26 years ago in Metro Times: David Dodd covers WDIV's cavalier treatment of Late Night with David Letterman. After years of decisions that have ired Letterman fans, including plans to air old movies instead of the show, replacing the showman's promos with their own, and airing the show at 1:30 a.m., it's small wonder WDIV says the show "never received the ratings they had expected." The network affiliate finally announces it will carry the show, but, instead of at 12:30 a.m., it will air an hour later, allowing WDIV to show reruns of The Love Boat. It is the only station in the country to carry the program at this late hour. In response, Dodd writes, "C'mon, Channel 4, do you really think we'd rather watch Captain Steubing discuss his prostate problems with Doc, or witness Artie Lange star as a sinister gynecologist on a quest to check the cruise director's plumbing?" And, 26 years later, David Letterman has changed networks, but is still on late-night TV. What was happening: Bad Manners at St. Andrew's Hall, Ultravox at Lili's, the Cult at Paycheck's Lounge, Charlie Musselwhite at the Soup Kitchen Saloon.
18 years ago in Metro Times: Jim Dulzo covers Detroit Summer, a "tiny, brave, ridiculously underfunded program that's equal parts clean-up work, leadership training and Tom Sawyerly summer fun." A collective effort of dozens of community organizations, Detroit Summer has drawn together 120 people, a third of them from out of town, over three weeks, to create community gardens, paint murals, do AIDS outreach and get their first taste of progressive leadership. Volunteer Theda Rogers tells Dulzo, "I have all these new ideas coming at me. I've learned more about being in the community. When I was younger, I didn't think much about other people. Now I'm thinking a lot about what I want to do. Do I want to give up and move somewhere else in the world? Or do I stay and help out?" In 2010, 18 years after that first year, Detroit Summer is still going strong, and was a prime mover in this year's U.S. Social Forum gathering in Detroit. What was happening: Napalm Death at Harpo's, Los Lobos at the Majestic, and WLLZ presents Rockin' Greektown at the Old Shillelagh, with Rhythm Corps.
9 years ago in Metro Times: Curt Guyette reports on the mayoral primary, which should be a hot contest. Unfortunately, media coverage seems to focus on just a few contenders, including council president Gil Hill and state legislator Kwame Kilpatrick, while leaving other qualified candidates — such as city auditor Joe Harris or councilman Nicholas Hood III — out of the limelight, creating one of the driest primaries in memory. Lester Kenyatta Spence, a professor at St. Louis' Washington University, says, "The lack of coverage is astonishing. This is a really crucial election for the city of Detroit, and it is like the papers are ignoring it." Explaining why a tough election is good for democracy, U-D Mercy professor Mike Bernacchi puts it in the terms of the marketplace: "The more aggressive the competition, the better the marketplace," or, conversely, "a marketplace with one dominant force is not a healthy marketplace." What came out of the election? Kwame Malik Kilpatrick. What was happening: Jello Biafra at the Majestic, the Warped Tour at the Phoenix Plaza Amphitheater, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Gold Dollar, and Thornetta Davis at the Music Menu.