Letters to the Editor 

For some time, if you'd asked practically any Detroit rapper who they considered the most slept-on emcee here and almost universally they'd say Miz Korona, after citing themselves, of course. She's outbattled and outhustled local lyricists for years and her songs sport more punchlines than a comedian's routine. But despite a choice cameo in 8 Mile and various mixtape releases, it appeared Korona got stuck in some "Almost Famous" category. But since her debut album, The Injection, dropped this summer, Korona love has shot from a variety of make-it or break-it national hip-hop buzz sites, such as Rappersiknow, thisis50.com and allhip-hop.com, and has upped her own ante as a headline artist who plays second to no one. And last week the Detroit-aggressive emcee debuted her first real-budget music video for her latest single, "Playground." So, yeah, it's a good time to check in with Korona — an artist who happens to be, despite her raps, sweet as pie in person.

1. Where'd you shoot the "Playground" video and who are the kids starring?

We did the scenes at this playground on Esper and Joy Road. The store location was the Holiday Beer and Wine on Joy Road and Greenlawn. The kids, well, the little ... that's my little cousin. And the little boy who portrays Moe Dirdee, his mom is my hair stylist. I just invited the kids out and whoever had good chemistry with the director is who got the lead parts.

Actually, my little cousin, I knew she could portray me 'cause she's acts like me in real life. She don't take no mess. 

What's the best thing that's happened to you since the album dropped? 

I think the best thing that's been happening are the responses I've been getting from artists I look up to like Kuniva (D12), Guilty Simpson, Rakaa Iriscience (Dilated Peoples), Bahamadia and more.

What's up with your next project, Sealy Posturepedic (Most Slept On)?

I actually pushed that back 'cause The Injection is just catching some leg and I'm getting booked for a lot of shows. I want to give the album time to breathe and push this as far as I can. Plus, people think I can really make Sealy Posturepedic dope and not just be a mixtape.  

What are your goals for 2011?

My goals for 2011 are to land a few tour dates in the States and overseas. Drop maybe two or three projects and continue to keep the Miz Korona brand growing. ...  

Alright, so you're a good person to ask: Who is the next person to blow up from Detroit going to be?

Other than myself? [laughs] That could be a pretty long list, but I'm really feeling Boog Brown, Danny Brown and Moe Dirdee right now.

Transformers 3 
Director: Michael Bay 
Starring: Shia Lebeouf, Josh Duhamel

The buzz: Every schoolboy knows that Detroit's city motto is "If you seek a pleasant postindustrial apocalyptic wasteland, look around you." No one has taken this slogan more to heart than mega-budget schlock-master Michael Bay, who happens to adore Detroit's mix of neo-gothic and art deco architecture — especially when it already looks like giant robots have used it for missile target practice. 

For the third Transformers go-round, Bay and crew have rolled out and, um, transformed locations around New Center — and at the Falwell building in Capitol Park — into suitable sites for mechanical mayhem. Where else but the Motor City are you going to make a flick about cars that come to life and start blasting the crap out of the terrain? Fortunately, our local watering holes and nightclubs are safe from utter destruction, because series regular bimbo Megan Fox has been replaced. 

Director: Amy Heckerling 
Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter, Sigourney Weaver, Malcolm McDowell 

The buzz: The long-in-the-tooth Dracula myth gets a much-needed boost of excitement by morphing into a peppy romantic comedy about the wacky relationship troubles of two sexy ghouls turned modern NYC career gals. The ever-chipper vegetarian icon Alicia Silverstone gets into the bloody swing of things in this Amy Heckerling-directed romp, which has been filming in Times Square and other downtown spots since early August. Our beloved D has been tasked with subbing for midtown Manhattan, which may explain the mock subway stop the crew built here a few weeks ago. It was a fake. (And here we thought rail advocates were finally getting somewhere.) The cast also includes vets Sigourney Weaver — who may want to invest in some real estate because she seems to be here all the time — and the incredibly awesome trio of Richard Lewis, Wally Shawn and Malcolm McDowell, a grouping which must make for one hell of a great dinner party. 

