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VOL. 40 | ISSUE 9 | DECEMBER 4–10, 2019

In seArch of. . . DefENSe dEpt. leDgErs

The world’s largest bureaucracy won’t yield its secrets, audit or not


2 December 4-10, 2019 | | December 4-10, 2019


4 December 4-10, 2019 | | December 4-10, 2019


Vol. 40 | Issue 9 | Dec. 4-10, 2019

News & Views

Publisher - Chris Keating Associate Publisher - Jim Cohen

Feedback/Comics ............... 10 Informed Dissent ................ 12 News .................................... 14

Feature In search of ... Defense Dept. ledgers ................................. 16

Food The Bricks Pizzeria ............. 22

EDITORIAL Editor in Chief - Lee DeVito Digital Editor - Sonia Khaleel Investigative Reporter - Steve Neavling Music and Listings Editor - Jerilyn Jordan Copy Boy - Dave Mesrey Contributing Editors - Michael Jackman, Larry Gabriel Editorial Interns - Brooklyn Blevins, Miriam Francisco, Marisa Kalil-Barrino, Gabriel Silver, Lindsey Yuchna

ADVERTISING Regional Sales Director Danielle Smith-Elliott Senior Multimedia Account Executive Jeff Nutter Multimedia Account Executive Jessica Frey Account Manager, Classifieds - Josh Cohen

BUSINESS/OPERATIONS Business Support Specialist - Josh Cohen Controller - Kristy Dotson


What’s Going On ............... 24 Livewire: Local picks ......... 30 Fast-Forward....................... 32

Music B Free................................... 34 Carmel Liburdi .................... 36

Last Podcast on the Left .... 38 Film ...................................... 42 Higher Ground .................... 46 Savage Love ........................ 50 Horoscopes .......................... 54

On the cover: Illustration by Tom Carlson

Printed on recycled paper

6 December 4-10, 2019 |

CIRCULATION Circulation Manager - Annie O’Brien

EUCLID MEDIA GROUP Chief Executive Officer - Andrew Zelman Chief Operating Officers - Chris Keating, Michael Wagner Creative Director - Tom Carlson VP of Digital Services - Stacy Volhein Digital Operations Coordinator - Jaime Monzon National Advertising - Voice Media Group 1-888-278-9866 Detroit Metro Times 30 E. Canfield St. Detroit, MI 48201

Arts & Culture

Printed By

Graphic Designers - Paul Martinez, Haimanti Germain


Editorial: 313-202-8011 Advertising: 313-961-4060 Circulation: 313-202-8049 Got a story tip? Email or call 313-202-8011 Get social: @metrotimes Detroit distribution: The Detroit Metro Times is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. The Detroit Metro Times is published every Wednesday by Euclid Media Group. Verified Audit Member

EUCLID MEDIA • Copyright - The entire contents of the Detroit Metro Times are copyright 2019 by Euclid Media Group LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above. Prior written permission must be granted to Metro Times for additional copies. Metro Times may be distributed only by Metro Times’ authorized distributors and independent contractors. Subscriptions are available by mail inside the U.S. for six months at $80 and a yearly subscription for $150. Include check or money order payable to - Metro Times Subscriptions, 30 E. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201. (Please note - Third Class subscription copies are usually received 3-5 days after publication date in the Detroit area.) Most back issues obtainable for $5 at Metro Times offices or $7 prepaid by mail. | December 4-10, 2019


8 December 4-10, 2019 |

coming soon:

on sale friday:

coming soon concert calendar:

12/4 – the spill canvas

@ the shelter w/ juliana theory and cory wells - LOW TICKETS

12/5 – judah friedlander *seated show

12/6 – brother elsey @ the shelter w/ motherfolk, jockamo

dec. 18 new politics, the plain st. andrew’s white t’s & the mowgli’s

feb. 23 lil tjay st. andrew’s

12/8 – pop evil -acoustic

w/ avalon black - moved to sah

12/9 – mongol horde

@ the shelter w/ armed for apocalypse & rebuilder

12/10 – eric bellinger

@ the shelter w/ ye ali, sy ari da kid, garren

12/11 – xavier omar @ the shelter w/ elhae - low tickets

12/12 – the marcus king band state champs acacia strain aug. 19 3 the dec. w/kublai grayscale, w/ khanbetter love st. andrew’s

& teddy roberts

w/ ian noe - low tickets

mar. 2

st. andrew’s

kamasi washington

12/13 – the ultimate 80’s party feat. tiffany

12/14 – boys of fall w/ of virtue,

kaleido, gold route, as we divide

12/17 – boston manor @ the shelter w/ microwave, heart attack man, selfish things

12/27– every avenue 12/28 – rhythm corps dec. 20


a very country christmas

st. andrew’s presented by nash fm

w/ corktown popes

mar. 6 ashley mcbryde st. andrew’s

12/31 – saved by the 90’s

party like it’s 1999! (20 Years Later) | December 4-10, 2019


NEWS & VIEWS Feedback Readers react to stories from the Nov. 27 issue Dear Editor, I like the features “News & Views,” “Feedback,” and “This Modern World.” Maybe “Feedback” could include more letters. Advertisements for places like “The Morrie” should have a separate page. I like everything in your news content. Let us hope Donald Trump will be voted out of office in November 2020. Sincerely, Frank Podsadlo

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We’re going to level with you, Frank: The reason our “Feedback” section is not bigger is that people just don’t really write letters anymore. Most weeks, we cull our comments from our Facebook and Twitter feeds, or the comments underneath the articles online. When you filter out the ones that are inaccurate, racist, or obviously the work of Russian disinformation campaigns, there’s not much left to work with. If you want your voices heard, you can send letters to Metro Times c/o Lee DeVito, 30 E. Canfield St., Detroit, MI, 48201, or via email at Regarding your last point, we concur. | December 4-10, 2019



Joe Biden = John Kerry? We’re all fucked. Happy holidays.


Informed Dissent

7 thoughts from a long holiday weekend e re C. ill an

I spent Thanksgiving on a chilly, nearly deserted beach, trying to disconnect from work and politics and the world at large. I wasn’t entirely successful; an idle mind can’t help but ruminate. In any event, the news tsunami awaits the second you return. So instead of picking one story from the deluge to focus on, this week’s column threads together several smaller thoughts — seven, as it turns out. Ready? 1. Donald Trump is better positioned in 2020 than you think. Yes, even though his approval rating is below 42%. Three reasons: (1) Presidents typically win re-election unless there’s a recession; (2) the U.S. isn’t expected to see a recession in 2020; and (3) the Electoral College tilts in Trump’s favor. 2. If Fox News existed in 1974, Richard Nixon wouldn’t have resigned. T e e di erence between i on impeachment and Trump’s isn’t the strength of the case but Republicans’ willingness to hold their party leader accountable. Gerrymandering and polarization are to blame, but so too is the right-wing propaganda machine that checks dissent and reinforces

nonsensical and conspiratorial talking points. And so, for instance, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana could go on the Sunday shows last weekend to dissemble about Ukraine hacking the DNC server without consequence, and Trump can complain about being shut out of the impeachment process even as he refuses to participate in hearings, and Fox News, et al., will regurgitate this narrative to his base. Nixon was born a half-century too early. 3. Trump’s DOJ is a political tool. On Sunday, The Daily Beast published an interview with Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer who Trump has casually accused of treason because (a) she was part of the investigation into Russian election interference, and (b) she criticized Trump in text messages with Peter Strzok, an FBI agent with whom e d n ir e t wee ep rtment of Justice Inspector General report will reportedly clear Page and others of bias, but the damage is done. One anecdote from the Beast story: In December 2017, the night before deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein — then overseeing Robert Mueller’s inves-

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tigation — was to testify to Congress, po e wom n o ered reporter a salacious, context-free selection of Page and Strzok’s texts. In the two years since, Trump has relentlessly targeted Page as an avatar for the Deep State and demanded to know why she isn’t in prison. At a rally in October, Trump simulated an orgasm as he mentioned her name. 4. Trump’s overlooked war on the poor continues. While we’re focused on impeachment, the Trump administration has been trying to gut assistance to low-income families. In December and July, the Department of Agriculture proposed two rule changes that would ic more t n million people o of food stamps. And then, in October, it proposed a third rule that would elimin te bene t for ne rl dditional households while cutting bene t for of ou e old w o receive them. (The public comment period for t e r t two propo l ended n l rules are coming soon.) Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor is the largest it’s been in the 50 years since the U.S. Census Bureau began monitoring

income inequality. 5. The Democratic primary? Who knows? If you’d asked me six months ago who the Dem nominee would be, I’d have said Kamala Harris, thinking she’d have the best chance of assembling a coalition of African Americans, women, and establishment types. But she failed to launch, and last week, both he ashin ton ost and The e or i es wrote postmortems for her campaign two months before the r t vote mont o d ve id Elizabeth Warren. But she stumbled over her health care rollout (see no. 6) nd now nd er elf in t ree w tie for second (depending on the poll) with Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. Joe Biden remains stubbornly out in front (see no. 7). T e t i pointle rren’s health care plan was derided by centrists as too ambitious (it increases federal spending by $20 trillion over a decade) and by left-wingers as not ambitious enough (it doesn’t eliminate private insurance until the third year). To my mind, that only illustrates the point that duking it out over the ne print i fruitle e erci e n progress on health care will require (a) a Democratic president, (b) a Democratic House and Senate, and (c) a Democratic Senate willing to eliminate t e libu ter f ou it t e trifect ne t en r ue bout ow to p e out private insurance — and whether you can get the votes from a caucus that will include the likes of Joe Manchin. Until then, you’re providing Trump with ammo and giving the base unrealistic expectations. Medicare for All is the best policy. A public option is a more attainable goal. 7. Joe Biden 2020 = John Kerry 2004. Ask me about the nomination today, nd d tell ou iden mi t pull it o Yes, he’s clunky and corny. And yes, he has baggage and excites precisely no one. But he has as-yet-unrivaled support in the African American community — you don’t win without it — and among party leaders. More important, he’s viewed by many shell-shocked Democrats as the most electable candidate — the safest choice in a precarious election, a responsible, relatable, nice-guy contrast to Trump’s circus act. Perhaps that’s true. But it also reminds me of the underlying thesis behind John Kerry’s campaign against George W. Bush 16 years ago: the reluctant war hero versus the chickenhawk, the intellectual wonk versus the uncurious doofus. Remember how that went? (See no. 1.) | December 4-10, 2019


NEWS & VIEWS Christmas for corporations

New corporate tax breaks could cost Michiganders up to $500,000 per job created By Tom Perkins

The Michigan Legislature is considering a trio of bills that would provide more tax incentives for the state’s largest and wealthiest corporations. Collectively, the bills would cost taxpayers at least $300 million, though t t ure will li el end up muc higher. They would also shift money that could be used to fund road repairs and schools at a time when the state is tru lin to nd mone for e c The per-job cost to Michiganders is also high — between $33,000 and $500,000 for each position created, and critic it unli el t t t e t te will recoup the costs. T e controver i l t bre propo l come at a time when there’s growing opposition to corporate welfare. Democratic House Minority Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi questions whether incentive m e n nci l en e nd noted that many of the businesses that previously received credits have left the state, folded, or haven’t followed through on job promises. f ou c n t m e our bu ine model wor unle ou et public i tance, then maybe you shouldn’t be in business,” Rabhi says. “Giving money to corporate bottom lines and shareholders in other states and countries is an unacceptable use of tax dollars.” The proposals include: Extending the “Good Jobs for Michigan” incentives through 2024. The $200 million program allows busine e to collect wor er income t instead of the state. The program allowance would increase to $500 million. An expansion of a special incentive for Nevada-based data center Switch, which operates a West Michigan facility. It’s worth $373,000 in the r t e r t ou t e v lue could increase by tens of millions of dollars if Switch follows through with its investment plans. A similar new incentive for tech comp nie li e oo le nd ceboo The 6-percent sales tax exemption could cost Michigan tens of millions of dollars annually. Supporters of the Good Jobs program

argue that it would create an estimated 15,000 jobs, but critics note it would cost taxpayers over $33,000 per job. owever t t ure doe n t include ot er t bre t t t e comp nie would ee o t e ctu l co t to ic iganders is much higher. For example, Fiat Chrysler is planning to use a Good Jobs incentive worth about $105 million for its proposed plant on Detroit’s east side. But it’s also ee in t incentive p c e wort about $340 million. The company claims it will create 4,950 new jobs, which means Michiganders will pay about $68,000 per job. At that rate, the incentives are a bad deal for taxpayers, says Greg LeRoy, director of ood ob ir t nonpro t t t tr c corpor te welf re e previously told Metro Times that residents “have to start to worry when the subsidie et o i ve i ure per job. At that point it’s a very fair question to if t p er will ever bre even The incentives Switch is using and proposing would come at an even higher cost to Michiganders. Switch has claimed it will invest $5 billion and crete ob over it r t e r ne r Kalamazoo. The company in 2015 landed an incentive worth $20 million and created 62 jobs. If the Legislature approves a new incentive worth another $20 million and Switch reaches its investment and job creation goals, then Michiganders will give the company $40 million to create 1,000 jobs — or $40,000 per ob T t ure i i er w en ot er t bre t e comp n ecured re factored in. Finally, a bipartisan bill authored by nn rbor emocr t ep ebe Warren would create a similar incentive for l r e d t center comp nie li e oo le nd ceboo T e ou e i c l Agency notes that it’s impossible to now ow muc t e rren incentive will co t t p er wit out nowin t e investment level. However, the law would give a 6% le t bre for comp n t t invests at least $250 million and creates ob bre on million i $15 million, which means Michiganders would pay $500,000 per job. Warren didn’t respond to a request

