Almost old enough to drink … legally 

Twenty can be such an odd age. You’re not a teenager anymore, yet you’re not truly enfranchised as an adult. You’re interested in serious issues yet still want to shake your booty to the big beat.

That’s where the Metro Times finds itself this season — 20 and odd. Were approaching our 20th birthday — technically Oct. 16 though we’re going to officially celebrate it with a big party at the Roostertail Sept. 29 (well, I did say we were odd) — and we think it’s significant. Before the Detroit Metro Times first published in 1980, there had never been a newspaper quite like it around here. Since then we’ve moved from a curiosity to a must see for more than 300,000 loyal readers each week. Thank you for making us your paper.

Over the next few weeks we'll bring you some special stories that highlight our history and the impact Metro Times has had on individuals and the community. We start off this week with reviews of books written by two former MT writers — Herb Boyd and Helen Zia. Boyd, an associate editor when this paper was founded, is a nationally respected African-American historian with several publications to his credit. His is also The Black World Today, a Web site focused on black news from his New York base. Zia, a former local factory worker and activist around the Vincent Chin killing, wrote an important series of articles on the Hudson’s building and downtown Detroit during the early 1980s. Since then she has written for a number of national publications and was executive editor and is now a contributing editor to Ms. magazine, in addition to writing a column for Asian Week newspaper.

Another story this week focuses on the results of our popular and entertaining Connections section. Not only do people meet through our Connections ads, some hook up permanently. We feature three couples who met through MT ads and have developed lasting relationships.

In upcoming weeks we’ll have features on the local music scene, important stories we’ve published, folks who have worked here, the best of Best of Detroit and some of the weird events that have transpired here. Plus, an extra special 20th Anniversary issue on Sept. 27. We’re here, we’re odd, so deal with it.

Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former Metro Times editor. Send comments to

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