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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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Best of Detroit 2013

Spend the Night - Reader's Choice

Reader's choice for nightlife in Metro Detroit

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Praised for its service and great food, The Penthouse Club also has gorgeous women. Don’t get us wrong, we love when a waitress can remember our names or bring us back the right amount of singles, or a chef can cook up a mean steak, but the main reason why The Penthouse Club continuously wins in this category is because of their amazing lineup of sexy, smoldering, pole-climbing women. The upscale club reigns over the legion of others on Eight Mile, with the Penthouse stamp and the crew to back it up.

 

 

 

Best Burlesque Troupe

Detroit Dizzy Dames

detroitdizzydames.com

The things the lovely ladies of Detroit Dizzy Dames can do with a stage, 1930s big band music and glittery nipple tassels is incredible. When the lights dim and the attention is brought to the stage, the slew of sensual, vivacious women, led by the astonishing Lushes LaMoan present carnal fun in ways you don’t need to understand. They bring honor to the burlesque and vaudeville art form, giving Detroit audiences something great to revere.

 

Best Draft Selection in a Bar

Ashley’s

338 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-9191

See ashleys.comfor Westland location.

Self-identified as “Michigan’s premier multitap,” it’s really no joke. The Ann Arbor location routinely has more than 40 beers on tap, an award-winning beer selection from the four corners of the earth and right here at home. Beers recently on tap included Huma Lupa Licious, Nitro Milk Stout, Soft Parade and Dragonmead Final Absolution. They also have Labatt Blue on tap, so you can bring your less adventurous pals along for the ride. Think you’ve run out of new beers to explore? Better stop in soon.

 

Best Bar for a Martini

Goodnite Gracie’s

222 Sherman Dr., Royal Oak

248-584-7400; goodnitegracie-ro.com

Life is good at Gracie’s. The martinis are imaginative and well-executed, rightly priced at happy hour and still worth every penny they charge at any time of day or night. The staff is just as attentive as the crowd is attractive, and when everyone’s snugged tight inside this intimate Royal Oak drink spot, you can really take a moment to reflect on how good life, and a really well-made martini, really is.

 

Best Bar for a Bloody Mary

Vivio’s Food & Spirits

2460 Market St., Detroit; 313-393-1711

3601 E. 12 Mile Rd., Warren; 586-576-0495

viviosbloodymary.com

You know you’re doing something right when 26 local retailers are carrying your Bloody Mary mix in their stores. Vivio’s doesn’t play around when it comes to their lauded cocktail, mixed with premium vodka and stirred with a dill pickle spear. It’s something great to be known for, along with tasty burgers and variety of pizzas. And the flavorsome drink doesn’t just have to be an early afternoon hangover cure, head to Vivio’s at night and enjoy it with some of their other specials.

 

Best Bar for a Classic Cocktail

The Sugar House

2130 Michigan Ave., Detroit

313-962-0123; sugarhousedetroit.com

The Sugar House is a pre-Prohibition-style joint tucked somewhat inconspicuously next to that one barbecue joint in Corktown. While there, you might hear a New Orleans jazz duo while you enjoy a couple well-crafted sazeracs or some other adventurous drink that gets lit on fire before being poured. Riding the success of the classic cocktail trend, Detroit’s Sugar House is atmospheric and attractive.

 

Best Dance Club in Detroit

City Club

400 Bagley St., Detroit; 313-962-2300

What’s left to be said about City Club? We all know that it’s a people-watcher’s paradise, that you might walk in wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt and be led out on a leash wearing latex and lycra, that the lights will be dazzling and the electro-industrial beats pumping. City Club continues to do what City Club has done so well for years now, and for that reason we love it. Thank you City Club, for making the weirdest and more wonderful elements of fetish culture the norm on a Detroit weekend.

 

Best Dance Club in Suburbs

Luna

1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-589-3344

No matter how much Royal Oak tries to yuppify itself, hotspots of glorious decadence and filthy debauchery remain, like Noir Leather, Gusoline Alley, and, of course, Luna. Like a little suburban City Club, Luna manages to skirt the underbelly of electronic and rock music, crossing boundaries and defying genres, resulting in a cool club to both chill and dance in. The vibe is dark but non-threatening, and the bar staff are super-friendly. You could literally hear anything in here – the DJs will make it all flow.

 

Best Dance Club in Ann Arbor

Necto

516 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor

734-994-5835; necto.com

Enveloped in the sounds of house and drum ‘n’ bass, preppy college students, seedy goths and techno nuts alike come together to melt on the dance floor at Necto. Surprisingly, the event that I speak of, named “Factory,” falls on a Monday night. Necto’s ability to draw people from all over Metro Detroit and bring them to Ann Arbor on a weekday, just shows that their choice of DJ Jinx and Joey P & Sandoe was a good one.

