Ann Arbor’s Dave DeVarti, former publisher of Current Magazine, will be driving his Honda Odyssey with a newly minted and finally legal vanity plate. And the plate’s contested message, WAR SUX, has cost the state of Michigan the sum of DeVarti’s attorney fees: $21,500. Originally barred by the state due to the government’s claim that the word SUX had a sexual overtone, U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist rejected the argument, asserting that the Secretary of State guidelines were too broad. Officials cannot deny personalized license plate requests for subjective reasons, however, the state can impose restrictions on requests for plates that contain profanity, parlay explicitly sexual content, or portray a negative image of a racial, religious or socioeconomic group. Meanwhile in Brooklyn, New York's Department of Motor Vehicles is revoking the patently offensive registration of a black Dodge with the license plate HAMMAS. Although the plate is a misspelling of Hamas, the Palestinian flag displayed in the windshield suggests a nod to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group. War, in short, sux.
An essential way to craft a resonant piece of music is to unpack the existential pondering, the fleeting but insistent anxieties, the hard truths and easy reminders, that are swimming around up inside the head of the songwriter. The sublimity of Saline-based folk/Americana artist Monticello Van Odom‘s album is in how its spilling out all
Toledo’s future beat/psy-jazz/hybrid electro duo Heavy Color recently premiered a new music video that commemorates an inspiring musical odyssey charted by one of its songwriters back in 2015. The group formed several years ago around the collaborations of Ben Cohen and Sam Woldenberg. Their Toledo’s answer to cerebral ambient electronica acts like Four Tet, Caribou,
An elite black pianist tours the segregated south with a white roughneck chauffeur. Green Book combines two crowd-pleasing formulas—the road movie and the true story—with two stellar lead actors, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Mortensen plays Tony Lip, a white, working class second-generation Italian-American from the Bronx who works as a nightclub bouncer. Ali plays
The most recent book of Kalamazoo-native Bonnie Jo Campbell is as visceral as it is honest. A compilation of short stories, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters explores the lives and relationships of women in rural settings. With varied character perspectives, the book runs the gambit of trials and tribulations: sexual assault, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancies, neglect,