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  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

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

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    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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Best of Detroit 2012

Public Square - Reader's Choice

Reader's choice for Metro Detroit

Best Local Music Festival

Movement 

Hart Plaza, Detroit; movement.us

Since the turn of the millennium, the festival formerly known as DEMF has brought the best electronic music artists to Detroit, while highlighting the incredible local talent. It's like a big love-in with a light show, an opportunity for like-minded souls to gather and dance like goons while everything from trance to dubstep kicks off around them. It's a Detroit institution, and you voted last year's event the best festival in the area. This year's event promises to be even better. We know at least one fan who marks his year from festival to festival. In his temporal universe, the Best of Detroit street date of April 25 translates as five days until the end of the school term, six days until his birthday and 35 days to Movement 2012. Headliners this year include Public Enemy, Lil' Louis and the Wizard (aka Jeff Mills). But with a weekend packed with acts, a chief draw is the opportunity to see tomorrow's stars today.

Best Place to See a Mainstream Film 

Emagine Royal Oak

200 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 888-319-3456;                         www.emagine-entertainment.com

After an impressive run of roughly a jillion wins in a row, the Uptown Palladium has been dethroned as your favorite popcorn palace, replaced by a flashy newcomer that made a major splash with its debut. The deluxe new Emagine Starlanes movie and entertainment megaplex opened last April after years of rumblings over its impact on Royal Oak's already bustling nightlife. Adding a 10-screen theater, bowling lanes, a full bar and banquet facilities into the suburban downtown's already overflowing mix of bars and eateries seemed daunting to some, but the new venture became an immediate hit. Crowds are flocking there for a first-rate moviegoing experience, with digital projection, beautiful new screens, a booming stereo sound system, luxury assigned seating and even the roller coaster thrill of "D-Box" seats, that move and rumble in sync with the onscreen action. It's bells and whistles like these that have boosted the Michigan-owned mini-chain's rapid ascent, and their glossy new flagship has earned hordes of fans, parking hassles be dammed!

Best Place to See 

an Indie Film

Main Art Theatre

118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111; landmarktheaters.com 

Like the zombies that sometimes terrorize the Midnight Movies during the theater's summer lineup, you just simply cannot kill the Main Art Theatre. Year after year, rumors of the Main's demise run wild, yet the swell old gal remains the premier — and often only — place in the metro area to see independent and foreign films in their native environment. This year, the Main survived the arrival of a behemoth multiplex literally in its backyard (see above). Despite these setbacks, the art house endures, in part because the Royal Oak location at 11 Mile and Main retains its funky charm and historic neon marquee — and because the quality of the product on screen remains true.

Best Local Film Festival

Ann Arbor Film Festival

Various locations, Ann Arbor; 734-995-5356; 

aafilmfest.org; 

Though film festivals such as Sundance have become virtual farm-team feeding systems for Hollywood and — to a degree — have codified "indie film" as an aesthetic, there's the contrasting example of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. As our film writer Corey Hall put it recently: "Ann Arbor maintains essentially the same vision it began with: serving as a showcase for eclectic, independent, experimental and utterly uncompromised works of art." Or as exec director Donald Harrison puts it: "Our focus is really filmmakers who are working creatively outside the commercial market." This goes back a half-century, the festival having celebrated its 50th round of screenings, installations, talks and parties earlier this month. Harrison resports that attendance for this year's festival topped 15,000 for the first time. Meanwhile, prizes and awards of cash and film stock and services put the equivalent of $22,000 into the pockets of film artists, fueling the future of their art.

Best Place to 

See  Local Theater

The Who Wants Cake? theater company's Ringwald Theatre

22742 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-545-5545; whowantscaketheatre.com

Five years ago, Joe Plambeck and Joe Bailey moved their Who Wants Cake? theater company into the Ringwald Theatre, near the corner of Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue in downtown Ferndale. Known for gender-bending performances of madcap subversive farce, the company has mounted productions of Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy, Evil Dead: The Musical, The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From, Ronnie Larsen's Making Porn, Del Shores' Southern Baptist Sissies and many more plays that a typical theater company wouldn't touch. Next month, the company will perform The Divine Sister, with mother superior, naturally, played by Plambeck.

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