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Fiat Chrysler is seeking a tax-incentive package worth about $340 million. The company claims it will create 4,950 new jobs, which means Michiganders will pay about $68,000 per job. JONATHAN WEISS / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

for comment. The Warren incentive would pull from the School Aid Fund because 73 percent of le t i e rm r ed for schools. Warren is including a “hold harmless” clause that would require the school fund to be reimbursed with money from the state’s general fund, but critics say the legislature doesn’t typically follow through on reimbursements. Moreover, diverting money from t e ener l fund t e w doll r from other programs or road repairs. Rep. Rabhi stresses that point. He p in for bu ine t bre t e mone w from improvin Michiganders’ “quality of life.” The state must be an attractive place for talented people to live and invest if it’s going to eep bu ine e ere e r ue “That means good schools, good ro d ood p r tem nd w en you turn on your tap, you get clean water coming out,” Rabhi says. “We’ve invested so much money in tax credits that we haven’t been able to invest in public infrastructure.” The fate of the bills is uncertain. The Switch bill passed through committee, but there isn’t enough support for

it in the House, so far. Rep. Warren’s bills haven’t had a vote in the Commerce and Tourism Committee, and it’s unclear if they have the support to pass, while the Good Jobs credit passed Senate committee and is headed for a vote in the full Senate. The Detroit News reports that Switch spent $22,400 lobbying the Legislature over t e r t even mont of and its lobbying team includes former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon. Meanwhile, the comp n i o erin l wm er trip to vi it its headquarters in Las Vegas. The bills’ supporters claim businesses won’t create jobs in Michigan without the tax incentives. But Bridge magazine highlighted several studies that show that’s not true. That includes one survey conducted by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research that found incentives were a deciding factor for only between 2% nd of rm t t receive t em “In other words, without the incentive, at least 75 percent of the jobs would have occurred in the state anyway,” the study’s author told Bridge. | December 4-10, 2019


In seArch of. ..

t p E d e S DefEN


The world’s largest bureaucracy won’t yield its secrets, audit or not

16 December 4-10, 2019 |

BY CHRIS PARKER or the longest time, the Department of Defense’s books were a riddle wrapped in an enigma trapped in the head of a yeti encased in amber and locked in a safe nestled deep in the Mariana Trench. While every other federal government agency undergoes regular audits to verify the taxpayers got what they paid for, the DOD is the cheese that stood alone — until suddenly two years ago, out of the blue and seemingly for no reason, it relented. Last November, the Defense Department completed it ver r t udit w ic i to eventually the auditors left and went home. You might imagine them throwing their hands in the air and shaking their heads as they walked away. The audit will remain an ongoing question as the military promises to streamline outdated processes and systems, which will help reconcile human errors and provide for cleaner, more transparent books. For now they failed, tomorrow they promise better, yadda yadda yadda. Within the next 10 years they even promise to get things completely squared away. T i i ll ne nd ood but t ere re ome people still concerned about the proverbial dead body in the icebox downstairs. Mark Skidmore is one such person. In 2017, the Michigan State economics professor teamed with a former government offici l nd two r d tudent nd pored over budget reports going back to 1998 to identify more than $21 trillion in “Unsupported Journal Voucher Adjustments.” These are essentially uncorroborated ledger entries, like corporate travel reimbursement forms absent the receipts. What is this money? Where is it going or coming from? Why can’t the numbers be veri-

s r E g D e l t.

ed o t e not dd up t e de tin tion etc t ere mou e in t e cupbo rd nd ow d t e number et o l r e id more went t rou t e lp bet ve cont cted t e t e t e e referrin to t e ffice of n ement nd ud et t e overnment ccount bilit ffice nd t e ffice of n pector ener l one of t em c n n wer n of m ue tion t rd to tell w t t e e irreconcil ble number re bec u e t ere o little inform tion bout t em lu t e ccount for m n multiple of w t been lloc ted con re ion ll T e e ren t m ll enou to be fud e number t e ccount for ne rl time t e efen e ep rtment trillion in et n d u tment or plu t e re nown in plu t e ole c n cont in multiple debit or credit of di erent i e oin b c nd fort ne uc vouc er d u tment from ppe r to ve t e

‘ W E HAV E NO W INST IT U T IO NAL IZ ED NO N- T RANSPARENCY.’ Tre ur p in billion to t e rm w o e bud et for t t e r w billion n t e ppendi it we d to m e t i d u tment to ccount for t e p t e r but t e Tre ur i ut ori ed to tr n fer t e ri t mount in t e ri t e r ut ori ed b on re e T ere mi t be ot er ppropri tion from ot er fund but it ould ve otten t e bil lion ever e r o w would ou in in le e r ve to ve billion owin in from Tre ur T t one of t o e ue tion for w ic ve never received ti f c tor n wer our d fter idmore di cu ed i ndin in n interview on tc do com t e efen e ep rtment nnounced t e would be doin n udit ile t ere d been incre in pre ure on t e efen e ep rtment fter re i tin for e r t e timin i peculi r to t e le t p rticul rl w en ou t rt e minin t e den e m ter idmore uncovered w ic li e bl c ole i onl now ble b it d r in crut bilit idmore c me upon t e e ccountin in ole li tenin to t l b t erine u tin itt former i t nt ecret r of ou in nd rb n evelopment in w ic e di cu ed trillion d u tment b t e ep rtment of t e rm includin t e forementioned Tre ur di bur ement t r t e t ou t e d e rd er wron nd it TOM CARLSON | December 4-10, 2019


FEATURE was $6.5 billion. Nope, trillion. So Skidmore teamed with Fitts to dig through the relevant reports and sort out what they could. It’s thin gruel, by design. The Inspector General’s report concerning the $6.5 trillion plug noted that more than 16,000 records that could reveal the source or destination of those funds were “removed.” That’s the most frustrating part of the story. It’s not even clear what we’re not looking at. Skidmore tried to n rrow i re ue t to t e ffice of t e Inspector General in hopes of getting something useful back. He understood they couldn’t explain $21 trillion in transactions that had happened over 17 years. So Skidmore focused on 170 transactions that made up a $2.1 trillion adjustment within the $6.5 trillion adjustment from 2015. “It’s just 170 transactions. So I asked, ‘Will you please post an addendum or attach a sheet that just lists those transactions with the explanation why they were unsupported or [what they were] presumably for?’ That way I can determine if they’re legitimate or if t ere i red or if t e re u t f e numbers,” Skidmore says. “And they won’t. I would say can’t, but I think they just won’t.” Like the pallets of millions in $100 bills sent to Iraq in the aughts that “mysteriously” disappeared, there eem n odd indi erence to tr n p rency, oversight, or accountability for large sums of taxpayer monies, despite the fact they vanished into the bureaucracy with barely a trace — like wild animals into the brush. Indeed, over the course of Skidmore’s investigation, links to the relevant reports started disappearing from the Inspector General’s website. They claimed it was just a website redesign. (Skidmore’s team had already grabbed and saved all the relevant data.) Now even the nature of what’s revealed has changed. “The other reports were never redacted. They were vague and unclear and you couldn’t see what was going on, but at least they were unredacted,” Skidmore says. “The newest one was fully redacted.” An equally ominous note was struck last fall before the audit was completed. Skidmore noticed a guidance on accounting practices from FASAB

Rep. Elissa Slotkin worked at the Defense Dept. “I definitely saw all sorts of games to preserve funds,” she says.

(Federal Accounting Standards Advior o rd bout potenti ll cl i ed pro r m bein identi ed b t e budget numbers. Rather than just redact that part of the report, FASAB recommended the DOD cook the books for public consumption, allowing them to hide such programs wherever they like. “FASAB was recommending that the government be able to restate balances and move expenditures that were in entity A to some other part [of the budget],” Skidmore says, noting the change occurred six weeks before the audit’s completion. It’s the Bush administration’s notorious Downing Street memo applied to ccountin t e evidence to t e case.” Accountability? Trust us! “We have now institutionalized nontransparency,” he says. “We have a set of books for the public, and we have a real set of books for the select group of people who have the authority to determine if something is a national security issue. They also have the authority to move spending around. It could be a little amount moved around, or it could be huge amounts. How do you know?”

Jack Armstrong, a supervisory director of audits for the Defense Department ffice of t e n pector ener l for ve e r told The Nation in a story last year, “If the DOD were being honest, they would go to Congress and say, ‘All these proposed budgets we’ve been presenting to you are a bunch of garbage.’” Nobody we spoke with was willing or ble to o er muc more of n e pl n tion. Some of the causes noted in the November audit include compatibility i ue of di erent le c computer systems, which required human input to bridge, creating opportunity for human error. There were also notable cases of simple failure to properly log equipment. Speaking at the House Armed Services Committee’s hearing on the audit in May, Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist and his chiefs noted that the Navy had discovered $73 million of inventory not in the system. The Air Force found $53 million in motors m r ed unu ble to be in ne working condition, and Jacksonville’s base somehow discovered $280 million


in inventory not listed in their system. That adds up to an astounding $400 million. ut ou d need to nd more situations just like those to cover that one $6.5 trillion plug from 2015. It’s hardly the only one Skidmore found. There were more than 41 plugs notated in OIG reports, totaling at least $21 trillion. That’s without counting the annual Defense Department plugs Skidmore found from 2001 to 2016 of un peci ed i e Many plugs were by individual services, such as one made by the Air Force for $1.4 and $1.6 trillion in 2009 and 2012 respectively, or the Army, which had plugs every year from 2002 to 2012 totaling $4.55 trillion. To put that in perspective, the entire defense budget for those 11 years only amounts to $6.5 trillion. Even Fitts’ Housing and Urban Development department was found to have used four plugs in the 17 years they surveyed, including a $278.5 billion plu in T e c l e r bud et for Housing and Urban Development was just $48.3 billion.



FEATURE So what the hell’s going on here? Are we expected to believe a bevy of human errors and inventory errors could account for two-thirds of the entire Defense budget? And how does HUD go from needing a $1.9 billion plug in t eir r t in e r to needin one that’s six multiples of their budget the following year? t not even t e r t time t e ille itimate use of plugs has been publicized. A 2013 Reuters story quoted multiple people from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) saying they’d inserted phony numbers into Defense ledgers every day for decades. Absent any detail “for a lot of it,” they were instructed to square their books with the Treasury, with or without documentation. Ed Yokel, who worked in t e level nd office for e r told Reuters that DFAS supervisors were required to approve thousands of plugs a month. “It makes me worried we aren’t accurately tabulating costs, and costs are being understated,” says Travis Sharp, a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “It’s obscuring thoughtful consideration of t e co t bene t tr de o Should we be concerned that the government entity receiving half of all the United States’ discretionary income can’t balance its books and has ledger discrepancies larger than its entire bud et t e l t e r n t ivin their inaccurate, borderline deceptive accounting a pass enabling and essentially indemnifying the potential for large-scale fraud and malfeasance? U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) has worked at the CIA, the NSC, and in di erent efen e ep rtment policy positions. She’s seen some of the accounts-swapping shenanigans t t c n o on t t e end of t e c l year, a practice known as “nippering.” The reference to a sharp-nosed tool for cuttin o wire i ent on l n for repurposing congressionally authorized funds to avoid them being zeroed out at year-end. Some plug monies are surely a part of such three-card-monte budget games. de nitel w ll ort of me to preserve funds,” Slotkin says. “But while there is absolutely gamesmanship that goes on, particularly at the end of the c l e r ome of t t be vior w presented by the complete inability of Congress to pass a proper budget for the Defense Department.” She adds, “When you’re dealing with omet in bi t e ent on m ing major investments in new weapon

systems and munitions, you can’t prepare in the best way if you’re constantly livin o of one e r bud et In many ways, these same issues have now bled into t e milit r o bud et slush fund, the Overseas Contingency Operations account. Increasingly, regular base expenditures that would typically be budgeted are being paid through the OCO. Slotkin suggests that’s especially true because of the way yearly congressional continuing resolutions freeze branch and base budgets in place regardless of changing circumstances and needs on the ground. “Many of these costs are thrown in the OCO account,” Slotkin says. “It’s just used as a slush fund when it should be in a proper base budget and then negotiated with Congress, which is just not happening.” From the Defense Department moving funds without Congressional approval to make them available for re ident on ld Trump w ll to the fast-and-loose games of the OCO account (the Trump Administration’s recent budget actually proposed a second o boo lu fund u t for bases), to Skidmore’s inscrutable black-box accounting ledger plugs, there’s increasingly ominous oversight questions about the United States Defense Department. But again, this is nothing new. Indeed, George W. Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference on September 10, 2001, to warn of a frightening new enemy — and not from overseas. “The adversary’s closer to home,” um feld w rned t t e ent on bureaucracy. In fact, it could be said it’s a matter of life and death.” He noted some estimates suggested the military “cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” His crusade was quickly forgotten in the events of the next 24 hours. n t e intervenin e r re ident Barack Obama’s Defense chiefs l unc ed efficienc nd moderni tion drives in 2010 and 2013 without achieving appreciable results. More attempts to replace old military computer systems or increase their interoperability have been tried over the years than can reasonably be mentioned. Examples include the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System and the Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support System, each ditched after seven years and over a billion dollars without providing any additional functionality. The Air Force’s Defense Enterprise Accounting and n ement tem r t be un in