Scream 4 
Director: Wes Craven 
Starring: David Arquette, Courteney Cox 

The buzz: Horror King Wes Craven returns to prove that you just can't keep a good franchise down, no matter how many times you stab it and cast David Arquette. Having bled Freddy Kruger dry, Craven hopes to squeeze a few more jolts out of old Ghostface and company, though it's been a decade since the last installment of his wink-wink slasher satire. Since young foxes Campbell and Cox are now cougs, this edition brings in a new crop of kids to dice into teen tartar, led by the fresh-faced likes of Rory Culkin, Hayden Panettiere and Alison Brie. Hacking and slashing has been under way most of the summer all around Ann Arbor, downtown Plymouth and finally in the ever tony burb of Northville.

No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop

On their second album, the two guys that make up Los Angeles' No Age sound less like a My Bloody Valentine tribute band and more like the skate-punk malcontents they really are. Guitarist Randy Randall and drummer Dean Allen Spunt still allow for plenty of kaleidoscopic detours like those found on their 2008 debut, Nouns (check out "Dusted" and "Sorts," a venomous synth-noise tumble in a cement mixer). But No Age seems uncomfortably down with abject conventionality on Everything in Between — from the downer-strum "Common Heat" to the headbang literality of "Fever Dreaming," which thrashes like a windup toy gone haywire. When the group's anarchistic and conformist tendencies collide — as in "Shred and Transcend" — it's easy to be awed by their noise. But too often they come off like just another three-chord soundtrack to when you want to hole up in bed all day and watch Jackass reruns. —Ray Cummings

Tracy Kash Thomas
Sound Truth
Cytra Music

The joy here is that Tracy Kash Thomas sings of familiar issues with an enormous sense of hope and feeling. Like Joni Mitchell or Carole King, this well-trained musician connects, and the ordinary is suddenly extraordinary.

"Take It Too Far" tells of a romance that blossomed from friendship — "It's time we ruined this friendship/ it's time we take it too far" while in "Bubble" she encloses herself for protection: "No more wading through the rubble/ when everyone's dead weight comes down on me." "Hold My Hand, Zoey" covers any parent's natural desire to protect her child, and she sings, "You're the prize I've won/ now my life's begun," with refreshing and unironic honesty. Sound Truth succeeds spectacularly because Thomas' love for life bursts forth even in melancholy moments. It's the kind of joy that's infectious. —Brett Callwood

Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Junction, 31505 Grand River Ave., Farmington; 734-262-5469.

Fright from the bins

Helluva Band

Not the Angel Aerosmith sang about. Not even close. Like their alphabetical homies ABBA, Angel too had an aerodynamic logo that looked the same backwards and upside down. Unfortunately, this album came before some Angel fan designed that fancy letterhead for them. I snapped up this dog-eared copy of their second album Helluva Band not because of any allegiance to pouty Punky Meadows or shampoo conditioning, but because:

a) The cover has five poodles chained together like a life-sized charm bracelet, being held by an oversized female hand to whom size obviously means nothing. Maybe she'll keep them for tampons!

b) C'mon, there's a song called "Dr. Ice" on here! And it sounds exactly like a theme to a Sid and Marty Krofft show. Share in my shallow hopes of one day finding those other five Angel albums that bankrupted Casablanca Records, selling for a pittance at a Goodwill. —Serene Dominic


Detective (Deluxe Edition)
Rock Candy

A Michael Des Barres post-Silverhead posture-fest that sees him embrace the by-the-numbers qualities of arena shouters, such as Sir R. Plant, with nods to Paul Rogers, and you'd never guess he'd been called the David Niven of rock.

Jimmy Page inked Detective in '75 to Zep's own Swan Song, and he produced some here, so it's very Zep-y, and a surprisingly listenable time-capsule nod to post-glam radio rock. Drummer John Hyde even channels Bonham.

Success eluded Detective because the timing was just off; besides, Page's lifestyle was, um, a bit topsy-turvy in the mid-'70s, so this album wound up costing nearly a cool million to make — and that's in 1975 dollars. (DeBarres: "We took two months to get the drum sound!") Detective's moment of fame may've been its WKRP in Cincinnati cameo.