 

Best Casino Hotel

Greektown Casino Hotel

Best Casino Slots

Best Casino Craps

Best Casino Poker

Greektown Casino

555 E. Lafayette St., Detroit

313-961-5805; greektowncasino.com

Whether it’s gaming or staying the night, our readers agreed that Greektown is a winner.

 

Best Casino to See a Show

MotorCity Casino

2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit

313-237-7711; www.motorcitycasino.com

The Sound Board venue within MotorCity differs slightly to many other big rooms and theaters that casinos often offer because it actually feels like a music venue as opposed to a multi-functional big room in a casino. That’s some achievement. The neon is dazzling and the whole place is pristine but, still, this is a damn fine place to see the likes of Jewel and Morris Day & the Time. There’s actually a radio station broadcasting from within here too, which is pretty cool.

 

Best Hip-Hop Venue

St. Andrew’s Hall

431 E. Congress St., Detroit

313-961-6923; saintandrewsdetroit.com

Known all over the country as the spot to hold hip-hop shows in Detroit, St. Andrew’s Hall has never slacked on their love or reverence for the art of hip hop. Local greats like Royce Da 5’9”, Black Milk and Danny Brown have graced the stages and used the venue as a jump-off spot toward bigger things. But even as the artists’ popularity begins to grow, St. Andrew’s Hall and the raw, unmitigated walls of The Shelter below, still hosts their welcome back events. St. Andrew’s Hall is a life vein of Detroit, giving its patrons great shows for little cash.

 

Best Hip-Hop Night

BlueCollar Gentlemen at the Old Miami

On the first Friday night of every month, Old Miami brings BlueCollar Gentleman, an all access pass to a vast amount of performances, freestyles, cyphers, battles and just random shit talking by Detroit’s underground hip-hop elite. The night can showcase the grimy or the polished, the unproven or the spoken for, depending on the month. But one thing is for sure; BlueCollar Gentleman is one of Detroit’s best proving grounds for those who want respect in the gritty music scene.

 

Best Rock Club

PJ’s Lager House

1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit

313-961-4668; pjslagerhouse.com

It’s always looked like a dark cavern to me, but maybe that’s what a bar needs to look like for it to hold some of the best and craziest rock shows in Detroit. PJ’s has won this covenant stamp of approval for many years and it has been well deserved. The bar has a steady rotation of local bands, up-and-comers and breakout stars. Not to mention, they’ve also added a record store in their basement, just incase the intensity of sounds and great service upstairs wasn’t enough.

 

Best Metal Club

Harpos Concert Theatre

14238 Harper Ave., Detroit

734-787-2157;

harposconcerttheatre.com

People often sneer at the mention of Harpos but the fact remains that few places provide quality metal more consistently and regularly, be it hair metal like Stryper and Ratt, nu-metal like Mushroomhead and Coal Chamber or extreme metal like Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse. The genre of music might be as cool as your grandma’s church dress but the people who love it are rabid and Harpos serves a valuable purpose. So sneer all you like, but those headbangers deserve a place to mosh.

 

Best Comedy Club

Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle

310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak

248-542-9900; comedycastle.com

For more than 30 years, Mark Ridley’s has been a destination for some of the hottest comedians to drop in on metro Detroit. Lewis Black, Bob Saget and Dave Attell are but a few of the first-rate national comics who have yukked it up on this stage.

 

Best Comedy Open-Mic

TIE

Joey’s Comedy Club

36071 Plymouth Rd., Livonia

734-261-0555; joeyscomedyclub.net

 

Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle

310 S. Troy St., Royal Oak

248-542-9900; comedycastle.com

Though Mark Ridley’s has handily won this award in the past, evidently some of the walk-on talent at Joey’s was funny enough to garner the Livonia club a hard-won tie.

 

Best Local Comedian

Tommy Simon

Detroit-based funnyman Tommy Simon’s résumé shows a guy who’s working hard to share the laughter. A hardworking member of the resident company at Go Comedy! Improv Theatre in Ferndale, he has written for Huffington Post Detroit, and appeared in numerous comedy productions. He also has a more serious side, as writer-in-residence with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project.

 

Best Folk Venue

The Ark

316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor

734-761-1451; theark.org

It’s crazy that The Ark started as just a coffee shop that gave students in Ann Arbor an opportunity to come together and chill out. But the quaint spot has now become a place that not only draws students from all over the state, but also great musical artists who come to make a mark on the venerated establishment. Handled by a board or directors and a boatload of volunteers, The Ark plans on keeping its doors open for another 47 years, accepting those who want to join its ranks. I mean, c’mon, Lisa Loeb performed there. That alone should allow The Ark to win the category of Best Folk Venue, every year.

