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Wednesday, April 9,2014

Digital healing

4th Annual Capital City Film Festival demonstrates mass media’s therapeutic power

by ALLAN I. ROSS
When people talk about the effects of entertainment on society, it’s usually not in high regard. Movies and video games are blamed for desensitizing people to violence, while each new wave of pop music is summarily dismissed as mindless dreck. Decades before people were dissing the wup-wup-wup-WHOMP of dubstep, they were scandalized by anything with an accentuated back-beat. Today’s old guard is always yesterday’s vanguard, where controversy plus time equals quaint.
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Wednesday, April 9,2014

Girl, uninterrupted

Q&A with Sandra Collins, star of Capital City Film Festival documentary 'Girl'

by ALLAN I. ROSS
Wednesday, April 9 — On Thursday, electronic dance music DJ Sandra Collins will take the stage at the Loft for a free show, kicking off the 4th annual Capital City Film Festival. Collins is the featured performer in the documentary, “Girl,” directed by Kandeyce Collins. The film will have its North American premiere at the festival earlier that evening.
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Wednesday, April 9,2014

New In Town

RED CEDAR SPIRITS/SLEEPWALKER ALE AND SPIRITS/SOUP SPOON CAFE

by ALLAN I. ROSS
Last week I told you about two new Lansing area micro-distilleries: Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge and American Fifth Spirits, which will open in downtown Lansing sometime this summer. But that’s not all the notable potable news in the area.
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Wednesday, April 2,2014

Five-star ‘Hotel’

Ralph Fiennes leads all-star cast in quirky, comedic ‘Grand Budapest’

by ALLAN I. ROSS
Over the last 18 years, writer/director Wes Anderson has refined a whimsical cinematic style that has the lushness of a Merchant Ivory weepie and the whirligig wackiness of a “Peewee’s Playhouse” episode. His films are stocked with offbeat characters, frequently featuring big name actors rendered unrecognizable by deliberately horrible makeup, who converse in bouncy Seussian rhythms and crackling Wildean wit. Stop-motion animation, elegant set design and sideways tracking shots abound.
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Wednesday, April 2,2014

New In Town

SANCTUARY SPIRITS/AMERICAN FIFTH SPIRITS

by ALLAN I. ROSS
In the last two years, the Lansing area has welcomed two microbreweries to the growing craft beer scene: BAD Brewing Co. in Mason and EagleMonk Pub and Brewery in Delta Township. Two more have been announced, but while we’re waiting for Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale and Music Street Brewing Co. to start cranking out suds, another trend in mid- Michigan alcohol production has arisen: micro-distilleries.
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Wednesday, March 26,2014

New In Town

CURVACEOUS LINGERIE/AUGGIE'S PUB/GUS'S BAR

by ALLAN I. ROSS
After closing in 2012, Auggie’s Pub and Grill on Lansing’s south side reopened earlier this month under new management. Manjit Singh owns the strip mall that Auggie’s is in, which is also home to the Sav More II party store he operates next door. His brother, Karpal Singh, owns Auggie’s and holds the liquor license, but Singh runs the day-to-day operations.
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Wednesday, March 19,2014

‘Wrong side of the war’

Exploring the culture of the Hmong, forgotten ally to France, America

by ALLAN I. ROSS
In 2005, French journalist Cyril Payen’s provocative documentary “Guerre Secrète Au Laos” (“The Secret War of Laos”) debuted on French television. The film focused on the plight of the Hmong people who have lived in hiding in the jungles of Laos for over 60 years. The Hmong, an Asian ethnic group, continue to be oppressed by the native Lao tians for collaborating with French forces in the Indochinese War in the 1940s and ‘50s, and with Americans in the Vietnam War in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
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Wednesday, March 19,2014

New In Town

ZOOBIE´S OLD TOWN TAVERN/THE COSMOS WOOD-FIRED PIZZA

by ALLAN I. ROSS
This week, the owners of Zoobie’s Old Town Bar announced that the north Lansing hotspot plans a massive exterior renovation that will more than double the size of the building’s footprint.
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Wednesday, March 19,2014

Food court of appeals

Reality show contest will give new local eatery free space in Lansing Mall

by ALLAN I. ROSS
It’s been a few years since Hugh Jackman and his boxing robot thrust mid-Michigan into the national spotlight — yes, that was Mason City Hall playing a bit part in “Real Steel.” Now it’s Lansing chance to get in the ring. This week the Food Network will tape an episode of its reality show contest “Food Court Wars” in two capital city locations: Lansing City Market and the Lansing Mall. The show will pit two local teams of aspiring restaurateurs, whose identities are being kept secret, against each other for a year of free rent for their fledgling business in the Lansing Mall’s food court.
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Wednesday, March 12,2014

Tech ambassadors

LEAP representatives promote Lansing at SXSW, look for ideas

by ALLAN I. ROSS
Last weekend, three members of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership flew to Austin, Texas, to attend the annual music, film and technology showcase South by Southwest. Steve Willobee, director of business development, Sara Graham, director of talent and communications, and Jeff Smith, director of the new economy division, joined over 24,000 people from 73 countries for three days of networking, new gadget ogling and riding on Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball. Seriously.
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