"Recognition," "Got Enough Love" and the weirdly Raspberries-ish pop of "Detective Man" are all ace. The package is killer; 16 color pages of essays and pics, worthy master tape mastering, etc. —Brian Smith

Download of the week

Mayor Hawthorne & the County
"No Strings (Classixx Original)"
Stones Throw

Tweaking the sound that broke the band, Hawthorne's new single "No Strings" trades his cute-but-flat '60s-soul croon for a synthy, slightly modern sound. It's still R&B: The band calls on Hall and Oates and even adds a touch of Chromeo's self-aware panache.

Highest greetings from Amsterdam. My name is John Sinclair and I've been a marijuana legalization activist ever since I founded Detroit LEMAR (LEgalize MARijuana) in January 1965, following the receipt of a LEMAR flyer sent from New York City by poets Allen Ginsberg and Edward Sanders, the progenitors of this movement. 

Between 1964 and 1968, I was harassed by the Detroit Narcotics Squad for smoking, dispensing and advocating marijuana use. I served six months in the Detroit House of Correction in 1966 for possession of a half-ounce of weed, and I served 29 months of a 9-1/2-to-10-year sentence for possession of two joints of marijuana — a crime then defined as a Violation of State Narcotics Laws (VSNL) — between July 1969 and December 1971.

During this time I was held without appeal bond in maximum-security prisons in Jackson and Marquette while my legal appeal wound its way through the Michigan court system. In March 1972, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that marijuana was not a narcotic. My conviction was reversed and the marijuana laws were declared unconstitutional. 

Thus there were no marijuana laws in Michigan for three weeks until the current state legislation punishing marijuana users with a year in prison for possession went into effect. This dreadful new law was commemorated by the first Hash Bash gathering on the Diag at the University of Michigan on April 1, 1972.

That was 38 years ago, before many of today's marijuana smokers were born. The Michigan State Police, county sheriffs and municipal authorities have ruled our world with their war on drugs ever since — or at least until the 2008 elections, when 62 percent of Michigan voters approved medical marijuana use and mandated a system of licensing and regulation for medical marijuana patients that is currently legal throughout the state.

The point of this initiative is that medical marijuana users in Michigan are no longer criminals to be subjected to the misdirected and often vicious treatment dealt out by the drug police, prosecutors, courts, drug treatment and prison systems. 

Citizens who qualify as medical marijuana users may now be licensed by the state of Michigan, and their suppliers, or "caretakers," may also be licensed by the state to provide patients legally with a reliable supply of two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana at all times.

Medical marijuana is a good thing, and this is a good law. I have always believed that marijuana is a medicine particularly well-suited to the needs of people suffering from many maladies. Like Louis Armstrong, I always thought of weed as more of a medicine than a dope, and I believe, with Dennis Peron — the activist and leading force behind California's medical marijuana proposition more than a decade ago — that all marijuana use is medicinal. 

(For the record, I'm involved in Trans-Love Energies Compassion Collective in Detroit's Eastern Market, though conflict of interest precludes me from writing about it here.)

The new marijuana laws across the country enable medicinal users to emerge at last from under the cloak of opprobrium thrown over us and become legal, registered, state-approved smokers of the sacred herb that has served us so faithfully through the long and bitter years of the war on drugs.

We urge all our fellow medicinal marijuana users to consult your doctors, gain certification as medical marijuana patients, register with the state of Michigan and carry your patient cards with you at all times. Caregivers should register with the state along with your patients, and convert your legal status from criminal drug dealer to authorized medicine provider. 

At the same time, with respect to medical marijuana patients and their caregivers, we must point out to the state, county and municipal police forces throughout Michigan that the war on drugs is over, whether you want it or not. Lay down your arms, turn your swords into plowshares, and join us in securing a sufficient supply of medicine for our citizens who require marijuana for health.

At this historic juncture, we urge the forces of law and order to accept, in good faith, the will of the voters, the changes in established law and the altered legal status of registered medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. You are no longer authorized to arrest these people and treat them like criminals. The game is up! The war is over, and we insist the law enforcement community recognize and respect the rights and the dignity of these citizens now and at all times in the future.

The police raids on compassionate care centers and other gathering places for medical marijuana patients and their caregivers are reprehensible and must be stopped at once. Law enforcement means enforcing the laws on the books, and the books have now been rewritten by the citizens of Michigan. Read them and weep. The war on medicinal marijuana users is over. Stop the raids!

