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  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

    By LeeAnn Brown Some people say that hip-hop is dead. Local ban Fderal Ground is proving that is not the case. The seven-member band, consisting of three lead vocalists, a DJ, bass, drums and guitar, plays what they call “living hip-hop.” Their music, peppered with multiple styles, covers all aspects of life from growing up in the D to playing with fire despite knowing you will likely get burned. Their undeniable chemistry and raw lyrics compose a music that is living, breathing, and connecting to their listeners. It has been nearly 11 years since Vinny Mendez and Michael Powers conjured up the basement idea that has flowered into the Detroit funk-hop band Feral Ground. Throughout high school the two wrote and rapped consistently, playing shows here and there. In those years they matched their rap stanzas with the animated, dynamic voice of Ginger Nastase and saw an instant connection. The now trio backed their lyrics with DJ Aldo’s beats on and off for years, making him a permanent member within the last year, along with Andy DaFunk (bass), Joseph Waldecker (drums), and newest member, Craig Ericson (guitar). We sat down with Feral Ground and their manager, Miguel Mira, in their […]

    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

    The post Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial

    We don’t know about you, but usually Nancy Whiskey and Long John Silver’s aren’t two concepts we’d place in the same sentence. However, the international fast food fish fry conglomerate made a nod to the Detroit dive in their latest YouTube commercial. LJS is offering free fish fries on Saturday, August 2, which is the promotion the commercial is attempting to deliver. But, we think we’ll just go to Nancy Whiskey instead.

    The post Long John Silver’s makes nod to Nancy Whiskey in YouTube commercial appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women

    We came across an interesting item this week: Apparently, a music festival with the name “Michfest” is quietly oriented as a “Women-Only Festival Exclusively for ‘Women Born Women.’” It seems a strange decision to us. If you wanted to have a women-only music festival, why not simply proclaim loud and clear that it is for all sorts of women? But if you really wanted to become a lightning rod for criticisms about transphobia, organizers have found the perfect way to present their festival. Now, we know that defenders of non-cisgender folks have it tough. The strides made by gays and lesbians (and bisexuals) in the last 20 years have been decisive and dramatic. But the people who put the ‘T’ in LGBT have reason to be especially defensive, facing a hostile culture and even some disdain from people who should be their natural allies. That said, sometimes that defensiveness can cause some activists to go overboard; when we interviewed Dan Savage a couple years ago, he recalled his “glitter bombing” and said it was due to the “the narcissism of small differences,” adding that “if you’re playing the game of who is the most victimized, attacking your real enemies doesn’t prove you’re most victimized, claiming you […]

    The post Michigan’s women-only music fest still shuns trans women appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Cover Story

100 Things All Detroiters Should Do Before They Die

Our Detroit bucket list.

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Photo by Dante Stella

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Photo by Esther Rubyan

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Photo by Brett Carson & John Dunivant


11) See a Pistons game with a cool halftime show: While the Pistons we have may not be the glorious team of old, their home games still have action you just won’t find anywhere else in town. And with the Palace’s state-of-the-art sound system, a halftime show is a definite slam-dunk.

12) Visit the Burton Collection at the Detroit Public Library’s main branch: The Detroit landmark designed by not just one, but two Cass Gilberts (senior and junior) is a great place to do some research. But the Burton Collection, with its statue-studded, open two-story room, is the best place for genealogical research. It’s also most beautiful in the spring, when the trees on the lawn are in blossom on a misty morning, as seen through floor-to-ceiling windows. Who says bookworms don’t get out enough?

13) Tour the 19th century at Greenfield Village: The collection of historic buildings at the Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village is without parallel anywhere in the world. The old man himself paid to have these landmarks moved to the site piece by piece, and a walk down the street can be jarring: one moment the Deep South, the next stately New England, then merry old England. It’s also the only place in town where Model T’s regularly putter down the street, or where you can watch a game of old-time baseball.

