The finese classic
A Chase Car to Lure Private Eyes Out
LAWRENCE ULRICH When I think of people who’d fall hard for the Chrysler 300 SRT8, names come to mind: Kojak, Mannix, Rockford, Starsky and Hutch.
Trivia lovers will note that the private detective Jim Rockford was a Firebird man, and that Starsky and Hutch favored a white-striped Ford Torino. And it’s the 300’s sister car, the Dodge Charger, that’s been recruited for actual police work. But on the gritty streets of Brooklyn and New Jersey, the broad-shouldered Chrysler always seemed a step away — specifically, a step on the gas pedal — from a tire-burning cop-show chase. Or, alternately, a video game appealing to characters on either side of the law. And there is nothing virtual about Chrysler’s new Performance Pages, which engages drivers in real-life competition. Displayed on the 8.4-inch UConnect infotainment screen in the center of the dash, this computer animates and records this Chrysler’s feats of acceleration, braking and handling. My best score was a fleet 4.8-second run from 0 to 60 miles per hour, accomplished without the aid of the electronic launch control, which is standard on this 2013 model, though I didn’t engage it. The 300’s name can be traced to the C-300 of 1955, the first American sedan whose V-8 engine produced 300 horsepower. The father of that car was Virgil Exner, the industrial designer and lover of tailfins. But the modern 300 can claim two daddies: the car is perhaps the most successful melding to emerge from the shortlived union of Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, and it is still genetically related to the Mercedes E-Class. The 300’s combination of American street style and German breeding made it a cultural and showroom hit. Now, a reworked line of 300s help to carry the torch for the post-bankruptcy Chrysler controlled by Fiat. The 300 is one of several models whose cabins suggest that Chrysler — after decades of cheap-plastic eyesores — is finally turning the corner with competitive, attractive interiors. A touch of Italy never hurts: the car I tested was outfitted with $2,500 worth of Poltrona Frau leather on its upper doors, instrument panel and center console. Even without the fancy Italian hides, the handsome cabin breathes new life into a big sedan that feels more rewarding than pedestrian front-drive cars like the Toyota Avalon and Ford Taurus. It helps that the 300, like the Mercedes, was designed as a rear-drive car despite an all-wheel-drive option (though not for the SRT8). For most 300 buyers, the combination of a new 8-speed automatic and a Pentastar V-6, with 292 horses and a highway economy rating of 31 m.p.g., is the smart app. A 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 raises the horsepower to 363 — and surely that’s enough, right? But no, say the muscle heads at Chrysler. The engineers of the SRT division, which produces the Viper sports car and high-performance versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger — have created a small batch of SRT8s. The tuner edition of the 300 adds a raging bull of a Hemi, with 6.4 liters, 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a 5-speed automatic. The SRT’s interior features real carbon-fiber trim and a heated, chrome-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters. For $1,995 you can add a 900-watt 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. Also available is a two-tone interior with red leather seats, faux-suede inserts and heated cushions for the front and rear. The Performance Pages readouts add a range of analog-style engine and transmission gauges. One vivid screen animates real-time horsepower and torque output. Another highlights the g-forces affecting the car — in acceleration, braking and cornering. I kept finding excuses to goose the Chrysler, just to watch the horsepower gauge explode from roughly three horsepower — the Hemi’s output at idle — to 400 and beyond. Just remember to keep one eye on the blurry road ahead; the car runs a quarter-mile in roughly 12.7 seconds. Top speed is said to be 175 m.p.h. The SRT’s reworked body looks ready for undercover duty. The car is half an inch lower than a standard 300, with dual four-inch exhaust outlets and 20-inch wheels. The SRT’s approach to performance is as subtle as a blackjack to the skull. But while the Hemi provides the blunt force and basso soundtrack of a big-block Motown V-8 — with equally oversized, track-worthy Brembo brakes — the Chrysler tempers that force to become a surprisingly comfortable, compliant daily driver. The Hemi can shut down 4 cylinders to save fuel, though it remains thirsty, with an E.P.A. mileage rating of 14/23 m.p.g., drawing a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax. The adaptive suspension now features three selectable modes. The stiffest Track setting commands the transmission to hold gears at high revs while the driver manually controls the shift paddles or console stick. Yet that 5-speed transmission remains the weak link, especially in light of the 8 speeds in other verisons of the 300. The SRT8’s starting price of $49,990 can seem iffy at first, and more so after options. (My test car checked in at $57,750.) The closest comparison for the Chrysler may be Cadillac’s CTS-V, a 556-horsepower beast available as a sedan, coupe or wagon. But even that formidable Caddy costs about $15,000 more than the 300. Still, smaller German supersedans like the Mercedes E63 AMG and BMW M5 cost $100,000 and more. With its accurate but relatively light steering, the Chrysler isn’t as precise, agile or luxurious as the Mercedes or BMW. But on the mean streets, it gets the job done in remarkably similar fashion. The Chrysler delivers 90 percent of the German cars’ performance for barely half their price. And I’ll swear this on a stack of Gutenbergs: the Chrysler is more fun and more visceral than BMW’s flawed new M5, though not as sensational as the Mercedes. And if valet attendants don’t respond as quickly to the Chrysler, you can always try flashing a badge.
