, Whitmer aired her first TV spots, which focused on her resume and accomplishments and avoided mentioning any of her opponents; the only person the spot called out by name was President Donald Trump. Whitmer’s strategy could very well pay off: A new poll released by Michigan Information & Research Service found Whitmer surging well past Thanedar and El-Sayed, and also gives her an edge over Bill Schuette, the GOP’s top contender. “I think the most important thing to know is I’m running for governor because I love the state of Michigan,” Whitmer says during a roundtable interview at the Metro Times office. “I’m proud to be a Michigander, but I look around at the Michigan that my kids are growing up in and it doesn’t look like the Michigan that I think of when I talk about my pride.”
Gretchen Whitmer visits the Metro Times office.
Whitmer laments the decline of Michigan’s schools, economic opportunities, and roads. “That’s why I jumped in this race, because I’m mad about what’s happened to our state, and I know we deserve better, and I know I can deliver,” she says. “I’ve got the skills and the experience to go in on day one and get to work.” That’s why Whitmer sees her political experience as a valuable asset. “One of the things about the background that I bring to the table is I served with three different governors during my time in the legislature,” she says. “The last two governors didn’t have any background in state legislative government. ... I think that it made their lives a lot more difficult when trying to make their agenda become a reality.” As a Senate minority leader, Whitmer says she knows how hard it can be
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to work with a Republican-controlled legislature. But she also points to her record of being able to reach across the aisle to get things done. “I was always in the minority,” she says. “I was the leader of the resistance. The whole damn time.”
On roads “This road problem didn’t happen overnight. It’s decades in the making,” she says of Michigan’s deteriorating roads, which this year were ranked a “D+” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. “ In April, Whitmer unveiled her plan to “Fix the Damn Roads.” Whitmer’s plan calls for funding the Rebuild Michigan infrastructure bank at $2 billion, possibly funded by user fees, and drawing another $1 billion from the federal government each year. If she
can’t get the legislature to take action on funding the bank, she says she’ll go straight to the people and pass a bond. “That’s not the easy route, but sometimes you can’t go through the legislature,” she says. “You go straight to the people. I can tell you, people want it. They’re ready.”
On education reform and charter schools
Whitmer calls for increased scrutiny of the for-profit charter schools as advocated by Betsy DeVos. “I know that the DeVos agenda has absolutely devastated our public school system in Michigan,” Whitmer says. “Michigan’s charter school system has perverted a system that other states have because 84 percent of ours are for-profit. The national average is like 16 percent.” Whitmer says she would advocate
| July 18-24, 2018
NEWS & VIEWS for shutting down underperforming charters. “It’s not about profit,” she says. “It’s about whether or not the kids are getting the education they need.” At the same time, Whitmer says she would fight against closing down underperforming public schools in Detroit. “We’ve got to bolster what’s happening in our public schools,” she says. “You don’t abandon the district — you put more resources into it and wrap around services for kids. Kids in high poverty are much more expensive to educate and need much more support. … When they’re packed into a classroom of 40 people, they don’t have the support they need, they’re lost. Schools are supposed to be the thing that levels the playing field.” Whitmer says she fought the past two governors over withdrawing from the school aid fund to cover the general fund. “It started under Governor Granholm, and Governor Snyder has done it on steroids,” she says. “$650 million is taken out of the school aid fund annually to fund the general fund — that’s not what proposal A was supposed to do.”
On tax incentives for corporations Whitmer says she would scrutinize the massive tax cuts and incentives for corporations that have become a hallmark of the Snyder administration. “We need to have a real strategy that makes incentives available to small independent developers,” she says. “If you’re employing someone in Michigan, or you are making investments in Michigan, or you’re serving some sort of important public purpose that we all benefit from — those make sense to me, but these big giveaways don’t.” She says she also would call for an oversight authority to study the benefits of corporate tax breaks. “I think we need to create an oversight authority that lasts long beyond a governor, because some of these are 20-year commitments, and we’ll have three governors between now and when they are fully realized,” she says. “Whether it’s dollars we don’t collect or it’s dollars that were appropriated, it needs to be scrutinized in that frame of, ‘What does it mean? Does it employ people? Does it confer a real benefit? Is it a worthy public purpose?’”
On health care Whitmer comes short of proposing universal health care, as her opponents El-Sayed and Thanedar have done. But she does point to her record in the legislature in expanding Medicaid to 680,000 low-income residents through Healthy Michigan.
‘When you don’t have a record, you can say anything you want. When you do, you stand up for what you believe in.’ “I worked my tail off to make Healthy Michigan a reality in our state,” she says. “My goal is to get every Michigander access to affordable, quality health care — everyone — whether it’s through a statewide expansion of Medicaid or through hopefully some sort of assistance from the federal government at some point. But I can’t wait on the Feds. … We’ve got to have a Michigan solution. That’s exactly what I have done and what I continue to work on to make sure that we’ve got the ability for everyone to buy into a Michigan plan that gives people real coverage and that it’s affordable.”
On marijuana Whitmer says she believes in legalizing marijuana, as well as the expungement and exoneration of cannabisrelated criminal histories. In 2008, Whitmer endorsed the Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative which allowed for medicinal marijuana, as well as a proposal to allow the use of embryonic stem cells for research. “I endorsed both at the time, and that was long before it was politically fashionable and certainly before it was politically comfortable,” she says. During her first year in Michigan’s legislature, Whitmer took care of her dying mother, who died of brain cancer at 59. “I know that stem cell research gives such hope, and I know that medical cannabis gives such relief,” she says. “So that’s why I embraced both then. We’ve seen a succession of attorney generals who don’t want to make the system work, and they made it so difficult for patients to get their medicine.” As a mother, Whitmer says she endorses a legal system to make sure cannabis is not used illegally by children. “As your brains are forming, access to cannabis is scary,” she says. “I just want to make sure we make sure it doesn’t get into the hands of kids.”
On the emergency manager laws Whitmer says she has always been opposed to Michigan’s emergency manager laws. “This is the benefit of having served in the legislature, because I’ve got a long record on almost any issue
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you want to talk about,” she says. “I was the Senate Democratic leader when the governor pushed through emergency management, and I fought him, but we were outnumbered 2-to-1 in the state Senate. When we went to the electorate we all voted against it, and then what happened was the Republicans passed it again, and they put money in it to render it an appropriations bill and make it referendum-proof.” “It’s had horrifying consequences, and obviously what happened in Flint is the worst government failure in the history of our state, and maybe well beyond our borders,” she says of the emergency manager’s disastrous decision to switch the city’s water supply without treating it properly, leading to a massive lead poisoning of its residents. “I totally support repealing the emergency manager act, but I’m knowledgeable enough to know that I can’t go in equilaterally. I need a legislature to send that bill to my desk. So I can tell you as governor I will not use that emergency manager act the way that this governor has, and I will never, ever try to subvert the will of the voters by putting money into a bill so that they can’t have the right of referendum. I will fight to make sure that I have a legislature that will send that bill to my desk, so I can sign it and repeal.”
On claims that she wasn’t hard enough on Larry Nassar during her time as Ingham County’s interim prosecutor In December, MSU police chief James Dunlap told The Detroit News that as prosecutor, Whitmer wanted to focus on the easier-to-prove child pornography cases against Nassar rather than the assault cases. Instead, the assault cases were handed off to the Attorney General’s office — who is Whitmer’s gubernatorial GOP rival, Schuette. Whitmer stands by her record. “I’m proud of the work that we did in the prosecutor’s office,” she says. “My office worked 24-7 to get search warrant requests through the system so
they could be executed immediately. Because of the work we did, we were able to get the hard drives that had the child pornography pictures on them. That is what led to Nassar’s first 60-year conviction.” Since the crimes Nassar was accused of occured in numerous jurisdictions, Whitmer says she believed the cases were better off going to Schuette’s desk. “We all agreed that my limitation was Ingham County, and some of the crimes that took place were outside of Ingham County,” Whitmer says. “We got the best prosecutorial result we could, and that’s by consolidating the cases in the Attorney General’s office.” “Anyone who knows me or knows the work that I’ve done in my career knows that this is an issue that is particularly close to my heart, I am a survivor myself, and I told that story on the Senate floor,” she says — a reference to her headlinegrabbing revelations that she had been raped as a freshman at MSU, first made while arguing against a controversial and ultimately successful GOP-led “rape insurance” bill. “I created a special unit to handle sexual assault and domestic violence in the prosecutor’s office,” she says. “I put my political aspirations aside to do the right thing, and we got the right result there.”
