Posted by: on March 9, 2009 at 9:00 am

The groundbreaking comic series Watchmen redefined what was possible with the comic medium. Written by Alan Moore and drawn by David Gibbons, Watchmen is set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes have been outlawed. The story takes place in 1986. Richard Nixon is still in office and riding high off of the victory in Vietnam thanks to two “heroes” employed by the U.S. government, mad mercenary The Comedian and molecular master Dr. Manhattan. The narrative of Watchmen is a murder mystery. When The Comedian is killed, fellow vigilante Rorschach makes it his business to find the culprit. Based on Steve Ditko’s character, Question, Rorschach is so obsessive about justice that he makes Batman look wishy-washy on crime. The story follows Rorschach on his quest, introducing the reader to Watchmen who hung up their tights when vigilantism was outlawed. Described by many (including Moore) as “unfilmable,” it was only a matter of time before the underground comic made its way to the multiplex. Hollywood loves the quixotic notion of making movies out of impossible properties that have the potential for a massive box office.

Sam Hamm (1989)
The transformation from printed page to silver screen hasn’t been easy. For years, the project languished in the hands of 20th Century Fox. The studio gave Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm the thankless task of adapting Moore’s epic in the late ‘80s. The basic structure of Watchmen remains in place in Hamm’s draft insofar that the characters are the same, though far fewer in number and with less complicated relationships. Hamm’s bizarre decisions on which complex areas to eliminate and which to keep molds the story into an odd shape. This pushes the setting from one that was rooted fairly close to reality into a clunky science fiction realm, evidenced most at the film’s finale.

Subsequent drafts of Watchmen screenplay by David Hayter (X-Men) and Alex Tse (Sucker Free City) also splintered at their conclusion, but none so spectacularly as Hamm’s. In Moore’s graphic novel, Silk Spectre struggles to convince Dr. Manhattan to come out of a self-imposed exile on Mars to save the Earth from imminent destruction. It’s ultimately the miracle of humanity and its struggle against insurmountable odds that convinces the deific Manhattan to return for a literal deus ex machina finale. Hamm changed this scene’s conclusion, removing the redemption of humanity.

It gets worse. Seeing Manhattan’s existence as the cause of more problems than the solution, mastermind Ozymandias opens a hole in time to assassinate Manhattan before the accident that made him omnipotent. This essentially takes the former Outer Limits “Architects of Fear” ending into something closer to the Twilight Zone episode “No Time like the Past”. By shooting Manhattan, Ozymandias unravels a timeline and deposits Rorschach, Silk Spectre and Nite Owl in a world where they never existed but where Watchmen is just a comic book. This ridiculous twist leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. Hamm’s draft was rewritten by Charles McKeown when Terry Gilliam agreed to direct the project. Ironically, McKeown did an uncredited rewrite of Hamm’s work on Batman.

David Hayter (2003)
David Hayter took over the reins of writing a Watchmen adaptation in 2001. He stuck closer to the original source material, making his additional flourishes stick out like sore thumbs. The strangest augmentation includes a “Memory Mirror” that Dr. Manhattan creates for “Slingshot,” the renamed and powered-up Silk Spectre. This mirror shows Slingshot scenes from her past, introducing flashbacks that never fit into the plot. Hayter also gives Slingshot the ability to shoot balls of energy from between her fingers, eliminating the pesky use of a handgun during the film’s climax.

Hayter’s attempt to tone down the finale has Ozymandias shooting a beam of concentrated solar energy into Manhattan Island, killing the population but somehow leaving everything else intact. This attack results in a city bereft of population but decorated with the kind of silhouettes of bodies that Rorschach sees on one of his patrols. Ozymandias’s plan also includes the dispersal of black boxes to every world leader (a clever nod to the comic) which Nite Owl later uses to send a worldwide message of peace and love via a quote from The Beatles. This gesture comes off as syrupy and regrettable.

Alex Tse (2006)
Eventually, Alex Tse was brought in to rewrite Hayter’s script. Tse’s draft sticks fairly close to Moore’s original story. He strays occasionally in scenes where the U.S. government uses Silk Spectre as a human tracking device to discover Dr. Manhattan on Mars. While Hayter moved the world of Watchmen out of its alternate history to something closer to our own timeline, Tse addresses 9/11 via dialogue about Dr. Manhattan saving the World Trade Center and by pitting him against a gang of terrorists whose stolen uranium he turns to sand. During the climax, Tse has Ozymandias beaming concentrated energy from Dr. Manhattan into “the hearts of nine key regions around the globe, crossing all traditional politics and ideologies,” leaving the same black silhouettes and thus eliminating the carnage and horror of such an event.

