In several recent columns about Kwame Kilpatrick, Jack hits the nail on the head. The only question that looms large is whether Detroiters or the Wayne County prosecutor will find the legal and political will to remove this sad joke of a mayor. Detroit has promise but is tragically behind the curve when it comes to having the leadership to move us into the 21st century. (Ditto the state of Michigan.) In the meantime, this narcissist in a pimp suit keeps his boot pressed to the city's jugular. Detroiters deserve so much better. I travel to other post-industrial cities and see urban renewal and age of technology change. Why can't we have that kind of leadership here? —Elaine Zaks, Southfield
Why must you tear down?
Well-stated about Kwame. However, most of the points you make do nothing more than state the obvious. In your opinion, if not Kwame, then who? Now that you have come to the conclusion that Detroit should move on, what are your suggestions for moving forward? To sit on the sideline and throw darts makes you no better than those you speak of. "If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem." —Vernon English, Lathrup Village
Your review of A Detroit Thing (Cinema, Metro Times, Feb. 13) isn't a review. It's a complaint from writer Corey Hall that his favorite bands are not in the film. There is little to no talk of the picture itself — no comment on the photography, editing, sound, musical score, writing, narration or direction. Rather, Hall spends a good deal of print personally attacking the main subject of the film — Mr. Tino Gross — as if Tino had made the film about himself.
Unfortunately, Hall is part of an ongoing problem with this community. He prefers to pit one band against another, one Detroiter against another, rather than do his job and simply critique a piece of work.
But Hall's worst offense is using the platform — as supposed "film critic" — to hurl insults at people he either doesn't like or feels are not popular enough to sit alongside him at the bar. Hall suggests there is a "self-congratulatory clubhouse feel" to A Detroit Thing. A feel that would disappear, I suppose, so long as the film featured "definitive" bands like "The Witches, His Name Is Alive" or "The Dirtbombs" — all bands I happen to enjoy and champion whenever possible. If there is such a "clubhouse feel," it is in Hall's own writing.
Hall states that "Technically, to enjoy this locally produced documentary you didn't have to be in the Detroit music scene in the mid-late '90s," but he disregards his own assessment. What is cinema, if not the ability to take a story from somewhere in time and effectively present it to an audience through image and sound?
What difference should it make if our film features bands such as Isabella Starfudge — a group Corey criticizes for failing "to make much of a ripple" — or Hall's suggested Volebeats. The point of the film is to offer respect to any and all artists who endeavor to earn a living on their own terms.
Further, I would suggest the bands featured in the film are making more of a "ripple" than Hall comprehends, as they are currently in a full-length feature documentary that is touring the country. Hopefully, these artists — and more Detroit artists like them — will finally receive their due.
What Hall fails to understand is that A Detroit Thing is just one story, about one group of musicians, during one moment in time. It does not portend to be the "definitive statement" about Detroit, as Hall insists it should. If that were the case, I would have titled the film The Detroit Thing.
I offer my appreciation to editor Brian Smith for taking the time to consider the film. In the future, however, I would suggest giving the assignment to someone whose worldview extends beyond the boundaries of his happy hour clique at the rock-n-bowl. —Anthony Brancaleone, filmmaker, A Detroit Thing, Royal Oak
I was quite surprised to see the lapse in Metro Times' journalistic integrity with Corey Hall's review of A Detroit Thing. Mr. Hall's piece was not really a review or criticism of the film at all, but rather an op-ed piece detailing the reviewer's personal feelings about the film's subjects and his preference toward which local bands should have been featured in the movie.
While I am not proposing any more feature length films featuring Tino of the Howling Diablos as a focus, I do think A Detroit Thing was reviewed unfairly. I also think that we owe local artists the same respect we offer artists whose work originated from outside the local community. —Joshua M. Millar, Baton Rouge, La.
Bangs was best
Just wanted to say thanks for giving Lester Bangs beaucoup props in your article about CREEM ("Sour CREEM," Jan. 16, and "CREEMed," Jan. 23, Metro Times). I wasn't reading CREEM in the '80s because I was too busy reading and rereading Lester's liner notes to a Them double album that came out in the early '70s (to cash in on Van Morrison's success), his liner notes to an '80s Fugs collection, and Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. —Dan Kroha, Detroit
Errata: Night & Day (Feb. 13) had incorrect dates for Tom Harrell's performance at Music Hall's Jazz Café. He performs there Feb. 22-24. See this week's Night & Day for more information. Also, a Night & Day item about a tribute to jazz musician Donald Walden incorrectly described it as being a fundraiser. It was strictly a tribute to his musical and cultural contributions. Also, in "First person bisexual" (Feb. 13) the main character in the story was addressed incorrectly due to an editing error. She should have been called "Naomi."
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