On claims that she’s a “centrist” candidate in a progressive race
Whitmer’s Democratic rivals Thanedar and El-Sayed have battled for the title of the campaign’s Bernie Sanders-style progressive candidate. But Whitmer brushes off accusations that she is no progressive, and says her record on progressive issues should speak for itself. “I was considered the most progressive person the whole time I was in the legislature,” she says. “I negotiated health care, I negotiated a minimum wage increase. I told my story of sexual assault when women’s health was on the line. I wrote the Michigan 2020, which was a free college plan, before Bernie Sanders ever offered it on the national level. I am proud to be a progressive.” “When you don’t have a record, you can say anything you want,” she says of her opponents. “When you do, you stand up for what you believe in. I’ve got many things that I can point to that show that not only am I the progressive in the race, I’m the one who knows how to get stuff done.” Michigan’s primary election will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
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NEWS & VIEWS Twitterhappy
Detroit Mayor Duggan borrows from Trump playbook in undermining media By Violet Ikonomova
What do you do if you’re a govern-
ment official and a journalist highlights ethical concerns about a process to award lucrative licenses? If you’re a standardfare politician, you might say that’s just the way things are done around here. But if you work for an administration with a track record of undermining journalists, you might bust out your digital megaphone, and say it sarcastically as hell. Last week, The Detroit Free Press reported that two demolition contractors sit on a Detroit board tasked with licensing other demolition contractors who receive up to millions in taxpayer dollars, in what one expert called a “classic conflict of interest.” The ethical issue can exist, the Free Press reported, because the board was created via a city ordinance that enables the mayor to appoint all seven board members without any additional approval. But for team Duggan, the way the journalist behind the story explained this was apparently insufficient. So someone in the administration — it’s unclear who — took it upon themselves to log on to the city of Detroit’s official Twitter account and respond with sarcastic dismissiveness. “Breaking News: City of Detroit follows 40-year-old City ordinance!” the tweet said. “Monday’s Free Press story regarding the city’s Board of Wrecking Examiners uses an ordinance approved by Detroit City Council 40 years ago that every mayoral administration since has been required to follow.” Of course, writing off concerns about the process to license demolition contractors may not be in the mayor’s best interest. While every mayoral administration in the past 40 years may indeed have been required to follow the ordinance, the board has arguably never played as vital a role as it currently does under Detroit
Mayor Mike Duggan, who’s presiding over the most ambitious demolition program in city history. Duggan is also the only mayor who has had his demolition program come under criminal investigation. Last year, it was revealed that a federal grand jury was focusing on the program, after Duggan’s demolition team awarded “unit price” contracts to developers in on a pre-bid meeting. Documents compiled by state investigators suggest the demolition officials and contractors engaged in bid-rigging and collusion, the Free Press reported in March. Duggan appointed one of the two contractors sitting on the board in May 2017, a month before news of the grand jury probe broke. Contractor Richard Adamo, of the Adamo Group, was tapped to replace his brother, who died unexpectedly. Though the Adamo Group has reportedly been awarded more than $40 million in demolition contracts, the Duggan administration maintains that putting the head of the company in a position where he can vote to issue or revoke the licenses of competitors does not present a
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conflict because the board “plays no role in contracting.” In an email to Metro Times, a spokesman for Duggan added that the board serves only in an advisory capacity, with all recommendations requiring approval from the head of the Detroit Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department — or, in other words, another Duggan appointee. Duggan spokesman John Roach said that the head of BSEED has, to his knowledge, approved every decision made by the board. The Duggan administration’s impolite response to the Free Press was just the latest salvo in its at-times contentious relationship with the media organizations tasked with holding it accountable. During last year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, as he was running for re-election and facing criticism that he’d let the neighborhoods languish in his first term while opting to focus primarily on downtown development, Duggan attempted to cast doubt on this perception, describing it as a narrative spun by journalists. “By listening to the media, you’d think everything is happening in downtown
and Midtown,” he said in his keynote address. “Neighborhood residents know that’s not true.” The statement, simultaneously blasted out to tens of thousands of people via Duggan’s official Twitter account, prompted Detroit News columnist Bankole Thompson to pen a piece titled, “Duggan shouldn’t copy Trump on media.” “When the media gives voice to Detroiters who depart from the mayor’s narrative, Duggan should see it as fair and necessary,” Thompson wrote. “He should not be jumping to Twitter like Trump to dismiss contrary views and projecting the media as non-credible.” But Duggan did not heed the advice. About two months after the column was published, Duggan told the Free Press that the “two Detroits narrative” — shorthand for the disparity between the city’s affluent greater downtown and its struggling neighborhoods, a disparity that is supported by myriad statistics — was a “fiction created by you.” This May, back at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Duggan undermined a Detroit Free Press report that gave voice to concerns over
gentrification in a neighborhood not far from downtown. “There’s an article in the Free Press where people are complaining that property values are going up in Southwest Detroit,” Duggan said in an interview with WDET. “We got the only city in the country where the newspaper writes a negative story.” More recently, the Duggan administration took issue with an anonymously sourced report by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Charlie LeDuff that described the mayor as a “person of serious interest” in the demolition investigation. Spokesman John Roach responded, in part, “I know his professional career has deteriorated badly, but at this point LeDuff has become a complete embarrassment to himself.” LeDuff and his flamboyant style of reporting have drawn the ire of the Duggan administration on numerous occasions. Ultimately, however, he was the first to report on possible bid-rigging in the Detroit demolition process, bringing to light the key private meeting in which the city negotiated prices with a set group of contractors before issuing a formal bid. “What’s happening here is they’re desperate little men, they’re cornered,” says LeDuff. “If everything is hunky-dory, what would get you so nonplussed about the demo board?” While the Duggan administration may draw comparisons to the Trump team for undermining and discrediting reporters — at times without even a hint of civility — a media ethics expert says such tactics predate the president. “The old saying in law in criminal court is if your client is innocent then attack the evidence, if your client is guilty then attack the law,” says Al Tompkins, senior faculty at the nonprofit Poynter Institute for Media Studies. “If the story is true and accurate but not very complimentary, then they can’t argue the facts and they’ll just argue the reporter. There’s nothing new about attacking the messenger if you can’t attack the message, and sometimes they attack both.” It’s worth noting that in the recent case of the sarcastic tweet about the wrecking board story, Free Press Katrease Stafford responded that the Duggan administration had not reached out directly to take issue with her reporting. It’s common practice for the communications staff of public officials to, after a story is published, email or call a reporter about possible inaccuracies or omissions. But in the age of social media, Tompkins says it’s typical for public officials to bypass the media and take their message directly to citizens. “It’s petty,” he says of the city government’s tweet, specifically. “But to do it from an official government account on Twitter is just not that unusual. I can think of half a dozen instances when police
departments and others responded on social media.” “Why do they do that? Because they don’t have to answer to anybody.” In an email to MT, the mayor’s chief of staff, Alexis Wiley, who is also a former reporter for WJBK-TV, says, “We chose to share these facts directly with the public via social media because we have first amendment rights, too.” Asked whether she felt that in potentially damaging the media’s credibility, the administration risked costing the city a voice key for helping it thrive, she issued the following statement: “Our city is filled with talented hardworking journalists who by and large produce fair and balanced coverage every day. But when there is a story that is inaccurate or misrepresents the facts, especially when the information was provided to the reporter prior to publication, we have a responsibility to the public to correct the record and that’s what we do.” By and large, however, that does not appear to be what’s going on here. Claiming Detroit is not plagued by inequality, saying skyrocketing real estate prices do not merit critical news coverage when the grown children of longtime residents can no longer afford to live near their families — those are not quibbles over fact. That is political spin. Earlier this year, as Duggan prepared to begin his second term, he again rejected the notion of “two Detroits,” calling it “90 percent media.” That prompted Thompson to again opine, “Duggan points at media, ignores Detroit’s ills.” He highlighted a series of grim statistics gleaned from recent government data: 33 percent of black Detroiters — who make up about 80 percent of the city — held jobs in the business district, compared to 61 percent of white Detroiters; more than half of Detroiters lived in areas of concentrated poverty; 57 percent of city children were living in poverty. In 2017, Bankole advised Duggan to appreciate the role that critical journalism, rather than cheerleading, could play in the city’s comeback. This year, he proclaimed Duggan to simply be “a man who does not want to face reality, and — like President Donald Trump — wants to blame the media for the issues unraveling under his administration.” Where Duggan and his team of storytellers choose to go from here is up to them. The publication they have most frequently derided, however, says it plans to dig in. “The responses from the city and mayor speak to the power, accuracy, and impact of our reporting. There will be more of that reporting coming,” says Free Press editor Peter Bhatia. “One of the primary functions of a daily newspaper is to hold major institutions accountable. A snide comment here and there isn’t going to deter us.”
metrotimes.com 18-24, 2018 metrotimes.com | |July July 18-24, 2018 15 15
NEWS & VIEWS News Hits
Bill would create single-payer health care system in Michigan By Violet Ikonomova
A bill to be introduced in the Michi-
gan House would transform the way the state approaches health care by creating a government-administered singlepayer system to provide coverage to every Michigander. The MiCare plan unveiled on July 2 by Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) would provide state residents with comprehensive care, including dental, mental health, and prescription drug coverage while eliminating health care premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. “We’ve suffered long enough under a system that puts families in a position where they have to choose between medical care and going bankrupt,” Rabhi said before taking to the steps of the Michigan Capitol to announce details of his proposal. “It’s not acceptable to live in a society like that.” The plan — which Rabhi says will result in $20 billion in net savings to the state — would be paid for by cutting administrative costs generated by for-profit insurance companies and raising taxes on the state’s top earners. A separate to-be introduced funding bill would create a graduated income tax, capital gains tax, and payroll tax to pay for the program. Employers would pay into the system via that payroll tax, but Rabhi says their contribution would be less than the average $5,500 contribution per single employee they pay under the current system. Under the progressive tax structure Rabhi envisions, only the top 6 percent of earners would see an increase above what they already pay for health coverage. The funding bill would require legislative and voter approval. “It makes fiscal sense,” he says. “When you’re talking about a public single-payer health care system, you’re talking about a reduction in administrative costs of 80 percent. That money is currently going to corporate profits, CEO pay, to administer all these different health insurance companies — [our plan] doesn’t have all those costs. Not to mention that reducing the cost to businesses will drive economic development in our state.” The bills face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled legislature. Recently, Republicans in the Senate managed to pass a bill that carved away at the state’s Medicaid expansion by imposing
work requirements on people receiving benefits. The original bill passed the Senate under the pretense that it would get more people working, but it would have kicked some people off their coverage and cost the state tens of millions of dollars to implement. The bill went on to pass the House with amendments and receive approval from Governor Rick Snyder. Up to 10 percent of Medicaid recipients are projected to lose their coverage under the new law. Michigan is one of a number of states that have undercut affordable health care offerings following Congress’ failure to repeal Obamacare last year. Meanwhile, other states are moving forward with plans for state-level universal coverage. New York is almost halfway there; a bill to create a single-payer system passed the state’s General Assembly last month. Polling shows most Americans believe it’s the government’s job to ensure all citizens have health coverage. The Pew Research Center found last year that 1 in 3 Americans more specifically favor a single-payer approach. That’s up from 5 percent in 2014. Single-payer health care, often referred to on the federal level as Medicare for All, has made it into the policy agendas of more and more Democrat candidates since progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ran for president in 2016. Two of three Democrat candidates for Michigan governor — Abdul El-Sayed and Shri Thanedar — say they would create a single-payer system in Michigan.
Over 1,500 Detroit households face tax foreclosure ahead of fall auction By Violet Ikonomova
It’s that time again, when the
government prepares to seize and sell the homes of Detroiters who owe as much in back taxes as the value of the latest iPhone. But this year, the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office has some good news to share: There are just 1,517 households facing foreclosure ahead of this fall’s auction. Yes, we said just 1,517occupied homes. This is framed by the government as a
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Rep. Yousef Rabhi unveils his MiCare plan.
positive because the number represents a reduction from previous years. The number of occupied homes in foreclosure is down 22 percent from last year, and way down from its 2015 peak of 9,111 homes. This year, about 700 of the homes on the preliminary seize-and-sell list are occupied by their owners, and the other 800 are occupied by renters or others. The improvement comes amid a number of government and private initiatives to help people stay in their homes. The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office and private entities have been conducting more aggressive outreach to warn people that their homes are in foreclosure and let them know their options — whether it be enrolling in a payment plan or applying for a poverty exemption. The city of Detroit, meanwhile, with help from philanthropic dollars, has expanded a program allowing renters in foreclosure (often this means a landlord did not pay his taxes) to purchase the homes where they live. A settlement agreement between the American Civil Liberties Union and the city, meanwhile, is expected to help more people living in poverty to keep their homes through a property tax exemption. The ACLU had sued the city, alleging that it made it too difficult for people to obtain the exemption. The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office was removed from the suit on jurisdictional grounds. “We are working as hard and smartly as possible to help prevent foreclosures in Detroit and in all of Wayne County,” Treasurer Eric Sabree said in a press release. “Each year you are seeing the results of the efforts of my office, our public and private partners in communicating with and helping people stay in their homes.”