I have never understood what laws and law enforcement have to do with what's going on inside our heads. What difference should it make to anyone what we use to get high on? I'm not a fan nor a user of alcohol, for example, but I wouldn't ever want to try to make someone stop drinking it, and I really couldn't consider arresting and jailing and imprisoning them just because they want to have a drink. If they get drunk and do something wrong, arrest them for what they did wrong, not for drinking.

The same goes for recreational drug users. If they do something wrong, whatever they might be on, arrest them for that. If they aren't doing their job, punish them for that. If they're robbing and stealing to support their drug habits, bust them for the criminal acts. But what's going on inside their bodies is their business and their business only. Like the poet says, we have a right to our bad habits.

The sick thing is that the laws against recreational drug use have been used to create a vast police-state apparatus on the backs of people who get high. As a result of these laws, we have legions of drug police, drug courts, drug prosecutors, drug judges, drug probation officers, drug treatment programs, jails, prisons, parole officers and other factotums of this vicious war on recreational drug users.

This ugly picture won't disappear as a result of the new medical marijuana laws, but the frame will move off those of us who use marijuana within a medicinal context for the many things that ail us. As we have seen, the police forces will have a hard time letting go of their long-held attitudes, beliefs and practices regarding the ingestion of marijuana and the criminal status of its users, but once they accept the new rules of engagement we will all have a better world to live in.

Me, I've been criminalized by the marijuana laws all my adult life. I've lived in constant fear of arrest, spent three years in prison on marijuana convictions, and snuck around ever since trying to keep them from seeing what's in my pockets. 

Now I've got my medical marijuana patient card and a caregiver who's registered with the state as my official supplier — and that's a great big step in the right direction. But my goal will always be the full legalization of recreational drugs and the complete dismantling of the machinery of the war on drugs. —Amsterdam, Sept. 17-18; London, Sept. 21, 2010

John Sinclair celebrates his 69th birthday with live music (of course) Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Bohemian National Home, 3009 Tillman (22nd), Detroit; call 313-420-7487 for information.

The fall fashion forecast sees jeans as tight as ever, but heels are taller, necklines higher, and hairstyles continue to get cut with especially more interesting angles that actually work.  Thanks, Europe. Patterns are more prevalent, color schemes more subdued, and accessorizing successfully these days requires a sense of ageless restraint. Styled by the daring Detroit femme du fashion Birta Hlif Epstein — fresh from a trip to the Big Apple for the talked-about Fashion's Night Out event — the Metro Times 2010 Fall Fashion spread shows us this and more. 

This Autumn's attire should clash and mash generations, but the final look ought to feel as cohesive as it does creative. Women want comfortable couture that turn heads and breaks rules, and that's exactly what we gave them.

Photography by David Lewinski

Model: Haley Scott

Dress: Lost & Found Vintage 
510 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak
248-548-6154; lostandfoundvintage.com

Shoes: Incognito
323 S. Main St., Royal Oak
248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com

Necklace: Stylist's collection

Red coat: Lost & Found Vintage
510 S Washington Ave., Royal Oak
248-548-6154; lostandfoundvintage.com

Denim vest: Stylist's collection

Ruffled shirt and patterned skirt: Lost and Found Vintage
510 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak
248-548-6154; lostandfoundvintage.com

Shoes: Incognito
323 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com

Ruffled shirt and patterned skirt: Lost and Found Vintage
510 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak
248-548-6154; lostandfoundvintage.com

Shoes: Incognito
323 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com

Dress: Lost & Found Vintage 
510 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak
248-548-6154; lostandfoundvintage.com

Shoes: Incognito
323 S. Main St., Royal Oak
248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com

White dress: Femilia Couture

Leg warmers: Stylist's collection

Boots: Incognito
323 S. Main St., Royal Oak
248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com.

White dress: Femilia Couture

Boots: Incognito
323 S. Main St., Royal Oak
248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com

Camo:  Joe's Army Navy Surplus
32302 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak
248-549-2692; joesarmynavyonline.com

Pants & Shoes: Incognito
323 S Main St., Royal Oak
248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com.

Camo:  Joe's Army Navy Surplus
32302 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak
248-549-2692; joesarmynavyonline.com

Pants & Shoes: Incognito
323 S Main St., Royal Oak
248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com.