20 December 4-10, 2019 |

‘ IT ’ S NO T AN U NPAT RIO T IC T HING T O SAY W E’ RE G O ING T O CU T W AST E AT T HE PENT AG O N, AND L O RD KNO W S T HERE IS F AT T O CU T .’ n ll l unc ed l t e r fter overruns more than doubled costs to over $2.3 billion. It became even harder to trust the Defense Department’s commitment to efficienc nd tr n p renc w en The Washington Post revealed in December 2016 that the DOD had buried a nu r report t t w cle r p t to billion in vin mo tl through attrition and early retirements and curtailing the widespread use of contractors. The report focused on the growth in overhead, noting over a million support personnel backed an active-duty force of 1.3 million troops, our nation’s fewest since 1940. It found the average administrator’s job cost the government more t n in l r nd bene t and that the average contractor for the Army, Navy, or Air Force made around $180,000. Between the three forces, the DOD employed more than half a million contractors. T e con ultin rm c in e Company, which helped to create the report, found the DOD was spending $134 billion on business operations, double what it had estimated. More t n of t o e million emplo ees worked in logistics or supply-chain ob more t n wor for ro er our nation’s third-largest employer), and about 84,000 worked in human reource u t t e ent on purc in bureaucracy alone accounted for more than 200,000 employees, enough to place it among the country’s 30 largest employers. ent on offici l lle edl fe red report highlighting its bloated management structure might encourage deeper cuts and undermine their continued rhetoric that years of austerity had undermined our rmed force tin inte rit o t e report lre d in n l draft form, was never completed, and would have never been disclosed were

it not for the Post. It doesn’t paint the prettiest picture for the nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars American taxpayers deposit in t e efen e ep rtment co er nnually. Republicans have long agitated for a balanced-budget amendment, but that sounds like a joke when the largest part of the budget can fail its audit and is otherwise unaccountable. Sure, there’s now an annual audit, and it’s a great show, but if you can move the money around however you ee t i t t re ll tr n p renc What prevents the military from cleaning their desk by throwing everything in a bottomless, un-audit-able closet, c llin it cl i ed nd reddin the documentation? Maybe someday they’ll let us read the OIG report. “Without any supporting documentation, we are all left with having to decide whether or not we ‘trust’ that government authorities are sharing accurate information,” Skidmore says. “At some level, we all must operate with some degree of underlying faith, but in this context there is reason to doubt. We have consistently argued that in order to determine what these transactions were presumably for, one would need access to the underlying data. And yet the OIG has refused to provide any additional information, even with a FOIA request.” For her part, Rep. Slotkin believes in oversight and transparency. In fact, she thinks it’s a solemn part of her duty. “The most patriotic thing I can do for the Defense Department — where my husband works — is [to] make sure the resources are being spent where they need to be to make sure we have the best military today and in the future and that it not be wasted,” she says. “It’s not an unpatriotic thing to say we re oin to cut w te t t e ent gon, and Lord knows there is fat to cut.” t u t lot rder to nd t t f t w en t e c n turn o t e li t and (at least publicly) misclassify or under-report spending. It’s enough to make you wonder if the audit, whose announcement came so closely upon Skidmore’s revelation, wasn’t just Renault at the end of Casablanca telling his men to “round up the usual suspects.” We may never know. Until someone n ll et to t e bottom of ll t o e “Unsupported Adjustments,” it’s just more shadows and mirrors from the same people that brought you fraudulent stories like the Gulf of Tonkin and Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.









NOW OPEN 7 DAYS THROUGH XMAS | December 4-10, 2019



Fox Hollow Farm pizza with egg, pancetta, and red onion.


There’s room for another slice By Tom Perkins

The Bricks is the sixth new pizzeria Metro Times has reviewed this year, so perhaps we didn’t have quite the same level of anticipation that we usually do for new restaurants when it opened this summer. Not for anything it did or didn’t do — it was just another new pizzeria. But, it turns out, there’s room for this new pizzeria. The Bricks does Neapolitan-style pies that seem to be all the rage these days, and executive chef Trenton Chamberlain’s thin, sourdough crust is crispy on the bottom and soft, light, and slightly chewy inside. Chamberlain uses organic red wheat grown on Michigan’s Ferris rm nd t e our i t en milled in-house. The 60-hour dough-making process begins with The Bricks’ own sourdough starter, and Chamberlain’s dough holds a higher hydration level that helps keep the crust light. Each pie spends about four minutes in the o wood red dome oven le vin t e crust with the perfect level of char. t our vor i ple nt t tic in the background of each bite of pie, and

it helps tie everything together. See that e ect in t e b con nd pepperoncini pizza: The bacon’s smoke and salt, the extra acidity from the pepperoncini, the sour crust, and a thick layer of cheese all work together beautifully. Chamberlain’s sauce is made with chopped basil and is a little mineral-y from the addition of sea salt. The Bricks takes the farm-to-table concept a step further — it actually owns the farm from which it sources many of its ingredients. Chamberlain pulls tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, thyme, parsley, arugula, sunchokes, beets, eggs, honey, and more throughout the year from Fox Hollow Farm in Metamora. Some of those are on display in the excellent Fox Hollow Farm egg pizza with red sauce, mozzarella, pancetta, red onion, and a fried egg that’s dusted with dried Hungarian pepper from Detour spices. The gooey egg yolk mixes well with the salty, fatty pancetta — essentially Italian bacon — and red onion. Once again, it’s the salt-acidsmoke combination over the sour background that makes it.

22 December 4-10, 2019 |

The mushroom pizza comes with portobello, shiitake, and buttons that are roasted in olive oil before being baked on the pie, and the package is covered in a layer of fresh green arugula. That umami-heavy package over t e cru t our vor t t lw in the background — excellent. The pies’ price point is high — $15 for a 10-incher is top tier — but it’s ultimately worth it. The Bricks’ bucatini comes with red sauce and long pasta that traditionally has a hole in the middle, though in this case it’s more of a half circle. Bucatini is thicker than most noodles, which gives it an interesting texture and provides more surface space for sauce-sopping. Ordering it with three big, tasty meatballs for $6 more is a good move. T e moi t nd mo e w ite rillettes are similar to a pate and made with aioli, olive oil, herbs, dijon, and lemon juice, and duck egg yolk. It’s not as smooth as a pate, but it’s lighter and brighter than most and is served with n e cellent our tbre d t t t e perfect scooping tool. It’s one of two w ite di e t e ot er i e rt

The Bricks Pizzeria 15201 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Park 313-925-3430 Wheelchair accessible 4-10 p.m. Tue.-Sun., closed Mon. $6-$23

ic i n mo ed w ite c owder which is slightly unusual for a pizzeria, but a nice addition. Chamberlain says that’s an homage to a chef under whom he trained in Nantucket. Prior to the pies, the antipasto salad c me wit ne c mp ne vine r dressing, mixed greens, Creminelli salami, Peppadew peppers, castelvetrano olives, artichoke hearts, and parmesan cheese. A solid version of a classic. I missed the house-made gelato on t e de ert menu but de nitel won t on the next trip. The craft cocktail list and beer selection at the full bar are what it should be in 2019. So how does the pizzeria stack up? ic i n i e ectivel i nt pi t this point, but The Bricks has some of its best bites. | December 4-10, 2019



Detroit Urban Craft Fair, Masonic Temple, Dec. 6-8.

What’s Going On

A week’s worth of things to do and places to do them THURSDAY, 12/5 Judah Friedlander @ Saint Andrew’s Hall

COMEDY Throughout the entire 138-episode run of NBC’s 30 Rock, the unmotivated, deadpan, and libidinous sketch writer Frank, played by Judah Friedlander, wore a total of 204 trucker hats, each one displaying a label, warning, or instructional message: “Horny,” “Time Travel Agent,” “Wet to Activate,” and “Half Centaur,” to name a few. With 30 Rock behind him, the 50-year-old Friedlander is vying for another title: President of the United States. OK — so, not exactly, but he did challenge POTUS to the presidency in his 2017 stand-up special, America Is the Greatest Country in the United States. For 2019, he’s embarked on the Future President tour, where he leaves no wed meric n ide l untouc ed and points out all the many reasons the USA is No. 1: high obesity, diabetes, and incarceration rates. —Jerilyn Jordan Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-8961; Tickets are $27.

FRI., 12/6 & SAT., 12/7 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation @ Redford Theatre

FILM Two words: Randy Quaid. That’s it. That’s the blurb. No, but really, Quaid’s portrayal of Cousin Eddie, the un ltered tr iler dwellin bl c eep


of the Griswold clan, provides some of the greatest moments in all of the National Lampoon vacation movies, but shines especially bright, er, dim, in the franchise’s Christmas entry. Per usual, the well-intentioned, potentially cursed patriarch, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), strives to give the gift of the idyllic Christmas for his family — from the comically oversized Christmas tree he insists on installing, to the ambitious light display that causes a city-wide outage, to the swimming pool he put a down payment on in anticipation of a substantial work bonus that tragically ends up being a subscription to a Jelly of the Month club. In true Griswold fashion, however, Clark and company manage to turn jelly into golden memories, but not without an explosive, relatable, work-related rant and, well, explosions. —Jerilyn Jordan

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Redford Theatre, Dec. 6–7.

24 December 4-10, 2019 |


Screenings begin at 8 p.m.; 17360 Lahser Rd., Detroit; 313-537-2560; Tickets are $5.

FRI., 12/6-SUN., 12/8 Detroit Urban Craft Fair @ Masonic Temple

SHOP If idle hands are the devil’s playthings, does that mean the busy hands of the many makers at this year’s etroit rb n r ft ir re li e e little holiday angels? Sew many crafts, sew little time is the name of the game for Michigan’s longest-running indie craft bazaar. Now in its 14th year, DUCF will welcome thousands of visitors over the weekend-long event, during which more than 100 juried vendors will showcase their handmade wares, including jewelry, clothing, accessories, home decor, bath products, paper goods, children’s items, and edible treats. There will be food available from Delectabowl and Goosenec o ee o nd tune from ve Lawson and Eugene Machine. Opening night includes treats, make-and-takes, and handmade name tags. A portion of dmi ion will upport loc l nonpro t Art Road. —Jerilyn Jordan Event begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6; 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7; and 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Masonic Temple; 500 Temple St., Detroit; Tickets are $10 for opening night and $1 Saturday and Sunday.

SATURDAY, 12/7 Turnover wsg Men I Trust @ Majestic Theatre

MUSIC The transition from pop-punk to dream pop may seem like an unlikely evolution but for ir ini out t Turnover it’s been pretty natural, as illustrated by the band’s fourth record, 2019’s Altogether. The record could fare well as a hazy background mix for a party in which people are vaping CBD only and actively abstaining from sex, whereas the bedroom pop sounds of Montreal trio Men I Trust could set a scene for the party-goers looking to hit some organic blunts and get down with some totally chill heavy petting. This year, Men I Trust released Oncle Jazz, an underwater-sounding record that is basically a call to an endof-the-world make-out sesh. —Jerilyn Jordan

Friday 12/6

PiNk TaLkInG PhIsH

saturday 12/7

BlAcK MaRkEt

Sunday 12/8

Event begins at 7 p.m.; 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700; Tickets are $25+.