Last year, Sabree rejected two lastminute proposals that could have kept hundreds of people’s homes from being sold out from underneath them. The McGregor Fund in September put up $200,000 to cover the down payment for up to 600 households to enroll in payment plans with the county treasurer, but the leader of a housing nonprofit said the treasurer would not take the homes out of the auction, citing the late timing. The city of Detroit in October issued application forms to hundreds of households that may have been eligible for the poverty exemption, only to learn that the treasurer did not intend to take their houses out of the auction, as the sale was already underway. “As Detroit comes back, we need to do everything we can to make sure those who invested and stayed in our city are able to stay in their homes,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in the press release. “We are seeing real progress in areas that impact all of our neighborhoods, and we are excited to continue this important work.” A study has shown that the Detroit tax assessor’s office, under Duggan’s purview, overassessed the taxable value of at least 55 percent of Detroit homes as recently as 2015, leading to inflated tax bills that may have forced people from their homes unnecessarily. The city has since conducted a citywide reassessment of all properties in order to remedy the problem, but activists have called for reparations for those who they say wrongly lost their homes. An estimated 1 in 4 Detroit properties were foreclosed between 2011 and 2015. The latest preliminary foreclosure data represents a return to pre-recession levels.
| July 18-24, 2018
FEATURE Into the wild
Michigan’s Jeff Gutt leads Stone Temple Pilots’ third act By Jerilyn Jordan
Jeff Gutt has brushed shoulders
with royalty, baptized his son in the River Jordan, and has, on more than one occasion, performed for millions of people on national television. And this was all well before he was tasked with filling a role within a hit-making musical institution that has largely been plagued with tragedy amid a history of revolving tabloid drama and addiction. Eight months into his gig as the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, Gutt seems to be fitting in, looking every bit the role of a frontman of a band that inarguably remains a support beam, if an unstable one, in the pantheon of alternative rock. At 42 years old, Gutt sports all the rock ’n’ roll costumery one might expect from a local rocker-turned-realityTV-runner-up-turned-international frontman: spiked hair, faded tribal ink, second-skin jeans, and, most notably, a pendant of a fist clutching a dagger around his neck — worn as a nod to writer Hunter S. Thompson. From a distance, one could easily mistake the slender, sharp-jawed singer for someone trying to resemble a Velvet Revolver-era Scott Weiland. But, again, this is only true from a distance. When we sit down with Gutt on a sweltering afternoon in Mount Clemens — a city that gave Gutt his musical legs — it is made obvious that he is joyfully out of place. Once home to mineral bath houses, Mount Clemens now boasts Macomb County Jail, a magic shop, a head shop, and a coney island restaurant with a curious obsession with Avengers: Infinity War (as evidenced by window art featuring Thanos clutching a hot dog). He notes that nothing has really changed since becoming an L.A. resident in 2016, yet Gutt marvels at the sensation of returning to the place where it all started, something he has not been able to do since STP welcomed the Marine City
Jeff Gutt in Mount Clemens.
native as its newest member in November of 2017. We are situated in a coffee shop minutes from where Gutt spent most of his life and where his family still lives, and a mere stone’s throw away from the now defunct Hayloft Liquor Stand — one of several local rock venues Gutt frequently performed at during his time fronting bands Dry Cell, Acrylic, Punch, and Band With No Name. “I used to work for the flooring company right across the street from the Hayloft,” Gutt says, pointing out the window. “So, I would drive my truck
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over there after the gig, sleep in my car, and then I’d work 15 hours and then go home to finally shower. I basically had to play 5-6 nights a week just to pay my bills,” he admits. “I lived in a house right around the corner here.” “At any point I could have quit and did something else,” he adds, “but I always had the feeling that I would keep myself available to do things in case anything ever came up, and it did. All of it prepared me for this — all the disappointments and all the near misses.” When Jeff Gutt first auditioned for the U.S. X Factor, it was 2012 and he delivered
a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that just so happened to coincide with a roar of thunder from outside the studio. “Even God is rocking out right now,” judge and pop star Demi Lovato said of the eerie timing. Unfortunately, Gutt would not make it past the following episode. He auditioned a second time for the 2013 season, where he would score mentorship from former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland, and eventually, a spot in the finals. “At the time, my choices were go on TV or move back to L.A. and try to make it the hard way… again. Or I
NOAH ELLIOTT MORRISON
could go stand in line for a day like all these other people do,” Gutt says of X Factor. “I’ve been getting my teeth kicked in for 20 years, so I figured I can go stand in line for one day and get my shot. It’s a guaranteed shot.” Gutt’s voice is not particularly unique to the rock market. Sure, he can slither and snarl on demand, elongating the last letters of words to fill space. But what Gutt is a master of is adaptation and control. Take his second audition, when he performed Aerosmith’s “Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” — which was stopped midway through after Simon Cowell
accused Gutt of impersonating Steven Tyler. To redeem himself, Gutt launched into a soaring rendition of “Creep” by Radiohead, sounding nothing like Thom Yorke. In fact, the audience learned that Gutt’s vocal tenacity had real range — he could soothe and seduce just as easily and skillfully as he could howl. During his time on the show, he quickly became a fan favorite, delivering rock anthems like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and wild card pop ballads of the likes of “Without You” by Harry Nilsson, closing out his run with Celine Dion’s version of “O Holy Night.” He even managed to belt a pretty badass rendition of “Amazing Grace,” winning the approval of the impossible-toplease Cowell, who called it the best performance of the night. In the end, Gutt left the competition in second place, which he now considers a blessing. “If I would have won that crappy contract I would have been stuck in purgatory for the rest of my life,” he says “It’s a bunch of suits that have control over your career at that point. I got to cut and run and do my own thing. I think I’ve proven that I’m more than just a TV singer. I was always more than that, even before I went on TV.” Meanwhile, 2013 was not just a rollercoaster year for Gutt, as STP was experiencing setbacks, adjustments, and a second coming after a string of hiatus’ and breakups. In February, the band fired founder and lifelong frontman Scott Weiland, which quickly spurred a flurry of lawsuits from both parties regarding rights to the name and the music. Months later, the remaining members of STP would enlist Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington to fill Weiland’s spot, while Weiland toured solo. Bennington announced his departure from STP in 2015 to focus solely on Linkin Park. A month later, on Dec. 3, Weiland was found dead on his tour bus in Minnesota. A lethal cocktail of cocaine, pills, and alcohol found in his system lead to what has been ruled an accidental overdose. “Let us start by saying thank you for sharing your life with us. Together we crafted a legacy of music that has given so many people happiness and great memories,” the band’s surviving members — guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo, and drummer Eric Kretz released in a statement following his death. “The memories are many, and they run deep for us. We know amidst the good and the bad you struggled, time and time again. It’s what made you who you were. Part of that gift was part of your curse.” Bennington would commit suicide in 2017. Gutt wasn’t really in the market for a job when STP began soliciting for
new singers in 2016. At the time, he was overseas with his band Rival City Heights, who had embarked on a tour throughout the Middle East opening for Trapt. Over the course of several months, STP rifled through over 20,000 submissions, and though they managed to narrow their search down to 29 hopefuls, they were not convinced they had found the one. When Gutt returned home, he bypassed the submission process, receiving an invitation to audition after a friend tipped off STP bassist Robert DeLeo, who was performing in Johnny Depp’s supergroup Hollywood Vampires at a show at DTE Energy Music Theatre. “I was one of those guys who no matter who they got, I would have been standing in the back of the room with my arms crossed going, ‘No, no I could have done that way better,’” Gutt says. “So you know what, why don’t I just go do it then. I already know what everyone is going to say, all the negativity. I’ve already gone through it all in my mind, so nothing surprises me. I’ve got thick skin.” “I was one of the last people to walk in,” he says. “My thing was just getting in the room — if I can get in the room I can get the gig.” And he did. The audition consisted of seven STP songs, including “Interstate Love Song,” “Big Empty,” “Dead and Bloated,” “Vasoline,” and “Sour Girl.” Gutt chose to start with “Piece of Pie” from the band’s 1992 debut, Core, because it is the most challenging to sing. “There are certain things that I’ll try to sing something like Scott, but then after awhile I have to go back and relisten to it,” he says. “It’s how I remember it in my mind, as opposed to doing an imitation of it.” “We were asking a lot from a new singer, someone who was able to not only honor the past, but move forward as a band making new records,” Robert DeLeo admits when asked about the selection process. “We needed someone that was going to have the balls to step out on stage and make it happen live, also. We felt Jeff was going to be best at handling all this.” In November 2017, the band performed for the first time with Gutt during a secret performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Four months later, STP released its first album in eight years. The band’s self-titled reintroduction stormed the rock charts (it peaked at 24 on the U.S. Billboard 200), and included the churning single “Meadow” — a song Gutt helped write on his first day. “I just do what the music tells me to do,” Gutt says when asked about writing and recording with the band. He describes his time so far as being support-
ive and collaborative, but he remains humbled by the tenure and experience of his bandmates, and says he comes into writing sessions open-minded and without intent. Looking to the future, there are a few STP songs that haven’t made it onto the setlists because, for Gutt, it’s personal. “Sour Girl,” Gutt admits, is uncomfortable for him because of where Weiland was in his life when it was released. “Scott had just got out of jail,” he explains. “It’s about one of his ex-wives and he’s calling her a ‘sour girl’ — to sing that is a little uncomfortable for me.” And 2001’s “Wonderful” remains off the table because it feels too much like Weiland’s autobiography. “There’s enough hits that we can sustain ourselves for a little while before we do something special for Scott,” he says. “Other than that, I’m not really trying to go out of my way to get to those yet.” What is perhaps most remarkable about Gutt’s journey isn’t so much how he got here or how long it took, but moreso it’s the task he has been entrusted with — and the fact that in only a few short months, he has proven himself not just worthy but fully capable. “We are finally looking forward to hope and creativity rather than being tragic,” DeLeo says of STP’s future with Gutt. “Great things come out of tragedy.” Gutt confesses that his STP bandmates have never watched any of his X Factor episodes (though he says they think it’s pretty wild) and acknowledges attaining this level of success late in life, going on to say that if this opportunity would have been available to him 20 years ago he would likely be dead. Though he says he regrettably hasn’t spent as much time in Michigan since going full force with the band as he would like, he recognizes the sacrifices required to keep the dream alive. “I’m not trying to be Scott or Chester,” Gutt explains. “ I want people to remember who they were, too. I want people to be able to bring their kids to shows and talk about Scott and teach them who Scott was instead of letting it die with them.” “I just have to go out there every night, give it my best shot and let the chips fall where they may,” he adds. “At the end of the day, I’m here for my son and our future, to be the dad I always wanted to be and in the position I always wanted to be in. I’m not really scared of anything.” Stone Temple Pilots will perform with Bush and the Cult at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24 at Michigan Lottery Amphitheater at Freedom Hill; 14900 Metro Pkwy., Sterling Heights; 586-268-9700; 313presents.com; Tickets start at $21.