14) See Detroit Industry at the DIA: If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Diego Rivera’s controversial mural depicts workers at Henry Ford’s Rouge Complex, with workers toiling over the assembly line, amid machines that look sort of like Toltec and Aztec deities. The murals have been reviled, praised, attacked and defended, but never ignored. Every Detroiter should spend at least a few minutes looking at this monument to the workers and technicians of the Motor City.

15) See, um, cars at the NAIAS: We may not be huge car guys, but we have to admit that thing we used to call the Detroit Auto Show is a big, big deal. This year, we saw international carmakers present their million-dollar exhibits in a newly regionalized and updated Cobo Hall. Everyone should see it once — even if once is enough.

16) Navigate through thousands of sunbathing country fans at Hoedown: Maybe you expected us to take some cheap shots at the Hoedown. Hardly. The biggest annual event in downtown Detroit, this hootenanny regularly draws as many as a million guests, and features acts from all over the country. For a region in which so many residents call the South the old country, the Hoedown brings on the twang something fierce. Yup. We reckon so.

17) Shit, just dance at Movement (and DEMF): Is there any downtown in the country that hosts this much techno? Heck no! With two big festivals in the offing this year, and probably a gazillion accompanying loft parties, club events, and other all-night sonic benders, thousands will descend on Detroit from all over the world. Join them and shake your ass off.

18) Cheer a team at Detroit Derby Girls: You don’t need to know a thing about the rules. Just pick a team and cheer on your colors. Even if you’ve never seen it before, you’ll soon be rapt watching these ladies of grace and fury roll down the boards — and hear yourself screaming.

19) Make out with a goth at City Club: For almost 30 years, an edgy dance scene has occupied the lower level of Detroit’s historic Leland Hotel. On some nights, this is Goth Central, just the place to find a languid, pallid hottie weary of this mortal coil. 

20) Buy a black-and-white print of a penis at The Dirty Show: You gotta hand it to Jerry Vile: He turned a jerry-rigged art event into the biggest art event in town, with thousands attending over two weekends. Yes, sex sells, and The Dirty Show is the perfect place to buy that immodest piece of art to add a little slap-and-tickle to your walls.

21) Eat “The Triple Threat” at Slows Bar-B-Q: Slows was there first, not only trailblazing the sophisticated barbecue concept in metro Detroit, but staking a claim along a sleepy stretch of Michigan Avenue in Corktown a million years ago in 2005. These days, if you can get a seat, try “The Triple Threat” to conquer an entrée’s worth of bacon, ham and pulled pork put between bread and called a sandwich.

22) Seduce a mate at the Detroit Opera House: An opera is rich with seductive opportunities. Yes, the unhappy endings can be a bummer. But the rich interiors and lush staging excite the senses. The tragic stories and passionate singing inflame the emotions. Plus, nothing screams class quite as deafeningly as the opera, and your date knows it. No matter what you do later that night, that person you took to the opera will have to grudgingly admit that you at least aspire to culture. 

23) Admire Orchestra Hall while watching the Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Seeing our DSO, under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, is a feast for the ears. And experiencing this in the historic gem that is Orchestra Hall instead of some modernist cube adds a note of pageantry not heard often enough.

24) Drink and parade through Corktown on St. Patrick’s Day: Ah, public drinking, thy name is Corktown — at least during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The organizers insist that the parade is a family event, and it is, much of it. But for exuberant tailgaters, thirsty bar crawlers and Charlie LeDuff, it is an excuse to get blitzed on green beer and go wild. How it all comes off so peacefully year after year is a little bit of Irish magic.

25) Get freaked the fuck out at Theatre Bizarre: About 15 years ago, the Theatre Bizarre crew turned the back yards of a few cheap houses along State Fair Street into a creepy circus midway, hosting the city’s most anarchic costume party every Halloween season. The city shut them down, but they’ve only expanded into a larger, crazier anarchic costume party in an established venue. The tickets are prized, and the experience is about as close as you can get to Burning Man without leaving city limits.

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