KiTcHeN DwElLeRs


Friday 12/13 NaSh Fm

Noel Night @ Midtown

HOLIDAY It’s easy to be a bit of a whiny little Grinch this time of year. Out-oftown relatives, credit card maximization, and, the ultimate trigger, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” on rotation everywhere you go. But there are some things, like Detroit’s Noel Night, that embody the holiday spirit so deeply that you can’t help but go along for the sleigh ride. Entering its 47th year as Detroit’s longstanding holiday tradition of a neighborhood-wide, open-house celebration is Noel Night, when more than 50,000 visitors are expected to descend on Midtown. The event will open the doors to more than 110 businesses, venues, and cultural institutions, and will welcome more than 100 performances from local

Judah Friedlander, Saint Andrew’s Hall, Dec. 5.

theater companies and musical acts, including the Detroit Actor’s Theatre Company, Mosaic Youth Theatre, Erin Zindle and the Ragbirds, Ural Thomas and the Pain, Ranky Tanky, On the Sun, Etienne Charles, and Thornetta Davis. Returning are event favorites the Ice Scraper Challenge, as well as the headlining event, the Salvation Army Sing-Along, which takes place at the corner of Cass Avenue and n eld treet —Jerilyn Jordan Noel Night runs 1-7 p.m. north of Warren Avenue and 5-10 p.m. south of Warren Avenue; Midtown, Detroit; 313-420-6000;

MATT MISISCO Event is free and open to the public.

TUESDAY, 12/10


Saturday 12/14

TeRrApIn FlYeR

Thursday 12/19

Damien Escobar @ Royal Oak Music Theatre

MUSIC Two-time Emmy Awardwinning violinist Damien Escobar has performed everywhere from the New York subway to the Apollo Theatre and the White House — for both President George W. Bush and during Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration — as well as the national stage when he and his brother Tourie competed as Nuttin’ But Stringz on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, where t e ni ed in t ird pl ce cob r w o was the youngest student admitted into Juilliard at the age of 10, found himself homeless in 2012 after he and his brother disbanded and, soon after, became a real e t te bro er in n e ort to upport i family. Now a Billboard-charting artist and children’s book author, Escobar is supporting his second record, 2017’s R&B-infused Boundless. —Jerilyn Jordan Doors open at 7 p.m.; 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-399-2980; Tickets are $45+.

Damien Escobar, Royal Oak Music Theatre, Dec. 10.

PrEsEnTs HaRdY

MaY ErLeWiNe & ThE MoTiVaTiOnS HoLiDaY DaNcE PaRtY Friday 12/20

GaSoLiNe GyPsIeS HoLiDaY ShOw Saturday 12/21

PoLiSh MuSlImS

Friday 12/27

RoYaL GrAnD AnD FeRnWhAlE FoR TiCkEtS & DiNnEr ReSeRvAtIoNs

ViSiT OtUsSuPpLy.CoM 345 E 9 MILE RD

FeRnDaLe | December 4-10, 2019


THIS WEEK MUSIC Wednesday, Dec. 4 A Tribute To David Berman of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains 7 p.m.; The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; $5. Imaginatron, Tippy, Jeremy Waun 7 p.m.; Trixie’s, 2656 Carpenter St., Hamtramck; No cover. Michael Ray 6 p.m.; The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $20+. The Spill Canvas 7 p.m.; The Shelter, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $70.

Thursday, Dec. 5 Crobot 7 p.m.; Small’s, 10339 Conant St., Hamtramck; $15. Dru Hill and Color Me Badd 8 p.m.; Sound Board, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; $42+. The Jimmy Blues Band r t T ur day of every month, 9:30 p.m.; Northern Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; No cover. Kali Masi, Baggage 7 p.m.; The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; $10. Laura Mendoza Live in Concert 7-11 p.m.; Spread Art, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; $10. Manchester Orchestra 7 p.m.; Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; $26+. Tom Cochrane w/ Red Rider wsg Steven Page 8 p.m.; Caesars Palace Windsor–Augustus Ballroom, 377 E. Riverside Dr., Windsor; $28-$53. Troyboi 7 p.m.; Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $22.

Friday, Dec. 6 Any Island, Bad Fashion, The Plastic Beach, Vena Morris 8 p.m.; PJ’s Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $8. Asphalt Flowers, Saving Escape, Easy Company 7-11 p.m.; Corktown Tavern, 1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $5. Bit Brigade performs Contra + Metroid 7 p.m.; The Sanctuary, 2932 ni t etroit Brother Elsey 6 p.m.; The Shelter, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $12. Cadillac Kidz Reunion • Holy Smoke • Sweet Crystal • Arlen 7:30 p.m.; Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Rd., Westland; $10. CASH CASH 9:30 p.m.; Elektricity

26 December 4-10, 2019 |

Nightclub, 15 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; $20+.

Sunday, Dec. 8

Choking Susan 7 p.m.; Spread Art, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; $10.

Emarosa, Too Close To Touch, Vaines 6:30 p.m.; Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; Sold-out.

Laura Mendoza Live in Concert 8-11 p.m.; Spread Art, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; $10.

Handel’s Messiah 2 p.m.; Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; $16+.

Pink Talking Fish 8:30 p.m.; Otus Supply, 345 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; $20.

Jemmi Hazeman & The Honey Riders, D-Boy, J-Rose, Comic, Quells 6 p.m.; The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; $8-$10.

Serenade for Horace 7 & 9:30 p.m.; The Blue LLama Jazz Club, 314 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; $25+. The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling 8 p.m.; Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; $20. The Wizards of Winter 7 p.m.; Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts, 12 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac; $30+. Twiztid’s 6th Annual Twiztmas Party 7 p.m.; The Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; $1. Tyler Childers 8 p.m.; The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $81+. The Whoremones 8 p.m.; Spread Art, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit; $10.

Saturday, Dec. 7 Any Island, Bad Fashion, The Plastic Beach, Vena Morris 4-1 am; PJ’s Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $8. Chef Malcolm, Caleb Byers, Reginald Hawkins 8-11:30 p.m.; Ghost i t ni t mtr mc Christmas Jingle VI 6:30 p.m.; Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Rd., Westland; $10. Funtcase, Ubur, Sweettooth 9:30 p.m.; Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $15-$18. Handel’s Messiah 2 p.m.; Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor; $16+. M.O.D. Classic and Skarhead 7 p m T e nctu r ni t Detroit; $15. No Limit Reunion Tour 7 p.m.; Masonic Temple, 500 Temple St., Detroit; $39.50+.

Kitchen Dwellers 8 p.m.; Otus Supply, 345 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; $15-$20. Miracle on 34th Street 4 p.m.; Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut St., Mount Clemens; $5. O.A.R. 7 p.m.; Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; $39.50+. Okee-Dokee Brothers 3 p.m.; Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; $15+. Organist Pierre Fracalanza Pops Concert 3-5 p.m.; Senate Theater, 6424 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $15. Pop Evil: Acoustic 7:30 p.m.; Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $22+. The Satin Doll Revue ft. music by Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Dinah Washinton & Billie Holiday 7 p.m.; Tangent Gallery, 757 E. Milwaukee Ave., Detroit; $10. Steve Gornall & The Blue Collar Blues Band 6 p.m.; Token Lounge, 28949 Joy Rd., Westland; $10. Street Sects and Meth 7 p.m.; The nctu r ni t etroit Tower of Power and the Family Stone 7:30 p.m.; Sound Board, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; $42-$55. UMMA Pop Up: Benjamin Green & Elijah Meisse 1-2 p.m.; University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor; free.

Monday, Dec. 9 Mongol Horde 7 p.m.; The Shelter, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $20.

Serenade for Horace 7 & 9:30 p.m.; The Blue LLama Jazz Club, 314 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; $25+.

Mongol Horde with War on Women 7 p.m.; Saint Andrews Hall, 431 East Congress Street, Detroit; $20.

Steel Panther 7 p.m.; The Fillmore, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $20+.

Tuesday, Dec. 10

Turnover & Men I Trust 7 p.m.; Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $25-$35.

Antighost, Future Misters, Tube Socks, Ness Lake 7 p.m.; Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac; $10. Dennis Coffey 8 p.m.; Northern









Men I Trust, Majestic Theatre, Dec. 7.

Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; Free. Eric Bellinger 7 p.m.; The Shelter, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; $20. Manqueque On the Move 9 p.m.; li ell r ve etroit Morbid Angel, Watain, Incantation 7 p.m.; Majestic Theatre, 4140 oodw rd ve etroit Pkew Pkew Pkew and Ramona p m T e nctu r ni t Detroit; $12. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello 7:30 pm c m uditorium in ton t nn rbor ree YACHT 7 p.m.; Underground @ DIME, ri wold t etroit

THEATER A Christmas Carol Wednesday, ec p m T ur d ec pm Friday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m., Saturday Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m. e dow roo T e tre il on ll oc e ter A Very Golden Girls Christmas Friday Dec. 6, 8 p.m., Saturday Dec. 7, 8 p m und ec p m nd ond Dec. 9, 8 p.m.; Ringwald Theatre, 22742 oodw rd ve ernd le Dancing: A World Premiere Play Friday, Dec. 6 through Sun., Dec. 22, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. on und l net nt l c o ni treet mtr mc DJ WHITTINGTON’S KOOL KAT: A HIP-HOP PANTO by Carla Mi-


larch and R. Mackenzie Lewis– World Premiere Through Dec. 29. Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays, 3 & 7:30 p m nd und p m T e tre ov uron t nn rbor Tic et re for dult for id e r nd under) Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) Through Dec. p m Tippin oint T e tre d t ort ville This Wonderful Life Sunday Dec. 8, p m l t r tr nd T e tre for t e erformin rt in w t onti c Twas A Girls Night Before Christmas T ur d ec pm Friday Dec. 6, 8 p.m., Saturday Dec. 7, 3 & 8 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 8, 3 p.m.; City T e tre oodw rd ve etroit $43.

COMEDY 313 Comedy Night Sunday Dec. 8, 8 p.m.; Detroit Shipping Company, 474 eterboro t etroit ree All-star Comedy Festival Saturday ec p m o T e tre ood w rd ve etroit All-Star Showdown Fridays and turd p m o omed mprov T e ter ine ile d Ferndale; $20. Cocktail Comedy Hour Fridays, turd p m T e ndependent omed lub t l net nt ni ve mtr mc Comedy For a Cause 2019 Thurs









The Old Miami

3930 Cass • Cass Corridor • 313-831-3830 | December 4-10, 2019


THIS WEEK day Dec. 5, 6 p.m.; The Berman Center for the Performing Arts, 6600 W. Maple d e t loom eld Fresh Sauce Sundays, 9 p.m.; Go omed mprov T e ter ine ile d ernd le ree Jamie Kennedy und pm r idle omed Tro t o l

ec tle

Jeff Leeson T ur d ec p m rid ec p m nd turd ec pm r idle omed tle Tro t o l Noel Night, Midtown, Dec. 7.

Judah Friedlander: Future President T ur d ec pm int ndrew ll on re t etroit Last Podcast on the Left Friday, ec pm onic Temple Temple t etroit Maybe It’s Cold Outside Through ec T ur d rid nd turd t p m o omed mprov T e ter ine ile d ernd le Naughty & Nice: Best of Holiday Sketch Show T rou ec edne d t p m nd und p m o omed mprov T e ter ine ile d ernd le Monday Night Improv Mondays, p m l net nt l c o ni treet mtr mc Name This Show Fridays, Saturdays, p m o omed mprov T e ter ine ile d ernd le ree Open Mic r idle t o l

edne d omed

pm tle


Pandemonia ver ot er rid p m o omed mprov T e ter ine ile d ernd le Sunday Buffet und omed mprov T e ter ile d ernd le


The Scintas turd ec ndi mo elebrit owroom ile d rren

o ine pm

Thursday Night Live! Thursdays, p m nt ll ni t m tr mc Tom Segura: Take It Down Tour und ec pm e r l ce ind or u u tu llroom iver ide r ind or WHINE DOWN WITH JANA KRAMER AND MICHAEL CAUSSIN edne d ec pm o l u ic T e tre ourt t o l

28 December 4-10, 2019 |


semble” (April 2, 2019–ongoing) Tue d turd m p m nd und noon p m niver it of ic i n u eum of rt t te t Ann Arbor; Free.

DANCE More Dances Contemporary Dance Company und ec pm nce pre ion nce tudio rper t l ir ore

Exhibition: “Copies and Invention in East Asia” (August 17, 2019–January 5, 2020) Tue d turd m p m nd und noon p m niver it of ic i n u eum of rt t te t nn Arbor; Free.

