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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, 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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Detroit barbecue's choice cuts

From its authentic past to its red-hot present.

Photo: Courtesy photo., License: N/A

Courtesy photo.

1: Classic Detroit, west side
Although metro Detroit’s barbecues are having quite a decade, the city has had excellent barbecue for generations, thanks to century-long stream of immigrants from the South. The west side abounds with a constellation of old-fashioned Detroit barbecue joints, such as Vicki’s and Uptown BBQ. Though you can expect a no-nonsense, mostly carryout environment, and maybe a few slices of Wonder Bread on the side, the meats they slide through the Plexiglas are on par or better than anything else on offer today.

2: Classic Detroit, east side
The east side of the city has a slew of ’cue slingers of its own, including Nunn’s, Sweetwater Tavern and Park’s Old-Style, where the specialty is a vinegar-based sauce that’s a rarity in a town where most barbecue sauce is on the sweet side. And, yes, if you want the delicacy that is barbecued pig’s feet, they’ve been serving pig foot at Joe Ann’s for 60 years, and Aunt Bessie’s probably about that long as well.

3: New Detroit
A million years ago in 2005, Slows Bar-B-Q took low-and-slow barbecue — along with that classic, quirky spelling common to Detroit ’cue houses — and added stylish sit-down dining and a killer beer menu, putting it all in a lovingly repurposed old building. The restaurant was an immediate smash, one that has been copied, adapted and innovated by dozens of other entrepreneurs all over the region, including RUB BBQ and Red Smoke downtown.

4: Lower Oakland County
The nightlife nexus centering on Royal Oak has its own barbecue contender to offer. It’s Lockhart’s BBQ, named after a town reputed to be the barbecue capital of Texas. It fits the updated barbecue profile handsomely, occupying a retrofitted space on the high-ceilinged first floor of an old bank building. The main courses, served authentically on paper in metal trays and with a white bread sopper, are all smoked ever so slowly over local white oak and hickory. The full bar, naturally, has a selection of Michigan beers, perfect with the ‘cue. 

5: Upper Oakland County
Located on Main Street in downtown Clarkston, the upscale Union Woodshop has a look that is the antithesis of barbecue joints found on the dirt roads hidden from rural highways in the Carolinas and in Texas. The joint’s food, however, shares the flavors that can usually only be derived from low-and-slow wood-smoking, which creates the pink smoke ring that is a sign of authentic country ‘cue. From tender brisket and pulled pork to ribs and chicken, there are no disappointments here. 

6: Macomb County
Macomb County’s mix of old blue-collar suburbs and seven-lane exurbia make for a quirky mix of ’cue. Roseville’s Lazybones Smokehouse is one of the originals, boasting Black Angus beef, Grade-A fresh pork, and Amish country chickens, done broasted, pit-smoked or grill-ready for pick-up. It may not be the sauce-soaked, fall-off-the-bone sort that reigns over southeastern Michigan, but if you’ve a taste for dry-rubbed, mopped and slow-smoked ribs, this is the spot. A bit further afield is Bad Brad’s BBQ in New Baltimore, where they start every day at 5 a.m., cooking beef brisket and pork shoulder in fruit wood and hickory smoke as long as 14 hours. 

7: The Pointes and Shores
That upscale oasis just east of city limits has some revelatory barbecue, including Noble Pig Café, Brandon and Parinda Kahlich’s (mainly carryout) joint that serves ribs, pulled pork, andouille and a Triple Q sandwich made of ham, pulled pork and bacon or sausage. There are also beef short ribs, Scottish salmon, crab cakes, tuna salad and turkey BLT sandwiches, and a brisket-and-sirloin burger. All meats are smoked over apple and hickory, the pulled pork for 16 hours, the ribs for eight. Saint Clair Shores also has the little place packed with flavor, Little Z’s, where they serve excellent proteins in a café-like atmosphere. No alcohol, but call ahead and see if they’ll let you bring a bottle.

8: Washtenaw County
The vegan-friendly Ann Arbor area doesn’t stint on smoked meats. Treetown has Blue Tractor. The menu is full of down-home fixings, and inventive specials year-round keep switching it up. And the barbecue? It’s mostly slow-cooked proteins that get a douse of rub or sauce during final grilling, and includes baby-back ribs, Carolina pulled pork and barbecued “beer can” chicken. Nearby Ypsilanti has Red Rock Barbecue, with sliders — traditional, brisket or pulled pork — St. Louis-style spare ribs, smoked half-chicken, pulled pork and thinly sliced brisket.

9: Points West
Drive out into the country and you’ll find some classic barbecue stands. We have to check each summer to see if they’re still operating, but, last time we checked, Ron’s Roadside Barbecue on Pontiac Trail on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. Out in the Irish Hills, there’s Randy’s Road Side Bar-B-Que on U.S. 12 in Onsted, a trailer just before the Stage Coach Stop, that serves classic barbecue. On some Sunday afternoons, you might even find a bluegrass group playing there. 

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