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Posted on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

'Here Comes Trouble': Michael Moore to make book tour stop in Ann Arbor

By Jenn McKee

After more than 20 years in the spotlight, filmmaker/author/activist Michael Moore (“Sicko,” “Fahrenheit 911,” “Bowling for Columbine”) instantly sparks heated debates these days, even when only mentioned briefly.

Witness’s recent short post announcing the Flint native’s only Southeast Michigan book tour stop, on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, to promote his new memoir, “Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life” - the "story" has 22 comments and counting.

When USA Today asked Moore 5 questions, the first was, apropos of his newest book’s title, “Have you always caused trouble?”

“That's the irony of it; I don't think I've ever really caused trouble,” Moore responded. “I was a good little boy and a good student. I've never been arrested. I've just done what I was told to do, which is to follow my conscience.”

“Trouble” tells 2 dozen short stories from Moore’s early life, up to the time that he made his breakthrough first film, “Roger and Me.”

“They tell how, from a young age, the ‘personal’ in my life slowly boiled up and exploded, quite unexpectedly, into the political,” Moore explained in a blog post. “ … From a chance encounter at the age of 11 with Bobby Kennedy to a tense moment in Virginia outside a rest room door marked ‘Colored’; from the gay kid in the neighborhood who was beaten to a pulp to the night some in my church cheered the news of the death of Martin Luther King; from a ruckus I raised at 17 that helped end a form of racial discrimination nationwide to becoming one of the first 18-year olds in the U.S. elected to public office; from planning my escape to Canada during the Vietnam War to having my newspaper raided by the local police; from confronting Reagan in a German cemetery as he laid a wreath on the graves of Nazi soldiers to surviving a terrorist massacre by showing up 20 minutes late—this was my life before I even thought of putting the first roll of film inside a camera.”

Moore also explained, “One of my missions on the (book) tour will be to help local libraries across the country that are struggling to survive. For my part I will be giving half of all my royalties on every book that is sold at the events on my tour to these local libraries.”

You can hear Moore talking briefly about several incidents described in “Trouble” in this clip from a recent “Democracy Now” interview.

And those curious to sample Moore’s prose from “Trouble” can read an online excerpt about his experience with an eighth grade teacher whose husband goes missing in Vietnam.

The New York Times’ review of “Trouble” noted that “like all of (Moore’s) books this one is shaggy and overfilled. … Mr. Moore’s coming of age as a working-class malcontent is, however, something to behold. It’s the story of a big lunk who learns to yoke his big mouth to a sense of purpose. It persuades you to take Mr. Moore seriously, and it belongs on a shelf with memoirs by, and books about, nonconformists like Mother Jones, Abbie Hoffman, Phil Ochs, Rachel Carson, Harvey Pekar and even Thomas Paine. Mr. Moore — disheveled, cranky, attention seeking, too eager to pick a fight — is easy to satirize. But he could nearly get away with branding his camera with the words once scrawled on Woody Guthrie’s guitar: This machine kills fascists.”


An Evening with Michael Moore

  • What: Michigan’s controversial filmmaker/activist will read from his new memoir, answer questions, and sign copies of his book.
  • Where: The Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St.
  • When: Thursday, December 1 at 8 p.m.
  • How much: Tickets are $10 ($5 for students), or $30 for an event ticket and hardcover book copy package ($25 for students). To purchase advance tickets, visit
A review from Britain’s The Guardian, meanwhile, argues, “The most convincing stories (in ‘Trouble’) are the most straightforward—tales of embarrassing first dates and teenage yearning in which Moore relates amusing anecdotes with a keen eye for youthful missteps. The writing here is certainly a marked improvement on that found in his previous sequence of bestsellers, which were really a series of comic skits with political factoids thrown in.

“However, he can't help freighting his progression from bright but wayward student to international hit director with the burdensome load of his considerable ego. Although he tries to leaven the effect with humour and fake humility, you don't have to read too closely to see that he's invariably the guy telling truth to power, looking out for the little people, constantly alive to prejudice and injustice, and never, of course, entertaining a thought of personal ambition.”