Vital Eyes T ur d ec pm rid ec p m nd turd ec p m ett e e tudio T e ter niver it ourt nn rbor


Exhibition: “Mari Katayama” (October 12, 2019–January 26, 2020) Tue d turd m pm nd und noon p m niver it of ic i n u eum of rt t te t Ann Arbor; Free.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch rid turd midni t in rt T e tre in t o l National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation rid ec pm edford T e tre er d e troit The Muppet Christmas Carol turd ec p m edford T e tre er d etroit Volkswagen Presents Warren Miller’s Timeless turd ec pm o l u ic T e tre ourt t o l

Exhibition: “Reflections: An Ordinary Day” (November 16, 2019–May 10, 2020) Tue d tur d m p m nd und noon p m niver it of ic i n u eum of rt t te t nn rbor ree

ART 2019 Holiday Show Friday Dec. pm turd ec noon p m nd und ec noon p m pip n l tudio rc rd Rd., Pontiac; Free.


Drawing in the Galleries Fridays, 6 p.m., Saturdays, noon and Sundays, noon etroit n titute of rt Woodward Ave., Detroit; Free. Exhibition: “Abstraction, Color, and Politics: The 1960s and 1970s” (June 8, 2019–February 9, 2020) Tue d turd m pm nd und noon p m niver it of ic i n u eum of rt t te t Ann Arbor; Free. Exhibition: “Collection En-

Exhibition: “Pan-African Pulp: A Commission by Meleko Mokgosi” Tue d turd m pm nd und noon p m niver it of ic i n u eum of rt t te t Ann Arbor; Free.

Exhibition: “Take Your Pick: Collecting Found Photographs” (September 21, 2019–February 23, 2020) Tue d turd m p m nd und noon p m niver it of ic i n u eum of rt State St., Ann Arbor; Free. Free tour: “Copies and Invention in East Asia” und ec pm niver it of ic i n u eum of rt t te t nn rbor ree The 11th Annual Community Group Art Exhibition Friday Dec. 6; etroit n titute of rt oodw rd Ave., Detroit; Admission is free with mu seum admission to residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. | December 4-10, 2019



pun of roder fre o t eir own new release) and the noise-pop of Zilched (a genre we don’t hear enough in this city), with DJ Scott X! on hand to spin grime and scuzz in between sets. —Ana Gavrilovska E ent e ins at . . 0 Cani St., Detroit; 313-826-0456; outerlimitslounge. com. Cover $5

SUNDAY, 12/8 Jemmi Hazeman and Dan Amboy double album release @ Loving Touch

GRiZMAS, various venues, Dec. 4-14.



Local music picks M sta

WEDNESDAY, 12/4 David Berman of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains tribute show @ Loving Touch

In August, the music world lost a true poet in David Berman, who died by suicide at the age of 52. What the enigmatic singer-songwriter and frontman of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains left behind is an endearing and enduring indie-rock legacy that triumphed both the pain and poetry of day-to-day life. “I don’t really want to die/ I only want to die in your eyes,” Berman sings on the now haunting “How to Rent a Room” from the Silver Jews’ 1996 record The Natural Bridge. Metro Detroit’s Bag of Brains, Drew Joseph and the Starlight Walkers, Of House, and Federal Dust are coming together to honor Berman’s musical legacy, with all proceeds going to support

local charities. —Jerilyn Jordan Doors open at 7 p.m. 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-820-5596; Tickets are $5.

WED., 12/4-SAT., 12/14

e r fund will once in o to bene t even ile nonpro t t t develop free music, arts, and coding programs to Detroit’s inner-city youth. In the past two years, the 12 Days of GRiZMAS has raised more than $100,000 for the organization. —Jerilyn Jordan Event times and locations vary; the full schedule of events can be found at Tickets for the Night Before GRiZMAS are $30 and $59 for the performances at the Masonic.

FRIDAY, 12/6


Werewolf Jones album release

@ Various

@ Outer Limits Lounge

n t e r t d of ri tm m true bae gave to me, one saxophone-wielding, Kush-smoking philanthropist and DJ. Michigan’s own GRiZ is coming home for the holidays once again, gifting us with his 12-day charity event. The 12 Days of GRiZMAS is returning for the sixth year, with roller disco, yoga, dodgeball, crafts and cocktails, and, of course, the main event: back-to-back-to-back concerts by Old Saint Kick out the beats himself, GRiZ, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre and the Masonic Temple. This

The boundless energy of Werewolf Jones — one of our Bands to Watch this year — is captured once again on their latest release, a brand-new self-titled 7-inch of sharp-edged screeds, recorded at band watering hole Outer Limits Lounge and released by London, Ontario’s It’s Trash Records. Further honing their buzzsaw punk sound, the tracks are as lovingly intense in recorded form as the band is on stage. Werewolf Jones is celebrating with a release show at home base, OLL. The bill is rounded out by the kitchen-

30 December 4-10, 2019 |

e tem n emmi em n music is as advertised. Just look at the multi-instrumentalist’s 2018 debut, Kosmic Maze uid nd poli ed le p into an intergalactic psych-and-prog rock rabbit hole that is equal parts improvisational and carefully calculated musings on the future. Hazeman and his band the Honey Riders are gearing up for the release of Phaze, which is described as an even more future-forward continuation of where Kosmic Maze left o etroit n Amboy, who’s been kicking around his Aesop Rock-style rhymes for more than a decade, is also dropping new tunes via his latest record, Lazyeyez. J-Rose and Quells are also slated to perform, as is comedian Joey Ham. Art by Pauly M. Everett will also be on display. —Jerilyn Jordan Doors open at 6 p.m. 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-820-5596; Tickets are $8-$10.

WEDNESDAY, 12/11 Teener album release @ Third Man Records

There’s no time like the present to be fed up with the patriarchy, the status quo, or to bare it all. Defying labels and oppressive forces is Detroit noise-rockers Teener. Fronted by Ollie Dodt, who is joined by Jeremy Damaske, Shayne O’Keefe, and Brach Goodman, Teener has set out to “make weird shit that nobody has made before,” as they told Metro Times earlier this year. “Weird shit” does not do the group’s 2017 release Siclical Trash justice, it nd odt nd comp n liter ll screaming amid a glorious cacophony of thrashing drums and heavy distortion. T e roup enli ted ic o e t ve nd etroit b ed to celebr te the release of Teener’s new 7-inch record. —Jerilyn Jordan Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; 441 W. Canfield St., Detroit 3 3 0 0 Tickets are $10. | December 4-10, 2019


Hip-Hop Smackdown with Lil Kim, Fat Joe, Naughty by Nature and more Fox Theatre, Jan. 18, 7 p.m., $54+


Fast-Forward Atmosphere St. Andrews Hall, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., $27.50+

Blake Shelton Little Caesars Arena, March 21, 7 p.m.; $64+

Snoop Dogg The Fillmore, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., $57+

Billie Eilish Little Caesars Arena, March 23, 7 p.m., Sold-out

Cold War Kids Majestic Theatre, Jan. 28, 7 p.m., $27.50+

Elton John Little Caesars Arena, May 1-2, 7 p.m., $245+

Umphrey’s McGee The Fillmore, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 6 p.m., $25+

Five Finger Death Punch Little Caesars Arena, May 12, 6 p.m., $39.50+

Chance the Rapper Little Caesars Arena, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.; $59.50+

Bikini Kill Royal Oak Music Theatre, May 23, 7 p.m., $39.50+

King Princess Royal Oak Music Theatre, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., $29+ The Lumineers Little Caesars Arena, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., $37+ Tove Lo St. Andrews Hall, Feb. 18, 7 p.m., $28+ Tim & Eric Masonic Temple, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., $47.50+ Garth Brooks Ford Field, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Sold-out Sturgill Simpson Masonic Temple, Feb. 29 & March 1, 6:30 p.m., $79.50+

32 December 4-10, 2019 |

Omarion, Bow Wow, Pretty Ricky, and more Little Caesars Arena, April 18, 8 p.m.; $49.50+ Journey DTE Energy Music Theater, July 5, 7 p.m., $64+ Billy Joel Comerica Park, July 10, 7 p.m., $113+ Harry Styles Little Caesars Arena, July 17, 7 p.m., $59.50+ Alanis Morissette, Liz Phair, Garbage DTE Energy Music Theatre, July 21, 7 p.m., $26+ | December 4-10, 2019



Rapper Brenton Freeman, aka B Free.


The world of B Free How Rapper B Free scored the gig of a lifetime performing for the Detroit Pistons By Kahn Santori Davison

Brenton Freeman, better

known as B Free when he’s behind the mic, is walking down Washington Boulevard carefree and jovial. The 26-yearold emcee and his team are trading stories from their recent trip to California, where Freeman was able to lock down a product-endorsement deal with headphone maker Beats Electronics. “Basically I’m a brand ambassador, “ he says enthusiastically. The endorsement deal is one of many wins that Freeman has been stacking up like the 1989 Bad Boys. Earlier this summer, he became a brand ambassador for Puma, and he also scored a deal with the Detroit Pistons in which he would do halftime performances, commercials, voiceovers, and other promotional

work. While penning his signature to multiple contracts to represent multibillion-dollar companies is impressive, Freeman is concerned about making top-notch music more than anything else. It’s the one thing he’s wanted to do since he was a teen at Hamtramck High School, where he graduated in 2013. “I was always rapping in school. I was freestyling at lunch. I was the only kid to have a YouTube video with the words in sync,” he says with a laugh. Like at any high school, there were other aspiring emcees, but Freeman stood out because he took the craft seriously. “I made sure every student had my mixtape — in fact, I was the only one with a mixtape!” he says. “I was also

34 December 4-10, 2019 |

oin into t e princip l office in to perform. I was the only one in the c ool m in t e e ort Outside of school, Freeman spent hours daily checking out internet sites looking for beats to purchase. But unbeknownst to him, his brother Bert had been working on beats just as hard as Freeman had been working on rhymes. “One day in ninth grade, Berty was like, ‘I got this beat.’ I heard it and I lost my mind!” Freeman says. “I was like, ‘This is what we’re going to do. You’re going to be the sound. I’m not going to be buying any other beats from other people.’ We had geometry together and I told him, ‘You make beats, and I’ll do the work.’” Freeman’s face lights up as he describes the musical bond with his brother. “Me and Bert live together. Almost every morning, I wake up and I hear beats,” he says. “I just go in there and freestyle, come with a cadence, a ow or form o tl oo r t because that best represents how I’m feeling at that moment, and it’s the topic of the song and I add the verses later.” After working the open mic and Bandcamp scenes for a few years, Free-

m n rele ed i r t lbum Motor City Menace, in 2018. The album was a combination of lyrical ferocity with Bert’s euphonious beats; on some tracks Freeman blasted his haters and on others he sang through his own insecurities. “I felt like the underdog,” he says. “I was doing shows, but I felt like I wasn’t getting the credit I deserve. I wanted to drop something that stood out and made people not want to stand still. I was in a darker place ... Motor City Menace was really like an open diary. I was being vulnerable on the project. It was a lot of truth on that project, as well.” Freeman says he taught himself how to sing by watching YouTube videos. “I always wanted to sing,” he says. “I heard Childish Gambino do it. If he can do it, I can do it.” Freeman’s raspy tenor vocals have drawn comparisons to Drake. But Freeman laughs when the megastar crooner’s name is brought up. “It’s one of the hardest things to escape right now because I’m light skin, I got a beard, I sing, I rap, and we both have the same tone of voice,” he says. “It’s one of t o e t in ott ure m way through.” Last spring, Freeman showed he had improved his vocals even more on his EP Lost in Paradise, which featured guest spots from Lil Blade and Diggy Simmons. It was lighter, softer, and more romantic than the previous album. “I was feeling good, man,” he says, smiling from ear to ear. “It was a brighter tone. I wanted to showcase my versatility more. Like, y’all know I can rap, but what about singing and more melody? I wanted to see people take on that. A lot more females came into play after that.” Moving forward, Freeman has plenty more music planned. He’s part of a collective called Forever Golden with fellow emcees Jay Squared, Curtis Roach, and Santana Davinci. The quartet released the Gold EP in 2018 and has more music planned for the future. “We’ve been friends for years,” Freeman says. “We all met at open mics and just became friends.” Freeman plans on dropping more individual singles well into 2020, and he realizes that he’s a part of the new generation of Detroit hip-hop artists intent on pushing the culture forward. “I see the city coming up … we have the opportunity to become the next Atlanta,” he says. “I believe we can come together and be one of the capitals of hip-hop.” B Free will perform at halftime during the Detroit Pistons–Indiana Pacers game at Little Caesars Arena on Friday, Dec. 6. | December 4-10, 2019



Carmel Liburdi.