| July 18-24, 2018
Culantro 22939 Woodward Ave., Ferndale culantroperu.com
By Tom Perkins
It’s a crime how underrepresented
South American cuisine is in metro Detroit. An entire continent of fascinating flavors: from lively, piquant chimichurris; the world’s best beef from cows raised near the Argentinian Andes; the incredible arepas and stewed meats in the continent’s north — we only get a taste of it at a small number of local restaurants. That makes the arrival of Culantro, Michigan’s only Peruvian restaurant, all the more exciting. It’s a family-run operation near Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue that’s offering a fine introduction to the nation’s interesting cuisine. Among Culantro’s most popular options are those that are also most popular in Peru, like the pollo a la brasa and aji de gallina. In the former, a whole bird is marinated for 24 hours before it lands in a special coal-fueled stove brought in from Peru. It’s pretty clear from the flavor as to why Culantro would import a charcoal oven instead of simply using gas. Its version of aji de gallina is a composition of shredded chicken submerged in a puddle of flavorful yellow sauce that gets its bright hue from aji amarillo, a Peruvian chile pepper, pureed with walnuts and crackers. The sauce is slightly creamy and doesn’t radiate much heat as some might
fear, and the dish comes with a hard boiled egg, an olive, and buttery white rice. There’s also ceviche — good ceviche. In Michigan, that’s a rare find, as it’s usually made with imitation crab meat or isn’t properly prepared. At Culantro, sizeable hunks of tilapia are thoroughly “cooked” in lime juice, and flavored with cilantro, red onion, salt, and pepper. It arrives next to slices of bright orange, soft sweet potatoes, and giant kernels of pale yellow Peruvian corn. Though the standards are solid, the deep cuts are arguably the place to go, starting with the lomo saltado. It’s a Peruvian stir fry that bears the prints of the nation’s large Japanese population as its thin slices of tender beef are marinated in soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and ginger, then tossed with red onion, green onion, and tomatoes. That’s all mixed in with thick steak fries, and it’s a perfectly salty-but-balanced dish that is arguably Culantro’s best. The aforementioned aji amarillo is also behind the flavor and hue of the sauce in the papa a la huancaina appetizer. The smooth, yellow sauce is made with pureed onion, garlic, aji amarillo, and feta cheese that’s all spiked with paprika and cumin, then heavily ladled over slices of
20 July 18-24, 2018 | metrotimes.com
cold hard-boiled potato and served with a hard-boiled egg. A friend pointed out that the sauce tastes a lot like pub cheese, and that might not be a bad point of reference for those unfamiliar with Peruvian cuisine. A note on the aji amarillo: It’s a thick, bright orange chile pepper that pervades Peruvian recipe books. Its flavor is unique — mild heat, but semi-fruity, and altogether subtle, that one writer described as “like the taste of sunshine.” Another fine deep cut is the salchipapas, a dish of steak fries and slices of salty beef hot dogs. It’s simple, but is enlivened by the accompanying chipotle sauce. Salchipapas is a traditional Peruvian comfort food, and, indeed, sliced up hot dogs mixed with something starchy seems to be a universal approach to creating comfort. The dish made me think of my mom’s weekly special from my childhood called Creamettes, which consists of hot dogs, elbow macaroni, and tomato sauce with some salt and oregano. In the carne a la plancha, hunks of tender beef arrive under fired eggs and next to a pile of buttery white rice. Bust those yolks, and mix it all up with the steak fries and chimichurri — a flavorful sauce of cilantro, garlic, and olive oil — and you have some top-notch bites.
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Friday; Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; Noon to 9 p.m Sunday Entrees $5.99 to $13.00 Wheelchair accessible
The chicharron sandwich is a sleeper pick as a sandwich isn’t the first place you’d think of heading on Culantro’s menu, but it has a bright presentation and vibrant flavor worth noting. Crispy-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside deep fried pork is served on a big, soft bun slathered with a zesty, orange chipotle sauce. That’s accompanied by thin slices of crunchy red onions and deep green cilantro marinated in lime juice, offering plenty of fine interplay among the salty pork, acidic sauce, onions, chiles, and cilantro. If you don’t eat meat, there are a few salads and sides that can build a meal, and a vegan spaghetti served with a tasty but thin sauce made from basil, spinach, onion, garlic, and aji amarillo. Culantro doesn’t have a liquor license, but its complex and sangria-like chicha morada with dried purple corn, pineapple, apple, cinnamon, and cloves is an excellent mocktail, and there’s a delicious passion fruit drink and Peruvian cola also worth checking out.
| July 18-24, 2018
What’s Going On
A week’s worth of things to do and places to do them By MT staff In the Heights, New Center Park, Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22.
WED., 7/18-SUN., 7/22 “In the Heights” @ New Center Park
THURSDAY, 7/19 After Dark: Vintage Video Games
FRI., 7/20-SUN., 7/22
Michigan Glass Project
@ Russell Industrial Center
@ Beacon Park
ART + MORE The Michigan Glass Project — a glass, music, and arts festival benefiting art programs in Detroit Public Schools — returns to the Russell Industrial Center with a kick-glass lineup. More than 60 renowned glass artists will be on display creating works of art on site to be auctioned off to benefit Art Road, a nonprofit. In addition to live painters, blowers, art vendors, food, and drinks, the event boasts over 40 musical artists across two stages during the three-day event, including headliner Kool Keith, DJ Dez, and D-Cyphered Live.
MUSIC It’s no easy task to embed the popular children’s diddy “head, shoulders, knees, and toes” into a pop song and make it sound cool. Yet L.A. indie-pop foursome Saint Motel did that with “Move.” After the band’s 2014 earworm “My Type” blew up, the band was handed the keys to the indie-pop kingdom, landing spots in commercials, film, and even a pro soccer video game. In the second of three free summer concerts at Beacon Park (last month, the venue hosted JR JR), Saint Motel will ride the wave of 2016’s saintmotelevision and dish out the summer-fied radiofriendly vibes they’re known for.
@ Michigan Science Center
THEATER Before Hamilton, LinManuel Miranda gave the world the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights — a cultural story centered around New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood and its Hispanic community. The story follows the lives of bodega owner Usnavi and his beautician girlfriend Vanessa. Then there’s Nina and Benny — a second love story defined by the price and obstacles of achieving a higher education. Reimagined by the Detroit Actors Theatre Company, In the Heights fuses freestyle rap with merengue dance for a multicultural exploration of love, family, and growing up.
All performances begin at 8 p.m.; 2998 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; newcenterpark.com; All performances free and open to the public.
FUN It may be hard to believe but your beloved Fallout, Fortnite, and Call of Duty would cease to exist without the riveting — albeit archaic and totally boring — gameplay of Pong, which would later spur the birth of a couple of quirky Italian plumber brothers, a caffeinated hedgehog, and one angry gorilla. As one of the coolest happy hours in metro Detroit, the Michigan Science Center invites gamers to drink, duel, and button smash with a wide variety of vintage arcade and console games, as well as playable games in the theater spaces and on their giant robot screen.
Event begins at 6 p.m.; 5020 John R St., Detroit; 313-577-8400; mi-sci.org; Tickets are $15 and include one signature drink.
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Event begins at noon Friday, July 20, 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 21, and noon on Sunday, July 22; 1600 Clay St., Detroit; themichiganglassproject.com; Tickets are $15 per day or $30 for the weekend.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; 1901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313566-8250; dtebeaconpark.com; Admission is free.
otus supply comedy showcase friday 7/20
bob mervak ep release
maggie koerner from galactic Thursday 7/26
rayland baxter wsg okie dokey friday 7/27
wsg joshua powell & the great train robbery Tuesday 7/31
The Michigan Glass Project, Russell Industrial Center, Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22.
@ Underground at DIME
@ El Club
MUSIC “The future isn’t home,” Mobley presses on the layered track “Young Adult Fiction” from Fresh Lies, Vol. I — an album he defines as “post-genre pop.” This is but one example of the incomparable Austin, Texas-based artist’s innate ability to pair varied uncertainties with lush soundscapes and hopeful resolve. Mobley can best be described as a one-man-band: He writes, performs, and produces his music, designs his own artwork, directs his videos, and has been known to create his own instruments (many of which he learned to play by sneaking into his college’s music department after hours). This boy is on fire.
MUSIC If the name Raphael Saadiq doesn’t strike an immediate chord it’s probably because he has become synonymous with his multi-platinum R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné! Saadiq is regarded as one of the preeminent R&B artists of the ‘90s, having produced songs for D’Angelo, TLC, and John Legend (to name a few). Just last year, Saadiq teamed up with Mary J. Blige for the song “Mighty River” from the film Mudbound, for which they received an Academy Award nomination for best original song. In a special performance for MOCAD, Saadiq will share the stage with Flint-based artist and activist Tunde Olaniran.
MUSIC At 80 years old, Wanda Jackson is still the reigning Queen of Rockabilly. Known for her distinctive searing voice and steadfast spirit, Jackson held her own during a time when rock ’n’ roll was an especially male-dominated genre. A true trailblazer, Jackson shared the bill with Elvis Presley in her early years, and in 1960 snagged a spot on the Top 40 with her version of Presley’s “Let’s Have a Party.” She would later explore country and gospel, but returned to her roots in 2011 when Jack White teamed up with the singer for a string of collaborations on his label, Third Man Records. Fittingly, TMR's Craig Brown Band rounds out the bill.
Doors open at 7 p.m.; 1265 Griswold St., Detroit; 313-2231600; thecrofoot.com; Tickets are $10-$12.
Doors open at 7 p.m. on the lawn of MOCAD’s Homestead; 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-8326622; elclubdetroit.com; Tickets are $25.
Doors open at 8 p.m.; 4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-2797382; elclubdetroit.com; Tickets are $23-$25.
the mighty funhouse
wsg jesse ray & the carolina catfish sunday 8/19
shaun martin’s go-go party Thursday 8/23
sarah shook & the disamers
FOR TICKETS & DINNER RESERVATIONS
345 E 9 MILE RD
FERNDALE, MI 48220
| July 18-24, 2018
IO T A P R U O N O S E IR F N NIGHTLY BO WEDNESDAY JULY 18TH A GATHERING OF IMAGINARY FRIENDS WEEKLY GARDEN PARTY - 5PM (FREE)
THIS WEEK MUSIC Wednesday, July 18 Boney James 7:30 p.m.; Chene Park, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; $15. Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five 8 p.m.; Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 10$. Kesha and Macklemore 7 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; $36.50+. STR8 Jazz No Chaser 9 p.m.; Northern Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit.
CORNHOLE LEAGUE 6:30PM ON-THE-GRASS ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PT! ~
Wilder Maker 8 p.m.; PJ’s Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $8.
THURSDAY, JULY 19TH POPE PAUL AND THE ILLEGALS, THE ZOTZ & THE DDT’S (ROCK(ABILLY)PUNK) DOORS @8PM
Alexa Dexa, Ex American and Scientific Sunshine 8 p.m.; Small’s, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck.
~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERIC WATERS! ~ FRIDAY, JULY 20TH DANA BUOY (AKRON/FAMILY) & DEVILFISH (FULL-BODY EXPERIENCE) DOORS @9 ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROB SMITH! ~ SATURDAY, JULY 21ST PICK YOUR PARTY SHOW TBD MONDAY, JULY 23RD FREE POOL ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARLTON! ~ TUESDAY, JULY 24TH CANINE TO FIVE PRESENTS: DRINKING WITH DOGS COME HELP SUPPORT DETROIT DOG RESCUE! BACKYARD ACCESS ONLY / ALWAYS LEASHED / PICK UP YOUR POOP HUMANS 21+ BARKING ALLOWED 6-9PM FRIDAY, JULY 27TH PRINTS, PATCHES & PANTIES BY CHRIS TURNER FRIDAY, JULY 27TH FRIENDS OF DENNIS WILSON, DARK RED & OBLISK SATURDAY, JULY 28TH STRATOS, DEAR DARKNESS & HEARTBREAK DALLAS AND THE UNFAITHFULS SUNDAY, JULY 29TH THE OLD ADAGE, YOUNG PUNK, NORTH BY NORTH & CARMEL LIBURDI
The Old Miami
3930 Cass • Cass Corridor • 313-831-3830
OPEN EVERY DAY INCLUDING HOLIDAYS INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK: THEOLDMIAMI CALL US FOR BOOKING! 313-831-3830
24 July 18-24, 2018 | metrotimes.com
Thursday, July 19
The Beach Boys 7:30 p.m.; Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy., Sterling Heights; $10+. Femi Kuti 7 p.m.; Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $29.50+. Grateful Shred 8 p.m.; El Club, 4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; $15-$20. Joe Nichols 7 p.m.; Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut St., Mount Clemens; 25$. Music Around Town — FSO Brass 5:30 p.m.; Flint Insitute of Music, 1025 Kearsley St., Flint; free. Sisterhood 8 p.m.; The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; $5. Stephen Boegehold Organ Trio 8 p.m.; Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; free.