Red coat: Lost & Found Vintage
510 S Washington Ave., Royal Oak
248-548-6154; lostandfoundvintage.com


Styled by Birta Hlif Epstein, BE Handmade

Hair by Red the Salon stylist Caitlyn Wells 
470 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-203-1313

Makeup by Red the Salon artist Nikoletta Lucaj
470 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-203-1313

Shot on location at Franklin Cider Mill
7450 Franklin Rd., Bloomfield Hills; 248-626-2968; franklincidermill.com

Produced by arts & culture editor Travis R. Wright: twright@metrotimes.com


Best of the Best: Looking back at 2010's Best of Detroit fashion & beauty winners

Best Indie Men's & Women's Clothing in Detroit: Showtime
5708 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-875-9280

Best Indie Mens & Women's Clothing in Suburbs: Incognito 
323 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-548-2980; incognitoinc.com

Best Vintage Clothing: Lost and Found Vintage
510 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak;
248-548-6154; lostandfoundvintage.com

Best Thrift Shop: Salvation Army
Various locations; salvationarmyusa.org

Best Salon for African-American, Hair/ Best Hair Stylist: Textures by Nefertiti, Nefertiti
4147 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-4771; texturesbynef.com

Best Salon with a Conscience: Curl Up & Dye
4215 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-833-5006; curlupanddyedetroit.com

Best Makeup Studio: Todd's Room
239 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-
594-0003; toddsroombirmingham.com

Best Deal on a Pedicure: Douglas J Aveda Institute 
409 S. Center St., Royal Oak;
248-336-5500; douglasj.com

Best Place to Reinvent Your Wardrobe on the Cheap: Regeneration
23700 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge; 248-414-7440

Best Clothing Store to Help You Dress Like a Pin-Up: V-Male Detroit Vintage
23902 Van Born Rd., Dearborn Heights; 313-299-8899

Best Place for Clothes for Time Travel to 1960s Paris: Chi Chi and the Greek
3543 Elizabeth Lake Rd. Waterford;
248-255-5039; chichiandthegreek.com

Best Place to Buy a Dress to Wear with Tights and Boots: Flo Boutique
404 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313 831-4901; flowingflava.com

Elder's wisdom

Loved Jack's article about "greasy Mike" Bishop ("Bought and paid for," Sept. 22). I went to the mat with Mike Bishop for a couple of years, trying to finally get Michigan free of smoke in restaurants. At one point he advised me to go a website that listed more than 300 smoke-free restaurants in Michigan. Most of them were places like Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, Subway, etc. My favorite was "Steamers" in the Troy Public Library — hardly a place where you'd like to spend a quiet evening, sipping a glass of wine. 

Bishop finally had to give in and bend to the majority of voters who wanted clean air. He has stalled, voted no, and refused to allow too many issues to even come up for a vote, as he is doing now with the DRIC. Thankfully, come January, he will be gone.

As for "Matty" Moroun: Well, what can we say? The only issue I have with Jack is his description of Moroun: "at 83, he is older than dirt." I am 82 and often jokingly describe myself as older than dirt. But it's not pleasant to have others do so. I still keep up with what's going on in Michigan and the world and let my voice be heard — more often than those much younger than I am who are "too busy."

So don't write off Moroun's age as his excuse for being a selfish billionaire. There are a lot more selfish billionaires and millionaires much younger than Moroun. —Jean Barnard, Sterling Heights

What about the movie?

Re: Your review of Machete ("Borders on absurd," Sept. 8), it seems you guys really are bent against libertarian thought. Every time the word libertarian is mentioned, it is usually followed by an insult of one kind or the other. Have you forgotten the great things that have come recently out of libertarian-inclined people? What about the "end the Federal Reserve" movement? As for Alex Jones, he can be a bit of an emotional windbag at times, but his fear of globalists is well-warranted. While your review of Machete criticized him ardently, there is no refuting the facts he referenced in his radio show, and that is because none of them is false. There have been many politicians who have openly called for a one-world government, and there are steps being taken to that end. I also back up Alex Jones when he says, "I want all illegal immigrants deported!" In order to maintain the sovereignty of a nation, that nation must have clearly defined borders and must enforce the rules of immigration. —David Seaver, St. Clair Shores

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