Folk off

Singer-songwriter Carmel Liburdi mixes disparate influences for a brand of folk that is all her own e Milo

Carmel Liburdi politely

decline n o er of e pre o in te d c oo in to ip dec f e now er elf u t t l in bout mu ic nd w t it me n to er will nim te er to t e point w ere e ll lre d feel c ein ted u ic been uc friend to me t rou out m life t e e r old fol in er ut l o ll cre tive outlet ve lw elped me to e c pe or elped me better under t nd ow w feelin feel li e ever one dt t e perience w ere t e re up et nd t e mi t not now w or w t it i but t en t e e r on wit l ric t t ome ow perfectl c pture it nd it m e ou feel li e our own feelin c n t be t t weird bec u e ou re e r in omeone el e w o ets it T e metro etroit n tive will rele e er i t full len t lbum t i wee titled Yes! We’re Open! T t p r e i be ttin of iburdi c ri m tic refre in nd en in di po ition er on re li e di lo ue ivin

melod tone nd timbre to w t feel li e conver tion or ometime confe ion coiled wit uper c tc often win ome feelin c oru e wit wordpl t t t nd in for met p or on n t in from rel tion ip to uiet creepin e i tenti l p nic t bout bein open to t rtin t t di lo ue or t le t invitin n udience or li tener to con ider en in in t t di lo ue nd ometime it even m in me feel under tood iburdi t li e w en pl t e on m in ‘Hey do ou ever feel li e this nd w en t e cl p it li e t e re in e do et li e t t ometime o t ere v lid tion in t t but w nt t e v lid tion to lw be reciproc l t not ll bout m v lid tion will re ll put m elf out t ere to elp people feel t eir own v lid tion n ome of m on ll re ll per on l t in or re ll open up in w t t ou mi t t in would e it te to on t e but don t now it ind of liber t

36 December 4-10, 2019 |


t c n re ll be liber tin to in on ere it i ere it all i iburdi i uni ue t pe of fol in er blendin n rr of ome of er lifelon in uence from enre t t re ot erwi e di p r te from t e t nd rd on writer wit n cou tic uit r

it nd er tendenc to purpo efull m e e e cont ct wit individu l in er udience i w t et er p rt from tr dition l fol pl ed cou tic uit r b pro c u e it w w t w round it w w t d cce to e i no w m r t in trument but it w rd to brin into pl ce to perform o bec me uit r dependent ut t in ll of t t tu ip op well m u e p e in middle c ool nd t e d nce cl e from w en w oun er feel li e t t ll come t rou in m mu ic ut l o d p rent w o were re ll t e tric l nd cre tive lo t m d d w en w oun but e w re ll into nd r time nd T e r t on ever performed w ctu ll bout pper nd t en m mom e lw been ip e li ed new mu ic nd we li tened to lot of o li tened to lot of ltern tive nd run e w ic till love to t i d The songs on Yes! We’re Open! were pieced to et er over erie of wee wor in wit producer teve u ldoni w o l o en ineered iburdi lbum Mart rs Misfits. teve been n udio en ineer for re ll lon time nd it fun to wor wit im e e lw te c in me new t in nd we t l lot bout mu ic e ve been doin lot of li tenin to t e new lbum nd t i time ve been doin more rr n in on t e on n t e p t t in w little more fr id to pu m elf but wit t e e on tried to u t dive into t e fe r of it nd u t do it fter iburdi r du ted i c ool er mom would drive er from t l ir ore to co ee op in ernd le w ere e t rted er r t live cou tic perform nce would t t ome time m lmo t more comfort ble on t et no e f t t procliv it of er to m e e e cont ct wit udience member w ile performin e m u t lw tr in to m e

‘I don’t know, it’s kind of liberating. It can really be liberating to say, in a song, “Here it is … here it all is!”’ model uc pun roc turn of t e millennium emo nd ip op t t e me time e ubtl we vin in t o e ect tion o to till t in t e l ne of w t would ound li e fol to our e r more or le r t er t n comin o too pir tion ll fu ioni t ore t n n t in iburdi dmit t t er ener er per on l

connection wit people tr in to m e po itive imp ct or uplift t em in ome w or m e t em feel un der tood per on ll v lue t t w en omeone c n ive it to me o m lw tr in to ive it b c ne of t e m in o l i to encour e people to et into t eir feelin nd to emp t i e wit ot er people t in unit nd connec

tivity are the strongest forces for good in the world. We’re already detached enough as it is in our daily lives — and you can’t go around making deep empathetic connections with people all the time. So the stage is this rare platform where you can make an announcement out of human emotions.” While she’s aware that her stage presence might make her appear to be positive or even sprightly, Liburdi’s lyrics suggest otherwise. “I had a lot of pain growing up, and loneliness,” she says. “I was even kind of shy sometimes and had a lot of anxiety. I don’t necessarily project those emotions as a person when you meet me, but the music is where it can come out. It’s a necessary outlet ... The goal is never to depress anyone, but even just to acknowledge it can be powerful.” Going back to her earlier work from six or more years ago, Liburdi admits t t more of er ip op in uence were ble to lter in e w wor ing more on the piano, and indulging more of her spoken word and poetry sides. “And then on the guitar, I would write aggressively, and play more percussively, and my vocals were more dynamic and raw and intense, even if t ere w uctu tion in t t inten it she says. “But on a new song like ‘Hell’s Bathroom Floor,’ my vocals are pulled back and more tender. I’m trying to explore those parts of myself and just let the guitar and the song have more of a versatile feel, as opposed to always sassing it up or doing whimsical things.” She’s also deeply connected to a diverse cast of contemporary musicians around the local music scene, like folk singer Emily Rose, Mariachi punk duo Pancho Villa’s Skull, and even Michigan-by-way-of-California funk fusionists Downtown Brown. “I have a very deep love for the Detroit music community, and I feel like there’s a really strong DIY spirit here,” she says. “I’ve met all these people serendipitously. I really love the diversity we have here. And we have great house shows and DIY venues, which I adore. I love the close-knit feel of those [venues]. I really blossomed in communities like Trumbullplex and Crow Manor. They’re utopias for self expression. And I’ve been exposed to so many di erent people nd t le nd pl ce It’s been great so far — I’ve met some of my favorite people ever here.” Liburdi might also become one of your favorite people in Detroit. Carmel Liburdi performs an albumrelease party with Emily Rose, Jack Oats, and Maray Fuego on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Trumbullplex, 4210 Trumbull Ave., Detroit; 313-832-7952; Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7. | December 4-10, 2019


CULTURE You’ve got to BTKidding me

How the hosts of Last Podcast on the Left use comedy to shine a light on the darkest corners of the universe By Jerilyn Jordan

Last Podcast on the Left, Masonic Temple, Dec. 6.

What do Ted Bundy, Scientol-

ogy, Skinwalker Ranch, werewolves, the love life of H.H. Holmes, chaos magick, O.J. Simpson, Hollow Earth theory, Charles Manson, Slenderman erotica, orwe i n bl c met l e re p tein and Papa John’s “day of reckoning” have in common? Aside from reading as a demented list that an algorithmic bot may have populated when asked to write an episode of The Bachelor or a pretty comprehensive summary into our Google search history, they are all topics covered on The Last Podcast on the Left — the podcast that laughs in

the face of horror. Since 2011, longtime friends Ben Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks have hosted The Last Podcast on the Left, a love letter to their shared passion for all things fucked up. Each week, LPOTL delivers one full-length episode, which is sometimes one of a series on bigger topics (the Mormonism and Jonestown episodes are a mu t li ten t c lin peci c m cabre topic, person, or phenomenon and peppers in weekly minisodes and side stories, which feature Kissel and Zebrowski taking on listener emails

38 December 4-10, 2019 |


and timely news topics that err on the side of darkness, while Parks researches for the week’s main event, and as of the past few years, writing and researching the trio’s upcoming book, The Last Book on the Left: Stories of Murder and Mayhem from History’s Most Notorious Serial Killers. Together, they also tour a variation of the show across the globe, performing nearly 75 shows in 2019 alone, including their debut appearance in Detroit at the Masonic Temple this Friday, Dec. 6. A proud Satanist, comedian, and actor (The Wolf of Wall Street, Your Pretty Face

Is Going to Hell) Zebrowski is a member of Mufon (that’s the Mutual UFO Network, which is made up of civilians who voluntarily investigate alleged UFO sightings), owns artwork by clown-dressing killer John Wayne Gacy, and serves as the podcast’s voice and character creator. Bud Light and chain restaurant enthusiast Kissel is a political commentator who can frequently be seen defending Millenni l t riffin nd emocr tic ideals on HLN and Fox News. (Kissel also ran for Brooklyn borough president with the Reform Party in 2017, which he did not win.) Parks is the program’s produc- | December 4-10, 2019


CULTURE er, lead researcher, chief storyteller, and, arguably, the hardest working podcaster in the world. When we catch up with the newly m rried r ebrow i offici ted t e wedding, working in right-hand path magic and Satanic rituals), he refers to his research and life partner, Carolina, i wife out loud for t e r t time as he takes a break from reading about Bill de Blasio’s return to mayorship in New York City, where Parks lives, and Kissel is awaiting a morning Taco Bell delivery — though not breakfast, but dos chalupas — and dishes on being t e r t to receive t e unproofed cop of The Last Book on the Left. “Oh, shit, when did you get it?” Parks asks. “I got it in the mail yesterday. It’s awesome,” Kissel says. “It’s just a beautiful book.” The book, due out in April, took nearly two and a half years to complete and was written by Parks, while both Kissel and Zebrowski contributed by injecting jokes. Artist Tom Neely was recruited to illustrate the book’s nine chapters, which serve as an extension of “heavy hitter” serial killers LPOTL already covered. “It’s the people that we covered in the early days back when we didn’t quite know what we were doing,” Parks says. c durin t e r t epi ode or so when we covered Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, and Jeffrey Dahmer — like, all of these killers — we just didn’t really have the chops that we have now. So with the book, we wanted to go back and do all of these killers right. We wanted to really blow out these stories … of course, the book is funny as hell, too.” The trio pioneered the true-crime comedy genre, but never at the cost of t e victim ot in i trul o limits, including but not limited to sex crimes, dismemberment, necrophilia, torture, alien probing, and pedophilia.) Their targets are always the killers, both well-known and not (like a recent mindfuck of a two-part episode on Hadden Clark), cult leaders, and, well, L. Ron Hubbard. Sure, Zebrowski’s Charles Ng voice is, perhaps, racially insensitive (though he’s often put on watch by Parks and Kissel), but his Pee Wee Gaskins interpretation — the serial killer who was was charged with eight counts of murder but claimed to ill omew ere between nd deemin i cl im t e n l truth” during an interview — has become a fan favorite. Zebrowski’s Detective Popcorn character, which is

literally a bag of popcorn, was spawned during the BTK Killer episodes after the hosts discussed the incompetent police task force assigned to the brutal killings, who referred to themselves as the Hot Dog Squad. Detective Popcorn, too, is incompetent and is as horny as he is hungry for his buttery kerneled self. Parks says he didn’t see the “truecrime boom” coming, which has given le to t e li e of ren il ri nd Georgia Hardstark’s podcast My Favorite Murder and the popular, heavily re e rc ed et i erie Mindhunter. “We were just making each other laugh, and it wasn’t necessarily something that we thought would become as big as it eventually did,” Parks says. “And then it just seemed like the rest of the world kinda caught up to us when we were about six years in. It just sort of evolved from there, and people started paying attention to it. After people started paying attention to it, a community started to form around LPOTL and that’s what really [took us] to the next level.” Kissel adds: “I had a day job until ver t in t t we did we did for free for t e r t even ei t e r The show originated as a horror movie podcast after Kissel and Parks w tc ed t e t li n orror lm Cannibal Holocaust together. It wasn’t until the third episode that Zebrowski joined, and Parks says that’s when the program became something completely di erent i el view t e pro r m a direct reaction to how mainstream medi mi ndled cover e of orri c crimes. “In a lot of ways, they did a massive disservice,” Kissel says. “But as far as the mainstream of true crime, it was still, you know, the Nancy Graces of the world and [the] hyperbolic insane [coverage] of serial killers in an almost — I don’t want to say goofy, but just kind of a bizarre way. And so the way that t in of peci c ll rcu nd Henry, when they really got into the psychology of these people — I think it ort of ed di erent li t on true crime that people hadn’t heard before. We just didn’t realize that they were actually really yearning to know the true story behind all of these bizarre people.” ver in million wee l li teners, LPOTL i more t n epi ode deep, and, since its inception, Parks has launched the Last Podcast Network, w ic i ome to pro r m including The Roundtable of Gentleman, Abe Lincoln’s Top Hat, The Adventures of