Friday, July 20 Adventures With Vultures 7 p.m.; The Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; $10-$12. Armored Saint 7 p.m.; The Shelter, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $28+. Faster Horses Festival 10 a.m.; Michigan International Speedway, 12626 U.S. Highway 12, Brooklyn; $199+. Friday Night Live! Huun Huur Tu 7 p.m.; Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; free.
2030 Park Ave., Detroit; $10. Ms. Lauryn Hill 5 p.m.; Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy., Sterling Heights; $25+. Murphy’s Law 8 p.m.; Small’s Bar, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck; $12 Advance/$15 day of show. Ne-Yo and Brandy 8 p.m.; Chene Park, 2600 Atwater St., Detroit; $41+. Redeye Raccoon 9 p.m.; Kelly’s Bar, 2403 Holbrook Ave., Hamtramck. Sound Bath at the Schvitzwith FIT Siegel 8 p.m.; El Club, 4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; $15-$50. Super Birthday 9 p.m.; Outer Limits Lounge, 5507 Caniff St., Hamtramck. Ted Nugent 7 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; $25.50+. Texas King 8 p.m.; PJ’s Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $8. Vans Warped Tour 11 am; Meadow Brook Theatre, 207 Wilson Hall, Rochester; $45+.
Saturday, July 21 Alex Cameron 8 p.m.; El Club, 4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; $13-$15. Blue Pontiac 9 p.m.; Trixie’s, 2656 Carpenter St., Hamtramck; $5. Crash Detroit 2018 Showcase 8 p.m.; Marble Bar, 1501 Holden St., Detroit; $10-$12. The Evan Mercer Trio 6 p.m.; Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; no cover. Faster Horses Festival 10 am; Michigan International Speedway, 12626 U.S. Highway 12, Brooklyn; $199. FERG 7 p.m.; Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $25-$143. Gustavo Cortinas Snapshot 9:30 p.m.; Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; $10. High Pilot, The Purps, Cloudstrider 9:30 p.m.; Kelly’s Bar, 2403 Holbrook Ave., Hamtramck. Kindred Music Fest noon; Roosevelt Park, 2200 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $35+. Maggie Koerner 8:30 p.m.; Otus Supply, 345 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; $10-$15.
Lonely Parade 8 p.m.; Trixie’s, 2656 Carpenter St., Hamtramck; $6.
Mobley 7 p.m.; Detroit Institute of Music Education, 1265 Griswold St,, Detroit; $10-$12.
Michael Zaporski’s FUTUREVISIONS Quintet 9 p.m.; Cliff Bell’s,
Saint Motel 6:30 p.m.; Beacon Park, 1901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; free.
Mobley, Underground at DIME, Saturday, July 21.
Tedeshi Trucks Band 7 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; $19.50-$89.50. Wiz Khalifa & Rae Sremmurd 6 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; $45+.
Sunday, July 22 Faster Horses Festival 10 a.m.; Michigan International Speedway, 12626 U.S. Highway 12, Brooklyn; TBD. Godsmack and Shinedown 7 p.m.; DTE Energy Music Theatre, 7774 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston; $25+. Jarrod Champion 11:30 am; Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; No cover. Radiohead 7 p.m.; Little Caesars Arena, 2645 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $80. Rent Strike 9 p.m.; Ghost Light, 2314 Caniff St., Hamtramck; $5-$7. Summer at the MOCAD Homestead series: Raphael Saadiq and Tunde Olaniran 7 p.m.; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
(MOCAD), 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $25.
Lollygagger 8 p.m.; Kelly’s Bar, 2403 Holbrook Ave., Hamtramck.
Wanda Jackson 8 p.m.; El Club, 4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; $23-$25.
The Novel Ideas 7:30 p.m.; The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; Free.
Monday, July 23
Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, The Cult 7 p.m.; Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy., Sterling Heights; $21+.
Howlin Rain 8 p.m.; El Club, 4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; $12-$15. Summer Carillon Concert Series: Philippe Beullens 7 p.m.; Carillons at The University of Michigan, 881 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; free.
Tuesday, July 24 AC + Dr. Sushi Present: Foodman (Japan) and Viki Victoria 6 p.m.; PJ’s Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $10-$12. Alexis Lombre 8 p.m.; Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; Free. Dennis Coffey 8-11 p.m.; Northern Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; no cover. L7 7 p.m.; Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $25.
ART “A Difficult Pair” Opening Reception Saturday 5 p.m.; Playground Detroit, 2845 Gratiot Ave., Detroit. Artist Demo: Ellen Rutt noon Saturday and noon Sunday; Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; Free. Ascension Art and Music Installation Saturday 6 p.m.; Norwest Gallery of Art, 19556 Grand River Ave., Detroit; $16.62. Star Wars and the Power of Costume Tuesdays-Sundays.; Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave.,
| July 18-24, 2018
Saint Motel, Beacon Park, Saturday, July 22.
Detroit; $7-$24. Rejecting Reality Sunday 7 p.m.; Red Bull House of Art, 1551 Winder St., Detroit; Free. Salad Days 1989-1999: Shepard Fairey Tuesdays-Sundays.; Cranbrook Art Museum, 39221 N. Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills. Tal R: this is not Detroit Mondays-Sundays.; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit. The World of Charles and Ray Eames Mondays-Sundays.; Henry Ford Museum (Anderson Theater), 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn; $21$23. Thursdays at the Museum: Highlights of the Permanent Collection Thursdays, 1 p.m.; Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit; Free. Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986 Through Oct. 7; Cranbrook Academy of Art, 39221 N. Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills.
26 July 18-24, 2018 | metrotimes.com
Xeriscape Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon; Library Street Collective, 1260 Library St., Detroit.
Institute of Arts, Detroit; Free.
COMEDY All-Star Showdown Saturdays, 8
FILM Crumbs Friday 7 p.m.; Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; $7.50-$9.50.
& 10 p.m.; Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; $18. BarProv: An Improv Open Mic Wednesdays, 8 p.m.; Ghost Light, 2314
Fahrenheit 451 Friday 3 p.m.; Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Free.
Caniff St., Hamtramck; free.
It Came From Outer Space Thursday 3 p.m.; Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Free.
Comedy Showcase Thursday 8 p.m.; Otus Supply, 345 E. Nine Mile Rd., Comedy Slice Block Party Thurs-
The Hidden Fortress Tuesday 3 p.m.; Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Free.
days, 7 p.m.; Ant Hall, 2320 Caniff St.,
The Last Angel of History & Afronauts Saturday 7 p.m.; Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; $7.50-$9.50.
verts Tuesday 7 p.m.; Fox Theatre, 2211
Them! Saturday 3 p.m.; Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Free. When Worlds Collide Wednesday 3 p.m.; Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit
Hamtramck; $5. Dan and Phil: Interactive IntroWoodward Ave., Detroit; $34-$153. Dave Landau, Jeff Horste Saturday 7:30 p.m.; Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut St., Mount Clemens; $20. Want your event listed? Email email@example.com or go to metrotimes. com/addevent to do it yourself!
| July 18-24, 2018
Fast Forward In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert (hologram) Fox Theatre, Oct. 20.
Jason Mraz Meadow Brook Music Festival, July 28, 8 p.m., $25
Liz Phair Majestic Theatre, Sept. 13, 8 p.m., $25-$30+
Mo Pop Festival West Riverfront Park, July 28-29, 1 p.m., $95+
Bruno Mars and Cardi B Little Caesars Arena, Sept. 15, 7 p.m., $131+
Smashing Pumpkins Little Caesars Arena, Aug. 5, 7 p.m., $29+
Interpol Royal Oak Music Theatre, Sept. 16, 8 p.m., $34+
Lynyrd Skynyrd DTE Energy Music Theatre, Aug. 10, 6 p.m., $35.50+
Ozzy Osbourne DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sept. 19, 7 p.m., $47.50+
David Byrne Fox Theatre, Aug. 10, 8 p.m., $74.50+
Audiotree Music Festival Arcadia Creek Festival Place, Sept. 22-23, 11 a.m., $45-$80
REO Speedwagon and Chicago DTE Energy Music Theatre, Aug. 12, 7 p.m.; $25.50+
Leon Bridges Fox Theatre, Sept. 25, 7 p.m.; Tickets are $42+
Beyoncé and Jay-Z Ford Field, Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.; $49.50+
Nicki Minaj and Future Little Caesars Arena, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.; $36+
311 and the Offspring Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, Aug. 14, 7 p.m., $23.50+
4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince Fox Theatre, Sept. 28, 8 p.m., $29.50
Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town DTE Energy Music Theatre, Aug. 24, 7 p.m., $76+
James Bay Masonic Temple, Sept. 29, 7 p.m., $43+
Deep Purple and Judas Priest Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, Aug. 24, 7 p.m., $30+ Gladys Knight Fox Theatre, Aug. 26, 7 p.m.; $49.50+ Miguel Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre, Aug., 29, 7:30 p.m.; $29.50+ Boy George & Culture Club, B-52’s DTE Energy Music Theatre, Aug. 30, 7 p.m.; $20+
28 July July18-24, 18-24,2018 2018 | |metrotimes.com metrotimes.com 28
Maroon 5 Little Caesars Arena, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m., $121 Borns Royal Oak Music Theatre, Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m., $29+ Christina Aguilera Fox Theatre, Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m., $32.50+ Nine Inch Nails Fox Theatre, Oct. 22 and 23, $75+ MC50 50th Anniversary Tour The Fillmore, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m., $25+
| July 18-24, 2018
Brian Barnes, aka P8tience.
The P8tience of Brian Barnes
How a Detroit emcee fought through poverty to make a career out of music By Kahn Santori Davison
A chilly Michigan night sur-
rounds the combustible energy inside of Mix Factory One Studios, where artists, managers, and producers are all in different pockets of the two-floor complex talking music and business. In the era of home-based studios, Mix One is still thriving due to high grade equipment and professional business practices, and it’s here where the emcee known as P8tience, born Brian Barnes, sits at the studio’s massive control board listening to a newly recorded track for his latest album, Good Karma. Barnes sits up in the recliner and looks over at his manger Darius Mitchell and supporter and former manager Detroit Tre as they give him looks of approval. “I think it’s done,” Barnes says.