In all three drafts, the most startling departure from the Watchmen graphic novel is the death of Ozymandias. Apparently, the writers found it simply abhorrent that Ozymandias, after murdering millions, would be allowed to live. In Hamm’s draft, Dr. Manhattan vaporizes him. In the Hayter and Tse scripts, he’s eliminated by a razor sharp boomerang owl, allowing Nite Owl further redemption and virility. Like Rorschach, the writers knew that evil must be punished. The death of Ozymandias simplifies Moore’s original work from a multifaceted examination of fascism, storytelling, and hope into a derivative “good guy versus bad guy” shadow play. The subtleties of Watchmen are lost in all of the drafts, making the label “unfilmable” all the more appropriate.

What You Saw (Theatrical Release)
While there’s still a 204-minute (at least) director’s cut of Watchmen yet to make its appearance (perhaps with the death of the original Nite Owl), the theatrical version did well to correct a lot of the errors still found in the scripts. Ozymandias managed to survive, though he still seems more like a  corporate raider than an egocentric superbeing.  While the Twin Towers still stand, looming in the background of Ozymandias’s office and the cemetery, it’s not called out that Dr. Manhattan saved them. Having Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan, and Ozymandias recall three different aspects of The Comedian while attending his funeral were a great way of giving backstory in a satisfying way.  Also, the opening credits do a good job of providing the history of the main characters along with placing the world of the movie in the right alternate history (especially when Silhouette is at the center of the famous VE day photograph).

Some will go to their graves bemoaning the loss of the “squid” from the graphic novel but would that have really played in Podunk?  As it was, the least of three evils was chosen as Ozymandias’s masterstroke and most of the other changes in the adaption were laudable.  In all, the Watchmen film triumphed over the evil plans laid out by its screenwriters.

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Posted by: on March 8, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Barbara-Rose Collins’ behavior this week was irresponsible, out-of-line, and downright amusing. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who has paid attention to the last 25 years of local politics. Collins has spent much that time acting like an ass. The very fact that Collins still has a political career suggests that not enough of you people have been paying attention. Elected officials don’t exist in a vacuum so a lot of this blame has to fall on the Detroit electorate for repeatedly electing this third-rate dullard to office.

Nevertheless, Barbara-Rose Collins’ antics win her Detour’s inaugural Douche of the Week honor. This is almost a lifetime achievement award, of sorts. Barbara-Rose Collins is a woman who devoted her life to douchebaggery. We celebrate her entire catalogue.

Collins was a train wreck when she served in Congress. There were shady campaign finance doings, missed votes, and the firing of a gay employee because his partner had died of AIDS. That last thing is neither a rumor nor an allegation. It actually happened. A government grievance board reviewed the case and found Collins at fault. It remains the only occasion that a member of Congress was found to have wrongfully fired an employee. Apparently, Collins was afraid she might catch AIDS from her staffer because his boyfriend had it. Barbara-Rose Collins doesn’t much care for science. Or basic human decency.

When she resurrected her political career, Collins naturally won support from the gay community. In 2005, the Triangle PAC endorsed Collins’ re-election campaign for City Council. That makes sense. The NAACP often endorsed Lester Maddox for public office. Why politically aware gays and lesbians didn’t throw Molotov Cocktails at the Triangle PAC for that decision is a question for the ages. But we digress…

Barbara-Rose Collins is no ordinary douche. She is a royal douche. According to the City Council website: The Ghanan town of Pepease has designated her as a queen mother. Councilwoman Collins has said that “this is not merely an honorary position, but a genuine coronation, with all the responsibilities and privileges afforded to royal family members.”

Responsibilities and privileges, you say? Like wearing a tiara to work on your birthday? Then there are the events of Thursday last. Perhaps most comical and revealing was her recital of Onward Christian Soldiers during an incoherent rant about European imperialism. Comical, because Onward Christian Soldiers is an English hymn celebrating the missionary work of Europeans in the third world. Revealing, because there is a thin line between the pseudo-progressive religiosity of Collins’ pan-Africanism and old-fashioned right-wing dominionism.

Both worldviews envision benevolent religious dictatorships to protect the masses from such horrors as reason, science, and cultural diversity. Barbara-Rose Collins, in Barbara-Rose Collins’ mind, was selected by God to help the oppressed masses throw off the White Man’s chains. This kind of thinking, as crazy as Pat Robertson believing he prayed away a hurricane, is a central tenant of Collins’ Shrine of the Black Madonna Church. And if that ain’t douchebaggery, what is?