40 December 4-10, 2019 |

Danny and Mike (hosted by Danny T mberelli nd i e ronn from Nickelodeon cult favorite The Adventures of Pete and Pete), and nerd pop-culture exploration via Wizard and the Bruiser. The show, which has been a DIY grassroots program since Day One, earned the trio a Webby Award in nd of more t n ub criber on t e crowdfunding site Patreon. Unlike Kickstarter, Patreon acts as a subscription service for creatives, where fans can commit to monthly payments to access exclusive content. As of right now, LPOTL r e in little more t n month from Patreon subscribers. Last month, however, LPOTL made a major announcement that all of its future content and entire back catalog will be o ered e clu ivel t rou potif in push by the streaming giant to expand to podcasts. “Over the next couple of months, we will begin a partnership with Spotify

but it is your responsibility,” believes this is vital not only to understanding LPOTL’s ethos, but also to understanding ourselves. “I identify with Dylan Klebold of Columbine because I was that same type of teenager that he was — like, that exact same type of, like, very mopey, very depressed, very angry all at the same time and trying to look for some sort of meaning. I relate to a lot of the guys that have mental issues, but with all of them, that relation ends the moment they make a decision to hurt somebody else … and I think when people relate to these villains, they should not feel bad about themselves — they should look at it. … That’s one of the reasons why a lot of these people cross that line — because they never examined the darkness within them.” Kissel says that killers like Bundy, n on nd c re not undefe t ble “superhuman monsters” as portrayed in the media. They’re just humans with

‘We were just making each other laugh, and it wasn’t necessarily something that we thought would become as big as it eventually did.’ who have shown us we have the same goals in taking podcasts seriously,” Zebrowski announced on Twitter. “We will be posting on all feeds for a while, also the show remains free. They do not own our network but are going to support us in expanding the shows we m e w ic me n more t i er quality podcasts, and more content.” The Twitterverse bemoaned the move, griping that it goes against LPOTL’s heavily vocalized anti-big corporation stance. “I’ve worked for far worse corporations doin’ TV,” Zebrowksi said. “Spotify is an app company with no parents that make bombs or shit. It’s just an app!” As LPOTL grows its gory empire, Parks reminds us that, although the series is meant to educate people on the strange lives and even stranger crimes of sick minds and is intended to bring levity to the most vile, lascivious, and brutal stories, it’s also an opportunity for listeners — and LPOTL hosts — to examine their own experiences, be it with trauma, mental illness, or dark impulses. Parks, who often says that “mental illness is not your fault,

human stories. “The way that we discuss what they’ve done in the context of their humanity, I think, is a really unique way to cover serial killers,” Kissel says. “It also disempowers them [when we] realize these are not creatures that you can’t defeat. We all have things that are similar to one another. There’s always connected tissue. There are always things that are just universal pain, u erin lot of t e bu e t t ome of the people we cover go through — there’s always moments where you’re like, damn, they obviously … made the wron c oice but t ere re de nitel moments where you do sympathize with a lot of the physical abuse and the emotional abuse, sexual abuse, that a lot of these people go through, and they just didn’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with them properly.” The Last Podcast on the Left starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Cathedral Theatre in the Masonic Temple; 500 Temple St., Detroit; 313-638-2724; Tickets are $55 for erified resale. | December 4-10, 2019



Harriet Rated: PG-13 Run-time: 125 minutes

Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in Harriet.


A missed shot By George Elkind

Pitting a loosely rendered

i toric l ure in t url ven eful fop re entful of er rd won freedom Harriet in Tubm n i f r le t n w t it could ve been t le of obviou if nite triump be et wit too m n on creen in le te r directed b i emmon Eve’s Bayou Black Nativity nd t rrin nt i rivo w o one in Widows even in m ll role Harriet i b ic ll n ori in tor for Tubm n tr cin er e c pe from pre ivil r en l vement to er renowned role e conductor on t e nder round ilro d from w ic e led undred of l c meric n to freedom rivo in t e role c n fre uentl ill t e e movin w w rdl in period clot e nd t e lm too m ll ndful of loc tion T e e ect of t i i unfortun te coll p in t e dventure tor ourne in w ic Harriet mi t nd ten e pul e to few repe ted compo i-

tion of c r cter tumblin l mel t rou bru T e e e uence ve little of t eir oped for ten ion nd t e ure in i t re u t un muted e tr wit little en e of c r cter or life evert ele t e uncert int of rivo e ture embodie ric l t time n ir of omeone recentl em ncip ted tru lin to feel er elf n tur ll wom n free per on um n bein l li e ou ot ri t to elpful co con pir tor tell er t t e end of er r t ourne u t one le of rel o erin t e notion t t le rnin to do o for n one recentl freed would be no m ll t ile t ere re ic er of peron l nd politic l in i t li e t i one t rou out Harriet over ll feel muddled un ble to nd t e nece r loo ene or tructure to reconcile wit t ew i tor refu e to f ll cle nl into received n rr tive tilted nd con ned in it e plor tion nd e -

42 December 4-10, 2019 |

t etic ll con erv tive b n tretc overlit pl inl ot nd l c l edited it c n t eem to decide t e tor it w nt to be Harriet movement from p ive to ctive t e ourne of n oppre ed wom n repo e ion of er elf nd ot er t ere fter cr for individu l freedom r i it n dventure t le cum tr velo ue det ilin ri orou ourne cro undred of mile of o tile terr in t could u t e il be femini t reven e t le in t t e forementioned fop or n lle or of our own time r ci li ed politic l tru le or even piritu l tor of me i nic ure empowered b f it to e cel be ond t e limit of er time n e it i mo t of t e e o erin limp e of t e e opportunitie o ered b it ub ect but b nd l r e it feel wr c ed li e it ver ion of Tubm n c r cter b perv ive indeci ion nd overw elmed b t e mount of round it to cover

n f ilin to nd it tor it tru le too to ettle upon vi ion of Tubm n t t co erent or p c olo ic ll convincin cro it rou l two our p n t time Tubm n i comforted b e p tri rc nd f t er ure t ot er e rebel in t t em ertin er elf t rou potent or tor or politic l ction bot uiet nd overt et er e need t eir feedb c or t e re impl t l in down i n t cl ri ed remotel b t e c mer wor t e tor tructure or n con uence of perform nce ould wom n t i e ception l re ll ve needed t e e men p t uid nce romide li e e r i our enem ollow t e ort t r nd Tru t in od mu t urel ve been ne rl clic ed nd u ele in t e eem tod but t e lide b unrem r ed upon t ou t e could be u eful r m tic ll o ilter et weirdl pl cid Harriet ow no i n of elf w rene re rdin uc deliverie ndin onl piet nd reluct nt movement w ere t ere could be ener or ric fri on f Harriet true t em tic lodetone rel tivel pe in it eem to be in t e ertion of Tubm n in t w ite p tri rc e empli ed b er former m ter per oni ed in t e br tt f intl c ri m tic pect of ideon rode oe lw n in p rticul r n m tc up t t feel le lmic t n televi u l in it protr cted eri l vibe t e two confront e c ot er on brid e nd in fore t e r rumor of one not er from f r nd c rr out over lon di t nce t eir re pective loo el circum cribed vendett T ou it doe n t ome in on t e e Harriet doe m e muc of t e moment in w ic Tubm n level t e m ll un e c rrie w et er t ideon ome cow rdl llie or ot er more m levolent oppre or T e e ect i one of tempt tion e tur l te e of retributive violence t t mi t o er t e lm ort of clim et b ewin to i toric l m teri l owever loo el Harriet lm t t feel c led to dut li e o m n biopic bound more to en e of obli tion r t er t n it own n rr tive w nt or voice nd re ult it feel de ted un ble to tt in t e freedom it cle rl de ire c in t e im in tion to nd tor in t e ric i tor it court nd declinin t e c nce to embr ce it elf re on ntl fol loric fiction, lbeit i toric l one Harriet feel mired b it ir of re pect di t nce nd trepid tion too unli e it ub ect too muc li e it le d | December 4-10, 2019


44 December 4-10, 2019 | | December 4-10, 2019



John Sinclair, center, was among the first to buy legal pot on Sunday.

Higher Ground

Everyone remembers their first time (unless they don’t) By Larry Gabriel

Could there be any better way to c p o T n ivin wee end t n celebr tin t e r t le l le of dult u e m ri u n eople in nn rbor eemed to li e it t ndin in lon line in t e cold nd r in on und to bu m ri u n on t e r t d of le eople even drove up from io nd one uc e e t te couple lept over ni t in tent ope it w wort it f t i i w t dult u e v il bilit loo li e t en it ould be prett ucce ful ende vor for bu ine e o doe n t w nt people lined up to bu our product nd o f r no one nnounced t t t e r n out of weed nn rbor i once in in t e m ri u n limeli t t t it often occupied in ic i n ince t e eople t ere were t e r t to c ll for le li tion cre ted t e were t e r t to decrimin li e le li ed medic l u e in before ic i n did in nd now t e re t e r t to ve 46 December 4-10, 2019 |


dult u e m ri u n le o n incl ir t e elder t te m n of ic i n m ri u n le li tion wor ed on le li tion e ort in nn rbor before nd fter i f mou rre t t t led to m ri u n becom in le l in ic i n for ever l d in incl ir now etroiter w mon t e r t to bu le l m ri u n in ic i n und nt e incl ir w rre ted for number of m ri u n o en e nd e t l bout ow t e cop lw w nted to now w ere e ot it u t in c e po lice w nt to now w ere e ot i new tu it w t rbor ellne ot onl t t t e fol t rbor ellne w nt ever bod to now t e re ellin m ri u n nd t e ope ou ll top in to bu ome T t w di erent from ow we ve been de lin wit m ri u n n t e old d ever t in w ecret nd on t e down low t rd to di c rd t e be vior t bitter weet turn of event for incl ir w o in w entenced to e r in pri on for ellin two oint n und e bou t wort of pre rolled oint ronic ver ironic t e w ole t in i incl ir lw new it would come to t i u t t ou t it would ppen lon time o e t ou t it ould ppen in t e nd t en it didn t o w t t e fuc c t en incl ir could ve bou t w ole pound of m ri u n for t e e pent for ndful of oint on un d T e medi w t ere to document | December 4-10, 2019


CULTURE i r t le l purc e t complete turn round from i r t ille l purc e incl ir c n t remember w ere e ot t e r t tu e ever bou t t w n t documented but it would ve been in i n tive lint ert inl b c in t e l te t e l t t in ou w nted w en ou were bu in weed w to ve omebod tr in to document it ow t ere re t ree dult u e ret il tore oper tin in nn rbor nd t e ri u n e ul tor enc rele ed li t of new licen e l te l t wee t t included fourt reen e nnov tion mint le rl nn rbor i t e m ri u n center of ic i n o ot er cit t t number of ret il outlet v il ble etroit none lt ou it popul tion i ve or i time t t of nn rbor ere in etroit t e oopl been po tponed b it ouncil n cit t t once d ne r medic l m riu n provi ionin center t ere re no ret il outlet due to tempor r b n o t etroiter will prob bl not be e din to nn rbor incl ir did to bu t eir r t le l weed n will

continue to bu t eir ille l weed on t e bl c m r et bec u e t t w t ere ut ever one i t in in bout nn rbor nd t e c n e to come cro t e t te w t meetin t t d not in to do wit m ri u n on und mornin w en omeone nnounced t t dult u e m ri u n d been on le for minute in nn rbor T en t t per on informed u t t t e ve plent of outdoor or nic ll rown tu ne tin n ur ent need to bu n T e point i t t t ere lot of pot out t ere nd etroiter mo tl will not worr muc bout t eir dult u e weed lon it et ere rel tivel oon T ere i no p nic in etroit mon u er lt ou ome fol re perturbed t t t e c n t cce tore nd t e v riet of product v il ble t e c n till cce m ri u n T i i more of n i ue for bu ine owner w o ve been n in on tr in to m e it to t e ni line of dult u e le w en t e m r et nd opefull pro t multipl rom w t e r mo t provi ionin center re u t cr p-

48 December 4-10, 2019 |

in b n nci ll ome of t em ve c n ed owner ip etroit turn will come in time i t now nn rbor i t e be con to le d u into t e dult u e econom crew t e itu tion in etroit i ou ve ot to dmit t t nn rbor de erve to le d on t i d T e cit i our nn bi entr l nd incl ir w o m de t e pil rim e from etroit to nn rbor to m e t t r t purc e i connectin bot t e p t nd future of m ri u n in t i t te

My first buy

nli e incl ir remember w ere nd w en bou t m r t ille l m ri u n t w in econd oor t ne r ivernoi nd vi on purc ed from t e older brot er of friend bunc of u from m c ool d pitc ed in to bu n ounce nd d t e cont ct e ve tore now lt ou t would ve been too oun to bu n t in t t em r t medic l m ri u n bu w tt e r t tion on t r nd oulev rd pl ce t t ince clo ed m in no urr to m e n dult u e

purc e rew ome t i ummer o m ood m l o covered for t e medicin l e tr ct u e bec u e ve medic l c rd m ure ll et round to it ooner or l ter

Don’t Bogart

T ere ve been plent of rticle out t ere bout t e do nd don t of c nn bi eti uette t e e p t few wee mon ll t t dvice none mentioned o rtin oint t bi enou i ue t t it w once put into on b r ternit of n T e p r e derive from lm ctor ump re o rt pr ctice of li tin ci rette t en oldin it nd t l in w ile t e mo e drifted w into t e ir T t m be for ci rette but bi w te of m ri u n if ou re u t oin to let t e mo e drift w o one w nt to li ten to ou ponti c te w ile t e re w itin for oint nd ou re w tin mo e en t e oint come to ou t e pu nd t e on p it over to me ven t e rd n reference to o rtin in lon time o people even c re bout t t n more | December 4-10, 2019


Savage Love


My ex-girlfriend, who I dated for nine months, called me two months after we broke up and accused me of giving her HPV. She was going on, telling me how I needed to tell any future person I had sex with that I have HPV. I’m a 38-year-old man, and I’ve never had any signs or symptoms of any sexually transmitted infections. I know HPV is very common, often clears up on its own, and cannot be tested for in men. What are your thoughts? Do I need to tell sexual partners that I have HPV? —Help Person Vacillating

A : Most people are infected with

HPV — the human papillomavirus — at some point in their lifetime, most never develop symptoms, and in most cases the infection goes away on it own T ere n e ective nd safe vaccine that protects people from HPV strains that can cause cervical, anal, dick, or throat cancer — and everyone, regardless of age, should get vaccinated. And since people can develop symptoms years after their initial exposure, there’s no way for your ex-girlfriend to know that you infected her. Or that she didn’t infect you. Every sexually active adult should assume

they’ve been exposed to HPV, that they have it or have had it, and conduct themselves accordingly.