“We’ve done about 150 songs.” Barnes grew up in Detroit among society’s worst ills — poverty, violence, and addiction. “My mom was on drugs, she would bust up for months at a time,” he says. “We wouldn’t see her for days or weeks.” Barnes’ father was a mechanic who was battling his own demons. Both his parents would get drunk, high, and fight. During one incident Barnes’ father hit his mother in the head with a beer bottle. This left Barnes in a position to have to look after his three siblings. Because of his mother’s disappearing acts, Barnes and his siblings regularly missed school, lived by borrowing food from neighbors, and became clever at avoiding visits from Child Protective Services. “It got to the point in fourth
30 July 18-24, 2018 | metrotimes.com
grade that when you heard a knock on the door you had to be quiet,” he says. “I was trying to keep my brothers and sisters together and make sure we ate.” Barnes says he can’t remember any details of school from first through fourth grade. After missing more than 150 days of school, C.P.S. finally caught up with Barnes and his siblings and threatened to remove them from the care of their mother. That’s when Barnes’ grandmother stepped in and promised Social Services that they would attend school regularly. The plan changed slightly. “She took us to school one time and we had to go through a metal detector,” he says. “[There were] like kids be in here carrying guns and knives. She told them we wouldn’t be back, and that same
day she enrolled us in Southfield public schools.” Barnes’ grandmother had recently won a lawsuit from Cedar Point. (“A roller coaster caught her leg and [dragged] her,” he says.) With the settlement money she was able to buy a home in Southfield, which Barnes says was previously owned by one of the Temptations. Barnes stayed with her and attended school in Southfield during the week, but went home to his mother’s house on the weekends. The contrast was stark. “It was like you can have everything you want with your grandmother, but when you go home it’s nothing,” he says. By 1998 Barnes started getting into trouble — stealing from stores and people, and breaking into cars.
KAHN SANTORI DAVISON
Barnes pauses and composes his thoughts. “This one guy wanted to rob this liquor store. He knew I had a gun,” he says. “We got caught. His parents made him tell on me to make sure I took the brunt of the shit. I couldn’t go back to school. I had to get a GED, and if I didn’t they were going to charge me as an adult.” Barnes was 16 years old and sitting in an Oxford boot-camp facility. “Jail actually got me into writing,” he says. “I used to write poems about shit I wanted to say about my mans who couldn’t come see me because of his parents. I always had this meekness and calmness, and that’s where the name P8tience came from.” Barnes had always been a hip-hop fan. His childhood was filled with Jay-Z, Biggie, and Tupac, but it was DMX that he related to the most. “DMX made me feel like I wasn’t crazy,” Barnes says. “I was able to help my brothers and sisters. X was telling those same stories.” Barnes walked out of bootcamp with a GED and not much else. He went back to robbing, stealing, and a little dopedealing. His grandmother was fighting
dementia, his mother was still battling addiction, and his relationship with his father was still rocky. With no support system, at age 21 Barnes walked away from street life to focus strictly on music. A friend introduced him to King Ray, and Barnes had contributed four songs on the collab album, Prelude to History, released under Ray’s Historic Records imprint. “It never really got no legs. We did as much as we could,” he says. “We did a few shows but niggas don’t really understand the business. You get out here at these venues and these open mics and see that it’s 100 niggas doing the same things. If your confidence ain’t there, you be like maybe I can just go back to doing some other shit.” Though the project didn’t make a lot of noise, Barnes spent the next three years learning production and recording techniques at Ray’s Thinkers Lab recording studio in Southfield. By 2007 Barnes had became a father, married his child’s mother, and decided to step up his commitment to music. “I felt if I took that rap shit serious it could be my career,” he says. “I knew I
couldn’t be the guy that could work 30 years at a plant.” Barnes says his daughter, Madison, gave him an epiphany: “There was no more time to play,” he says. Barnes met and started working with an up-and-coming talented trio of producers called No Speakerz. He released a dozen songs to build a buzz for himself, and in 2011, his mixtape, Industry Ready made its debut. The mixtape was all Detroit gangsta — tales of chasing sex, alcohol, and everything that money can buy. He was a hustler’s hustler who prided himself as a lyrical street rapper. His singles “Balla Blog” and “Hands on You” became club mainstays and underground hits. In 2012 he released his second mixtape, Industry Ready 2.0. Around the the same time, Barnes ran into Detroit hip-hop royalty Obie Trice at the studio. Trice had already seen Barnes perform, and was familiar with his music. “He told me he knew my music, started reciting my lyrics,” Barnes says. “He brought me into his studio and played me his whole third album.” Trice had just severed ties with Shady Records and had started his own label, Black Market Entertainment. After Trice lost his mother to breast cancer in 2012, he invited Barnes on a six-city Midwest tour and signed him to Black Market Entertainment. “You got to imagine doing an open mic in the Old Miami, and then I’m on tour and I ain’t got to perform in front of 10 niggas no more,” he says. “At a minimum I’m performing in front of 400 and 500 people a night. I’m making money now.” Barnes would do seven more tours with Trice in total, doing a full set as an opening act and then playing the role of hype man for Trice’s set. Although Trice gave him the green light for an album, Barnes never managed to release a full-length project, although he continuously fed the streets mixtapes and singles (including the phenomenal 90s Jacking for Beats mixtape). Barnes admits he failed to properly leverage the exposure, stage time, and fanbase into a solid foundation for himself. He takes a deep breath. “I didn’t do right by it,” he says. “When I had the backing, the money, the co-sign — I could have parlayed that into something bigger. I thought it would be there forever.” But Barnes had gotten a bite of his dream. Being signed to Black Market allowed him to feed his family and pay his bills while doing something that he loved to do. After five years he decided it was best to move on from Trice’s camp in 2016. Barnes says it was a mutual decision, and that he still has nothing but love for Trice. “He allowed me to be able to put food in my daughter’s and son’s
mouths,” he says. “When I didn’t have no options, Obie Trice came in and pulled me out the mud.” So Barnes was back to trying to create a support system and keep his income flowing. He was now divorced and unsigned. He wanted to get back to his fans in Europe, but trying to navigate through the logistics with no backing was challenging. He joined the group Crown Royal, but that ended before it truly got started. By 2018, his music had also changed. He was older, and no longer interested in recording a mixtape full of the same old trap tales he’d been rapping about since the days he was still trapping. Enter “Keep Calm,” the single that was released in early 2017 with the help of his new management team Black Collar Music Group. The single featured the chorus: “I can’t keep calm, I got a son and he could have been Trayvon/ I can’t keep calm, I got a nephew and he could have been Mike Brown.” “Here I am traveling and I see kids getting murdered, and I’m thinking about my son that I used to see every night and open the door to make sure he was sleep,” Barnes says. “And I don’t get to do that anymore because he lives with his mom.” Things are different now. Barnes says his mother is in rehab. He has a better relationship with his father, and he remarried in 2017. He still dwells within a plethora of boom-bap, jazzy, and trap production sounds. Released earlier this month, his latest single, “I Am,” continues to reflect the grown man perspectives of his current reality. “Sixteen years old and two felonies, I’ll show you how to be a player Bill Bellamy/ Stop playing I’m the real McCoy, I just want to show you what that type of pressure can do to little boys,” he raps. The track features Detroit emcees Jovie and Stretch Money as all three artists explore the lives and decisions of their parents that have created the good but complicated men the rappers have grown into. Barnes has a lot planned for the last half of 2018. He has five show dates in Detroit, Chicago, and Ohio over the next 30 days, a new album set to release in late August, and a “30 for 30” weekly freestyle series in which he will be dropping a new freestyle every Friday for 30 weeks. “I try to stay true to the music,” Barnes says. “At the end of the day, I’ve been in the streets. ... As long as the emotion is real and relevant, then I’m going to do it.” P8tience will perform as part of the 2018 Summer Showcase at the Bullfrog Bar and Grill, 15414 Telegraph Rd., Redford Charter Twp., 313-533-4477; facebook. com/bullfrogbar; Performances start at 10:30 p.m.; Tickets are $10.
| July 18-24, 2018
Lonely Parade on growing up in The Pits By Sara Barron
Canadian rock band Lonely
Parade’s forthcoming record, The Pits, is a quintessential coming-of-age album. The three singles preceding the album’s release map out the peaks and valleys of young adulthood, landmarked by the fast food chains and parking lots of Peterborough, Ontario, the hometown where the band’s members grew up. The band — Charlotte Dempsey (bass), Augusta Veno (guitar and vocals), and Anwyn (Ani) Climenhage (drums) — say they all met around 15 years ago when their dads took them to the zoo. Years later, they began playing music together, mostly influenced by their parents’ record collections. “We would just learn one song together and hang out,” Climenhage says. Luckily, they had some pretty cool parents. “I think the most covered song was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’” adds Dempsey. Like most bands in their neophyte
stages, Lonely Parade had some growing pains. “It was an incredibly awkward, long process [to get] to where we are now,” says Climenhage. “Our earliest music sounds like children writing music.” Though the band has three former releases under its belt, the group admits that The Pits, due in September, is the first record they feel truly represents them. “To be honest, I really think it took us until this record to find our sound,” says Climenhage. The record bleeds with the angst that comes from feeling trapped in a small town that you have long outgrown. “We’d been in Peterborough for 15 years, and were looking for new experiences,” says Dempsey. (The band is now based in Montreal.) “I personally had burned a lot of bridges with some formerly close friends, so I was looking for a fresh start.” The mundanity and apathy that comes from burning out of a social scene per-
32 July 18-24, 2018 | metrotimes.com
meates the album, even with it’s most fun track, “Night Cruise.” The song is about driving around with a crush in a town where there’s nothing to do but bounce from drive-thru to drive-thru, hoping someone will have the guts to make a first move — an all-too-familiar feeling for anyone who grew up in the suburbs or a city lacking in all-ages art and music venues. In fact, The Pits covers most all of the rites of passage of growing up: being bored, falling in love, falling out of love, thinking about death, not liking your new roommate, grilled cheese dinners, Tinder romances, etc. In the band’s latest single, “Not Nice,” Veno sings, “I’m wondering now if you should’ve swiped left/ You’re the flakiest person I’ve ever met,” putting the frustrations of millions of her contemporaries into words. Although The Pits could be mistaken as a teen angst album at face value, the
band tackles topics like mental illness and manipulation with wisdom and honesty. “I’m So Tired,” captures the anxiousness and self doubt that people who have seasonal depression experience in the dark of winter. But at the end of the day, Lonely Parade isn’t trying to push an agenda or bemoan their misfortune with The Pits, but it hopes that listeners can find solidarity in its songs. “I don’t know if there’s any lesson to be learned from this record,” says Dempsey. “Moreso, I hope that it is something that people can relate to and hold onto when they’re dealing with similar situations. Maybe the takeaway can be that things can change, things can become less bad.” Lonely Parade will perform with local acts Girl Fight and Emily Roll on Friday, July 20 at Trixie’s Bar, 2656 Carpenter St., Hamtramck; Doors at 8 p.m.; Tickets are $6.