Posted by: on March 8, 2009 at 5:57 pm

What? I had some time to think about this year’s Blowout; it was 4am, and I was waiting for a ride. I figured my perspective is different on the event, nowadays, from my Chi City POV. But what I’ve always loved about it hasn’t changed. We had prime real estate just inside the doors at Belmont, and everyone who came through, it was like I knew them well. Or I did know them well. Or I knew them well by the end of the whiskey. Lightning Love had been hotly tipped, and I thought they delivered: lazer vizion keyboard melodies, pulsing on the top of something I couldn’t place over the hubbub. Hip-hop in my life, too, and Ryan Allen’s dad. And the Friendly Foes, who tore off a bit of 90s indie and fashioned it into a home run. The Belmont was my squad last night, that is until I got to a couch on which to crash, and the texts kept coming. Yeah, crack of dawn breakfast was magic, and I woke up on a different couch. Again. I never made it to the garage rock reunion at K of C but our photogs did; enjoy the pics.

Fall out.













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Posted by: on March 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Safe, clean drinking water is for fancy people in other states
There are a dozen or so contaminated wells out in Kalamazoo and everyone is all: who put this industrial waste shit in our drinking water? The culprit: creatures from outer space and the Trilateral Commission. This unsubstantiated assertion will hold up because the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is too poors to give us a better explanation. They can no longer afford to investigate the quality of Michigan’s environment. That’s especially awesome if you have a chunk of mercury that you need to get rid of quick. And we do. (MLive)

Free Press restructuring hand-wringing begins
For the next 22 days, the Detroit Free Press will bore its readers with daily articles about their restructuring plans. They have all kinds or reasons and excuses that are all fairly valid but also boring and terrible. As a public service, here is a condensed explanation: You cheap slobs couldn’t go fifty cents for a newspaper and you totally ignore all the ads on their website so Gannet’s stock is in the tank. We are dangerously close to losing the daily local newspaper as an institution. That means we are dangerously close to leaving news gathering to Bill Spencer and the merry band of drooling TV retards. Seriously, buy a God damn paper once in a while. And maybe read about something other than Ultimate Fighting. (Freep)

State Democrats don’t want the goobacks to tukrjibs!
Knee-jerk protectionism hasn’t been this popular since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, you know, that thing Ben Stein talked about in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. State Democrats wanted to require that companies getting tax breaks hire people from Michigan before fur’ners from Ohio and California but this pesky “U.S. Constitution” thing got in the way. Now they are just asking nicely. Please Hire Michigan First! To do what exactly? There can’t be that many bankruptcy lawyers in the unemployment line. (DetNews)

And then he’s gone…Corey Smith’s death as cheap sentiment
Oh noes, Mitch Albom is all broken up over Corey Smith’s death. He just can’t go on without shedding some crocodile tears. Did you know Mitch Albom used to ask Corey Smith questions about football because Mitch Albom is a big-time sports reporter and Corey Smith played football? OMG that could have been Mitch who died! Corey Smith’s death makes Mitch Albom think about mortality and shit. Which is to say, like the deaths of every other reasonably famous person ever, it makes Mitch think about he can market his brand to the Oprah set. No one can monetize death quite like Mitch Albom. (Freep)

Posted by: on March 7, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Instant Facebook status update: crapstein, hungover face. Kelly Jean Caldwell was what I walked into first. Whoever put the red gels in had it right — girl was like a young Stevie Nicks under those lights, shambolic and strange, but confident. Have flute, will travel. I kept thinking a stoned, Northern California-stizz Jackson Browne was going to suddenly sit in. Side note from set: Greg Baise’s badass beard.

“This sound is ass, I’m going in the lounge.” That was me to El Jefe during The Uproars. And back over there it was still seventies. Alan Scheurman, like Animal Collective live from the Honky Chateau. And space rock, which to my (wasted) mind kept surfacing over the huddled crowd, during Scheurman and then Aran Ruth, who wore sparkling heels from another planet casually with the vest of a Huron tribe wisewoman. My vision blurred. Someone gave me a hug. The music rose. Was that a Wendigo in the shadows, or Waingro?

In the end, it was the Dirtbombs. The band were on some fury shit from my view at the side stage, through the haze of a thousand bingo games and Pall Malls. Bass line runs like battering rams, and Ben Blackwell’s beard. I was sated.

Our faith redeems us. Oh, and electric guitars.