 

Best Jazz Club

Cliff Bell’s

2030 Park Ave., Detroit

313-961-2543; cliffbells.com

Ol’ John Clifford Bell would be happy to see his creation strive today, pumping a healthy dose of traditional and new age jazz back into the city of Detroit. The beautiful sounds that come out of Cliff Bell’s can only be matched by the decor that engulfs it. The crimson tone and lacquered wood bar are just a view things that will dazzle you. Every seat is front row when performers jam, placing every listener in the immense cloud of great music.

 

Best Blues Club

Nancy Whiskey

2644 Harrison St., Detroit; 313-962-4247

What makes a great blues bar? Is it super-exquisite decor, a startling range of exotic beers and wines, and suited-up bar staff? Hell no. This is the blues, the music of the downtrodden and ignored, and there ain’t nothing exotic about it. We want to hear the music played by people who care, in a dive bar that looks as if it has seen decades of blood, sweat and tears. Nancy Whiskey offers all that and more. Consistently great music, reasonably priced drinks and food, and all located in a great Corktown neighborhood.

 

Best Sports Bar

Buffalo Wild Wings

For locations, see buffalowildwings.com

Sure, it’s a winning combination: With beer, chicken and enough large-screen televisions to please even the pickiest sports nut, Buffalo Wild Wings just keeps on expanding. With a new location off Cadillac Square in Detroit, even downtowners can now settle in, watch the game and munch on that Screamin’ Nacho Burger.

Best New Bar Trend

Craft cocktails

Being a chemist behind the bar makes you a reputable asset. Gone are the days of the simple gin and tonic or the vodka Redbull. Bartenders are rolling up their sleeves tight to bring big drinkers and casual attendees glasses filled with rare liquors and organic and international ingredients that bring flavor and veracity to the simple concoctions we’ve grown to love. Places like The Oakland in Ferndale and the Sugar House in Corktown have built their mark on being able to give people something different to sip on, while also luring them to try bigger, riskier sprits. If you ever do venture down to Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, make sure to try the Japanese Cocktail, created with Chalfonte VSOP, orgeat & ango.

 

Best Michigan-Made Beer

Bell’s Brewery

It seems like just yesterday beer was all the same, sort of like having sex in a canoe. Then came the flavor. And the brewery founded by Larry Bell in 1983 deserves a share of the thanks for that revolution, as the Kalamazoo-based brewery gave us Two-Hearted Ale and sensational seasonals such as Oberon.

 

Best Michigan-Made Liquor

Best Vodka

Valentine Vodka

valentinevodka.com

For their ads, the people at Valentine Vodka have chosen to put a simple picture of a glass of vodka filled with mechanical nuts, accompanied by the phrase, “Surprisingly smooth vodka from a city known for grit.” The winners of best local liquor, once again, couldn’t be more right. Handcrafted with locally grown ingredients, Valentine Vodka’s smooth, yet sweet taste is a great compliment to the unrelenting tenacity of Michigan’s finest city.

 

Best Michigan-Made Microbrew

Best Beer

Founders

Breakfast Stout

Founders is a Michigan brewery with a strong local following, in large part due to its peerless Breakfast Stout. It’s packed with the flavors of a well-balanced breakfast, with an alcoholic kick that will have you canceling your appointments for the day. It’s brewed with flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffee. At the website ratebeer.com, it earned a rating of 100 on a 100-point scale.

 

Best Scotch

Johnny Walker

The award-winning blended scotch has been around for 104 years, traveling throughout the world, showing up in almost every country. Each blend is matured slightly different, due to the intricacies of the wood, climate and location. So every time you hit your favorite bar in Metro Detroit and order yourself a glass, you’re getting new experience.

 

Best Bourbon

Maker’s Mark

With its unique square bottle and bright red wax, Maker Mark stands out definitely. Its full, mellow taste, carefully constructed with red winter wheat, rather than rye, can be mixed into a Manhattan or enjoyed on the rocks. And if consuming this drink from a glass is not enough for you, you can always head to their website and grab one of their Bourbon recipes. We suggest the Morning After Sugar Crusted Marshmallow Pancake Stack with Bourbon Blueberry Compote and Naught Syrup. No better way to start the day.

 

Best Gin

Hendrick’s

Originally produced by William Grant & Sons in Girvan, Scotland, Hendrick’s is “an unusual and selected gin with limited production that finds in cucumber and rose the perfect combination.”

 

Best Tequila

Patron

Patrón is one of Mexico’s greatest exports and continues to be Detroit’s (and, according to their site, the world’s) favorite tequila drink. With four different flavors, the ultra-premium tequila offers Detroiters multiple ways to start a party or end a night with definite disrobement.

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