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    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

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    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit MtBlowout.com to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

    The post City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

    The post Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Your guide to Detroit's ruins

Urban explorer Seph Lawless give tips for anyone crazy enough to follow his footsteps.

Photo: Photo courtesy of Seph Lawless., License: N/A

Photo courtesy of Seph Lawless.

Seph Lawless examines a typical Detroit ruin.


Ruin porn, urban exploring, urban spelunking — call it what you will, but the fascination with Detroit’s ruins is undeniable. Photographer Seph Lawless prefers to use his own term, though. “This isn’t really ‘urban exploring.’ This is a strategic autopsy being done on America,” says Lawless (no, that’s not his real name), who has been photographing rust belt ruins since just after 9/11. “I wanted people to see a different side of America that they didn’t really know existed,” he says. His photos have been published in a book, Autopsy of America.

The fascination with Detroit’s ruins has only risen in recent years, even though the ruins have been sitting there for decades. “I was just up there [at the Packard Plant],” says Lawless, who is originally from Detroit but now lives in Cleveland. “On that day, on a Saturday, there were literally 200 cars there. I’ve never seen that many people.”

Lawless doesn’t discourage people from following his path, but he does advise wannabe explorers to exercise caution. “I was naive,” Lawless says. “Terrible things have happened to people who unsuspectingly go into these places and don’t really understand the danger.” Lawless has the following advice for anyone crazy enough to follow his footsteps:

Wear dark clothes: “Let’s face it, you’re going to places that you’re not really allowed to go in. You don’t want to draw attention,” says Lawless. “It’s trespassing across the board.” Lawless has been arrested more than 50 times for explorer-related incidents. “I never vandalize anything,” Lawless says, but he has been arrested for kicking in doors or removing plywood to access places. Beware.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: “If you’re going to park somewhere, a lot of the times your car will get busted into,” Lawless says. “I wouldn’t keep everything in your car, but I definitely wouldn’t keep everything on you.” Lawless advises keeping a phone in your car and on your person, and keeping a credit card in your sock. “You just have to assume that stuff is going to happen.”

Watch the floors: “People don’t understand how dangerous it is,” Lawless says. “I’ve had floors fall down while I was on that floor, and it shook the whole thing like an earthquake.” 

Look out for wild animals: Lawless recounts climbing to the top of the Whittier Hotel. “That one has a falcon — two of them — that sit on top,” he says. “So when you go up there, you get attacked. It was quite an experience.”

You don’t have to go for the obvious landmarks: “There’s a lot of great, crumbling, kind of apocalyptic-looking homes in Brush Park,” Lawless says. “Some of them have been renovated, some of them have been taken over by the artists. I really get a kick out of the older-style homes.”

Just cruise Gratiot: “You just go down that street, it’s very sobering,” Lawless says. “You just go down that stretch, from downtown all the way, either which way you look, it’s a pretty sobering reality of what’s going on.”

Be respectful: “What [people] don’t understand is these places aren’t really abandoned,” Lawless says. “Some of the most disenfranchised Americans live in these locations. You more than likely aren’t going to be welcome there. That’s the reality of it.” Oftentimes squatters will break glass on the stairs to serve as an alarm system.

You could be looking for trouble: “I carry,” Lawless says. “I’ve been confronted too many times. You’ll get wild dogs, pit bulls that will come right up to you. Criminals, drug addicts, people approaching you, all sorts of different things.” Fortunately, Lawless has not had to use his piece yet. “Honestly, it’s just a matter of time. I hope not. I’m not one of those guys. I’m non-confrontational.”

Give back: “A lot of people find it to be exploitative, and I kind of empathize with that a little bit,” Lawless says. “[Urban explorers] aren’t really spending a lot of money, and they’re taking pictures of the shittiest parts of the city and broadcasting them to the world.” So Lawless began partnering with charities like Educate Not Incarcerate and Feed the Children. 

For more information, check out Seph Lawless' website, sephlawless.com.

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