| July 18-24, 2018
MUSIC The sound of young Detroit
Kindred Music & Culture Festival touches down in Roosevelt Park By Imani Mixon
Over the past decade, desti-
nation festival culture has exploded, with acts from all across the board and people from all over the world gathering in one place to party up with peers who have the same tastes. Now, Brooklyn, New York’s best kept black secret, Afropunk, has a ticket price and international offshoots. Chicago has Lollapalooza and Pitchfork. California has Coachella. Nevada has Burning Man. In other words, we’re way past Woodstock. But what if you didn’t have to go anywhere? What if you could convene in your own backyard and celebrate the music that’s been made right at home, showcasing its pioneers in all of their emergent glory? In just a few weekends, the inaugural Kindred Music & Culture Festival will touch down in Roosevelt Park, and thanks to founder Leah Hill, Detroit will have a brand new festival to add to its lineup of summertime fun. Hill says she aspires to entice different pockets of the city’s music and culture scene to create an experience that feels familiar. “For me it’s always been wanting to do business, but wanting to do business that means something,” she says. The day of performances, vendors, and activities has been outlined since Dec. 15, 2016, when Hill was completing an entrepreneurship class at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She says she wanted to shake up the status quo with an idea that was people-focused and impactful. In its green-inked rough draft form, filling up one page of notes in Hill’s U-M notebook, the “Black Culture Fest” outline included key event planning elements like city permits and promotions, plus a bulleted list of sponsors. She pegged the festival’s initial projected date at early June 2018. This idea has since grown into the Kindred Music & Culture Festival, set for Saturday — just one month after the initial plan. As they say, a goal is a dream with a deadline. While in school, Hill says she toyed
with the idea of following a more traditional path by scoring a flashy job as a fashion buyer for Bloomingdale’s, where she’d likely have to move to a bigger city and wear all black every day per the company guidebook. When we visit her, Hill is the lone employee in a three-person PR firm called Mario Morrow and Associates; the rest of the team has left for the day. Hill has a fresh fade between a pair of hoops, and she dons a breezy black sundress (selected by choice, not by company policy) and a small stack of silver and gold chains. As she moves from her desk to a more fitting seat at a board table in the center of the office, she talks about how she got from business school to launching her own festival in a notoriously musical city. “I wanted to do something that would feed the culture in a way that we don’t necessarily see in Detroit,” she says. “I hope that Kindred can allow people who otherwise move in different circles to find this place where they’re all together and there’s this opportunity for young black people in Detroit to walk away having built some relationships across the city.” Shortly after returning to Detroit, Hill realized that the festival idea couldn’t be a one-woman show, so she enlisted the help of two other women, Veniece Session and Chelsi Modest, to bring her green scribbles to fruition. Session, the production manager describes her role as “making sure it has that boom and that kick.” Modest, Hill’s business school mentor-turned-accounting aficionado, is there to ensure that the festival is economically feasible. The trio hit the ground running and held their first team meeting on New Year’s Day (no better day to embark on new resolutions) to talk through the big ideas as well as the necessities, like a venue and an artist lineup. The crew did a temperature check of the city’s music scene and chose an array of artists, hailing from the east and west sides, some singers and some rappers, some with a crazy fan base and others fresh off of a new project.
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Leah Hill shows off Roosevelt Park.
“To some extent, the Detroit sound is so what people want to hear that if you’re not that it seems like you don’t get as much recognition from the city,” Hill says. “Then it’s weird because the Detroit sound doesn’t make it out the city.” The initial idea was to entice big name acts to grace the city with their presence, but the team pivoted to exhibit a more accessible and immediate roster of music- and culture-makers from the city. They landed on a unique selection featuring soul singers, newcomers, and rappers. The lineup boasts a fairly even male-female representation with a multi-talented roster including Tiny Jag, Willie Mac Jr. Monalyse, Supakaine, Bevlove, SupercoolWicked, and headliner Payroll Giovanni, plus a DJ set by Dej Loaf’s official DJ, WS Kharri. In addition to the daylong artistic extravaganza,
WILLIE MAC JR.
attendees are encouraged to support the incoming generation of Detroit creatives by bringing new paint supplies that will be donated to Mackenzie ElementaryMiddle School. Kindred Fest was intentionally designed to bring Detroit’s creatives of color together — a place where attendees can feel seen and heard. “I’m looking forward to seeing genuine black smiles in Detroit,” Session says. Kindred Music & Culture Festival is from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 21 at Roosevelt Park; 2405 Vernor Hwy., Detroit; kindredfestival.com; General admission starts at $35 and will increase to $60 on Thursday, July 19. Tickets will not be available at the gate but tickets will be sold on Eventbrite until capacity.
| July 18-24, 2018
Mario Moore, “A Students Dream,” oil on canvas.
Inaugural Detroit Art Week takes form By Lee DeVito
Shortly after arts writer and
publicist Amani Olu arrived to metro Detroit by way of New York in 2016, he began working on the campaign of Afrofuturist and art scene fixture Ingrid LaFleur’s ultimately unsuccessful bid for mayor. It was then that he says he began to get introduced to various local galleries and art groups around town. Thus, the Detroit Art Week was born. Olu says the inaugural event, which kicks off Friday, mostly works by taking things that were already happening and uniting them all under one banner. “I’m thinking about an international audience, and I said, ‘Well, if you come
to Detroit for the first time, and you’re experiencing art, what should you see and what should you know?’” he says. “I felt like it’s important that we celebrate the people who have been living and working in this community for a long time, not just like newer, trendier, flashier things that are happening.” With that, the event kicks off with a dual exhibition: Repetition, Rhythm and Vocab featuring Detroit abstract art stalwarts Carole Harris and Allie McGhee at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Olu says for the event’s first year, it was important for him to pay homage to black artists like Harris and McGhee.
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DAVID KLEIN GALLERY
“Let’s just be honest, I don’t get to come to Detroit and be in this space without the foundation that they’ve laid,” he says. “This is really their space. I’m actually coming in as a visitor and saying, ‘Hey, I have this skill set, I have these relationships, these resources, these connections, but you guys are really the stars.’” Olu says it was also important to him to highlight artists of color. “Detroit is a predominantly black city. I’m from Philadelphia, which has a huge black American culture,” he says. “The two cities are very similar in a lot of ways, and I felt like I wanted to create some foundation on which we can build.” Starting at 4:30 p.m., the DIA will host a talk with Harris and McGhee, moderated by Olu. Other events include an artist talk featuring Mario Moore at David Klein Gallery’s Detroit branch (4:30 p.m. on Saturday), an
opening reception featuring artists Victoria Shaheen and George Vidas at Playground Detroit (6 p.m. on Saturday), a night of DJs to benefit Cristo Rey High School at the Stanley Kresge Estate (9 p.m. on Sunday), and an avant-garde musical performance at the recently re-christened Red Bull Arts Detroit (formerly the Red Bull House of Art; 7 p.m. on Sunday). All told, Olu says Detroit Art Week will include the work of more than 100 artists, nearly 20 galleries, six studio visits, and eight events. “You sort of see art in the day and then you party at night,” Olu says. “That’s how it’s supposed to be.” Detroit Art Week runs from Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22 at various art galleries and venues; The full schedule is available at detroitartweek.org; Events are free.
| July 18-24, 2018
Tessa Thompson and Lakeith Stanfield star in director Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You.
The virtues of phoning it in By George Elkind
We’re not likely to get a sharper
comedy this summer than Sorry to Bother You, rapper-turned-writer and director Boots Riley’s new dystopian satire on American competition — set in an ugly present a whole lot like our own. The movie kicks off with an interview for a job at Regal View, a knowingly sleazy telemarketing agency which finely foreshadows the rest of the movie. Every participant’s a bullshitter, but mostly because they have to be — at least when it comes to their job. That includes our lead as much as anyone: Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield of Get Out and Snowden), whose stooped, shambling posture, natty style, and default expression of barelyveiled shock help him register perfectly as our mole in the movie’s just-askew world. Faking his credentials to find a way out of his uncle’s Oakland garage, Cash snags the phone sales job (they don’t care about his qualifications) but struggles at it until a coworker (Danny Glover) clues him in to a key trade secret: “Use your white voice.” In Cash’s case, his “white voice” is nebbishy and queasily unnatural (an overdub nailed by David Cross of Arrested Development), and almost instantaneously catapults him toward
the upper reaches of both the company and America’s class system — allegorized here as the company’s “upstairs” reaches, where “white voices only” stands as a strict, if officially unwritten, rule. The need for this burlesque at Regal View’s disparate strata doesn’t play as happenstance or some quirk of the telemarketing industry. Even over the phone (as in his first job interview), Cash is forced to play to white aspirations to succeed. His race, identity, loyalties, priorities — ultimately, his overall sense of self — are necessarily set aside for him to succeed at his job, in ways that align at times with his consent or interests but very rarely with his will or desires. Even as he ascends the (dramatically cartoonish) corporate ladder almost overnight, his racial background is brought into play now and again — most often as something to perform for others’ entertainment, or his own sense of credibility — but only at the behest of his managers and overseers, almost all of whom are white. The movie’s version of modern segregation — like Get Out’s, in more ways than one — seems to function largely by separating individuals from their own selves, and dampening any moral or social consciousness to make for more pliant workers.
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This schism — of achieving radical, overnight success (the Bay Area startup dream) but at the price of one’s sense of self — will seem as familiar to moviegoers as it will to most American workers. And here is a movie that condescends to no one, and which pretends to almost nothing — looking at our world and rendering a just-slightly distorted vision that illuminates it keenly. Cash explores it as we do, and finds it just as strange; the elevator to riches is plush and gilded, the VIP room of the local bar perplexing and filled with lame showboats, and corporate corruption runs top to bottom. Though the movie excels in depicting the flashpoints of moral compromise — relationship friction, union disputes, and the overt and not-coincidental moral horrors of well-paying jobs — its masterstroke is really that this sense of tension is diffuse and unavoidable. Corruption, class, racial tension, and the burdens of inequality are everywhere; they’re merely inflamed by the above. The entry-level telemarketers are serving the same masters as Cash, the elevated corporate stooge, and as the movie delicately elaborates (and does so without apology), they’ll all compromise themselves to varying degrees for the right sum of money — as do we all.
Sorry to Bother You Rated R Run-time: 105 minutes If the satirical subject matter here sounds a bit familiar, I’ll suggest that, while the movie has its fair share of surprises, its style may actually be its best justification. To me it bests Get Out in its sly, casual pitch (many of its actors and technicians come from TV, which may account for this) and sense of pervasive, unshowy personality. Even as it becomes more hauntingly strange, Riley’s direction is relatively straight — characters are shot mostly wide, from the knees or ankles up, the camera serving as our stable eye on an impeccably grounded vision of Oakland, rooted in an increasingly woozy, tilted world. Its finer touches, too, all mean something — whether we’re taking in Cash’s patterned suits, which seem to be the last refuge for his sense of self, or his girlfriend Detroit’s (Tessa Thompson) handmade jewelry, which serve both as artistic outlet and guarantor of her activist bona fides, the clothes and dwellingplaces and sidewalks all feel like places you could walk around as the days and weeks on-screen pass by. Its characters’ compromises hold weight because the characters feel fleshed-out and lived-in. They actually have selves to lose.
| July 18-24, 2018
I’m a 20-year-old submissive woman. I’m currently in a confusing affair with a 50-year-old dominant married man. He lives in Europe and has two kids close to my age. We met online when I was 17 and starting to explore my BDSM desires, and we’ve been texting daily ever since. We’ve since met in different countries and spent a total of three weeks together. Those weeks were amazing, both sexually and emotionally, and he says he loves me. I date vanilla boys my age, with his full support, while we continue to text daily. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to blow up his family if our affair is discovered. But at the same time, our relationship has really helped me navigate my kinks and my sexuality. Expecting him to leave his wife for me is a highly unrealistic cliché, I am aware. Yet I fear I’ve become dependent on his conversation and advice. I’m graduating soon and have a big job lined up in a big city. I’ll finally be financially independent, and I’d like to start making the right choices. Any perspective you have would be much appreciated. —Things Must Improve
He is not going to leave his wife for you, and you shouldn’t assume his wife is going to leave him if this affair is discovered. Divorce may be the default setting in the United States in the wake of an affair, TMI, but Europeans take a much more, well, European attitude toward infidelity. Definitely not cricket, not necessarily fatal. And you don’t need him to leave his wife for you, TMI. OK, OK — you’re in love, and the three weeks you’ve managed to spend together were amazing. But don’t fall into the trap of believing a romantic relationship requires a tidy ending; film, television, and literature beat it into our heads that romantic relationships end either happily at the altar (à la Pride and Prejudice) or tragically at the morgue (à la Forensic Files). But romantic relationships take many forms, TMI, as does romantic success. And this relationship, such as it is, this relationship as-is, sounds like an ongoing success. In other words, TMI, I think you’re confused about this relationship because there won’t be a resolution that fits into a familiar mold. But you don’t need a resolution: You can continue to text with him, and he can continue to provide you with his advice and support while you continue to date single, available, and kinky men (no more vanilla boys!) closer to your own age and/or on your own continent. Eventually you’ll meet a new guy you’re crazy about — someone you can see for more than one week a year — and you’ll feel less dependent on and connected to your old flame.