Greta Hurlies Tattered Cover
Racin g Thr ough Kyoto
We watched from the comfort of our undisturbed homes when Japan’s Tohoku coast was devastated in 2011 by a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami. But for author Greta Hurlies (This Cold Heaven, The Future of Ice and The Solace of Open Spaces), it wasn’t enough to commiserate from afar. Kishi Bashi Bluebird Theater K. Ishibashi is no stranger to success -- he’s a founding member of Jupiter One, and has toured with of Montreal and Regina Spektor. But his solo project, Kishi Bashi, has a very grassroots feel to it. For instance, Ishibashi funded his debut album 151a through a Kickstarter campaign which promised everything from original compositions to private concerts in exchange for a contribution.
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and incendiary barbs. No subject was off limits, and anyone offended risks being lampooned the next time around. Rethinking Western Gallery 1261 No matter how urbanized cities like Detroit become, romantic images of tumbleweeds and telephone poles will always be attached to the American West. But the art coming out of our region has changed, and Gallery 1261 aims to highlight these new trends in Rethinking Western. The show features artists who want to set themselves apart from Western artists of the past, such as Frederic Remington. Romeo and Juliet Center for Performing Arts
From Baz Luhrmann’s mid’90s version with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes to a 2011 animated retelling with garden gnomes, Romeo and Juliet has been translated into many time periElectric Six ods and approaches over the Larimer Lounge years. And now the Detroit Electric Six have been bring- Center Theatre Company ing the party to the unwary is bringing William Shakespeare’s tragic tale of teenage for six albums in as many love back to the stage in a years, starting with 2003’s new/old way. Fire and leading up to last year’s Absolute Pleasures. Beware of Mr. Baker The group’s songs combine CU Visual Arts Complex ‘80s rock, disco and New Wave into a cranked-up, Some rock docs work beultra-catchy sound all its cause they document an own, with lyrics that mix a important part of musical David Lee Roth-esque brahistory. Some work bevado with surreal barrages of imagery revolving around cause they tell a compelling, unique story. And some fire, sex and More work just because their subjects are so completely The Faux Show and totally unhinged that Museum of Outdoor Arts you can’t look away. When all three come together, as The Faux Show, at the Museum of Outdoor Arts, looks they do in the Ginger Baker for the line between what is biopic Beware of Mr. Baker, you have something special. and is not art. “We thought we would explore the differFurthur ent ways the visual arts are Ogden Theatre exploited in pop culture,” says museum project manager Tim Vacca, adding that Like bottles of wine, guitarist Bob Weir and bass masthis is “an exhibition that ter Phil Lesh seem to get doesn’t take itself too seribetter and better with age. ously.” Since the end of the Grateful Dead proper in 1995, Festivus Film Festival the two have kept the band’s Oriental Theater music going strong through various musical projects. This year’s Festivus Film Festival, the sixth annual Succulents and Savages celebration of indie flicks, Love Gallery isn’t saving its best for last. Rather, it will explode out of Artist Tracy Tomko thinks the gates with a first night that puts Colorado filmmak- Michael Benninghoven’s little Love Gallery could ers firmly in the limelight. “We have [a] block that’s all use some extra attention, but she still couldn’t believe local shorts, and a feature film called Along Recovery,” that the February slot was actually open there when says Johnathan McFarlane. Benninghoven — who even works under the tagger’s Adam Bodine Trio Plays name “Love” — invited her Nirvana Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge to curate a show. When jazz pianist Adam Bodine played an entire set of Nirvana songs last Halloween he intended it to be a one-time thing. But it was so well-received that he’s doing it again this year. Bodine’s trio will be playing instrumental takes on a variety of the Nirvana’s material that could be considered some of the band’s greatest hits. Guttermouth Bluebird Theater After the schizophrenic disaster that was 2002’s Gusto, Guttermouth tried to appease its pissed-off fans by returning to the work at hand. That is, pissing off anyone within earshot with sophomoric Vandals humor