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Pics: Bianca Garza

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Posted by: on March 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm

You’ve cut out of Blowout early. There’s a Crave Case under your arm. Now what? Let the Late Night TV Junkie steer you to some quality tube. Hey, hey… put down that phone — she’s not coming over — and pick up the remote. Could be worse, you know: in bizarro world, the Sliders eat you.

Death Wish 3 [Midnight / AMC]
Just a taste. Also: In Death Wish 3, Bronson brandishes his whup-sword in order to save Deborah Raffin, who was also in a show no one in the Bivouac remembers, but from its title sequence seems like something Barry Bostwick would’ve come to blows with Perry King in the casting room to get.

Waiting to Exhale [12:30 a.m. / Bravo]
After you’re finished inhaling toxicants, exhale with Angela Bassett as she blows up the dude from “Third Watch”‘s car.

“Knife Show” [1:00 a.m. / Ion]
Tonight’s special segment: modifying a Snuggie to accommodate a short sword or quick-access rapier. (The garish, Druidic robe’s own commercial is undoubtedly running simultaneously on another channel.) Also: Rambo knives — where are they now?

The Shaft [1:00 a.m. / Sci-Fi]
Naomi Watts, post-Jet Girl but pre-Mulholland Dr., fucks around with a hole in the ground. Watch out, girl — that shaft is a..

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Posted by: on March 7, 2009 at 11:05 am


















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Posted by: on March 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm


Caught the last half of Fontana — one of those X! Records bands people on other blogs seem to really believe in. We believe, too. But we’re not sure Fontana’s puke-punk totally does it for us. Still, we were impressed with their dedication to angularity, and, well, the entire SST catalog. We were also impressed with the bassist’s boots.

Plain Dealers — no “the”, as they pleasantly informed us — were half stand-up comedy act, half 90s post-core assault machines. They had a song that brought to mind Blue Oyster Cult, mashed-up with the screaming hardcore of Swedish experi-metalists Refused. They played their asses off, despite all four band members being on the verge of a massive heart attack. Gotta love that. Oh, and the place was PACKED.

Hopped in the Acura and hoofed it over to the Knights of Columbus, and got the most amazing parking spot ever.

Walked in while Deastro and band were sprinkling their tight-as-fuck electro-pop over a healthy crowd of head-bobbers. Randy wanted more keyboards in the monitor, and we wanted more Deastro in the room (the sound at KofC was less than stellar). On the bright side (literally), Randy’s shirt looked like he swiped it from an LA Lakers cheerleader in 1985, and the drummer played sideways on the stage, which always looks cool.

Ducked into the lounge area to catch most of Zoos of Berlin, who have really come into their own these days. Smoove jazz-pop gems that just don’t quit. A band so classy, their mic stands had cup holders attached to them.

At one point, ran into the now-infamous Bryan Metro of Jesus Chainsaw Massacre, who was wearing a graduation gown, minus clothing underneath, Tommy Lee style. Found out some interesting things about the guy: A) his real name is is not Bryan B) his favorite movie is The Shining C) his knowledge of B-movie actress Shannon Whirry was impressive and D) he carries around bottles of beer in a backpack, and if you ask nice enough, he’ll totally let you have one.

Ended the night catching most of the Silent Years set, which would have been totally amazing if it were at the Crofoot Ballroom. The sound in KofC’s big room is just bananas, and we wish we could have heard more of the horn section they were touting on stage. Still, though, the band seemed like they put tons of work into the show, and Josh Epstein can sing like a motherfucker. He was also wearing a belt that was, we think, made out of a giant toy car. Another thing we noticed was that TSY are a band with FANS. Like, people sing along to their songs when they play, and want them to keep playing, even after they stop. It’s easy to look to them and think, “This is how it’s done.”

Last thought: Could somebody please buy Steve-O a fucking Segway? His feet hurt, and it’s only Thursday.