I’m a gay man, and there’s a guy I see on the us ho I find attracti e in the extreme. I can’t keep myself from looking at him. Now here comes the but: He smokes. I’ve been toying with an idea to convince him to quit. I want to slip a note into his pocket or backpack with the following proposal: “Let’s make a deal. You give up cigarettes, and in return I’ll give you a blowjob once a week for a year. I’m concerned about your health. Please consider.” Other people who ride the bus also smoke, but I’m not inclined to make the the sa e o er. ut it a es e sad knowing this guy smokes, and I want to get him to stop. If this idea is crazy, please say so — it will help me move on. e ore nderta in Sincere obacco Eradication Deal

A : While your motives are no doubt

pure — there’s nothing in this plan for you, BUSTED, just the quiet satisfaction of putting a beautiful stranger on the path to better health — you don’t know if this guy is attracted to you. But he’s likely to react badly to your proposal

Dan Sa a e

even if he is. Because while you and I bot now ou re bein entirel el e — you’re the Florence Nightingale of anonymous/no-recip blowjobs — this extremely attractive stranger is going to assume you’re a delusional creep with boundary issues, because slipping a note like that into someone’s backpack or pocket (which would require you to technically and legally assault him) is precisely the kind of thing delusional creeps with boundary issues do. And because delusional creeps with boundary issues do this sort of thing, BUSTED, good and decent guys like you can’t do it without being misunderstood. So absent some sign of interest from this attractive stranger — like him staring back at you — you’re going to do what any normal, non-delusional, non-creepy gay guy would do after seeing an attractive stranger on the bus: leave him alone while surreptitiously checking to see if he’s on any of the gay hookup apps.


My wife is über-vanilla. She is willing to spank me and peg me, but she won’t “take charge” of the situation. She’s doing it to please me and expects me to signal approval throughout the process. As soon as a spanking gets to the oint that I inchin and antin it to stop, she stops. We’ve never gotten more than a few strokes into the pegging for the same reason. I don’t really crave pain per se, but I want and need her to be in charge. —Seeking Pointers About Needed Kinks

A : One of the top reasons people

choose safe words, SPANK, is so that they can scream, “Oh, God! Stop, please! I beg you! It’s too much!” and the person who’s spanking or pegging them knows that since they didn’t hear “collusion” or “giuliani” or “zelensky,” the spanking or pegging can continue. Not using the safe word is how a sub signals their approval throughout the spanking/pegging/ whatevering process — or, at the very least, how a sub signals their willingness to endure the spanking/pegging/whatevering to please the top.


My long-term partner and I are in a soft Dom/sub relationship. Neither of us has been sexually or physically a used. I su er ainl ro de ression and a little anxiety. Lately when the sex is great, I end up having a panic attack. If I have an intense orgasm and then he goes to town with penetration, there will be a point where I physically sho e hi o and then od sha es and my breathing starts getting really fast and I start crying, and basically I’m having a panic attack. I feel terrible for my partner, because it’s not really his ault. ut so eho the h sical

50 December 4-10, 2019 |

overstimulation gives my body the “OK” to have a panic attack. It’s happened a few times, and my partner is now hesitant to have sex. I want to be able to stop these panic attacks mainly for him. However, when I do have the panic attacks, I want to just cry and let everythin out. ut o course a a in partner just wants to comfort me and get it to stop. Please help. —Problems Around Nookie-Induced Crisis

A : Panic attacks during sex are something you might want to explore with a therapist or counselor, PANIC. If you’re already seeing someone about your depression and anxiety, please bring these attacks up with your provider. If you aren’t seeing someone, please start seeing someone. As for your partner’s hesitation to have intercourse, well, that’s understandable. But there’s an easy enough work-around: If an intense orgasm followed by go-to-town-style penetration triggers your panic attacks, then either don’t do penetrative sex after you’ve had an intense orgasm or wait until after your partner goes to town to have your orgasm.


I’ve been in situations where I’m with my better half, rocking her world, giving her an orgasm, coming inside her, and she lo es it. he ne t ee , same scenario, she’s moaning and groaning, I explode, and she says to me, “Did you come?” And I’m there thinking, “I thought I was pleasuring her like last time, and she suddenly can’t tell when I exploded inside her?!” hat he ctual uc

A : Sometimes the person getting

fucked (PGF) is paying close attention to the person doing the fucking (PDTF). The PGF is really taking the PDTF in, the PGF can see how close the PDTF is getting, the PGF knows just when the PDTF has arrived. But sometimes the PGF’s eyes roll back in t eir e d nd t e o t t e fuc away, WTAF, because the fucking feels that damn good. The PGF moans, the PGF groans, but the PGF is so lost in the physical and emotional sensations — they’re getting so deeply into the dicking — that it’s not until after the PDTF stops fucking them that the PGF even realizes the PDTF is done fucking them. So it’s not a bad sign that your better half sometimes has to ask if you came, WTAF, it’s a good sign. On the Lovecast, meet the woman who’s read ALL of Dan’s columns since 1991: Questions? ail sa a elo ollo Dan on itter a edansa a e. I each. he. Mother. uc er. lread I M .or . | December 4-10, 2019



And like the great minds before me, I too have wrestled with the eternal question. Where does stupidity end and drunk begin?


ARIES: March 21 – April 20 You’re on a high run. There are so many pitfalls in this neck of the woods, you’d do well to take a deep breath and keep the humility factor in check. For some reason, everyone wants a piece of you, and people are coming around, promising you the Moon. Things like this are intoxicating. The tendency to over in tion i e ier to monitor w en you go back to Square One and remember who you were before all of this took o ction pe louder t n word so pay close attention to who’s walking their talk, and be damn sure that you’re clear enough to keep walking yours. TAURUS: April 21 – May 20 Going back and forth between people, places, and things has opened your mind and broadened your perspective. You see that those closest to you are either totally stuck, or ready to embrace newness and change. It seems to be your job to love everyone, in spite of themselves. This has put you in a position of needing to let things be, with the understanding that people ve t eir own le on nd will ure out how to work things out in their own ood time fter e r of t in in it w our ob to ever t in ou ee that it’s God — and not you — who is handling the details.


LEO: July 21 – August 20 The fallout from the last few years has left some of you totally confused. If things are starting to make sense, it’s because you just woke up to what you did to screw them up. The need to stop blaming life for what didn’t go right has taught you how to be accountable for the truth. What’s now in front of your face will bring you deeper into the mystery than you’ve ever gone before. Looking at how — and why — so much of what goes on in your life keeps you overly entangled with others is about to show you that you can’t want for anyone what they don’t want for themselves. VIRGO: August 21 – Sept. 20 Lots of things have come together in the last week or so. Keep an eye on this trend because it’s laying the found tion for ome m in tu c n e opportunitie t loo li e ll of our be t e ort nd e r of dedic tion are ready to morph into their best nd i e t e pre ion ll of t i comes together, your personal life is vibrating at the same frequency. The inner nd outer world re re ectin e c other perfectly. This is what they call t e dre m come true vor it onor it. Shower it with love. Times like this are few and far between, and they are what we live for.

GEMINI: May 21 – June 20 The realm of possibility is looking like a whole new universe these days. God knows what happened, but you’re full of ideas. Regardless of what prompted the urge to get on the ball, ou u ve it m de f r t t goes, the need to stay realistic and humble is essential. Instead of going at it with a lot of fanfare, know that it’s your job to keep the joy alive and let God handle the details. If you can follow those instructions and avoid the tendency to get nervous about how all of this goodness needs to unfold, you’ll wind up with something that is amazing to behold.

LIBRA: Sept. 21 – Oct. 20 The last few weeks have thrown you for a loop. Your penchant for needin to m e ever t in prob bl own in t e f ce of t in t t border on the hard edge of the emotional spectrum. Don’t get lost in the drama; it won’t help. If anything, you need to ure out ow to o t bove all of this. Playing your cards right will involve waking up to the fact that this is no ordinary thing; you’re at a major milestone. On some level, you know there’s no going back. If you’re still stuck here thinking you need to hang onto anything, do what you can to let it go.

CANCER: June 21 – July 20 Well, you’ve got a choice. On a certain level, you know exactly what it needs to be. The problem is, old stories keep you from stepping into a new pair of shoes. It looks like it’s either a sense of obligation, or codependence that keeps you from going for it. In the long run, you’ll pay dearly for the need to make sure everyone but you has what they need f r ot er people o t makes you think it’s a good idea to kill t em wit indne tep b c nd loo long and hard at what you’re here for. Hopefully you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s time to grow up and get real.

SCORPIO: Oct. 21 – Nov. 20 Yes, my friend; this is a crossro d tu t t ou t ou t ou d ll ured out e o i ettin re ed on a much deeper level. Time heals all wounds. The older we get, the easier it is to come to terms with the last thing we want to see. These things demand a hell of a lot of soul searching. Too bad if you choose to ignore it because it won’t go away. Too bad no one told us that life is a school and everything is a test; we came here to eat up every ounce of our Karmic debts. Don’t shy away from this one. Liberation lies on the other side of your willingness to work it out.

54 December 4-10, 2019 |

By Cal Garrison SAGITTARIUS: Nov. 21 – Dec. 20 Being caught in the middle of a story that is hard to believe, for the past year or more, you’ve been torn between oppo in force nd or intere t oming out on the other side of this maelstrom, amazingly, you’re still in one piece. What happens now will depend on the extent to which others mean what they say. They could be sincere. On the other hand, they could just be feathering their nest, telling you what you want to hear. Whatever kind of line they’re pushing is music to your ears. It will take the Wisdom of Solomon to tell t e di erence between trut nd lie CAPRICORN: Dec. 21 – Jan. 20 You’ve had to dig deep to get in touch with the heart of the matter. This will me n di erent t in to di erent people. You guys have a tough time acknowledging the fact that you’re human. This is one of those times when you can’t ignore that fact and you can no longer keep it to yourself. Those clo e t to ou re on di erent b ndwidth. If they didn’t have so much of t eir own tu to contend wit t e d be 100 percent there for this — ready, willing, and able to give you a hand. Don’t lose faith in what you’ve created; like everything else, this is about patience and time. AQUARIUS: Jan. 21 – Feb. 20 Be wary of people who put on a happy face and give you the runaround. It looks to me like someone is asking too much. Give them enough rope to hang themselves, and while you’re at it, keep your distance. You’ve got enough of your own issues to deal with without having to handle their problems. You should know by now that other people and their stories expose you to whatever t eir tu i bout o m tter ow good people look on paper, everyone is a can of worms. Trust me; in your current situation, the last thing you need is to get tied up in this bozo’s nonsense. PISCES: Feb. 21 – March 20 If you thought you were ready for t i ou ll oon nd out en e is that you’re being called to put on a bigger pair of shoes. The challenge lies in the fact that you had no idea what it would mean to have everything be up to you. Up until now, it’s been OK to enjoy the ride. I don’t know for sure how the next few months will unfold, but you don’t need to be an astrologer to see that it’ll be all work and no play. On some level, you’re primed and ready for this. Others are backing you 100 percent, and there’s a huge amount of support coming from the spiritual realms. | December 4-10, 2019


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