In anticipation of a book tour stop, Moore’s hometown newspaper, the Flint Journal, spoke with the filmmaker, wherein he addresses those who claim he’s all but abandoned Flint since becoming a political icon:

“I think everyone hopes that if you're raising your kids in Flint, as we raised our daughter here for her first 10 years, that your kids will be able to go off and be able to do whatever," Moore said. "That says more about the area, that we are able to produce people that go on to do great things."

Finally, this past September, Moore appeared at a Barnes and Noble in New York City (wearing a maize and blue Michigan T-shirt) and read an excerpt from “Trouble,” which describes how, as a teenager, Moore entered a speech contest sponsored by the Elks Club—an organization that, at the time, had a “Caucasians only” policy.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that Moore had some opinions about this—opinions which he didn’t hesitate to voice.

Jenn McKee is the entertainment digital journalist for Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


The Picker

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

I don't understand why the 19%, so idolize this 1%er. This must be a symptom of candy addiction !


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

While Mr. Moore lets his emotions get the better of him on rare occasions, we need a great deal more fearless progressives like him.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

What's this "we" stuff?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

The problem with Mr. Moore, other than the fact he is obnoxious, is that he fails to include anything in his films that don't support his premise. In other words, large portions are fiction and not fact and are just another part of his delusional life.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Documentaries are not news reports. There is no requirement to show both sides. If you want fair and balanced, watch the "fair and balanced" Fox News (oh, wait!)


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

You had me until you used the words "fiction" and "delusional" and then your lack of objectivity got the better of you. Sure, he only presents his side of things and there is not doubt he's biased but I've yet to see him make stuff up. Not even gonna address the delusional part.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

I saw him on Jimmy Fallon pushing the book, and while I don't always agree with him, he is dead-on in his assertion that if you see something wrong with what goes on in this country, sitting on the sidelines watching is not an option. That's all he does. He gets involved and tries to get others involved. You may hate his views but there's a solution if you feel that way. Get up and do something.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

While his groupies love hi, he really is the Rush Limbaugh of the left - he he spouts opinions, and he can, because he's a superstar, But his depth is really only about ankle-deep.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

I don't know, Ron is he? Or are you just baselessly suggesting he isn't? Actually, yes on the first and fourth accounts (especially on the fourth count, as working toward de-electing Obama will be a major step forward for all of us who have been the trod upon by his Presidency). As for the second and third counts, I didn't know - and I'm guessing Rush didn't get the word either - that those are the universal litmus tests for a do-gooder. Libraries and movie theaters, huh? Would it be OK if he did contributed to the restoration of some other type of building, or is it only old movie theaters that count? I don't restore old movie theaters either, so I guess I'm a bad guy. Dang it. I hope on judgement day God forgives me for not restoring old movie theaters.

Ron Granger

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

"he really is the Rush Limbaugh of the left" -- Is Limbaugh doing charity work? Supporting libraries? Restoring old theatres? Fighting for the down-trodden?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

A superstar? Oh, please. And comparing him to Limbaugh is shallow as well. Limbaugh sits on his rear touting his "views". At least Moore gets out there and actually does something.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Michael Moore coming here will severely damage the "Smartest City" status we earned a couple weeks ago.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

Good article Jenn. I can't think of another person who has relentlessly pointed out the problems with our modern society as he has. I can't agree with all of his ultra- liberal views but I can respect him for pointing out what's wrong and making us aware of it. I first became aware of him years ago when he wrote the foreword for the book Rivethead by Ben Hamper, which gave a good picture of what it was like to work in the Flint auto factories.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

And cue: Comments from 1,001 Michael Moore haters who will tar him as anti-American and rehash inaccurate accusations against him. Those accusations are just a reminder that conservatives have little to say in response to his fundamental point: that significant and growing economic inequality is bad for democracy.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

No civilization survives with the type of income inequality we are witnessing in the USA. Look it up. Note that Mr Moore does not whine about his taxes!

Smart Logic

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

And cue: comment from the left, blindly and inaccurately defending someone.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

Also know as, "Real people who understand the real world outside of Ann Arbor's borders with their own opinions instead of those given to them by yet another extreme left Pied Piper."