Untitled #54 - Turf Detroit Art Museum The Detroit Art Museum’s Untitled series is always an adventure in art appreciation, with its imaginative slates of hands-on cultural activities, demonstrations, entertainment and downright silliness. But until now, we don’t think it’s ever been dominated by a people-generated American Idol vibe. Nerd Prom Summit Music Hall Most people who got called “nerd” in high school probably didn’t get a lot out of their prom experience, but Bop Skizzum’s second annual Nerd Prom offers
a chance for sweet redemption. Nerds can don their best garb — whether it’s that slick jacket with the Dungeons & Dragons patches they wore in high school or an elaborate costume repping their favorite video game ... Revenge of the Nerds indeed. VibeSquaD Fox Theatre Aside from touring as a solo act under the VibeSquaD moniker, Aaron Holstein has found the perfect balance between being his duties as a highly sought-after EDM producer and those of being a father. Following a successful stint on Bassnectar’s VaVaVoom tour, Holstein has settled in for 2013 by touring with electro-jam rockers Lotus. Infected Mushrom Ogden Theatre
that the painful contingent were insufficiently maternal. Apparently Motherhood Out Loud, an evening of linked monologues on the theme of motherhood, comes down on the side of hideous taste Artopia Vinyl We here at Westword really don’t mind telling you that Artopia is dazzling. There’s nothing else in town quite like the annual arts circus put on by ours truly at multiple Golden Triangle venues every February; the affair throws together the city’s best in random performers, live music and DJs, fine artists, poets, culinary artists and cocktail creatives for one wild art extravanzza
“We like to do 2 percent jazz and 98 percent funky stuff,” proclaimed Maceo Parker on his 1992 live album, Life on Planet Groove. Sure, he’s a deft jazz player, but when it comes to funk and R&B sax, Parker is the king. After honing his chops in James Brown’s group and with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, Parker kicked his solo career into high gear with 1990’s Roots Revisited. The Reverend Horton Heat Larimer Lounge
“There’s a health and wellness focus that we try to have in adult education,” says Sarah Olson, adult-education manager at the DBG. “Kundalini yoga has a very unique approach in that no two classes are alike; there’s always something new to learn, so there’s never a very stagnant time.”
The term “kundalini” in yogic philosophy refers to a spiritual energy located at the base of the spine; the poses in a kundalini yogic practice are designed to activate and awaken this energy, as well as balance the lifeforce centers throughout the body, and there’s also an emKurt Rosenwinkel Quartet phasis on meditation. Best Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge of all? This class costs only $8 for members and $10 for Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel the general public, which is is a damn fine improviser, a steal for ninety minutes of and his attack on the notes yoga -- so you’ll be able to is strong; he makes each keep that “save more monnote ring through. Whether ey” resolution, too! he’s running through fluid Allan Holdsworth-inspired legato lines or laying down his own unique riffs, Rosenwinkel has a tone that’s as distinctive as his phrasing.
Israel’s Infected Mushroom specializes in completely over-the-top psychedelic trance. A breakout act in their homeland’s substantial psy-trance scene, the duo takes an unusually eclectic approach to the genre, which has led to some odd crossover attention — being tracked on JamBase.com, for example, a website dedicat- Lyons Classic Video Oskar Blues ed to the jam scene. Maceo Parker Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom
that’s the case, then head to the Detroit Botanic Gardens for the weekly kundalini yoga practice.
Dale Katechis, owner of Oskar Blues, gave up his office to provide a home for Lyons Classic Video in the lower level of his restaurant — but it was worth the sacrifice to save a life. Scuba Adventures Downtown Aquarium “It’s one of the coolest things to do in Detroit right now,” exclaims dive guide Shane Taylor. He may be right. In landlocked Colorado, the Downtown Aquarium’s scuba and snorkel activity is a way for ocean lovers to don their wetsuits without the debauchery of a Cancun vacation.
Just in case anyone forgot how long the Reverend Horton Heat has been around, he reminded everyone during the first 45 minutes of his last show the Ogden Theatre a year ago by playing a song from each of his albums in chronological order, from 1991’s Sub Pop debut, Smoke ‘em if You Got ‘em, to his most recent effort, 2009’s Laughin’ and Cryin’ With the Reverend Horton Heat.