Pics: Trever Long

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Posted by: on March 6, 2009 at 8:31 am


Barbara-Rose Collins is out of her freaking gourd
Half of City Council showed up last night for an informal meeting about Cobo Hall and they did not disappoint. Agnes Hitchcock plans to march on Lansing, throw grapes at the Governor, and get her some stimulus money. Monica Conyers is filing a lawsuit. What fun! Not to be outdone, Barbara-Rose Collins thanked an Arab-American man for inventing geometry. We shit you not. Then she led the Jacobin crowd in a rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers. We aren’t making this up. This is what actually happened. Watch the video. Clarence Darrow warned us: “With flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious age of the sixteenth century, when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.” (Crains, Freep)

Martha Reeves is dumber than sawdust
We just can’t keep up. There is just so much stupidity on City Council that it is impossible to absorb it all. It’s like moron overload. Martha Reeves once, a half century ago, sang a couple pop songs that people liked. This is her single lifetime accomplishment and it qualifies her to serve on City Council. Thank goodness for her leadership because who else would suggest that city government (with its $300,000,000 structural deficit) buy the city employee’s pension fund? 1. How do you buy a pension fund? 2. What good will that do? It’s worth noting that Reeves and Denny McLain share an attorney so maybe this is Farmer Peets 2.0. Who the fuck knows what’s going on in that woman’s head. (DetNews)

And Monica Conyers behaves like a petulant child
So Andy, the proprietor of, was enjoying a spot of lunch at Louie’s on Mack Avenue when Monica Conyers walked in (wearing a full length mink coat) with her Cosa Nostra-like entourage.  After leaving their taxpayer funded car in a no parking zone, Conyers and friends ordered take-out. When you write the laws you don’t have to follow them. At she didn’t sleep in the back of the car while sending her taxpayer funded bodyguard inside to order her lunch. Stay classy Monica. (Hot Fudge Detroit)

The naturals collect unemployment in a maverick way
Michigan’s unemployment rate is at 11.4%. It hasn’t been that high since December 1984. Back then, the Tigers were reigning World Series champs. It’s been 25 years since the economy sucked this hard. Maybe that means the Tigers will have a good season? Dontrelle Willis and Rick Porcello are supposedly having good springs and that line-up is still fierce. When the unemployment rate is 11.4%, you might as well enjoy the baseball season because there not much else to get excited about. (DetNews)

Making fun of dead people is not funny
WXYT’s Mike Valenti usually spends his air shift bitching about Michigan State and listening to idiot callers offer wholly implausible trade scenarios. The other day he broke format and made fun of Corey Smith. Ha ha ha, Corey Smith probably drowned in the Atlantic Ocean and the Lions really suck! Valenti apologized yesterday. Why? Joking about Corey Smith’s death isn’t anymore inane than some long-time listener, first-time caller from White Lake suggesting the Pistons offer two second round draft pick for Dwight Howard. (Freep)

Preservationists save historic Macomb County landmark
For several years the Clinton Township Big Boy was a gathering place for the local elders. These treasured seniors would share their wisdom with anyone in earshot. On any given day, a Big Boy customer could learn valuable things about “these kids today” and “Burl’s goiter” from these wise and learned citzens. They also enjoyed their senior coffee and, even though it will mean skipping dinner, a slice of the strawberry pie. Sadly changing demographics, the economic downturn, and a new Bob Evans down the road left the Big Boy vacant and facing the wrecking ball. Then at the last minute…a miracle. The beloved old Big Boy is saved! (Macomb Daily)

Guy with Mullet couldn’t bribe a dog catcher now
James Rosendall and his luscious mullet spread hundreds of dollars (and several free lunches) around City Council to get approval for Synagro’s sludge plant. It would have been a thing of beauty, if it had been built. Sadly, Detroit won’t get this wonderful sludge plant because the FBI claims Rosendall’s honorariums to City Council members were really bribes. Just like Cobo, The Man thwarts the will of Detroit’s elected officials. Rosendall and his mullet are broke now and Fifth Third Bank would like their compost pile back. (Freep)

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Posted by: on March 5, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Child Bite will soon just be one big beard.

The Octopus look and sound fucking cooler than you, me or anyone we know.

Why is the top of the stairs at the Magic Stick everyone’s favorite place to stand and talk? 200 bodies huddled together, smoking, imbibing and yelling over the music like a herd of hipster Emperor penguins during a snowstorm.

Scarves and military caps are to today’s music scene what jean jackets and white belts were to the garage rock crew.

Sgt. Pepperoni should be demoted to the rank of Private. Not having pizzas ready at the end of the night forces people into awful, late night decisions. Like the decision to inhale three Chicken Ring Sandwiches, a ten piece Mozzarella Cheese Stick and a 32 oz. Orange Lavaburst at 2:45 a.m. Slid. Home. Pants. Foamed.

The new promotions honcho for Metro Times is mega cute; WAY better looking (and nicer) than the last jackass they had in there.

Loftus takes over with coverage from here through Saturday. He has now apparently swapped out his Steve-O mask for a Bill Holdship disguise, complete with Boy Howdy t-shirt and pull-out Ted Nugent poster from 1979.












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