While on vacation, I went for a full body massage. The first half of the massage
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was great. When the masseuse asked me to flip on my back, things took a turn. She uncovered one of my legs and began massaging my thigh. As she worked on my inner thigh, her finger grazed my scrotum. Then it happened again. And again. She was working on my thigh, but it felt like I was getting my balls caressed. I began to worry I was getting a visible erection. Then I started to panic when I felt like I might actually come. I tried hard to clamp down and think about baseball and senior citizens, but I wound up having an orgasm. She eventually moved to my arms, shoulders, etc., but meanwhile I’m lying there with jizz cooling on myself. Am I guilty of #MeToo bad behavior? Should I have said something or asked her to stop? Is it possible she didn’t have any clue? I tipped her extra, just in case she was mortified, though I didn’t get the sense she was because nothing changed after I came in terms of her massaging me. (She didn’t hurry away from my legs or rush to finish my massage.) I still feel really weird about the whole thing. I get massages frequently, this has never happened before, and I certainly didn’t go into it looking for this result. —Lost Opportunity At De-escalation
If it all went down as you described, LOAD, you aren’t guilty of “#MeToo bad behavior.” It’s not uncommon for people to become unintentionally aroused during a nonerotic massage; it’s more noticeable when it happens to men, of course, but it happens to women, too. “Erections do happen,” a masseuse told me when I ran your letter past her. “So long as guys don’t suddenly ask for a ‘happy ending,’ expose themselves, or — God help me — attempt to take my hand and place it on their erection, they haven’t done anything wrong.” Since this hasn’t happened to you before, LOAD, I don’t think you should waste too much time worrying about it happening again. But if you’re concerned this one massage created a powerful erotic association and you’re likely to blow a load the next time a masseuse so much as looks at one of your thighs, go ahead and have a quick wank before your appointment.
Living my truth permits others in my fairly conservative circles — Christian family struggling to accept a gay son, colleagues in a traditionally masculine field — to accept gay/other/different folks. I identify as a bottom, and until recently I thought I had erectile dysfunction because I would literally go soft at the thought of topping another man. I should mention that I’m black in the Pacific Northwest, so there is this odd “BBC” fixation and an expectation from many guys that I will top. However, I am usually very submissive and drawn
By Dan Savage
to hypermasculine, dominant guys. But I recently noticed an attraction to married guys — specifically, submissive bottom masculine/muscular married guys who like to wear lingerie. I met a few and became this dominant guy who fit the stereotype most guys expect when they see me online or in person. Now I’m very confused. I tried topping recently, because a married guy begged me to. He said, “You’ll never know if you like it until you try it!” Which is the same thing my traditional uncles have said to me about women. My life would be so much easier if I just married a woman! So this sudden turn from bottom to top is troubling me. I don’t think it is possible to turn straight, but I didn’t think I was a top until a few weeks ago. So am I capable of turning straight? That would validate everything my homophobic family members have said. I’m repulsed by vaginas but fascinated by boobs. Have you seen/heard of things like this? —Praying The Straight Away
If you’re a regular reader, PTSA, you’ve seen letters in this space from straight-identified guys into cock. Many of these guys have described themselves as being fascinated by cock but repulsed by men; some of these guys seek out sex with trans women who’ve kept their dicks. Your thing for hot guys in lingerie and your thing for boobs might be the gay flip of this erotic script — boobs fascinate you, but you’re not into the genitalia most women have. Muscular guys in lingerie turn you on — big pecs can fill out a lacy bra just as alluringly as big boobs — and it’s possible you might enjoy being with a trans woman who got boobs but kept her dick. All that said, PTSA, discovering after years of bottoming that you enjoy topping certain types of men — masculine/muscular married guys who beg for your dick while wearing lingerie — doesn’t mean you’re “capable” of turning straight. Going from bottom to versatile isn’t the same thing as going from men to women. And being fascinated by a body part that typically comes attached to people, i.e., women, who fall outside your usual “erotic target interest,” as the sex researchers say, isn’t a sign that your uncles were right all along. In short, PTSA, you aren’t potentially straight — you’re gay and a little more complicated, interesting, and expansive than you realized at first. P.S. On behalf of all the dudes who have objectified you with this “BBC” stuff and made you feel anything other than proud to be primarily a bottom, please accept my apology. On the Lovecast, it’s hard to date when you’re a sexuality professor: savagelovecast. com.
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CULTURE ARIES: March 21 – April 20
All around you, there are clear signs that what you have been aiming for is about to come into being. If that’s hard to fathom, prior to any rebirth a lot of things start falling away. And what seems more apparent than any glimmer of hope that you are turning a corner is the fact that you feel stuck. Everything is exactly the opposite of what it appears to be, so take heart. With what you have going on in yourself, in your work, and in your relationships, it looks to me like you are about to rebirth, redeem, and/or reinvent yourself out of the chaos that shows up whenever life turns around. TAURUS: April 21 – May 20
By Cal Garrison
LEO: July 21 – Aug. 20
You are home free. Now that you’ve found the piece of you that had to lose itself in order to find yourself again, the desire to live and create is off the charts. What happens from here on out is bound to go up and down, but at the moment you are in a place where the fruits of your internal labors are giving you a chance to bask in the light for a while. Soak up all of it, and remember to be grateful for what spirit does for us when we bow to our lessons and do what it takes to look at the truth. The next few weeks are bound to reflect all of this goodness in ways that bless you even further. VIRGO: Aug. 21 – Sept.r 20
In all things, it’s a good idea to look at the part you play in creating them. It’s easy to own the good stuff, but much harder to be accountable for the things that live on the dark side of the experiential spectrum. None of this would be an issue if you could remember that God lives in all of it. And what’s even more interesting is that it’s the hard lessons that yield the sweetest fruit. Don’t shy away from anything and don’t try to talk yourself into believing that you can blow any of this off with an affirmation or two. Dig a little deeper. Getting real is where it’s at right now.
You’ve been minding your own business and toeing the line for quite some time. At this point you’ve started to fall in love with whatever it’s taken to restore your body, mind, and spirit. In the course of moving on to higher ground, lots of things have fallen by the wayside, only to be replaced by people and interests that have more to do with who you are now. In the next few weeks, there will be opportunities to engage with others that test the extent to which you have lost the need to diminish yourself. This is bound to blow you away but you are more than ready for it.
GEMINI: May 21 – June 20
LIBRA: Sept. 21 – Oct.r 20
What would seem to be a total no-brainer is taking way longer than anyone thought it would. This has nothing to do with the way you’ve handled yourself. Believe it or not, there are times when the forces that watch over us install delays that keep what seems more than doable from bearing fruit. In some cases this has to do with the fact that there are those who seek to keep you in your place — and sometimes it’s all part of an important lesson that takes forever to sink in. Be patient. You’ve got more than what it takes to get where you’re going. Give it a few more months.
Lo and behold, there are options that weren’t there a few months ago. It looks to me like the door just opened to something that holds the promise of expansion and improvement. You tend to err on the side of caution at times when a more adventurous approach is required. It comes down to what do you want for yourself and your loved ones? How much time have you got? The expression “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today” applies to more than just your chores. The brass ring just showed up with bells on. Summon up whatever it takes to go for it.
CANCER: June 21 – July 20
On the cusp of changes that have no precedent, here you sit wondering if all of your core beliefs are still working for you — and maybe wondering if they ever applied. Because you’ve come to a bend in the road, what’s happening is that the structures that you have created no longer support whatever being yourself requires. The temptation to stay put competes with bigger needs to let go, and there are fears that you will lose it all if you break free. There is more to this than meets the eye. Draw upon your faith to steer your choices. This is a huge turning point.
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SCORPIO: Oct. 21 – Nov. 20
You are at a point where pretty much anything goes. It’s as if you’re standing on the dividing line that separates the past from the future, wondering once again, “Who do I want to be when I grow up?” This is a cyclical shift and where you are at right now will either keep you where you are, or give you another shot at the title. Picking up stakes and moving on, in your relationship and in your work situation, are included in this mix, along with the possibility of relocation. When the rest of your life is on the verge of unfolding, don’t let what’s known and familiar hold you back.
SAGITTARIUS: Nov. 21 – Dec. 20
Your relationship situation is interesting. The story varies, but in general there is so much riding on what’s up with your partner, you could use a little time off to consider your own issues. It doesn’t work for any of us to get too wrapped up in other people’s stories. And while it’s fine to empathize, it doesn’t help you or them to lose yourself. Right now, it would help if you could get real about your own affairs and your own life — because in order to be there for others, your own spirit has to be centered and strong enough to anchor and sustain them when the going gets rough. CAPRICORN: Dec. 21 - Jan. 20
What happens next hinges on your ability to address every aspect of your experience, honestly. This may require you to rewind back to the point where the first lie got told, or to the point where you see that you made choices that were based on the fact that you didn’t know any better. What you are faced with now could have easily been born out of good intention, but you know what they say about “the road to Hell.” It’s time to get real. Double down enough to see what you did to create this, and know that your willingness to do so is what it will take to turn things around. AQUARIUS: Jan. 21 – Feb. 20
Things are amping up in ways that will allow you to put the pedal to the metal. Even though there is still more on your plate, everything takes place at the energetic level before it comes into manifestation. Just getting yourself to the place where you got clear enough to move forward was half of the battle. Now that you’re here, the rest of the way relies 100 percent on whether or not you can walk your talk. We never know what that will mean until we get there, but the good news is you’ve come this far. And what lies ahead will reveal itself to you as you move on, one step at a time. PISCES: Feb. 21 – March 20
Within the framework of a huge amount of responsibility, it might be useful to breathe deep and reflect upon what you have accomplished in the last few weeks. Yes, there is still more to do, but the hard part is over. Recognizing the fact that the balance has shifted, and the ball is totally in your court, has made you much stronger. When it’s all said and done, it’s as if somebody just handed you the keys to the kingdom. With that in mind, now you get to look at all of this knowing that you can do anything you want in a situation that has “Dream Come True” written all over it.
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