Show & Tell Exhibition Golden History Center
Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout Detroit Turnverein
Abstractionn for all Clyfford Still Museum
The foothills town of Golden is full of historical lore: Coors Brewery, Foss Drug, Jolly Rancher, Lookout Mountain and the Colorado School of Mines are just a few of its landmarks, come and (some) gone. Town officials have done a great job of preserving the physical remains of all that history has forgotten
It’s not every weekend you get the opportunity to learn dance moves from some of the very best genre-specific instructors in the country — or see those same instructors in action, for that matter. But that’s what happens every year at the Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout, a swing-dance spectacular hosted by the non-profit organization CommunityMinded Dance.
Abstract-expressionist master Clyfford Still had no association with Detroit during his lifetime, but now that he’s dead, he has become a big mover in the city’s cultural life. Still’s will dictated that his artwork could go to any American city that would build a museum to house it. In 2004, thenmayor John Hickenlooper promised that Detroit would do just that, and the result is the Clyfford Still Museum.
Motherhood Out Loud Avenue Theater
Kundalini Yoga Detroit Botanic Gardens
A recent Facebook thread carried a passionate argument about whether childbirth was ecstatic or hideously painful. “Painful” voters found the ecstatic folk smug; the ecstatics hinted
Perhaps you made a New Year’s resolution this January -- and if you’re anything like most Americans, it probably had something to do with health and fitness, or maybe stress relief. If
Does auto industry need excise duty relief? SHEKAR VISWANATHAN For every Rs 100 that the four-wheeler auto industry collects from the consumer, the Government collects approximately Rs 70 from the consumer in the form of various taxes such as excise duty, sales tax, road tax and service tax. Taxes are levied on fuels as well. This is a highly taxed industry. The Government’s objective is to increase the share of manufacturing in the GDP of the economy from an estimated 17 per cent to at least 25 per cent so that employment gets a definite boost. The four-wheeler auto-industry is a key employment generator in the factory that manufactures the cars — in the upstream auto component and logistics industry that makes and delivers components and the downstream logistics and dealer network that sells, maintains and distributes the cars. Every car produced generates secondary and tertiary employment. It is important to appreciate the sector’s multiplier effect on economic activity. While the auto industry is focused on generating volumes in the different segments of cars to garner profits and growth, it is certainly in the interest of the Government to lower excise rates as this will help increase volumes and garner additional tax revenue. High tax rates have the harmful effect of lowering volumes, lowering gross tax collections and ultimately lowering growth in the auto sector. There is much confusion in defining the rich man’s vehicle — the SUV (sports utility vehicle) and the aam aadmi vehicle which is the UV (utility vehicle). The prudent way forward would be to exclude UVs up to an excisable value of Rs 12 lakh, which are used by joint families and car poolers. The practical approach would be to levy incremental tax on all those UVs/SUVs that have an exciseable value of Rs 12 lakh and more, so that the fiscal deficit target is not hurt. The reason cited by the Finance Minister in increasing taxes is that SUVs occupy more road space and parking. Not true. One SUV occupies less space than two sedans and can carry eight people; two sedans would be required for the same number of people. Diesel vehicles of the UV variety are preferred because of the subsidised pricing offered on the diesel — clearly, what the Government needs to do is to increase diesel prices at a retail level (a beginning has been made) so that the subsidy element is removed. Bulk consumers such as the Railways may carry an element of subsidy so as not to hurt the aam aadmi. Increasing taxes on new vehicles rather than on the fuels retards the growth of the car industry. In the context of falling sales for the auto sector, high interest rates and the manufacturing sector’s share in the GDP, the Government must refrain from increasing excise duties on this sector. (The author is Vice-Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.)
Ford Recalls Some 2013 Models for Faulty Child Locks Jonathan Welsh Ford Motor Co. is recalling certain Focus, C-Max and Escape models from the 2013 model year because of problems with their child locks. In a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the car maker said the child locks on the left rear door of some vehicles were improperly made. The locks may not engage when drivers or other adults try to activate them. As a result the driver may think the child lock is engaged when it is not. If this happens an unrestrained child could still open the door from the inside, increasing the risk of injury. Ford said the problem affects Focus and C-Max cars built from Nov. 16 through Nov. 21, 2012; and Escape SUVs built from Nov. 14 through Nov. 21, 2012. The recall includes 5,675 vehicles. Under the recall, Ford dealers will inspect the affected rear door latches, and replace them if necessary The recall is expected to begin later this month.